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Felix Wang




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PostPosted: Tue 27 Jun, 2006 10:20 am    Post subject: Warbows, Crossbows, & Shields         Reply with quote

I have been following the two threads on missile weapons and armour, and the discussion raises the issue of shield penetration. I am neither an archer nor a metallurgist, but I do know a bit about military history, and there is no doubt that for a very long time, the shield was the main defense of most warrior against all missiles. Yet it seems, from what has been said, that bows should have been readily able to penetrate shields contemporary to them.

Case 1: the Migration and Viking era. It has been strongly argued that the idea of the "shortbow" is fundamentally wrong, and that warbows of this period were similar to later longbows, and had considerable penetrating power. We know for certain that the shields of this period were made of thin planks, typically 1/4" to 3/8" thick (6 to 9 mm), maybe faced with leather. We can be reasonably certain that most warriors in some armies were not wearing mail, and that all armies had some men without mail. There is no convincing evidence for fabric armour either, although the practical rationale for padding with mail is clear. There are a few archers mentioned in various accounts of warfare in this time, but they are clearly single individuals and of secondary importance.

Does a warbow easily put an arrow through a 1/4" plank? If it does, why wouldn't archers be much more important than they seem to be in Viking and Anglo-Saxon warfare? If the shield is inadequate, why not carry a heavier shield (or none?)?

Case 2: the Crossbow and the Pavis. The power of late medieval crossbows has been discussed at some length. Pavises have also been discussed - but technical details like their thickness seem to be hard to pin down. I don't think there is any question that pavises were carried as protection against missiles, many of these are rather largish shields. They were constructed of planks, often softwood, covered with leather, parchment, or linen. I suspect the thickness of pavises is in line with other shields - maybe 5/8" thick at most. Some had folding legs so they could stand up on their own, but not all - and a shield of, say, 1 1/2" wood might get a little heavy.

How thick a plank is a late-medieval crossbow expected to pierce (composite prod, steel prod, winched or cranequin?) Would a pavis likely stop a bolt? Again, if the penetration of the bolts is greater, why would pavises be used?

Answers would be appreciated.
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Steven H




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PostPosted: Tue 27 Jun, 2006 11:20 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Case 1:

Most Viking and Migration era shields had a metal, curved shield boss which meant that getting hit in the hand holding the shield is unlikely. With a shield held out at a bent arms length the shaft of an arrow would have to penetrate half a meter through the shield the hit the person behind the shield. And then it would be traveling too slowly to do damage. The shield bearers arm can absorb a portion of the energy as well.

The relative unimportance of archery in Migration and Viking era armies may have to do with the difficulty of wielding warbows. Other threads on English longbows and Asian bows make me think that while archery for hunting food was relatively easy, wielding a warbow took tremendous strength and a specialized skill set.

Case 2:

You call the pavise thin, even though it is around twice the thickness of the shields you mention, so the pavise is likely very tough indeed. An archer standing behind a pavise that stands on its own can stand back a meter, such that to get hurt, the crossbow bolt would have to travel entirely through the shield and still posess enough energy to hurt a person wearing a jack.

Both cases:

Fully penetrating a shield is quite difficult. A bodkin arrow or crossbow bolt may put a crack (not a hole, no material disappears and the wood has a grain so it's a crack) in the shield which is as wide as the arrow shaft. Then the entire length of the arrow shaft has to be pushed through a tight crack thats trying to close again (remember the elasticity of wood). By the time the arrow stops the shaft was moving to slowly to even scratch a person wearing a jack.

The above should help explain why a bullet, laking a shaft, provides better shield penetration.

* * *

Alas my above opinions are not based on any specific research that I know of, so I'd love if someone who's done it, or seen it done could post such experimental info.
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Jaromír Kožiak





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PostPosted: Tue 27 Jun, 2006 11:25 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The thinnest of the viking shields fragments I had seen was cca 1cm thick and the thickest 2,4cm... 1/4" seems to me to be too thin.. such shield would barely survived single blow in one piece... where have you found this?
Secondly - killing a man behind a shield does not require only to penetrate his shield but also to deliver the arrow few dozens cm through it - and the wood slows the arrow considerably . It is of no good to shoot the shield through and then be stopped after 5 cm. Even if you hit the man behind the shield, it isprobable, that his armor will protect him from the projectile that lost most of its kinetic energy.
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Geoff Wood




