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Matt J.





Joined: 26 May 2010

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PostPosted: Mon 03 Sep, 2012 9:29 am    Post subject: Exhausting Armour Study         Reply with quote

Someone linked to this. Thought you might be interested: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-14204717

Did they miss anything with their research? Or is it as expected?
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Kurt Scholz





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PostPosted: Mon 03 Sep, 2012 2:51 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Who was put into the armour? Boxers, weight lifters, soldiers or students who spend most time lifting heavy books?
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Mon 03 Sep, 2012 3:14 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

http://www.myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t=23677

The main problem with the test is that they didn't have a control to determine whether the armour was constricting the chest and limiting the ability to breathe. Properly fitted armour won't do this but we don't know how well their armour was made.
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Ralph Grinly





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PostPosted: Tue 04 Sep, 2012 12:07 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'm not sure just how much credence can be taken of this study regarding it's conclusions. Given that most of the warriors who could actually afford such complete harnesses would have been training in them from an early age, I doubt todays re-enactors would have similar stamina. Also those style of armours were pretty well custom made to fit the individual- how well were the suits used for this study tailored for the individuals concerned ? True..we can get some useful information from the study, but to make broad statements as to the wearing of armour affecting the outcome of battles..well..consider this-- generally BOTH sides would have been wearing roughly similar harnesses..so both sides would have suffered similar debilitating effects..and thus averaged themselves out ? Note..that conclusion of mine only applies to men at arms vs men at arms, throw in unarmoured archers or similar foot soldiers and you change the odds significantly.
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Mikko Kuusirati




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PostPosted: Tue 04 Sep, 2012 1:27 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ralph Grinly wrote:
I'm not sure just how much credence can be taken of this study regarding it's conclusions. Given that most of the warriors who could actually afford such complete harnesses would have been training in them from an early age, I doubt todays re-enactors would have similar stamina.

The testee's stamina actually doesn't enter into it. What they tested was how much energy was used up to move around in armour; with the same amount of activity over the same length of time the subject will always use up the same amount of energy no matter how physically fit or unfit he is. The only difference is that someone with more endurance could keep going longer.

Experience with wearing armour and the armour's individual fit would affect the results, though, and should have been controlled for IMO.

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Matt J.





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PostPosted: Tue 04 Sep, 2012 2:06 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Also, the fact he can't take deep breaths changes the energy consumption immensely.

I guess you might get that problem with munition armour, which isn't fitted to you, though?
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Mikko Kuusirati




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PostPosted: Tue 04 Sep, 2012 3:06 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Matt J. wrote:
Also, the fact he can't take deep breaths changes the energy consumption immensely.

I guess you might get that problem with munition armour, which isn't fitted to you, though?

Yeah, that's one way the test would be affected by how well the armour fits the wearer.

Although, I'd expect soldiers issued munitions gear to make some adjustments for personal comfort. Soldiers always do. Happy

The subtle tongue, the sophist guile, they fail when the broadswords sing;
Rush in and die, dogs -- I was a man before I was a king.
-- R. E. Howard, The Road of Kings
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Dustin R. Reagan





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PostPosted: Tue 04 Sep, 2012 8:04 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mikko Kuusirati wrote:

Experience with wearing armour and the armour's individual fit would affect the results, though, and should have been controlled for IMO.


I agree. I would be willing to bet that someone highly experienced at wearing armor (say, 10+ years) could have a ~15%-30% efficiency compared to a naive subject.
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Matt J.





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PostPosted: Tue 04 Sep, 2012 8:26 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

That seems quite likely, and I think it is the case. However, do we have solid reasoning to affirm this?
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Sean Manning




Location: Austria
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PostPosted: Tue 04 Sep, 2012 11:04 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mikko Kuusirati wrote:
Ralph Grinly wrote:
I'm not sure just how much credence can be taken of this study regarding it's conclusions. Given that most of the warriors who could actually afford such complete harnesses would have been training in them from an early age, I doubt todays re-enactors would have similar stamina.

The testee's stamina actually doesn't enter into it. What they tested was how much energy was used up to move around in armour; with the same amount of activity over the same length of time the subject will always use up the same amount of energy no matter how physically fit or unfit he is. The only difference is that someone with more endurance could keep going longer.

I don't think that is right, as someone pointed out last time this test came up. Someone who is good at a physical task will do it more efficiently, with less wasted motion and energy. Part of strength/fitness/athleticism is very general physical skills which can be applied to many tasks. So someone who spent hours every week moving in armour and a few hours a day on physical training would use more energy than someone who spent a few hours a month in armour and a few hours a week on physical training.
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Ian S LaSpina




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PostPosted: Tue 04 Sep, 2012 3:42 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sean Manning wrote:
Mikko Kuusirati wrote:
Ralph Grinly wrote:
I'm not sure just how much credence can be taken of this study regarding it's conclusions. Given that most of the warriors who could actually afford such complete harnesses would have been training in them from an early age, I doubt todays re-enactors would have similar stamina.

The testee's stamina actually doesn't enter into it. What they tested was how much energy was used up to move around in armour; with the same amount of activity over the same length of time the subject will always use up the same amount of energy no matter how physically fit or unfit he is. The only difference is that someone with more endurance could keep going longer.

I don't think that is right, as someone pointed out last time this test came up. Someone who is good at a physical task will do it more efficiently, with less wasted motion and energy. Part of strength/fitness/athleticism is very general physical skills which can be applied to many tasks. So someone who spent hours every week moving in armour and a few hours a day on physical training would use more energy than someone who spent a few hours a month in armour and a few hours a week on physical training.


