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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Wed 20 Jul, 2005 4:49 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Some parts of that last image look very similar to Chinese Mountain (star) scale.

http://www.armourarchive.org/essays/Shanwenkia.pdf
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Hisham Gaballa





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PostPosted: Wed 20 Jul, 2005 6:08 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dan Howard wrote:
Some parts of that last image look very similar to Chinese Mountain (star) scale.

http://www.armourarchive.org/essays/Shanwenkia.pdf


That is very interesting Happy. I had just assumed it was patterned cloth.

I have never come across references to Medieval Muslims using it. However the Mamluks did fight several wars with the Mongols, and the Mongols had conquered China. Is there any evidence that the Mongols might have used Chinese mountain scale?
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Wed 20 Jul, 2005 5:13 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Not that i'm aware of. Until you posted that image I hadn't seen anything other than the images in that pdf file and a little info on pp142-145 of Robinson. On p143 he calls it "Lion armour". On p145 he uses Shan wen kia ("armour with mountain pattern"). He suggests that it might be similar to the Japanese yamamichi-gashira ("mountain-path head"). If the Chinese and Japanese both used it then it is likely that the Mongols did too.
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Jeanry Chandler




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PostPosted: Wed 20 Jul, 2005 5:55 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I got to say, this is a fascinating thread. Some of the primary source material in here is stuff I hadn't seen before.

With all due respect though, I disagree with the premise of most of you. I believe that the European armor had become superior, both in terms of the general quality or effectiveness, and perhaps as importantly, of coverage. Lets not forget around the time of the first crusade is roughly analagous to when the first head to toe mail armor started to appear in Europe.

I dont have source material on hand because I have just read this, so I will go back and read up to refresh my memory. In the meantime, I hope you will forgive some unsourced observations. I do remember that there were many contemporary sources from the 1st crusade, including the Alexiad of Anna Comnena, in which eyewitnesses commented on the superiority of the armor of the "Franj" or the "kelts" as the Byzantines called them.

My understanding was that Eastern Armor in general, including Russian Armor, was generally inferior in terms of the quality of the iron used, and that this was part of the reason so much more integrated mail and plate forms are seen particularly in Turkish and Russian armor. I dont have sources for this on-hand but will have to look. But I always understood this was a major reason for the success of the European heavy cavalry in all engagements where they were able to come to grips with enemy forces. The Arab, Turkish, Kurdish, Egyptian etc. heavy cavalry was simply not in the same league, largely due to equipment. I know the Crusaders were tough but I frankly do not believe that man for man they were tougher enough than their opponents in the Crusades to account for some of the lopsided victories they won, as at Antioch.

I also vehemently disagree with whoever it was that claimed that the Romans didn't rely on their armor. Roman armor was extremely important to their victories particularly in the late Republic and early Imperial period! The gradual narrowing of the 'kit gap' between the Western Barbarians and the Roman Legions also had a large part to do with their downfall, IMO

But, I'm already overreaching myself here, I need to go dig up some support for my own assertions, or perhaps debunk them myself. Fascinating thread folks!

Jr

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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Wed 20 Jul, 2005 6:09 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I agree that the Byzantines were impressed the protection afforded by Fankish armour. Comnena mentions a specific incident in which Byzantine arrows were having no effect on Frankish mail so the archers were ordered to fire at the horses instead.

The best theory I have read regarding mail and plates is that was a replacement for lamellar. The lacing on lamellar was apparently fairly easy to cut - mail and plates addressed that problem (plus problems with lice, water retention, etc.) Some examples of mail and plates look remarkably similar to lamellar so this theory makes sense IMO.

Agreed about Roman armour. If it wasn't effective it wouldn't have been worn. The quality and quantity of armour worn by legionaries was vastly superior to the majority of foes they faced and must have played an important part in Roman victories.
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PostPosted: Wed 20 Jul, 2005 6:26 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

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PostPosted: Thu 21 Jul, 2005 10:15 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
As I remember, the history channel, (I believe) quoted Saladin as having sent out archers to harrase the Crusaders, and then complaining that the mail was so thick the arrows did not penetrate. One must presume that Saladin and his people had used these same weapons before in such a manner and found them effective.


