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Benjamin H. Abbott




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PostPosted: Wed 20 Nov, 2013 9:38 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sorry, I missed that qualification! However, I'm not sure the Williams tests clearly indicate how mail compares with iron plate because of the matter of padding. The mail tests involved a very substantial quilted jack, while numbers for plate assume a much lighter padded garment. (A merely 15x15-inch section of quilted jack - about the minimum to cover from my shoulders down to my navel - would weigh 3lbs. A hauberk-sized quilted jack would easily weigh 15+lbs.) Plate combined with the quilted jack instead of padding would provide better protection. Even using padding for plate and the quilted jack for mail, by Williams's numbers 1.8mm iron plate plus padding requires 120 J to defeat via arrow, the same as mail plus quilted jack. Is 1.8mm plate plus padding heavier than the mail plus quilted jack? (The quilted jack weighs five times more than the padding per unit of area.)
Read my historically inspired fantasy fiction in here. I walk along a winding path set by Ludovico Ariosto, William Morris, J. R. R. Tolkien, and Ursula Le Guin.

Out of doubt, out of dark to the day's rising
I came singing in the sun, sword unsheathing.
To hope's end I rode and to heart's breaking:
Now for wrath, now for ruin and a red nightfall!
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Philip Dyer




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PostPosted: Wed 20 Nov, 2013 9:42 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Benjamin H. Abbott wrote:
Sorry, I missed that qualification! However, I'm not sure the Williams tests clearly indicate how mail compares with iron plate because of the matter of padding. The mail tests involved a very substantial quilted jack, while numbers for plate assume a much lighter padded garment. (A merely 15x15-inch section of quilted jack - about the minimum to cover from my shoulders down to my navel - would weigh 3lbs. A hauberk-sized quilted jack would easily weigh 15+lbs.) Plate combined with the quilted jack instead of padding would provide better protection. Even using padding for plate and the quilted jack for mail, by Williams's numbers 1.8mm iron plate plus padding requires 120 J to defeat via arrow, the same as mail plus quilted jack. Is 1.8mm plate plus padding heavier than the mail plus quilted jack? (The quilted jack weighs five times more than the padding per unit of area.)

Also, how does surface steeled iron compare , mail , and pure steel plates?
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Jaroslav Jakubov




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PostPosted: Thu 21 Nov, 2013 11:30 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Recently i bought "A Storm of Spears" and book contains a lot of useful info about speed of thrust for different grips (overarm, underarm etc..) Overall, spears were told to have about 6-9m/s speed of thrust (less with overarm grip). Yet it would be quite interesting to know, how much pike was different from spear thrusts.. using both hands must have some effect on it, yet a lot of speed would be negated by pike weight (5-6kg).. my current assumption is that pike could probably get as high as 5-6m/s, but maybe i'm wrong. what is your opinion on this? are there any books that investigated Pike Phalanx in same depth as Storm of Spears did for Hoplite Phalanx?
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Benjamin H. Abbott




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PostPosted: Thu 21 Nov, 2013 10:04 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Accord to a thread over at Roman Army Talk, the book gives 46 J as the energy of low or couched dory thrust. That's consistent with the kinetic energy of underarm knife stab tests, though some folks managed 60+ J. Overarm knife stabs went up to 115 J. In theory spears should do better because they are heavier. I am also skeptical that any of these numbers represent the performance of a strong historical warrior. I know stabbing is not the most powerful motion, but athletes can deliver so much more energy with golf club and baseball bat swings - 200 to 330+ J - and thrown javelins - 360 J. War bows can deliver 100-150+ J. I do not get the impression from period sources that one-handed thrusts were so much weaker than arrows. Two-handed thrusts from polearms seem stronger. The pollaxe thrust in the mail test above did better than arrows delivering 108 J. I think these lower KE figures will end up being like the ones previously cited for bows.
Read my historically inspired fantasy fiction in here. I walk along a winding path set by Ludovico Ariosto, William Morris, J. R. R. Tolkien, and Ursula Le Guin.

