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Timo Nieminen




Location: Brisbane, Australia
Joined: 08 May 2009
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PostPosted: Tue 28 Jun, 2011 9:12 pm    Post subject: Buff coats and archery         Reply with quote

How much protection do buff coats provide against arrows?

At their peak of popularity (or at least their peak of visibility), iron/steel armour was shrinking in coverage and increasing in thickness to provide bullet-resistance over part of the body. In Western Europe, military archery was in decline, so arrow might not have been seen as a significant threat.

What was the case in Eastern Europe? While the Ottoman army was a musket army, archery was more common in the east.

What about the New World/the Americas?

Colonial wars (especially in India or Asia facing archery)?

"In addition to being efficient, all pole arms were quite nice to look at." - Cherney Berg, A hideous history of weapons, Collier 1963.
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Stephen Curtin




Location: Cork, Ireland
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PostPosted: Wed 29 Jun, 2011 12:18 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Timo, another place you might want check is the wars of three kingdoms, I know that the highland Scots were still using bows well into the seventeenth century, right around the height of buff coat usage by the English.
Éirinn go Brách
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Scott Woodruff





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PostPosted: Wed 29 Jun, 2011 10:42 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I seriously doubt that a buff coat would provide much protection against arrows. Even very thick, stiff leather is easily penetrated by arrows, even if shot from a very weak bow, provided that the arrowhead has sharp edges. A quadrangular section point has less penetration against such a material. Rawhide resists arrows much better than tanned leather, but any hide soft and flexible enough to be worn like a buff coat will be easily penetrated.
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Joel Minturn





Joined: 10 Dec 2007

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PostPosted: Wed 29 Jun, 2011 10:55 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I think the buff coat could provide decent protection against arrows, depending on what type of arrows being used. I believe that the textile armours (padded jacks and buff coats) provide decent protection against bodkin and similiar points. But broadheads were more likely to cut throught them.

Granted I don't have much to back that up with. I remember there being a thread several years ago were some one tested a peice of textile armour against simulated bodkins (field points) and the textile armour did quite well. So that is not the same thing.

The "soft" leather used in buff coats is supposed to be rather thick and quite puncture and cut resistant. So it may be able to give and deflect an arrow a bit bleeding off energy before the arrow can get a bite into the leather.

Well it wouldn't be my first choice against arrows but would be better than nothing. Of course now I want to break out the bow and see what happens.
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Michael Ekelmann




Location: Seattle Metro Area, USA
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PostPosted: Wed 29 Jun, 2011 1:02 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Spanish Presidio troops used buff coats, padded armour and leather adargas right up into the 1700s in the Southwestern US and Texas. When I visited San Antonio, TX a few years ago, the mission museum had a display of armour and weapons used by the troops. The reason for the armour was because the Native Americans used bows.
“Men prefer to fight with swords, so they can see each other's eyes!" Sean Connery as Mulay Hamid El Raisuli in The Wind and the Lion
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Scott Woodruff





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PostPosted: Thu 30 Jun, 2011 11:39 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

My comment comes from personal experience. Using a 25lb recurve to shoot arrows with sharp, leaf-shaped points, I was able to consistently pierce any piece of leather I shot at, from thin flexible leather to heavy, stiff water-hardened leather. Both 2 layers of linen with cotton batting between and a thick, felted naalbound hat were penetrated less than any of the leather. All of the materials were backed by a milk jug full of water. I am sure a buff coat would be much more effective against flint or obsidian arrowheads of the type used in the southwest. My experience suggests that leather is much less effective against arrows than textile armor.
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Gary Teuscher





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PostPosted: Thu 30 Jun, 2011 12:18 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
My experience suggests that leather is much less effective against arrows than textile armor.


I'd agree for the most part here, but hardened leather seems to resist moderately well, and the hardened laether Lammelar resists even better.

But even the hardened leather lammelar would not seem to provide much protection against a bow of 100 lbs or so, at least at under 100 yards or so.

Quote:
Both 2 layers of linen with cotton batting between and a thick, felted naalbound hat were penetrated less than any of the leather.


I'd be really curious to see how much protection those 16-20 layers of linen type Gamesons can protect against arrows.

And of course, not beed sheet linen but something more like linen of that day.

I also wonder how flexible that many layers of thick linen would be?
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