Hard to say. Depends on the range at which the arrows where fired. There are some example of arrows killing through Western mail during the Crusades. One later source suggests that Turkish bows could pierce light mail, but not any type of plate...

Also, there pre-Crusade examples of armoured Mulsim leaders being shot full of arrows and being fine (I assume there was some type of thick cloth over the mail to catch the arrows).

Quote:
He was expected to be able to hit a one metre (3.25 ft) target at a range of 75 metres (246 ft) and to loose three aimed shots in one and a half seconds, a much faster rate than achieved by the longbowmen of England. Mamluk tactics included the arrow shower, as the Crusaders learned to their cost at Gaza in 1244.


As a side note, I find this very hard to believe. Two arrows per second? That's fast for a repeating crossbow! I've never heard of any archer shooting more than one arrow per second, and even that seems to be quite rare...
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Thu 21 Jul, 2005 11:19 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hmmmm: 3 arrows in 1 1 / 2 seconds ? What precision timepiece were they using in 1244 Razz Big Grin

But seriously apart from a precision timepiece when did the duration of the second become standardized in a modern precise way ? A bit like all measurements like the foot: The current Kings foot ? 11 " or the 13 1 / 2 of the previous King ?

Well lets concede that they could fire arrows at a rate close to the " possible maximum " physical limit. ( As fast as anybody could and faster than what we might assume. )

Oh, and if you start your stop watch with the release of the first arrow and not with the act of reaching for this arrow, the rate of fire for 3 arrows might be 1 1/2 seconds if you could get to the next arrow and fire it within 3 / 4 seconds.

Is 3 / 4 seconds possible for shooting one arrow ? ( The complete action of firing )

( Edited because of bad math 3 / 4 not 1 / 2 seconds: Eek! Blush Blush )

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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Thu 21 Jul, 2005 3:23 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

George Hill wrote:
As I remember, the history channel, (I believe) quoted Saladin as having sent out archers to harrase the Crusaders, and then complaining that the mail was so thick the arrows did not penetrate. One must presume that Saladin and his people had used these same weapons before in such a manner and found them effective.

This suggests heavier mail on the part of the Crusaders, even if not by much.

As to the mail of the locals, I have never heard of mail that will stand up to a Lance.


Saladin never complained about anything. The incident in question was witnessed by Saladin's biographer, Baha ’al-Din. Here is the translation of the relevant passage. He wrote that the crusaders were protected by:
very heavy felt and so stout a coat of mail that our arrows did no harm…I saw foot-soldiers with as many as ten arrows in their backs, who marched on as usual without breaking ranks.
It is uncertain whether the felt was worn on top or undernearth the mail.

Mail could, indeed, resist the mounted lance. The memoirs of Usamah ibn Munquidh recalls an anecdeote in which he jumped his horse over a hedge and solidly struck what he thought was an unarmoured knight with his lance with enough force to cause him to drop his helmet and shield. The knight was unharmed and sat waiting for a servant to retrieve the lost gear. A rip in his surcoat revealed a hauberk underneath. This is European mail. It is likely that Islamic mail was generally lighter. There are accounts in which Middle Eastern warriors donned two mail garments (presumably one of these was some sort of khazaghand) to provide more protection
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Jeanry Chandler




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PostPosted: Thu 21 Jul, 2005 4:22 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dan Howard wrote:
I agree that the Byzantines were impressed the protection afforded by Fankish armour. Comnena mentions a specific incident in which Byzantine arrows were having no effect on Frankish mail so the archers were ordered to fire at the horses instead.


Yes and IIRC they also describe the Turks having similar problems. I believe the type of anecdote described by Saladin's scribe, of Frankish troops walking around with dozens of arrows in them, was also described in the First Crusade.