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PostPosted: Tue 27 Jun, 2006 12:35 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jaromír Kožiak wrote:
The thinnest of the viking shields fragments I had seen was cca 1cm thick and the thickest 2,4cm... 1/4" seems to me to be too thin.. such shield would barely survived single blow in one piece... where have you found this?
Secondly - killing a man behind a shield does not require only to penetrate his shield but also to deliver the arrow few dozens cm through it - and the wood slows the arrow considerably . It is of no good to shoot the shield through and then be stopped after 5 cm. Even if you hit the man behind the shield, it isprobable, that his armor will protect him from the projectile that lost most of its kinetic energy.


Hi Jaromir
This site might help with your question.
http://members.ozemail.com.au/~chrisandpeter/shield/shield.html
Regards
geoff
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Benjamin H. Abbott




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PostPosted: Tue 27 Jun, 2006 12:56 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
Secondly - killing a man behind a shield does not require only to penetrate his shield but also to deliver the arrow few dozens cm through it - and the wood slows the arrow considerably.


Yes, I think this is the key point. It'd take a mighty arrow indeed to punch through a shield and still be able to kill a man whose body is a foot or so away. There is one account from the Crusades of an arrow killed through shield and, most likely, mail. The horseman in question held his shield right against his body.
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Jaromír Kožiak





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PostPosted: Tue 27 Jun, 2006 1:42 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Geoff Wood wrote:
Jaromír Kožiak wrote:
The thinnest of the viking shields fragments I had seen was cca 1cm thick and the thickest 2,4cm... 1/4" seems to me to be too thin.. such shield would barely survived single blow in one piece... where have you found this?
Secondly - killing a man behind a shield does not require only to penetrate his shield but also to deliver the arrow few dozens cm through it - and the wood slows the arrow considerably . It is of no good to shoot the shield through and then be stopped after 5 cm. Even if you hit the man behind the shield, it isprobable, that his armor will protect him from the projectile that lost most of its kinetic energy.


Hi Jaromir
This site might help with your question.
http://members.ozemail.com.au/~chrisandpeter/shield/shield.html
Regards
geoff


Hm... interesting... but all these shields were found in graves.. some of these might be only decorative - used only for the burial.... I still can´t quite figure out how could such shields endure more than few seconds in combat... we use 10 mm thick shields made of durable beech plyvood (a material much better than typical original lime-wood) and even though a really strong axe blow (blunt axe) can get through....
Using the shield to indirect blockink helps a lot, but still... 0,5 cm is just a heavier sheet of paper :o)
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Elling Polden




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PostPosted: Tue 27 Jun, 2006 2:38 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Missile weapons could be quite important in migration era warfare; In dee, there are more types of missile weapons in active use during this period than in the late middle ages. Quite a lot of them are thrown weapons, like javelins, the occasional throwing axe, and Ye Olde Rock.

Basically, dark age warriors are just that; Warriors. They are individuals, called together by a cheiftain, who basically equip themselves. Thus, there are no "units" of archers, or in deed uniform units of any kind; Armies might be divided into groups ("Sveit" in norwegian) but these are formed on a ad hoc basis, or from the followers of a "big man".

Medevial norwegian saga literature sometimes divides battle into three phases; Shots, Throws and Blows.
Basically, armies would shoot at each other for a while, then close, throw spears, javelins, and miscelania at each other, before closing. Other sources make no distinction between missile and hand to hand fighting, just reffering to everything as "Strid", roughly translating as combat.

Often, one warrior would take part in all these stages, first shooting with his bow, then grabbing his shield and spear(s), and advancing into battle.

"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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Felix Wang




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PostPosted: Tue 27 Jun, 2006 7:37 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jaromír Kožiak wrote:
Geoff Wood wrote:
Jaromír Kožiak wrote:
The thinnest of the viking shields fragments I had seen was cca 1cm thick and the thickest 2,4cm... 1/4" seems to me to be too thin.. such shield would barely survived single blow in one piece... where have you found this?
Secondly - killing a man behind a shield does not require only to penetrate his shield but also to deliver the arrow few dozens cm through it - and the wood slows the arrow considerably . It is of no good to shoot the shield through and then be stopped after 5 cm. Even if you hit the man behind the shield, it isprobable, that his armor will protect him from the projectile that lost most of its kinetic energy.


