Modern Materials/Methods for Medieval Armor and Weapons

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Modern Materials/Methods for Medieval Armor and Weapons

Postby Majin Gojira » 2017-05-17 09:29am

A simple and straight forward question. In order to survive a medieval battle, using only the shapes and forms of that time period as to not to be inconspicuous, how would a person be armed and armoured using modern technology?

Would the layers of plate armour have a kevlar underwear or some other padding?

Would a sword or other weapon have metals woven into it other than steel? Or forged a specific way for maximum efficiency?

What would you do to meet such a challenge?
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Re: Modern Materials/Methods for Medieval Armor and Weapons

Postby Elheru Aran » 2017-05-17 11:04am

Honestly? It's actually pretty hard to improve on what they had achieved by the early 1600's. Check out some of Henry VIII's suits; some of them even have armour covering the *inside* of the joints and even bridging the buttocks area, very difficult joints to cover well...

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The main things we can bring to the table are higher consistency in metallurgy, more refined and precise heat-treatment, and some interesting alloys that they didn't have back then. But frankly, the weak spot here isn't going to be the armour and weapons-- odds are very good that unless you invest ~4-5 years of regular practice in WMA/HEMA, a lot of people you go up against are simply going to be better at fighting than you, and the best armour in the world isn't going to protect you from a dagger through the oculars.
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Re: Modern Materials/Methods for Medieval Armor and Weapons

Postby Zixinus » 2017-05-17 01:00pm

Quite frankly, I'd meet this challenge quite badly no matter what materials you'd pick because I have no substancial martial arts experience.

A simple and straight forward question. In order to survive a medieval battle, using only the shapes and forms of that time period as to not to be inconspicuous, how would a person be armed and armoured using modern technology?


They'd buy period-appropriate armor made with superior metallurgy and materials.

One aspect that modern materials can be superior to is padding. Padding is the first form of armor and the basis on which you put other armor. The cheapest form of armor you can for melee combat was literary a jacket stuffed with straw. You can use modern materials that absorb kinetic energy better, resist cutting forces and are lighter. There are non-newtonian fluids and gels and such that do better job, although at the cost at being unable to absorb cuts.

Would the layers of plate armour have a kevlar underwear or some other padding?


You'd be wearing padding underneath plate to begin with. You always wear padding under hard armor, if the padding itself is not the armor.

Would a sword or other weapon have metals woven into it other than steel? Or forged a specific way for maximum efficiency?


Even in modern times, steel is the best material for swords. There are modern swords that are impressively tough, especially by medieval standards while looking like regular swords.
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Re: Modern Materials/Methods for Medieval Armor and Weapons

Postby Civil War Man » 2017-05-17 01:00pm

Also, since it was mentioned as an example in the OP, there's the fact that materials like kevlar are pretty much garbage at stopping anything that's not a bullet. A kevlar doublet would probably provide about as much protection against swords, arrows, and crossbow bolts as one made out of burlap.

Elheru's point about training also applies to more than just melee fighting. Against, say, an experienced English longbowman, that kevlar vest may as well be made out of tissue paper for all the good it will do protecting you.

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Re: Modern Materials/Methods for Medieval Armor and Weapons

Postby Elheru Aran » 2017-05-17 01:24pm

Right. Like I said, the armour of the times was pretty darn good and did a pretty decent job of protecting against *most* (not ALL) weapons of the time. But it's the person wearing the armour who's responsible for not getting perforated to start with.

A well made, heavily padded wool gambeson, or a linen doublet made with several layers of the heavy, tough period linen are surprisingly tough and durable in their own right... and they often wore those UNDER the actual metal armour! (though there's plenty of evidence that such were worn on their own as well, or with some metal reinforcement)
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Re: Modern Materials/Methods for Medieval Armor and Weapons

Postby Majin Gojira » 2017-05-18 10:14am

Good points all around, I phrased that wrong for the answers I was really looking for. I should have just asked for "What could be done with modern technology to improve on medieval armor/weapons?"

So far, from what I gather, is that we can produce armor and weapons with higher quality steel, and possibly use better padding than wool/straw, perhaos using non-newtonian fluid padding.

Is there anything else that could be done?

What about things to improve the time/effort in putting it on?
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Re: Modern Materials/Methods for Medieval Armor and Weapons

Postby Zixinus » 2017-05-18 10:58am

Late armor used things like screws and latches, again they were very sophisticated. They took time to put on because it was so sophisticated.

Zippers, velcro, streching straps might help, as well as much stronger fibers and stretching/rubber textiles, but they might look odd and you do not want a system where armor is too easy to take apart. You don't want something vital accidentally catching something or bumping against something in the middle of battle de-armor you.
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Re: Modern Materials/Methods for Medieval Armor and Weapons

Postby Formless » 2017-05-18 04:10pm

Zixinus wrote:Late armor used things like screws and latches, again they were very sophisticated. They took time to put on because it was so sophisticated.

Zippers, velcro, streching straps might help, as well as much stronger fibers and stretching/rubber textiles, but they might look odd and you do not want a system where armor is too easy to take apart. You don't want something vital accidentally catching something or bumping against something in the middle of battle de-armor you.

