Info Favorites Register Log in
myArmoury.com Discussion Forums

Forum index Memberlist Usergroups Spotlight Topics Search
Forum Index > Historical Arms Talk > Crossbows power / range Reply to topic
This is a Spotlight Topic Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3 ... 9, 10, 11, 12, 13  Next 
Author Message
David Ruff




Location: Denton TX
Joined: 18 May 2006

Posts: 144

PostPosted: Tue 13 Jun, 2006 8:47 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Clinton Harris wrote:
Ordered the wrought iron form a nice, though odd, supplier, this is then be forged to shape using the good old, get it hot beat it for awhile then get it hot again beat it for while, repeat as nessary fashion. worked down to 4.5mm shaped to a proper armor breatplate shape. and large enough to absord the impacting blows. The cross bow/arrow heads same procedure, maybe hardened if historical evidence can be found.



Hey clint,

This is from Hector Cole - he is a leading expert in arrow and war head making.

"There is some debate as to were the heads hardened or not but the analysis carried out by David Starly at the Royal
Armouries seems to indicate that they were not heat treated but relied on the inherent hardening factor of phosphoric iron. I do forge arrowhead and quarrel heads in 15th cent. wrought iron for definative testing and impart some hardness to the tip by fire hardening. If they were going to carry out any hardening I think they would have used my method as it is
simple and cost efective in time and fuel."


Also there are some laws on the books that required warheads produced in ?england? (or maybe is was london) to be hardened. There is a referance to it in this thread back on page 5-8 or in that area.


I have made 20 socketed four sided "cornells" that are "blue" hardened for the 450lb. Blew a hole thru the .121" thick 1075 plate today. Lost the bolt tho, went flying into the woods Sad. Bummed me out too, those shafts take about 30 minutes to turn down to the taper - each.

Im thinking the 900lb is gonna be FUN against plate. The 1500 to 1900lb'er scares me tho!!!


David
View user's profile Send e-mail
David Ruff




Location: Denton TX
Joined: 18 May 2006

Posts: 144

PostPosted: Tue 13 Jun, 2006 11:07 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Interesting read here i found messing around on the net tonight. I make no claims to its accuracy, but it brings up chain maille IN PERIOD and a arrow going through it.

"To test a steel bodkin pointed arrow such as was used at the battle of Cressy, I borrowed a shirt of chain armor from the Museum, a beautiful specimen made in Damascus in the 15th Century. It weighed twenty-five pounds and was in perfect condition. One of the attendants in the Museum offered to put it on and allow me to shoot at him. Fortunately, I declined his proffered services and put it on a wooden box, padded with burlap to represent clothing.

Indoors at a distance of seven yards, I discharged an arrow at it with such force that sparks flew from the links of steel as from a forge. The bodkin point and shaft went through the thickest portion of the back, penetrated an inch of wood and bulged out the opposite side of the armor shirt. The attendant turned a pale green. An arrow of this type can be shot about two hundred yards, and would be deadly up to the full limit of its flight."

Link to the read -
http://www.archery-bow-n-arrow.com/sp/bow-arrow-04.htm


Now i know this thread is NOT about maille, but since it was brought up in the thread - i will be proving it - or not - soon enough.

Oh and i disagree that "and would be deadly up to the full limit of its flight". A bodkin arrow would be hard pressed to do this (within my experiance of bows and shooting them) at over 40+ yards. The arrow is slowing down pretty quickly after its first 10 yards. I have been running cronny tests as of late and have noted that arrows shead speed where bolts do not shead speed nearly as fast as an arrow. A longbow would be deadly to a clothed person and MAYBE a lightly armored leather wearer at 100+ yards, but would never do the discribed at its full limit of flight (200 yards).


David
View user's profile Send e-mail
Jean Thibodeau




Location: Montreal,Quebec,Canada
Joined: 15 Mar 2004
Likes: 50 pages
Reading list: 1 book

Spotlight topics: 5
Posts: 8,210

PostPosted: Wed 14 Jun, 2006 12:32 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

David;

The topic says crossbow power and range: It only became ALL about plate later, and since I started it I should be able to at least point out that as far as I'm concerned power could mean against just about anything from plate, to maille, to leather or even thick oak doors ! Wink Cool Laughing Out Loud

Oh, at what range do you think one would be reasonably safe behind a kite shield made of 1/2" poplar covered with 5-6 oz. leather ? At an angle an arrow might just scratch the leather maybe and at a medium range the point of the arrow might just penetrate the shield and stick out the other side just a bit.
http://www.merctailor.com/catalog/product_inf...ucts_id=87

Crossbow quarrels would do the same over a longer range assuming that the retained momentum is greater over all ranges.

I don't think the test you have found, if valid, means that maille would be useless and thus the question: Why bother wearing it ? To me the answer might be that one would only have to worry about arrows when closing in on archers and one would want to do that as fast as possible to minimize the number of shots any one archer could loose.

One good reason to charge archers with cavalry, if your horse is still alive, and not attack on foot slowly moving forward if one can avoid it.

Plate would give you better odds of closing as the danger zone should be much shorter. The danger zone might vary depending on quality of plate versus power of missile and might go from zero to 40 yards ! ( Guess )

Assuming breast plates in some cases being proof the tactical situation is complicated by other less well protected body parts, accuracy and steadiness of archer / crossbowman and the presence or absence of obstacles slowing down a charge on horse back or on foot.

All, speculation recapping a lot said before: One can isolate one thing like Breast plates being " proof " and do test to disprove or prove various theories about piercing plate but the tactical advantages of armour remain as long as armour protects you most of the time or often enough to be worth the cost, discomfort & weight.

