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Michael Edelson




Location: New York
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PostPosted: Tue 22 Apr, 2008 11:15 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mrak E.Smith wrote:
it's an amazing topic, unfortunately the pics are unavailable now.
Can someone fix it? Here's my gratitude Big Grin


Hi Mrak,

They're available...you may have opened the message during some server trouble I was having recently.

New York Historical Fencing Association
www.newyorklongsword.com

Byakkokan Dojo
http://newyorkbattodo.com/
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Taylor Ellis




PostPosted: Tue 10 Mar, 2009 6:24 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I must have somehow missed out on this thread at the time (I think I was on deployment?), but after reading through it in it's entirety, I have some ideas or observations. The tests showed that the stiffer swords had the advantage cutting the jack, whilst the kat was the best of all against it. The flatter, flexible XIIIa had a difficult time with it.

The obvious part, to me at least, is that we are missing something. If we can assume the Duke is an accurate historical depiction of the swords in use at the time of mail (and I think we certainly can), and it isn't doing that well against defences it would typically have encountered, something's amiss right? If the design was inefficient it would have been dumped (those Euros are nothing if not practical).

Perhaps the difference centers around the use of the XIIIa. Since we don't have any manuals that address these type of weapons specifically, the best we can do is make educated guesses using later manuals. Whilst it's obvious the duke is never going to shear through mail, a shearing blow (as Oakeshott would say) against an armoured clavicle, elbow, shin etc is still going to be devastating. In this situation, it would be my assumption that the XIIIa would generate far more force onto a fairly small area than both the post XV types or the katana. The greater reach would also enable it to get around shields etc easier as well.

The obvious question is why make the X-XIII types if a mace or axe will simply be better since they generate even more force onto those specific targets? As far as I know, maces and axes were more common. But the X-XIII types still have advantages. Firstly, not everyone is going to be armoured, and as Michael's test against tatami show, the XIIIa would shine. Secondly there is the aforementioned length advantage that helps combat the ever present shields of the period. Thirdly is the fact that these swords, as the ancestors of the European longsword systems could be "fenced" with easier than axes or maces. And there is the intimidation factor that these imposing weapons would carry. Even today's movies, shot centuries after these weapons fell out of use, still give them to the heroes of the story.

Ok, I'll cut my rambling short there I think. Big Grin
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Luka Borscak




Location: Croatia
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PostPosted: Tue 10 Mar, 2009 6:41 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Michael's later test showed that XIII and XIIIa swords are effective against textile defences with tip cuts. Rounded sharp tips cut well that way. I don't have much experience but I would say that such cuts are draw cuts and sharp rounded tip does in a draw cut what katana's curvature does in a "normal" cut. More experienced people, correct me if I'm wrong.
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Shawn Henthorn




Location: Amarillo TX
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PostPosted: Tue 10 Mar, 2009 2:59 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The theory was also put forward that the lack of an iron or mild core and more of a "spring temper" in the blade could have reduced effectiveness due to the vibrations
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Thom R.




Location: Tucson
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PostPosted: Tue 10 Mar, 2009 4:27 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Luka Borscak wrote:
Michael's later test showed that XIII and XIIIa swords are effective against textile defences with tip cuts. Rounded sharp tips cut well that way. I don't have much experience but I would say that such cuts are draw cuts and sharp rounded tip does in a draw cut what katana's curvature does in a "normal" cut. More experienced people, correct me if I'm wrong.


regarding tip cuts, all other things being equal, with a sword swung in a semi-circular motion, the velocity of the tip is faster than the velocity of the sword edge at the COP. the momentum in circular motion is related to the radius*mass*velocity and the kinetic energy is directly related to the mass times the velocity squared. therefore although i am not saying that certain tip geometries are better/worse for cutting than others, the main factor with a cut of soft material using the tip region of a longsword or bastard sword has a lot to do with how fast you can get the tip moving (while keeping it aligned and on target) before raking the target with the tip. this is why even very angular type XVa, XVIa and XVII longswords with 34-38 inch long blades weighing 1300-1600 grams are often capable of wicked tip cuts on soft targets (as can some rapiers too btw). just my $0.02. tr
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Taylor Ellis