Out of doubt, out of dark to the day's rising
I came singing in the sun, sword unsheathing.
To hope's end I rode and to heart's breaking:
Now for wrath, now for ruin and a red nightfall!
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Timo Nieminen




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PostPosted: Fri 22 Nov, 2013 12:23 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

These low energy figures are the work done by the hand pushing on the knife pushing on the target during the stab. The instrumented "weapon" used for such tests is usually very light, and its motion before impact doesn't contribute much (if at all) to the energy of the hit. (The energy of the moving hand and forearm should contribute.)

With a heavy weapon, once it's up to moderate speed, you have a lot of energy before impact. That gets delivered to the target. The usual knife stab energy measurements don't include that.

"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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Bartek Strojek




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PostPosted: Fri 22 Nov, 2013 2:21 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Benjamin H. Abbott wrote:
Accord to a thread over at Roman Army Talk, the book gives 46 J as the energy of low or couched dory thrust. That's consistent with the kinetic energy of underarm knife stab tests, though some folks managed 60+ J. Overarm knife stabs went up to 115 J. In theory spears should do better because they are heavier. I am also skeptical that any of these numbers represent the performance of a strong historical warrior. I know stabbing is not the most powerful motion, but athletes can deliver so much more energy with golf club and baseball bat swings - 200 to 330+ J - and thrown javelins - 360 J. War bows can deliver 100-150+ J. I do not get the impression from period sources that one-handed thrusts were so much weaker than arrows. Two-handed thrusts from polearms seem stronger. The pollaxe thrust in the mail test above did better than arrows delivering 108 J. I think these lower KE figures will end up being like the ones previously cited for bows.


Knife is usually way under the pound. Arrow is few ounces at most.

Poleaxe is few kg, spear is usually heavyish as well.

Momentums, stiffnesses, amount of strong muscles engaged are completely different.

So I wouldn't bet anything at all that this poleaxe really had to have more than 108 J to do much better than arrows. Might easily had that 60 something. Before we even go into geometry of steel points...

KE on it's own is relatively useless stat, doesn't tell much.
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Benjamin H. Abbott




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PostPosted: Fri 22 Nov, 2013 7:24 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The knife stab tests by Horsfall et al included fairly elaborate sensors. Their results stand generally consistent with a number of other similar studies. While kinetic energy isn't the only thing that matters, for penetrating armor it's a good measure. As far as the dory numbers from A Storm of Spears go, they appear to be calculated simply from the weight of the weapon (1.4kg) and its velocity (8.1-8.3 m/s). The Horsfall tests suggest that such calculations may underestimate the energy delivered by 50% or more. (The test knife weighed 0.6kg and the highest velocity was 11.6 m/s, which delivered 115 J rather than 40 J.)

Anyways, as I wrote above, I suspect further testing will suggest that historical warriors hit harder than the folks tested by Horsfall and company. After all, how many semi-randomly selected moderns could draw a 150lb bow on the first or second try? (I'd be lucky to manage 50lbs myself.) While certainly not all historical archers met that standard, many did. I imagine stabbing weapons saw the same levels of performance.

(On the other hand, low numbers for historical archery continue to circulate. This article, for example, gives 24-52 J as the energy of the ancient Persian bow. These numbers, I believe, come from P. H. Blyth's old thesis. Blyth's Scythian bow has an initial energy of only 25-30 J. In contrast, a replica 1000-400 BCE Scythian-style bow from China draws 120lbs at 28 inches. The authors estimate the range of 80-140lbs for such bows. Even with light arrows, such bows likely would have delivered 64-126 J up close. Of course some historical military archers may have drawn light bows, but I doubt it was the standard.)

Read my historically inspired fantasy fiction in here. I walk along a winding path set by Ludovico Ariosto, William Morris, J. R. R. Tolkien, and Ursula Le Guin.

Out of doubt, out of dark to the day's rising
I came singing in the sun, sword unsheathing.
To hope's end I rode and to heart's breaking:
Now for wrath, now for ruin and a red nightfall!


