Info Favorites Register Log in
myArmoury.com Discussion Forums

Forum index Memberlist Usergroups Spotlight Topics Search
Forum Index > Historical Arms Talk > Arrows vs armour Reply to topic
This is a Spotlight Topic Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3, ... 19, 20, 21  Next 
Author Message
J. Scott Moore





Joined: 25 Nov 2008

Posts: 75

PostPosted: Sat 31 Jan, 2009 5:23 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I will take a risk, and jump on the bandwagon, here. Earlier in this topic, you guys mentioned the hundred years' war. I think it is also important to mention that, while knights, and some of the wealthier nobility could afford plate armor, not all, or even most could. more often than not, they would wear a chain hauberk, a gambeson, breastplate (if they could afford it) and some sort of helm. any sort of decent archer can hit an armpit, neck, leg or arm. So yes the english longbows were effective against these troops, and as such would scatter the french forces.
"Whoever desires peace, let him prepare for war."
-Vegetius
View user's profile Send private message MSN Messenger
Joshua Connolly




Location: Massachusetts, USA
Joined: 28 Sep 2006

Posts: 49

PostPosted: Sat 31 Jan, 2009 6:20 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

J. Scott Moore wrote:
I will take a risk, and jump on the bandwagon, here. Earlier in this topic, you guys mentioned the hundred years' war. I think it is also important to mention that, while knights, and some of the wealthier nobility could afford plate armor, not all, or even most could. more often than not, they would wear a chain hauberk, a gambeson, breastplate (if they could afford it) and some sort of helm. any sort of decent archer can hit an armpit, neck, leg or arm. So yes the english longbows were effective against these troops, and as such would scatter the french forces.


I think that depends on the time period. During the 1200s and 1300s this was probably more true than not, but from what I remember by the latter half of the 1300s, and all throughout the 1400s and 1500s plate armor production was picking up to the extent where, even though it might not be the most common form, it was a common sight on the battlefield. I don't think the plate armors would be really restricted by class, so much as by whether someone is a professional soldier or not. For instance, Landsknecht wore an awful lot of plate armor. Even here though, there were still a lot of people who didn't wear plate armor.

Also, hitting an armpit, neck, leg, or arm probably depends upon the distance you're firing from. For instance, it's probably easier to hit such a target from 10 meters away than it is to hit it from 100 meters away.


This does make me think though. Approximately how common would plate armor be on a battlefield?[/i]
View user's profile Send private message
Mikael Ranelius




Location: Sweden
Joined: 06 Mar 2007

Posts: 252

PostPosted: Sat 31 Jan, 2009 6:32 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Now, if archers were recruited only due to their cost-effectivness, why didn’t they go for even cheaper troops, like spearmen or perhaps peasant levies using pitch-forks? To judge by what some of you are saying, archers would hardly have been much more effective…

Then we have to take into account that the adversaries and allies of the English tried to copy their archery tactics in the 15th century, at the very same time as plate armour certainly had developed to the point of being virtually arrow-proof, and firearms were on the rise. But for some reasons, the Scots, French and Burgundians still thought making the trouble of training and recruiting elite warbow-armed archers was worthwhile .

Now, some of you appears to be arguing that archers were only useful for their ability to disrupt enemy formations, and that being, in effect, the only thing they were good at. But if that supposedly was the archers’ only task, it makes no sense having them rigorously train from childhood and equip them with heavy bows capable of loosing heavy war arrows, fitted with comparatively elaborate heads such as the barbed type 16. If you only sought to disrupt enemy formations at a distance, you might just as well have used light flight bows and flight arrows, which would have had a greater range. And if the arrows were never intended to kill or even maim anyone, they might just as well have been fitted with light target-heads. Or why not just use crossbows, which would have called for less training (after all, the prevailing notion here seems to be that crossbows were superior to warbows)?
View user's profile Send private message
Richard Hare




Location: Alberta, canada
Joined: 15 Mar 2008

Posts: 135

PostPosted: Sat 31 Jan, 2009 7:13 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Chad,
Gary,

I apologise if I came over in a condesending manner.
It was not intentional.
It upsets me though, when we have historical facts that appear to be neglected.

Re. the English losing the war,....we agree on that! But, it was lost through the ineptitude of Henry 1V' and his close 'Peace' advisers, and a general lack of interest in the war at home, This led to a starving off of funds to undertake war, as it was no longer a profitable business, and proving far too costly.
This in turn led to great dissatisfaction among the magnates who lost great holdings in Normandy and Aquatain, and led as much as anything into the "Wars of the Roses"

It is interesting to note, that in the battles of the war of the Roses, archers still appear to inflict large amountsof casualties.
At Blore Heath, a force of roughly 10,000 Lancastrians were defeated by a Yorkist force about half the size.

The Yorkist archers repused two mounted charges, the second led by Lord Audley, who was amongst those killed by the archers. (And presumabley wearing state-of-the-art armour)
After this, a third advance was made on foot by 5,000 men-at arms and a slogging battle ensued.
In the end, the Lancastrians withdrew, leaving 2,000 dead on the field, aginst the Yorkist's 500 slain.

Here is my point;
The men-at arms were just as brave on both sides, and the King's army, (Lancaster) would not be armoured in a poorer style than the rebel Yorkists. so what accounts for the ratio of killed of one to four?
The only conclusion to arrive at, is the archers again making the difference.

I apologise again for upsetting some of you.

