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Alec Cawdor




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PostPosted: Wed 11 May, 2016 4:41 am    Post subject: Blunt Force Trauma - Medieval Arrows         Reply with quote

Just read this interesting blog post about medieval arrows and blunt trauma: http://markstretton.blogspot.com/2016/05/does...rmour.html

One thought which comes to mind every time I read an arrow penetration/trauma test is this:

In a situation such as that at Agincourt, where the French knights were charging the English; if hit by and arrow while at a trot or gallop, wouldn't that increase the total energy transferred into the knight, thereby increasing potential arrow penetration and blunt trauma?
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Wed 11 May, 2016 4:44 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Its bollocks. The only way to deliver enough energy to inflict blunt trauma through armour is with firearms, which deliver 10-20 times more energy than the heaviest longbow.
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Mikko Kuusirati




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PostPosted: Wed 11 May, 2016 4:51 am    Post subject: Re: Blunt Force Trauma - Medieval Arrows         Reply with quote

Alec Cawdor wrote:
In a situation such as that at Agincourt, where the French knights were charging the English; if hit by and arrow while at a trot or gallop, wouldn't that increase the total energy transferred into the knight, thereby increasing potential arrow penetration and blunt trauma?

Mythbusters actually tested the notion that horse archers shooting from the back of a galloping horse would achieve more penetration - due to the horse's velocity being added to the arrow's own - than the same archer with the same bow standing still, which essentially amounts to the same thing. They tried it from horseback, then from a car, then from a car going significantly faster than any horse could. Each time whatever effect it might have had was overwhelmed by the margin of error, i.e. it may have existed but was immeasurably small.

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Rush in and die, dogs -- I was a man before I was a king.
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Alec Cawdor




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PostPosted: Wed 11 May, 2016 4:56 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dan Howard wrote:
Its bollocks. The only way to deliver enough energy to inflict blunt trauma through armour is with firearms, which deliver 10-20 times more energy than the heaviest longbow.


Are you saying that any melee medieval weapon would not have delivered enough energy through armor to deal a damaging blow?

Also, to my understanding, most musket balls would have passed through the armor, which is no longer blunt trauma...
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Alec Cawdor




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PostPosted: Wed 11 May, 2016 5:08 am    Post subject: Re: Blunt Force Trauma - Medieval Arrows         Reply with quote

Mikko Kuusirati wrote:
Alec Cawdor wrote:
In a situation such as that at Agincourt, where the French knights were charging the English; if hit by and arrow while at a trot or gallop, wouldn't that increase the total energy transferred into the knight, thereby increasing potential arrow penetration and blunt trauma?

Mythbusters actually tested the notion that horse archers shooting from the back of a galloping horse would achieve more penetration - due to the horse's velocity being added to the arrow's own - than the same archer with the same bow standing still, which essentially amounts to the same thing. They tried it from horseback, then from a car, then from a car going significantly faster than any horse could. Each time whatever effect it might have had was overwhelmed by the margin of error, i.e. it may have existed but was immeasurably small.


I just watched the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=24amMokvONY

Something about MyBusters never "Sat Right" with me regarding their testing....
That aside, they do show that there will be increased energy transfer & penetration.
In their video they claim it's about 2" more penetration than a standing shooter, which would be significantly worse for a victim.
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Matthew Amt




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PostPosted: Wed 11 May, 2016 5:19 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

[quote="Alec Cawdor"]
Dan Howard wrote:
Also, to my understanding, most musket balls would have passed through the armor, which is no longer blunt trauma...


There was a British officer in the Seven Years War who, during *one* battle, was hit seven times by "spent balls", musket bullets which had lost so much energy that they could not penetrate flesh or cause serious injury. (Long range, ricochets, bad powder, insufficient powder, etc.) He said one hit him inside his elbow and really hurt.

So no, *most* bullets could not be counted on to penetrate armor, nor cause serious injury *through* the armor. That said, bullets certainly COULD penetrate armor! Some armor. Sometimes!