Hi Jaromir
This site might help with your question.
http://members.ozemail.com.au/~chrisandpeter/shield/shield.html
Regards
geoff


Hm... interesting... but all these shields were found in graves.. some of these might be only decorative - used only for the burial.... I still can´t quite figure out how could such shields endure more than few seconds in combat... we use 10 mm thick shields made of durable beech plyvood (a material much better than typical original lime-wood) and even though a really strong axe blow (blunt axe) can get through....
Using the shield to indirect blockink helps a lot, but still... 0,5 cm is just a heavier sheet of paper :o)


But there are no surviving Viking shield fragments that would show a 15 or 18 mm thick plank. The only shield remnants we have show the thickest shield parts to be about 15 mm (5/8"), and that was a 14th century heater of moderate size. Pavises may be different, but they were used against very powerful crossbows, and the length of a crossbow bolt is far less than a clothyard shaft, which would reduce the friction of penetration.
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Felix Wang




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PostPosted: Tue 27 Jun, 2006 7:42 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

As a specific case in point, take Hastings. For the members of the Saxon fyrd, the Bayeux Tapestry clearly shows them to be unarmoured, with no protection but a shield. They are being targetted by Norman archers, who presumably use the Viking-style warbow. Were the men of the fyrd adequately protected by their 6mm 9mm shields?
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Tue 27 Jun, 2006 9:34 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Felix Wang wrote:
As a specific case in point, take Hastings. For the members of the Saxon fyrd, the Bayeux Tapestry clearly shows them to be unarmoured, with no protection but a shield. They are being targetted by Norman archers, who presumably use the Viking-style warbow. Were the men of the fyrd adequately protected by their 6mm 9mm shields?


If full power bows were being used the fight should have been a lot easier for the Normans I would think ?

Since there seems to have been no such thing, according to previous posts on other topics, as " the short bow " the warbow may have been as powerful as the later English warbow. I say may, in the sense that, yes, longbows of great power and size are know to have been used even in Neolithic time. But, not all self bows have to be 6' tall and 150 pounds of pull.

At least in North America many Indian tribes used self bows shorter and less powerful than maximum power warbows.

In part, I would think that training would make the difference, without years of training bows over 80 to 100 pounds would be hard to use. And the English developed a " Bow culture " were stronger bows would lead to stronger archers until the point were the limits of bow draw weights and the limits of how strong the average bowman could become with a lifetime of practice was reached. Without this bow culture there would be in general use only bows of medium power and maybe a few individuals who developed the strength and skill to take advantage of the heavier bows.

Just conjecture, but a shield wall of mostly lightly armoured men should have been easier prey to a massed force of archers using bows as powerful as those of the 14th century English. So, without any proof beyond the previous, I just think that we can at least question the general use of bows at Hastings averaging a pull of 150 pounds if the history of the way the battle was fought is accurate.

Or, we should see how a shield behaves when shot at by a 150 pound longbow versus a more modest 60-80 pound one.
The use of plunging high angle fire at Hasting seems to indicate that direct fire was at least less than 100% effective and that the shield wall was effective until the formation broke up.

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Carl Scholer





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PostPosted: Tue 27 Jun, 2006 11:53 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I’ve been pondering this question too, if only to try understand how a Roman army would do in a theoretical encounter against a later Medieval army Laughing Out Loud I’m slightly divided on the issue but at the moment I tend to agree with consensus here that the shields of both the Romans and Vikings would catch shafts after a foot or two of penetration. I know in tests that I have seen against wood the arrows shaft always gets caught after the arrow had penetrated a foot or two through. These tests were against thicker pieces of wood (1") than would commonly be used in shields but I no longer think that most shields derive their primary defense from their wooden element. Viking, Greek, and Native American shields for example were said to derive the majority of their defensive abilities from multiple layers of raw hide glued together. The Roman scutum and the medieval pavise both utilize layers of glued linen in their construction.