Richard.
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Randall Moffett




Location: Northern Utah
Joined: 07 Jun 2006
Reading list: 5 books

Posts: 2,098

PostPosted: Sat 31 Jan, 2009 11:22 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dan,

I can give you the short distance but think you are a bit too harsh for the most part. The arrows were well within the high side of some known examples but nonetheless still within it. They admit that their arrow heads were on the high side so faulting them for this seems a bit unfair. As I said earlier I think the few testing’s on arrowhead hardness is inadequate so any firm statement will suffer from lack of real sample sizes tested. The same is true for armour thickness though... too little research done to say one way or the other.

They state on page 60 that they used aspen not ash so not sure what to say to that. Ash was found for arrows on the MR so not an issue to me if they had use ash even. Both types of wood are recorded in primary period sources so to me fair game if they used ash or aspen.

As far as not using padding.... yeah that is true. I think that is an entirely complex question in itself though. Since so many people, including some on this forum, feel harness was not worn over padding in the 15th it becomes dependant on your view point if it should or should not be there. I think padding to some level would be used then but agree this is a weakness but only in my opinion. I am sure those who do not think a padded garment under harness would see it different.

Now as to the armour tested being like the worst available material in period... Not completely true. It might be what was the lowest grade but that grade likely made up most of armour in the late medieval period. Same is true today in much of equipment employed. Excluding Italy most armour until the end of the 15th was of comparable iron material. Even in Italy only the marked armour was hardened to any noticeable impact commonly, the unmarked mostly low carbon steel unheat-treated with little increased hardness gained. All this info right out of Williams summary of sections. So I'd say yes they could have perhaps done a better sampling of heat treated and hardness etc. but for a great bulk of armour of the period I think it is fairly accurate. Since they admit to not using the highest quality metal for the armour only that for the average armour I think this assessment is accurate and fair.

Josh,

While yes some armours are like that these would have been in the minority if compared to most other breastplates of the time. German Gothic ones only have a few inches over lap over the entire breastplate where the plates meet. Many one piece Italian breastplates were in use and many lower grades ones only have a few inches of overlap as well. You do see Italian harnesses like the Avant, Warwick and such which do cover a great amount of each plate. So I agree that these likely were much harder to breach but then they seem to have been worn by the upper tiers of the uppers so this should make sense. They also seem to have marks and the Avant has some heat treating. Clearly some armour was being developed to counter and negate most arrows. I think it would be hard to debate this was not happening to some degree.

Have a good weekend folks! Will be out much of this weeks so look forward to reading it all later!

RPM
View user's profile Send private message
Max Chouinard




Location: Quebec, Qc
Joined: 23 Apr 2008

Posts: 108

PostPosted: Sat 31 Jan, 2009 12:22 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

In 1567 at the battle of Belleville, the french troops were equipped at 29% with at least a corselet, 10% for the Italians. In the elite formation of Brissac, 43% had a cuirass, 10% of Pfyffer's swiss were thus protected. It's taken from the book croiser le fer by Pierre Serna and sufficiently sourced. I've seen comparable stats for the city of Troyes too, who was supposedly one of the city who armed it's soldiers the best way possible. Plate armour wasn't cheap, and not every soldier was ready to carry it's load in a long campaign. Even certain nobles like La Noue would choose to equip themselves lightly because of the weight. Now were talking Renaissance of course, but I doubt it would have been that much different before.

I don't think the problem lies in : " can an arrow go through plate", but would there have been enough plate to stop most of them?

Maxime Chouinard

Antrim Bata

Quebec City Kenjutsu

I don't do longsword
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Dan Howard




Location: Maitland, NSW, Australia
Joined: 08 Dec 2004

Spotlight topics: 2
Posts: 3,352

PostPosted: Sat 31 Jan, 2009 2:03 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Randall Moffett wrote:
I can give you the short distance but think you are a bit too harsh for the most part. The arrows were well within the high side of some known examples but nonetheless still within it. They admit that their arrow heads were on the high side so faulting them for this seems a bit unfair. As I said earlier I think the few testing’s on arrowhead hardness is inadequate so any firm statement will suffer from lack of real sample sizes tested. The same is true for armour thickness though... too little research done to say one way or the other.

I would like to have seen a test using compact broadheads (e.g. Type 16) especially since these have been found with higher hardnesses and it is these I am convinced were fired at closer ranges. Bodkin typologies are flight arrows IMO (none have been found with any signficant degree of hardness). At "flight" ranges no longbow has any chance of penetrating any kind of armour.

Quote:
They state on page 60 that they used aspen not ash so not sure what to say to that. Ash was found for arrows on the MR so not an issue to me if they had use ash even. Both types of wood are recorded in primary period sources so to me fair game if they used ash or aspen.
I need to reread the paper. I am misremembering that part. Apologies to all involved.

Quote:
As far as not using padding.... yeah that is true. I think that is an entirely complex question in itself though. Since so many people, including some on this forum, feel harness was not worn over padding in the 15th it becomes dependant on your view point if it should or should not be there. I think padding to some level would be used then but agree this is a weakness but only in my opinion. I am sure those who do not think a padded garment under harness would see it different.
Depends on what you mean by "padding". Plate armour weas not worn over naked skin, nor was it worn over something as thick as a gambeson but an arming doublet was lightly padded. Without incorporating it into the test we don't know whether it would affect penetration. It certainly would not INCREASE penetration - hence my accusation of bias.

