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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Sun 23 Aug, 2015 2:43 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

There are scores of extant breastplates that are thicker than 4mm. I know of around a dozen that are 8mm or more.
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Vasilly T





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PostPosted: Sun 23 Aug, 2015 4:29 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

To Benjamin H. Abbott
I've heard before that you believe heavy muskets were able to produce more than 3000J of energy. But so far I've only seen such figures attributed only to wall-guns. Now I'm not an expert, but there certainly must be a reason for Graz testers and Williams to state that?

Maybe the kick of a 3000J+ was too hard even when you use a rest? Maybe the thickness of a gun that could manage such a load was so big it weighed too much to carry around(like those doppelhaken guns in the Graz tests)?

To Dan Howard
That's true, I've seen quite a few as well. Like for example the plain infantry armour with marks of Köln, c. 1575, with 3 bullet dents, A.1656, that's featured in the "Bullet Dents – “Proof Marks Or Battle Damage" by Alan Williams, David Edge and Tony Atkins seems to be made out of iron, with some steel parts. And Williams seems to believe that a heat-treated steel could be made thinner and provide just as much protection.

Alan Williams wrote:
It was not simply the invention of guns which made suits of plate armour obsolete, indeed both inventions had appeared fairly close together on the 14th century battlefield, but rather the armourers’ general response to musketry, which was to make armour steadily thicker from the last quarter of the 16th century onwards. When the metal used in the mass-produced armour of the late 16th and 17th century is examined, it is found that iron becomes commoner. It was made bulletproof simply by being made thicker,4 especially after the last quarter of the 16th century, even though that eventually was to make its use intolerable.
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Philip Dyer





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PostPosted: Sun 23 Aug, 2015 7:34 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dan Howard wrote:
There are scores of extant breastplates that are thicker than 4mm. I know of around a dozen that are 8mm or more.

O.o How the hell did people move and fight breastplate over 8mm thick? That is 0.31 inches thick, under 1 gauge thick. That 7.65 inches per square foot. That like wearing a small anvil on your back and torso area.
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Vasilly T





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PostPosted: Sun 23 Aug, 2015 9:20 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Philip Dyer wrote:
Dan Howard wrote:
There are scores of extant breastplates that are thicker than 4mm. I know of around a dozen that are 8mm or more.

O.o How the hell did people move and fight breastplate over 8mm thick? That is 0.31 inches thick, under 1 gauge thick. That 7.65 inches per square foot. That like wearing a small anvil on your back and torso area.

Here are some examples of musket-proof breastplates. As you can see they go from 6.6 kg up to around 8 kg. A.1656 breastplate I've mentioned in my previous post weighs around 12 kg, around 20 kg with backplate.
http://www.allenantiques.com/A-240.html
http://www.allenantiques.com/A-79.html
http://www.allenantiques.com/A-209.html
http://www.allenantiques.com/A-116.html
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Benjamin H. Abbott




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PostPosted: Sun 23 Aug, 2015 11:20 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I consider period sources and physical tests more reliable than the assessments of authors like Alan Williams. Williams ignores how quickly spherical shot loses velocity in his biref analysis of Humphrey Barwick's claims; he also quotes Barwick as saying muskets kill men in proof armor at 100 yards while the transcription of Barwick's have on hand says 200 yards (ten skore). Williams also writes that 16th-century muskets with corned powder could offer at least 3000 J at close range, so it's a minimum figure and not even clearly a muzzle-energy figure.

Here is an example of a siege breastplate from the Higgins Collection. Such heavy armors might have been able to stop muskets but apparently were only under special circumstances and not intended for either infantry or cavalry that had to march or ride to battle.

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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Sun 23 Aug, 2015 2:26 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Philip Dyer wrote:
Dan Howard wrote:
There are scores of extant breastplates that are thicker than 4mm. I know of around a dozen that are 8mm or more.

O.o How the hell did people move and fight breastplate over 8mm thick? That is 0.31 inches thick, under 1 gauge thick. That 7.65 inches per square foot. That like wearing a small anvil on your back and torso area.

1. They are cavalry armour. Infantry breastplates rarely exceed 4mm.
2. That thickness is only on the chest. The thickness tapers off elsewhere.

