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Timo Nieminen




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PostPosted: Fri 26 Jun, 2015 11:30 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Philip Dyer wrote:
If that amount of penetration was so rarely lethal, we wouldn't Roman and Greek sword with swell along that area to act as a stop so you don't penetrate to deeply so you can quickly extract the point, along with it's property to add limited chopping ability.


The broadening on a leaf-shaped blade isn't to act as a stop. A broad blade makes a more damaging wound; the blade then narrows towards the hilt, because (a) this will help achieve deeper penetration, (b) it keeps the blade lighter, and (c) the base of the blade is strong due to the thickness, so width isn't needed for strength.

It does add slicing ability (I wouldn't say "chopping", since such blades are typically quite then where they are broadest).

"In addition to being efficient, all pole arms were quite nice to look at." - Cherney Berg, A hideous history of weapons, Collier 1963.
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Benjamin H. Abbott




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PostPosted: Sat 27 Jun, 2015 11:39 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

As far as casualties go, that varies dramatically depending on the period and place in question. In hard-fought battles even victorious armies could suffer 5-10+% killed: Heraclea 280 BCE, Cannae 216 BCE, Marignano 1515, etc. According to Florange (Robert III de La Marck), at Novara 1513, only six men survived out of 300-400 in the front rank of the Landsknecht unit he commanded after it clashed with an opposing Swiss pike formation, and the Swiss suffered similar casualties. Florange himself only lived because his father led a squadron of men-at-arms into the infantry melee and pulled him from the dead with forty serious wounds. Based on Florange's description, it's likely that nearly all those in the front rank on both the Landsknecht and Swiss side perished during the fighting.

I suspect that often the way historical armies convinced opposing forces to give up was to make the danger of death or horrific injury from engagement seem worse than flight or surrender. It would tremendous courage and/or discipline to fight up close with handheld weapons, in pact because contests between committed soldiers could result in mutual annihilation.

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M. Lanteigne




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PostPosted: Sat 27 Jun, 2015 2:48 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jojo Zerach wrote:
Benjamin H. Abbott wrote:
Kel Rekuta wrote:
[Benny, that's apples and kumquats. A guillotine blade is extremely fine and functions as a shear. A punch is measured by blunt force exerted over a relatively rectangular area. Useless comparison.


It wasn't a comparison. I mentioned the guillotine kinetic energy figure as an aside. The punch numbers, however, do suggest that Marciano could have put a katar through a 3mm breastplate of the best steel. I find this exceedingly unlikely. If the Marciano measurement is at all correct, I doubt it applies to penetrating armor. If punching just delivers more energy than hand weapons, it's probably does so over a long period of time or in a different manner. The bottom line is that we need more studies of the kinetic energy delivered by swords, axes, spears, and so on.


I remember reading in an old book about armour (Edwardian period~), the author mentioned one of his friends tested an Italian breastplate (15thC?) by putting it on a table, and making a downward strike on it with a heavy rondel dagger, using all his strength. The dagger left a barely noticeable mark on the breastplate.
I imagine such armour would be proof against almost any melee weapon.


An irrelevant test unfortunately. A rondel is not made to pierce a breast plate. Preferably the eye slit of a helm, or any spots there are maille.

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Matthew P. K.




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PostPosted: Wed 19 Aug, 2015 10:18 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

One of the big issues I have had with the discussion so far is that people are trying to compare the energy (J) generated by weapons of different dimensions, without accounting for the those differences. Fracture analysis of any material needs to be performed with an intrinsic unit system, namely values that don't depend on volume change. So the real unit we want to compare are J/m^3, or since the plate is a constant thickness we can use J/m^2 to compare destructive capabilities of different weapons.

