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Ahmad Tabari





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PostPosted: Sun 29 May, 2011 6:00 pm    Post subject: Mamluk armour versus Mongol arrows         Reply with quote

Hello Everyone

According to Carpini, the arrows used by the Mongols were particularly hard and capable of piercing mail. Assuming that the Mongol victory at Liegnitz was in part due to that fact, what would the Mamluks have done to counter this?

Obviously the Mamluks themselves were mounted archers, but they also incorporated heavy cavalry elements and depended heavily on charges. I am quite sure that the Mamluks overcame the Mongols easily enough in close combat. But I would like to know how they would have dealt with the lethality of the Mongol arrows. Would the combination of leather lamellar and mail be enough to stop most mongol arrows?
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Mon 30 May, 2011 7:15 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

If you read further you'll see that Carpini specifically said that "double mail" was capable of resisting those arrows. There is little evidence of both mail and lamellar being worn together in the Middle East. You see mail being more prevalent in southern regions and lamellar in northern regions.
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Ahmad Tabari





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PostPosted: Mon 30 May, 2011 10:41 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dan Howard wrote:
If you read further you'll see that Carpini specifically said that "double mail" was capable of resisting those arrows. There is little evidence of both mail and lamellar being worn together in the Middle East. You see mail being more prevalent in southern regions and lamellar in northern regions.

As far as you know, are there any written evidence suggesting a Mamluk practice of wearing "double mail"? Many of the artwork from the Mamluk era show the use of lamellar armour. But given Mamluks' reputation of being more heavily armoured than their Mongol counterparts as well as the common Middle Eastern practice of wearing Kazaghands or robes over mail, I believe it is possible for mail to have been worn under the lamellar and for the artwork to be an impression of this. However, this I am afraid is merely speculation on my part.
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Mon 30 May, 2011 3:12 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

There is documentary evidence of Middle Eastern fighters wearing two layers of mail. Nobody actually knows what is meant by the term "double mail".
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Sander Alsters




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PostPosted: Mon 30 May, 2011 11:47 pm    Post subject: Double mail         Reply with quote

I found quite a few sources that claim that lammelar armour was worn over mail. Most of the time a corselet not a full suit. The Mamuks adopted lammelar suits from the mongols, heck some mamluks were mongol refugees. Most of them were Turks though so many arms and armour were in that fashion. About the double mail, most of the time it is a Khazaghand with a frankish mail insite and of top of that a smaller one with short sleeves. A Khazagand being a sort of standard armour for the Faris and other wealthier troops including mamluks and arabs. The Khzaghand consisted of a few layers, it had a padding, one or two mail layers an inner layer and an outer lyer of a rich fabric like Silk or Brocade. An extra layer of Silk was applied to counter arrows. A method already used in the east frequently.

What I read about the Mamluks itself was that indeed they had bigger stronger horses, and in a charge surtenly had the upperhand. They drew the Mongols frequently in traps to use that charge. The Mongol horses wernt used to the rocky dessert and that is what the Mamlus often choose as battefieds. Also what I found weird was that the Mamluks used their horsearchers as a steady force, or standing still, or dismounted. Not on the move like the mongols.
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Tue 31 May, 2011 2:47 pm    Post subject: Re: Double mail         Reply with quote

Sander Alsters wrote:
I found quite a few sources that claim that lammelar armour was worn over mail. Most of the time a corselet not a full suit..

I'd love to see some cites for this. Primary sources would be best.
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Sander Alsters




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PostPosted: Tue 31 May, 2011 2:51 pm    Post subject: Re: Double mail         Reply with quote

Dan Howard wrote:
Sander Alsters wrote:
I found quite a few sources that claim that lammelar armour was worn over mail. Most of the time a corselet not a full suit..

I'd love to see some cites for this. Primary sources would be best.


Hi, I will try and look them up, its bin a while and not sure were I read it. I will look into it.
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Ahmad Tabari





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PostPosted: Tue 31 May, 2011 5:13 pm    Post subject: Double Mail         Reply with quote

According to Terence Wise in 'The armies of the Crusades' Mamluk Amirs often wore a mail hauberk on top of a mail corselet made of thicker rings. Though I don't know from which primary source he based this on. I can imagine this double layer mail stopping arrows fired from even the strongest of bows.
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Kurt Scholz





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PostPosted: Wed 01 Jun, 2011 6:00 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sure, it would be a good idea to use thick and large rings underneath (to stop high energy weapons with large warheads like lances) and smaller rings above in a different layer (against lower energy weapons with smaller warheads like bolts and arrows). But against arrows, bolts and blows, wouldn't some additional leather or fibres above and underneath the iron rings be a better choice? You could even reinforce it with some suitable plates or rings out of metal (that could also be called mail). See, the images show lamellar armour, but I'm not sure, I see all that is underneath. Another consideration would be heat, expense and weigth. Take some padding underneath, a mail with thick and large rings above and some leather lamelar armour above that can possibly be reinforced by metal plates with punched holes in vital areas. Given their climate, ressources, technology and the few depictions I know, I guess this to be the most likely construction, but I'm all ears for your sources. And I forgot to mention, cover the metal parts so they don't get too hot to touch, so I doubt you always see metal in the images despite of its presence.
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Wed 01 Jun, 2011 6:36 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Kurt Scholz wrote:
You could even reinforce it with some suitable plates or rings out of metal (that could also be called mail).

