Info Favorites Register Log in
myArmoury.com Discussion Forums

Forum index Memberlist Usergroups Spotlight Topics Search
Forum Index > Historical Arms Talk > Who wore thicker armor, cavalry or pikemen? Reply to topic
This is a standard topic  
Author Message
Henry O.





Joined: 18 Jun 2016

Posts: 152

PostPosted: Mon 01 Aug, 2016 7:16 pm    Post subject: Who wore thicker armor, cavalry or pikemen?         Reply with quote

Roger Williams claimed that few horses could carry a rider wearing more than "pistol proof" armor while around 15-20% of pikemen would wear armor and helmets which were "proof of the caliver" at the front (albeit "discharged ten or twelve score off").

What do we know about surviving armor pieces? is there any tendency for infantry helmets or breastplates to be thicker than cavalry ones?
View user's profile Send private message
Dan Howard




Location: Maitland, NSW, Australia
Joined: 08 Dec 2004

Spotlight topics: 2
Posts: 3,190

PostPosted: Mon 01 Aug, 2016 10:23 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

How does Williams account for Hussars wearing 8-9 mm breastplates and surviving cannonshot? A survey of the relevant surviving pieces will show that cavalry breastplates went up to around 9mm while infantry breastplates tended to top out at 4-5mm.
Author: Bronze Age Military Equipment, Pen and Sword Books
View user's profile Send private message
Henry O.





Joined: 18 Jun 2016

Posts: 152

PostPosted: Tue 02 Aug, 2016 12:49 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Good question, I don't think he fought in Poland. He did say that some officers and soldiers might have armor which was "proof of the musket", such armor would be used during assaults to scout out the enemy walls for breaches. But he seemed to be under the impression that such armor would be too heavy for most soldiers to fight in for long periods of time.

The Hussar feature page claims that the average breastplate was around 3-5mm.
View user's profile Send private message
Dan Howard




Location: Maitland, NSW, Australia
Joined: 08 Dec 2004

Spotlight topics: 2
Posts: 3,190

PostPosted: Tue 02 Aug, 2016 6:30 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I know of at least 6 examples that are 7mm or more. Three of them are in the Museum of the Polish Army in Warsaw.
inv no. 882x is 9mm
inv no. 629x is 7mm
inv no. 678x is 7mm

Author: Bronze Age Military Equipment, Pen and Sword Books
View user's profile Send private message
Dan Howard




Location: Maitland, NSW, Australia
Joined: 08 Dec 2004

Spotlight topics: 2
Posts: 3,190

PostPosted: Tue 02 Aug, 2016 7:01 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Alan Williams has a list of 199 breastplates and their thickneses on pp.913-915. The heaviest infantry breastplate is 4mm. The heaviest cavalry breastplate is 8mm. He lists 17 cavalry breastplates that are over 5mm.
Author: Bronze Age Military Equipment, Pen and Sword Books
View user's profile Send private message
James Arlen Gillaspie
Industry Professional



Location: upstate NY
Joined: 10 Nov 2005

Posts: 527

PostPosted: Tue 02 Aug, 2016 9:08 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Rittmeister Frye might be the best person to explain this, but I think the explanation might be in the way the armour is used. Infantry in Roger Williams' day faced firearms at a distance, but I seem to remember the use of pistols by heavy cavalry being very close up, the ideal being to have the muzzle touching your opponent's breastplate.
jamesarlen.com
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Henry O.





Joined: 18 Jun 2016

Posts: 152

PostPosted: Tue 02 Aug, 2016 1:33 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

James Arlen Gillaspie wrote:
Rittmeister Frye might be the best person to explain this, but I think the explanation might be in the way the armour is used. Infantry in Roger Williams' day faced firearms at a distance, but I seem to remember the use of pistols by heavy cavalry being very close up, the ideal being to have the muzzle touching your opponent's breastplate.


That's what's kind of confusing about his description. You would think that "proof of the caliver" would be stronger than "proof of of the pistol", but if the pistol proofing was done close up and the caliver proofing was done at 200 yards then surely the caliver shot wouldn't have retained enough energy to do much damage.

Further confusing it is how he talks about "good proof", " reasonable proof" and "light proof". With " reasonable proof" being defined as "proof of the caliver at 200-240 yards".
View user's profile Send private message
Daniel Staberg




Location: Gothenburg/Sweden
Joined: 30 Apr 2005
Likes: 2 pages
Reading list: 2 books

Posts: 562

PostPosted: Tue 02 Aug, 2016 3:30 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dan Howard wrote:
How does Williams account for Hussars wearing 8-9 mm breastplates and surviving cannonshot? A survey of the relevant surviving pieces will show that cavalry breastplates went up to around 9mm while infantry breastplates tended to top out at 4-5mm.

You are aware that hussar equipment in the Hungarian style was only introduced into the Commonwealth armies by Stefan Batory in 1576-1577 and it took until the 1590's for it to become widespread? Roger Williams wrote before 1590 and at the time the hussars had none of their later fame and reputation.

Also the armour in use at the time was not particularly thick as the Hungarian armour was not designed for a combat enviroment with extensive firearms use. (The main threat being Ottoman archery, lances and sidearms.) The Hussar breastplates with exceptional thickness usually date to the 17th Century, in particular the later half and had evolved as a counter to warfare with first the Swedes and later the reformed Russian army both of which made extensive use of firearms.
And the well equipped Towarzysz only made up a minority of the hussaria, the bulk of the troops were the pacholiks who had to make do with cheaper munitions armour if they got armour at all.

"There is nothing more hazardous than to venture a battle. One can lose it
by a thousand unforseen circumstances, even when one has thorougly taken all
precautions that the most perfect military skill allows for."
-Fieldmarshal Lennart Torstensson.
View user's profile Send private message


Display posts from previous:   
Forum Index > Historical Arms Talk > Who wore thicker armor, cavalry or pikemen?
Page 1 of 1 Reply to topic
All times are GMT - 8 Hours

View previous topic :: View next topic
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum
You cannot attach files in this forum
You can download files in this forum






All contents © Copyright 2003-2018 myArmoury.com — All rights reserved
Discussion forums powered by phpBB © The phpBB Group
Switch to the Basic Low-bandwidth Version of the forum