Agreed. It's more than just joule output required to move a given mass. The fit person, used to wearing armor, will move more efficiently and require less energy to complete the same tasks as his sedentary counterpart by shear efficiency of motion as a result of training.

Additionally, the fit of the armor itself will have a huge affect on energy output. If it's poorly fitted, it will force more inefficient movement by the person donning the armor. If you're fighting the armor more than it's working with you, it will require more energy to move. If the armor is properly fitted to the wearer, energy output would be less as there would be much more efficiency of motion. The arming clothes can make all the difference in the world too. I think the test is bunk.

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Quinn W.




Location: Bellingham, WA
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PostPosted: Tue 04 Sep, 2012 7:52 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I have seen this before. Doing a little research, I believe they actually used rugby players, so physical stamina would be pretty good, even if it doesn't account for how well it was fitted or how accustomed they were to moving about in it.
The results of the study were that yes, it's harder to perform physical tasks while wearing a bunch of metal than shorts and a t-shirt. No arguments there. The part that bugs me, is the conclusion they drew from the study, namely the implication that the French would have fared better had they not been wearing armor, and their reliance on it is what cost them the battle. Like the armor was the equivalent of a ball-and-chain cuffed to their feet and nothing else.
So in the spirit of armchair science, I decided to test their assumption by conducting an imaginary counter-study based on documented evidence from the fictional battle of Nega-Agincourt:

Soldiers getting shot repeatedly in the chest by arrows may have affected the outcomes of famous battles, a study suggests.

Scientists monitored volunteers who were riddled with a shower of arrows while not wearing any sort of protection as they walked and ran on treadmills.

They found that the subjects lost high levels of blood, sustained severe injury and suffered from a quicker death than those protected by several millimeters of steel.

The effect of not wearing any armor was so great, that the researchers believe it may have have had an impact on the Battle of Nega-Agincourt.

"The torso contains a huge fraction of the person's vital organs"
-Dr Obvious, University of Common Sense

In this hypothetical conflict, the unarmored French knights were defeated by their English counterparts, despite the fact that they not burdened by heavy, restrictive steel plates.

The researchers say their study suggests that the non-armour-clad French, who had to trek through a shower of arrows to the stationary English line, were so slowed and transformed into human pincushions that they would have stood little chance.

"Some say that the age of chivalry is past, that the spirit of romance is dead. The age of chivalry is never past, so long as there is a wrong left unredressed on earth"
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Scott Woodruff





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PostPosted: Tue 04 Sep, 2012 8:30 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Very good Quinn Wink Rugby players and reenactors are not good analogs for medieval warriors. Most of the reenctors I have ever known are grossly out of shape and even a lot of professional sportsmen are not in as good of general shape as one might think as they are often quite specialized in the tasks they perform well and are easily beaten at other tasks by people who are in good all-around shape. Energy expenditure is nice because it can be measured, but this fails to take into account that some people can expend several times more energy than others and keep going with minimal loss of ability, strength or speed.
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Mikko Kuusirati




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PostPosted: Tue 04 Sep, 2012 10:03 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Yeah, the methodology could be improved and some of their "conclusions" are just silly. Although part of that is, as usual, bad science journalism...

However, I think it's interesting to note that the biggest individual drain were indeed the leg defenses - which historically seem to have been almost always the first component to be stowed when soldiers stripped down for travel. Happy

Sean Manning wrote:
I don't think that is right, as someone pointed out last time this test came up. Someone who is good at a physical task will do it more efficiently, with less wasted motion and energy. Part of strength/fitness/athleticism is very general physical skills which can be applied to many tasks. So someone who spent hours every week moving in armour and a few hours a day on physical training would use more energy than someone who spent a few hours a month in armour and a few hours a week on physical training.

Don't you mean the other way around? That someone who spends significantly more time moving around in armour would come to spend less energy doing it?

The subtle tongue, the sophist guile, they fail when the broadswords sing;
Rush in and die, dogs -- I was a man before I was a king.
-- R. E. Howard, The Road of Kings
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Sean Manning




Location: Austria
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PostPosted: Wed 05 Sep, 2012 9:41 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Yes Mikko, I got it backwards: someone who is experienced at a task will spend less energy to do the same thing than someone who is new at it.
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Jeffrey Hildebrandt
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PostPosted: Fri 14 Sep, 2012 2:39 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

This study was conducted and reported with an embarrassing ignorance. Certainly, armour exhausts its wearer, but neither to the extent, nor for the reasons cited.

Full armour, as shown being worn by a volunteer walking or running on a treadmill, was intended for cavalry action. Mount the volunteer, and let his steed on the treadmill for a better idea of how exhausting a knight would find his armour. Alternatively, suit the man in lighter, less enveloping infantry armour. The fit and weight of the armour used for this study is also suspect - Dr. Askew was under the impression that average weights for armour ranged from 30 - 50 kg, yet original weights of armour from the same era as those used in the test are actually under 30kg, mail included. (the well-known "Gothic" equestrian armour from the Wallace collection in London weighs in at 28kg.)

That the defeat of the French knights at Agincourt was due to the strain of wearing cavalry armour while charging afoot may be a genuine consideration, but mud, poor leadership and a veritable hail of arrows cannot be lightly removed from the equation. Armour evolved under the pressure of continuous and violent testing, and proved worth the burden and expense, or was promptly discarded.

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