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Carl Scholer





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PostPosted: Thu 29 Jun, 2006 1:29 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dan,

Thanks for the info, I did not know that.

David,

I'm not completely sure but I think 1cm (0.4") of linden (lime) wood sandwiched between two glued (preferably an animal glue) layers of 6 oz leather would make a decent approximation of a Viking shield.

Historically, at least in grave finds, there was a lot of variation though with regards to thickness. I'm not sure if the leather would be tanned or rawhide though...
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Thu 29 Jun, 2006 3:17 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Rod Parsons wrote:
Steven H wrote:
Quick math:

Terminal velocity of an arrow is in excess of the speed of sound.


How did you arrive at this conclusion? :-)
Rod.


Speed of sound is around 1050 to 1100 ft per second, as an example a .45 ACP pistol bullet at 230 grains has a normal speed of 850 ft per second. ( Varies from manufacturer to manufacturer, barrel length, and other loads exist like 185 grains at
1050 ft per second. )

In comparison a 7.62 mm Nato rifle load would be approximately 150 grains at 2750 ft per second and a 5.56 mm
( M16 rifle ) 3,300 ft per second muzzle velocity.

An arrow at the speed of sound would be faster than many pistol bullets. Eek! Eek! Something wrong with the math I think.

( Edited: Re-read the post and I now better understand the context, and Steven is right that terminal velocity for an arrow would be over the speed of sound, this doesn't mean that arrows attain this speed when falling back to earth.

The definition of Terminal Velocity is the speed at which drag from the air would exactly balance the pull of gravity and an object falling through the air stops accelerating. For a human body this is around 160 miles an hour and someone falling from a tall building or falling from 30,000 feet won't go any faster than this. Some variables apply, falling with the body strait up and down will have a higher terminal velocity than falling with the body horizontal to the ground as the amount of drag from the air would be greater in the horizontal position. )

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Rod Parsons




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PostPosted: Thu 29 Jun, 2006 3:42 pm    Post subject: Re         Reply with quote

I'm not discussing the math of a hypothetical situation. War shafts do not travel at those velocities, so what is the point of this excursion?
Rod.
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Thu 29 Jun, 2006 3:57 pm    Post subject: Re: Re         Reply with quote

Rod Parsons wrote:
I'm not discussing the math of a hypothetical situation. War shafts do not travel at those velocities, so what is the point of this excursion?
Rod.


I agree, the subject went off on a tangent! I think, at the point we started discussing arrows picking up speed at the top of their arc when they start coming down again. The whole bullet speed thing was my misunderstanding a previous post, and then my explaining the definition of terminal velocity .......... ( I could have deleted the post but I preferred just defining a concept that others might be unfamiliar with. )

By all mean do NOT waste time and reply to this comment and lelts all get back to the main topic. Big Grin Cool

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Rod Parsons




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PostPosted: Thu 29 Jun, 2006 4:14 pm    Post subject: Re: Retained velocity and acceleration.         Reply with quote

I don't have the figures to hand, but it may be that Hardy's estimate of 75% is a little conservative when applied to a heavy shaft descending from it's peak in the trajectory over a long distance.
What little work that has been done so far would seem to indicate that the available force at impact at the long distances is probably greater than was first assumed.
Unfortunately, accuracy at extreme distances is such that most penetration testing is done at short distances, having only an individual target to shoot at.
Historically the target at the longest distances would not be an individual.
Rod.
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Thu 29 Jun, 2006 4:56 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Carl Scholer wrote:
I'm not completely sure but I think 1cm (0.4") of linden (lime) wood sandwiched between two glued (preferably an animal glue) layers of 6 oz leather would make a decent approximation of a Viking shield.

Another very common glue is casein glue, made from milk. The addition of lime can render it waterproof and it had an enormous variety of applications. There is even one recipe for using it to make a "spakle" to patch holes in wood and plate.
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Rod Parsons




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PostPosted: Thu 29 Jun, 2006 5:07 pm    Post subject: Pavise construction         Reply with quote

What do we actually know about pavise construction?
Rod.
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Rod Parsons




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PostPosted: Fri 30 Jun, 2006 4:54 am    Post subject: Re: Warbows, Crossbows, & Shields         Reply with quote

Felix Wang wrote:

Does a warbow easily put an arrow through a 1/4" plank? If it does, why wouldn't archers be much more important than they seem to be in Viking and Anglo-Saxon warfare? If the shield is inadequate, why not carry a heavier shield (or none?)?
.


