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Florian C. R. Roski





Joined: 21 Jan 2009

Posts: 4

PostPosted: Fri 29 May, 2009 6:14 am    Post subject: Armor Pearcing Javelins         Reply with quote

I am Talking about Weapons like Pilum, Soliferrum, Angon and Spiculum. To name a few.
I would like to have more informations on these Weapons.
Wich one would have been more effectif in Combat?
Wich one would have been cheaper to make?
Why dit Weapons like them fall out of favor in the dark age?
Why where they not reinvented when armor was commonplace in the middle-age?
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Matthew Amt




Location: Laurel, MD, USA
Joined: 17 Sep 2003

Posts: 1,306

PostPosted: Fri 29 May, 2009 6:50 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I don't think they were meant to be *armor*-piercing, but rather *shield*-piercing. And in the case of the angon at least, with its larger barbed point, I'm not even sure of that. I certainly agree that of all the weapons on a Roman-era battlefield (besides catapults!), the pilum was most likely to penetrate armor, but I really wouldn't depend on that happening. Since most warriors had little or no armor, though, that wasn't a problem. They all had shields, though, (except archers) so it really looks like the pilum and its close relatives were made to go through that and still get the guy behind it. And we know from experiments that the pilum is a very dangerous weapon!

The angon was in use right through the Battle of Hastings, so it certainly survived well beyond the "Dark Ages". Just why javelins in general lost popularity is hard to say, but it could have been because archery became more common. Archers could put more missiles farther downrange than any guy with a couple javelins, so the infantry on close infantry.

It's really hard to say which ones might have been easier or cheaper to make, since there are so many variables even besides the variations in each weapon. The Soliferrum has more iron than a pilum, but doesn't have the socket or the complicated tang joint. And it's even harder to say which might have been more effective in combat, since that depends on so many different factors. But the bottom line is that armor was probably not as much of a factor as you might think.

Vale,

Matthew
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Grayson C.




Location: NCF, Sarasota, FL
Joined: 25 Oct 2006

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PostPosted: Fri 29 May, 2009 8:15 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I can't imagine any of those weapons piercing a shield OR armour - the pilum in particular. Remember, the iron head was meant to bend on impact, it was pretty fragile. How on earth could that get through any wood greater than wicker?
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Mike Arledge




Location: Indianapolis, IN
Joined: 05 Feb 2006
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PostPosted: Fri 29 May, 2009 8:25 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Grayson C. wrote:
I can't imagine any of those weapons piercing a shield OR armour - the pilum in particular. Remember, the iron head was meant to bend on impact, it was pretty fragile. How on earth could that get through any wood greater than wicker?


Simple, it had a lot of weight and force behind it. Its not a bad missile at all as far as they go. It wouldn't have been in use it it wasn't effective, and I think many reproductions don't do it justice.

Mike J Arledge

The Dude Abides
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Adam Rudling




Location: Coventry, England
Joined: 11 Dec 2006
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Posts: 34

PostPosted: Fri 29 May, 2009 8:28 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Pila easily pierce 6mm shield & very often pierce 9mm plain wood shield boards, I have throw mine through a 1mm brass boss too from close range - which is where they are used, we prefer 10-15 feet because the flat trajectory really almost garuantees a sqaure hit ergo penetration.

As for bending .... well on a sqaure shot they dont bend at all & even the worst bend I've had really doesnt take more than 20 secs to straighten over my leg / whatever.

The latest thinking on pila is more that the design is to punch through stuff with the narrow shank taking almost zero extra force to penetrate to the targets body . Standard Javelins tend to get stuck very easily in wood as thin as 4mm, even when thrown from the same point blank range a our Pila.

Adam
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Matthew Amt




Location: Laurel, MD, USA
Joined: 17 Sep 2003

Posts: 1,306

PostPosted: Fri 29 May, 2009 11:43 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

My own socketed pilum (forged by Mark Morrow) may actually be a tad thinner than many originals, and it isn't "fragile" at all. When I threw it at a reconstructed scutum (layered birch strips), it went right through and *split* the 2x4 post that the shield was leaning against. Not a huge split, but really, if that were your femur, how much would it take to ruin your morning? The shank bent a little, but was easily straightened.

There was a theory advanced recently that the bending of the shank is mostly modern hype, but I'm not quite ready to jump on that bandwagon because there are Roman references to pila bending (or failing to bend). Certainly there was a wide range of lengths and thicknesses, though, so I'm sure some bent more easily than others. Overall the pilum was the heaviest javelin of its day, and clearly packed a respectable punch.

Valete,

Matthew
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Florian C. R. Roski





Joined: 21 Jan 2009

Posts: 4

PostPosted: Sun 31 May, 2009 4:58 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I may be wrong, but the Point of a Soliferrum looks barely bigger than a Broadhead found on a Arrow. A Broadhead Arrow launched from a Powerful Bow can at least make hole in any kind of Armor. Not always harm the guy behind it. But a Soliferrum has 3 Times the energy and a much higher Sectional Density. It should seriosly hurt anyone hit by it.
Dit anyone try?
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