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Brian Bergh B. Jensen





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PostPosted: Wed 18 Feb, 2004 8:09 am    Post subject: How does a full plate armour react to a arrow from a longbow         Reply with quote

How does a full plate armour react to a arrow from a longbow??

I know that you seen this question 100 times, but please answer me? ive seen in book that there are special long, thin metal arrow heads for armour penetrating..

Will it bounce off, or will it go though with ease?

how about chainmail armour?

Kind regards....

-Bergh
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Mike Fletcher




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PostPosted: Wed 18 Feb, 2004 9:45 am    Post subject: Not sure, but...         Reply with quote

Hello Brian,

I believe the long thin arrow heads were designed to use against chainmail, not plate armor.

Regards,

Mike
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Felix Thieme




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PostPosted: Wed 18 Feb, 2004 10:41 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

As far as I know, there were two types of bodkins (long, thin arrow heads); mail bodkins (long and pointy), and plate bodkins (not so long, almost as pointy). Neither one could penetrate a breast plate head on, but the plate bodkin was good at finding gaps for some reason...the mail bodkin was supposed to hit the middle of a ring of mail and split it open, or go through far enough to wound the victim.
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Andy Fritz




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PostPosted: Wed 18 Feb, 2004 11:23 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I can't imagine chain maile holding up to well against any kind of arrow attack. Too many places for the arrow to hit and seperate the rings. As for plate armour, I read that at time steele blunt heads were used against plate,probably not so much to penetrate, but to damage and dent with blunt trauma,(like getting shot with a vest on, it doesn't penetrate the vest, but can break ribs, cause internal bleeding, etc.) and I've read accounts of cross bow bolts penetrating plate armour as well.
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Alexi Goranov
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PostPosted: Wed 18 Feb, 2004 12:04 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
I can't imagine chain maile holding up to well against any kind of arrow attack. Too many places for the arrow to hit and seperate the rings. As for plate armour, I read that at time steele blunt heads were used against plate,probably not so much to penetrate, but to damage and dent with blunt trauma,(like getting shot with a vest on, it doesn't penetrate the vest, but can break ribs, cause internal bleeding, etc.) and I've read accounts of cross bow bolts penetrating plate armour as well.


Hi Andy,

as Felix wrote in the previous post, the bodkin arrows were used efficiently against mail, since the long and pointy tip could penetrate between the maile links possibly without the need to break the links themselves. According to published works, the Norse sagas are full of stories where the typically broad arrow heads would bounce off the chain mail. When the chain mail became more and more popular the broad arrow-heads were substituted with the bodkin type. The broad arrowheads were then reserved for hunting mostly.

Making generalized statements about anything is not a wise idea, so treating all plate armour as identical is not appropriate. The reason I am saying that is that there are published results from simulated experiments showing that low grade wrought iron plate armour is susceptible to penetration from bodkin arrows and cross-bow bolts. That is informative since most of the infantry would have had such grade iron armour, if any at all. How these weapons would perform against steel plate, is debatable, but it will depend on the metal composition, temper and thickness of the steel plate, so few if any generalizations could be made.

That's my humble summary of the few things I have read. Hope it sheds some light.

alexi
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Erik D. Schmid




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PostPosted: Wed 18 Feb, 2004 12:19 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
Making generalized statements about anything is not a wise idea, so treating all plate armour as identical is not appropriate.


The same is true for mail armour. Saying that arrows could penetrate mail quite easily is very misleading. You have to be specific as to what type of mail you are dealing with. There were many different varieties throughout history. The bodkin arrowhead has been around since the Roman period. Mail remained the main form of body armour for more than a millenium despite this. As I am sure you are also aware mail was usually not worn without some form of textile garment either behind, over or both depending on the area and time period.

From the pre-Roman period into the Viking era mail was often composed of very fine links in terms of diameter making it quite dense. It would not have been that easy for the bows of the period to be able to penetrate it regardless of the arrowhead being used. This is not to say that it was invulnerable to being pierced, merely that it was not an easy task.

In all of the destructive tests I have been involved in regarding mail the metal itself was sheared through, while whe lapped and riveted joint remained intact.