Quote:
Now as to the armour tested being like the worst available material in period... Not completely true. It might be what was the lowest grade but that grade likely made up most of armour in the late medieval period. Same is true today in much of equipment employed. Excluding Italy most armour until the end of the 15th was of comparable iron material. Even in Italy only the marked armour was hardened to any noticeable impact commonly, the unmarked mostly low carbon steel unheat-treated with little increased hardness gained. All this info right out of Williams summary of sections. So I'd say yes they could have perhaps done a better sampling of heat treated and hardness etc. but for a great bulk of armour of the period I think it is fairly accurate. Since they admit to not using the highest quality metal for the armour only that for the average armour I think this assessment is accurate and fair.
Agreed. The test is a valid one so long as one restricts any conclusions to munitions grade plate. How many cuirasses made of this material were only 1.15mm thick? I would like to see a similar test repeated for 1.5mm plate. Their test shows that anyone wearing 2mm - even of crappy plate - is perfectly safe (even at point blank).
View user's profile Send private message
Joshua Connolly




Location: Massachusetts, USA
Joined: 28 Sep 2006

Posts: 49

PostPosted: Sat 31 Jan, 2009 2:46 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Randall Moffett wrote:
Dan,

I can give you the short distance but think you are a bit too harsh for the most part. The arrows were well within the high side of some known examples but nonetheless still within it. They admit that their arrow heads were on the high side so faulting them for this seems a bit unfair. As I said earlier I think the few testing’s on arrowhead hardness is inadequate so any firm statement will suffer from lack of real sample sizes tested. The same is true for armour thickness though... too little research done to say one way or the other.

They state on page 60 that they used aspen not ash so not sure what to say to that. Ash was found for arrows on the MR so not an issue to me if they had use ash even. Both types of wood are recorded in primary period sources so to me fair game if they used ash or aspen.

As far as not using padding.... yeah that is true. I think that is an entirely complex question in itself though. Since so many people, including some on this forum, feel harness was not worn over padding in the 15th it becomes dependant on your view point if it should or should not be there. I think padding to some level would be used then but agree this is a weakness but only in my opinion. I am sure those who do not think a padded garment under harness would see it different.

Now as to the armour tested being like the worst available material in period... Not completely true. It might be what was the lowest grade but that grade likely made up most of armour in the late medieval period. Same is true today in much of equipment employed. Excluding Italy most armour until the end of the 15th was of comparable iron material. Even in Italy only the marked armour was hardened to any noticeable impact commonly, the unmarked mostly low carbon steel unheat-treated with little increased hardness gained. All this info right out of Williams summary of sections. So I'd say yes they could have perhaps done a better sampling of heat treated and hardness etc. but for a great bulk of armour of the period I think it is fairly accurate. Since they admit to not using the highest quality metal for the armour only that for the average armour I think this assessment is accurate and fair.

Josh,

RPM


Randall,

To be fair, I tend to be really skeptical of that study as well(For as little as my own opinion means :P). It does seem to me that they were trying to stack things in the arrow's favor, especially when they make claims that the blunt force trauma from an arrow would kill an armored person anyway. They seemed to have a conclusion already in mind, and they were just stacking the cards to support that conclusion. I also have a problem not just in the rationale for what they used, but also in the way they structured it. For instance, each of those instances of evidence(Arrow hardness, plate quality, etc) seems to be fine by themselves, but not necessarily all together. For instance, what would you say to a modern car company that ran partisan tests against their rival's cars, but the cars they had were modified to be more efficient, were the "top of the line" cars they had, and they were testing them against their rival's 'economy' cars that aren't meant for performance. Oh, yea, and they were testing the rival's cars in freezing rain, while their own cars are being tested in sunny, dry weather. At least in my humble opinion, that's sort of what they were doing here. Each individual trait or condition does actually exist. Many people modify their cars for instance, 'top of the line' cars do exist, just like economy cars. As well, freezing rain does exist, and it does hamper performance. However, the problem occurs when you push all those things together in certain ways.

My biggest concern though is that they were firing at simple sheets of metal. To me, this almost invalidates their findings, but I did find it impressive that they fared as well as they did.
View user's profile Send private message
Daniel Staberg




Location: Gothenburg/Sweden
Joined: 30 Apr 2005
Likes: 2 pages
Reading list: 2 books

Posts: 565

PostPosted: Sat 31 Jan, 2009 3:23 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Josh Warren wrote:
Steve Hinton wrote:

You also need to take ito account hitting power even if the arrow didn't cut through the percussion and deformation of the armour would be enough to damage bones and organs not an immediate death granted

I've seen this one bruited about by the archers, too. I'm not sure the argument holds much water. After all, jousters, both modern and medieval, are subjected to percussive impacts in their armour that are much greater than any amount of force that an arrow can generate, and they walk away from such collisions uninjured. I don't think that the blunt trauma inflicted by an arrow that doesn't penetrate armour is going to cause any significant harm to the armour's wearer.


Not to mention that 16th, 17th and not to forget 20th/21st Century soldiers regurlarly survived having their body armour struck by bullets possesing far more energy than any arrow. The theory that arrows would cause such injuires seems highly implausible....
View user's profile Send private message
David Jenkins




Location: Putaruru, New Zealand
Joined: 21 Jul 2008
Reading list: 6 books

Posts: 9

PostPosted: Sun 01 Feb, 2009 1:13 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Back to the longbow versus maile subject.