As for tests I can think of only two, both of which were using bows much less powerful than what would have been common to the late middle ages with regards to crossbows and longbows. One was conducted against an authentic cheese glue, rawhide, and board constructed Viking shield. The show tested a 150lbs Longbow before but this time they just had some random guy stand out and shoot an arrow into it, this implies to me a bow of much less draw weight, maybe 50 or 70lbs. In any case the arrowhead almost penetrated all the way into the shield. Against a shield without leather reinforcement the arrow broke one of the planks loose and continued through the shield. On an interesting note, in order to encourage his troops in an early battle against the Germans, a Roman commander made the comment that the Germans shields were reinforced with neither mettle nor leather. The conquistadors of the De Soto expedition put a wood and leather target against a native bowman whose stone tipped arrow penetrated a foot and a half through the shield.

It would be fun to see how an authentic linen/rawhide reinforced scutum or Viking shield would respond against a heavy weight warbow or a powerful crossbow.
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Jaromír Kožiak





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PostPosted: Wed 28 Jun, 2006 12:32 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Felix Wang wrote:
But there are no surviving Viking shield fragments that would show a 15 or 18 mm thick plank. The only shield remnants we have show the thickest shield parts to be about 15 mm (5/8"), and that was a 14th century heater of moderate size. Pavises may be different, but they were used against very powerful crossbows, and the length of a crossbow bolt is far less than a clothyard shaft, which would reduce the friction of penetration.


There are some tables showing the thicknes of viking shields to be anything from 0.5cm to monstrous 4 cm at the website that was linked here previously.
Look here - table 2 http://members.ozemail.com.au/~chrisandpeter/...html#Table
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David Ruff




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PostPosted: Wed 28 Jun, 2006 12:39 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Carl Scholer wrote:
I’ve been pondering this question too, if only to try understand how a Roman army would do in a theoretical encounter against a later Medieval army Laughing Out Loud I’m slightly divided on the issue but at the moment I tend to agree with consensus here that the shields of both the Romans and Vikings would catch shafts after a foot or two of penetration. I know in tests that I have seen against wood the arrows shaft always gets caught after the arrow had penetrated a foot or two through. These tests were against thicker pieces of wood (1") than would commonly be used in shields but I no longer think that most shields derive their primary defense from their wooden element. Viking, Greek, and Native American shields for example were said to derive the majority of their defensive abilities from multiple layers of raw hide glued together. The Roman scutum and the medieval pavise both utilize layers of glued linen in their construction.

As for tests I can think of only two, both of which were using bows much less powerful than what would have been common to the late middle ages with regards to crossbows and longbows. One was conducted against an authentic cheese glue, rawhide, and board constructed Viking shield. The show tested a 150lbs Longbow before but this time they just had some random guy stand out and shoot an arrow into it, this implies to me a bow of much less draw weight, maybe 50 or 70lbs. In any case the arrowhead almost penetrated all the way into the shield. Against a shield without leather reinforcement the arrow broke one of the planks loose and continued through the shield. On an interesting note, in order to encourage his troops in an early battle against the Germans, a Roman commander made the comment that the Germans shields were reinforced with neither mettle nor leather. The conquistadors of the De Soto expedition put a wood and leather target against a native bowman whose stone tipped arrow penetrated a foot and a half through the shield.

It would be fun to see how an authentic linen/rawhide reinforced scutum or Viking shield would respond against a heavy weight warbow or a powerful crossbow.



Altho not period

i have shot many 1" thick laminate plywood boards with bows and crossbows as i use the stuff as backstops (in layers) for the heavy crossbows i make and test here. I know that on one of the 500lb crossbows from about 80 yards the plywood didn't stop the bolt, the bolt carried on and sunk into a hickory tree sum 20 yards behind it. On a 150lb it sunk 13" into the plywood from 60 yards (modern glass prod tho). On a 85lb self bow the plywood stopped the arrow after 15" of travel, the bow was hickory and osage.

I to would be VERY interested in seeing period construction shields getting hit. I have the weapons if someones got the shields


Incidently - when i fire heavy crossbows here, i use 1" thick ply thats layered (usually 6 layers) with gaps of 12" between layers and have shot crossbows that blow through them all. Now, whether or not its been solid hits or hitting other holes as the bolts went through i do not know, but i have seen references to the heavy crossbows being able to penetrate 12" of bound oak at range. Considering the crossbows pulled 1500+ lbs and some say to 3000lbs firing a bolt like that would be impressive to be behind.

