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Leo Todeschini
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PostPosted: Tue 22 Nov, 2022 12:47 am    Post subject: Arrows vs Armour2 is released         Reply with quote

Well nearly - 4pm UK time today and you can find it on my channel here https://www.youtube.com/user/todsstuff1

The main film can be found here https://youtu.be/ds-Ev5msyzo

This film was funded by a Kickstarter drive and is presented by myself, Dr Toby Capwell (historian) , Will Sherman (fletcher), Joe Gibbs (archer) and Augusto Boer Bront (armorer).

We use equipment made by the contributors, but also by Isak Krogh (mail aventail), Christine Carnie (arming cote), Phil Parkes (mail standard) and Owen Bush (historic irons and steels).

‘Arrows vs Armour’ is back and we are shooting medieval war arrows at the top half of an armoured knight using armour and arrows that are correct in every detail. This film shows exactly what happened…….

Thousands of knights were slain by the English archers at battles like Agincourt, even though they wore full armour; we just didn’t know how and this film goes a long way to explaining what actually occurred.

TV companies have no interest in doing these tests for real with correct armour and real experts who talk about what they see, not about what the script tells them to say. We film it and we show it. No pre-written scripts, no hype, no fluff, no predetermined TV outcomes; just factual truth.

All filmed by professional TV crew, but working for us, our way.

This project generated so many questions that we had to make other films to answer them, so later today a further 3 films will be released looking at mail, armour materials and arrow head materials and a further 4 more films over the next couple of weeks.

We hope you enjoy them.

Tod



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Last edited by Leo Todeschini on Tue 22 Nov, 2022 5:19 am; edited 1 time in total
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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Tue 22 Nov, 2022 3:17 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'm not sure I can properly express how excited I am about this. Happy Looking forward to viewing it. Thanks for doing such well conceived videos. Happy
Happy

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Ulf Lidsman




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PostPosted: Tue 22 Nov, 2022 8:35 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Amazing work all of you! I'm stunned and will watch this video many times. Excellent! Three things comes to my mind:

1. For the archer, its all about getting enough arrows at the target and let the odds do their work. It would be very interesting to learn the effective range of such a bow that Joe's using and how many arrows an archer can shot during the time a knight can walk the distance.

2. Mail and padding did not help the knight at this distance against Joe's bow but mail was the main armour for many centuries and I don't think that they would have used such a "useless" armour so what do we know about the draw weight of longbows from Hastings to Crecy? Or where there no mass archers on the battlefield before the 1400th century?

3. What about different draw weights? How would the mail and padding stand up against a 80 pound bow or a 120 pound?
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PostPosted: Tue 22 Nov, 2022 11:52 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Tod, watching the video for the second time (and its still amazing) I came of thinking about the different marks the mild steel heads and the case hardened heads did on the plate. What if there are surviving parts of armour with markings that could tell us if they where made by case hardened heads by comparing the marks made on the armour used in your test?
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PostPosted: Wed 23 Nov, 2022 1:09 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ulf Lidsman wrote:
Amazing work all of you! I'm stunned and will watch this video many times. Excellent! Three things comes to my mind:

1. For the archer, its all about getting enough arrows at the target and let the odds do their work. It would be very interesting to learn the effective range of such a bow that Joe's using and how many arrows an archer can shot during the time a knight can walk the distance.


We can assume that the longbow of the time could deliver a heavy arrow maybe 250 yds. Rate of advance estimates vary. Keegan goes for 70 yds per minute. Clifford Rogers (with I think more reason) goes for 30 yds per minute. Modern warbow archers reckon about 8 shots a minute is sustainable for several minutes. You might assume less shots at longer range and a maximum effort as the target came closer. The difficulty here is effective range. Different definitions are in use. However, if we say causing death or serious wounding to most targets in this sort of armour, it's pretty short. I'd guess three or four potentially effective shots, with some random chance of a lucky shot beyond. If we say it's about disruption, disorientation and morale it would be more but how you could even slightly scientifically estimate that, I don't know.

Quote:
2. Mail and padding did not help the knight at this distance against Joe's bow but mail was the main armour for many centuries and I don't think that they would have used such a "useless" armour so what do we know about the draw weight of longbows from Hastings to Crecy? Or where there no mass archers on the battlefield before the 1400th century?