1/4" of wood is not much of a thickness to penetrate, particularly if the grain orientation favours splitting. Lamination will improve the perfomance, but it seems that the woods employed are selected as much for their low weight as for their resistance to penetration.
A shield of oak, elm or hornbeam would be heavier than lime or poplar, but would I think resist penetration better.

As to use of war bows, part of the reason is cultural. Though use of archery did occur in specific situations, in Bronze Age cultures ownership of arms made from expensive and comparatively rare metals tended to be concentrated in the hands of a very small ruling warrior elite, who placed great importance upon personal prowess in feats of arms.
This ethos carried over into the Iron Age and contributed to the mediaeval chivalric ethos that got the French nobility into so much trouble with the English.
But the bow was often seen as a hunting weapon rather than as an appropriate weapon for a man of honour, even to the extent that large and dangerous game might be taken on foot with a spear rather than with a bow which was often reserved for less dangerous game.

There have always been situations in mass contact where pragmatic use of projectiles was made, but the attitude towards methodical use of such weaponry by the ruling warrior elite cannot be discounted as a factor.
In a culture where it is seen as important that an opponent knows your name and lineage you are less likely to use a projectile weapon when you can come to hand strokes or spears length and such attitudes will have been a factor in the design and use of shields, along with the tactical considerations of the time.
Rod.
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Felix Wang




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PostPosted: Fri 30 Jun, 2006 11:23 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The propensity of wood to split may have been as important as its hardness; and the tendency of the wood to catch any tool in it may have been a factor also. Oak was sometimes used for shields in the Viking era, but softer woods such as lime, poplar, and willow were more common overall.

Archery is not inconsistent with an individualistic warrior ethos. The early samurai behaved very much like warriors you described - individual challenges were called out, stating the name and lineage of the challenger prior to combat - and the primary weapon of the early samurai was the bow on horseback. The great Hindu epics imply a similar attitude, except that they used the bow as a primary weapon while riding a chariot.
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Rod Parsons




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PostPosted: Fri 30 Jun, 2006 12:30 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Felix Wang wrote:

Archery is not inconsistent with an individualistic warrior ethos. The early samurai behaved very much like warriors you described - individual challenges were called out, stating the name and lineage of the challenger prior to combat - and the primary weapon of the early samurai was the bow on horseback. The great Hindu epics imply a similar attitude, except that they used the bow as a primary weapon while riding a chariot.


More so in some cultures than in others. In China archery was culturally embedded amongst the ruling classes from a very early period, being one of the disciplines in examination for the holding of rank and positions of authority.
But not so much as a demonstration of martial skill, but more as a test of conduct and character. This remained true even after the organised tactical use of the crossbow was developed.
Japanese use of the bow mirrors that of China, but from horseback and on foot except that organised military use of the crossbow was not adopted to anything like the same extent
In chariot based warfare bows are shot and spears are thrown since it is not practical to use a sword without dismounting.
In Mediterranean and European cultures the bow was more often seen as a hunting tool, though this did not prevent it's use in warfare, but the pre-eminent weapons of the warrior classes were sword and spear, and the heroic model was most often one that involved hand to hand combat.
Of course there are exceptions of strong archers, but on the whole it is a secondary weapon. Ulysses being one example, in the trial of the suitors in the Odyssey, where they cannot even string his bow.
There are traditions in many cultures of the heavy bow being a test of a warrior's strength, but even here it is often a hunting weapon rather than a primary weapon of war.
In such cultures there is often a key distinction between the kudos earnt by killing at a distance and that pertaining to close combat. Such cultures can also be defined on the whole by smaller warrior elite armies and an emphasis on personal confontation rather than upon the co-ordination of large numbers and overall tactical discipline amongst whole units coming more to the fore.
But this has as much to do with population density, economics and the social structure existing in that time and place.