Quote:

The best theory I have read regarding mail and plates is that was a replacement for lamellar. The lacing on lamellar was apparently fairly easy to cut - mail and plates addressed that problem (plus problems with lice, water retention, etc.) Some examples of mail and plates look remarkably similar to lamellar so this theory makes sense IMO.


I have thought of this too, it certainly does look that way in some cases. But there is a key advantage of lamellar vs. mail and plates of course, at least as worn for example by Byzantine cavalry in the early medieval period, i.e usually lamellar worn over mail. That gives you the combined effect of both types of armor. I think the better impact absorption of the flat plates and the super resiliancy of the mail would compliment each other. I remember an anecdote from Alexiad where Anna Comnena describes a Byzantine Prince whose 'Klibanion' (purportedly lamellar over mail armor) was so effective that he was knocked first partly off, then back onto his saddle by two successive Frankish lance strikes, only to emerge completely unscathed.

Quote:

Agreed about Roman armour. If it wasn't effective it wouldn't have been worn. The quality and quantity of armour worn by legionaries was vastly superior to the majority of foes they faced and must have played an important part in Roman victories.


Yeah, I believe the armor was a lot of what gave the Romans a good part of their notorious staying power in combat, the reason why they eventually out lasted so many of their opponents. Fighting for hours against a celtic army for example which had almost no armor, it is pretty easy to understand how the Roman Legions would dominate even over numerically superior enemies, regardless of their tactics, courage, or tactical acumen, as the inevitable effects of attrition began to mount. Having done a lot of WMA in my life, I shudder to imagine the carnage of unarmored men fighting armored men, especially with showers of missiles being thrown about...

Interestingly, the two philosophical explanations seem to join where effect of the armor and the ruthless attitude of the Romans merge together. The Western Barbarians at any rate tended to allow defeated enemies to buy peace after a defeat, and retreat to lick their wounds. The Romans did this several times after losing to the Celts during the Republic. The Romans, who theoretically would have suffered somewhat less casualties due to their amor and their pragmatic approach to warfare, could plausibly regroup and quickly rebuild their army around at least a small core of Veteran troops who survived the last campaign. The barbarians in contrast, with their reckless bravery and lack of armor, were likely to have lost many key warriors even in a victory.

So the Romans could lose a few, then when they finally won, it was often a total catastrophe for the Barbarians. In most cases it meant the end of the independence of the enemy tribe, in many cases the bulk of their men killed and their women and children sold into slavery. So you see here a kind of a merger of the germs and iron theory, versus the cultural theory... though to be honest I personally don't buy either one 100%

JR

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Hisham Gaballa





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PostPosted: Sat 23 Jul, 2005 7:12 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jeanry Chandler wrote:
I got to say, this is a fascinating thread. Some of the primary source material in here is stuff I hadn't seen before.

With all due respect though, I disagree with the premise of most of you. I believe that the European armor had become superior, both in terms of the general quality or effectiveness, and perhaps as importantly, of coverage. Lets not forget around the time of the first crusade is roughly analagous to when the first head to toe mail armor started to appear in Europe.

I dont have source material on hand because I have just read this, so I will go back and read up to refresh my memory. In the meantime, I hope you will forgive some unsourced observations. I do remember that there were many contemporary sources from the 1st crusade, including the Alexiad of Anna Comnena, in which eyewitnesses commented on the superiority of the armor of the "Franj" or the "kelts" as the Byzantines called them.

My understanding was that Eastern Armor in general, including Russian Armor, was generally inferior in terms of the quality of the iron used, and that this was part of the reason so much more integrated mail and plate forms are seen particularly in Turkish and Russian armor. I dont have sources for this on-hand but will have to look. But I always understood this was a major reason for the success of the European heavy cavalry in all engagements where they were able to come to grips with enemy forces. The Arab, Turkish, Kurdish, Egyptian etc. heavy cavalry was simply not in the same league, largely due to equipment. I know the Crusaders were tough but I frankly do not believe that man for man they were tougher enough than their opponents in the Crusades to account for some of the lopsided victories they won, as at Antioch.

