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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.