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Post Reply European Longsword vs Katana sword
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Posted 10/17/16
If I remember right Japan's iron was a really crappy and low grade, hence the folding technique was developed for katanas. If we're judging by which is better at cutting things, the Longsword had better iron, so the longsword. If you made either today it would be a different story since you can use whatever quality metal you can afford.
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Posted 10/17/16 , edited 10/17/16
I think the long sword would be more effective against metal armor, katana would win with speed against a lightly armored or no armor target using a long sword.
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Posted 10/17/16
Against a harness of plate a katana would struggle to pierce. It can pierce with thrusts but it loses to most other long swords which are much more effective and designed for the job (the katana is a long sword).

Not factoring armor in it becomes a question of reach.
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29 / M / Atlanta, GA, USA
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Posted 10/17/16
Well, the Katana would have been designed differently to take advantage of the higher quality iron available in Europe, so I don't think it's as good.

As for the wielder, it's hard to argue that a giant Highlander doesn't have certain physical advantages over a Samurai. It's very difficult to overcome a better reach in a duel.
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Posted 10/17/16 , edited 10/17/16
Gunsword beats all other swords.
qwueri 
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Posted 10/17/16
Depends entirely on the warrior and armor. Contrary to anime, a katana would likely shatter against a knight in full plate. Even against chain-mail the katana's slashing motion is going to struggle, while the longsword would be significantly less disadvantaged.
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Posted 10/17/16
They are both perfect for their role.
It's the fighting style that is different, and that makes it hard to do a direct comparison.

A Katana is a slashing weapon intended for use with a sweeping cut. Hence the curve to maximise the cutting action.
good against peasants, lightly armoured Ashigaru and samurai in duels. But not actually that great against even the relatively light Samurai full armour. Against European plate it would not fare well at all.

The knights sword is not as sharp as a katana, and not as good a cutter. it works very well as what is basically a sharp club when basing the peasants. It's as likely to break bone as much as cut. And it is just as bad at cutting plate as a Katana. The katana also wins out against the straight cut when used from horseback. That's why cavalry used sabres right up to WW1.

One nil to the Katana at this point. But... The knights method of fighting, and the sword itself are designed to take this into account. You hack at peasants, but you fight knights in a totally different manner. And here it comes into its own vs the katana.

Basically you hold the sword blade near the top (mailed gloves stop you getting cut) in both hands point down. and use the pommel and cross guard to hammer and bash the other knight. Aiming to bash them to the ground, and/or to bend the armour at the joints to restrict their movement. bash them round the head to concuss them. Once they are down, or knocked senseless you use your weight to pile drive down on them with the blade with such force of weight that you pierce their armour like a can opener.
Alternatively you ride at the target and use the straight sword like a short lance, with the same can opener results.
In this method the straight knights sword wins over the katana. You can batter better with it, and it can be pile driven much easier than a curved katana.

So in the end it's basically a draw. They are both great weapons. They just have stylistics that have a better effect against the kind of targets that they most likely to face in battle.

However, much as we froth over them, and assigned them great status, they were often not the primary fighting weapons.
Samurai were primarily bowmen first and foremost for a lot of their history. The sword only gaining much ground when Ashigaru peasants began to be used en-mass, and the samurai moved into more leadership and elite role.
Knights did start out with the sword as the primary weapon. But heavier and heavier plate lead to many top knights preferring weapons such as the poleaxe or heavy mace.

On an artistic level, the folded iron samurai Katana is a work of art. But that is due to the poor quality of Japanese steel available to them. Viking and Saxon pattern welded swords form the best European comparison, and are equally as beautiful. But later steel was far better quality and the swords could be formed whole. Stronger and better, if not as gorgeous to look at.

Another interesting sword match up would be Japanese Katana vs European Rapier, as the fighting styles are so different.
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Posted 10/17/16 , edited 10/17/16
No, longswords were not "bashing weapons," though Japanese swords tend to be more heavily specialized for slicing. That, however, is influenced by the Japanese smiths having been forced to work with poor and scarce ores, making it more worthwhile to try and compensate by making their more brittle swords heavily specialized in cutting. Much like a scalpel, really. Glass-cannons specialized in cutting. Potentially more sharp than many non-Japanese blades, but is also significantly less durable.


Swords are generally considered far from ideal when pitted against plate armor. Maces, flails, clubs, warhammers, axes, "Mordhau," and half-swording became a "thing" against plate-armored foes for a reason.





Video compilement of various weapons against metal and leather helmets, and without helmet:

Against leather-
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z1KJAeJj3Pc

Against metal helmets-
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VOSmJbzUgCA
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hyVnPGCdnok
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G4Umh-pa7FA
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l47Idc7anG4

Without helmet-
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wD1MYWU2Leg
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Posted 10/17/16

Ranwolf wrote:

Oh for the love of god ya Weeaboo the European Longsword and the Japanese Katana show up exactly around the same time ,at around the mid to late 1300s.


