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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Sat 27 May, 2006 9:35 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The Greek repeating crossbow - Polybolos
http://www.romanarmy.com/rat/viewtopic.php?t=3577
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Sat 27 May, 2006 9:44 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jean Thibodeau wrote:
Mild steel is steel: It's just too low in carbon to harden much if any.

All wrought iron has some carbon content. The very act of using coal as a fuel source introduces carbon. Medieval steel is often called "carburised wrought iron." At what point do you call it "iron" and when does it become "steel"? Personally I think it shouldn't be called steel unless it can be quench hardened. If not, then we can't use the term "iron" at all since none of the manufacturing processes can completely eliminate carbon content.
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Sat 27 May, 2006 10:04 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dan Howard wrote:
The Greek repeating crossbow - Polybolos
http://www.romanarmy.com/rat/viewtopic.php?t=3577


Thanks for the link: A very interesting discussion.

I tend to conclude myself that the draw weight would be moderate: Enough to match an arrow fired by a reasonably powerful bow but not at the power that a siege machine of similar encumbrance would give shot per shot.

Complexity, maybe fragility of parts, cost etc ..... would have made it less than optimum use of the same time, effort, materials.

As to the excessive accuracy thing: If they were more used to the idea that each shot should be aimed individually and each at a different target, the idea of just randomly filling the air with arrows would not appeal to them in period.

A bit like mid 19th century generals arguing against magazine fed rifles as wasteful of ammunition and that even those with a box magazine would early on have magazine cut-offs to permit loading and firing a shot at a time and saving the magazine for emergency use only.

( Read the linked discussion for context if the above is unclear. )

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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Sat 27 May, 2006 10:05 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dan Howard wrote:
Jean Thibodeau wrote:
Mild steel is steel: It's just too low in carbon to harden much if any.

All wrought iron has some carbon content. The very act of using coal as a fuel source introduces carbon. Medieval steel is often called "carburised wrought iron." At what point do you call it "iron" and when does it become "steel"? Personally I think it shouldn't be called steel unless it can be quench hardened. If not, then we can't use the term "iron" at all since none of the manufacturing processes can completely eliminate carbon content.


From a practical point of view I get what you mean. Wink Cool

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Benjamin H. Abbott




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PostPosted: Sun 28 May, 2006 1:59 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
How about power and rate of fire and practicality of Chinese repeating crossbows ?


For the ones I've read about, the rate of fire was quite high. Up to a bolt per second or even faster. However, power and accuracy were quite low.

Here's a decent link about them:

http://www.atarn.org/chinese/yn_xbow/zhugehtm.htm
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David Ruff




Location: Denton TX
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PostPosted: Mon 29 May, 2006 9:40 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Benjamin H. Abbott wrote:
Quote:
How about power and rate of fire and practicality of Chinese repeating crossbows ?


For the ones I've read about, the rate of fire was quite high. Up to a bolt per second or even faster. However, power and accuracy were quite low.

Here's a decent link about them:

http://www.atarn.org/chinese/yn_xbow/zhugehtm.htm



Accuracy on these bows was moderate, rate of fire was high and power - low. They used poison on the tips of the bolts.

I need to get myself upto the forge and get some factual information on the thickness of armor in period. I do know this, a pike would go thru breast plates in period, it would go thru helms, it would go thru chain and it would go thru leather.

FACTUAL proof shows us that breast plates, arms, legs and helms have holes in them from hand weapons, arrows and bolts. It was the armor that got thicker as time moved on into the 1600's to the point that armor got to be to heavy to wear due to the coming of heavy crossbows and the introduction of gun powder.

It seems to me that a gun of the 1600's compared to a heavy crossbow (say in the area of 1200lbs) had less punch and penetration. The gun was used as the gun was faster to load - accuracy i would say was less until rifling came about. I say this as i have shot smooth bore 50 cal and it is hard to get accurate shots (atleast for me) beyond 60 yards.