The de Soto were facing American Indians with longbows probably in the 80 pound range. Arrows with stone, bone, antler and wood heads. These were enough to go straight through the shoulders of an unarmoured horse. They penetrated maile but not plate unless they found a gap (surprise surprise). The arrow heads broke off and the broken jagged shaft went straight through the maile.

They captured an Indian (Cherokee?) and forced him to shoot at maile at 150 paces it penetrated enough to kill (in the right place), with two layers of maile it penetrated but not enough to do any harm.

I believe both the Spanish (in the new world) and the crusaders may have used some sort of heavier mail against arrows.
View user's profile Send private message MSN Messenger
Dan Howard




Location: Maitland, NSW, Australia
Joined: 08 Dec 2004

Spotlight topics: 2
Posts: 3,352

PostPosted: Sun 01 Feb, 2009 2:49 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I wouldn't place too much stock in anything Garscilaso wrote. He is the least reliable of de Soto's chroniclers since he was not part of the expedition, was writing decades after the event, was relying on the personal tales of a conquistador (probably Gonzalo de Silvestre), and was writing the type of chivalric rubbish that Cervantes hated. Other writers who were actual eye witnesses note that mail is far more effective.

One example is during a battle with Mobile Indians. De Soto stood in the stirrups to deliver a blow and was wounded: "...in that little space exposed between the saddlebow and his cuirass. Although he wore a coat of mail, the arrow broke through this protection and a sixth of it entered his left buttock." Hardly a fatal wound.

Another eyewitness, the writer from Yelves, wrote that "an arrow, where it finds no mail, pierces as deeply as a crossbow. ... For the most part when they strike upon mail, they break at the place where they are bound together. Those of cane split and pierce a coat of mail, causing more injury than the other."
View user's profile Send private message
Gary Teuscher





Joined: 19 Nov 2008

Spotlight topics: 1
Posts: 704

PostPosted: Sun 01 Feb, 2009 2:50 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Randall Moffett wrote:

Quote:
I think discounting the average draw weight given from the Mary Rose bows is dangerous at best. All research points to 140-160 as the largest % that were recovered. Since we have no other bows we know to be military bows for late medieval to early modern this literally is all we have to go off for Western European longbows. The only person who contended with the Mary Rose bow findings on any real grounds has since changed his view after realizing his math was wrong. ...

There are really no real arguments I have heard that adequately indicate why people arrived at 120 as an average or 100 for that matter. At least the Mary Rose estimate is based on real finds with real context, full stop. The only real issue is if the bows were more powerful in the 16th over 15th or 14th which would not to me seem to be the case but that is an entire matter in itself.


Randall - I'm really curious where you came up with the info here. Not that I disagree entirely - It's not the Standard " Mad Show me your sources" response Big Grin . If you could give me some good detail on this I would be interested, PM me if it's too much for this thread.

Actually in fairness I probably would go with the 120# draw weight - merely because I have seen the camp about half and half on draw weights of 100# and 140#. This is discounting info from sources who begin with the "And the longbow had a range of 240 yards, and no armour was protection against it".

On the Bows getting stronger as time went on, I think this could well be the case. Not because there was not the ability to make heavier ones, but for a few other reasons.

The Viking bow find estimates a 100# pull, though they may have used the same methods that estimated the longbow at a 100# pull.

IIRC, the Welsh bows were not of the same dimensions and were different in other ways from the longbow. This of course without any better sources on the matter may well be more middle ages myth.

All weapons changed during this time to handle better and more commonplace metal armour. Crossbows decreased in rate of fire, increased pound pull. Swords changed to more thrusting type weapons for half swording. Etc., etc,.

The other reason is that Longbows had a 8-12 per mimute rate of fire or so IIRC? Keeping up this rate of fire with a heavier bow is tougher, and the archers would need to pace themselves more with a heavier bow IMO. I look at it as "ramming speed" on a Trireme. If the bow weight increases, you lower somewhat your ability to have the same rate of fire at long range. And IMO, even the heaviest longtbows will not be effective against decent armour at range, particularily if using more flight type arrows. When there were less well armoured opponents on the battlefield, too heavy of a bow would not have been a good idea. when trying to defeat heavy armour at close ranges, a heavier bow makes better sense.

Dan Howard wrote:

Quote:
Agreed. The test is a valid one so long as one restricts any conclusions to munitions grade plate. How many cuirasses made of this material were only 1.15mm thick? I would like to see a similar test repeated for 1.5mm plate.


With plate over mail, the 1-1.5mm is about right. even for later periods, limb armour was somewhere in this realm. But is it's trying to state the arrows can penetrate a 1.15mm breastplate, put mail and a gambeson behind!

I think the worst part for me was the flat sheet. I guess what this tells the best is don't go into battle wearing a flat sheet of 1.15 mm plate!

Max Chouinard wrote:

Quote:
don't think the problem lies in : " can an arrow go through plate", but would there have been enough plate to stop most of them?


I agree here. Many of the pro longbow replies have been to the extent of "why train for years if you can't penetrate 2mm of plate", which is not very relevant.

Richard Hare wrote:

Quote:
Here is my point;
The men-at arms were just as brave on both sides, and the King's army, (Lancaster) would not be armoured in a poorer style than the rebel Yorkists. so what accounts for the ratio of killed of one to four?
The only conclusion to arrive at, is the archers again making the difference.