Nope. The katana was developed in the 12th century, and the longsword in the 15th. But the katana was developed FROM a substantially similar sword, and made only minor changes: gentler curvature, sharper edge, narrower tip. Unlike the longsword, the katana was used in exactly the same way as earlier swords, going all the way back to the fourth century.

And what makes the difference isn't any kind of magic in the Japanese sword or culture. It's the simple fact that coming from a long line of expert swordsmen was possible in Japan before swordsmanship was even a thing in Europe.

And it was possible in China even before that. That's, you know, kinda where Japan got it. I mean, it's the land of the rising sun, so where exactly are you standing if you can see the sun rise over Japan?
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Posted 10/17/16 , edited 10/17/16
Well, you're half right I suppose. In that the longsword is indeed a heavier sword. It had a simpler forging process and was more mass produced.



octorockandroll wrote:
I guess it would depend on the context, right? I mean if I'm not mistaken the european longsword was developped for warfare, whereas the katana was designed for dueling. It's a pretty situational thing.


The katana was foremost designed to murder swiftly with as few strokes as possible. Failing that its a perfectly capable weapon of war.



qwueri wrote:
Depends entirely on the warrior and armor. Contrary to anime, a katana would likely shatter against a knight in full plate. Even against chain-mail the katana's slashing motion is going to struggle, while the longsword would be significantly less disadvantaged.


Half the point of the forging process of a katana is so it doesn't shatter. If you struck something it couldn't cut its far more likely it would just bounce off and wobble. Katanas are also powerful thrusting weapons so I wouldn't place bets on chainmail. Heck, I wouldn't place bets on chainmail regardless. Yes, well made chain is going to turn aside a slash from a katana or longsword. But its not going to absorb the energy of the blow.

You're still effectively being beaten with a steel rod.

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Posted 10/17/16

cdarklock wrote:


Ranwolf wrote:

Oh for the love of god ya Weeaboo the European Longsword and the Japanese Katana show up exactly around the same time ,at around the mid to late 1300s.


Nope. The katana was developed in the 12th century, and the longsword in the 15th. But the katana was developed FROM a substantially similar sword, and made only minor changes: gentler curvature, sharper edge, narrower tip. Unlike the longsword, the katana was used in exactly the same way as earlier swords, going all the way back to the fourth century.

And what makes the difference isn't any kind of magic in the Japanese sword or culture. It's the simple fact that coming from a long line of expert swordsmen was possible in Japan before swordsmanship was even a thing in Europe.

And it was possible in China even before that. That's, you know, kinda where Japan got it. I mean, it's the land of the rising sun, so where exactly are you standing if you can see the sun rise over Japan?


Nope, the OP was correct; the longsword emerged in in the mid to late 1300s.

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Posted 10/17/16 , edited 10/18/16
I thought all swords were decoration.. I thought Europe used vampires to combat Japanese magical girls and of course US just throws money at problem until they go away...
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Posted 10/17/16 , edited 10/17/16

runec wrote:



Half the point of the forging process of a katana is so it doesn't shatter. If you struck something it couldn't cut its far more likely it would just bounce off and wobble. Katanas are also powerful thrusting weapons so I wouldn't place bets on chainmail. Heck, I wouldn't place bets on chainmail regardless. Yes, well made chain is going to turn aside a slash from a katana or longsword. But its not going to absorb the energy of the blow.

You're still effectively being beaten with a steel rod.



Technically speaking half the point of forging a Katana was to overcome the deficiencies of the raw material a swordsmith would have to work with. Japanese ore is terrible stuff , and unless it is in the hands of a master smith it is only fit for kitchen tools and cutlery . Personally speaking I also don't hold high hopes of a Samurai versus a Knight in full plate . Kenjutsu is not all suited to deal with proper armour. Japanese armour is little more then a joke, it's lacquered iron plates held together with silk string and backed with leather. Note I said iron not even properly tempered and hardened steel like a Knight's plate would have been.

And while it's true banging a sword against plate armour isn't going to shatter it regardless if it's Katana or a Longsword there is a reason European knights largely abandoned cutting weapons and began to favour piercing and concussive weaponry as weapons of war. Dedicated cut and thrust swords like the Katana and the Longsword don't do jack all to a man covered in plate that is reinforced by leather backed mail which in turn has a padded gambeson underneath it. Hell even the simple brigandine and mail set up worn by most foot soldiers would likely give the Katana a run for it's money defence wise.
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Posted 10/17/16

Grahdens wrote:

I thought all swords were decoration.. I thought Europe used vampires to combat Japanese magical girls and of course US just throws money at problem until they go away...


Never underestimate the power of throwing money at a problem. It works in so many RPGs and MMOs after all.
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Posted 10/17/16
I intend finding out when I get my For Honor pre-order next February, I'm playing the Knights and have a friend who is playing the Samurai.
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