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Bartek Strojek




Location: Poland
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PostPosted: Thu 23 Aug, 2012 4:49 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Peteris R. wrote:

How well, though? Well enough to matter? Wouldn't a padded garment do the same at a lower price tag?


Of course enough to matter, why wouldn't it? WTF?!

If another padded garment would do the same at lower price, then people wouldn't be spending big to enormous money on mail...

You seem to be suggesting that mail didn't protect very well, not sure why.
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Randall Moffett




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PostPosted: Thu 23 Aug, 2012 5:13 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I think the issue here is we are looking at this as a simple A is better than B. I think the issue is scale might have been better at deflecting BFT but as it can only cover certain areas of the body it is not better than mail at coverage. Further just because something is better at one aspect of protection does not mean the other is worthless. When these guys were looking for armour they needed to look at what the most likely danger was and find a way to negate it. When they did this in much of the Middle East and in Europe mail, even though seemingly more expensive, was selected. My guess is it is not better at BFT and perhaps even as good as scale and lamellar against arrows and such but it had several major advantages. One is it could flex everywhere. This means the guy fighting does not have really any limits on his movement. Further because of this it can cover more or less the entire body. We have not looked at repairing these armours or their upkeep but mail likely was easier as well.

So were scale and lamellar superior in some aspects, likely. Were these aspects enough to make them overall better to mail, not often.

RPM
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Sean Manning




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PostPosted: Thu 23 Aug, 2012 8:42 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Peteris R. wrote:
Dan Howard wrote:
Peteris R. wrote:
But if lamellar does not cost much more, why not just make a coat of it? Plus what is the point of the increased coverage mail offers when it doesn't actually protect the added area?

The obvious answer is that lamellar was not considered to be better than mail. We can make lots of guesses as to why but we'll never know for sure.


So there is just no answer?

No, the answer is "you are assuming some things which we don't know are true, and assuming some things which we know are false." We don't know the relative protection of different types of maille, scale, and lamellar because there have been no published experiments. We do know that any common metal armour would provide good protection against spears and arrows, and that cloth armours strong enough to rely on as a main defense were heavy and bulky. See Dan`s "Maille: Unchained" article if you want to see the evidence for maille.
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Gary Teuscher





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PostPosted: Thu 23 Aug, 2012 8:45 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
You seem to be suggesting that mail didn't protect very well, not sure why.


That seems to be the biggest part of his argument, that somehow mail is inferior to lammelar/scale, and by a good margin, though I'd like to see some elaboration as to what helped form this opinion.
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Peteris R.




Location: Latvia
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PostPosted: Fri 24 Aug, 2012 6:40 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Gary Teuscher wrote:
Quote:
You seem to be suggesting that mail didn't protect very well, not sure why.


That seems to be the biggest part of his argument, that somehow mail is inferior to lammelar/scale, and by a good margin, though I'd like to see some elaboration as to what helped form this opinion.


It seems to be the historical consensus that mail was quite weak. Many books and articles dismiss mail as near useless. So is there anything to contradict this opinion?
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Bartek Strojek




Location: Poland
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PostPosted: Fri 24 Aug, 2012 7:08 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Peteris R. wrote:


It seems to be the historical consensus that mail was quite weak. Many books and articles dismiss mail as near useless. So is there anything to contradict this opinion?


Those articles claims can't even survive elementary logic - if something was 'near useless" why people from Roman legionaries to 17th century riders would buy it for fat money and use it? Eek!

I can recommend this article here on myArmoury for some perspective about this:

http://www.myArmoury.com/feature_mail.html
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P. Frank




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PostPosted: Fri 24 Aug, 2012 7:25 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Peteris R. wrote:
Gary Teuscher wrote:
Quote:
You seem to be suggesting that mail didn't protect very well, not sure why.


That seems to be the biggest part of his argument, that somehow mail is inferior to lammelar/scale, and by a good margin, though I'd like to see some elaboration as to what helped form this opinion.