Last edited by Benjamin H. Abbott on Fri 22 Nov, 2013 7:56 am; edited 4 times in total
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Neal Matheson




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PostPosted: Fri 22 Nov, 2013 7:32 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

A recent study on how hard boxers punch found that a trained boxer punches about 10 times harder than an untrained man. I was suprised it was so high but it bears out in the gym where experienced but light boxers can often hit like mule kicks. I'm not sure if this would translate into armed combat but it is an interesting finding.
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Timo Nieminen




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PostPosted: Fri 22 Nov, 2013 10:06 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Bartek Strojek wrote:
Momentums, stiffnesses, amount of strong muscles engaged are completely different.

So I wouldn't bet anything at all that this poleaxe really had to have more than 108 J to do much better than arrows. Might easily had that 60 something. Before we even go into geometry of steel points...

KE on it's own is relatively useless stat, doesn't tell much.


What KE tells you is how well a projectile can pierce armour. Especially rigid plate armour. To penetrate such armour with a sharp point, you need to make a hole, cut petals, and curl them. To penetrate such armour with a bullet, you need to stretch the metal to its elastic limit and punch out a plug. Doing these takes energy, and, for a given type of projectile, energy is the best single measure of how well it can do these things.

That energy doesn't need to be KE. For a projectile, the KE of the projectile is the only source of energy, so in that case, that energy does have to be KE. But for a handheld weapon, that energy can come from work done by the person holding the weapon during the strike. (IIRC, the instrumented knife tests measure this work, rather than KE. KE of the fist before impact might contribute to that work, but it will not be all, or even most, of it.)

Energy is less useful for handheld weapons because the geometry of the impact can vary a lot more - an arrow or bullet hits in a very simple way in comparison.

For a two-handed spear thrust, the user should (IMO) put a significant push into the strike as it hits. So, work during impact + KE, not just KE.

It's difficult to realistically measure the work done during a strike. Work is the average force times the distance the point of application of the force moves during the strike (or the integral of the instantaneous force over the distance). As such, it's affected by the motion of the target. But if the strike moves the target, the target gains KE, and that KE isn't doing anything to the armour.

For a fast projectile, the fraction of the energy that goes into moving the target is small. For a slower handheld strike, it can be large.

If the test target is fixed to the ground and doesn't move at all, then the striker can only do work during the hit if the target is deformed by the strike. So, if armoured, if the armour is deformed or partly penetrated. So in some ways this is a better measurement. But a real target isn't fixed to the ground.

So it isn't easy to do realistic tests.

"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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Tom King




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PostPosted: Sat 23 Nov, 2013 8:26 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Benjamin H. Abbott wrote:


The following numbers from Alan Williams's The Knight and the Blast Furnace show how much kinetic energy it takes for an arrowhead to penetrate plate at four different grades of quality:

1mm = 28/41/61/83 J
2mm = 88/131/193/263 J
3mm = 150/225/330/450 J

Fairly thick padding adds 50 J, though I'm somewhat skeptical folks wearing cheap iron armor would necessarily have this level of padding. We have no good numbers of how much kinetic energy a pike thrust deliver. Knives can deliver up to at least 64 J with an underarm thrust and 115 J with an overarm thrust; I'm guessing pikes would manage much more in strong arms, but we don't really know. A 2mm iron breastplate with thinner padding would only require about 100 J to defeat; this strikes me as thoroughly likely. A higher-quality 2mm breastplate with robust padding, on the other hand, would require 250-300+ J to defeat; I suspect few if any historical (or present) warriors could deliver so much with a two-handed thrust.


Based on KE formulas, not accounting for many of the variables mind you, a 3.5 lb spear going 10m/s generates about 75J of kinetic energy, whereas an 8lb pike at the same velocity generates 180J.

considering 16ga steel is 1.6mm thick (coincidentally) and most period armors seem to be closer to 18ga (a bit over 1mm), it seems that a spear would have trouble penetrating all but the lowest quality of unpadded steel armor, while a pike would rather handily go through padded 18ga steel, and probably 16ga as well.