I would imagine the lure of a gun was pure rate of fire, no cocking lever or item to carry, charges could be pre done and speed to fire was faster then a crossbow. Infact if i remember correctly in boston the longbow was considered OVER a gun due to the longbow had a faster rate of fire. (i spent my highschool years in boston and saw where all the stuff happen and spent time in all the museums).

Now admittedly i have never tested a 1600's type gun, i do not know the ball it fired, speed or even what one looks like.
But i have a hard time believing they were more powerful and better suited, other then rate of fire. The draw to them is they were a lot faster to load and as equally easy to learn to fire and kill people - like a crossbow.


Your right, i need to take video of the testing and i will do that when the 1700lb is done. I feel 1700lbs is a fair poundage of a heavy siege bow in period as i have heard and seen 1200lbs, 1500lbs and even upto and beyond 2000lbs being used. Heck i don't mind using the 1200lb mark and punch some holes into tempered plate breast plates.

We will be using references from the wallace collection books and start from there. The forge i make my prods at has the set of books and that is what we referance for the arms and armor that is sold from the forge. I believe that would make a decent starting point for a viable armor test.



Lastly - a crossbowman didn't just fire at plate, as a longbowman didn't just fire at plate. They aimed for the weak links in the armor. NOT ALL knights were heavy protected, nor were the solders that fought, as rare as it was to see or face a heavy crossbow - it was equally rare to see a person in heavy plate, chain, padding. Legs, arms, heads necks were all used to kill a knight and might i remind everyone that knights fell to crossbows and bows. There is plenty of reference in history to it.

Im not saying bolts did not merely bounce off plate, im sure they did, heck i have had dents and such, a knight was a very important asset to an army. But i find it curious why crossbows were hated so much in period - they were hated becuase they were one of few weapons that could end a knights day by a common person with a weeks training. meaning they caused horrific injury at range, they punched holes through armor and they were deadly accurate beyond 100 yards. they were easy to master were a bow took years and they dealt more punch at range then a longbow could.

Gallwey said that "point blank" range was about 70 to 80 yards - i think he said 80 yards. I know for a fact that a longbow has less impact at 80 yards then a war crossbow in the area of 800 to 1200lbs. Aiming at a mans head you would strike no lower then the mans throat is what i remember reading from him. In my testing and setting up of my leopardwood bow this is very possible and i have repeated it with 6" circle accuracy at point blank range.

All im saying is crossbows are NOT the end all weapon, they have there good and bad side in use on the battle field, but i do know they were a fearsome weapon to face, especially in a seige type battle were a crossbow could set up and wait to take a shot. History shows they were banned several times, stories of the power and graphic injuries they caused can be read and it seems to me the longbow never did get the attention crossbows did.


However this is talk, i shall work on the testing items and we will have to post video. Happy



David
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Wolfgang Armbruster





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PostPosted: Mon 29 May, 2006 12:22 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
need to get myself upto the forge and get some factual information on the thickness of armor in period. I do know this, a pike would go thru breast plates in period, it would go thru helms, it would go thru chain and it would go thru leather.

FACTUAL proof shows us that breast plates, arms, legs and helms have holes in them from hand weapons, arrows and bolts. It was the armor that got thicker as time moved on into the 1600's to the point that armor got to be to heavy to wear due to the coming of heavy crossbows and the introduction of gun powder.


I agree, except the pike thing. Tests with original halberds and plate armour conducted in the 1980's in Switzerland showed that a thrust would not go through the breastplate, only minor dents appeared. The only way to actually punch through the armour was to make a full twohanded swing with the hook and even then there's no guarantee that you'd punch through the plate or injure the wearer.
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Mon 29 May, 2006 2:21 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

David;

Very interesting post and I'm looking forward to seeing some results against various targets from mild steel or case hardened steel or full depth heat treated steel. In theory a hard surface with a less brittle core might be better that full thickness hardness ? With case hardening the surface could be even harder and not shatter ? Just speculation as I don't know exactly how period " proofed " plate would be made to be maximally effective.