PostPosted: Tue 10 Mar, 2009 5:41 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Shawn Henthorn wrote:
The theory was also put forward that the lack of an iron or mild core and more of a "spring temper" in the blade could have reduced effectiveness due to the vibrations

Yes, but if I'm right, the temper wouldn't matter. It's one of those things: it would take 2 seconds to show but is very hard to convey with text. Basically, against an unarmoured opponent, the XIIIa would strike with the cop to specific parts of the opponent (primarily the head, neck or collarbone I would assume) with the goal being percussive force, and with the last 6 inches or the tip used against lightly or unarmoured extremeties such as shins, faces, ankles or more unarmoured opponents. Trying to slice or cut through an armoured torso would be useless as has been shown, except perhaps as a way of clearing space.

The problem I have with the temper theory is that there are many accounts of a blade's flexibility being a desirable attribute.
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Jared Smith




Location: Tennessee
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PostPosted: Tue 10 Mar, 2009 7:27 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Taylor Ellis wrote:

The problem I have with the temper theory is that there are many accounts of a blade's flexibility being a desirable attribute.


Actually the whole point of "tempering" (following a hardening such as quench) is to restore some ductility, hence spring like quality if the carbon content is within appropriate range for a quality blade. (The prized German steel cakes exported throughout Western Europe around 12th to 14th centuries for making wood planes, blades, and weapons actually was reasonably suitable for this at around 0.5 to 0.6%) An unhardened sword would likely bend very easily. A hardened, but untempered, blade can be so brittle that it can shatter like glass if dropped.

Absence of evidence is not necessarily evidence of absence!
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Nat Lamb




Location: Melbourne, Australia
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PostPosted: Tue 10 Mar, 2009 8:55 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Circular saws only cut with the "tips" of the teeth, but thos teeth are mooving pretty fast. I imagine tip cuts with the XIII and subtypes are working in a similar way (Sorry about the analogy, I'm a philosopher, not an engineer)
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Nat Lamb




Location: Melbourne, Australia
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PostPosted: Tue 10 Mar, 2009 9:43 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Michael Edelson wrote:
...

I did not bother with the poleaxe against the jack, it would not have penetrated. Maybe the 10 layer, but not the others. But then it doesn't have to, not to pulverize the man underneath.
...t.


I am willing to guess that a man wearing a sports jacket who is hot by a truck doing (converting to outdated measuring sytem) 62.137 mile an hour will be A)quite dead, and B) the owner of an un-penetrated jacket.
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Nat Lamb




Location: Melbourne, Australia
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PostPosted: Tue 10 Mar, 2009 9:59 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Daniel de Castro Caputo wrote:
...... I dressed a mail shirt once, and i haven't felt secure inside this armour, felt like someone with a barbecue espeto could kill me easily...


I wan't to be clear that this is not an attack on someone's language skills in their second (or third) language, hell, your English spelling is better than mine! However, due tho the fact that I have no idea what a "barbecue espeto" is, you conjured up a beautiful image for me of a newly discovered Macajowski horror weapon Big Grin first time for a long time that I really did laugh out loud.

After readinng the entirety of this thread, all I can say is that they are some really well done, interesting tests! The only thing that stops them being totally compelling is the small sample size, but as you have stated that yourself it is hardly a criticism. As for the people sugesting that "the type XIII s could cut through the armour of God, you must have been using them wrong" and "Yeah, but it was just hanging there, not a real target" I have a solution.
Get some people who think it was a prblem with your technique, put them in Jacks that only cover one side, and make 2 test cuts, 1 on the jack side, 1 on the other. Reapeat on the folks who say the medium is inacurate...
May want to try this with and without the duck urine for the sake of science Happy
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Raino S





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PostPosted: Thu 17 Jun, 2010 4:50 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

this stuff is fantastic reference Big Grin.

although i noticed that the rings were all riveted. this is historically true for some mails, however,
i was browsing around on hurstwic.com, specifically this page:
http://www.hurstwic.org/history/articles/manu...g_mail.htm

and one particular part really struck me. they had done studies on the grain of the rings, and they found out this:

the grain of the whole rings did not follow the shape of the ring, but instead has a a grain structure that suggests the rings were punched out of sheet metal. now i'm curious how a ringmail of this type would stand up to the same attacks as the ones in this thread, compared to other types of ringmail.
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Jesse Eaton