How much period armor would really be 2mm and 3mm? especially before the "bullet proof armor" of the late pike and shot area?
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PostPosted: Sat 23 Nov, 2013 12:40 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Tom King wrote:
Benjamin H. Abbott wrote:


The following numbers from Alan Williams's The Knight and the Blast Furnace show how much kinetic energy it takes for an arrowhead to penetrate plate at four different grades of quality:

1mm = 28/41/61/83 J
2mm = 88/131/193/263 J
3mm = 150/225/330/450 J

Fairly thick padding adds 50 J, though I'm somewhat skeptical folks wearing cheap iron armor would necessarily have this level of padding. We have no good numbers of how much kinetic energy a pike thrust deliver. Knives can deliver up to at least 64 J with an underarm thrust and 115 J with an overarm thrust; I'm guessing pikes would manage much more in strong arms, but we don't really know. A 2mm iron breastplate with thinner padding would only require about 100 J to defeat; this strikes me as thoroughly likely. A higher-quality 2mm breastplate with robust padding, on the other hand, would require 250-300+ J to defeat; I suspect few if any historical (or present) warriors could deliver so much with a two-handed thrust.


Based on KE formulas, not accounting for many of the variables mind you, a 3.5 lb spear going 10m/s generates about 75J of kinetic energy, whereas an 8lb pike at the same velocity generates 180J.

considering 16ga steel is 1.6mm thick (coincidentally) and most period armors seem to be closer to 18ga (a bit over 1mm), it seems that a spear would have trouble penetrating all but the lowest quality of unpadded steel armor, while a pike would rather handily go through padded 18ga steel, and probably 16ga as well.

How much period armor would really be 2mm and 3mm? especially before the "bullet proof armor" of the late pike and shot area?
Probably very few. Unlike a bullet, which is chemically and traveling at speeds quite beyond human reaction time, spear head , whose is generated by a person, can't reach speed beyond what a person can apply to it, thus theorietically a target coming it contact with the pike head could actively mitigate the force of a blow beyond what the amour could provide by itself whereas a bullet, with it's greater energy and speed, if you are hit, the only thing mitigating the lethality is the incompetency of the shooter, the way the bullet travels or the armor itself.
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Benjamin H. Abbott




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PostPosted: Sat 23 Nov, 2013 1:08 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

What suits of period armor were 1.27mm on average? While limb armor could be that thin or thinner, breastplates and helmets tended to be 2+mm. The breastplate on the AVANT harness from 1440, for example, measures 2.3-3.2mm. At by the mid sixteenth century if not earlier, according to Alan Williams, 2.5mm of low-carbon steel would be common for infantry. Williams writes that you'd need 310 J to defeat such an armor with arrow, though this assumes both padding and a 45-degree angle because of the armor's keeled form. A perpendicular hit would require 235 J with padding, which is still likely more than your average soldier could deliver and would require perfect placement.
Read my historically inspired fantasy fiction in here. I walk along a winding path set by Ludovico Ariosto, William Morris, J. R. R. Tolkien, and Ursula Le Guin.

Out of doubt, out of dark to the day's rising
I came singing in the sun, sword unsheathing.
To hope's end I rode and to heart's breaking:
Now for wrath, now for ruin and a red nightfall!
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Tom King




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PostPosted: Sat 23 Nov, 2013 3:36 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
The AVANT armor, ca 1440, Glasgow (formerly Churburg 20) 57 lbs (25.9 kg) without tassets, right gardbrace and left gauntlet, a relatively heavy armor for its size and period.


hardly a "average" armor in just about any respect. There are jousting harnesses that weigh significantly less.

from those numbers, extremity armor seems to range from 19-16 gauge with breastplates being 16-14 gauge. The avant armors breastplate is 12ga on average, while segments of it being practically 10 gauge.