This is wikepedia, so if there are inaccuracies someone let me know, but:

Quote:
Initially, both leaders sought to parley in a futile attempt to avoid bloodshed. In keeping with many late medieval battles, the conflict opened with an archery duel between the longbows of both armies. At Blore Heath, this proved inconclusive because of the distance between the two sides.


It appears both parites had longbowmen. And they had an incosequential exchange of arrows.

Quote:
Salisbury, aware that any attack across the brook would be suicidal, employed a ruse to encourage the enemy to attack him. He withdrew some of his middle-order just far enough that the Lancastrians believed them to be retreating. The Lancastrians launched a cavalry charge. After they had committed themselves, Salisbury ordered his men to turn back and catch the Lancastrians as they attempted to cross the brook. It is possible that the order for this Lancastrian charge was not given by Audley but it had the effect of turning the balance in favour of Salisbury. The charge resulted in heavy casualties for the Lancastrians.


Does not mention if longbows played much of a role here, but as it has been said many time, bows of any type are very effective against cavalry, as they kill or injure mounts.

Quote:
The Lancastrians withdrew, and then made a second assault, possibly attempting to rescue casualties. This second attack was more successful with many Lancastrians crossing the brook. This led to a period of intense fighting in which Audley himself was killed, possibly by Sir Roger Kynaston of Stocks near Ellesmere.


A more sucessful assault, and a melee.

The death of Audley meant that Lancastrian command devolved on to the second-in-command John Sutton, 1st Baron Dudley who ordered an attack on foot with some 4,000 men. As this attack also failed, some 500 Lancastrians joined the enemy and began attacking their own side. At this, any remaining Lancastrian resistance collapsed and the Yorkists only had to advance to complete the rout. The rout continued through the night, with the Yorkists pursuing the fleeing enemy for miles across the countryside. It is believed that at least 3,000 men died in the battle, with at least 2,000 of these from the Lancastrian side. Local legend says that Hempmill Brook flowed with blood for 3 days after the battle.

Looks like much as this had to do with the Lancastrrians attacking over a brook. Terrain is a great force equalizer.

In looking at the battle, I do not see where the longbow played a huge role, as both had the use of them. It was probably effective against a cavalry charge, at least the first one, perhaps not as effective against the second. No one has argued that longbows were not effective in killing mounts.

A good question to ask might be why the House of York defeated the Lancastrians when outnumbered 2-1, even though both had longbows? My guess here would be terrain and leadership, the defection of 500 of the Lancastrians was not of help either.
View user's profile Send private message
Daniel Staberg




Location: Gothenburg/Sweden
Joined: 30 Apr 2005
Likes: 2 pages
Reading list: 2 books

Posts: 565

PostPosted: Sun 01 Feb, 2009 3:33 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Blore Heath is a very difficult battle to draw any conclusions from. It is probably the most poorly documented of all the large battle of the period as there exist only one source which provides any details, Waurin's description of the battle in "Recueil des croniques et anchiennes istories de la Grant Bretaigne, a present nomme Engleterre". His version of event smust be treated carefully as he was not close to the events nor can his story be verified by other sources.

In addtion to the terrain Salisbury is supposed to have strenghtend his position with ditches and stakes much as the English did in the 100YW http://www.bloreheath.org/tactics1.php?ref=tactics1

Hardy & Strickland also considers the experience or rather lack of experience to be a factor in the outcome. They describe the Lancasrians as hastily raised raw Cheshire levies while the Yorkists were seasoned troops.
View user's profile Send private message
James Arlen Gillaspie
Industry Professional



Location: upstate NY
Joined: 10 Nov 2005

Posts: 549

PostPosted: Sun 01 Feb, 2009 8:35 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The type and source of the wrought iron used in the tests is of major importance. I have worked with the wrought iron sheet most commonly available in the U.K., and it is far, far worse than old architectural grade charcoal iron, let alone properly refined sheet iron. The reason is that it is used for modern architectural wrought iron, in which it is desirable to show its flaws and delaminations to the maximum extent possible. People use it because you can see what it is at a distance. It has an exaggerated grain, like wood. Forging complex, deep forms out of it is an immense pain as a result, as the stuff tends to fall apart if you look at it wrong (and boy, is it touchy!). I have warned off other armour makers from trying to use the stuff. A MAJOR armour authority, when I showed him what the stuff is like, said it was something no real armour maker would have used.


 Attachment: 137.08 KB
[ Download ]

jamesarlen.com
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Randall Moffett




Location: Northern Utah
Joined: 07 Jun 2006
Reading list: 5 books

Posts: 2,098

PostPosted: Mon 02 Feb, 2009 3:29 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dan,

I agree that Flights would have been highly unlikely to pierce armour at such ranges completely. That said I am not sure that many current tests are conclusive as the sample sizes are so small. Using perhaps 2-4 of one type runs a thin line of it they are representative. Since we have hundreds if not thousands of arrowheads it’d be nice for more testing… sadly cost would kill such a thorough test. I too would have liked to have seen the compact broadheads used as well.

As to your point about under padding. I think you are right that it would be a valuable asset in the protective quality. I personally agree that they would be padded. My point was that recently there have been several people both in academia and reenactment who think them unpadded at all. There are several posts here even on this.