In the case of comparing a sword cut vs an arrow penetration the increase in contact surface area will be at least 2 fold , which means you will need at least twice the energy

In the case of two sharp piercing weapons the geometry also matters (pyramid, vs spade) but that is a matter of

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Vasilly T





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PostPosted: Wed 19 Aug, 2015 1:03 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'm pretty sure that many people know about these tests, but since it hasn't been posted yet, I felt like I should do it: https://journals.lib.unb.ca/index.php/MCR/article/view/17669/22312

The tests include some steel targets penetration, as well as those interesting quotes:

Quote:
Good-quality body armour would offer significant protection to anyone who could afford it, a fact that is also witnessed by the number of surviving specimens of body armour that have been subject to proof by gunshot.18 The twin characteristics of musket fire — inaccuracy and lack of penetrating power — helps explain why the European battlefield saw a shift in the balance of power between traditional heavy cavalry (gens d'armes, "knights in armour") and infantry only late in the 16th century, long after the introduction of muskets. Early guns simply were very ineffective weapons against properly armoured knights.


Quote:
Yet the problem of integrating small arms into a coherent picture of early modern military changes remains an acute issue, and the temptation persists to emphasize the gun's progressive improvement. Geoffrey Parker is only the latest historian to claim that "the effectiveness and reliability of firearms improved" throughout the 16th and 17th centuries, leading to the predominance of shot over pike by the 1650s.24 Yet the Graz investigators expressly noted that there is no ballistically significant improvement in the firearms they tested, despite the fact that these guns ranged from the 16th to the 18th centuries. Technical improvements concerned ignition mechanisms and methods of manufacturing barrels and stocks, but these changes did not affect the primary ballistic characteristics of these guns.25 Deprived of the argument from technological progress, historians face a real challenge in explaining the spread and influence of small arms.
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Wed 19 Aug, 2015 2:27 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
Technical improvements concerned ignition mechanisms and methods of manufacturing barrels and stocks

And these factors greatly improved the effectiveness of firearms. You don't need a corresponding improvement in ballistics to make the weapon more viable.

Quote:
historians face a real challenge in explaining the spread and influence of small arms.

Only those who haven't studied the matter. Firearms spread because they were far more effective than previous weaponry. Nations bankrupted themselves to change over to the new technology and the above developments made it even more critical to adopt the new weapons. Regarding plate armour: the old weapons could only penetrate the lightest armour at the shortest ranges so any improvement in armour penetration would be a benefit even if armour still worked for the most part.

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Vasilly T





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PostPosted: Wed 19 Aug, 2015 2:44 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dan Howard wrote:
Quote:
Technical improvements concerned ignition mechanisms and methods of manufacturing barrels and stocks

And these factors greatly improved the effectiveness of firearms. You don't need a corresponding improvement in ballistics to make the weapon more viable.

What about the accuracy? It ranged from 30 to 60% in those tests, depending on the musket.

Quote:
Quote:
historians face a real challenge in explaining the spread and influence of small arms.

Only those who haven't studied the matter. Firearms spread because they were far more effective than previous weaponry. Nations bankrupted themselves to change over to the new technology and the above developments made it even more critical to adopt the new weapon. Regarding plate armour: the old weapons could only penetrate the lightest armour so any improvement in armour penetration would be a benefit even if armour still worked for the most part.

What about the longbows, crossbows, war hammers, poleaxes and other "can-openers"?
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Wed 19 Aug, 2015 3:02 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Vasilly T wrote:
What about the accuracy? It ranged from 30 to 60% in those tests, depending on the musket.

In a battle these weapons were used in volley fire. Being "accurate" means that you can put your projectile somewhere within a formation of several hundred men. Even if you miss you have plenty of companions who will not. It is pointless to test these weapons against individual targets.

Quote:
What about the longbows, crossbows, war hammers, poleaxes and other "can-openers"?

What about them? None of them are as effective as firearms and they became less effective as time went on.

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Timo Nieminen




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PostPosted: Wed 19 Aug, 2015 3:47 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Matthew P. K. wrote:
One of the big issues I have had with the discussion so far is that people are trying to compare the energy (J) generated by weapons of different dimensions, without accounting for the those differences. Fracture analysis of any material needs to be performed with an intrinsic unit system, namely values that don't depend on volume change. So the real unit we want to compare are J/m^3, or since the plate is a constant thickness we can use J/m^2 to compare destructive capabilities of different weapons.