But, I will be happy with any reasonable tests even if they might still not be 100 % historical.

Oh, if you can post your video in MAC compatible Quicktime as well as Windows standard format it would be appreciated. Big Grin

In any case I really enjoy your posts. Cool

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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Mon 29 May, 2006 6:15 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The best proofed armour seems to have been made of a "duplex" construction, with a softer plate of iron forge-welded to a plate of hardened steel. There is a good article in the Royal Armouries' Arms and Armour, Vol 2 No 1 (2005). pp5-26.

What evidence is there of extant breastplates with holes made from crossbows and/or longbows? I'm not aware of any. All the samples I've read about have been demonstrated to have been made with heavy hand weapons (pollaxes, warhammers, etc)
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Mon 29 May, 2006 6:31 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

David Ruff wrote:

Now admittedly i have never tested a 1600's type gun, i do not know the ball it fired, speed or even what one looks like.
But i have a hard time believing they were more powerful and better suited, other then rate of fire. The draw to them is they were a lot faster to load and as equally easy to learn to fire and kill people - like a crossbow.

Try reading "The Knight and the Blast furnace". Williams demonstrates clearly that even the earliest firearms deliver a far greater impact than any crossbow. This book also demonstrates that historical plate armour is far better at resisting arrows and bolts than you seem to think. This book covers metallurgical content, plate thickness, armour weight, etc. It is a waste of time attempting to replicate medieval armour without this as a reference.

Quote:
Lastly - a crossbowman didn't just fire at plate, as a longbowman didn't just fire at plate. They aimed for the weak links in the armor.
What is your source for this? Archers. especially longbowmen, didn't aim at individuals. They relied on mass volleys at high trajectories. I find it very very hard to believe that it is possible to deliberately aim at a "weak point" in armour.

Quote:
Im not saying bolts did not merely bounce off plate, im sure they did, heck i have had dents and such, a knight was a very important asset to an army. But i find it curious why crossbows were hated so much in period

Where is your source indicating that crossbows were such a hated weapon? It is quite clear that the nobility made great use of them both in hunting and on the battlefield.
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David Ruff




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PostPosted: Mon 29 May, 2006 9:02 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dan Howard wrote:
David Ruff wrote:

Now admittedly i have never tested a 1600's type gun, i do not know the ball it fired, speed or even what one looks like.
But i have a hard time believing they were more powerful and better suited, other then rate of fire. The draw to them is they were a lot faster to load and as equally easy to learn to fire and kill people - like a crossbow.

Try reading "The Knight and the Blast furnace". Williams demonstrates clearly that even the earliest firearms deliver a far greater impact than any crossbow. This book also demonstrates that historical plate armour is far better at resisting arrows and bolts than you seem to think. This book covers metallurgical content, plate thickness, armour weight, etc. It is a waste of time attempting to replicate medieval armour without this as a reference.

Quote:
Lastly - a crossbowman didn't just fire at plate, as a longbowman didn't just fire at plate. They aimed for the weak links in the armor.
What is your source for this? Archers. especially longbowmen, didn't aim at individuals. They relied on mass volleys at high trajectories. I find it very very hard to believe that it is possible to deliberately aim at a "weak point" in armour.

Quote:
Im not saying bolts did not merely bounce off plate, im sure they did, heck i have had dents and such, a knight was a very important asset to an army. But i find it curious why crossbows were hated so much in period

Where is your source indicating that crossbows were such a hated weapon? It is quite clear that the nobility made great use of them both in hunting and on the battlefield.




I seem to think of impact and penetration on two different levels. Impact to me means nothing without penetration. Now unless im wrong a bullet flattens out and the force of the impact is imparted upon the object it hits, penetration is compromised. Infact i find it VERY hard to believe a piece of armor was bolt tested unless it leave a very identifiable mark (more on this in a minute). Where a arrow, or bolt hits and doesn't expand, infact it chisels the armor, cracks it and then will leave either a 3 or 4 sided impact mark (depending on the number of sides on the bodkin) OR it will leave a tell tale hole much like what a modern heavy calibre bullet leaves behind when it hits a road sign.