Benjamin H. Abbott wrote:
Here is an example of a siege breastplate from the Higgins Collection. Such heavy armors might have been able to stop muskets but apparently were only under special circumstances and not intended for either infantry or cavalry that had to march or ride to battle.

Most of them were not worn in sieges; they were worn by cavalry. The Hussars, for example, regularly wore breastplates like this in the field. I know of at least three eyewitness accounts where a Hussaar survived getting hit by a cannon.

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Last edited by Dan Howard on Sun 23 Aug, 2015 2:38 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Vasilly T





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PostPosted: Sun 23 Aug, 2015 2:38 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Benjamin H. Abbott wrote:
I consider period sources and physical tests more reliable than the assessments of authors like Alan Williams. Williams ignores how quickly spherical shot loses velocity in his biref analysis of Humphrey Barwick's claims; he also quotes Barwick as saying muskets kill men in proof armor at 100 yards while the transcription of Barwick's have on hand says 200 yards (ten skore). Williams also writes that 16th-century muskets with corned powder could offer at least 3000 J at close range, so it's a minimum figure and not even clearly a muzzle-energy figure.

Here is an example of a siege breastplate from the Higgins Collection. Such heavy armors might have been able to stop muskets but apparently were only under special circumstances and not intended for either infantry or cavalry that had to march or ride to battle.

Do you know any other physical tests apart from Graz and Miller's tests? I don't dismiss the period sources, but we must keep in mind that they are not necessarily accurate, and often contradict each other, so experimental evidence is, in my opinion, always needed to confirm or dismiss them.

Dan Howard wrote:
Most of them were not worn in sieges; they were worn by cavalry. The Hussars, for example, regularly wore breastplates like this in the field. I know of at least three eyewitness accounts where a Hussaar survived getting directly hit by a cannon.

Interesting, from the myArmoury article I know that hussars had musket-proof breastplates and that the total weight of their armour was about 15 kg, but surviving a cannon hit Eek! ? Where can I read about it?

If Williams is right that 17th century armour was often made out of iron, seldom steel and never hardened steel, I wonder if even lighter musket-proof armour could be made. All those 12 kg breastplates are made out of iron, the worst possible material available at the time, no wonder they made them so extremely thick and heavy.
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Sun 23 Aug, 2015 2:43 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hussar plate resisting cannon shot:

Siege of Smolensk (1609-1611). Jan Wejher was hit by a cannon ball shot by a Russian on the rampart (it did not bounce first). He was saved by his cuirass, which was damaged but not penetrated. Wejher barely survived; when he recovered he donated his armour to the Carmelite Monastery in Loretto.

Aleksander Gosiewski from the unit of voivode of Smolensk was was hit by a cannon ball in 1633. The armour was dented but not penetrated. Unfortunately it skidded off the surface and continued through his arm, leaving it severely mangled.

During a battle between Liubar and Chudniv (1660) a hussar named Prusinowski, under field hetman Jerzy Lubomirski had his breastplate crushed by a cannon ball, denting but not penetrating it. There are three separate accounts saying that he was wounded but survived. One eyewitness (colonel Samuel Leszczyński) wrote that the dent was so large that he could put his hand in it.

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Benjamin H. Abbott




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PostPosted: Sun 23 Aug, 2015 3:01 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I can't speak to Hussar armor, but as we've discussed the circa-1600 English sources considered musket too powerful for even armor of proof at 100+ yards. And that was from the era of fully hardened Greenwich armor. Sir John Smythe himself personally had at least one Greenwich suit. He wrote that no wearable armor could protect against the musket but that wearable armor could project against smaller handheld firearms and this was exactly why the musket rose to prominence. Smythe claimed that cavalry soldiers equipped with muskets and rests attached to their breastplates took the field for a time as a way to counter good armor.

Also, if I recall correctly Sir Roger Williams wrote about musket-proof armor only in the context of assaults. And his musket-proof may have meant musket-proof at 200-240 yards.

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!


Last edited by Benjamin H. Abbott on Sun 23 Aug, 2015 3:07 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Sun 23 Aug, 2015 3:04 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Vasilly T wrote:
If Williams is right that 17th century armour was often made out of iron, seldom steel and never hardened steel, I wonder if even lighter musket-proof armour could be made.