Joined: 15 Feb 2008

Posts: 34

PostPosted: Thu 17 Jun, 2010 8:01 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Raino S wrote:
this stuff is fantastic reference Big Grin.

although i noticed that the rings were all riveted. this is historically true for some mails, however,
i was browsing around on hurstwic.com, specifically this page:
http://www.hurstwic.org/history/articles/manu...g_mail.htm

and one particular part really struck me. they had done studies on the grain of the rings, and they found out this:

the grain of the whole rings did not follow the shape of the ring, but instead has a a grain structure that suggests the rings were punched out of sheet metal. now i'm curious how a ringmail of this type would stand up to the same attacks as the ones in this thread, compared to other types of ringmail.


If you look back at the first post, the mail tested was exactly that, riveted rings alternating with solid rings.

BTW you can just call it 'mail'. Terms like 'ring mail' and 'chain mail' are redundant. Mail armor is always made of rings linked together like chains.
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Jesse Eaton





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PostPosted: Thu 17 Jun, 2010 9:17 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Seeing this thread revived reminded me of the tests I wanted to see. If anyone out there would be so obliged as to test the cuts thrusts and slashes from arrows and swords against all three layers (i.e. 1 layer padded, one layer mail and one layer 30 layer linen) I'm sure we would all appreciate it. I have yet to see this test performed and I think that a lot of the speculation about mail would be well tested this way. If the mail could be put on an impact dummy, that would be even better:)
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Raino S





Joined: 17 Jun 2010

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PostPosted: Thu 17 Jun, 2010 10:38 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jesse Eaton wrote:

BTW you can just call it 'mail'. Terms like 'ring mail' and 'chain mail' are redundant. Mail armor is always made of rings linked together like chains.


yes, old habits die hard :/

not sure why it looked all riveted to me. hmmm..
must have been that cheap 9.5mm import hauberk from india
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Sander Marechal




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PostPosted: Fri 18 Jun, 2010 12:10 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jesse Eaton wrote:
Seeing this thread revived reminded me of the tests I wanted to see. If anyone out there would be so obliged as to test the cuts thrusts and slashes from arrows and swords against all three layers (i.e. 1 layer padded, one layer mail and one layer 30 layer linen) I'm sure we would all appreciate it. I have yet to see this test performed and I think that a lot of the speculation about mail would be well tested this way. If the mail could be put on an impact dummy, that would be even better:)


If mail + gambeson stops nearly all arrows and pretty much stops all sword cuts, why do you think that padded + mail + gambeson would fare any worse?
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Jesse Eaton





Joined: 15 Feb 2008

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PostPosted: Fri 18 Jun, 2010 7:50 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I don't think it would fare worse. I think it would fare considerably better. But I would like to know how well it would fare as compared to plate and how well it could handle higher pound bows and short ranges as well as other high powered weapons of the day. It looks, from the original test, that the three layers combined would be amazingly effective. But imagining it is not nearly as good as showing it. I saw yet another one of those stupid TV shows about medieval arms and armor where the 'test' 'medieval mail', use a single layer of butted mail. I would love to be able to point to a historically accurate settup and test. I'd love to see a an impact test dummy in full armor looking like a pin cushion without any holes in the manaquin Happy. Some body really needs to set the record strait.
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William P




Location: Sydney, Australia
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PostPosted: Mon 12 Jul, 2010 1:16 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

im agreeing with jesse

another culprit id say is cold steel, stabbing and whacking a most likely butted mail shirt with their swords, and tearing a hole in it with the war hammer head *which is smooth faced*
some of the more needle like weapons think would puncture. like their chinese sword breaker which isbuilt like a heavy estoc

even more interestingly though, the warhammer is tested against a gothic sallet (a 'typicical' gothic 15th century harness type) and breastplate, and did a fair amount of damage regardless, the quality of thatbreastplate and sallet i cant ascertine

http://www.coldsteel.com/warhammer.html
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GP3kWUxoZIs this video shows an earlier test

however regarding the earlier maile, it was mentioned it was very difficult to compromise even with a lance thrust. i findthat strange, because it has been mentioned and suggested by multiple sources that it was the crouched lance 's power that suurred on the use of plate, as the energy was too greatfr maile to resist.and this is indicated by the dichotom of the style of fighting when comparing eastern cavelry and western knights, with ottoman and egyptian cavelry having plates in very sparse areas (from the book weapons and fighting techniques of the medieval warrior)
its also mentioned as shown being teted in the series 'weapomnns tthat made britain their segment on armour evolution thelongow and especially the knights lance
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Mon 12 Jul, 2010 4:24 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