A bullet impact can be stronger then a bolt or arrow, HOWEVER the arrow and bolt will penetrate easier due to no expansion - rather it focuses ALL its energy onto a point that is designed to pierce. A very easy test to this is to take something like a bullet proof vest, - shoot it with a gun, then shoot it with a mere 50lb handbow with a chisel (bodkin) type tip. Impact turns to expansion on a bullet = wasted penetration. This is not the case in a bolt.


Crossbows are very accurate weapons out to 100+ yards. It would be nieve to think that the crossbowman did not aim at weak points. Longbows were used to mass volley fire into the masses to cause confusion and pressure. The ability to fire 1000's of arrows a volley times 9 to 12 arrows a minute - do the math. It caused panic. Crossbows however were used on two different levels.

1: hunting
2: war

In fact if you look at many of the surviving examples of crossbows you will note some simular things. They are mostly ornate, they are mostly goatsfoot or belt hook. VERY rare are you going to find a heavy example siege type bow - over 500lbs much less a 900+lb. They do exsist, but they are rare to see. Why you ask? becuase the ornate ones were commissioned bows made for nobles to hunt with. The heavy bows were used for siege and war. The commissioned bows were handed down from father to son. The war bows died in the field.

As far as aiming for a weak point in armor, with respect you are wrong, its like aiming a gun and VERY easy to lead your target or aim at a point to impact. Infact the thumb boards used for aiming the crossbow (as the later period sights) made a crossbow able to nail targets at long range VERY effectively, AND - delivery a shot that was devastating to both armor and flesh. Personally i can nail targets out at 80 yards (to date) with this 450lb crossbow very effectively using a thumb board. I have nailed moving targets such as squirrels at ranges to about 60 yards with the same bow as well.


The church of england out right banned crossbows several times in history. They did this due to the horrific injuries crossbows dealt. NO other hand type weapon dealt the immediate damage of a crossbow NONE, not even the longbow, although a longbow would penetrate plate, it did not carry the power or energy to carry through and wound/kill a second target. They also banned them as a knight with years of training and service could be slain by a commoner with little training. Crossbows are not hard weapons to load, aim and fire. It took days to train anyone to fire one and weeks to become better then a longbowman with years of training. There are several references in history about crossbowmen being caught and slain on the spot, they were feared and they were hated.


Again - i am not wanting to start an argument nor call anyone wrong, but what i do know is i have seen armor pierced, i have pierced armor and i own a heavy longbow and crossbow and have fired them numerous times at wood, steel, hay and every once in awhile at my sisters boyfriend. I know what they are capable of. Are my tests 100% period - no. NOTHING will be 100% period unless we can travel backa nd build/test with the people that built the items needed. But i do know this - crossbows pierce and blow through plate armor - as do longbows. I have seen it, i have done it and i will do some controlled tests on video as the heavy crossbow finishes and do some side by side testing using the following:

450lb crossbow
1200 to 1700lb crossbow
107lb ELB
127 ELB

I will fire at breast plates, helms and legs and we shall see what happens, heck i could be totally wrong when we fire at tempered/hardened pieces, but i doubt it. It is physically impossible to wear the thickness of armor it would take to subdue a heavy seige bolt armed with a bodkin and still be able to fight effectively. Lets face it, more armor = less movement and easier to knock off a horse and once your down you will get a sword thru a weak point or thru the helm.


lastly i will even control the thickness of armor to the time period and control the weights they should have had (using known sources) to the same time period.



David
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Mon 29 May, 2006 9:33 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

David Ruff wrote:
Infact i find it VERY hard to believe a piece of armor was bolt tested unless it leave a very identifiable mark.
What about the many extant pieces of armour that have had their "proof mark" hammered out so that today it is only identifiable through close examination.

Quote:
Crossbows are very accurate weapons out to 100+ yards. It would be nieve to think that the crossbowman did not aim at weak points.
It is naive to think that a knight would be conveniently standing still in the middle of a battle so that a crossbowman can effectively aim at a small spot on his armour.

