Hot answers tagged

55

Springs All you're doing is writing off one mechanism of stored mechanical energy - gunpowder. That doesn't make swords the default, that makes people look harder for other means of flinging things accurately through the air. Repeating crossbows for example, or simply refinements of the standard crossbow. Do the properties of gunpowder hold true if it's ...


51

Booby traps. If half the time the guns wound the person they are aimed at, and half the time they wound the person firing them, then make it so the person they are aimed at is the one setting them off.


42

Since it is hard-scince question - the answer is NO, defending ship can do nothing to detect incoming laser attack from enemy ship it does not see. Argumentation is obvious: speed of light is the fastest way to propagate info, so that info arrives as a gigajoule laser burst. Since by your conditions defending ship know nothing about attacker - it can not ...


24

You won't see the laser coming, but you will see it charging up to fire Ksbes's answer is a really good idea if you know you are in a fight, but if you are unaware as the OP stipulates, chances are you are not making continuous major course corrections. As for solving your problem, you will not be able to see the beam coming at you, but lasers that pack ...


21

If powder ignition is strictly 50% mundane effects and 50% "bad" magical effects you can use this phenomena to create a true random number generator. It's a physical phenomena that might be superior to observing things like radioactive decay if you build the right equipment for it.


17

Answer: Paperweights. If every firearm ever invented is likely to 'backfire' 50% of the time when used and thereby endanger the user no-one will touch them. No matter how sophisticated or elaborate the design the user would be better off equipped with a cross bow or a long bow or even a sling. Its another story however with Grenades and or Rockets. Both are '...


14

VOLLEY GUNS: Why would you use a gun that kills the person standing behind it as often as in front? Why, obviously don't stand behind it. Put your guns on carts, fired en mass at the enemy. Have the fuse or lanyard be somewhere OTHER than behind the guns. Weapons like this were being built around the time of the Civil war, and used to defend narrow places ...


14

Use them anyway Guns have become ubiquitous because they are powerful. They are significantly better than other alternatives, which is why they have dominated warfare for hundreds of years. These weapons are too invaluable to be discarded. States, extremist groups, and those in an inescapable bind would use these to horrific effect. If guns had a 50/50 ...


11

The speed of light is the fastest way for information to travel. It is absolutely impossible (from a hard science PoV) for your targeted ship to know that the firing ship has fired before they are hit (or before the shot misses if it was incorrectly aimed) There are still a few ways you might be able to avoid being shot by an attacker you do not know is ...


11

Personal Protection is becoming less required for a Military, but could be useful for Police I cannot see shields becoming useful for militaries. Warfare is increasingly becoming asymmetric, and indeed even in large 'conventional' military conflicts most action would occur at a distance, rather than in close quarters. So for Asymmetric Warfare, we get: ...


11

There's a big difference between owning and operating Owning? No problem. I see two different questions here. The first is is it possible for the DC government to own this pile of military hardware? The answer is yes. We have room for all that hardware. The ships may have been at sea during the insurrection and out of reach of the enemy forces. One radio ...


11

Trial by combat https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trial_by_combat In a trial by combat, adversaries would settle their cases with a trial by combat. This method was used in the past in Europe. (note, it's apparently an exclusively germanic thing; the related trial by ordeal is much more widespread, but the combat between parties is exclusively germanic). A trial ...


10

No Given the edit, the helium would vaporize so quickly it wouldn't have time to disperse. It would likely explode like a container full of liquid nitrogen. It wouldn't be a superfluid; it wouldn't be a fluid. It wouldn't even stick around for long. It would definitely chill the area, you might give some people frostbite, but a hand-grenade sized container ...


8

And if all other plans fail, why not sacrifice yourself for the cause? Your life for his. Before Altair, that was the Levantine approach. That is my favorite quote from Assassin's Creed Unity. And it makes sense historically: the real world assassins are mostly known in the west because of their branch that specialized in conflict. They were called the ...


7

SHOOT GUNS WITH YOUR GUNS If all the gunpowder has bad juju in it, take a lot of it, shoot this thing at your enemy with a gun that not requires gunpowder (trebuchet, crossbow, etc) and let it explode on impact. The half chance of the bullet going fowards or backwards DOES NOT MATTER if they are both the enemy. Basically all guns are considered area ...