Back to the thread, it seems pikes would do reasonably well against period helmets and armor, while spears and spear weighted weapons would be next to useless against all but the lowest quality chest defenses of period thickness.
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PostPosted: Sat 23 Nov, 2013 4:37 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Tom King wrote:
hardly a "average" armor in just about any respect. There are jousting harnesses that weigh significantly less.


Not according to these numbers. Certainly pikemen wouldn't be wearing anything like the AVANT harness, but according to Alan Williams they often would be wearing 2.5mm breastplates in the sixteenth century.

Read my historically inspired fantasy fiction in here. I walk along a winding path set by Ludovico Ariosto, William Morris, J. R. R. Tolkien, and Ursula Le Guin.

Out of doubt, out of dark to the day's rising
I came singing in the sun, sword unsheathing.
To hope's end I rode and to heart's breaking:
Now for wrath, now for ruin and a red nightfall!
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Tom King




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PostPosted: Sat 23 Nov, 2013 6:13 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'd consider 60lbs with large chunks of the harness missing to be rather hefty; definitely pushing the lower, or even middle limits of jousting armor dependent on period.

2.5mm is just shy of a 10th of an inch and a bit more than 13 gauge steel. In the days of 17th when the pike and shot era looked more like the shot and shot, I'd give you 2.5mm as a possible average, but you don't hear (in the historical record) about landschneckts eschewing their preciously bought half armor in the same way a pikemen from the English Civil war did due to weight.

If an fully armored man could just bullrush straight through a hedge of pikes completely immune from all injury, I'm sure someone in period would have learned to exploit that rather glaring problem. The tactic didn't seem to work out all too well for the rotela infantryman after all.
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PostPosted: Sat 23 Nov, 2013 6:38 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I think you need to read The Knight and the Blast Furnace Tom. 17th century armours got up to 6mm, not 2mm. 2-3mm is a very good average for 14th-15th century (at least on breastplates and other such hard targets). The only 1mm armours I read about where for limbs and such, I don't recall any breastplates of that thickness mentioned in the whole book. Also, if one was wearing a placard and a breastplate together (as was common in the 15th century), the overlap could easily be in the 4-5mm, giving the cuirasse substantially more protective quality than 2.5mm.

As for your comment about eschewing heavy armor in the English civil war, that stuff was frequently around 6mm, not 2.5mm, so we are talking about double the weight of medieval or early 16th century pieces, (Some pieces Williams tested from that time period even got up to 8mm, so those would be monsters).

Quote:
If an fully armored man could just bullrush straight through a hedge of pikes completely immune from all injury, I'm sure someone in period would have learned to exploit that rather glaring problem. The tactic didn't seem to work out all too well for the rotela infantryman after all.


I have never heard of rotella infantry men being fully armoured. Just because a pike can't pierce your cuirasse doesn't mean it can't pierce your face, your thigh, arms, legs, etc. So the pike is still equally useful. Also if pikes could so easily pierce armour of the time then why where fully harnessed men deployed at the front of pike squares? (these being the famous doppelsoldners who received double pay).

In addition, there ARE instances of fully armoured and fully barded men-at-arms riding through pike squares unscathed. If I recall it was French Gendarmes vs. either a swiss or Landsknecht pike square, hopefully someone hear will know better.

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Tom King




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PostPosted: Sat 23 Nov, 2013 7:07 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The question for the ages, if _____ can defeat _____, then why use _______.

In this case it seems it because a moderately powerful pike thrust will not go through a moderate quality (1.5-1.8mm thick) breastplate over padding in ideal conditions. Increase the power of the thrust or decrease the thickness or quality of the metal and you can get a different outcome entirely. With hand weapons you really don't need more.