From my limited measurements on several breastplates it would not be uncommon that much of most breastplates would be less than 1.5mm. Many seem to top out at 1.6-2mm, the edges around 1mm or under. Many of these simple, likely munitions, breastplates were looked at by Williams and in his books were either low carbon unheat treated and/or iron. Since he did not cover thickness in detail these are only a few that I have been able to sample that he did and are not to me conclusive but an ‘at the moment’ count. Once I have gotten tenured somewhere I would like to get something out on armour thickness.

Joshua,

This testing really would have little resemblance to your analogy of cars as they are not rigging it against them only using the material that made the vast majority of armour. It is more like comparing what 80-90% plus of cars perform at. Seems to be the only fair way to do it, if you had but one option would you test the 90% or 10%?

Hardly invalidates anything in reality. The debate of glancing surfaces on a plate in part compensated by angle of fire. While clearly this is not 100% it does not invalidate it. It would be impossible nearly to run a scientific experiment without infinite funding for good armour. You then have to decide which type of Breastplate, likely with a large number per design. Quality of material as well. You have to decide when it does glance or penetrate why it did so and what of millions of possible angles were responsible. Flat sheets with degree of angle gives them hard numbers and a way to see what certain angles deflect at, which in the testing showed was an important factor in defeating arrows.

Gary,

As far as I know there are but two groups who have come up with estimates based on numbers and that is Kooi and Clark. Both eventually ended up nearly in accord.

We have guys who practice maybe 1-2 times a month on 120-140 who can unload 16-18 a minute. Heavy bows have no aversion to rapid fire. If an archer is putting nearly any time into it he can achieve this.

James,

Supposedly the team in this testing made the quality of wrought iron paramount in their research as that was an issue with Jones's work. They paid some huge amount of money for sheets specially made for this testing to avoid Victorian wrought iron for many of the same reasons you gave. As far as I can tell it is not common wrought iron that is at times availible.


In the end the main issue here is these tests are often run with little to no funding. A perfect test will never be possible for this reason. Most people who do this do it as a side job to a full time job at a University which might seem easy but is full of afterhours work, meetings and other side jobs/research. Often this is what they do for fun. If people want to see a good test then it will come down to donating money, skills, and or materials to these tests. The sheets used in this test were very expensive which led to massive gaps in thickness of the plate used. They could not afford to get this specially made wrought iron in every .25-.5mm, less to have 10-20 breastplates formed up. They did the best they could with limited time and funds without ending in the soup kitchens. Since 90% of the valid weaknesses of the test are covered in their paper I think the testing was very fair and open trying to avoid glaring bias.

Interesting replies... stop it please I am getting behind in my last chapter! Big Grin

RPM
View user's profile Send private message
Gary Teuscher





Joined: 19 Nov 2008

Spotlight topics: 1
Posts: 704

PostPosted: Mon 02 Feb, 2009 7:50 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Randall - Here is much of what I have seen regarding pound pull of English Longbows. I can get the source for you, but it's pretty common info:

Quote:
The longbows on the Mary Rose were in excellent finished condition. There were enough bows to test some to destruction which resulted in draw forces of 45 kgf (450 N, 100 lbf) on average. However, analysis of the wood indicated that they had degraded significantly in the seawater and mud which had weakened their draw forces. Replicas were made and when tested had draw forces of 68 to 90 kgf (680 to 900 N, 150 to 200 lbf) [7].

In 1980, Robert E. Kaiser published a paper[8], prior to the recovery of the Mary Rose, stating that there were five known surviving longbows:

1)The first bow comes from the Battle of Hedgeley Moor in 1464 during the War of the Roses. A family who lived at the castle since the battle had saved it to modern times. It is 1.66 m (65.5 in) and a 27 kgf (270 N, 60 lbf) draw force. [9]

2)The second dates to the Battle of Flodden ("a landmark in the history of archery, as the last battle on English soil to be fought with the longbow as the principal weapon..."[10]) in 1513. It hung in the rafters at the headquarters of the Royal Scottish Archers in Edinburgh, Scotland.[11] It has a draw force of 36 to 41 kgf (360 to 410 N, 80 to 90 lbf).

3)The third and fourth were recovered in 1836 by John Deane from the Mary Rose. Both weapons are in the Tower of London Armoury and Horace Ford writing in 1887 estimated them to have a draw force of 28 to 32 kgf (280 to 320 N, 65 to 70 lbf) [12]. A modern replica made in the early 1970s of these bows has a draw force of 46 kgf (460 N, 102 lbf).[13]

4)The fifth surviving longbow comes from the armoury of the church in the village of Mendlesham in Suffolk, England and is believed to date either from the period of Henry VIII or Queen Elizabeth I. The Mendlesham Bow is broken, has an estimated length of 1.73 to 1.75 m (68 to 69 inches) and draw force of 35 kgf (350 N, 80 lbf). [14]


Maybe some of these we can write off as being hunting bows. I'm curious as to the "modern replica" issues,#3 has a replica draw eight of 100 foot pounds from the Mary Rose, The Mary Rose replicas seem to have been made with a higher draw. What is also interesting is the Mary Rose bows tested were drawn til the broke. I would have been more curious to see them drawn to the draw length represented by the arrows.

Seems like a Wide variety of Draw Weights, I don't see anything real conclusive in any of them because of the great variance.

Interesting the Viking Bowfind from IIRC the 10th century had an estimated draw of 100 pounds.


