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Raman A




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PostPosted: Sun 09 Dec, 2012 7:05 am    Post subject: Penetration of armor with pollaxe         Reply with quote

http://www.kb.dk/da/nb/materialer/haandskrift...2_290.html

In Talhoffer's book, page 266 and 272 show penetration of breastplates with pollaxes to the point of drawing blood. How is this possible? Am I overestimating the period's armor? It would seem to me that armor designed to take the force of two horses colliding with lances would defend against a man and a pollaxe. One of the pictures looks like it shows a "power move" of a double handed, downward strike with full body weight behind it, and the other looks like the combined force of both combatants lunging at each other.

Does it have to do with the mechanics of the strike? My initial thought is that in foot combat if you make a small puncture you can continually apply force to drive it in, while an arrow expends all its energy and is finished and blunted, and in a lance charge the correct impact angle is only held for a split second.
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Reece Nelson




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PostPosted: Sun 09 Dec, 2012 8:31 am    Post subject: Talhoffer Armour pierce         Reply with quote

I think it has to very much due with the mechanics of the fight. For instance you'll see in plates 260 and 272 that the opponent delivering the thrust to the breast plate is lunging with both hands and stepping forward , were as, the other opponent used one hand in plate 272, but is striking at the shoulder, were the armour is thinner.

Also, you must take into consideration that the breast plate won't have the same thickness through out the piece. It'll be mostly thickest in the center, but the opponent is striking to the side. I would imagine this would be a lot easier if these harnesses were made of Iron, but close inspection of the styles show that they are Italian exports, done in the German style Wink

Plus, Bec De Corbins are some serious weapons! Very stiff rectangular spike on top and devastating hammer...definitely not something to take lightly Razz

I also want to say that they didn't wear hardly any padding during this era I believe, but an arming doublet, which didn't provide much shock absorption and distance from the wearer.

Eventually I'd like to do some tests with this and see how the various angles effect armour.
-Reece


Last edited by Reece Nelson on Sun 09 Dec, 2012 8:38 am; edited 1 time in total
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Bartek Strojek




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PostPosted: Sun 09 Dec, 2012 8:32 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I don't think that anybody had ever made solid tests.

But nothing about those pictures really seems that much off, IMO - looks like powerful thrusts with heavy weapons (large parts).

Into some joints/links between the plates, in armor in pretty much every case, and penetration is always shown to be rather minimal.
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Doug Lester




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PostPosted: Sun 09 Dec, 2012 1:32 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It's part of the old quandary, if armor wouldn't stop the weapons it wouldn't have been worn and if the weapons wouldn't have defeated the armor they wouldn't have been used. Part of the answer is that there were different qualities of armor and it could be of different thicknesses in different places. It would have been just to impractical to make the armor the same thickness throughout.

These pictures are also not photographs. If they were we might see that the armor in question had been previously struck at that spot and weakened. So the ax blade on the pole ax might have split the chest plate and then the spike was later forced through enough to draw blood. The blood flow probably would not have been as dramatic as illustrated in the drawing either.
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Joe Fults




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PostPosted: Sun 09 Dec, 2012 1:35 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Also might be worth considering that armor for mounted combat, especially tournament armor, and that worn on foot can also vary in construction detail and intended capability.
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R.M. Henson




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PostPosted: Mon 10 Dec, 2012 1:33 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I recall reading some opinions that the blood was sometimes added later to show that the strike had done damage rather than actually bleeding through the hole in the armor. If you think about it you wouldn't really see blood pouring from the hole, but the blood (if there was a lot of it) would actually just seep into the padded layers beneath and maybe drip from the bottom of the cuirass.

I think the blood is just added for drama so that the person looking at the play would know that it hurt the person getting struck. Without the blood it's hard to tell if a strike is effective or not where armor is concerned.

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Randall Moffett




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PostPosted: Mon 10 Dec, 2012 5:22 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

There is some evidence of this in Fiore perhaps. This is under Pollaxe in armour

35 VERSO

Io son posta breve la Serpentina che megliore d'le altre me tegno. A chi darò mia punta ben gli parerà lo segno. Questa punta si è forte per passare coraze e panceroni, deffendeti che voglio far la prova.

Posta breve serpentina.


I am Posta Breve la Serpentina (Short Serpentine Position), I maintain myself better than the others. To whom I give my thrust, the sign will show itself well. This point is strong, for passing through cuirasses (coraze) and breastplates (panceroni)*. Defend yourself, that I want to try it.

Posta Breve Serpentina (Short Serpentine Position)


From Schola Gladiatoria's site. Their translation looks good to me so I can only assume that was what Fiore is saying. Passare really only means to pass or go through so that line itself is hard to missread.

