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Markus Fischer




Location: Germany
Joined: 14 May 2020
Likes: 1 page

Posts: 81

PostPosted: Fri 04 Jun, 2021 2:53 pm    Post subject: Thickness of Helmets         Reply with quote

I recently watched the YouTube video from Tods Workshop, in which he shot historically accurate longbow arrows from his "lockdown-longbow" which shoots these arrows at the same speed as a british 160lbs yew longbow.

https://youtu.be/hc6dhMV_L54

In this specific video he shot the arrows at his Go-Pro protection device, which is a cheap/medium grade reenactment helmet with a polycarbonate visor.
One of the arrows passed cleanly through the front of the helmet and still had enough energie left to bounce of a steel tube on the helmets inside, as well as almost piercing a hole into the helmets backside.

At first Tod didnt comment much on this, because he thought the reason for that must be the rubbishy quality of the helmet.
But then he decided to measure the thickness at the spot in which the arrow penetrated, and it actually turned out to be 1,8mm thick.

https://youtu.be/v3QqdEX_ka8

And there comes my question:

How thick was the average medival european helmet?

There sure has been some enormous variation, so lets narrow our question down to a late 15th century sallet (i guess thats about what Tod shoots at in the video).

Probably there has also been some big variation within sallets, but if some people who are knowledgeable on this topic where to give some examples, we could come up with an approximation of the avarage sallet-thickness, in order to say how close this unintentional experiment would be.

I for myself dont know a whole lot about helmets, but I recently saw a reproduction of a sallet by Arma Bohemia at the price of 400 or 490USD (I would consider this mid-range for a helmet) with the thickness being 1,5mm, so even less than the helmet in the video.

Of course one must also consider that Tods measuring device might be off a fair bit.

What do you think about this?
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Edward Lee




Location: New York
Joined: 05 Jul 2013

Posts: 386

PostPosted: Fri 04 Jun, 2021 4:13 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Suppousedly helmets thickness are like breastplates, thick on the top/center and it thins out to the sides. For example if the top helmet is 3mm thick and the side might thins out to around 1mm more or less, as it applies to breastplates.

http://myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t=947...p;start=20

http://myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.31601.html

Regarding the 400 euro helmet, it's probably not heat treated. Regarding armor strength there is a big difference between heat treated armor and armor that are not. It is so in modern terms and I would think it applies to the past as well.
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Sean Manning




Location: Austria
Joined: 23 Mar 2008

Posts: 646

PostPosted: Sat 05 Jun, 2021 8:39 am    Post subject: Re: Thickness of Helmets         Reply with quote

Markus Fischer wrote:
How thick was the average medival european helmet?

There sure has been some enormous variation, so lets narrow our question down to a late 15th century sallet (i guess thats about what Tod shoots at in the video).

People who were serious about armour in 14th-17th century Europe seem to have thought about three grades meant to defeat different threats. There was the basic kind which would usually stop a sword, there was the intermediate kind which would stop weaker missile weapons like longbows or pistols, and there was the strongest and heaviest kind which would stop the strongest one-man weapon of the day such as windlass crossbows or arquebuses. Combining all three grades of salet into one average would not be very helpful.

www.bookandsword.com
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Mike Ruhala




Location: Stuart, Florida
Joined: 24 Jul 2011

Posts: 333

PostPosted: Tue 08 Jun, 2021 7:21 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

A historical sallet could be several times thicker in that area than the one Todd shot and he shot it with the equivalent of a 160lbs bow which is pretty darn powerful. A faster impact on a smaller surface area(such as the arrow) also has better puncturing characteristics than a slower impact over a wider area(such as a sword strike.) A lot of historical armor doesn't appear to have been made from thin sheet metal of uniform thickness like we use now, it looks like they were starting with thicker plates and drawing them out to get thick center sections that taper towards the edges. The thicker sections tend to be on the front and/or tops of helmets and some were massively thick in these areas, like a quarter inch! Eek!
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