I also vehemently disagree with whoever it was that claimed that the Romans didn't rely on their armor. Roman armor was extremely important to their victories particularly in the late Republic and early Imperial period! The gradual narrowing of the 'kit gap' between the Western Barbarians and the Roman Legions also had a large part to do with their downfall, IMO

But, I'm already overreaching myself here, I need to go dig up some support for my own assertions, or perhaps debunk them myself. Fascinating thread folks!

Jr


I think coverage and ubiquity are probably more important factors here than the quality of iron. Happy

Turcoman horse-archers formed a sizable proportion of Islamic armies in the “Crusading Era”, i.e. 1100-1300, and even the Byzantines made extensive use of Pecheneg and Cuman horse-archers. Horse archers usually wore no or very light armour. Furthermore in Islamic armies infantry were of much lower status than cavalry and were usually unarmoured. In Islamic and Byzantine armies it was usually only the professional heavy cavalry who wore armour. On the other hand among Western European warriors whether infantry or cavalry was much more widespread. In other words the proportion of armoured warriors was much higher in Western European armies than in Islamic and Byzantine armies.

On the subject of coverage, I do agree with you. By the end of the of the 12th century European knights were wearing long-sleeved mail hauberks, mail chausses and sometimes Great Helms. Islamic and Byzantine warriors for the most part were still wearing hauberks with elbow length sleeves and/or lamellar armour. Long sleeves and chausses were very uncommon. As a result a European warrior was going to be a bit harder to kill. I think this and the fact that armour was more widespread among Western Europeans accounts for the various passages referring to Western European warriors apparently being unaffected by all the arrows sticking out of them.

I don't recall coming across any evidence that the iron used in Oriental armour was inferior to that used in Western European armour. In fact considering how Damascus and Khurasan enjoyed such a high reputation in metalworking, particularly with regards to steel swords, I consider that unlikely. Furthermore in his “Oriental Armour” H. R. Robinson states that “many pieces of Mamluk armour have been have been recognised for their excellence of quality, finish and decoration.” Of course this was referring to 15th and 16th century armour, but it is still armour from Egypt and Syria. I would be grateful of course if you or anyone else would share any studies comparing the quality of Middle-Eastern mail to Western European mail. There is a fair amount of Islamic and Western European mail in Museums around the world (admittedly almost all of it is post-1400 AD), so studies of this type may have been done.

A few more pictures just to conclude:

A fragment from Cairo dated 11th-12th century showing Muslim warriors in combat with Western Europeans. Note that although the Muslim cavalry and archers are wearing mail, the infantry are unarmoured.


15th-16th century Mamluk mail shirts in the Museum of Islamic Art, Cairo.

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George Hill




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PostPosted: Sat 23 Jul, 2005 10:45 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hisham Gaballa wrote:

Question What possesses even greater protective qualities than the jawshan?
Answer A padded garment can be worn beneath the jawshan, as the Europeans wear beneath their iron cuirasses. This is the qarqal. It will protect the wearer from both heat and cold, and from the blows of maces...

[/quote]

Um... How can wearing an extra garment protect a person from heat? Maybe in an iron foundry, but outdoors? I was looking at the fellow's post who mentioned wearing felt under or over the armor, and I cringed. I've been to Egypt, and it's blasted hot in that sun. I can't imagine that the Holy Land is all that much cooler. Wearing felt would be more lethal then Saladin's arrows.

Also, I was doing a search for a particular item of equipment mentioned here, and I found this page. http://users.actrix.co.nz/moyle/soldier.html

Quote:

The dominant professional soldier of the Middle East was the ghulam.<snip>..Unlike Central Asian horse-archers, ghulams were well protected, rode larger horses and used a variety of tactics. This included rapid volleys of arrows at short-range to break up an opponent's attack. These were supplemented by light arrows that were fired into zones at long-range to harass an opponent.
...The quiver exposed much of the arrow shafts, thus permitting the rapid removal of several arrows at a time. Arrows had specialised heads and were of different weights for different targets....The bow was of composite construction and relatively powerful. Unlike Western archers, arrows were drawn using a thumb-ring (not fingers).