The other thing is a longbow of 140 pounds and a 30" draw would be almost as strong as a 350# Composite Crossbow (difference would be less than 10%), based on a 14-15" Bolt and an 8-9" powerstroke, 3-4" brace. That is unless the bolts and corresponding draw length were longer (there is little info to base this on but IMO the Draw and Bolt of the Crossbow are pushing commonly accepted estimates). A 350# draw is about the most one could expect the average man with Belt and Claw as well. The only other way for the crossbow to be any stronger is if it would have used at least some recurve technology.

Not saying this could not be the case, but it does suprise me to a point.
View user's profile Send private message
Randall Moffett




Location: Northern Utah
Joined: 07 Jun 2006
Reading list: 5 books

Posts: 2,098

PostPosted: Mon 02 Feb, 2009 8:21 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Gary,

No need I know this one. I think the danger is in how the objects were associated and how much they have degraded over time. A new warbow can drop 20-30 pounds draw in a few years of use. This to me explains in part why Edward was eating bows like they were creamed eels. I think you are likely right that a few of these are likely for hunting. There is no indication that earlier research of the bows regarded the loss of draw weight over time as well which could as I mentioned earlier change it a great deal.

The MR bows do move from around a great deal 100-180 I think is what Strickland gives in his chapter on armour penetration. The issue I am pointing out though is that most seem to be in the 140-160, I think it is like 65-70% in this range. Seems fairly conclusive to me. There is no doubt that some were much weaker or much stronger. Clearly the indication from the MR finds is that c.100 was the lowest end.

Since the windlass comes in mid to late 13th to increase the power of the crossbow I think you likely are seeing one way in which to weapons competed for similar places in warfare. I think that sounds about right that a 350lb crossbow is about the same as an average warbow.

RPM
View user's profile Send private message
Gary Teuscher





Joined: 19 Nov 2008

Spotlight topics: 1
Posts: 704

PostPosted: Mon 02 Feb, 2009 8:37 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I look at #'s 1-5 from the above, all seem to have a lower current draw eight than the Mary Rose bows.

#3 Has a replica made at 102 pounds, about 50% higher than the cureent bow (65-70 pounds). I guess following this example, bows that were tested at 100# couyld be reckoned to have degraded from 150 pounds.

If multiplying their tested pulls by 150%, #1-5 would seem to be in the 90-120 pound pull range.

I wonder if the Viking bowfind was a current 100# based on the bow as it is, or the 100# is estimated pull in original condition.

I still do think that in the evolution of arms and armour, the Mary Rose Longbows would have been a bit heavier of a draw. Nothing concrete, but lighter pulls of earlier pound pulls (If the Viking bow is indeed 100#) may attest to this. The other issue is the evolution of crossbow draw eights as well, though this was more extreme and technology related to a point.

Have there been any finds of the "Welsh Bow" of the Welsh wars and the mercenary welsh bowmen used against the scots by Edward I and II?
View user's profile Send private message
Randall Moffett




Location: Northern Utah
Joined: 07 Jun 2006
Reading list: 5 books

Posts: 2,098

PostPosted: Mon 02 Feb, 2009 9:37 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Gary,

The increase or decrease in longbow draw weight is a fairly common debate and one in which I doubt there is any real evidence for either way. If this happened it would not be 16th, or perhaps even 15th but 14th as by the end of the century full plate had arrived.

Regarding the original 5 you posted, context is crucial. We only know that 2 of those 5 are really warbows. Some of the others may in fact be but we have no real context minus oral tradition. Let’s say working at a museum I have seen several of Cromwell's hats, swords and shoes, none of which have been, most not even dated to a 100 years of his life. Oral tradition at times is right on…. sometimes not. The first two MR bows likely have not been assessed other than visual testing and do not include weakening over time from what I can find on their study. Of those two bows from the MR both were exposed to more degradation than many of the boxed MR bows. Since they were not treated the same as the other MR bows they likely lost some of their draw weight along with their real weight. By dimensions they are both estimated by Kooi to 98lbs and 101lbs by his draw weight system. Another aspect is if they were all warbows is do these five bows then become representative? I doubt it. The MR bows in general might be a bit higher as the archers likely were semi-pro but I doubt they are so much higher that they are completely unrepresentative, especially if we are interested in archers at war not levied. There are easily ten times MR bows to work with that give a more complete and clear range for warbow draw weights.

RPM
View user's profile Send private message
Gary Teuscher





Joined: 19 Nov 2008

Spotlight topics: 1
Posts: 704

PostPosted: Mon 02 Feb, 2009 10:06 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
There are easily ten times MR bows to work with that give a more complete and clear range for warbow draw weights.


I agree here entirely Randall. Problem is they are all not only one period, but even all from one unit basically.

I wonder if the archers are the Mary Rose would have been considered in any way an elite unit?

I remember reading something about the Human remains that the Mary Rose bowmen were estimated to have an average height of around 6'0" based on remains, though perhaps you know a bit more about this.

From this I wonder if we are to assume that lonbowmen in genral averaged 6' in height? Or is it possible that these were an elite unit that had a minimum height requirement, not unlike Praetorians and later British elite military units?

If this is the case, this could also have something to do with the pulls on the Mary Rose bows as well.

Later Edit:

Here is some stuff from another website I found interesting, naming a few of the sources we have been looking at about longbow draw weights. They seem to have a good handle on a lot of this, They mention the blunt impact also but credits it's effects to be phsycological as much as physical.

http://www.companionsofthelongbow.co.uk/index_files/Page27783.htm

Quote:
Did “warbows” really have 150lb+ draw weights?