If we could go back in time and do thousands of test against all levels of quality of armour and power of missile combinations I think ( Opinion ) that we would never get an all or nothing result: We would get some sort of bell curve of statistical results with extreme performance flukes at both ends and a bulge of high probability in the middle.

As firearms became more numerous and more powerful the bulge of the bell curve would move toward the penetration side to the point were the cost benefits of wearing armour would shift to it not being worth the trouble.

You can easily give up your freedom. You have to fight hard to get it back!
View user's profile Send private message
Dan Howard




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

Spotlight topics: 2
Posts: 3,392

PostPosted: Wed 14 Jun, 2006 1:32 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

David Ruff wrote:
Also there are some laws on the books that required warheads produced in ?england? (or maybe is was london) to be hardened. There is a referance to it in this thread back on page 5-8 or in that area.

Yes. But absolutely no evidence that these were referring to bodkins. Dr Starley's research has found hardened broadheads, including some with hardened steel edges forge-welded onto an iron core. It is likely that the primary sources are referring to broadheads (e.g. Type 16) and not bodkins which are likely to have been for flight arrows and not armour piercers. Can someone please find a single piece of evidence in the sources that link amour piercers with bodkin typologies?

Quote:
"To test a steel bodkin pointed arrow such as was used at the battle of Cressy, I borrowed a shirt of chain armor from the Museum, a beautiful specimen made in Damascus in the 15th Century. It weighed twenty-five pounds and was in perfect condition. One of the attendants in the Museum offered to put it on and allow me to shoot at him. Fortunately, I declined his proffered services and put it on a wooden box, padded with burlap to represent clothing.


As usual the test cited doesn't tell us anything worthwhile. For a start there is no evidence that hardened steel bodkins were even used at Crecy. In addition, absolutely no attempt was made to simulate the aketon worn underneath. I get tired of saying that mail is a composite defense worn in conjunction with some sort of arming garment. Saxton Pope did the same thing. He placed a museum sample on a wooden box and fired at it. Of course the mail is going to fail. The wood prevents the mail from flexing. Yet another example of a test that is heavily biased against the armour.


Last edited by Dan Howard on Wed 14 Jun, 2006 5:38 am; edited 3 times in total
View user's profile Send private message
Dan Howard




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

Spotlight topics: 2
Posts: 3,392

PostPosted: Wed 14 Jun, 2006 5:18 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jean Thibodeau wrote:
The topic says crossbow power and range: It only became ALL about plate later, and since I started it I should be able to at least point out that as far as I'm concerned power could mean against just about anything from plate, to maille, to leather or even thick oak doors ! Wink Cool Laughing Out Loud .


I realise that you are being funny but it is important to define what "penetration" means. Gerald said that the arrows in question went through the oak door such that the points of the arrowheads were just visible on the inside. Does this constitute penetration? The arrow did not pass through the door. It didn't even go through far enough to injure a man standing hard up against it.
View user's profile Send private message
Jean Thibodeau




Location: Montreal,Quebec,Canada
Joined: 15 Mar 2004
Likes: 50 pages
Reading list: 1 book

Spotlight topics: 5
Posts: 8,210

PostPosted: Wed 14 Jun, 2006 7:54 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dan Howard wrote:
Jean Thibodeau wrote:
The topic says crossbow power and range: It only became ALL about plate later, and since I started it I should be able to at least point out that as far as I'm concerned power could mean against just about anything from plate, to maille, to leather or even thick oak doors ! Wink Cool Laughing Out Loud .


I realize that you are being funny but it is important to define what "penetration" means. Gerald said that the arrows in question went through the oak door such that the points of the arrowheads were just visible on the inside. Does this constitute penetration? The arrow did not pass through the door. It didn't even go through far enough to injure a man standing hard up against it.


Maybe I do use humour to make a point at times and a comment or a rebuttal can seem, maybe sarcastic? But I meant exactly what I said: The part dealing with plate is very much part of the subject and I do look forward to seeing some results that may or may not meet " academic " standards, but the original question was meant to be broader by me !

If other wish to narrow their replies to a few specific things, that's perfectly O.K also: These topics always have a life of their own and often morph to something different than originally intended by the original poster, often ending up better for it.

As to defining " penetration " : It's making a hole partway or completely through something as opposed to making a dimple or being deflected and bouncing off. Eek! Your example of the door IS penetration to me, just not a through and through penetration. Just barely sticking in the door would qualify. A tactically effective penetration is a good distinction to make: The door did stop injury of anyone standing well back of the door. Maybe sobering to consider hiding behind an oak door only an inch thick or a shield only 1/2" thick, and that may have been what the story was supposed to illustrate ?

I like to think that face to face we could have these kinds of debates over a beer and " enjoy " the occasional sarcasm or pointed rebuttals as just the fun of a good debate and at worse end up agreeing to disagree.

The dry nature of written exchanges tends to sharpen the barbs that would be softened by a nod or a smile when face to face.Big Grin Big Grin Big Grin In other words, a good argument should not be watered down by avoiding wit or sarcasm, if at all possible, while maintaining, at least at the end, respect: Like a good handshake after a hard fought game. Big Grin

You can easily give up your freedom. You have to fight hard to get it back!
View user's profile Send private message
Glen A Cleeton




Location: Nipmuc USA
Joined: 21 Aug 2003

Posts: 1,918

PostPosted: Wed 14 Jun, 2006 8:11 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Dan,

I had posted an abstract of Jones' research from the early nineties and am still curious as to your take on that. It is an indication of a hardened bodkin (at least harder than the armour that was tested). It was a modern scholarly study and not a contemporary account.