No it couldn't. Mail is specifically defined as a mesh of interlinked rings. Additionally, this type of ring-reinforcement never existed in Europe or the Middle East at the time.

Quote:
See, the images show lamellar armour, but I'm not sure, I see all that is underneath. Another consideration would be heat, expense and weigth. Take some padding underneath, a mail with thick and large rings above and some leather lamelar armour above that can possibly be reinforced by metal plates with punched holes in vital areas. Given their climate, ressources, technology and the few depictions I know, I guess this to be the most likely construction, but I'm all ears for your sources. And I forgot to mention, cover the metal parts so they don't get too hot to touch, so I doubt you always see metal in the images despite of its presence.

Heat has never been a consideration for the type of armour a fighter chose to wear. You find plenty of people wearing the heaviest metal armour in desert climates since the bronze age. I've personally worn various types of plate, mail, and scale all day in the middle of an Australian summer with no more discomfort than wearing heavy clothing. There is no noticable difference in the three types of armour as far as heat discomfirt goes. The only problem comes from the type of helmet worn. Enclosed helmets cause all sorts of difficulties in hot weather.


Last edited by Dan Howard on Wed 01 Jun, 2011 6:43 am; edited 1 time in total
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Sander Alsters




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PostPosted: Wed 01 Jun, 2011 6:41 am    Post subject: source         Reply with quote

Its difficult to retrace my steps, I read in Oriental Arms of Robinson, he refers to a silver plate depicting a warrior with a lamel armour with a short sleeved mail underneath. From what i can remember was that troops wore a Khazaghand in combination with a lammelar corselet. The kazaghand being either with a single or double mail with padding filling. I might have took some info from Osprey books.

As a sidenote, would lammelar not be a wiser choice stopping weapons?
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Wed 01 Jun, 2011 6:47 am    Post subject: Re: source         Reply with quote

Sander Alsters wrote:
Its difficult to retrace my steps, I read in Oriental Arms of Robinson, he refers to a silver plate depicting a warrior with a lamel armour with a short sleeved mail underneath.

That illustration can be interpreted any way you want. There is mail being worn underneath but you can't tell what is being worn over the top.

Quote:
From what i can remember was that troops wore a Khazaghand in combination with a lammelar corselet. The kazaghand being either with a single or double mail with padding filling.

There is no evidence that the kazaghand was ever worn with lamellar.

Quote:
As a sidenote, would lammelar not be a wiser choice stopping weapons?

It is a little better at resisting blunt trauma but that is all. It actually needs to be heavier than mail to provide similar cut and thrust resistance.
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Sander Alsters




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PostPosted: Wed 01 Jun, 2011 7:05 am    Post subject: sources         Reply with quote

Thnx Dan for the info about mail and lammelar, I dont know how it responds in real battle. My believe is that it was more resistant versus arrowheads and piercing weapons. Hence my interpretation about the combination of the two working together. Im still working on my Mamluk reanactment kit. Im making a Khazaghand. Maybe if you could provide me with some additional information regarding armour of Mamluks 13,14th century that would be awesome. Osprey books state they wore lammelar up to the 15th century, after that they slowly adopted mail and plate.

Kind regards
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Ahmad Tabari





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PostPosted: Wed 01 Jun, 2011 11:42 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Kurt Scholz wrote:
But against arrows, bolts and blows, wouldn't some additional leather or fibres above and underneath the iron rings be a better choice?

I agree. I believe that the combination of mail and leather lamellar would be very potent in stopping arrows. The leather would basically drain an arrow's momentum significantly so that the arrow would be easily stopped by the mail beneath. But I suppose the same could be said of wearing a mail hauberk above a corselet, since the first layer would do the same job of draining an arrow's momentum. The only difference is that the mail and lamellar combination is signficantly lighter. And it also would have been more affordable for the warriors who couldnt afford purchasing an additional mail coat.
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Jean Henri Chandler




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PostPosted: Wed 01 Jun, 2011 1:57 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Actually yes they did wear multiple layers of mail and also lamellar corslets over mail. The Byzantines called the latter 'Klibanion'.

One example from a primary source that i can think of off of the top of my head is when Usama ibn Munqidh describes a " jazeraint" armor he had consisting of a frankish mail shirt over an arabic mail shirt with silk and rabit fur.

He also famously describes anecdotes where Frankish "doubled mail" resisted spear thrusts and several accoutns of both Frankish and Arabic mail resisting lance thrusts in cavalry fights.

I think the principle purpose of lamellar is as protection from arrows.

In Europe I think the equivalent was a heavier gambeson worn over the mail. I've seen some tests done (posted on here) which indicates this is a potent protection against arrows and prevents the mail itself from being damaged.

Lamellar also has the advantage of being relatively easy to repair.