2 part breastplates having a band of overlapping metal does bring up an interesting point into the equation. A 16ga placard over a 16ga breastplate having a band of 3+ mm material is not the same thing as an uniform 10 gauge breastplate. And this may be the issue at hand, maximum thickness versus predominant thickness. If a harness is recorded as "in excess of 3mm thick" due to measuring overlapping plates and the cross sectional thickness of flutes and so forth, yet the rest of the piece is 1.5mm or less, calling it 3mm is a misleading portrayal.
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Benjamin H. Abbott




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PostPosted: Sat 23 Nov, 2013 8:14 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Men-at-arms did ride through pike squares on various occasions - Ceresole 1544 and Dreux 1562 being classic examples - though probably always with some losses. I don't know of much evidence that pikes could pierce the armor of men-at-arms in this period. In the middle of the century Fourquevaux described men-at-arms as nearly invulnerable. He instructed his men-at-arms to avoid directing their lances at their opposing counterparts and to instead target their unarmored or incompletely armored horses. Similarly, when it came to swords, he recommended only targeting the horses and/or any unarmored spot on the man. However, having virtually impenetrable armor didn't make charging resolute pikemen a great tactic for men-at-arms. Smythe described in detail how to arrange pikemen to resist cavalry. The close array of points with each pike's butt end braced against the soldier's foot served deter cavalry or at least slow down the impetus of their charge. Most of the points should target horses according to Smythe, but some target men-at-arms' bodies. There's no indication that this was to pierce armor, but could have been to unhorse them. Smythe mentioned the possibility that pike thrusts would "overthrow" foes - while not fatal, being on your back isn't the place to be on the battlefield. Smythe acknowledge that some cavalry might mange to penetrate this dense array of points presented by five ranks of pikemen. Pikeman already had their hands on their swords to attack horses in this circumstance; additionally, Smythe had ranks of halberdiers behind the pikemen to bring horsemen down with blow at the head and thrust at the face. Barwick thought it useless for pikemen to aim at the men-at-arms themselves or at their horses' thickly armored heads, but instead recommended targeting the breast, which was he wrote was ethier unarmored or more lightly armored. All of this suggests that pikes could not meaningfully penetrate mid-to-late sixteenth-century plate armor with any reliably.

In the seventeenth century, Francisco Núñez De Piñeda y Bascuñan wrote of a Mapuche lance or pike piercing his breastplate, though obviously he survived the experience. The linked account may well resemble what happened to men-at-arms inside an infantry square: they still had to fear blunt trauma and perhaps wounds to limbs. (Men-at-arms, at least before the late sixteenth century, had complete arm protection, but this tended to be much thinner and have gaps only guarded by mail or padding.)

Read my historically inspired fantasy fiction in here. I walk along a winding path set by Ludovico Ariosto, William Morris, J. R. R. Tolkien, and Ursula Le Guin.

Out of doubt, out of dark to the day's rising
I came singing in the sun, sword unsheathing.
To hope's end I rode and to heart's breaking:
Now for wrath, now for ruin and a red nightfall!
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Jaroslav Jakubov




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PostPosted: Mon 25 Nov, 2013 11:23 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

thanks for these answers, it made me realize something is missing in all these values...

As you said, Horsfall's values with 115 joules and overarm grip, and 60 joules with underarm grip were both done with dagger. Anyway, in these tests, maximum speed was just 11.5m/s, which would only produce 40 joules with 0.6kg dagger.. So how exactly could that dagger get to 115 joules?

I think the only explanation is, that it got additional momentum/weight from men and his muscles who was stabbing with it. If we look at men physiology, and which muscles are active with underarm and overarm thrusting, it is quite obvious that overarm relies on in majority on deltoid, but also on pectoralis major and latissimus dorsi. You are also doing much longer movement which activates these muscles better increasing possible momentum.

Anyway, with proper underarm grip, with hand at the height of your chest, pushing forward, you would fully activate pectoralis major in some kind of similar movement like bench-press, which suggest quite a lot more strength than you can deal with your deltoids. Anyway this still doesn't explain why Horsfall got totally different values for underarm and overarm grip. Anyway, when you look at Mathews work, he is actually mentioning 4 possible thrust methods - overarm, underarm, reverse and low underarm. Low (underarm) thrust in his tests got lower speed of 8.1m/s. yet, with low thrust, you only engage muscles of your deltoid, major body muscles play only very minor role in thrust, which means that additional momentum is much lower than with other thrusting attacks.