Quote:

The hardness of plate armour samples from the period improves steadily through the Hundred Years War and into the sixteenth century, which Jones suggests contributed to the demise of the longbow. He gives tables of samples which show the Vickers Hardness Number of some armour pieces increasing from 100-140 early in the 1400s to 240-250 by 1550. By contrast, the bodkins studied were typically 350 Vickers Hardness Number.


I'd still be interested in your opinion of that.


I do know other artilcles that were discussing tested armours and were published in the nineties. They do seem to correlate pretty well with the book title that was the result of some thirty years of work. Hence, I see much of the past decades articles as somewhat outakes, as much more agrees than disagrees with the latest publications.

Also missing in this thread is a link to the article over at www.thearma.org that speaks about last year's Armour Research seminar. An interesting commment there was about the rarity of surviving complete harness from the 15th century.

Craig Johnson actually did a very nice article on armour manufacture and goes into the process and metallurgy to quite a degree. It's over at the Oakeshott Institute page.

Cheers

GC
View user's profile Send private message
Clinton Harris





Joined: 08 Jun 2006

Posts: 15

PostPosted: Wed 14 Jun, 2006 8:25 am    Post subject: wought iron         Reply with quote

Dan Howard wrote:
Is it "puddled iron" or is it true wrought iron worked from a bloom smelt?


Can you in fact tell me the difference in the material composition of the two types of iron? Intresting you would point this aspect out. This iron was forged in1825 for the railroad and had been stored in a mine in Oregan by a blacksmith I happen to know. We will be testing iron over a 100 years old. It will arrive as a bar of Bloomed iron for the railroad. Using a propane forge I am unconcerned about contaminating the iron (propane burns cleaner then anything used in the 1500's, we try and be enviromentally friendly as possible).

Info for those intrested, http://iron.wlu.edu/anvil.htm

Two other armourors agree we will be punching though the armour at around 600 lbs with cross bows consistantly. We are also going to fire a 1625 serpentine 68 caliber musket at armour as well to see the difference between the gun, crossbow, and hand bow. (not getting into power and projectile in this thread)
View user's profile Send private message
Jean Thibodeau




Location: Montreal,Quebec,Canada
Joined: 15 Mar 2004
Likes: 50 pages
Reading list: 1 book

Spotlight topics: 5
Posts: 8,210

PostPosted: Wed 14 Jun, 2006 8:57 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Oh, that article on thearma is very good and here is a cut and paste of a paragraph about maille.

QUOTE:
One particular thing I thought exceptionally noteworthy was the data presented concerning several 14th century maille samples wherein some individual rings were made of two vastly different pieces of metal from the metallurgical point of view! Two different qualities of steel/iron in one maille ring is astounding to my mind. Why on earth would this be done commonly? Iím not sure but it is startling if the several samples discussed and examined could be taken to suggest a relative normalcy of this practice. This presentation was thought-provoking indeed.

http://www.thearma.org/spotlight/ars-conference-2005.html

Just thought I would post the precise link to the article as the link given was just the Home page, making easier and faster to find.

Very good articles worth having a look at as some of it might influence the discussion on maille / plate and penetration.

Two types of steel in the same link of maille. Eek! Eek! Eek! Now that does poses questions about how difficult it is to include all variables when preparing materials for a test !

Other parts of the research article does mention some " fakes " and restorations that would change one view of what was used in period if one doesn't know the difference when choosing a standard to replicate. As well, museum professionals may themselves at times be clueless about what they actually have or the way it was used or base their interpretations on ignorance of how the martial arts influenced the design of some pieces. Anyway, read the article firsthand rather than my impressions based on it. Deep but narrow expertise can cause some interpretations to turn out to be wrong: A focus on the Art History or just plain history may miss the design choices made in period in the context of use and Martial Arts.

You can easily give up your freedom. You have to fight hard to get it back!
View user's profile Send private message
Glen A Cleeton




Location: Nipmuc USA
Joined: 21 Aug 2003

Posts: 1,918

PostPosted: Wed 14 Jun, 2006 9:25 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ha, you beat me to it;) I was just returning with that link and the one Craig did (based on much of Wiliams' work).

http://www.oakeshott.org/metal.html

What is also relevant from the 2005 article is the likelyhood that much of the armour was not superior in grade, even for the men in the army of Henry VIII.

To Clinton,

Since they didn't use propane back then, you will probably have to work with charcoal, in order to maintain the integrity of the experiment. Do take a look at Craig's article, as he discusses the forge work a bit. I'm sure you are already hearing some of this.

Cheers

GC
View user's profile Send private message
Allan Senefelder
Industry Professional



Location: Upstate NY
Joined: 18 Oct 2003

Posts: 1,563

PostPosted: Wed 14 Jun, 2006 9:36 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Much, try most. The suit of Almian Rivets preserved in the Winchester Cathederal is period to Henry's armies and is quick, dirty and typical af the vast amounts of this sort of armour that was ordered to supply the ever growing armies of the 16th century. In "The Armour from Medieval Rhodes" 20 of the pieces were microscopically analized to see what they were made of and wheather there was an attempt to temper the piece or not. the armour ranges in date from the mid 15th to the early 16th century and the results of the analysis ran the gamit from simple wrought iron to higher carbon steel. Also some not heat treated, some the attempt was made but the steel didn't have enough carbon to be treated and some successfully heat treated. The armour from Rhodes is for the most part armour for the common soldier.
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
David Ruff




Location: Denton TX
Joined: 18 May 2006

Posts: 144

PostPosted: Wed 14 Jun, 2006 9:51 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well its like i have been saying.

