What would applying modern R&D to ancient technology create?

What would applying modern R&D to ancient technology create?
Let's say for example that Augustus commissions a project to replace the Scorpion as a light anti-personnel artillery piece. Using only technology available in 10 B.C. but with modern engineering knowledge and design principles what would such a project produce?

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  1. 3 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    a gun

  2. 3 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    Cannon. They were able to make saltpeter, and cast bronze/brass is acceptable for blackpowder artillery.

  3. 3 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    https://www.youtube.com/shorts/KZxShHcA72s

  4. 3 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    They could create cannons. Ignoring that, the modern principles could probably improve range, accuracy, and reloading times, but not that much.

    Though now I kinda wonder what sort of ballista we could create with the modern material sciences and mechanics, if we were limited to general shape and idea behind the ballista...

  5. 3 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    Stirrups

  6. 3 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    I was hoping this would be a thread about the theoretical ballistics of a modernized Ballista.

    Think about that, a 1200 LB draw reverse limb compound, hurling a massive arrow at 500fps. Punch through an elephant the long way.

    • 3 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      As far as I know, we made no magical breakthroughs where we have a fundamentally different understanding of simple things. There is this theory that we may be missing something obvious - like anti-grav is easy, but we went down another tech tree.

      Anyway, the answer to your question is radio. Click-clack morse code radios are not high tech as long as you can get some copper and some magnets.

      That's about it. I have no idea what penicillin looks like and I have no idea how to find salt peter. I don't even remember what the other two things were. Something from piss and charcoal?

      Also, they wouldn't even benefit from a cannon for the most part except maybe for defense of key points.

      There is a book where advanced civ lands on a planet and wants to pretend to be native and does shit like that. It's called Deathworld 3 by Harry Harrison. As you can tell by the title, it's pulp fiction, but he is former military and an engineer, so it's ok.

      • 3 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        >how to find salt peter
        Go to your local barn.
        Dig up the ground where the animals piss.
        Trickle water through it.
        Let the water evaporate.
        You have discovered saltpeter and unlocked the firearms tech tree.
        >other two things
        Sulphur and charcoal. Sulphur isn't actually necessary. The ratios aren't critical for boom, the "correct" ratio just gets you a bit more efficiency.

        • 3 weeks ago
          Anonymous

          Oh yea, I remember now - sulfur is the third one, good luck finding sulfur, but saltpeter still seems like the most complicated one. It's not nearly as easy as you say, and then there is getting the other ones right.

          > Sulphur and charcoal. Sulphur isn't actually necessary. The ratios aren't critical for boom, the "correct" ratio just gets you a bit more efficiency.
          I guess I should read your whole post before replying.

          https://i.imgur.com/qdzjeLp.png

          >wouldn't even benefit from a cannon
          How are you not aware of canister rounds?

          Ancient shit iron was thick as frick for a barrel - look up early mortars. Whole point of legions was to be mobile as frick. Can't do that lugging a mortar around.

          Modern knowledge in medicine and nutrition considering plague was commonplace in armies until last century.

          What nutrition? "Eat natty bro" - oh wait. Honestly, you could get them a modern powerlifting routine and they are unlikely to get any real benefit out of it. Their training was probably as nailed down as it could be for the purpose.

          • 3 weeks ago
            Anonymous

            >It's not nearly as easy as you say
            It really is.

            >iron is heavy
            bronze works just fine.

            • 3 weeks ago
              Anonymous

              I can't argue - as much as I want to spend some time pissing in the same spot (used to have an outdoor toilet!), I have never committed to this great endeavor.

              • 3 weeks ago
                Anonymous

                That's why you dig up the ground in the barns where livestock have been pissing for centuries. After all that time that shit's nearly pure saltpeter.

