Xiphias Gladius (xiphias) wrote,

Historical and/or mythological examples of "never bring a knife to a gunfight".

Over on Facebook, james_nicoll brought up the Battle of Myeongnyang in 1597, where Admiral Yi of Korea used his 13 ships to completely crush more than ten times as many Japanese warships.

Among the reasons he was able to do this was because the Japanese naval tactics were "close and board" -- their ships might have a couple low-powered cannon on them, but the Korean ships carried 22 guns or more, of much, much higher quality, range, and power. It doesn't matter how good your boarding parties are if they just plain can't get there.

A similar thing happened in 1610 in Nagasaki when 1,200 samurai attempted to attack a single Portuguese carrack commanded by Andrea Pessoa. The crew complement of a carrack could be a few dozen people, or, in the case of the Mary Rose, could be stuffed with as many as 500 people, but Pessoa's crew was probably closer to the 60-100 people. Waves of over a thousand samurai attacked night after night, and were blown out of the water before they could get there.

The earliest mythological/historical version I can think of is David and Goliath.

The general rule here, as exemplified by "never bring a knife to a gunfight" is "ranged weapons beat melee weapons, if you can defeat your enemy before they close." Any other good historical examples?
  • Post a new comment


    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened