0
$\begingroup$

As stated above, what was the range of this Byzantine superweapon and could it be modified to increase its range? If so, how would the Byzantines have done it?

$\endgroup$
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ What do you mean when you say range? Greek Fire was (to use some more modern terminology) a payload: it’s range depended on how it was delivered. $\endgroup$ – Joe Bloggs Feb 20 at 13:38
  • $\begingroup$ It was a primitive flamethrower, with a "range" similar to any flamethrower. It was not a ranged weapon; it was intended to be used for close-in combat, and it was very effective. $\endgroup$ – AlexP Feb 20 at 13:41
  • 6
    $\begingroup$ @AlexP: it was also poured from battlements and hurled in jars using catapults, all of which have very different ranges. At the moment this question is somewhat akin to asking ‘what is the range of gasoline?’ - perhaps a better question might be about the projectors (the flamethrowers) $\endgroup$ – Joe Bloggs Feb 20 at 13:56
  • $\begingroup$ @JoeBloggs - if the range is so highly dependant on the method of delivery, perhaps the range is just something like a few inches - that is, the distance it will spread on its own once delivered :) $\endgroup$ – Megha Feb 23 at 5:41
  • $\begingroup$ @Megha: Even that depends on just how much is being delivered! A cup of Greek fire won’t spread as far as a 10 litre urn! $\endgroup$ – Joe Bloggs Feb 23 at 10:10
4
$\begingroup$

From wikipedia:

As a projector:

The full-scale device built on this basis established the effectiveness of the mechanism's design, even with the simple materials and techniques available to the Byzantines. The experiment used crude oil mixed with wood resins, and achieved a flame temperature of over 1,000 °C (1,830 °F) and an effective range of up to 15 meters (49 ft).

As grenades:

In its earliest form, Greek fire was hurled onto enemy forces by firing a burning cloth-wrapped ball, perhaps containing a flask, using a form of light catapult, most probably a seaborne variant of the Roman light catapult or onager. These were capable of hurling light loads, around 6 to 9 kg (13 to 20 lb), a distance of 350–450 m (380–490 yd).

$\endgroup$
  • $\begingroup$ I would not just quote Wikipedia on this one and actually look up some authentic sources or otherwise add some information confirming/disputing this. Also, the actual recipe of true Greek fire is still not known so the first is a estimation (not necessarily a bad estimation but this post doesn't point to that fact). $\endgroup$ – LinkBerest Feb 20 at 14:54

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.