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pickleer t1_jcn4ov8 wrote

Wow, that was really weird... the PopMech article was more detailed and satisfying than the article! Is it opposite day?

Here's my question, and I've wondered this for decades: Why was this planar-trident shape better than a single-pointed spike? I see how it combined cutting with smashing a large hole but how was this more efficient than just a sharp point that widened to the size of the hole desired?


MeatballDom t1_jcoayj7 wrote

Spike would likely be more brittle, considering the size and impact. I'd imagine it would snap more often than not.

Plus, the ram may have had a role in beaching of ships (which was necessary to do regularly). I could definitely see a spike becoming a bit problematic when pulling up a beach.

But, I don't know of any studies of anyone testing the pros and cons of a spike, so this is just first reactions.


pickleer t1_jcrjalj wrote

Heh, someone else answered this, I just hadn't read far enough down. Basically, the old design was streamlined to allow for unimpeded water flow and it spread the blow over a wide area to smash concussively, rather than merely pierce. Since the old ships didn't use nails but rather mortise and tenon joinery, a smashing blow rendered much more damage, kinda like a hollow point bullet's expansion creates a wider wound cavity than just piercing straight through would. Or think a hunting arrow vs a field point.

EDIT: Your brittle comment was addressed as well- the rams were kept as short as possible.