Although we generally discount the efficiency of "primitive" weapons.
The huge death toll in Rwanda was achieved almost entirely with sticks and knives.
The Romans, at Cannae, lost 50,000 killed out of 80,000 men in a few hours. That is a much higher death rate than any of our bloody Civil War battles. Such losses were not uncommon in ancient warfare.
The Taiping Rebellion of the middle 19th century against the Manchus was fought mostly with relatively primitive weapons. It is estimated that 50M people died.
Primitive weapons are ineffective when pitted against modern weapons. They can be highly efficient at slaughter when pitted against other primitive weapons or the unarmed. All you need is soldiers willing to keep killing.
And somebody to sharpen your blade every few hours.
> The Romans, at Cannae, lost 50,000 killed out of 80,000 men in a few hours. That is a much higher death rate than any of our bloody Civil War battles. Such losses were not uncommon in ancient warfare.
There's actually a good reason for that: it was face-to-face. When Side A met Side B in combat, they'd hack away at each other until Side A decided to call it quits. But Side B would be *right* *there*, and would hack 'em to bits when Side A turned to run. You simply couldn't escape the victor.
Then long range weapons became the order of the day. When Side A decided they were losing, they could turn and run and dodge behind trees and such much easier, since the enemy was now at some distance.
I saw an interesting reconstruction of the Battle of Agincourt. You may recall that the English Logbow was credited with virtually wiping out the massed armored knights of the French Army. The battle reconstruction focused on the narrow frontage & treated the French heavy cavalry charge from a "crowd control" perspective. Essentially the heavily armed & armored French were hemmed in so tightly that there wasn't enough room to fight -- or to escape. They literally trampled themselves & those survivors were slaughtered by the English -- many after they surrendered.