RPM
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Elling Polden




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PostPosted: Mon 10 Dec, 2012 7:00 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Randal; As you say, the phrase means pass. But apparently also in the sense "pass around". Based on the stance he is describing, this makes sense. It is a posture where you can both thrust quickly, and use body weight to pry and push inn attacks.

Looking at the Talhofer illustrations, one can see that the thrusts that are shown drawing blood are all directed at the armpit, or in one case, the gap between the gorget and the breastplate.
None of the swung attacks are shown drawing blood, and if one could penetrate the breastplate with a head on thrust from short serpentine, there would hardly be need for using the hammer.
Most of tallhofers plates seem to show how to finish an opponent in harness after he is dazed, disarmed and/or outmanouvered. One method seeming to be thrusting at the armpits or under the gorget, the other bringing him to the ground and using the dagger.

"this [fight] looks curious, almost like a game. See, they are looking around them before they fall, to find a dry spot to fall on, or they are falling on their shields. Can you see blood on their cloths and weapons? No. This must be trickery."
-Reidar Sendeman, from King Sverre's Saga, 1201
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Randall Moffett




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PostPosted: Mon 10 Dec, 2012 8:57 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ah but it does not say that. I have never seen it mean pass around Elling. I have seen 'pass through' or 'pass by' and a number of other things but never pass around. I have heard this view before but from all I have seen of Italian in books I am not sure it follows with the verb use. Since the word is nearly the same as the latin word which does not mean this either I am sceptical.

I do not know any language that when you say I am going to pass by so-and-so's house it means go around.

As well I am not sure I'd read too much into the drawings for or against penetration but still this line seems rather clear to me.

Here is a google search def of Passare-
passare: to pass/go by/through; spend (time); promote (to); approve; give, hand
http://italian.about.com/library/verb/blverb_passare.htm

I just hit 8 websites and my own Italian Dictionary. None give the pass around something as an option. Where do you get this use of the word from? I think it is a stretch to make this say pass around from what I am seeing in the original text. I'd love to see if any one is familiar with late medieval Italian to weight in on that but even my friends who speak modern Italian seem to say common usage fits the definition above.

Until that date I see no reason we should assume this passage means anything other than it says.

RPM
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Augusto Boer Bront
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PostPosted: Mon 10 Dec, 2012 10:18 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

And here it comes the obnoxious italian speaker =).
I can confirm that passare in this case means pass through, so penetrate. In any case passare means pass around, we would use another verb.

Hope this helps Big Grin .

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Elling Polden




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PostPosted: Mon 10 Dec, 2012 10:32 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Randall Moffett wrote:

I do not know any language that when you say I am going to pass by so-and-so's house it means go around.


English, for example? I'm going to pass so and so's house means that you will move past til, not go in. In either case the discussion is rather moot since none of us are specialists in late medevial Italian.
My source is the raher irreputable Google translate, which lists amongst other things english pass, and go by as possible translations. If ittalian passare is used in the same way as pass in germanic languages (like english), it can be used in a large number of ways depending on context. In the origial text, the word passare stands alone, so the addition of "through" in the english version is the translators choice.
If it is current for the usage relating to combat and armour in 15th c. Italy I certainly do not know.

"this [fight] looks curious, almost like a game. See, they are looking around them before they fall, to find a dry spot to fall on, or they are falling on their shields. Can you see blood on their cloths and weapons? No. This must be trickery."
-Reidar Sendeman, from King Sverre's Saga, 1201
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Randall Moffett




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PostPosted: Mon 10 Dec, 2012 11:56 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Elling,

Nope. Pass by means go by a persons house-actually to it, usually quickly, in every English speakin' country in the world I have lived/been to, which includes the largest three of them. And as Augusto has said they would have used another verb in Italian if it meant something else. Every Italian and Italian speaking person I know and have asked has replied the same. The benefit of a verb like this is it may have several meanings but none of them from what I am seeing means go around, ever. To me the only recourse is to find a medieval italian dictionary but at the Uni I am at very unlikely they have one. That said unless any one can present real hard evidence I go back to my original statement, there is only evidence Fiore means what he said, pass through.

RPM
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Elling Polden




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PostPosted: Mon 10 Dec, 2012 2:08 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

In scandinavian, and apparently also german, use "passere" or passeren is used when going past something.
Appearantly, in Italian it means "go through".
I could give more english examples, but I think I'll simply pass.

Personally, I would still aim for the head, loins or armpits rather than attempt to punch through the breastplate, as failure could be both embarasing and fatal.