In the case of comparing a sword cut vs an arrow penetration the increase in contact surface area will be at least 2 fold , which means you will need at least twice the energy


It isn't just a simple matter of contact area. Energy goes into cutting or tearing the steel/iron armour, and then bending/curling it enough to let the weapon point through. The simplest way to get reliable values for the energy required is to do experimental tests with penetrators like the relevant weapon points. Don't need to be too fancy for sword cuts - most metal armour simply stops them reliably and completely.

Stabs are a different story. Needle-pointed longswords have a geometry close to an optimum penetrator (so arrow energies are relevant). Typically, narrow and thin penetrators are similar in size to arrowheads, and arrow penetration energies should work as an estimate. For wider/thicker penetrators (spearheads, lanceheads, non-needle sword points), all the arrow energy provides is a lower bound: if the weapon doesn't deliver at least as much energy as an arrow needs to penetrate the armour, what chance does the wider/thicker weapon have?

(The biggest difference in energy required for penetration compared to arrows for useful measurements I've seen is for firearms. See table with arrow and bullet energies in OP.)

"In addition to being efficient, all pole arms were quite nice to look at." - Cherney Berg, A hideous history of weapons, Collier 1963.
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Matthew Amt




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PostPosted: Wed 19 Aug, 2015 4:32 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

When was "corned" gunpowder first introduced? (The ingredients dampened, pressed, dried, and re-ground.) As I understand it, that made a more effective propellant, plus it was easier to handle, not prone to separating, etc. Wasn't that early 17th century or so? Just curious how that might factor into the equation.

Matthew
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Vasilly T





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PostPosted: Wed 19 Aug, 2015 5:35 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dan Howard wrote:
Vasilly T wrote:
What about the accuracy? It ranged from 30 to 60% in those tests, depending on the musket.

In a battle these weapons were used in volley fire. Being "accurate" means that you can put your projectile somewhere within a formation of several hundred men. Even if you miss you have plenty of companions who will not. It is pointless to test these weapons against individual targets.

Quote:
What about the longbows, crossbows, war hammers, poleaxes and other "can-openers"?

What about them? None of them are as effective as firearms and they became less effective as time went on.

They weren't used in line formations from the start. They started as a minor number of people in a formation consisting mostly of pikemen, halberdiers, swordsmen and crossbowmen, slowly replacing the latter. Do you really think they had a huge chance to hit anything in that kind of situation?

And there's a huge difference between an experiment in ideal conditions where the musket is fixed into a position from which it fires with an optimum amount of modern gun powder and a soldier, holding the very same musket under the stress of battle, loading it hastily and nervously with an inferior powder of the renaissance period and then trying to hit someone.

Even in 19th century, where gun powder and weapons in general became a lot better, as well as, at least I believe so, shooting in general, they often had a hard time trying to hit anything:

Quote:
There was a common saying that to kill a man required expenditure of an amount of lead equal to his weight. In 1813-14 many French troops were so hastily trained that they couldn’t hit a cow’s backside with a banjo. Napier claimed that in Spain he witnessed volleys fired by British infantry where out of 300 musketballs fired none hit the target.


Quote:
Misfires consisted of up to 20 % (or between 10 and 30 %) During prolonged firing the man had often to clear the vent with a pin carried on his pouch belt, and clean the barrel which fouled after 50 or 60 shots.


Quote:
The battle raged for six hours, the soldiers had expended 25,000 rounds of ammunition, the Indian lost 102 killed and wounded. It gives a rate of 250 rounds/1 casualty.


Now imagine how bad it was back in the early 16th century and you'll see that the Graz investigators do have a point.

Dan Howard wrote:
What about them? None of them are as effective as firearms and they became less effective as time went on.

And you state that, based on what?
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Matthew P. K.




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PostPosted: Thu 20 Aug, 2015 9:04 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Timo Nieminen wrote:

It isn't just a simple matter of contact area. Energy goes into cutting or tearing the steel/iron armour, and then bending/curling it enough to let the weapon point through. The simplest way to get reliable values for the energy required is to do experimental tests with penetrators like the relevant weapon points.