3. What about different draw weights? How would the mail and padding stand up against a 80 pound bow or a 120 pound?


A recent experiment pitting a longbow against simulated mail and fabric horse armour provides some answers. The bow used was of 72lb weight, so much less powerful than the Mary Rose type used by Joe, yet penetrated even mail and 24 layer linen at similar short range.

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Ulf Lidsman




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PostPosted: Wed 23 Nov, 2022 2:21 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Anthony Clipsom wrote:

I'd guess three or four potentially effective shots, with some random chance of a lucky shot beyond. If we say it's about disruption, disorientation and morale it would be more but how you could even slightly scientifically estimate that, I don't know.


Yes I agree with you, I don't think we should underestimate the effect on moral such a barrage of arrows would have. And maybe the longbow in the 15th century is more about shaken the opponent before the melee than actually wearing him down in numbers. The French knight did reach the English line at Azincourt and in most of the battles at the War of the Roses the exchange of arrows was the first phase of the battle before the melee.


Anthony Clipsom wrote:

A recent experiment pitting a longbow against simulated mail and fabric horse armour provides some answers. The bow used was of 72lb weight, so much less powerful than the Mary Rose type used by Joe, yet penetrated even mail and 24 layer linen at similar short range.


Very interesting! One does understand that the shield was an important part of the defense until the introduction of plate and maybe the french should have used them at Azincourt (and maybe they did?).
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Pedro Paulo Gaião




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PostPosted: Wed 23 Nov, 2022 6:25 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I should start saying the video was great, and I hope Tod keeps the armor for further testing with crossbows, turkish bows, javelins and such, as I suggested earlier.

On the video itself, I couldn't believe the shoulder protection was so vulnerable to arrows, I thought they would rather deflect these in frontal shootings ...

By the way, the issue with Turkish composite bows is important, cause French cavalry was using armor way less developed than this at Nicopolis and they managed to do a cavalry charge against a Turkish formation very similar to the English use: archers in the front with spikes in the ground. From the sources I looked over, only the wooden spikes managed to harm French horses, who charged all the way through the arrow shower delivered at them. The French managed to destroy the lightly armoured turkish foot but started having problems with the Janissaries and the heavy cavalry launched later (most of them were taken prisioners rather than died in combat). I think that could bring a similar number of views to your channel.

The French commanders at Nicopolis were veterans from the English wars, made the same mistakes against the Turks and those who survived made the very same mistakes again at Agincourt.

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Pedro Paulo Gaião




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PostPosted: Wed 23 Nov, 2022 6:36 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ulf Lidsman wrote:
Amazing work all of you! I'm stunned and will watch this video many times. Excellent! Three things comes to my mind:

1. For the archer, its all about getting enough arrows at the target and let the odds do their work. It would be very interesting to learn the effective range of such a bow that Joe's using and how many arrows an archer can shot during the time a knight can walk the distance.

2. Mail and padding did not help the knight at this distance against Joe's bow but mail was the main armour for many centuries and I don't think that they would have used such a "useless" armour so what do we know about the draw weight of longbows from Hastings to Crecy? Or where there no mass archers on the battlefield before the 1400th century?

3. What about different draw weights? How would the mail and padding stand up against a 80 pound bow or a 120 pound?


The English were the first Western Europeans to employ that many archers on a battlefield, reason why no one in Europe could duplicate the tactic (longbow takes a lot of time to dominate). I think it was Dan Howard that said that massive amounts of archers were essential in the longbow's main role in English tactics. Other people that tried to employ longbows at war in Western Europe were the French, Scot and Flemish/Dutch. Portugal relied only on crossbows (as far as positive written evidence is concerned, but we have records of longbows in Lisbon Arsenal and an extant longbow from Alcacer do Sal), and there wasn't much use of bows in the rest of Spain or Italy besides English mercenaries. And, of course, Glendover's rebellion used good proportions of Welsh longbowmen, but he never employed many soldiers in the field.

When Henry VIII tried to "resurrect" the practice, his effort could be considered ... partially successful. We have a list for the Great Muster of 1530s from Wales and England's shires, most of the men were unarmoured and on perhaps similar proportions of archers and billmen. But it should be said England wasn't really at war since the late 15th century, except at minor activities.