Armor was designed NOT to stop all incoming threats - as the wearer you would hope to god it did, but it did not. We know this from the paintings, and cronicals of the dead bodies on the field. This is not to say they were killed all by arrow and bolt fire - they were not. But it does prove armor was effective to a degree.

As far as missile fire went it protected you to a degree, and then its limits would fail when the range or power went up and beyond what the armor would handle. Armor increased your chances of survival, it was not some majic suit that promaced you survival.

Getting close to the archers must havebeen a deadly game, here you have that zone where the arrow is extremely deadly, they had to have run the archers down (if they could) very quickly. Crossbows (used more for siege) must have been even more tricky when you had them loaded and ready to fire, better hope you get to the shooter before he loads or when he wasn't around another crossbowman that was loaded and ready.


Bodkins.......

Bodkins ONLY thing in life, its only direction and its only purpose was to cut armor. Look at the tip, it doesn't give wide open wounds like a broadhead, it serves no usefulness other then to punch into armor. Its a design we STILL use today for what - to punch into heavy objects. Leather needles and hunting tips are but two examples that encorperate the design that was used to defeat a hard shell for maximum penetration. MOST hunting broadheads have the tip formed as a bodkin for bone and hide before the blades. Some things are a given and this is one of them.

Shields,

I have a video up in the manufactures area of a hit by a crossbow at 60 yards on 1" thick laminate plywood. Poplar being weaker then plywood but backed with leather would most likely fall to the same fate. I would not want to be holding the shiled when it got hit even by a "weak" longbow.

Maille -

agreed dan, the plywood provides a stiff background and helps the missile penetrate. However tests are not always slated against the armor, take for instance the many tests i have read about and some you have qouted that use less the period power in the bows and crossbows. HOWEVER a case can be made that a shot that travels through the maille and 1" into the plywood - would also travel through the maille, thru the arming coat and into the person wearing it. It would most likely ALSO knock the wind out of the wearer, which would be a very bad thing if your closing in on opposing forces.


The metal we have -

I think that the metal we have being it is way over 100 years old and is going to be used specificly for the testing that i have already said will bring more questions (when done) then answers is a good point to start. again, using the same metal they used, same thickness they used and the same hardness they used, witht he same shapes they used - is going to produce VERY simular results they got. The heads we will use will be hardened ONLY in the fact we can not help that in the forging - niether could they back then. So anything we do is going to be VERY close to what happen back then. Like it, don't like it (the results) - it still gives us things to look at and ask about.

I also think that knowing ALL armor on the field back then was NOT equal, i think producing this armor with a clean flame is going to slate the test against the missile weapons. We want a strong, even temper, we want everything to be the best possible armor you could have gotten out of the same materials they would have used. As with the best you could have got - if it fails THAT will show lesser grade armor most likely woudl have failed.

Now we have a coal forge and acess to others, but i think producing this clean and even is gonna be the key OR (and i can hear it now) it will be said "he hit a weak spot!!!!!"

David


Edit - going back and reading after i posted - allen brings up the varying degrees of temper and hardness - non to full... This brings up the questing then of me firing on 12ga steel and punching through it with ease on a 450lb crossbow as being VERY interesting . I have backed this test up with the following.

12ga C1018 front plate and a 18ga C1018 backplate placed 13" behind the front. Both are penetrated with the back one stopping the bolt after its gone 4" through it. Now i KNOW c1018 soft steel is NOT period, but its a basis to ask - hermmm what can it do against wrought AND that there is something to the rumors that crossbows (and bows) did kill armored knights.
View user's profile Send e-mail
Allan Senefelder
Industry Professional



Location: Upstate NY
Joined: 18 Oct 2003

Posts: 1,563

PostPosted: Wed 14 Jun, 2006 11:31 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Armour is designed to be weapon resistant. Only an idiot or an unfortunate would stand there letting some one whack on them constantly. It is meant to part of a system of defense which also includes, the agility of the wearer to duck and dodge and the use of weapons and or shields to parry. To optimize its effectiveness these all must be present as its only one element of an integrated system.
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: 3,392

PostPosted: Wed 14 Jun, 2006 3:43 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

David Ruff wrote:

Bodkins.......

Bodkins ONLY thing in life, its only direction and its only purpose was to cut armor. Look at the tip, it doesn't give wide open wounds like a broadhead, it serves no usefulness other then to punch into armor. Its a design we STILL use today for what - to punch into heavy objects. Leather needles and hunting tips are but two examples that encorperate the design that was used to defeat a hard shell for maximum penetration. MOST hunting broadheads have the tip formed as a bodkin for bone and hide before the blades. Some things are a given and this is one of them.


And I have already stated that a very strong argument can be made that bodkins were in fact used on flight arrows. Not arrows intended to be fired at close range - which is theonly way any arrow is going to penetrate armor. Try an experiment. Fire various types of bodkins and various types of broadheads from the same bow and tell us which fly further. The bodkin was a compromise design between a true flight head and a warhead that can inflict damage at long range.


Last edited by Dan Howard on Wed 14 Jun, 2006 4:42 pm; edited 1 time in total
View user's profile Send private message
Dan Howard




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

Spotlight topics: 2
Posts: 3,392

PostPosted: Wed 14 Jun, 2006 4:38 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

David Ruff wrote:

The metal we have -

I think that the metal we have being it is way over 100 years old and is going to be used specificly for the testing that i have already said will bring more questions (when done) then answers is a good point to start. again, using the same metal they used, same thickness they used and the same hardness they used, witht he same shapes they used - is going to produce VERY simular results they got. The heads we will use will be hardened ONLY in the fact we can not help that in the forging - niether could they back then. So anything we do is going to be VERY close to what happen back then. Like it, don't like it (the results) - it still gives us things to look at and ask about.
Agreed. This test will provide some answers.