Matthew
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Wed 11 May, 2016 5:32 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Alec Cawdor wrote:
Are you saying that any melee medieval weapon would not have delivered enough energy through armor to deal a damaging blow?

Yes. It is a physical impossibility unless you hit flexible armour like mail.

Quote:
In their video they claim it's about 2" more penetration than a standing shooter, which would be significantly worse for a victim

It is a negligible increase. As already said, they would need to increase the amount of energy the bow delivers by at least ten times to inflict blunt trauma through rigid armour.

Quote:
Also, to my understanding, most musket balls would have passed through the armour, which is no longer blunt trauma...

Williams, The Knight and the Blast Furnace
Page 928: A bullet shot at a 4mm mild steel plate requires 3400 J to penetrate if it hits normal to the surface (a lot more if it doesn't).
Page 945: A 16th century arquebus with corned powder delivers 1750 J (point blank)
Page 945: A 16th century musket with corned powder delivers 3000 J (point blank).

So any breastplate that is over 4mm thick is pretty much proof against any black powder firearm. We have hundreds of extant breastplates that are thicker than 4mm. Williams alone gives 24 examples on pp. 913-915 complete with catalogue numbers.

At the battle of Roundway Down Sir Arthur Hasselrigg was hit point blank by multiple firearms and was unharmed because of his armour. He was only brought down because his horse was killed.

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Last edited by Dan Howard on Wed 11 May, 2016 5:58 am; edited 1 time in total
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Alec Cawdor




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PostPosted: Wed 11 May, 2016 5:56 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dan Howard wrote:
Alec Cawdor wrote:
Are you saying that any melee medieval weapon would not have delivered enough energy through armor to deal a damaging blow?

Yes. It is a physical impossibility unless you hit flexible armour like mail.

Quote:
Also, to my understanding, most musket balls would have passed through the armour, which is no longer blunt trauma...

Williams, The Knight and the Blast Furnace
Page 928: A bullet shot at a 4mm mild steel plate requires 3400 J to penetrate if it hits normal to the surface (a lot more if it doesn't).
Page 945: A 16th century arquebus with corned powder delivers 1750 J (point blank)
Page 945: A 16th century musket with corned powder delivers 3000 J (point blank).

So any breastplate that is over 4mm thick is pretty much proof against any firearm. We have hundreds of extant breastplates that are thicker than 4mm. Williams alone gives 24 examples on pp. 913-915 complete with catalogue numbers.

At the battle of Roundway Down Sir Arthur Hasselrigg was hit point blank by multiple firearms and was unharmed because of his armour. He was only brought down because his horse was killed.


I stand corrected regarding my musket comment. Early firearms aren't really my specialty.
Back onto arrows and other non-firearm weapons if we could...

I would like to get more information about the effects of blunt trauma (Melee weapons and arrows) through different types of armor (not just plate) in medieval Europe.
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Wed 11 May, 2016 6:01 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

There is no reliable data for medieval weapons and armour. If you want to study the effects of blunt trauma then look at modern tests against ballistic armour. It is pretty clear that muscle-powered weapons cannot deliver anywhere near the energies required.

Here are three arrows that Mark Stretton shot with a 150 lb longbow in the Defense Academy warbow trials at a range of ten yards.

long bodkin: 71g; 46 m/s; 75J
short bodkin: 70g; 49.68m/s; 86J
lozenge: 87g; 46m/s; 92J

A sling shooting a lead gland delivers around 100J at point blank.
A black powder pistol delivers 1000 J.

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Pieter B.





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PostPosted: Wed 11 May, 2016 6:45 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I know of various accounts where blows to the head managed to stun the said person but I don't recall reading any kind of damage was inflicted. Though occasionally it is said that a helmet deformed so much that is killed someone. I believe we did recently discuss an account of a German knight who got bruised ribs after he charged a moor on a horse, then again that's two people moving at possible 30 miles per hour.
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Pieter B.