Quote:
As far as aiming for a weak point in armor, with respect you are wrong
With respect I don't think you know much about how plate armour was assembled or articulated. How large do you think these "weak spots" are? How easy do you think it would be to hit one of these spots while the knight was actively engaging in battle?

Quote:
The church of england out right banned crossbows several times in history.
Nonsense. The whole issue stems from a Victorian misinterpretation of the latin word ballistares. The word refers to crossbowMEN, not crossbows. And they were not banned completely, just prohibited from firing upon Christians. And it had nothing to do with whether the weapon was hated or not, but rather a lot to do with giving the Papal States an unfair advantage against Roger Guiscard's Saracen army. i.e. It became illegal for Guiscard's crossbowmen to fire upon the Pope's christian soldiers, but the crossbowmen in these armies could fire upon Guiscard's men with impunity.

Quote:
Again - i am not wanting to start an argument nor call anyone wrong, but what i do know is i have seen armor pierced
You have seen flawed reconstructions of medieval armour pierced under conditions that in no way resemble the battlefield. It tells us nothing about the effectiveness of medieval armour. Where are the extant pieces of armour with evidence of crossbow holes? Where are the eye witness accounts (primary sources) of men being mortally wounded through their plate armour by crossbows? Why do modern tests against reasonable replicas of medieval armour contradict your findings?
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David Ruff




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PostPosted: Mon 29 May, 2006 10:43 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dan Howard wrote:
David Ruff wrote:
Infact i find it VERY hard to believe a piece of armor was bolt tested unless it leave a very identifiable mark.
What about the many extant pieces of armour that have had their "proof mark" hammered out so that today it is only identifiable through close examination.

Quote:
Crossbows are very accurate weapons out to 100+ yards. It would be nieve to think that the crossbowman did not aim at weak points.
It is naive to think that a knight would be conveniently standing still in the middle of a battle so that a crossbowman can effectively aim at a small spot on his armour.

Quote:
As far as aiming for a weak point in armor, with respect you are wrong
With respect I don't think you know much about how plate armour was assembled or articulated. How large do you think these "weak spots" are? How easy do you think it would be to hit one of these spots while the knight was actively engaging in battle?

Quote:
The church of england out right banned crossbows several times in history.
Nonsense. The whole issue stems from a Victorian misinterpretation of the latin word ballistares. The word refers to crossbowMEN, not crossbows. And they were not banned completely, just prohibited from firing upon Christians. And it had nothing to do with whether the weapon was hated or not, but rather a lot to do with giving the Papal States an unfair advantage against Roger Guiscard's Saracen army. i.e. It became illegal for Guiscard's crossbowmen to fire upon the Pope's christian soldiers, but the crossbowmen in these armies could fire upon Guiscard's men with impunity.

Quote:
Again - i am not wanting to start an argument nor call anyone wrong, but what i do know is i have seen armor pierced
You have seen flawed reconstructions of medieval armour pierced under conditions that in no way resemble the battlefield. It tells us nothing about the effectiveness of medieval armour. Where are the extant pieces of armour with evidence of crossbow holes? Where are the eye witness accounts (primary sources) of men being mortally wounded through their plate armour by crossbows? Why do modern tests against reasonable replicas of medieval armour contradict your findings?



I play in a forge that creates period armor, i am very familure with how armor is constructed, tempered and hardened. Tell you what, it occures to me that if i create the plate to be fired on i will be viewed as flawed so i will make this offer as masters and gentalmen of our crafts.


You created the breast plate as it was on the battlefield, you give me the period in which the knight wore it and i will create a reasonable crossbow for that period (weight, design ect)

I will fit the breast plate onto sand bags to assume the weight of a body and give the plate stability and fire upon the plate at point blank range (70 to 80 yards) one time. From there one of two things are going to happen.

A hole will appear and the knight is dead, or the armor will deny the bolt and a dent will appear.