            • 3 weeks ago
              Anonymous

              >It really is.
              saltpeter was easily the biggest bottleneck to gunpowder production in early modern era or earlier
              distilling it from piss is enough for alchemists to experiment with and find its properties, but nowhere near enough to supply an army

              french had a concentrated effort to sieze as much human waste as possible from the entire countrys nightsoil to turn into saltpeter and they still fell far short of their needed gunpowder production

              • 3 weeks ago
                Anonymous

                >distilling it from piss is enough for alchemists to experiment with and find its properties, but nowhere near enough to supply an army
                The best way to get it is from stables, and the gunpowder demands of later eras were so laughably higher than what's needed here the comparison falls quite short.

                Also, the OP didn't give us a time table.

          • 3 weeks ago
            Anonymous

            >What nutrition?
            Calorie counting.
            Soldiers remained underfed all the way up to WW2, because we keep underestimating how many calories are burned in combat.
            Romans sort of dimly understood that you felt better if you ate before combat but it took all the way to the musket era and the Napoleonic Wars for it to be made doctrine, and hundreds of battles were probably lost in antiquity for this lack of understanding, not least Lake Trasimene

          • 3 weeks ago
            Anonymous

            Nah, the most important part is getting that potassium nitrate aka saltpeter. Also, the charcoal has to be properly pyrolysed willow or similar nitrate-rich wood, not bonfire ash or art-supply charcoal. But, you can replace that charcoal and sulfur with glucose (sugar) and red iron oxide, also known as "rust", to get what is known as pink gunpowder. Potassium nitrate is the oxidizer, sugar is the fuel, and iron oxide increases pressure. You could supplement all kinds of compounds, but the important part is potassium nitrate.

            And like anon before said, you can just use good charcoal and leave out the sulfur. Sulfur was originally needed with wheel-lock and flintlock guns to get lower their ignition temperature, because those methods weren't intense enough back then. Without the sulfur it will burn much cleaner and won't leave that thick, sticky residue black powder was known for. Many of the nasty corrosive and hygroscopic qualities of gunpowders actually come from the primer compounds used to ignite them.

            I think you could also use potassium chlorate (easy source: match heads) instead of potassium nitrate too, potassium nitrate and sugar are often used in amateur hobbyist rockets as fuel.

            • 3 weeks ago
              Anonymous

              I don't think Romans had sugarcane. How do you process honey, sugarbeets, sweet sorghum and maple syrup for usable sugar? Do all tree syrup produce glucose or do you have to convert fructose snd sucrose into glucose? Can any softwood be used as charcoal, and does softwood mean any wood that feels soft to your hand?

          • 3 weeks ago
            Anonymous

            >Whole point of legions was to be mobile as frick.
            Ah yes, that's why they spent most of their time in massive forts. Even if you are thinking this way, artillery would free up men to take the offensive, and you would probably rapidly develop small arms+the Romans had brass.
            Freaking moron.

            • 3 weeks ago
              Anonymous

              No they didnt, they marched every day and set up a new camp every day for months.

              • 3 weeks ago
                Anonymous

                Never heard of the Limes, my dude?

                https://i.imgur.com/fTxW0lr.png

                >they spent most of their time in massive forts
                the US Army spends most of its time in massive forts too, do you think it's not fricking mobile? idiot
                siege trains and artillery were slowing down armies all the way into the Napoleonic era, arguably into WW1 as well depending on how you define "siege"
                the Wehrmacht pioneered the concept of self-propelled artillery as a solution to this problem

                Sure, but that doesn't make having artillery when no one else does not a massive defensive advantage. Really, it would be most useful out in the East. Persia would have gotten completely buttfricked

                what do you insulate telegraph wires with before rubber?

                Leather

              • 3 weeks ago
                Anonymous

                >holy triple negative Batman!
                it would give Roman legions a headstart on proper firearms development but the practical advantage would be minimal at first just as it was for cannon

              • 3 weeks ago
                Anonymous

                >holy triple negative Batman!
                lol. Got me.
                >it would give Roman legions a headstart on proper firearms development but the practical advantage would be minimal at first just as it was for cannon
                The practical advantage for cannon of the type that the romans could pretty easily build using modern engineering knowledge and design principles they should be able to develop cannon on the level of 19th century stuff pretty quickly, which would get you feil-mobile pieces in a couple of decades, if not years. Would absolutely destroy the persians. We end up with the Rome v. China timeline.