Howard also has an article on mail here in myArmoury, most of the sources he quotes say that mail was effective against 11-13th century arrows of their time. And also, the Hungarian heavy cavalry was decisive against Mongol horse archers in their second invasion of the Hungarian Kingdom. Which makes us wonder: were composite bows inferior in penetration power compared to the longbow? In Castile, Aragon, Italy and Hungary both longbows and composite bows were used.

the main problem with 1) is the lack of people that wanted to use armor while being shot. I would do that, for science ...
I saw some videos of reenactments showing 10 armored people approaching a small number of longbowmen, they pack themselves together and walk slowly towards a single direction. This was the same thing we see in Anglo-scottish battles, where most of the casualities of the Scots in those blocks were face and head injuries

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PostPosted: Wed 23 Nov, 2022 6:51 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

As far as mail goes, it seems that something interesting was happening with the aventail, it was quite obviously many times tougher than the mail shirt, but it seems those shots weren't closely analysed in video.

Seems that at least few shots were resisted very well, but was it aventail alone?


Did it actually bounce out of mail or actually a segment of breastplate hidden under aventail? Or mail collar worn under the avnetail, so second layers of mail?

And the arrows that got stuck seemed to be turned aside significantly, would probably have hard time reaching flesh. Hopefully there will be some pictures of that.
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PostPosted: Wed 23 Nov, 2022 8:49 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Pedro Paulo Gaião wrote:


The English were the first Western Europeans to employ that many archers on a battlefield, reason why no one in Europe could duplicate the tactic (longbow takes a lot of time to dominate).


I guess that many Kings in Europe hesitated to form a system where a large proportion of the male population where trained with a weapon with potential to kill the noblemen they relied on for support. In England, as I understand it, there was a larger proportion of the middle class that owned land, compare to France where the nobility and the church own almost all land, and the English kings could rely upon them for military service.
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PostPosted: Wed 23 Nov, 2022 2:29 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ulf Lidsman wrote:
Pedro Paulo Gaião wrote:


The English were the first Western Europeans to employ that many archers on a battlefield, reason why no one in Europe could duplicate the tactic (longbow takes a lot of time to dominate).


I guess that many Kings in Europe hesitated to form a system where a large proportion of the male population where trained with a weapon with potential to kill the noblemen they relied on for support. In England, as I understand it, there was a larger proportion of the middle class that owned land, compare to France where the nobility and the church own almost all land, and the English kings could rely upon them for military service.


I would consider that dangerous to be taken a-priori, Portugal made a similar system in England with crossbows, somehow inspired in the French example. The besteiros do conto were recruited from craftsmen and people from the cities and amounted huge numbers of well-trained foot soldiers that were in many respects similar to Genoese Crossbowmen, regularly paid from the Crown itself, with the King sometimes interfering in misjudgments made by local anadéis (like taking crossbowmen out of prison after they refused to change their crossbows for windlass ones as required by their anadel).

Scotland tried hard to simulate England in their tactics, but longbow archery simply didn't achieve as much adhesion as their neighbors; France imported Scottish longbowmen to diminish their gap too. In a conflict where both sides have archers, the one that brings more has an advantage. Now, Heath says initially longbows were used in France at first, but not stimulated because of the power the peasants now had against the nobility, afterwards they had continuous trouble putting longbow practice as it was earlier.

Hungary always had tons of horse and foot archers, but it doesn't seen to have mattered at all. Szekely and Cuman minorities even had priveleges provided they answered the call for soldiers when requested ...,

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PostPosted: Thu 24 Nov, 2022 12:10 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Pedro has a good point. Common soldiers with bows of various sorts feature in many states without it causing terror in their nobility. One might go as far as to ask what period evidence we have that the longbow was banned in France to protect the nobility? Or were there other reasons why the bow was less favoured there?
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PostPosted: Thu 24 Nov, 2022 4:37 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jean Juvénal des Ursins did make the claim that the French crown opposed mass archery out of concern that it threatened royal & noble power.

"In short time the French archers became so expert in the use of the bow, that they could shoot with a surer aim than the English. Indeed, if these archers had formed a close confederacy among themselves they might have become more powerful than the Princes and nobles of France. It was fear of just such an outcome that made the French king suppress the archer army."