Theory: Surviving bows from the Mary Rose have been dried out and tested at draw weights of around 90lbs. The nocking slots for these surviving bows show that the thickness of the linen or hemp strings would not have been able to take the strain of 150lb draw weights.

Where does this come from? The preservation and drawing of some of the Mary Rose bows have been documented and published. Bowyers such as Pip Bickerstaffe have examined and tested linen and hemp bowstrings that would have fitted the size of the nocks from the Mary Rose and come to the conclusion that the maximum draw weight would’ve been around 100lbs (as he’s told us himself during his excellent talk during our anniversary feast).

Opposing theory: Computer modelling, verified and checked by replica copies based on the Mary Rose bows, indicate that when new, some bows from the Mary Rose would’ve had draw weights of 150lb+.

So who’s right? The jury is still out on this one. Certainly some of the surviving bows from the Mary Rose are in good condition, but may have deteriorated after 400 years. Likewise replica bows will be made from the closest match to the original quality of yew, but may not necessarily match the qualities of the original wood. The academic discussions on the draw weights of historical longbows do gloss over the practical abilities of the string somewhat.

Mark’s two penneth worth: Robert Hardy’s discussion on the draw weights of the Mary Rose longbows in The Great Warbow: From Hastings to the Mary Rose by Matthew Strickland & Robert Hardy makes it quite clear that at the time of writing, modern archers were quite resistant to the idea that medieval archers were strong enough and capable enough of drawing such large draw weights. Conversely from discussion boards it seems that the majority of traditional archers seem to aspire to being able to emulate the medieval archer and draw (you’ve guessed it) 150lb bows! So if someone finally comes up with the definitive answer, be it higher or a lower draw weight, someone, somewhere will be disappointed.



Could medieval arrows penetrate plate armour?

Theory: The ability of arrows shot from a longbow to penetrate plate armour had been grossly exaggerated.

Where does this come from? Mostly this seems to be from television shows that investigate how well an arrow shot from a longbow would penetrate plate armour.

Opposing theory: Well, when it comes to the effectiveness of arrow against plate armour there are a number of factors. Firstly, the type of arrow head. “Type 8” bodkin arrow heads seem to be the armour piercing arrow head of choice. However, the arrow head needs to be tempered. Tempering is a heat treatment technique for metals and alloys. In steels, tempering is done to "toughen" the metal by transforming brittle martensite into bainite or ferrite. Often today mass produced replica bodkin points won’t be tempered (but it’s a simple procedure to temper them at home for those aspiring to do so). Secondly the quality of the armour the arrow would be up against would vary greatly. As time progressed better techniques at plate armour production were developed, however not all armour on a battlefield would’ve been of the same high quality until perhaps the later medieval period. Thirdly, lest we forget, each longbow archer on the field were masters with their weapons having trained for years. If they were aiming they would be aiming for the armour weak spots – armour joints and eye slots in helmets. For example it’s interesting to note how many nobles appear to have been wounded or killed by an arrow strike to the face when lifting their helmet visors. Fourthly, and most convincingly, if the archers’ arrows could not have penetrated armour there would not have been the accounts and victories at Crécy , Poiters and Agincourt. Finally, it’s been noted that some TV shows aren’t very scientific with their tests, sometimes using untempered machined bodkins, the incorrect type of plate or just simply incorrectly bracing of the armour. If you prop the armour up to be shot at rather than fixing it in a way similar to how a man would’ve worn it, the armour will absorb the impact differently. (imagine how springy an plank of wood left propped up against a wall is compared to one that’s held at both ends).

Mark’s two penneth worth: Anyone who saw Mark Stretton’s armour piercing demonstration at Berkeley Castle last year would’ve learned that you don’t necessarily needed to penetrate the armour to have an effect. He demonstrated that the energy imparted into the wearer of the armour would be similar to being hit with a hammer. After all, if that arrow has been stopped, the energy has to go somewhere. Multiply this by however many arrows are striking you per minute as you walk towards the enemy and you’re inflicting a psychological, as well as a very real physical, blow to the person wearing the armour. Compare it to how a person reacts when shot while wearing a bullet proof vest.


One other thing - I was thinking about those that said a target moving towards the shooter could impact penetration somewhat. A footman moving towards the target might at 4mph add another 6 fps, not much in the big scope of things.

However a horseman at 20 or so mph (I don't think this speed would really be exceded much on a battlefield in formation) would add another 30 of so fps to the contact, which when you are talking about an exit velocity of around 190 fps or so and maybe 80% of that at some range could impact the penetration IMO. Not really to the point of making penetration of plate a very likely issue, but it should increase the range to where mail can be penetrated to a point, though unhardened bodkins at range still would have great difficulty IMO.

A 1200 Grain arrow at 200fps would give 145 joules, enough per Williams to penetrate mail over a jack.
View user's profile Send private message


Display posts from previous:   
Forum Index > Historical Arms Talk > Arrows vs armour
Page 2 of 21 Reply to topic
Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3, ... 19, 20, 21  Next All times are GMT - 8 Hours

View previous topic :: View next topic
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum
You cannot attach files in this forum
You can download files in this forum






All contents © Copyright 2003-2019 myArmoury.com — All rights reserved
Discussion forums powered by phpBB © The phpBB Group
Switch to the Basic Low-bandwidth Version of the forum