J

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Ahmad Tabari





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PostPosted: Wed 01 Jun, 2011 2:44 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jean Henri Chandler wrote:
Actually yes they did wear multiple layers of mail and also lamellar corslets over mail. The Byzantines called the latter 'Klibanion'.J

I remember an incident mentioned in the Alexiad where a Byzantine prince was speared twice by Frankish knights, and yet he survived uscathed due to the Knlibanion he wore.
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Wed 01 Jun, 2011 2:52 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jean Henri Chandler wrote:
Actually yes they did wear multiple layers of mail and also lamellar corslets over mail. The Byzantines called the latter 'Klibanion'.

I asked for evidence of this Byzantine combination of mail and lamellar over a year ago and nobody produced anything convincing. Yes they wore lamellar. Yes they worn mail. But there is little to suggest that both were worn together.

Quote:
I think the principle purpose of lamellar is as protection from arrows.

Lamellar is just a cheap means of making metal armour. Mail is just as good at resisting arrows and weighs less. Lamellar has many problems that have been acknowleged in many texts. One of the best summaries was written by Sakakibara Kozan.

“When soaked with water the armor becomes very heavy and cannot be quickly dried; so that in summer it is oppressive and in winter liable to freeze. Moreover, no amount of washing will completely free the lacing from any mud or blood which may have penetrated it, and on long and distant campaigns it becomes evil-smelling and overrun by ants and lice, with consequent ill effects on the health of the wearer.”

Add to the above the fact that it more than doubles its weight when wet and lamellar becomes a poor choice for anyone who has the option of wearing mail.
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Wed 01 Jun, 2011 3:00 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ahmad Tabari wrote:
I remember an incident mentioned in the Alexiad where a Byzantine prince was speared twice by Frankish knights, and yet he survived uscathed due to the Knlibanion he wore.


No it wasn't the Alexiad it was Michael Psellos' Chronographia [VII.13] and Isaac wasn't attacked by Franks but "Scyths from the Taurus district" and he never mentions what type of armour was bring worn. IMO it was more likely to have been mail not lamellar.
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Samuel Bena




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PostPosted: Wed 01 Jun, 2011 4:08 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dan Howard wrote:
Ahmad Tabari wrote:
I remember an incident mentioned in the Alexiad where a Byzantine prince was speared twice by Frankish knights, and yet he survived uscathed due to the Knlibanion he wore.


No it wasn't the Alexiad it was Michael Psellos' Chronographia [VII.13] and Isaac wasn't attacked by Franks but "Scyths from the Taurus district" and he never mentions what type of armour was bring worn. IMO it was more likely to have been mail not lamellar.


IMHO what Ahmad probably meant was an engagement between Alexios I and three Norman knights at the battle of Dyrrakhion (1081). T.Dawson writes about it in the Osprey publication Byzantine Cavalryman C.900-1204.

I quote from p.54 of the book

Quote:

EXPERIENCE OF BATTLE: DYRRAKHION, 1081

An episode from the battle of Dyrrakhion in 1081 recounted by Anna Komnene regarding her father, Emperor Alexios I, shows just how much protection Roman cavalry armour in the period could afford. Separated from the army, Alexios was attacked with lances from one side by three Norman knights. Since Alexios was protected by layers of padding, iron lamellar and possibly also mail, their weapons caused him no injury, but served only to partially unseat him, with the entanglement of his spurs in his horse's trapping preventing him from falling entirely. Another group of Normans charged at him in a similar way from the other side, also driving their spears at his body, yet they only succeeded in pushing him back into his saddle. At this point Alexios made his escape (Anna claims his horse bolted) with several of the Normans' lances still entangled in his epilorikion. Tests conducted by the author confirm the likelihood of this account, for even when a spear point manages to slip between the plates, the outer layer tends to bind the blade, while the inner layer, commonly offset by half, like scales or roof tiles, stops the point entirely. As per the manuals, Alexios' horse is armoured with an iron headpiece, but with a chest barding made of oxhide lamellar. The construction of the horse's armour employs the original ubiquitous form of hanging lamellae as it existed before the refinements in manufacture that began to be applied to metal klivania for human use in the ninth century. Although both the manuals and other literary sources refer to iron headpieces for the horses of the heavy cavalry, we have neither surviving examples nor good pictures to tell us what they looked like in middle Byzantine Romania.


Hope this helps somewhat as I'm not familiar with the primary sources though..

Cheers,
Samuel
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Ahmad Tabari





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PostPosted: Wed 01 Jun, 2011 4:11 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dan Howard wrote:
I asked for evidence of this Byzantine combination of mail and lamellar over a year ago and nobody produced anything convincing. Yes they wore lamellar. Yes they worn mail. But there is little to suggest that both were worn together.

So far I couldn't find any evidence that the Byzantines made a practice of wearing mail in combination with lamellar. But since we know that the Byzantines made use of both types of armour, it seems like a reasonable speculation that they would have incorporated lamellar as a supplement to mail. This makes even more sense given the fact that the armies of their Seljuk foes were mostly composed of horse archers. But again this is all speculation and not hard evidence.


Last edited by Ahmad Tabari on Wed 01 Jun, 2011 4:42 pm; edited 1 time in total
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