French armies certainly did include archers (& crossbowers) at various times, but it may also be true that the political threat from large numbers of common people possessing military power as archers caused conflict & decreased the overall effectiveness of French archers.

Thanks to Tod & company for another fantastic test. I am a little surprised by how vulnerable the gaps at the shoulder were in the tested harness. Various later styles of plate armor offer better protection to that area. Sir John Smythe wrote of an arrow piercing a gusset of mail but in that case he specified how the victim had lifted up his arm to strike with a weapon beforehand (thus exposing the mailed armpit). I suspect soldiers in later kit would be almost immune to arrows when advancing with arms & head down.

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Leo Todeschini
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PostPosted: Thu 24 Nov, 2022 10:36 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks Guys,

A few points.

I think the plate was basically invulnerable to the arrows so as far as I am concerned plate of this intermediate quality is basically immune to penetration and of course as the distance went up even more so.

The mail was noticeable easy to penetrate and in many ways this was also o the case in this film I made with Matt Easton https://youtu.be/7iU3q23jGX0. Basically as we all know mail is not great against penetration, but I think I would actually say that it is rubbish against penetration.

So really the arrows are looking for the gaps and that was a strong part of this film was to understand if that was the case and I think it was - mail is where you want to land.

So what is effective against mail? Well I/we will likely come back to look at this properly, but I have personally put a 75lbs through shoddy mail and gambeson at 20m with a 45g arrow so Joes 160lbs/80g arrow at 100yds would deal with mail without thinking and I would think that a 100lbs at 100yds would be much like a 75lbs at 20 yds. So from my empirical testing and view point a 100lbs bow in 1066 would put an arrow through the armour of the time most of the time.

Mail could be and was tougher than what I tested against in what I was doing above (not the AvA test linked here in the OP), but of course lets not forget that mail came in so many varieties, specifications and qualities as did its underpinnings so that to say anything definitive is impossible, but what I can say I that some present would be better and some worse, but all of it would be vulnerable to some degree.

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PostPosted: Thu 24 Nov, 2022 12:55 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The aventail tested here gives a sense of how heavier mail may have performed historically. The idea of mail being rubbish against penetration conflicts with a number period sources. We do have plenty of accounts of arrows defeating mail, but also of mail resisting arrows or of mail claimed to resist arrows. For example, Augusto Boer Bront on Facebook a year ago described a circa-1453 Italian military manual that recommends good-quality hauberks for light cavalry over brigandines because they stop crossbows, bows, spears, swords, & handgonnes while covering more area. These claims seem hard to believe because of modern tests, but we don't know exactly what they meant by good-quality mail. We do know that some mail was made of hardened medium-carbon steel, at least in the early 16th century.

I suspect the lighter types of historical mail existed to defend against cuts & the sort of lower-power thrusts that would commonly be delivered in combat.

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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Sean Manning




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PostPosted: Thu 24 Nov, 2022 3:17 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I will be interested to hear how the team decided between the 'high' / Hardy & Strickland and 'low' / Weapons of Warre estimates of the draw weight of the Mary Rose bows (average around 110 lbs at 28" or average around 150 lbs at 28") I have trouble understanding where the two models disagree and Joe Gibbs at hillbilybows never replied to my inquiry a year or two ago.

Edit: humh, AVA2 - How powerful is a Warbow? starts from lots of premises I don't know the basis for and does not talk about Kooi's model at all. 82 grams is heavier than Ascham's "quarter-pound arrow" which I thought was generally seen as old man's talk?

Benjamin H. Abbott wrote:
The aventail tested here gives a sense of how heavier mail may have performed historically. The idea of mail being rubbish against penetration conflicts with a number period sources. We do have plenty of accounts of arrows defeating mail, but also of mail resisting arrows or of mail claimed to resist arrows. For example, Augusto Boer Bront on Facebook a year ago described a circa-1453 Italian military manual that recommends good-quality hauberks for light cavalry over brigandines because they stop crossbows, bows, spears, swords, & handgonnes while covering more area. These claims seem hard to believe because of modern tests, but we don't know exactly what they meant by good-quality mail. We do know that some mail was made of hardened medium-carbon steel, at least in the early 16th century.