Also, because Horsfall tests were actually performed with dagger, we can exclude upper underarm thrust as being used, and instead it is most probable low thrust was used which is most natural for dagger thrusts. Which explains the big difference in output energy between overarm and underarm (low) thrust in his test.

Problem with all man held weapons is the variety of handlers which influence the measured results. Taller and stronger men would outperform shorter men, which is quite obvious in any today's contact sport like boxing or wrestling. Therefore any testing to be valid needs to have properly defined conditions how the testing was done. I only have access to tests mentioned in Mathews book, who relies on tests done by Blyth, Gabriel and Metz. And in their tests they only measured the speed of thrust, not the actual impact energy, which was just mathematically deducted, which means, they practically ignored the influence of momentum human body would add to thrust.

I don't want to jump into conclusion based on combined math, so lets take this with grain of salt, anyway if we combine both works, where we know that overarm thrust with dagger of 0.6kg weight and speed of 11.5m/s generated 115Joules, while without momentum from body should only deliver about 40 joules, which gives us difference of 75 Joules. Such increase would be only possible if weight increased to 1.7kg, which means muscles added additional 1.1kg to the equation.. using same added weight would increase dory weight to 2.5kg, with 6.5m/s gives us energy of 53 joules. yet, maybe with heavier weapon, actual strength into thrust would be a bit higher than with lighter weapon.. again, this is just an assumption on my side..

Now only question remaining is how much power muscles would give to proper high underarm thrust with the spear.. trained athletes should be able to add several kg with this, yet true amount is questionable, as we still need to keep in mind the speed that needs to stay at 8.5m/s.. If we assume at least same amount of power would be applicable, it gives us 90 joules, anyway i have strong feeling it would be much more with full active pectoralis major + deltoid.
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PostPosted: Mon 25 Nov, 2013 12:31 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jaroslav Jakubov wrote:
thanks for these answers, it made me realize something is missing in all these values...

As you said, Horsfall's values with 115 joules and overarm grip, and 60 joules with underarm grip were both done with dagger. Anyway, in these tests, maximum speed was just 11.5m/s, which would only produce 40 joules with 0.6kg dagger.. So how exactly could that dagger get to 115 joules?


As said above, those tests don't measure kinetic energy. The dagger never gets to 115J; the stab delivers 115J.

The test "knife" has a force sensor between blade and hilt. This records the force during the stab. There is also an accelerometer, which measures the deceleration of the knife during the stab. At the end of the stab, the knife is stationary, so the acceleration can be integrated backwards over time to find the velocity of the knife over time. Force times velocity is power (i.e., rate of delivering energy), so this can be integrated over time to find the total delivered energy.

Jaroslav Jakubov wrote:

I think the only explanation is, that it got additional momentum/weight from men and his muscles who was stabbing with it.


Or just the muscles pushing on the knife during the stab. The stabber should (for maximum effect) actively push into the stab during the strike. A stabber isn't a passive projectile. You produce part of that energy during the stab; you don't need that much kinetic energy at the start.

Jaroslav Jakubov wrote:

Also, because Horsfall tests were actually performed with dagger, we can exclude upper underarm thrust as being used, and instead it is most probable low thrust was used which is most natural for dagger thrusts. Which explains the big difference in output energy between overarm and underarm (low) thrust in his test.


Could just be because it's easier to push harder into the downward stab. You push the knife, the knife pushes back (Newton's 3rd law of motion). With the downward strike, that reaction force has to lift (close to) your body weight before you become unstable. With a forward strike, that reaction force just has to push you backwards.

See attached pic for the weapon and model stabs.



 Attachment: 25.71 KB, Viewed: 2342 times
horsfall_stabs.jpg
Stabbing actions from I. Horsfall, P.D. Prosser, C.H. Watson, S.M. Champion, An assessment of human performance in stabbing, Forensic Science International
102 (1999) 79–89


"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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