Video of the test will be shot and shown so proof of test and results can be posted.


My forge stands by to create the weapon if your game to create the plate. The breastplate will be returned to you of course.



With respect


David Ruff
UC Crossbows
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Mon 29 May, 2006 10:49 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

That is a fair enough offer. Unfortunately I don't have the finances nor skill to manufacture a carbusrised wrought iron breastplate that would meet my specifications, nor ship it to you from Australia. I would enthusastically offer any help I could to someone a little closer to you who might be willing to take you up on your offer.
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David Ruff




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PostPosted: Mon 29 May, 2006 11:30 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dan Howard wrote:
That is a fair enough offer. Unfortunately I don't have the finances nor skill to manufacture a carbusrised wrought iron breastplate that would meet my specifications, nor ship it to you from Australia. I would enthusastically offer any help I could to someone a little closer to you who might be willing to take you up on your offer.



Fair enough,

The forge i play at (the one that i make my steel parts for the crossbows i build) is the biggest non commercial forge in the state of texas. The master smith has 35 years experiance and creates period examples of arms and armor from referances in musiems and books (such as the wallace collection)


If you wish, give me the specs on a period breast plate that you would like created, what i will do is create the front of the plate to the specs and we will test it. Again it will be shot at once. I am sure my friend with his 127lb ELB is gonna want a shot at this too, so in hind site firing once at it will actually include a crossbow and the ELB.


Actually its kind of funny, the hilt maker and i were talking this weekend about making a plate and firing on it anyways. It will prove one of two things -

1: the forge makes crossbow proof plates and can use that to sell more

2: I make powerful crossbows and i can use that to sell more bows

I will get intouch with the head smith in lancaster and have him make me the front plate to your specs, feel free to IM those specs to me.

Either way it will be fun Happy



David
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Benjamin H. Abbott




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PostPosted: Wed 31 May, 2006 4:03 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
Tests with original halberds and plate armour conducted in the 1980's in Switzerland showed that a thrust would not go through the breastplate, only minor dents appeared. The only way to actually punch through the armour was to make a full twohanded swing with the hook and even then there's no guarantee that you'd punch through the plate or injure the wearer.


Snook and Waldman report those test results a bit differently. Snook says the halberd failed to cut the helm with the blade, but easily pierced with the beak. He also writes, "Thrusting with the spike produced penetration of the rounded breastplate."

Waldman seems to think test was a low showing for the halberd, and notes that the one used was a lighter, later model.

Quote:
Archers. especially longbowmen, didn't aim at individuals.


Strickland has a whole section on aiming for the face (p. 278-9).
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David Ruff




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PostPosted: Wed 31 May, 2006 9:15 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Benjamin H. Abbott wrote:
Quote:
Tests with original halberds and plate armour conducted in the 1980's in Switzerland showed that a thrust would not go through the breastplate, only minor dents appeared. The only way to actually punch through the armour was to make a full twohanded swing with the hook and even then there's no guarantee that you'd punch through the plate or injure the wearer.


Snook and Waldman report those test results a bit differently. Snook says the halberd failed to cut the helm with the blade, but easily pierced with the beak. He also writes, "Thrusting with the spike produced penetration of the rounded breastplate."

Waldman seems to think test was a low showing for the halberd, and notes that the one used was a lighter, later model.

Quote:
Archers. especially longbowmen, didn't aim at individuals.


Strickland has a whole section on aiming for the face (p. 278-9).



I to have read numerous reports that for the most part archers DID NOT run when they were charged unless the force was overwhelming. Archers would get within 30 yards and aim at weak parts. Legs, joints, neck, face arms. ANYTHING to kill or get the target down. Archers were lightly armored and armed with a side weapon and they knew how to use it. They had no problem turning a charging knight into a pin cushion or harass the horse thus making the horse dump the knight into the fray, and they (archers) operated with eachother not as mindless blanket fire.