I'd be very curious if 'light arrows' affected penetration. It would increase velocity, but wouldn't it bleed inertia faster?


BTW, does anyone know how well lamellar stands up to sword thrusts?

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Hisham Gaballa





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PostPosted: Sun 24 Jul, 2005 2:37 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

George Hill wrote:


BTW, does anyone know how well lamellar stands up to sword thrusts?


My guess is not very well. One of the big weaknesses of lamellar is that the lacing could be cut, rendering the armour useless. This is often cited as one of the reasons for lamellar armour being superseded by "mail-and-plate" armour. Although the Japanese continued to use lamellar right until the 19th century. I think lamellar probably was a reasonable defense against arrows.

I know what you mean about the gambeson being a defense against heat! Big Grin However that is not my quote, it is from a 14th century Mamluk furuseya manual. Another thing that also mystifies me is that pre-20th century muslim clothing as a whole is surprisingly heavy. This is a quote from E. W. Lane's "Manners and customs of the Modern Egyptians" (1st published 1836) describing Turco-Arab male clothing:
Quote:
The dress of the men of the middle and higher classes consists of the following articles. First, a pair of drawers of linen or cotton... Next is worn a shirt with very full sleeves reaching to the wrist... Over this in winter or cool weather most persons wear a "sudeyree" which is a short vest of cloth... without sleeves. Over the shirt and "sudeyree" is worn a long vest of striped silk and cotton (called "kaftan" or more commonly "kuftan") descending to the ankles, with long sleeves extending a few inches beyond the fingers ends... Round this vest is wound the girdle, which is a coloured shawl... The ordinary outer robe is a long cloth coat of any colour called by the Turks "jubbeh", but by the Egyptians "gibbeh". In cool or cold weather a kind of black woolen cloak called "'abayeh" is commonly worn.


I can't do any more writing, but he then goes on to describe the turban etc.

My point is this: Medieval clothing wouldn't have been much different, and if they could cope with all that, then surely they could cope with a padded gambeson as well! Happy

Edit:
With regards to the comparative quality of Oriental and Western European mail, I have partly answered my own question with this article:
http://www.wallacecollection.org/i_s/publicat...tion.htm#1

It suggests that some Oriental mail often was inferior to Western European mail. This article appears to based on samples of Indian mail only, from the 17th century onwards. It does not talk about Egyptian and Syrian mail made during the Ayyubid and Mamluk periods (c. 1169-1517 AD).
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PostPosted: Sun 24 Jul, 2005 2:18 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

From what I have seen, it seems that light arrows have significantly less penetrating power than heavier ones, since mass is a key factor in the physics of armour piercing.

As far as the defensive properties of lamellar, I should think it could stand sword thrusts nicely. There seems to be general agreement that lamellar withstood arrows reasonably well, and a thrust is much more like an arrow hit that either one is like a cutting blow. While the lacing might be cut, the suits are laced in a tight pattern over a large area, so getting individual lames to fall off is probably not that easy to do. A thrust might get a sword tip underneath a lace to cut it, but there would be a possibility that the tip could be snagged, if only for a second - which might be a fatal delay. (By the by, this is a pretty easily testable issue. The nature of the lames isn't critical, only the type of lacing. Hang up a sheet, start thrusting and / or cutting, and see how many blows it takes to start knocking out the lames.)
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PostPosted: Sun 24 Jul, 2005 8:03 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
Is 3 / 4 seconds possible for shooting one arrow ? ( The complete action of firing )


I don't know. One per second is the highest rate of fire I've ever heard of, other than from that article. I've heard of 30-45 per minute from a number of sources, but that's only from either very skilled archers or someone using of a special method of drawing. Less than 20 per minute seems like the standard a reasonbly good archer, though. And some mid 20th century tests give much lower numbers...