"this [fight] looks curious, almost like a game. See, they are looking around them before they fall, to find a dry spot to fall on, or they are falling on their shields. Can you see blood on their cloths and weapons? No. This must be trickery."
-Reidar Sendeman, from King Sverre's Saga, 1201
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Augusto Boer Bront
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PostPosted: Mon 10 Dec, 2012 2:16 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well, in Italian it means to go past as well, but the meaning you wanted to give, pass around, is too forced, and as I stated earlier it would have been used another verb.
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Elling Polden




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PostPosted: Mon 10 Dec, 2012 3:09 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

From what I remember of Liberi's texts, he is often boastfull and vauge. " From here, I wil hurt you badly, as I have done many times before!" but not exactly how.
For that, you would presumably have to hire him as your instructor. He would probably be quite pleased by our curiousity.

"this [fight] looks curious, almost like a game. See, they are looking around them before they fall, to find a dry spot to fall on, or they are falling on their shields. Can you see blood on their cloths and weapons? No. This must be trickery."
-Reidar Sendeman, from King Sverre's Saga, 1201
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R.M. Henson




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PostPosted: Mon 10 Dec, 2012 3:34 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I can ask Brian Price or Colin Hatcher for confirmation of the Medieval Italian translations of that plate.
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Randall Moffett




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PostPosted: Mon 10 Dec, 2012 4:05 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Elling,

Most certainly I would rather hit an unplated place. No doubt. It is less effort and if you are looking for the way to take some person down with less work that is the way of it.

The issue is I am not seeing the verb here being that flexible so at this point feel we cannot make it do something else than is states because it is what seems more like what we wish.

There are many examples that Fiore gives of what you are saying but I am not seeing it here.

Henson,

Since the text is right out of the Getty MS not sure what good that will do as far as the contents itself. That said if they are excellent with Medieval Italian verb usage and can help with possible uses might be helpful. I've not read through the Morgan version so I do not know if they are the same either, I think the Getty is more detailed and longer so we'd need to be sure they are using the right version as well.

RPM
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Raman A




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PostPosted: Mon 10 Dec, 2012 4:22 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks Randall, the Liberi quote is really interesting, I've read him but don't remember that.

Reece Nelson wrote:
Also, you must take into consideration that the breast plate won't have the same thickness through out the piece. It'll be mostly thickest in the center, but the opponent is striking to the side.


Good point.

Elling Polden wrote:
From what I remember of Liberi's texts, he is often boastfull and vauge. " From here, I wil hurt you badly, as I have done many times before!" but not exactly how.
For that, you would presumably have to hire him as your instructor. He would probably be quite pleased by our curiousity.


Another good point, and applies to Talhoffer as well. Perhaps he was trying to entice people to come learn from him by claiming that his techniques would allow one to penetrate armor.

The Talhoffer plates definitely show penetration of the breastplate though. The men being hit have their arms tightly down to protect their armpits. So either Talhoffer and Liberi are making up a feat of arms or the right thrust with a pollaxe can penetrate.
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Christian Henry Tobler
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PostPosted: Mon 10 Dec, 2012 7:38 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hello folks,

Paulus Kal (the subject of my book "In Service of the Duke") shows the top spike of a poleaxe penetrating the top of a sabaton. As a counterpoint to this, he shows a thrust from a sword held in the half-sword grip using the same thrust, but has it targeting the gap between the sabaton and the bottom of the greave.

I think we're being told by the master just how powerful the former is.

All the best,

Christian

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Sean Manning




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PostPosted: Mon 10 Dec, 2012 9:30 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Christian Henry Tobler wrote:
Hello folks,

Paulus Kal (the subject of my book "In Service of the Duke") shows the top spike of a poleaxe penetrating the top of a sabaton. As a counterpoint to this, he shows a thrust from a sword held in the half-sword grip using the same thrust, but has it targeting the gap between the sabaton and the bottom of the greave.

I think we're being told by the master just how powerful the former is.

All the best,

Christian

Will McLean has a fair number of early modern references to plate armour being pierced by muscle-powered attacks on his blog (link), although unfortunately there is no search function so you have to use Google Advanced, which does not seem to work today. Most seem to penetrate the thin armour on the limbs and joints, and cause bleeding but not lethal injury. This tag (link has most of them.

I would say that a man in armour was might well be injured by a stroke from an axe or a thrust from a stiff-pointed blade, but was very unlikely to be fatally wounded by a blow to his armour. A wise attacker would not trust a thrust against plate to stick, but a wise defender would not just assume that his armour was proof against a pollaxe thrust. But I have not read nearly enough primary sources from the period ...
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