It seems to be the historical consensus that mail was quite weak. Many books and articles dismiss mail as near useless. So is there anything to contradict this opinion?


I would really be interested in the sources of said claims, because that has to be the first time I hear something like this.
Would you happen to have such a source at hand?
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Gary Teuscher





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PostPosted: Fri 24 Aug, 2012 8:49 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
It seems to be the historical consensus that mail was quite weak. Many books and articles dismiss mail as near useless. So is there anything to contradict this opinion?


Maybe this stems from the "longbows piercing through mail like butter at ranges of over 200 yards" remarks on some longbow sites. Confused

Please don't look at these ridiculous comments as being factual by any means.

Mail (Particularily with a padded garment beneath or on top) was very good at stopping arrows.

And mail was almost impossible to pierce with an edge.
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Matthew Amt




Location: Laurel, MD, USA
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PostPosted: Fri 24 Aug, 2012 9:29 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Peteris R. wrote:
It seems to be the historical consensus that mail was quite weak. Many books and articles dismiss mail as near useless. So is there anything to contradict this opinion?


Wow. I think you need to read different books! Because otherwise, the only conclusion we can make is that numerous cultures from around 300 BC spent huge quantities of money and valuable metal to dress literally millions of soldiers and warriors in dullish-looking heavy clothing so that they'd have a harder time fighting but not be significantly protected from their opponents' weapons. Luckily the expense of mail was such that usually it was the wealthier men who were so handicapped! Was mail perhaps an invention of clever peace-mongers to get their warriors killed off? Were those warriors so stupid that they kept falling for this? Is that why we are so much more peaceful and smart today? Hmmmmm.....

Mail worked well enough for the people who wore it at the time, and was for some reason better, in their opinions, than the alternatives. Modern sources that call it "weak" or "useless" are simply wrong. That's why we keep studying stuff like this!

Matthew
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Matt J.





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PostPosted: Fri 24 Aug, 2012 9:50 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

So... would you say lamellar is harder to penetrate than mail?
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Bartek Strojek




Location: Poland
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PostPosted: Fri 24 Aug, 2012 10:37 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Matt J. wrote:
So... would you say lamellar is harder to penetrate than mail?


Seeing the vast range of different mail rings size, weights and general diversity (without going outside Europe even) that question would require some 'on average' question.

And since our base of at least sensible experiments is very small, it's impossible to form any real generalizations. Worried
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Matthew Amt




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PostPosted: Fri 24 Aug, 2012 1:31 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Matt J. wrote:
So... would you say lamellar is harder to penetrate than mail?


I'd be inclined to say, with a LOT of caveats, and considering (say) the median or average of each type, probably yes! In other words, the lightest thinnest lamellar was probably harder to penetrate than the lightest thinnest mail, and the thickest heaviest lamellar was probably harder to penetrate than the thickest heaviest mail. But because of its limited flexibility, lamellar was generally used more like plate armor, in distinct pieces strapped on, or a short cuirass. A full hauberk of mail goes on almost instantly, and will cover completely, with complete freedom of movement. That's an incredible advantage!

Matthew
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Nadeem Ahmad




Location: Nottingham / Sheffield, UK
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PostPosted: Fri 24 Aug, 2012 2:20 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'm rather late joining this discussion but a few points stood out.

Gary Teuscher wrote:
Quote:
But if lamellar does not cost much more, why not just make a coat of it?


Because you cannot make one flexible enough to offer protection for the entire body including arms/legs/head


Not quite. Rigid lamellar, made with 7 or 8 holes and no slack in the vertical lacing, is extremely stiff, but introduce even a centimetre or so of slack / hanging vertically and the structure becomes extremely flexible. In fact, I have made my lamellar like this. It fits better and is vastly more flexible. To help stabilise it a little, I wear a tight belt / sash around it at my waist.