            • 3 weeks ago
              Anonymous

              >they spent most of their time in massive forts
              the US Army spends most of its time in massive forts too, do you think it's not fricking mobile? idiot
              siege trains and artillery were slowing down armies all the way into the Napoleonic era, arguably into WW1 as well depending on how you define "siege"
              the Wehrmacht pioneered the concept of self-propelled artillery as a solution to this problem

        • 3 weeks ago
          Anonymous

          >Go to your local barn.
          >Dig up the ground where the animals piss.
          This is why the dudes (Saliterer) responsible for it were universally hated by everyone
          >open up b***hes, we've come for the salt peter!
          >ah frick there goes my pigsty/stable, i just renovated it

      • 3 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        >wouldn't even benefit from a cannon
        How are you not aware of canister rounds?

      • 3 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        >Also, they wouldn't even benefit from a cannon for the most part except maybe for defense of key points.
        I'm very curious why you think that is.

      • 3 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        what do you insulate telegraph wires with before rubber?

      • 3 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        >As far as I know, we made no magical breakthroughs where we have a fundamentally different understanding of simple things.
        There's a few. Like fire. Predates recorded history by quite a bit, but no one really knew what it was until the late 1700's. You can actually see this pretty easily in the way that every oil lamp design before then was complete rubbish. Once the oxygen theory starts making the rounds, people soon start coming up with lamps that are both brighter and more resistant to wind. The ancient Romans could probably manufacture a 20th century storm lantern if you told them how, but they couldn't have invented it.

      • 3 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        i guess it could be done with some impurities in ancient times. Also even using ethanol as antiseptic might have been beneficial for minor surgeries, but i guess you'd need to make a thermometer first.

  7. 3 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    Beyond guns, they had weapons tech pretty well figured out back then. Assuming we can't just give them guns, I think a modern thinker would be of more use on the logistical side of things.

    • 3 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      Modern knowledge in medicine and nutrition considering plague was commonplace in armies until last century.

  8. 3 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    If they also obtain modern (or even semi-modern) metallurgy, it could be claimed that they could make a high quality, automatic crossbow, most probably with an arrow hopper aswell. If you arent limiting yourself to what the government request, you would probably see lots of semi-musket/proto-musket weaponry, things similar to this, but made of bronze and probably slightly lower pressure..

    • 3 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      Even without advanced metallurgy, they would still probably be capable of a fairly complex, semi-modern setup for their crossbow. Cannons of various sizes (including hand held ones as seen above) would proliferate on the battlefield. As an anon said earlier, perhaps morse code would also be invented, though without various breakthroughs in electricity I kinda doubt this would happen.

      • 3 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        Given extant optical telegraphy at the time, one could easily introduce 19th century semaphore lines as a rapid form of communication.

    • 3 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      https://i.imgur.com/prjmJpB.jpeg

      Even without advanced metallurgy, they would still probably be capable of a fairly complex, semi-modern setup for their crossbow. Cannons of various sizes (including hand held ones as seen above) would proliferate on the battlefield. As an anon said earlier, perhaps morse code would also be invented, though without various breakthroughs in electricity I kinda doubt this would happen.

      Modern Ideas applied to ancient armor design could greatly improve soldier's effectiveness and resilience in combat. Angles would probably be seen quite a bit as they could deflect arrowheads and certain blows from a melee weapon. Full face helmets would probably appear aswell in great numbers, as the advantages of this kind of helmet in the era are quite vast (you wont have your face sliced in half or your eyes gorged out, not as easily anyhow.).

      • 3 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        >Full face helmets would probably appear aswell in great numbers
        No they wouldn't. You can't see shit in a full face helmet and breathing is not great, there's a reason they were mostly used for tournaments and it's that they'd get you fricking killed in a real melee.