No unfortunately fracture mechanics is complex, but contact area is an important parameter to consider if you want to know how armor will be penatrated even in rough estimates and would also be used in more complicated modeling. Including area can only improve the accuracy of some of the estimates.

The data in the OP actually shows a pretty cool trend with increasing armor thickness, the increase from 1 mm to 2 mm is 120 J while each 1 mm increase after the 2nd steadily increases the energy by 150 J. This could signify that below 2 mm more complicated effects like friction along the arrows sides is reduced.

I am curious to know if there have been any experiments that test non-lead shot or shrapnel that could have been used in firearms in the past. Lead is much softer than steal and so much of the energy of the bullet will go into deforming it, where as other material would require much less energy to penetrate steel.

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Vasilly T





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PostPosted: Thu 20 Aug, 2015 10:31 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

http://www.thearma.org/Videos/NTCvids/testing...da5spe4K-0

ARMA has some armour penetration tests. War hammer penetrated the helmet with ease. Here's a youtube link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zRIScHhuDbU
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Benjamin H. Abbott




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PostPosted: Fri 21 Aug, 2015 8:11 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

As far as firearms go, I'm not so sure 16th-century powder was uniformly inferior or that 16th-century gunners were necessarily less accurate than their 19th-century counterparts. Certainly in skirmishes often both sides expended lots of lead without hitting much of anything, as various period accounts indicate. On the other hand, some sources suggest impressive accuracy for some 16th-century firearms. As far as powder goes, regardless of the quality, we know 16th-century gunners used larger charges of powder than they used in the Graz tests. If we believe Sir Roger Williams and Humphrey Barwick on the power of the circa-1590 heavy musket, then such muskets likely managed 8,000+ J at the muzzle when properly charged.
Read my historically inspired fantasy fiction in here. I walk along a winding path set by Ludovico Ariosto, William Morris, J. R. R. Tolkien, and Ursula Le Guin.

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To hope's end I rode and to heart's breaking:
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Vasilly T





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PostPosted: Fri 21 Aug, 2015 10:10 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Graz investigators, Williams and Miller state that a muzzle energy of a late 16th-17th century musket was around 3000J which is perfectly in the range of the Graz tests data.

And Graz investigators seems to have considered different charges, let me quote:

Graz investigators wrote:
The exact weight of powder charge for the historical weapons was determined to be approximately one-third of ball weight, but this varied from piece to piece; in each case the optimal charge was determined experimentally and results are reported with that charge. (Obviously, comparison firings of the modern weapons were conducted with standard modern ammunition.)


Also there are several interesting quotes from Miller's work:

David P Miller wrote:
As well as variations in individual musket calibre it is likely that most barrels would not have been perfectly straight. According to Greener(1910) “Previous to 1795 there was no reliable method of ascertaining when a barrel was or was not perfectly straight. The barrels of the finest ancient guns were usually far from straight”.


David P Miller wrote:
The 17th Century musket would not have been capable of withstanding the pressures that a modern weapon could, as modern steels and manufacturing processes would not have been available. Greener (1910), states “The method of making barrels prior to the introduction of Damascus iron (1820) from the east was to forge them from plates or strips of iron-this iron manufactured from old horse shoe nails”. This could be one of the limiting factors affecting the maximum velocity of the 17th Century musket.


David P Miller wrote:
From the Literature Survey the musket ball velocity for 17th Century muskets was in the region of 400 m/s and the weight of propellant would have been approximately 18.6 grams. 18.6 grams of G12 powder produced 430 m/s (No Wad) where 14 grams of 3A produced 423 m/s (no wad).


So historically they did use heavier charges, but since modern black powder is superior, it gives roughly the same results with lower charges according to the data we have here. And not only black powder of 16th century was inferior, but also the manufacturing methods, which produced "far from straight" barrels that would definitely not contribute to greater accuracy.
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Fri 21 Aug, 2015 2:42 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'm not sure why people are concerned about accuracy. Nobody would argue that modern firearms are not more accurate than earlier ones yet when you analyse specific engagements and compare the number of shots fired to the number of kills it is pretty obvious that the accuracy of individual weapons is irrelevant.