And this is without delving into 13-hole true hanging lamellar (such as the Tibetan coats) which are very very flexible, and more "outlandish" lacing styles such as the Terracotta Army lamellar, which included full-length sleeves. Judging by a depiction of this lamellar on Central Asian cavalry, the sleeves were flexible enough to allow an archer to draw a bow fully back (to the ear). Quite flexible - but the lacing is totally exposed. I plan on starting work on a suit of Terracotta Army lamellar at some point.

I will agree that it is impossible to protect the insides of a joint with lamellar though.

Matt J. wrote:
So... would you say lamellar is harder to penetrate than mail?


I have seen thicknesses ranging from 0.5 mm for Roman "locking scale" all the way up to 2 mm for lamellae from Central Asia (IIRC). Obviously there is a lot of variation. No idea what the average is, but I would guess that lamellar (on its own) would be on the thicker end.

I'm assuming we're discussing steel / iron lamellar here, not hardened leather, bronze / brass, bone, horn, hooves, etc ... the material adds even more variability in!



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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Fri 24 Aug, 2012 3:12 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Matt J. wrote:
So... would you say lamellar is harder to penetrate than mail?

Not if it is of a similar weight and material as a mail equivalent. Obviously if you make it heavier, it provides more protection. Just like any armour.
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Kurt Scholz





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PostPosted: Fri 24 Aug, 2012 8:39 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dan Howard wrote:
Matt J. wrote:
So... would you say lamellar is harder to penetrate than mail?

Not if it is of a similar weight and material as a mail equivalent. Obviously if you make it heavier, it provides more protection. Just like any armour.


Aren't there some armour designs that are more weight efficient against certain threat types?
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Timo Nieminen




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PostPosted: Fri 24 Aug, 2012 10:57 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Kurt Scholz wrote:
Dan Howard wrote:
Matt J. wrote:
So... would you say lamellar is harder to penetrate than mail?

Not if it is of a similar weight and material as a mail equivalent. Obviously if you make it heavier, it provides more protection. Just like any armour.


Aren't there some armour designs that are more weight efficient against certain threat types?


Probably. Lamellar and brigandine give better protection than solid plate for the same thickness. This has been seen in testing (see, e.g., the tests in Soar's "Secrets of the English War Bow"), and is also theoretically expected. The individual plate of brigandine or row of lamellar armour is much freer to move in response to the impact of an arrow, which means that the relative velocity of the arrow relative to the armour is reduced, which is equivalent to being hit by a slower (and lower energy) arrow.

Whether this thickness advantage translates into a weight advantage, I don't know, since the plates/lamellae overlap, and there is the weight of the other components of the armour.

This "flexibility advantage" should also help mail protect against arrows.

I expect solid plate to be better than flexible armours against things like warhammers, for the same weight.

"In addition to being efficient, all pole arms were quite nice to look at." - Cherney Berg, A hideous history of weapons, Collier 1963.
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Sat 25 Aug, 2012 12:19 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

If you have the same flexible construction but thicker plates then you still get better protection. There is no way around it.
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Kurt Scholz





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PostPosted: Sat 25 Aug, 2012 5:15 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

So very small plates with good padding would reduce arrow impact most? Mail would seem somehow equivalent if you master the issue of rings not being destroyed upon impact.
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Peteris R.




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PostPosted: Sat 25 Aug, 2012 7:59 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Kurt Scholz wrote:
So very small plates with good padding would reduce arrow impact most? Mail would seem somehow equivalent if you master the issue of rings not being destroyed upon impact.


But that's the problem, isn't it - the rings get pierced more easily than plates. Which would mean that lamellar and scale are superior.
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Sat 25 Aug, 2012 1:16 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Kurt Scholz wrote:
So very small plates with good padding would reduce arrow impact most?

We don't really know this. There haven't been any tests designed to examine that aspect of armour. Personally I doubt it. If you examine armour of similar weights, I'll bet that solid plate still gives the best protection.
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