William P wrote:
however regarding the earlier maile, it was mentioned it was very difficult to compromise even with a lance thrust. i findthat strange, because it has been mentioned and suggested by multiple sources that it was the crouched lance 's power that suurred on the use of plate

Plate armour development had little to nothing to do with the ability of any weapon to compromise mail. Plate became common because of mass production brought about by the blast furnace and trip hammer mills.

Quote:
, as the energy was too greatfr maile to resist.and this is indicated by the dichotom of the style of fighting when comparing eastern cavelry and western knights, with ottoman and egyptian cavelry having plates in very sparse areas (from the book weapons and fighting techniques of the medieval warrior)
its also mentioned as shown being teted in the series 'weapomnns tthat made britain their segment on armour evolution thelongow and especially the knights lance

There are plenty of sources stating that mail could resist the impact of a lance or bow.

Start with this.
http://www.myArmoury.com/feature_mail.html
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William P




Location: Sydney, Australia
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PostPosted: Wed 10 Aug, 2011 3:40 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jean Henri Chandler wrote:
On cutting swords vs. mail armor.... keep in mind, in this period, not only was mail armor rare compared to the amount of armor in some later Medieval battlefields, but it didn't cover the whole body. Most people here in this list don't have to be reminded of the forensic analysis which has been done at battlefields like Wisby, most skeletons with evidence of cuts were cut on the lower legs (lower left leg particularly IIRC). A hauberk doesn't protect the lower legs. Or the lower arms in most cases or the face or in many cases the neck. In fact the most common type of mail from Classical times through the Dark Ages was probably one or another type of short byrnie or corslet which really only protected the torso, and the only other protection commonly worn was a helmet protecting the top of the head, more rarely with a coif or an aventail or even some face defense ala sutton hoo. These areas offer good protection against most attacks when using a shield, but by and large I susepect that the short answer is:

They defeated that armor by cutting around it.

Note that it's the rise of head-to-toe mail armor during the Crusades period which seems to coincide with the rapid evolution of pole arms and poll-axes (early examples being that large two-handed huskarl axe in England which showed up as armor was becomming more widespread) and heavier crossbows and the early two handed swords, which seem to have predated plate armor


i was wondering this question long and hard about the spatulate tips of dark age and viking swords. when acute tipes are whats needed for penetrating maile and we see examples of langseak with blades nearly 22 inches long on some occasions.

the real answer is a very simple one

my understanding is that only a very small portion of dark age armies actually wore maile armour. some in my reenactment group reckon that if you add the levy of peasent as being as low as1 in 5000
but regardless of the ratio. most of the men you will fight in the dark ages wont have maile armour unless its in a shield wall which means all the maille clad ones will be the front rankers

the result of the katana or other spatulate tips when thrusting at the jack isnt surprising. if you think of it.. its not that mch different to how a broadhead arrow would do damage, i.e by slicing it way through the target. and the thickness of the katana means it is able to keep the fabric parted like a wedge, giving it less drag on the spine.
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William P




Location: Sydney, Australia
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PostPosted: Wed 10 Aug, 2011 4:56 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

as for cutting with the tip. most of my swords are eiter wallhangers, a wushu broadsword (in which only the top third is thin enough to be whippy,and around halfway the thickness shinks more rapidly at the point the thickness is like sheetmetal essentially. very thin. )
but the broadsword has had some interesting effects. a simple hacking cut on a tough plastic botttle, wont do anything. but a cut with the tip is thin and fast enough to be able to cut into the corner of the bottle and out again.
similar results happen with my 440 stainless jian which i used an acusharpto give an edge,. not good enough to cut straw mats, but slicing with the tip can still make a mark.
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