Rod.
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Carl Scholer





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PostPosted: Fri 30 Jun, 2006 7:17 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

After doing some more reading it looks like rawhide was the preferred shield covering and not tanned leather.

Rod,
Iíve been looking over some of the info on this sight and some of the data provided on museum inventories, mainly just a summaries of what materials were used and the weight. It looks like pavises were made allot like Roman scutums: that is wood sandwiched between two glued layers of canvas. What surprised me here is that based on the weights given pavises have the same density per unit area as scutums. I had always thought that pavises were exceptionally thick and heavy shields that were used more as a mobile wall and not a run of the mill shield. It looks like a pavise would consist of 1.3 cm (1/2Ē) of fir or beach wood with a thick covering of rawhide or canvas soaked in glue.

Any way, most of what I got is from here,
http://www.myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t...p;start=40

When it comes to Anglo-Saxon shields,

Viking and Anglo-Saxon shields were probably adequate in construction and thickness for the bows of their day. When you add together the layers of rawhide and glue the shields hold up pretty well and can halt 50 and possibly 70lbs longbow driven bodkins from penetrating with dead on hits. Against heavier bows the shield should be able to catch the shafts of arrows as they penetrate until you get into the hundred plus draw weight range. Even then it should still do OK when being hit at angles. The shields just were not constructed in an age where powerful crossbows existed and where heavy weighted warbows were (probably) very common.

Also, Iím not sure that you can connect small warrior elite driven armies to a preference for melee weapons over projectile weapons. The Romans, Classical Greeks, Sengoku Japanese, and Swiss armies were all armies which relied heavily on mass formations of spear/sword wielding foot and all of these armies emphasized group effort as appose individual initiative. To contrast Yahi warriors of Papua New Genea and Samurai warriors of earlier centuries fought very ritualized battles primarily with bows. In fact the Japanese switched form relying on the bow when they were fighting ritualized battles in their early history to fighting primarily with spears in later centuries when the battles involved larger numbers of troops and more professional armies.
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David Ruff




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PostPosted: Sat 01 Jul, 2006 12:38 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Rod Parsons wrote:
Felix Wang wrote:

Archery is not inconsistent with an individualistic warrior ethos. The early samurai behaved very much like warriors you described - individual challenges were called out, stating the name and lineage of the challenger prior to combat - and the primary weapon of the early samurai was the bow on horseback. The great Hindu epics imply a similar attitude, except that they used the bow as a primary weapon while riding a chariot.


More so in some cultures than in others. In China archery was culturally embedded amongst the ruling classes from a very early period, being one of the disciplines in examination for the holding of rank and positions of authority.
But not so much as a demonstration of martial skill, but more as a test of conduct and character. This remained true even after the organised tactical use of the crossbow was developed.
Japanese use of the bow mirrors that of China, but from horseback and on foot except that organised military use of the crossbow was not adopted to anything like the same extent
In chariot based warfare bows are shot and spears are thrown since it is not practical to use a sword without dismounting.
In Mediterranean and European cultures the bow was more often seen as a hunting tool, though this did not prevent it's use in warfare, but the pre-eminent weapons of the warrior classes were sword and spear, and the heroic model was most often one that involved hand to hand combat.
Of course there are exceptions of strong archers, but on the whole it is a secondary weapon. Ulysses being one example, in the trial of the suitors in the Odyssey, where they cannot even string his bow.
There are traditions in many cultures of the heavy bow being a test of a warrior's strength, but even here it is often a hunting weapon rather than a primary weapon of war.
In such cultures there is often a key distinction between the kudos earnt by killing at a distance and that pertaining to close combat. Such cultures can also be defined on the whole by smaller warrior elite armies and an emphasis on personal confontation rather than upon the co-ordination of large numbers and overall tactical discipline amongst whole units coming more to the fore.
But this has as much to do with population density, economics and the social structure existing in that time and place.

Rod.


Hey rod, altho not period i got board tonight from working on a target crossbow and took a 3/4" piece of ply and put some heavy lether over it - the leather is the same stuff they use for armor in the SCA - about 1/4" thick, very ridged.