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Alexi Goranov
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PostPosted: Wed 18 Feb, 2004 1:37 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
The same is true for mail armour. Saying that arrows could penetrate mail quite easily is very misleading. You have to be specific as to what type of mail you are dealing with. There were many different varieties throughout history. The bodkin arrowhead has been around since the Roman period. Mail remained the main form of body armour for more than a millenium despite this. As I am sure you are also aware mail was usually not worn without some form of textile garment either behind, over or both depending on the area and time period.


I was referring to rivetted, an rivetted mixed with whole (punched out circles of steel) mail, not butted mail wich gets damaged even by sword cuts. I have never tried to shoot an arrow at mail and see the effect. I am referring to published observations, which I could have misinterpreted. My understanding was that the arrow-head does not split/break the links, but the thin, long (18degree) point penetrates deeply between the links, deep enough to get through the massive padding underneath.

As I said, this is my interpretation of what somebody else (actually several scholars) published in a journal. As such I tend to add more weight to the validity of their statements, but still not accept them as irrefutable.

I do not have enough knowledge, to make the statement that bodkin arrows are ALWAYS effective against ANY mail armour. Even if that were true, I never intended to make such statement, and I apologize if anyone understood it as such.

Sorry for any confusion,

Alexi
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Joe Fults




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PostPosted: Wed 18 Feb, 2004 8:47 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Although I have no expertise to offer, I have observed in other discussions of this subject people mention that the arrow does not have to be effective against armor to be effective in combat. Typically it is observed that there are always lighly armored combatants and beasts around who can be very disruptive when injured.
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Erik D. Schmid




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PostPosted: Thu 19 Feb, 2004 5:23 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

No problem Alexi. What Journals did you read the statements your refer to in? I tend to give scholars the benefit of the doubt as well, but it depends on the subject. I have found that when it comes to mail most do not have enough experience with it to make some of the statements they do. Of course my obsession with it does tend to put me in the minority when it comes to research. We all have to have our eccentricities. Happy

Depending on the weave of the mail the point of the arrow would have to be almost needle like to penetrate some. Of course this greatly diminishes the structural integrity of the point.

With regards to the arrows efectiveness on plate, I was recently involved in a project that tested this. A breastplate made of low carbon steel was shot with a longbow having a period draw weight. The actual number escapes me. Shot in an arc the arrow, tipped with a pyramidal arrowhead, only penetrated enough to make a square hole. It was not enough to have reached the person underneath. This test was done by the RMC at Shrivenham, UK, so it does have a bit of validity.

Joe, you are very correct in your asessment.

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Elling Polden




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PostPosted: Thu 19 Feb, 2004 5:37 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Joe Fults wrote:
Although I have no expertise to offer, I have observed in other discussions of this subject people mention that the arrow does not have to be effective against armor to be effective in combat. Typically it is observed that there are always lighly armored combatants and beasts around who can be very disruptive when injured.



As far as I have been told, a longbow with a armor piercing bodkin, fiered at a 13th century man at arms wearing a gambeson and chain mail, would penetrate only a cm or two. This is due as much to the gambeson as to the mail. A well equipped 1250's knight could also be wearing a outer layer of cloth armor (this has a name, but i do not remember it.) A bit later he might even have a Coat of Plates (breastplate made up of smaller plates, riveted on the back of a leather vest.)
He would then be able to bounce quite a lot of arrows.

Also, remember that until the enemy reaches relatively short range, the arrows are fired in an arch. They hit the armour at an angle, wich could make them bounce of.

Thus, even a pentrating hit would be unlikely to kill you. It could however wound you to the degree that you had to pull out of the battle. Subsequent infection was a real threat, though.

An example would be Agincourt, where the english fielded 4000 longbowmen. Even with maybe several hundred thousand arrows fired they did not kill more than a couple of hundred french outright. But they wounded a LOT more, and broke down the morale of the attackers. It would be kind of beeing on the receving end of one of the barrages from (the movie) "Hero" Wink

Yours
Ellling
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David McElrea




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PostPosted: Thu 19 Feb, 2004 6:27 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi all,

Some good points in the responses above.

The English longbow's effectiveness in battles like that in Agincourt (mentioned above) made longbowmen a highly desirable component for any medieval army.