Not using the available technology. It was too difficult to get the degree of hardness just right - especially at the thicknesses required. Most attempts would result in the armour cracking or even shattering under impact from firearms. This seems to have been why they went with duplex/triplex constructions instead.

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Vasilly T





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PostPosted: Sun 23 Aug, 2015 4:50 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well then I guess to settle these questions we need to conduct an experiment on hardened steel and iron plates, made using the technology of the time. I've said that somewhere on this forum already, I think. I wonder if someone's actually working on it.
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Philip Dyer





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PostPosted: Sun 23 Aug, 2015 6:57 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dan Howard wrote:
Hussar plate resisting cannon shot:

Siege of Smolensk (1609-1611). Jan Wejher was hit by a cannon ball shot by a Russian on the rampart (it did not bounce first). He was saved by his cuirass, which was damaged but not penetrated. Wejher barely survived; when he recovered he donated his armour to the Carmelite Monastery in Loretto.

Aleksander Gosiewski from the unit of voivode of Smolensk was was hit by a cannon ball in 1633. The armour was dented but not penetrated. Unfortunately it skidded off the surface and continued through his arm, leaving it severely mangled.

During a battle between Liubar and Chudniv (1660) a hussar named Prusinowski, under field hetman Jerzy Lubomirski had his breastplate crushed by a cannon ball, denting but not penetrating it. There are three separate accounts saying that he was wounded but survived. One eyewitness (colonel Samuel Leszczyński) wrote that the dent was so large that he could put his hand in it.

Prusinowski's story intrigues me.How much plate to body clearance did 17th century breastplates have? Because wouldn't a dent so large and deep that man could put his hand into, if the plate built to be close fit to his body, turn his ribs into deadly, internal bleeding causing shards? That is pretty deep and wide dent you are describing.
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Bartek Strojek




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PostPosted: Mon 24 Aug, 2015 8:30 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

For small correction, I'm pretty sure that Aleksander Gosiewski was the voivode of Smolensk, the hussar mangled by cannonball was from his unit, and was apparently unnamed. in source.

And Jan Wejher was apparently hit by colubrine, which suggest rather large cannon.

Perhaps this may be the key to survival though - with large enough distance of course.

If cannonball is 100mm wide, it will probably have hard time penetrating 250mm wide breastplate? Ratio of target to penetrator width is pretty off.
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Vasilly T





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PostPosted: Mon 24 Aug, 2015 4:38 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Medieval Helmet Crash Test. Halberd vs. helmet.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dv2ZngY3A90

The halberd is unsharpened though. Still I felt like this video should be in the thread.
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Hypatia D.





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PostPosted: Wed 15 Jun, 2016 3:35 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I realize this post is rather old but it is what I was looking for in terms of information. Does comprehensively compiled data regarding these experiments and the like such as in spreadsheets exist?
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Thu 16 Jun, 2016 6:43 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Short answer is no. Pretty much all the sources have been mentioned in this thread. Once you add the work by Sylvia Leever, that pretty much is it. You can't compile all the various tests into a single spreadsheet because the variables are different in each one. You would need a single set of parameters in order for the above mentioned tests to have any correlation.
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James Arlen Gillaspie
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PostPosted: Fri 17 Jun, 2016 12:15 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
They conclude that the 1.8lb mace could not knock someone out through a helmet and note its decline as a military weapon in ancient armies. Maybe, but if that's the case, then later maces must have performed much better. We have various accounts to indicate that 15th- and 16th-century cavalry maces could induce unconsciousness through a helmet.

A horseman's mace swung during a charge is vastly more powerful than a one handed mace used on foot (remember, k=1/2 mass times velocity squared, to say nothing of follow-through), and the kinetic energy is quadrupled against another horseman approaching at the same speed. 'Master Knut', the famous mail maker, once let some experienced SCAdian fighters (members of their 'nobility') strike him in the head with a horseman's mace while he was wearing a great helm, and got nothing more severe from it than a headache, perhaps due to it not having a proper period suspension system.

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Henry O.