Blanket fire was used by longbow to cause panic and loosen up an army at long range. But get an archer within 50 yards and you were gonna feel the fletch of an incoming arrow. Crossbows were NOT used as blanket fire, they were used as direct, point and kill weapons. Thats not to say they were never used as blanket fire, but think about it - a slow weapon, barely out ranges a longbow that fires 6 times the speed. Just would not make sense. They were used to harass guards on turrets, harass seige weapon operators and KILL knights, officers and people of nobility.


Again, my goal is not to start a flame war or fight with any armor maker, but the cold fact is, crossbows pierced armor very effectively at long range and did so with enough effect that knights became targets of opportunity. Crossbows became the weapon of choice that balanced the game of get run down and lanced OR kill a knight before he ran you down and lanced you - all with very little training involved.



David
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Wed 31 May, 2006 9:33 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

David Ruff wrote:
[I to have read numerous reports that for the most part archers DID NOT run when they were charged unless the force was overwhelming. Archers would get within 30 yards and aim at weak parts.

At this range an archer was dropping his bow and preparing for melee. That is the reason why they didn't run. They were an integral part of the infantry. You seem to be relying on very outdated scholarship if you think that all an archer did in a battle was to fire his bow. Beginning at 30 yards, how many shots do you think a crossbowman could fire at a charging target before it reached him?

Quote:
They had no problem turning a charging knight into a pin cushion

Actually they had a lot of trouble. Arrows cannot penetrate plate armour and rarely penetrate mail under battlefield conditions. Please cite a single eyewitness account of an arrow or crossbow bolt penetrating a man's plate armour far enough to kill, or even incapacitate him.

Quote:
or harass the horse thus making the horse dump the knight into the fray,

You have stumbled onto the secret of the longbow's success. The whole point of longbow tactics was to cause the knight to abandon his horse and advance on foot. Once dismounted, a heavily armoured knight stood a very good chance of resisting missile fire.

Quote:
Again, my goal is not to start a flame war or fight with any armor maker, but the cold fact is, crossbows pierced armor very effectively at long range
What are your sources for this? How can you claim this as "fact" when it has already been demonstrated that nothing you have so far tested resembles medieval plate and the tests that have been done against decent replicas contradict your claim.

Again I urge you to read The Knight and the Blast Furnace before continuing this discussion. It is by far the most comprehensive work on this subject.
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David Ruff




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PostPosted: Thu 01 Jun, 2006 12:25 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dan Howard wrote:
David Ruff wrote:
[I to have read numerous reports that for the most part archers DID NOT run when they were charged unless the force was overwhelming. Archers would get within 30 yards and aim at weak parts.

At this range an archer was dropping his bow and preparing for melee. That is the reason why they didn't run. They were an integral part of the infantry. You seem to be relying on very outdated scholarship if you think that all an archer did in a battle was to fire his bow. Beginning at 30 yards, how many shots do you think a crossbowman could fire at a charging target before it reached him?

Quote:
They had no problem turning a charging knight into a pin cushion

Actually they had a lot of trouble. Arrows cannot penetrate plate armour and rarely penetrate mail under battlefield conditions. Please cite a single eyewitness account of an arrow or crossbow bolt penetrating a man's plate armour far enough to kill, or even incapacitate him.

Quote:
or harass the horse thus making the horse dump the knight into the fray,

You have stumbled onto the secret of the longbow's success. The whole point of longbow tactics was to cause the knight to abandon his horse and advance on foot. Once dismounted, a heavily armoured knight stood a very good chance of resisting missile fire.

Quote:
Again, my goal is not to start a flame war or fight with any armor maker, but the cold fact is, crossbows pierced armor very effectively at long range
What are your sources for this? How can you claim this as "fact" when it has already been demonstrated that nothing you have so far tested resembles medieval plate and the tests that have been done against decent replicas contradict your claim.

Again I urge you to read The Knight and the Blast Furnace before continuing this discussion. It is by far the most comprehensive work on this subject.



This is not the case Dan. It is very nieve to say that longbows and crossbows did not penetrate plate armor and had trouble penetrating mail armor under battle field conditions.