This point has already been mentioned, but I want to emphasise it here. The success of a weapon against armour should not be measured by its ability to penetrate plate or even maille. At Agincourt, French foot soldiers fell in droves, but the longbow was equally effective against the "flower of French chivalry"-- the knights. The bow's success lay in its ability to hit the knights at their weakest points-- their mounts. A knight in full plate who lot his mount from under him while at charge could look forward to the possibility of:

-- being stunned by the fall
-- being rendered unconscious
-- breaking arms, legs, neck, or back
-- being trampled by any horses follwoing from behind

At Agincourt, of course, the fields had been turned into a sea of mud. Most of the knights are reputed to have drowned in the mud, weighed down by their armour.

This aside (and I think someone else mentioned this in another thread), a fallen knight in full plate can be at somewhat of a disadvantage when being swarmed by more maneuverable, albeit more lightly armed) foot soldiers. All they have to do is pull him down and put a rondel through his visor-- which was, I believe, one of the most common uses of the rondel.

The point of all this is to say the longbow is extremely effective against fully armoured knights-- just not in the way everyone might imagine.

As a side note-- while the bodkin might not be able to pierce every kind of maille it was obviously successful (however we define success) against some. I think that's why this type of head was created and why it remained in use. I suspect archers were as pragmatic as anyone else in their choice of technologies.

Just my thoughts,

David
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Tim Merritt




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PostPosted: Thu 19 Feb, 2004 3:01 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I have a relitively light, 50# English longbow (shoot off the hand, not American style) and have shot at a variety of things, mostly with a "short" bodkin tip. I've had it go through both sides of a metal garbage can (low quality thin stuff), but then sometimes it just bouces off (and often breaks the shaft). Same with woods (shield?). Sometimes it will punch a hole, like a bullet, small hole in, large hole out, or sometimes it just bounces. And sometimes, even a light object, if it has give, such a loose cloth, or a particularily flexible material, can stop or redirect it with little damage. So, hard to draw any firm conclusions, but you can imagine to be effective, an archer may do any or all of the following: choose soft targets, pick sure shots at solid targets, use lots of arrows for lucky shots or misses due to distance, go for the big targets (like horses or masses of people or buildings), have a back-up weapon--sword, ax, dagger...
Tim
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Michael L Smith




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PostPosted: Thu 19 Feb, 2004 5:57 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It also needs to be mentioned that archers were shooting volleys of arrows at their opponents; it wasn't one archer aiming at one armored knight a la Robin Hood. At Crecy, even a knight as well armored and well-helmed as Philip VI received an arrow wound in the face. The Count of Alencon and Louis of Blois were also slain by English archers. Perhaps the pain he was in made the French king irritable for shortly after Crecy, Philip had a large number of his Genoese crossbowmen executed for treason after they failed to withstand the withering fire of the English longbowmen.

Regards
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Jeanry Chandler




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PostPosted: Sat 21 Feb, 2004 5:12 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Erik D. Schmid wrote:
No problem Alexi. What Journals did you read the statements your refer to in? I tend to give scholars the benefit of the doubt as well, but it depends on the subject. I have found that when it comes to mail most do not have enough experience with it to make some of the statements they do. Of course my obsession with it does tend to put me in the minority when it comes to research. We all have to have our eccentricities. Happy

.


Mr Schmid, this is Jeanry Chandler from the ARMA forum, nice to see you still around spreading the gospel! I'm sorry I missed your comments when you returned from England the experiment you mention here in this thrad. I went back later and read about it with fascination. I still want to discuss Lorica Plumata with you again some time...

I just want to also add to your comments that there are several independent tests which have been done on a somewhat less scientific basis by re-enactment groups using good riveted mail (though not the really formidable later renaissance mail) and it proved remarkably resiliant to both crossbows up to 600 lb draw weight and bows using both bodkin and broadhead arrows.

One thing I found very interesting was that two Viking re-enactment groups (I could go back in my notes and find out their names and URLs) reported that hand thrown javelins penetrated better than bows at short range.