7

If a magic 50/50 gun randomly kills either the target or the triggerman, then one way to make it a 100/0 gun is to make the target the same as the triggerman. This immediately suggests two applications: Suicide. I recall reading a sci-fi story a long time ago in which, IIRC, guns were outlawed(?) and so you had to go to extra lengths to commit suicide; the ...


6

Repurposed Arrow Slits For starts, you can always make it more difficult to climb a castle wall by doing something fun like smearing the side of the wall with pitch or oil. Or, even given six-armed creatures, you heavily sand-down the castle walls to make them incredibly smooth and virtually impossible to climb. But, if you really want to send people off the ...


6

As previously mentioned, US military research in the 90s on slippery materials as a nonlethal means of area denial for crowd control suggested the concept was not effective. This was known as the Mobility Denial System. Sticky materials also proved ineffective for other reasons (mainly, sticky foam is too dangerous if it gets over the face, and too ...


5

No Target Lock A "target lock" as used in modern military parlance refers to an active radar imaging a target with fairly high resolution and accuracy. A target which is 10 light seconds away cannot be "locked" in this sense of the term. It can be detected passively, by watching blackbody radiation or engine heat, or actively, by sending out EMR pulses (...


5

No. Even with the obvious problems with Helium-4 noted by a other posters, extensive research has discredited the notion of both sticky and slippery substances as nonlethals. The US Army carried out quite a lot of work in this area -- the most promising was sticky foam but even that did not prove effective. Your best case -- and you might want to use ...


5

Whilst most people would baulk at the 50% risk of a lethal backfire, there are people who will take that risk. Suicide bombers are a thing; however, this may not fit well into your world, and it may be hard to explain why they'd use guns instead of bombs. Sniping is a possibility, assuming that one can train with firearms without risk – I think your ...


4

Make your nation bigger. Clearly you love the military and all their sweet stuff. And you want what is essentially the US Military to be fighting they way they do now in a near future post apocalyptic environment. That is what you need to have! That is where your passion is. To keep the sweet military you just need a bigger population. And fortunately ...


4

Ablative Body Armor We all think that in "real warfare" it's one shot one kill, but for the past few decades, that have been becoming less and less true. Many armies now equip thier soldiers with body armor that includes ceramic plates that can stop most battlefield ammunition. These ceramic plates are typically rated as class-IV body armor ...


3

LOGISTICAL HANDWAVIUM: This scenario requires a LOT of handwavium to justify, especially without adding some really extraordinary tech. Assume the federal government has become an absolute dictatorship, complete command economy where the people are serving purely for the sake of preserving the federal government. Despite the fact the district could be ...


3

Humans soldiers, lizard scouts Lizard men stand no chance in open combat. The way humans fight them is simple - engage them in a long drawn-out battle. In a one-on-one fight, perhaps, a trade-off of a lizard-man's faster speed and better sense of balance might win him the day. However, that comes at a cost which looses them the war, and that cost is ...


3

So what do you think, could shields ever become military equipment again, or are they not useful without formations (which make you vulnerable to explosions), and against enemies with access to bombs, snipers, jets etc. I think if the shield is so great, and so light, the material would be used in the body amour. Modern ballistic shields are heavy so are not ...


3

Dissolve the extracellular matrix with enzymes Your body is not just cells and fluids. Your body has a substantial amount of macromolecules which live outside the cells to hold the cells together and support them in various ways. This is the extracellular matrix. In animals, collagen is the dominant protein holding us together. Cellulose is the main ...


3

No, but not in the way you are thinking. As @jdunlop pointed out, the Helium would immediately boil. However, this in and of itself is extremely useful. You see, while jdunlop is right that it will (more or less) instantly boil, it will still be extremely cold. "Extremely cold" is an understatement. With that in mind, I would like to do a frame-...


3

/highly visible/ To be visible the beam must either give off light itself, or excite the medium it is traveling through to give off light. In an atmosphere that would be the air. If the particles were dropping off energy in the air it could heat the air to glowing: this would be flames. If the particles very rapidly heated the air that would be analogous ...


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