I have shot chain mail, first the bolt hits it, knocks open the ring it hits and then blasts thru the chain as if its a cloth shirt. I can only imagine the blunt shock that is trasferred to the wearer of it as the bolt rips into flesh and through the body. The same happens when hit with a longbow. heck we have a picture here on the sight of a chain shirt i think it is that was hit with what was believed to be an arrow - Nice hole!!!! i bet that hurt.

i'm also wondering why more often then not that i run into people that swear up and down armor was not able to be defeated by bows and crossbows. Guess what? it was. Knights feared crossbows and to some extent longbows. In fact they both were not well liked as it was a non-chivalric way of fighting. Crossbows even more so because more knights died to crossbows due to the power.

Knights were to be captured and ransomed back. In about the 1320's to 1350's when crossbows underwent the steel prod and BIG, heavy lathes were created and understood the ability to kill a knight came into its own. With it came a price - very slow to load. As lathe power went up, power increased and armor got thicker. Alittle more power, alittle thicker armor. UNTIL armor became to heavy to be usable. At the same time gunpowder was being used, hence another reason armor got thick. But this was still at the point gunnes blew up. Crossbows were still being used - no blow ups. The germans and swiss revolutionized the crossbow trigger systems into modern day finger triggers and the crossbow became the gun.

But i digress. Armor got holes in it.

Again, our forge plans on doing this plate test as a promotional thing for the crossbows and forge. But i really urge you to put your knowledge of a "proper" plate to the test against one of my period crossbows and period longbows. The plate would be sent back after video/pictures of the results are taken.

For both a war type crossbow and a period type longbow

I will show poundage drawn
I will show period function of the crossbow
I will show tip used and bolt used/made
I will video the plate being fired at and hit.

I mean dan i know it is expensive to ship it to me, but think about it, if your right it will be a mere two dents you have to pound out.

It will be a test piece and will prove you right

It will be an item that was period tested and you could sell it for high dollar.

I am thinking your will not accept the results to a piece made by the forge or by me, even tho we use the books of the wallace collection to make period type pieces to sell. So would it not be in your benefit to work this one out and make it. because quite honestly i will do it if you do not and show the results with the specs and if theres a hole in the armor - im right and there is nothing that anyone can say otherwise.


In closing, i know i am appearing to dare you to make the plate and send it, in some regards i am. Your comment about not being able to penetrate plate is (respectfully) wrong.

If it is cumbersome to do so make a 12" square of a breastplate to the hardness and thickness a crossbow would have faced in the time period you want to test. That will cut costs and lets face it - i do not need a whole breast plate to shoot at.

Or perhaps someone here you trust can make it and send it for testing. I am in no hurry as i am months from completing a heavy build so we have time. but i will say this, once i do the test and i have put a single shot hole through a plate that was made to spec and the video is up, there is no complaining it was sided or wrong ect. So i offer YOU the ability to make the target so you know what was shot is representitive of what a knight would have worn.



David
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PostPosted: Thu 01 Jun, 2006 2:17 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

David Ruff wrote:
I have shot chain mail, first the bolt hits it, knocks open the ring it hits and then blasts thru the chain as if its a cloth shirt. I can only imagine the blunt shock that is trasferred to the wearer of it as the bolt rips into flesh and through the body. The same happens when hit with a longbow. heck we have a picture here on the sight of a chain shirt i think it is that was hit with what was believed to be an arrow - Nice hole!!!! i bet that hurt.

Let me caution you first by saying that calling it "chain" mail is going to generate some raising of the eyebrows to anyone making such claims of knowledge of the subject.

Anyway, I'm curious what mail you used for your tests. While reproductions are always a case of attempted approximation of historical examples, there are very few reproductions of mail that even get close to authentic examples.

I don't think anybody argues that mail or plate can and will get pierced and damaged by impact. I think the argument, when there is one, is about authentic historical armour being damaged in such ways. This is a crucial distinction.

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