Tonight i got the drawings of a 800lb crossbow prod AND a 2000lb prod for a crossbow from robin in canada whom builds period heavy crossbows and modern match crossbows for a living - same prod thats in this pic

[/img]http://www.thecrossbowmansden.com/Projects_files/bows2.jpg[img]

Looks like this will be the test prod for the other thread on the top end heavy we will be using.... Anyone wanna fire it at some period pavices?

David

[/img]
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Geoff Wood




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PostPosted: Wed 28 Jun, 2006 3:33 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jaromír Kožiak wrote:

Hm... interesting... but all these shields were found in graves.. some of these might be only decorative - used only for the burial.... I still can´t quite figure out how could such shields endure more than few seconds in combat... we use 10 mm thick shields made of durable beech plyvood (a material much better than typical original lime-wood) and even though a really strong axe blow (blunt axe) can get through....
Using the shield to indirect blockink helps a lot, but still... 0,5 cm is just a heavier sheet of paper :o)


I agree, decorative is a possibility. They are pieces of evidence, to be taken in conjunction with any others we can get hold of. On the decorative suggestion, it does seem a little odd that people of the period would place real metal objects (e.g. swords, spears) in graves, and even the metal parts (e.g. boss) of shields, but decide that the wooden parts were too valuable to bury, so they'd put a decorative thin wooden bit in its place. That seems to suggest wood was more valuable to them than metal?
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Jaromír Kožiak





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PostPosted: Wed 28 Jun, 2006 4:30 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Geoff Wood wrote:
Jaromír Kožiak wrote:

Hm... interesting... but all these shields were found in graves.. some of these might be only decorative - used only for the burial.... I still can´t quite figure out how could such shields endure more than few seconds in combat... we use 10 mm thick shields made of durable beech plyvood (a material much better than typical original lime-wood) and even though a really strong axe blow (blunt axe) can get through....
Using the shield to indirect blockink helps a lot, but still... 0,5 cm is just a heavier sheet of paper :o)


I agree, decorative is a possibility. They are pieces of evidence, to be taken in conjunction with any others we can get hold of. On the decorative suggestion, it does seem a little odd that people of the period would place real metal objects (e.g. swords, spears) in graves, and even the metal parts (e.g. boss) of shields, but decide that the wooden parts were too valuable to bury, so they'd put a decorative thin wooden bit in its place. That seems to suggest wood was more valuable to them than metal?


Who knows... when we bury our dead, we often dress them in expensive suits and jewelery, but use black painted paper shoes which look just like the ordinary leather ones...
I do not suggest that wood was expensive - just that these shields might not have been intendet to be used in combat, thus there was no need to make the shield really thick. But it is just a speculation.
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Randall Moffett




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PostPosted: Wed 28 Jun, 2006 7:00 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I suppose they might have another use as well. If I remember the shields were found on the ship as perhaps the ships decoration or perhaps use? in that case they could be a whole different beast than what someone uses in combat to protect themselves. I think that as for many the shield was their primary defense it had to have held up at least during one battle or it would have quickl;y evolved to if it was very thin.

Randall
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Wed 28 Jun, 2006 7:47 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Another question is how reusable / durable was a shield supposed to be ? Minor nicks might be ignored or repaired, a hole patched with a glued piece of wood, leather covering replaced or also patched ? if painted and repatched it might still have a long useful life.

A lot of technique, deflecting and avoiding hard stops plus resilience might waste a lot of the energy and make making a hole in a shield more difficult than when it's shot at leaning against a backstop.

Metal rims seem to come and go out of fashion as well as the possibility of metal strips reinforcing the surface on the areas most likely to come in contact with the edge of a blade when deflecting.

The experience of reinactors who simulate large battles and hit in earnest ( With some control for the sake of safety ) should give some idea about shield survivability.

Looking at my Kite shield from Mercenary's Tailor with 1/2" thick poplar, 4-5 oz. leather covering and the very tough looking rawhide rim I think it should be able to get you through at least one major battle before needing to be replaced or major repair.