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PostPosted: Wed 11 May, 2016 6:47 am    Post subject: Re: Blunt Force Trauma - Medieval Arrows         Reply with quote

Mikko Kuusirati wrote:
Alec Cawdor wrote:
In a situation such as that at Agincourt, where the French knights were charging the English; if hit by and arrow while at a trot or gallop, wouldn't that increase the total energy transferred into the knight, thereby increasing potential arrow penetration and blunt trauma?

Mythbusters actually tested the notion that horse archers shooting from the back of a galloping horse would achieve more penetration - due to the horse's velocity being added to the arrow's own - than the same archer with the same bow standing still, which essentially amounts to the same thing. They tried it from horseback, then from a car, then from a car going significantly faster than any horse could. Each time whatever effect it might have had was overwhelmed by the margin of error, i.e. it may have existed but was immeasurably small.


The extra velocity imparted on a fast moving projectile such as an arrow might be relatively small but the extra velocity added to a slow moving but heavier projectile such as a javelin could be significant, this is supported in period documents which suggest that a mounted man can cast a javelin further. I believe it was Dom Duarte.
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Benjamin H. Abbott




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PostPosted: Wed 11 May, 2016 7:06 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Blows to helmeted heads were effective according numerous sources, including Fiore de'i Liberi and Bertrandon de la Broquière. (The former wrote that a specific blow to the head from a pollaxe in armored fighting would likely result in a death while the latter wrote that a Turkish mace would stun (or knock unconscious, translations vary so I'd have to check the original language) through a helmet.

I'm guessing momentum matters as much as or more than energy when it comes to blunt trauma through armor.

Also note that Mark Stretton used an awfully inefficient bow for test Dan quotes, which if I recall correctly was 140lbs. The Oregon yew Mary Rose replica Simon Stanley used for tests in The Great Warbow performed better. It's possible Italian yew performs better still.

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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Wed 11 May, 2016 7:29 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Benjamin H. Abbott wrote:
Also note that Mark Stretton used an awfully inefficient bow for test Dan quotes, which if I recall correctly was 140lbs. The Oregon yew Mary Rose replica Simon Stanley used for tests in The Great Warbow performed better. It's possible Italian yew performs better still.

So what? It will need to be at least ten times more to make any difference against body armour. It is a physical impossibility for a longbow to inflict blunt trauma injury through a steel cuirass.

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James Arlen Gillaspie
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PostPosted: Wed 11 May, 2016 8:27 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

European plate armour of the 15th and 16th century was admirably engineered to prevent blunt force trauma. The globose form of many 15th breastplates makes obvious the principle; by putting a deep thick steel dome over the rib cage, blunt trauma to the ribcage is impossible without penetration or sufficient collapse of the dome.
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James Arlen Gillaspie
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PostPosted: Wed 11 May, 2016 8:44 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

P.S. The charcoal rolled iron is totally inappropriate even for munitions armour of the lowest quality. I've worked with the stuff, and to quote Ian Eaves, "the quality is so poor no smith would have used it" for armour. It has a grain like wood, and splits easily along that grain. The munitions grade wrought iron, as we see in Williams, was about the same as mild steel.

I also note that the 'brigandine' used looks more like a coat of plates, at least in the photos, with none of the classic brigandine shape, which is much the same as a globose breastplate. This argues for a padded garment worn beneath that helps support that shape, though the subtle shaping of the plates themselves (they are not dead flat, people!) also helps give them the common shape. I should point out too that the 'peascod' shape of 16th century breastplates does the same thing as the more obviously shaped globose form, but the way it does it is not so apparent.

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Philip Dyer





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PostPosted: Wed 11 May, 2016 9:20 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I wouldn't be surprised if both are true, considered that the human is geltaionous, highly sensitive mass in bony jar on top of high flexible yet bony structure and the human heart is muscle which takes tiny bit of movement as part of it's functioning and your lungs to (pumping blood and inhaling and exhaling) and pectoral muscles and or fat. Provided a solid hit , force hit to the skull (exactly what helmets where designed to not allow and percussive weapons to allow) the brain is much less biological set up to handle percussive hits that the heart and lungs. So a hit to that could be easier to be effective than a hit to the torso area.
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Jeffrey Faulk




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PostPosted: Wed 11 May, 2016 9:28 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It strikes me (hah) that head shots are more likely to be effective for a few simple reasons:

--It's counter-productive for helmets to be *excessively* bulky-- tires out the neck. Many historic helmets are actually lighter than modern re-enacting helmets.