        • 3 weeks ago
          Anonymous
    • 3 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      If you really wanna get zesty with it, look at this, nothing about this design is out of the scope of the era, especially with modern R&D methods, though the mass production of such a vehicle (along with strategic and even tactical mobility) would be questionable.

      • 3 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        designs like this always make me think that da vinci was an absolute moron

    • 3 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      https://i.imgur.com/24cqYjx.jpeg

      What would applying modern R&D to ancient technology create?
      Let's say for example that Augustus commissions a project to replace the Scorpion as a light anti-personnel artillery piece. Using only technology available in 10 B.C. but with modern engineering knowledge and design principles what would such a project produce?

      Balloons and potentially other simple aerial craft may also come about, coupled with morse code this could allow for near instant battlefield recon and observation, and may give rise to much more recognizable tactics (with an ancient melee twist of course).

    • 3 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      If you're feeling really schizo, look up the Mahabharata War nuclear weapons, pretty interesting regardless of whether they were nukes or not, but expect somewhat similar weapons (not nukes, but very powerful, well thought out weapons) to dominate the battlefield.

    • 3 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      >it could be claimed that they could make a high quality, automatic crossbow, most probably with an arrow hopper aswell.
      moronic.

      https://i.imgur.com/prjmJpB.jpeg

      Even without advanced metallurgy, they would still probably be capable of a fairly complex, semi-modern setup for their crossbow. Cannons of various sizes (including hand held ones as seen above) would proliferate on the battlefield. As an anon said earlier, perhaps morse code would also be invented, though without various breakthroughs in electricity I kinda doubt this would happen.

      The Chukonu was so underpowered it's use was hyper niche in the extreme.

  9. 3 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    There's no point to military technology advancements, only civilian/economic technology.
    The best demonstration of why is the phasing in and then phasing out of the lorica segmentata in the Roman Empire in favour of the lorica hamata (chain maille)
    The simple reason is that it was introduced during an economic high point, but it had a larger infrastructure and logistics requirement that maille and it was unafordable to keep equipping legionaries with it.

    So introducing gun powder is pointless, because you have to have the metallurgy to make barrels and trade networks to keep making gun powder.
    No nation has superior military technology without having a superior economic foundation to (first develop but then) produce and maintain it.

    In the Roman Empire my revolutionary technology would be the horse collar and germ theory.

    • 3 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      >So introducing gun powder is pointless, because you have to have the metallurgy to make barrels and trade networks to keep making gun powder.
      >No nation has superior military technology without having a superior economic foundation to (first develop but then) produce and maintain it.
      Anon there was pure historical experiment of viability of firearms for primitive society. Japan.

      • 3 weeks ago
        Anonymous

        16th century Japan was primitive? What's your point? That it would be useful to introduce gunpowder to a 16th century society that was capable of casting barrels because they had already paid portuguese to teach them how to cast gun barrels?

        >because you have to have the metallurgy to make barrels
        Brass dominated Cannon design for hundreds of years you fricking idiot.

        Bronze cannons were an innovation due to... advancements in metallurgy. The first cannons from the 14th to 15th century were iron because it was too difficult to reliably cast large sections of bronze.
        So what's your point? That I'm an idiot because really it would be useful to introduce gunpowder to a 16th century society that was capable of casting bronze cannons?

        You can make a cannon out of fricking wood and rope that would blow any formation of ancient infantry wide open.

        Can you? Did they? Was it useful in the American Civil War? Was it useful in the armies of Gustavus Adolphus?
        >Wooden cannons were used
        Do you want to know another interesting fact? The Roman Empire was capable of equipping entire legions of soldiers with plate armour, but they phased it out because it was logistically inefficient to repair it. The cost to benefit ratio was too low.

        • 3 weeks ago
          Anonymous

          >Was it useful in the American Civil War? Was it useful in the armies of Gustavus Adolphus?
          How many formations of ancient infantry were deployed in the ACW or by Gustavus Adolphus?