At the Battle of Little Big Horn, Custer's men fired 840 shots for every Indian killed

In Would War II, the Allies expended 25,000 rounds of ammunition to kill each single enemy soldier.

In Vietnam it is estimated that around 50,000 rounds were shot for every kill.

In Afghanistan it is estimated that the US Army fired 250,000 rounds for each insurgent killed.

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Philip Dyer





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PostPosted: Fri 21 Aug, 2015 7:50 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Benjamin H. Abbott wrote:
As far as firearms go, I'm not so sure 16th-century powder was uniformly inferior or that 16th-century gunners were necessarily less accurate than their 19th-century counterparts. Certainly in skirmishes often both sides expended lots of lead without hitting much of anything, as various period accounts indicate. On the other hand, some sources suggest impressive accuracy for some 16th-century firearms. As far as powder goes, regardless of the quality, we know 16th-century gunners used larger charges of powder than they used in the Graz tests. If we believe Sir Roger Williams and Humphrey Barwick on the power of the circa-1590 heavy musket, then such muskets likely managed 8,000+ J at the muzzle when properly charged.

Is there any to to the idea that heavy musketers often used iron balls because of the powder load required to achieve reasonably high velocity and the prevalence of late armor and bullet proofed armor on 16th century battlefields as insurance against insufficent powderloads disabling them from punching through a breastplate or helmet with raw projectile speed?
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Benjamin H. Abbott




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PostPosted: Fri 21 Aug, 2015 9:20 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Vasilly T wrote:
Graz investigators, Williams and Miller state that a muzzle energy of a late 16th-17th century musket was around 3000J which is perfectly in the range of the Graz tests data.


They don't test any weapons that match period dimensions. The guns that produced the muzzle energies around 3000 J would be classified as calivers by the late-16th-century English, not as muskets.

Quote:
So historically they did use heavier charges, but since modern black powder is superior, it gives roughly the same results with lower charges according to the data we have here. And not only black powder of 16th century was inferior, but also the manufacturing methods, which produced "far from straight" barrels that would definitely not contribute to greater accuracy.


As far as I know, no 16th-century black powder survives. I'm not convinced the best of it was worse the modern powder used in the Graz tests, much less dramatically so. It's possible that 16th-century heavy muskets only managed 3,000 J at the muzzle, but this isn't consistent with period sources such as Sir Roger Williams and Humphrey Barwick. A musket with 3,000 J of muzzle energy would only deeply penetrate a 3mm hardened breastplate at extremely close range if at all. Barwick claimed the heavy musket could kill through proof armor at 200 yards! That's almost certain an exaggeration judging by the Graz numbers, but so many 16th-century authors thought muskets could defeat any wearable armor.

As far as accuracy goes, both Sir John Smythe and Humphrey Barwick agreed that it did in fact matter, though they disagree on how bows and guns compared in this regard. Raimond de Fourquevaux also thought it mattered.

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

Out of doubt, out of dark to the day's rising
I came singing in the sun, sword unsheathing.
To hope's end I rode and to heart's breaking:
Now for wrath, now for ruin and a red nightfall!
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Vasilly T





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PostPosted: Sat 22 Aug, 2015 5:29 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Benjamin H. Abbott wrote:
Vasilly T wrote:
Graz investigators, Williams and Miller state that a muzzle energy of a late 16th-17th century musket was around 3000J which is perfectly in the range of the Graz tests data.


They don't test any weapons that match period dimensions. The guns that produced the muzzle energies around 3000 J would be classified as calivers by the late-16th-century English, not as muskets.

Well, Graz tests did involve shorter barrel lengths, but Miller tests a pretty accurate replica and recieves comparable results:

David P Miller wrote:
The test firings were carried out using a 48” long 10 bore musket barrel with an internal diameter 19.685 mm. The barrel was previously manufactured for experimentation by Eyes, (2006) and would therefore be beneficial in drawing comparisons between results. The barrel was chosen because its specifications matched those of the most commonly used muskets from the civil war period.