Anyways it took afew shots but i hit one dead on the leather . Blasted through it and into the plywood. The bolt carried on thru leaving a hole in the plywood and leather. The shot was from about 60 yards. The bow was a 450lbs.

By contrast, i shot the same setup with an arrow. The bow is a 107lb longbow. The arrow pentrated both leather and ply but was caught right before the fletch started .

My thought -

The bolt blasted through due to the taper. It hits and widens 4.5" past the start of the tip - it then tapers from 1/2" to 3/8". The arrow on the otherhand is 11/64" thick and doesn't taper. The hole from the bolt seem more dramatic as well as f it got hit harder then the bow. This might be due to the sharp taper wide just past the head. I have no basis, but i would say either would have REALLY messed someone up on the other side. The noise alone from both impacts at 12pm at night was enough to scare me.

David
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Sat 01 Jul, 2006 11:20 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Since this topic is about shields versus missiles one might forget that even if at worse " easily pierced by missiles " shields would still be very useful for defence against hand weapons.

I still wonder about how successful shield walls seemed to be as a defensive formations when it seems that arrows can pierce shields often enough and deep enough that one would not be very arrow proof standing there receiving volley after volley of arrows.

A grim possibility is that part of the shield walls " effectiveness " would be the first two or three ranks of dead bodies would create a shield wall protecting the ones behind. Eek!

But, isn't the shield wall more a Dark Ages or early Medieval tactic that one sees less and less of as plate armour becomes more important and at the same time that crossbows become more powerful. ( And the general use of heavy bows is known to be in use ! Before this we can only guess or argue if the bows were generally as powerful or just a bit lighter in draw. )

The arrow just barely stopped by a shield at the level of the fletching would have been slowed down a lot, so wounding might be prevented by even minimal armour ? As mentioned in previous posts by me or others: So shield + maille / gambison would give different results than using a shield without armour or armour without a shield. The difference just high enough to make our shield wall hard to defeat just with missile volleys ?

Just more questions, I'm not asserting that the above is more than that.

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Rod Parsons




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PostPosted: Sat 01 Jul, 2006 2:13 pm    Post subject: Head and shaft diameters.         Reply with quote

Experience from shooting tests so far does indicate that for better penetration the head should make a breach and the following shaft should, at least for a significant part of it's forward length, if not all of it's length, be smaller in diameter than the greatest width of the head.
Rod.
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Felix Wang




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PostPosted: Sat 01 Jul, 2006 4:40 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jean Thibodeau wrote:
Since this topic is about shields versus missiles one might forget that even if at worse " easily pierced by missiles " shields would still be very useful for defence against hand weapons.

I still wonder about how successful shield walls seemed to be as a defensive formations when it seems that arrows can pierce shields often enough and deep enough that one would not be very arrow proof standing there receiving volley after volley of arrows.

A grim possibility is that part of the shield walls " effectiveness " would be the first two or three ranks of dead bodies would create a shield wall protecting the ones behind. Eek!

But, isn't the shield wall more a Dark Ages or early Medieval tactic that one sees less and less of as plate armour becomes more important and at the same time that crossbows become more powerful. ( And the general use of heavy bows is known to be in use ! Before this we can only guess or argue if the bows were generally as powerful or just a bit lighter in draw. )

The arrow just barely stopped by a shield at the level of the fletching would have been slowed down a lot, so wounding might be prevented by even minimal armour ? As mentioned in previous posts by me or others: So shield + maille / gambison would give different results than using a shield without armour or armour without a shield. The difference just high enough to make our shield wall hard to defeat just with missile volleys ?

Just more questions, I'm not asserting that the above is more than that.


You are quite right, a shield wall is an earlier tactic; but I doubt anyone intended the first ranks of the shield wall to die as part of a battle plan. Confused

One comment about arrows stopped in a shield: I would think that having part of an arrow pointing at you could be distracting while trying to use your shield during a battle. If you were well armoured it wouldn't be much of an issue, but a lot of warriors in the Migration and Viking eras were hardly armoured at all.
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Sat 01 Jul, 2006 4:51 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

If shields were as easily penetrated as implied in this thread then they would not have been the primary defense against missiles for four thousand years. As Felix said, few people were heavily armoured but practically everyone carried a shield. The logical conclusion is that participants in this thread have not been firing at shields that were representative of those used historically. Does anyone actually know of an account in which a man was killed by an arrow that passed through his shield? FWIW I don't know much about medieval shield construction but before I babbled about any test results I would consult someone who WAS an expert to ensure a decent reconstruction was used.
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PostPosted: Sat 01 Jul, 2006 5:27 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
Does anyone actually know of an account in which a man was killed by an arrow that passed through his shield?