It's especially wild that these super fast shots are supposedly "aimed." Accurately shooting an arrow in less than a second? Seems like too much to me...
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George Hill




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PostPosted: Sun 24 Jul, 2005 11:04 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Felix Wang wrote:

As far as the defensive properties of lamellar, I should think it could stand sword thrusts nicely. There seems to be general agreement that lamellar withstood arrows reasonably well, and a thrust is much more like an arrow hit that either one is like a cutting blow.


I'm not sure about that. A sword thrust would have a sort of a 'constant push' whereas an arrow would only have the force brought with it. Consider putting a sword against lamellar and shoving. It would press the small plates out of the way and then continue on into the person behind it, whereas an arrow would loose all it's force on impact..... Right?

Sort of like stabbing upwards at a lorica segmentata...

To abandon your shield is the basest of crimes. - --Tacitus on Germania
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Mon 25 Jul, 2005 3:12 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

George Hill wrote:
Sort of like stabbing upwards at a lorica segmentata...


Another myth. The wearer of a lorica segmentata is not vulnerable to upward thrusts between the plates.
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Jeanry Chandler




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PostPosted: Mon 25 Jul, 2005 6:58 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hisham Gaballa wrote:

I think coverage and ubiquity are probably more important factors here than the quality of iron. Happy
possibly true. At the very least, we agree on 2/3 of the factors Happy
Quote:

Turcoman horse-archers formed a sizable proportion of Islamic armies in the “Crusading Era”, i.e. 1100-1300, and even the Byzantines made extensive use of Pecheneg and Cuman horse-archers. Horse archers usually wore no or very light armour. Furthermore in Islamic armies infantry were of much lower status than cavalry and were usually unarmoured. In Islamic


True, but of course in the first Crusade the Frankish forces were actually predominantly commoner infantry rabble who werent too well equipped either... a lot of them were probably wearing little more than Gambesons.

(snip)

Quote:

On the subject of coverage, I do agree with you. By the end of the of the 12th century European knights were wearing long-sleeved mail hauberks, mail chausses and sometimes Great Helms. Islamic and Byzantine warriors for the most part were still wearing hauberks with elbow length sleeves and/or lamellar armour.


Agreed. And it's also worth pointing out that lamellar is probably inferior to mail in most aspects.

Quote:

I don't recall coming across any evidence that the iron used in Oriental armour was inferior to that used in Western European armour. In fact considering how Damascus and Khurasan enjoyed such a high reputation in metalworking,
particularly with regards to steel swords, I consider that unlikely.

I'm still looking through my sources to find this, but I would point out right off the bat that A) "Damascus" aka Wootz or Ukku steel was made in India and imported into Damascus and other trading centers all over the world in billets, from which it was used to make Swords and other weapons. Damascus steel was not made by the Arabs, and it was a very expensive import. And B) steel was not used for armor at all in this period as far as I am aware, fairly low carbon content iron.
(Tempered steel was eventually used for Armor in Europe and in Ottoman Turkey during the Renaissance, well into the gunpowder era, but that was plate armor and in a different era)

Still lacking the sources for this, but perhaps some other people can fill them in if I rehash what I remember:

The issue about the quality of iron in the armor had to do with the widespread production of homogeneous iron in the west, particularly pioneered by the Franks specifically. The Vikings, who had their own version of "Damascus" (in this case pattern welded) steel swords, also bought plenty from the Franks, so many in fact that they lost the ability to make pattern welded swords. The reason is that the Franks had developed superior methods for smelting large amounts of homogeneous iron of uniform quality. Good uniform quality. This had a lot to do with the rapid spread of certain technologies, most important among them probably the overwash waterwheel, spread by the Cistercian monks IIRC. This increased the output of water wheels for mills by a factor of six or eight (can't remember exactly). This was in turn utilized by water powered (i.e Barcelona) trip hammers and water powered bellows. All of this helped them to start mass producing homegenous iron of uniformly excellent quality all in vast quanities.