Would arrows stick or bounce if the shield was hit at an angle ? Possible ? Probable ? A large Danish axe would seem to be the best shield destroyer. Oh, since Kite shields were used by Knights I imagine against couched lances at times, the ease that a shield can deflect a lance point as opposed to the point sticking into the surface should make a lot of difference to the result !? As mentioned earlier an arrow might stick out many inches from the back of a pierced shield but the remaining energy might be too low to pierce maille & gambison: Would still be distracting and time would be taken at the first opportunity to break off the arrow(s) at least the part on the inside side of the shield. Oh, and the shield would have done it's job in combination with other armour, maybe even leather armour would make the difference between OUCH and DEAD.

Wonder if the design philosophy might differ in that at some periods shield might be intended to be longlasting and at other times designed for only one major use ? A heavy all steel 16th century rondache versus a light wicker shield of an Assyrian light javelin man or slinger ?

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Rod Parsons




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PostPosted: Wed 28 Jun, 2006 9:19 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

[quote="Jaromír Koz<caron>iak"]
Geoff Wood wrote:
Jaromír Koz<caron>iak wrote:


I agree, decorative is a possibility. They are pieces of evidence, to be taken in conjunction with any others we can get hold of. On the decorative suggestion, it does seem a little odd that people of the period would place real metal objects (e.g. swords, spears) in graves, and even the metal parts (e.g. boss) of shields, but decide that the wooden parts were too valuable to bury, so they'd put a decorative thin wooden bit in its place. That seems to suggest wood was more valuable to them than metal?



Where shield furniture is found in burials, such as Sutton Hoo, the metal furniture was not placed separately in the grave, rather the shield was buried intact but the wood did not survive, leaving the metal components to be found in situ.
Rod.
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Felix Wang




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PostPosted: Wed 28 Jun, 2006 9:29 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jaromír Kožiak wrote:
Felix Wang wrote:
But there are no surviving Viking shield fragments that would show a 15 or 18 mm thick plank. The only shield remnants we have show the thickest shield parts to be about 15 mm (5/8"), and that was a 14th century heater of moderate size. Pavises may be different, but they were used against very powerful crossbows, and the length of a crossbow bolt is far less than a clothyard shaft, which would reduce the friction of penetration.


There are some tables showing the thicknes of viking shields to be anything from 0.5cm to monstrous 4 cm at the website that was linked here previously.
Look here - table 2 http://members.ozemail.com.au/~chrisandpeter/...html#Table


But, if I look at the third column of table 2, I see that every piece of wood over 1.4 cm is board and the grip together. The extra thickness is the bar of the wooden grip - see the first picture image B, which helped stabilize the planks. The board-only thickness is from 5 to 14 mm.

The disposable nature of shields is quite true, as Jean mentions. However, a shield that fails against the first arrow that hits it isn't terribly useful, whereas a shield may take a number of spear thrusts or sword blows before coming apart. Even then, the boss will protect the left hand to some extent (for Viking type shields), whereas the boss is of no significant defensive value against an archer.

It is the information that David Ruff posted that really got me to start this thread. His experience is that several inches of plywood can be pierced - which is probably equivalent to even more planks.

Viking and High medieval shields were generally constructed with one layer of leather/parchment/linen on either side, glued in place. There are a few shields with multiple layers of linen - those of Henry V and the Black Prince, as I recall. The Classical Greek aspsis had one layer of covering, as I recall; the descriptions of Homer indicate earlier shields may have been of multi-layered hide construction. Native American shields could be of two layers of hide. As far as I have heard, pavises had one layer of covering on either side. So I am not sure that the dynamics of multi-layered fabric armour apply to shields - the shields had usually one layer, and glue was always used to fasten it to the wood; obviously quilting doesn't occur.
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Rod Parsons




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PostPosted: Wed 28 Jun, 2006 10:03 am    Post subject: Re: Durability of shields         Reply with quote

From Oakeshott's "The Archeology of Weapons" quoting from Kormac's Saga on Holmganga law.

"Each man must have three shields, and when these are made useless he must stand upon the cloak, even if he had moved out of it before, and defend himself with his weapons".

"Thorgils held the shield for his brother, and Thord Arndisaron that of Bersi, who struck the first blow and cleft Kormac's shield. Kormac struck at Bersi in the same way. Each of them spoiled three shields for the other".

Rod.
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