Yes. Gerard de Quiersy died from a Turkish arrow that passed through both his shield and armour.
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Sat 01 Jul, 2006 5:38 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks Benjamin.

I don't suppose you could quote the relevant passage?
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Sat 01 Jul, 2006 5:38 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

All I know for sure is that the rawhide on the rim of my kite shield feels rock hard and that a full facing of rawhide might be much harder to pierce than leather.

There may well be some shield making secrets we do not know about ? Would soaking the wood in " something " and / or some sort of " cooking " toughen " the fibre or increase the adhesion of fibers to each other ? If one could increase the split resistance of the wood by a substantial amount a shield should be harder to pierce. How much cutting versus how much splitting of fibres apart letting the shaft through ?

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Derek Estabrook




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PostPosted: Sat 01 Jul, 2006 7:26 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I find it funny that people always assume that archers played such a little part in combat in the "Dark Ages" (Man I hate that term). The Norse Gulathinglaw and Frostathinglaw states that half of the Bondi - non-professional soldiers that constitute the majority of the army- can possess a bow. Obviously it was common enough for them to make a regulation concerning it or else why even do it. They were probably concerned about having too MANY bowmen and not enough men who are otherwise armed. The bow is one of the oldest weapons to exist and to think that just because the Romans lost a majority of their power the skies were no longer blue and that men abandoned common survival items that are necessary for hunting and cheap and easy to make seems pretty dense. The bow is useful in combat whether it can penetrate shields and armor or not. There are many statements in sagas about hails of arrows that blacken out the sun and similar statements. I probably don't need to quote them for a lot of people here know them. Archers have always been hated through history. The thought of facing your opponents head to head only to be killed by a man shooting you from a far distance instead of facing you man to man is pretty galling. Pretty much any culture that has a even balance of infantry to archers has cursed the bow at one time the same as the crossbow was cursed later on, but it is an effective, useful, and quite often necessary part of war. Even the strongest infantry needs a small portion of missle support to prevent a situation where you're penned down and slaughtered, just ask the Spartans and the Swiss. A few return fires to force them to pause, etc. and you can reposition your troops and attempt to break out of the trap. The SCA even tends to hate archers on the field (if you're not one of course) and getting "killed" just means a time out. Think about if it meant your life. Period drawings aren't always the most accurate of sources. You have to sort out the chaff by applying logic to them. Just because it isn't shown does not mean it does not exist. Accuracy wasn't always high on the list of what they tried to replicate. King David did not wear 15th century plate armor in Israel. I sincerely doubt that men were naked under their maille as in the Bayeux Tapestry. First off, skin oils rust and destroy metal and secondly it would be really damn uncomfortable, making you sweat and rubbing your skin awkwardly and probably pinching. Not something I'd like to think of. If you trusted most 15th century paintings you'd think every warrior in the army whole incredibly expensive plate armour and we might even believe it if it wasn't for the fact that the brigandine became a fad among the nobles as well. Archers are the same, nobody wants to think about them unless its impressive and even then it gives credit to the bravery of the infantry facing the storm of arrows. People want to hear about stories of brave warriors in hand to hand combat and see portraits of nobles on horses riding to face the enemy. The archer did not become popular until the English longbowman and I doubt very popular outside England at the time as shown in most accounts. So long story short, archer bad, but enough accounts exist to show they did play a part in Dark Age warfare at least as an important auxiliary.

Sorry to rant off the direct subject, but after hearing over and over again about how the Dark Ages were an ungodly archer less time with barbarians wearing nothing but skins and drinking babies blood (sorry for being overdramatic), I had to make a comment. I personally enjoy the historical significance of this time and it was hardly the return to the Stone Age quite a few people make it out to be.
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