--They have to be relatively close to the skull; too large and not only is it aesthetically offensive, you run again into the bulkiness issue. Certainly there should be sufficient room in there for padding and a suspension of some sort, but beyond that, it gets awkward.

--As Philip Dyer points out, head blows are simply more likely to be fatal as that's a very short and quick route to injuring someone severely. A (American) football player can be concussed simply from running headalong into another player, how much worse would *concentrated* force from a hammer or mace be?

--You don't have to get THROUGH the metal of the helmet... you just have to hit the helmet hard enough to shock the head and brain inside the helmet. Much easier than a blow on the chest, stomach or limbs.

EDIT: in regard to archery:

While the arrow would have quite a bit of velocity behind it, the actual mass of the projectile is not that great. That means that it's not going to impact with a LOT of force-- you would certainly feel it, but it wouldn't do much damage unless the point goes through, in which case you're not being injured by blunt force trauma, you're being injured by penetration.

Maces, axes, even swords on the other hand, are going to have more mass, and as such when they hit the body there will be trauma beyond the simple velocity of the weapon.
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PostPosted: Wed 11 May, 2016 10:03 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dan Howard wrote:
So what? It will need to be at least ten times more to make any difference against body armour. It is a physical impossibility for a longbow to inflict blunt trauma injury through a steel cuirass.


I like accuracy even if it doesn't affect the argument at hand. According to The Great Warbow test with Oregon yew, a 150lb longbow manages 111-146 J, depending on arrow weight. Again, though, I don't think it's so much a matter of energy as momentum. Even bullets with lots of energy don't necessarily have that much momentum. That's why bullets don't knock people over in the real world like they do in the movies.

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Mikko Kuusirati




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PostPosted: Wed 11 May, 2016 10:04 am    Post subject: Re: Blunt Force Trauma - Medieval Arrows         Reply with quote

Alec Cawdor wrote:
I just watched the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=24amMokvONY

Something about MyBusters never "Sat Right" with me regarding their testing....
That aside, they do show that there will be increased energy transfer & penetration.
In their video they claim it's about 2" more penetration than a standing shooter, which would be significantly worse for a victim.

Huh. I actually misremembered that quite badly! Thanks for setting me straight.

But still, it's 2" more penetration into unprotected foam (of roughly the density of human flesh, sans skin and clothing), resulting from a 31% increase in velocity and 72% increase in energy at point blank range. Even under these optimized not-quite-lab conditions it's not nearly enough to make one jot of difference against armour, be it plate or mail, let alone at any sort of sensible distance for combat archery.

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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Leo Todeschini
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PostPosted: Wed 11 May, 2016 11:19 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I would agree with Dan that blunt force trauma is not a really a possibility. In a nut shell 140j is not that much energy and when dissipated and distributed through a breast plate will not transfer to the inside.

Logically if a bullet proof jacket (which is the same kind of size by its nature) can stop a 10,000j assault rifle round and you live, then 140j onto similar armour (in terms of energy distribution) will do little more noticeable than make a 'clonk!' Penetration of the projectile through the armour changes everything.

As regards velocity and whether it makes a difference mounted I would disagree and say it does make quite a difference.

using 1/2mv2=j, then lets set some assumptions

70g arrow
at 50m/s (a normal kind of speed)
horse travels at 30mph = 13m/s

.070 x 2500/2=87j

if we now add the velocity of the horse into the equation

.070 x 3969/2=139j

because of the square factor of the velocity, relatively small changes in arrow speed change the energy hugely.

In the case of a speeding car, lets assume it is doing 70mph = 31m/s

0.70 x 6561/2= 230j, so it does make a significant difference, thats myth busters for you.

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