Quote:
I also think that knowing ALL armor on the field back then was NOT equal, i think producing this armor with a clean flame is going to slate the test against the missile weapons. We want a strong, even temper, we want everything to be the best possible armor you could have gotten out of the same materials they would have used. As with the best you could have got - if it fails THAT will show lesser grade armor most likely woudl have failed.

Also agreed. My argument has always been based on averages. If you fire a thousand bolts/arrows at various pieces of armour under varying conditions then the armour will resist the attack the vast majority of the time. As you said there will be weak spots in the armour, or gaps where plates overlap, or a fluke shot that hits perfectly square on.
View user's profile Send private message
Carl Scholer





Joined: 14 Jun 2006

Posts: 37

PostPosted: Wed 14 Jun, 2006 6:23 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi, I had the pleasure of looking around the forums for quite awhile but never bothered to post. However this debate is just to interesting for me to withhold my input. I have about three years of college physics behind me so I have a basic idea behind the physics involved here, although I have to admit that I havenít had to use it in nearly two years and I am pretty rusty.

I think one thing that should be noted is that this bows versus armour debate has been argued and tested ad nauseum. While older tests had indicated that armour was inconsequential to arrow penetration more recent tests have argued otherwise. What has changed between then and now is that the metallurgy of the arrows involved has been taken into account and a more scientific approach has been made. The relative hardness of the arrowhead to the breastplate is very important to the result of the collision between the arrow and the plate. To give an example a lead musket ball requires 900 joules to penetrate a particular suit of armour while a hardened iron arrow could defeat the same armour with only 230 joules of work. I can think of just a few examples off of the top of my head. One was conducted by a professor who tested a 70 lbs longbow at 10 yards against a 1mm plate which it penetrated completely except at extreme angles, it succeeded in penetrating the 2mm plate to a distance of around 3mm (IIRC) and was stopped dead by the 3mm plate. This professor went to trouble of discovering the construction and hardness of bodkin arrow heads and breastplates and found that the average bodkin had a surface hardness on the Vickers scale of 350 while a breastplate of the early 15th century was between 100 and 140 Vickers and a breastplate of 1550 was around 200-240 Vickers. The University of Reading in collaboration with The Wallace Collection found that with a simulated bodkin it takes about 30 joules to achieve total penetration through 1mm of air cooled mild steel, about 120 joules to penetrate 2mm of steel, and somewhere in the range of 270 joules to penetrate 3mm. The same tests found that traditional bodkin point will just penetrate a 1.9mm wrought iron plate with 20j, and will penetrate to a distance of 6mm with 75 joules. A crossbow bolt on the other hand will just penetrate with 40 joules and succeed in just penetrating 5mm with 80 joules. A couple of tests were even broadcasted on TV, one by the Battlefield Detectives who conducted an experiment at a university I canít remember the name of with an iron arrowhead put up against a mild steel plate of 2mm thickness IIRC. The iron arrowhead couldnít handle the strain and buckled under the stress. A better test was conducted by the show The Weapons that Made Britain who, with the Royal Armories, tested a munitions grade breastplate against a 150lbs longbow where the longbow succeeded in penetrating the plate at 20m, punctured the plate to a few mm thickness at 30m, and merely dented the plate at 80m distance. A similar test was conducted a breastplate of higher grade plate which suffered only a minor puncture at 20m. While these last two tests where conducted by television shows they both went to the trouble of demonstrating the authenticity of the energies and the materials involved and enlisted the help of armour and weapons enthusiasts. Heck, the Weapons that Made Britain even used true to life cheese glue from a 9th(?) century recipe in the construction of their testing shields. Now all of this is from the top of my head but I am more then willing to hunt down some of the specifics behind these tests if you are interested.

I bring these tests to mind because I noticed in your last test you sent a crossbow bolt about 40mm through a 2mm plate with a mere 45 joules of work. A forceful stab with a knife carries 43 joules of work. Considering that the University of Reading found that it would take an authentically reproduced bolt head 80 joules to penetrate just 5mm I have some skepticism regarding the test. Given the energies involved the only way I can justify the result is that there was a significant difference in hardness of bolt compared to the hardness of the plate. There is an interesting 13th century European account of how the Mongols made iron arrowheads and then plunged them into water to rapidly cool them in order to harden them, perhaps this was the same method used for construction European arrowheads. I assume that the result would give an arrowhead which is hard on the outside and soft on the inside, kind of like an M&MÖ but to be honest Iím not sure, it might be best to read into how the University of Reading conducted its tests before proceeding.