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PostPosted: Sat 18 Jun, 2016 10:19 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

On the subject of the Graz tests, as someone else pointed out "musket" in the context of the 16th century generally referred to the heaviest firearms which were specifically designed to pierce armor. A .70 caliber weapon like those used during the napoleonic era would be closer to a 16th century "caliver". The heaviest weapon used during the Graz tests was .80 caliber from the 1580s and had a muzzle energy of nearly 7000J. The bullet lost about half it's energy after 100 meters, if we assume lost another half of its energy between 100 and 200 meters then it would have about 1500J, about the same as a .45 caliber blackpowder pistol. With that in mind the claim that a heavy musket could pierce pistol proofed armor at 200 paces doesn't seem too far off. Although re-reading Barwick's claim I don't think he specifically says pistol-proof, just that armor of "good proof" can be penetrated at 10 score paces. Later in his discourse he does offer to demonstrate penetrating a pistol-proof suit at 6 score (120) paces however.

Supposedly, some muskets could get even larger, up to .90 caliber. Roger Williams wrote that a musket would get 12-8 shots out of a pound of powder which gives 37-56 grams of gunpowder per shot. The heaviest musket from the Graz test used 20 grams of admittedly modern powder. But it still seems pretty plausible that some muskets might achieve well over 8000J of muzzle energy and be extremely difficult for armor to defeat at close range. And what's more there was a definite push to move towards these heavier weapons by Williams, Barwick, and others towards the end of the century.
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Michael Wiethop




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PostPosted: Sun 31 Jul, 2016 2:53 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

While reading an electronic copy of Bashford Dean's book Helmets and Body Armor in Modern Warfare, I came across some interesting accounts of musket-proof armor in pages 32-34:

http://archive.org/stream/helmetsbodyarmor00d...2/mode/2up

He claims the three-quarter plate armor from ca. 1575 with the close helm or armet in the photo weighs 94 lbs! While I can't seem to find figures on the weight of three-quarter armor, 94 lbs seems extremely heavy. Dean also lists some examples of armored men withstanding musket fire without injury; he writes that Strozzi (probably Filippo di Pierro Strozzi) was shot at least five times over the course of three years without harm, three of the shots being to the arms at La Rochelle. A certain Captain St. Martin, Dean claims, was shot at least thirty times with a musket at that siege, while le Grand Condé survived the fighting in Paris in 1652 with a heavily dented cuirass.

I'm not quite sure what to make of this. On the one hand, muskets were supposed to be able to pierce nearly any armor by the late 16th century, especially at close range or when they hit the thinner limb armor, and the Captain surviving over thirty musket shots sounds somewhat hard to believe. This book was also written over ninety years ago, so perhaps new research has gotten different conclusions from the sources Dean used, and perhaps the cuirass wasn't weighed properly.

On the other hand, Dean was no fool when it came to armor, being the honorary curator of arms and armor at the Met and a designer of armor and helmets in the First World War. And, as he argued, it only made sense for important figures like Francis I, Strozzi, and other leaders the very best armor. I've often seen the claim that muskets could pierce all but the best armor, and this seems to have been that best armor. And if these suits truly did weigh around 94 lbs, their virtual immunity to gunfire certainly sounds plausible.

Can anyone shed any light on this, identify the cuirass and its weight, or be familiar with the sources Dean cites?
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Daniel Staberg




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PostPosted: Sun 31 Jul, 2016 4:10 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Looking at the text Dean does not seem to have understood how troops were armed during the French Wars of Religion and makes the assumption that the shots described in the sources were from muskets when in reality they would have been almost entirely from arquebus which was the main firearm used at the time in question. (1560's and early 1570's) Indeed it was Strozzi's brother, the Sieur de Strozzi who is credited with introducing the musket into France during the siege of La Rochelle in 1573.

The armour in the picture is may not from 1575 but rather looks to my eyes like a composite suit made up of early 17th Century Cuirassier armour. 94 lbs is not impossible, that weight is very close to the roughly 42 kilos recorded for some of the Cuirassier armours at the Graz Armoury but those have an uncommon design that includes additional reinforcing plates that can be attached to increase the level of protection. The suit could also contain pieces of siege armour, some those got exceptionaly heavy. For example Gustavus Adolphus had a musket proof helmet made for use when he entered the entrechments during a siege. It weighs an incredible 18 kilos IIRC

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