Bottom line, the VIkings were making iron from bog-iron, and coming up with tiny nodules of iron of vastly different quality, anything from low carbon wrought iron to high carbon cast iron on each extreme to small amounts of iron suitible for swords and for armor.
What I remember reading was that the Russians had similar problems with their iron armor, which is which made mail potentially inconsistent, and that was why they augmented it so much with plates.

Quote:

Furthermore in his “Oriental Armour” H. R. Robinson states that “many pieces of Mamluk armour have been have been recognised for their excellence of quality, finish and decoration.” Of course this was referring to 15th and 16th century armour, but it is still armour from Egypt and Syria.


Yeah, but we are definately talking about a rather vastly different era here. I understand that the Ottomans eventually were producing bullet-proof tempered steel breastplates and even shields at one point, but that really isn't relavent to the era we are discussing.

Quote:
I would be grateful of course if you or anyone else would share any studies comparing the quality of Middle-Eastern mail to Western European mail. There is a fair amount of Islamic and Western European mail in Museums around the world (admittedly almost all of it is post-1400 AD), so studies of this type may have been done.


I'll contact Eric Schmidt with the Armor Research society and see if he has any input...

JR

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Emiliano Zapata


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PostPosted: Mon 25 Jul, 2005 7:36 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

George Hill wrote:

I'm not sure about that. A sword thrust would have a sort of a 'constant push' whereas an arrow would only have the force brought with it. Consider putting a sword against lamellar and shoving. It would press the small plates out of the way and then continue on into the person behind it, whereas an arrow would loose all it's force on impact..... Right?
...


If you take a sword and stab at lamellar, the sword tip can do three things:

1. It can go right through the metal. I think most folks agree this is unlikely.
2. It can slide off the armour, if it veers off along the direction the lames overlap.
3. It can slide in the other direction, and momentarily snag against the lame which overlaps the first lame to be hit.

Number 3 is the only option of interest. The plates don't just press out of the way - they are tied down, after all. They can be burst with sufficient pressure, of course. To produce that pressure, the sword acts like a crowbar. This means the tip has to be securely wedged between the plates. If they are tightly tied down, there isn't much of gap to force the sword into. Armour is usually attacked from the front, not from the side of the wearer, so the tip is pointed in the wrong direction to easily wedge between the lames. (If you are standing on the proper side of the wearer, you could more easily push the sword tip between lames. )

Getting the tip under the lames is not the end. If you are standing at an angle to the armour, your blade travels just under the surface of the armour, meaning you may scratch the wearer, but are not going to stab any deep body part. So the blade has to be lifted off the surface of the armour, i.e. as a crowbar. I haven't personally tried this, but breaking leather thongs or silk cords by pulling them apart doesn't seem (to me) to be the easiest thing to do. Then, once the lames are pried apart, the sword can be driven into the victim. (Assuming the wearer has stood still and let you do these things to him.)
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PostPosted: Mon 25 Jul, 2005 7:48 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Felix Wang wrote:

Getting the tip under the lames is not the end. If you are standing at an angle to the armour, your blade travels just under the surface of the armour, meaning you may scratch the wearer, but are not going to stab any deep body part. So the blade has to be lifted off the surface of the armour, i.e. as a crowbar. I haven't personally tried this, but breaking leather thongs or silk cords by pulling them apart doesn't seem (to me) to be the easiest thing to do. Then, once the lames are pried apart, the sword can be driven into the victim. (Assuming the wearer has stood still and let you do these things to him.)


I think the issue with Lamellar, particularly the Japanese type of Lamellar where much of the cords used to tie the armor together are exposed on the outside of it, is the potential cumulative effect of attacks. Maybe one lance thrust pried a couple of lames apart, straining or even fraying the cords. Then a couple of axe strikes strained it further, pretty soon a good strike or thrust may tear a lame or three off or partially off, and then you have a nice hole to thrust into or cut into...

I agree though it would be do to do some experiments.

JR

"A strong people do not ned a strong leader."

Emiliano Zapata
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