I suspect the lighter types of historical mail existed to defend against cuts & the sort of lower-power thrusts that would commonly be delivered in combat.

There is also the Chronicon Colmariense, March 1298 MGH SS 17 p. 264 http://www.mgh.de/dmgh/resolving/MGH_SS_17_S._264

Quote:
"Among which (multitude of soldiers lead by Adolph, King of the Romans) those who had iron helmets on their heads and a gambeson (ie. a tunic thickened with linen and tow, or sewn together from old cloths) and above that an iron shirt (ie. a garment woven together from iron rings), through both of which no arrow from a bow can harm a man, were considered armed men. And a hundred of these armed men hardly feared a thousand unarmed."

A bow in central Europe in 1298 was probably not as powerful as a bow on the best ship in England in 1544, but it shows that mail and a gambeson together were seen as providing good protection against arrows.

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Leo Todeschini
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PostPosted: Thu 24 Nov, 2022 8:27 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I agree that sources seem to say one thing a practical testing shows another, but the hauberk we tested was certainly not as heavy as mail could be, but it would have weighed vastly more had it been of the same grade as the aventail and still we penetrated that even with its very heavy padding. Yes mail could be made out of better than mild, but firstly how often was that the case?

As regards poundages I can't answer, but I do know that Joe has personally examined bows at the MR.

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PostPosted: Fri 25 Nov, 2022 12:06 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
82 grams is heavier than Ascham's "quarter-pound arrow" which I thought was generally seen as old man's talk?
82 g is less than a quarter pound in UK weights (4oz = 114g) but 82gm is slightly on the higher side of your typical Mary Rose reproduction (the EWBS Mary Rose arrow has a maximum weight of 63.5g, for example and Hardy in Weapons of Warre suggests 70-75g as typical).

I think one of the problems with the quarter pound arrow in terms of the Mary Rose assemblage at least is, according to Hardy, there were only two bows sufficiently heavy enough to cope with it, which suggests it wasn't in widespread use, if at all, in the Navy. Where that leaves matters of its existence, I'm afraid I don't the answer.

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PostPosted: Fri 25 Nov, 2022 7:30 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Regarding the idea that Princes were afraid of their subjects owning ranged weapons, I know that, that wasn’t the case in Germany. The re-enactor group KSK 1475 has done a lot of research into medieval records. A lot of men, both in the cities and in the villages, were required to own weapons or armour. Most of the weapons were ranged weapons, being crossbows and guns. This was a little later than Agincourt and in a different area. Still, the duty to own weapons seems to be the norm, and not the exception.

As far as armour, I kind of wonder how people without armour would have faired. If in the migration period most people didn’t even have mail, that would explain why the weapons were not as pointy. I also, think distance played a role. Also, shields. I think shields might have been helpful.

I think it is also important to consider that archers force you to do things, like wearing a closed visor and carrying heavier armour. And even if you are safe, it causes you to worry, what if I am not.
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PostPosted: Fri 25 Nov, 2022 3:26 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Leo Todeschini wrote:
I agree that sources seem to say one thing a practical testing shows another, but the hauberk we tested was certainly not as heavy as mail could be, but it would have weighed vastly more had it been of the same grade as the aventail and still we penetrated that even with its very heavy padding. Yes mail could be made out of better than mild, but firstly how often was that the case?

On my first listening to the main video I got the impression that surviving arrowheads are all wrought iron. My understanding is that English documents mention steeled arrowheads, but the surviving ones are all bladed arrowheads not four-sided heads.

That gets back to the question whether the four-sided 'bodkin' or 'duckbull' heads (eg. Museum of London type 9) are meant to piece armour, or to fly far. David Starley at the Royal Armouries said that he had seen steeled arrowheads but they were all compact broadheads such as Museum of London type 16. Dan Howard among others has argued that the typical 15th/16th century war arrow in England had a compact broadhead.

The steeled arrowheads used in the test do seem like the type from early 15th century England with the most potential to penetrate armour, so the "compact broadhead v. bodkin" debate does not invalidate the test.

I didn't expect that even the armharness would be completely proof against a very heavy bow at "oh **** time to drop my bow and draw my sword" range,

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