Historically speaking there is a plethora of evidence that suggest that certain combinations of mail and textile defenses as well as plate defenses were sufficient in stopping arrows and bolts fired from bows and crossbows. During the third crusade a Muslim account of the battle of Arsuf detailed the frustration felt by the Muslims at the inability of their composite bows to penetrate the felt and mail armour of the crusader crossbowmen. In a battle between the Normans and the Byzantines the Byzantine emperor tells his horse archers to shoot at only the Normans horses because the Normans armour renders them near invulnerable to arrows. However my favorite source in this regard is the 13th century account of the 7th crusade by Joinville, a knight. Joinville is a pleasure to read because of his realism and close attention to details. In his account he used a Muslim textile armour as a shield and was surprised at itís usefulness as he describes how he was struck and Ďwoundedí by only five arrows which were loosed at him by the Turks. Obviously these arrows didnít penetrate his armour to a fatal degree or there would have been no way for him to get up the next day and continue fighting in the next battle. Considering how he used the term wounded though I assume those arrows hurt a lot and I wouldnít be surprised if the arrows didnít partially penetrate enough to pinprick a few mm into his skin. A Japanese account of a 13th century battle describes how a Japanese warrior checked to see how many times he was struck by arrows by counting the dents in his armour and removing arrowheads which had became lodged into his breastplate. An English eye witness account of the battle of Crecy details how the longbowmenís arrows and arrowheads broke and snapped against the thick French armour, until they eventually succeeded in defeating the French by shooting into the flanks of their horses. An eyewitness account of the battle of Flodden details how the arrows of the English longbowmen were useless against the Scottish pikemen because they were so well armoured. I can think of another 16th century account of crossbows being used against armoured infantrymen being described as being about as effective as a hail or rotten apples. Again I can dig up the sources for these accounts if you need them but it would take a while.

However, from a testing perspective, the accounts of conquistadors testing armour in the 17th century against Amerindian arrows are very interesting. In the De Soto expedition the natives were said to use bows of one hundred weight according the chronicle. They took a native they had captured to shoot at a mail shirt which they had draped over a basket and found that the arrows punched right through the mail. They did the same test with two mail shirts and found the same result. They discovered however that blankets sown three fingers thickness were sufficient to defend against arrows. It should be noted that a Wars of the Roses account also details how linen armour was considered to offer good protection against arrows by the longbowmen who wore them. All in all, I tend to believe it was probably the textile part of a knightís defense that offered the greatest protection against arrows during the crusades. Another test involved having an Indian shoot an arrow nearly one and a half feet through a wooded and leather shield, however when placed against a steel shield the stone arrowhead and arrowshaft shattered against the shield.

Also, for the logical argument you provided that armour was not designed to defend the wearer against incoming attacks, well I have to debate the logical premise behind that argument. Armour is hot, heavy, chafes and is downright uncomfortable. The only reason you would wear it is if it provided protection against the weapons you are likely to face. The other question I have to ask you is that if the armour was incapable of defending against even the weakest bows, why didnít the armorers simply make the armour thicker. Armour stayed between 2 to 3mm on average in thickness all throughout time of the crossbow. It was not until the 17th century, the age of the gun, that cavalrymenís breastplates reached monster thicknesses of 5 to 6mm on average. After all the armourers still had a fair amount of breathing room left with regards to the maximum weight a knight could wear and still be able to fight. A 5mm breastplate only weighs 16 pounds; heavy, but not unmanageable. It should also be noted that the response to armour penetrating guns in the late 16th and early to mid 17th century resulted in most armies in Europe discarding armour all together. It would only be logical then for the same thing to have happened during the age of the crossbow in the 11th to the 16th centuries; instead armour becomes more common and complex. Itís hard to justify why some one would bother with all the effort of developing and producing armour if it had no protective value against the weapons of the era. Of course modern soldiers wear armour that will not protect them against the heaviest rifles, but that is because of shrapnel, which is a common threat on the modern battlefield.

Here as excellent example of a ballistic test conducted against an authentic breastplate of the 17th century. Notice how the breastplate is able to take a 2146 joule collision with a lead ball and still maintain its integrity enough to defend the wearer. Compare that with the 100-150 joules capable of being produced by a 150 lbs longbow. Of course a hardened iron arrowhead should perform better than a soft lead musket ball, but it is still something to keep in mind, especially when regarding the historic hardness of arrow heads and the effects they can have on your results. In any case this test should be a good example of how to perform a realistic ballistic armour test.

http://www.geocities.com/ageraluon/breastplate/home.htm

I just want to state first and foremost that I do not believe armour was this magical thing that provided ubiquitous protection for its wearer. Personally I believe that if a suit of armour was designed to stop a longbow arrow it was probably designed to just barely protect against that arrow. After all, any extra protection beyond what is necessary to protect the wearer from the most dangerous thing he is likely to encounter on the battlefield is superfluous. It would be adding extra weight that the knight would not get any benefit from. All together that means that any slight advantage given to the arrow in a modern test would be enough to push the armour beyond its abilities. I donít believe mail alone is capable of stopping crossbows or the more powerful war bows, after all pretty much every one who used mail also felt the need to include a shield. I believe that plate probably protected only the front of the chest and possibly the face from heavy longbow arrows as current tests indicate and that the thinner parts of the armour on the sides, the back, the arms, the legs, and the horse were probably not longbow proofed. I have little doubt that some of the 1200lbs and 3000lbs crossbows could punch through the armour of their day, after all the weapons took so long to load they probably werenít a common, or fast enough firing, threat to justify the extra weight that would be necessary to defend against them.

On a side note, your crossbows look wonderful. I have been looking all over for crossbow distributors who make authentically high draw weighted crossbows. I have a couple of questions for you though: I was reading in David Niccolleís book on Medieval weaponry that many earlier 12th century crossbows had 85 cm draw lengths, in your research have you noticed a trend towards longer draws in the composite crossbows of the 12th through 15th centuries. Iím thinking they may have used longer draw lengths to offset the lower draw weights possible with a composite prod. Also, I was wondering what the weight of your prods are? I am asking this because the weight of the bow, or prod in this case, is instrumental in judging the overall power of the bow. Bows are capable of storing tremendous amounts of energy but are monumentally inefficient in the way they use that energy. When you fire a bow the energy you have stored in the bow goes into not only launching the arrow forward but the entire bow and string as well. The amount of energy that goes into the arrow(in this case the bolt) is decided by the ratio of the weight of the system, (prod, string, and bolt) to the weight of the bolt. From what I have read steal prods are much less efficient then wood in regards to how much energy they can store in terms of energy to unit weight. Iím thinking a lighter weight composite crossbow might be more efficient than the heavier draw steel crossbows in terms of energy usage, although I have no doubt that a 1200lbs steel monster will outshoot a lighter composite through the virtue of storing so much more energy, inefficiently used or not.