JR

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David House





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PostPosted: Sat 21 Feb, 2004 5:32 pm    Post subject: chainmaille and arrows         Reply with quote

Hi to all...David here, new member...this really depends on the maille's weave...we have an Armorer, here that does 6 on 2 weave...sometimes called "Japanese Arrow proof"..real "needles only need apply" stuff and i'm sure if this weave was used, it was in more than one part of the world...as soon as he gets a new piece of sufficent size finished i'll work it with a variety of weapons from short horse bow to Dai-katana and let you all know what we discover
David...to live for the one...to die for the ONE
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Michael Pearce
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PostPosted: Sat 21 Feb, 2004 8:43 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I think it's important to remember what was mentioned concerning volley fire- against a massed attack like cavalry English longbowman of the 14th century could fire 12 or more rounds a minute. With even 1500 archers you could sustain a rate of fire of 18,000 rounds per minute- you are going to hit something vulnerable fairly often just by sheer weight of odds, whether it's the horse or a join in the armor. The 4000 archers mentioned at Agincourt would have had a sustained rate of fire of 48,000 rounds per minute. In terms of sheer volume that's like having 12 Miniguns! Against an opponent that's charging you through knee-deep mud... OUCH! Even if individual arrows were highly unlikey to penetrate a breast-plate, they are going to slaughter everything with lighter or no armor...
Michael 'Tinker' Pearce
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Then one night, as my car was going backwards through a cornfield at 90mph, I had an epiphany...
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Erik D. Schmid




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PostPosted: Sat 21 Feb, 2004 9:16 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hello Jeanry,

if you want to discuss plumata just say the word. Wink

Mr. House,

The only mail weave that is known to have been used in Europe since the Roman period and for basically every other part of the mail using world was simple four in one. The Oriental weave you are referring to seems to have been used only in Japan and the immediate area surrounding it as far as we know. If you have evidence to the contrary I would love to hear it.

Cheers,
E

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Felix Wang




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PostPosted: Mon 23 Feb, 2004 8:47 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

An article from the medical journal, Neurosurgery, may be of interest. "Head Protection in England before the First World War" was published in volume 47, number 6 (December, 2000). The lead author is TPD Blackburn, the second author is David Edge of the Wallace Collection (and coauthor of the book which Nathan is currently trying to get rid of Happy ), the third author is an engineering Ph.D at Reading University named Alan Williams.

The article discusses metallurgy and helmet design through the Middle Ages, including the analysis of the metal and/or the thickness of specific pieces of armor. It then goes on to some experimental data. A fellow named McEwen is cited for testing of the energy which a yew longbow might produce (I don't know what draw weight - but if someone has Antiquity from 1988 they might look it up). Depending of the weight of the arrow and head, energies of 70 to 83 joules are cited. These were compared with data generated from impact tests on 1.9 mm Swedish wrought iron. This material was chosen as the equivalent of low-grade munitions armor. Using an 18 degree angle, bodkin type point, 20 j just penetrates the plate, while 75 mm makes a 6 mm hole (which I guess is not enough to get the whole arrowhead through). Using a 40 degree head like a crossbow bolt, 60 j just penetrates, and 80 j makes a 5 mm hole. Padding is very important - for piercing weapons it adds about 50 joules to the energy needed to produce a certain type of hole (the padding was 16 layers of linen).
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Alexi Goranov
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PostPosted: Mon 23 Feb, 2004 9:34 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

That is the same article I was referring to in my previous 2 posts on this thread.

Some pretty neat stuff there. I wish I could put my hands on more such articles. Any recommendations, besides the book-" Blood Red Roses"?

Alexi
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Allan Senefelder
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PostPosted: Tue 24 Feb, 2004 5:51 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Another factor to be considered where plate is concerned is geometry or in other words the curves and ridges that
don't just allow the plates to contoure to a part of the body and move with it but also serve to creat deflecting angles .
Years ago while being stupidly unsafe I used my hunting bow to do some tests on a breast and back plate i'd made in cold rolled 16 gauge . First I fired an arrow at a flat sheet of 16 gauge steel and had no problem getting penetration
(arrow 1/4 of the way up the shaft ) as shooting the arrow to strike perpendicular and transmit the most force was easy .
Then I set up the breast plate and began to shoot at it . Getting an arrow to not bounce off took five shots(heres where
the really stupid unsafe don't try this at home part comes in ) and even had one ricochet straight up . The medial ridge
turned the whole thing into a big wedge , the curves introduced and rolled and flared edges formed to make it fit the body
right left almost no area where a perpendicular shot could be had .
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