Benjamin H. Abbott wrote:

As far as I know, no 16th-century black powder survives. I'm not convinced the best of it was worse the modern powder used in the Graz tests, much less dramatically so. It's possible that 16th-century heavy muskets only managed 3,000 J at the muzzle, but this isn't consistent with period sources such as Sir Roger Williams and Humphrey Barwick. A musket with 3,000 J of muzzle energy would only deeply penetrate a 3mm hardened breastplate at extremely close range if at all. Barwick claimed the heavy musket could kill through proof armor at 200 yards! That's almost certain an exaggeration judging by the Graz numbers, but so many 16th-century authors thought muskets could defeat any wearable armor.

As far as accuracy goes, both Sir John Smythe and Humphrey Barwick agreed that it did in fact matter, though they disagree on how bows and guns compared in this regard. Raimond de Fourquevaux also thought it mattered.

Sir Roger Williams indeed mentions that a "properly loaded musket" could penetrate a pistol proof armour at 100 yards, but he could just not mention musket-proof armour in this case at all, since it's obviously not going to be defeated. This seems to be the case, since in his works he does mention musket proof armour used by soldiers.

UPDATE: I got a bit carried away and forgot to add that we're discussing late 16th-17th century muskets here instead of the early fire arms the Graz testers were talking about. Williams in his book states that before the introduction of the serpentine powder in 1525+, handheld firearms couldn't develop muzzle energies even at 3000J level and that is pretty consistent with the statistics on maximum armour thickness he also provides in his book. We can notice that maximum armour thickness starts to rise from 2-3 mm at about 1550-1560, reaching 4 and sometimes even 8 mm.

So when Graz testers state that it's hard to explain the spread and influence of small arms, it makes perfect sense, given that even late 16th century musket with muzzle energy of 3000J was of little threat at ranges further than 100 yards. We can only imagine how inefficient were firearms of pre-1525 period. So there could be any reason for their spread, but effectiveness might have not been the case.
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Benjamin H. Abbott




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PostPosted: Sat 22 Aug, 2015 8:39 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Pistol proof breastplates were commonly 3+mm thick and fully hardened, Alan Williams's **** metal. Williams claims they require 3000 J to defeat with a bullet if you count the keeled form). The Graz tests show how velocity drops rapidly, so if a musket ball required 3000 J to defeat a pistol-proof breastplate, it could only do so at extremely close range. Graz guns that managed around 3000 J at the muzzle pierced 3-4mm mild steel at 30 meters but only 2mm at 100 meters. Energy decreases to about 75% at 30 meters and 40% at 100 meters, depending on initial velocity and bullet size.

Also, here's what Sir Roger wrote about muskets against cavalry: "If armed men giue the charge, few or any carrie Armes of the proofe of the Musket, being deliuered within ten or twelue score." That's 200-240 yards. He did mention musket-proof armor at assaults of fortifications, but that could either mean at a specific range (like 200-240 yards) or the tremendously heavy siege armors intended to be worn only briefly. Humphrey Barwick likewise claimed muskets killed men armed in proof armor at "ten skore" (200) yards. One of the Graz guns managing around 3000 J at the muzzle would likely have less than 1000 J at 200 yards.

It's possible Sir Roger Williams, Humphrey Barwick, and Sir John Smythe were wrong or intentionally exaggerating, but the 3000 J figure would mean the heavy musket could only kill through hardened 3mm armor (i.e. Greenwich-quality armor) within 30 yards if that. And of course some breastplates and helmets were thicker than 3mm.

Killing through the best wearable armor at 200 yards seems hard to believe, but I'm inclined to believe the 16th-century heavy musket managed considerably more than 3000 J. The heavy musket was a huge piece that took a weighty charge of powder, required a rest to shoot effectively, and kicked like a mule.

Additionally, 3000 J is already an impressive figure for a bullet! Hunters can effectively kill medium-sized game (deer, etc.) with air rifles that max out at 270 J at the muzzle.

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

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