I apologies for the long post, I had no idea it end up being this long:) I guess I had a lot to say. I hope the test goes well.


P.S Here is the University of Readings website with some of their results from the armour tests

http://www.rdg.ac.uk/engin/home/material/ancient/armour.htm


Last edited by Carl Scholer on Wed 14 Jun, 2006 8:40 pm; edited 3 times in total
View user's profile Send private message
Jean Thibodeau




Location: Montreal,Quebec,Canada
Joined: 15 Mar 2004
Likes: 50 pages
Reading list: 1 book

Spotlight topics: 5
Posts: 8,210

PostPosted: Wed 14 Jun, 2006 7:35 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Carl;

Welcome to the site and a very long post is very welcome when it is interesting like yours. Big Grin Cool

Just one point I would make is that I think armour was very effective or effective enough to be worth the trouble of wearing it.

Quote: Carl Scholer.

" Also, for the logical argument you provided that armour was not designed to defend the wearer against incoming attacks, well I have to debate the logical premise behind that argument. Armour is hot, heavy, chafes and is downright uncomfortable. The only reason you would wear it is if it provided protection against the weapons you are likely to face. "


Just my take on what David and Allan said that may be the point you are rebutting: I think it is supposed to mean that even the best armour only does part of the job of protecting you in battle. Your mobility is your first protection and a hit taken on your armour would be the one's getting past your defence or coming from unseen directions.

To illustrate this better with an example: Have one warrior stand immobile and take NO defensive action whatsoever for 10 seconds and one could kill him with a pocket knife just by finding a gap in the armour or making one by opening the visor or cutting some attachment points. Eek! Or, a good rondel dagger if one uses a somewhat more period example.

Oh, something that might happen after a Knight was immobilized by a mob, knocked out by a concussive blow, passed out due to heat exhaustion or simply unable to react being too tired to even lift his sword arm.

So armour is part of an active defence and not just " there ".

Anyway I hope this clarifies what I think they were saying and what I tend to believe myself.

Lots of good things in your post. Very Cool

You can easily give up your freedom. You have to fight hard to get it back!
View user's profile Send private message
Dan Howard




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

Spotlight topics: 2
Posts: 3,392

PostPosted: Wed 14 Jun, 2006 9:33 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Welcome Carl. What a marvellous first post.
View user's profile Send private message
David Ruff




Location: Denton TX
Joined: 18 May 2006

Posts: 144

PostPosted: Wed 14 Jun, 2006 9:42 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Carl,

Thanks for the informitive post!!!

On my 450lb crossbow i am firing modern steel bodkins i make here at the shop - its a new thing for me as i saw a need for modern socketed (non rounded) bodkins and finally figured out a way to build them. I have a feeling they are harder then most, but i have not tested them to see how hard.

The 450lb crossbow takes a 190gr bodkin tip mounted on a (measuring it now) 255gr bolt that is 1/2" thick at its widest point (thats 3.5" behind the tip of the bodkin) and tapers to 3/8" at the tail and bottlenecks to 3/8" at the point the bodkin is attached... or much like these


The picture is slightly stretched.

these come off the bow at 190 fps and strike the target at 40 yards at 184fps (fired through a crony just now at point blank and at 40 yards - that was a trick!!). The bow is consistant in accuracy at long range so the two fps numbers are close or on what they were when i fired on the plate. The plates are as follows:

12 guage soft steel at 40 yards, 13" behind the 12ga plate is a 18ga plate of soft steel.

this is fired at and the results were as follows: The 12 guage plate was completely penetrated, on the shot i talked about earlier the bolt staied together and proceeded to strike the 18ga plate. The bolt sunk into the plate piercing it and stopped 4" into the rear 18ga plate. This is about the widest point on the bolt as well. The bolt has a crack in the rear section, from the impact of either the first or second plate as the bolt was new when fired.

The bodkin used - when fired the bodkin had clean edges, they were crisp and sharp (90 degree angles). The tip bore a sharp tip. After firing the bodkin edges are slightly rounded and dull, the tip is rounded and dull and if im not mistaken missing some of its tip.



Composite prods in period:

It is VERY likely they used a longer draw with composites, a composite bow was able to draw farther due to the nature of the prod materials. But, (as i have posted in other posts) the limit to composites in power seems to be around 300 pounds, heavier can be made, but the builder is then really testing both the outter limits of the materials but the glues as well. Should be noted that even in modern materials the limit on composite prods is also about 300lbs.

Composites also cast faster, however due to how bulky the medieval composite was - and in the ones i have built - there is very little difference in speed, they cast a tad faster sometimes and in others they do not. This depends on the materials, glues and how bulky the prod is. In my experiance however draws of 5 to 7 inches seems to be about the range they used.

You are correct on the steel prod (lathe). When they fire, they rob themselves of energy getting the limbs moving, this takes away from the missile power and the speed the bow "shuts". From testing i have done: a 150lb prod firing at 269fps or so was the same (penetration wise) as a 240lb steel prod moving out at 187fps. The same missile was used and the same plywood board set at 60 yards. The numbers do not match as far as power - but the results after shot over and over and measuring penetration backed the test.