        • 3 weeks ago
          Anonymous

          The Japanese blacksmith gave his own daughter Wakasa to the Portuguese man in exchange for teaching him jpe to build the arquebus.

          Japan later sold 100,000 Japanese teenage prostitutes called karayukisan to China and western colonies, US, Canada and Australia in exchange for money to pay for Britain building their modern military and later the Sempill mission.

        • 3 weeks ago
          Anonymous

          >that I'm an idiot
          Yeah, you're a massive fricking idiot. With knowledge of gun design from the future, making a weapon capable of withstanding a charge of black powder sufficient to be a massive force multiplier over two thousand years ago is the easiest fricking thing in the universe. You can make a black powder cannon out of paper you moron. The inability to form a functioning barrel is the last thing that would prevent modern men from building effective cannons in the past.
          The requirements on a cannon in the 16th century or later are almost infinitely removed from what would make an effective weapon in the field in 10BC, jackass, your continued attempts to suggest otherwise only reveal you as a pedantic midwit trying to pass himself off as an expert.

        • 3 weeks ago
          Anonymous

          >16th century Japan was primitive?
          Indeed it was feudal agrarian society with primitive industry. Romans had better manufacturing capabilities.

          >they had already paid portuguese to teach them how to cast gun barrels?
          >arquebus
          >cast barrel

    • 3 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      >because you have to have the metallurgy to make barrels
      Brass dominated Cannon design for hundreds of years you fricking idiot.

    • 3 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      You can make a cannon out of fricking wood and rope that would blow any formation of ancient infantry wide open.

  10. 3 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    With stuff they already had, existing tech, materials, know-how, tools and production facilities? You could make a bunch of useful shit.

    >stirrups
    >counterweight powered siege weapons like Trebuchets and mangonels
    >deep hull ship and sail designs for sea travel
    >screw prop and paddle wheel propulsion to use less slaves and no oars in ships
    >magnifying glass and telescopes since they were great and glassware
    >paper and the printing press
    >toilets with water trapways and sewers that dont overflow
    >bidets and TP to replace shit sponges
    >windmills and water powered metal forging

  11. 3 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    It would produce a scorpion that cost ten times as much to build and was ready after the battle was lost.

  12. 3 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    Phased plasma rifle in the 40 W range

  13. 3 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    Concrete

  14. 3 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    but purely wooden and metallic

    • 3 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      That wouldnt even penetrate fabric armor.

  15. 3 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    >Using only technology available in 10 B.C. but with modern engineering knowledge and design principles what would such a project produce
    thats contradictory, ideas and knowledge really are extremely potent and even while tech builds on other tech you could level up your tech tree much quicker than a lot of people realise if you know what youre doing. if you had access to all the modern knowledge and with good planning and some creative shortcuts, you would soon have machine guns. decent steel, smokeless powder, mass production of closely identical cartridges, all achievable. especially if you were augustus with all the resources

    interestingly, scorpions dont really have a tactival equivalent today. they are heavy anti personnel (but shield/barrier penetrating) weapons often used with relatively static aim with an edge in precision and range, not volume of fire. you can shoot a bow much faster, all the energy that comes out still has to be put in by a person first
    primarily they were used in sieges by both attackers and defenders
    a heavy machine gun on a tripod/mount with a scope can have a similar role but you can also use it for high volume of fire too
    maybe those really heave bipod+monopod rifles that can be used against vehicles or for anitpersonell sniping can have a similar role too

    if we had to go low tech because of limited resources and time a light black powder cannon would be the answer

    if cannons are not an option, i can still think of some interesting improvements for the scorpion, like a pulley system similar to the chuangzi nu or something else that changes the mechanical advantage between the limbs and the bolt, because it would allow to have lightweight bolts go really fast because the energy doesnt all go into the limbs. if you changed the design a little bit and tuned all of the springs right i think you could even get some of the energy back when the limbs are stopped putting one of the
    spring pairs under tension again
    or a compbound system

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