The same can be said for a modern 250lb laminate composite prod the power compares to a 450lb to 500lb steel prod as far as punch and penetration. Fire a 225lb excalibre compound crossbow and it is like firing a 500lb steel windlass bow as far as the power the bolt has. I know the math nuts are going HUH!!! BS!!! but tests against the same ply with the same bolts fired on one bow and then the other do not lie. The best i can tell is its a physics thing beyond my mental capacity - but its very true.

Same thing as a bolt has better flight and loses less speed then an arrow - tested by crony. Tested by range shooting. But then again comparing a bow and a crossbow is comparing apples and oranges - both taist good, both look good and both will feed you, but one can break grease up, the other makes a DARN good pie.


Thanks for the kudos on my bows. I can make prods to 2000+ lbs. Clint Harris is one of the two that help me make the parts for the bows i build, he is a hiltmaker and smith that operates WildWolf forge. They operate the largest non commercial forge in texas, i believe second non commercial forge in the USA - that one is in tennisee and is 2" longer i think - (clint help me out here). They also help in the making of the goatsfoot, the windlass and now the cranqline. As far as i know, i am one of a few bow makers that make heavy crossbows and the prods. I am one of few that actively shoot said bows and also make/sell the goatsfoot, windlass and cranqline. I have shoot crossbows basically everyday and by looking at my arms, shoulders and back have developed what i would think to be the same type of muscles that the medieval archer would have had - old age is gonna be painful im sure.

Onto Dan,

Yes averages are what we are after. Clint and i spent time on the phone today and were talking about that. In a fight MOST blows are glancing, rarely do you get a full on connect and if you do the result is painful. same goes for a bunch of people in armor running around. An archer had the battle to watch, the targets to shoot at and had to lead, aim and do whatever it took to trya nd get a center of mass type shot OR shoot for a weak spot. The crossbow and bow shooters were very tuned to this and very good at it. It did not happen all the time, but it did happen.

I however tend to think that a heavy bow that hit, did do damage more often then not. If an archer was firing at a single target the target was most likely close and at under 40 yards the longbow is a monster, the same goes with a crossbow which is more accurate then a longbow in the hands of a trained shooter and more power can be retained to a longer range on the crossbow. If the shoot found a weak spot, a gap or the armor was not thick enough i believe the person was dead. If not immediately it was enough to take the fight out of the person long enough to get minced up by pikes, swords or whatever was in the way and incoming. I believe even IF the plate fails and the chain catches it, the force of that arrow or bolt is going to knock the wind out of you, the arming garb is not going to take much of that blunt force away.


Bodkins - ok, i can believe bodkins were used for flight arrows, they were compact. But the way the shape of the tip is was not for aerodynamics. It was for piercing things. Leather, chain, plate and shileds. It is the most effient design for piercing things, hence the reason we still use it today. The other tips used on flight arrows were also - no tip and very small medieval field points. I have some of those here as well and i have shot distance in my shooting career. Bodkins fly just as well as a no tip and a field point. Bodkins were also produced in mass for wars, they were used on arrows and on bolts for punching holes into things not for flight contests. They offer no real benifit other then to break through armor. They are not like a bladed head that is designed to hit soft armor or cloth and then drive into the body and cut things up. Hitting anything with a bodkin doesn't cuase massive blood loss or even very much shock to the body - unless it hits kidneys, heart, lungs, etc. Pulling a bodkin out is easy, it was designed in mass for war time.

They are NOT used in target shooting as the edges will cut the strings the bailes (now and then) are held together with. <--- runs into this all the time. It was designed for one thing and one thing only and in bulk mass. Im not convinced that everyone was shooting distance competitions back then. In fact the arrow head of choice in mass fire was a thin profile broadhead like a sinew twister if im not mistaken. Those pierced shields and cloth and drove a head into the body. Try and pull it out and the barbs on it kept the arrow from coming out - OR the head came off (they were held on by tar and let the head stay in the body - you died weeks later from massive infection.


Need to hit bed, more later Happy


David
View user's profile Send e-mail
Carl Scholer





Joined: 14 Jun 2006

Posts: 37

PostPosted: Thu 15 Jun, 2006 1:19 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thank you for the thoughtful reply. It helps explain how earlier, low draw weight, composite crossbows were competitive against other bows.

I think your numbers are a little off though with regards to the velocities and weights of the bolts involved in your tests. In this test you use a 175 lb steel prod crossbow to propel a 467 grain bolt to a stated velocity of 181fps.

http://www.uccrossbows.com/2006testingplate.html

In the test you just mentioned you used a 450lbs steel prod crossbow to propel a 445 grain bolt to 190 fps.

To sum up your 175lbs bow is putting out bolts with 46 joules of KE and your 450lbs bow is putting out bolts with 48 joules of KE. If these numbers are accurate then you are getting practically nothing extra out of your 450lbs bow compared to your 175lbs bow. If this is really what is happening then you might try experimenting with heavier bolts to see if you are getting all the power you can out of your heavier crossbows.
View user's profile Send private message


Display posts from previous:   
Forum Index > Historical Arms Talk > Crossbows power / range
Page 10 of 13 Reply to topic
Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3 ... 9, 10, 11, 12, 13  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 2003-2020 myArmoury.com — All rights reserved
Discussion forums powered by phpBB © The phpBB Group
Switch to the Basic Low-bandwidth Version of the forum