You also don't want it to be obvious to an opponent how to take the armor off, or else they will use that knowledge to defeat or kill you *. We know because there are techniques described in medieval manuals where you do exactly that; for instance, using a dagger to cut the leather straps holding a helmet or facemask on and exposing the throat or eyes to stabbing attacks. Japanese armor had similar exploits, and we hear a lot about how armor (especially in the earlier periods where Samurai were wearing heavy cuirass) would come off during battle as a direct result of sword blows cutting or damaging the attachment points. So velcro is probably out, as its too easy to take off by simply pulling on it; zippers might be fine, but only underneath the breastplate. Damaged zippers can be undone by pulling on them.

As far as modern materials and armor goes, probably the one thing we can do that medieval armorers cannot is make plastic and carbon fiber. These materials would not be any better or worse for making body armor than period materials, but would be good for a shield that is lightweight but strong. The closest equivalent in the medieval world would have been rawhide, and it too was used to make non-wooden shields. However, it was more often probably used as a supplement to wood because of its flexibility. Plastics can flex, but bounce back into shape. I don't think rawhide does that unless its being stretched by the shield's wooden components. A plastic shield doesn't have to be able to bounce war arrows completely to be as useful as a wooden shield (penetrating the shield usually takes the energy out of them and they embed in the shield), but I'm pretty sure that is achievable with the right plastic. In other words, you can basically bring a modern police riot shield back in time and it would work great.

Lastly, firearms were actually introduced in the late medieval period. At the time that your classic gothic plate armor was being worn, field artillery and early matchlocks were already in use and in fact were driving people towards such elaborate armor. It won't stop a cannonball, but it will protect you against canister shot and shrapnel. This is another reason the Japanese ripped off the Portugese's (Renaissance style) plate armor. Matchlock firearms and shot-and-pike tactics taken directly from European battlefields were the rage in Japan in that period. Plate works against bullets whereas chainmail and cuirass does not. But kevlar does indeed work better than either against guns. So depending on what era of history you are in, it couldn't hurt to wear kevlar padding if its a sufficiently dense weave.

* there is a good chance in the medieval period that they would opt to take you hostage if you were rich enough to afford such an expensive suit of plates. In fact, even poorer soldiers were sometimes taken hostage for an appropriate ransom. A dagger against the neck will make most people surrender pretty fast.
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Re: Modern Materials/Methods for Medieval Armor and Weapons

Postby LadyTevar » 2017-05-18 06:05pm


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Re: Modern Materials/Methods for Medieval Armor and Weapons

Postby The Vortex Empire » 2017-05-18 06:32pm

Elheru Aran wrote:and the best armour in the world isn't going to protect you from a dagger through the oculars.

That's one thing we can improve on, since we have strong, transparent polymers to cover the eye gap with.

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Re: Modern Materials/Methods for Medieval Armor and Weapons

Postby madd0ct0r » 2017-05-20 03:05am

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Re: Modern Materials/Methods for Medieval Armor and Weapons

Postby LadyTevar » 2017-05-20 08:43pm

The Vortex Empire wrote:
Elheru Aran wrote:and the best armour in the world isn't going to protect you from a dagger through the oculars.

That's one thing we can improve on, since we have strong, transparent polymers to cover the eye gap with.

The SCA has debated on this for a couple decades, and so far the consensus has been limited to safety glasses for those who need them (such as those with eye problems requiring prescription lenses.

At this time, polymers strong enough to absorb repeated blunt trauma are too expensive for widespread safety testing. You need a polymer that can take not just a straight-on face-thrust, but also not crack or deform from the more common blows to the sides or top of the helm. Face-thrusts in the SCA are deliberately light blows, as we don't want to cause whiplash in the head/neck. Blows to the side, top, and back of the helm are at full calibration. As calibration had a wide range based on the individual (the way they were taught, the local level of "yeah that's good"), what might be a safe polymer in one Kingdom may not be enough in another.

Also, there is the fact that helms are padded to fit a fighter's head with as little 'give' as possible, which is why they use several centimeters of closed-cell foam to pad the helms. This provides a surprising amount of blunt trauma protection, while keeping the helm from wiggling and moving. You don't want your helm strap breaking and your helm spinning sideways on you (which has happened, and a lacerated cheek and nose is not fun).

The safety issue is why polymer shafts for 9ft spears took so long to come to a consensus. They had to break safely, without shattering and sending shards everywhere. They had to flex to prevent blows from being too damaging. There's other things tested but I can't recall what at this point. I do know that it took ten (10) years before polymer spears were finally out of the 'experimental' phase and allowed in all melees. I see any attempts at a polymer face shield permanently installed inside helms taking longer.
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Re: Modern Materials/Methods for Medieval Armor and Weapons

Postby Sea Skimmer » 2017-05-21 07:39pm

Civil War Man wrote:Also, since it was mentioned as an example in the OP, there's the fact that materials like kevlar are pretty much garbage at stopping anything that's not a bullet. A kevlar doublet would probably provide about as much protection against swords, arrows, and crossbow bolts as one made out of burlap.


Kevlar made to stop edged weapons can be very effective, and if you were designing to the purpose then 30 layers of kevlar with one modern layer of modern machine churned out welded chainmail on top would stop everything easily.

Even without being designed to purpose, which is primarily a matter of using a tighter weave, kevlar vests aren't no protection against arrows either. I've seen more then one video where they were stopped outright even from 200lb draw weapons at point blank range, and others were penetration was extremely limited and wouldn't produce a fatal wound.

Seriously if kevlar wasn't going to be useful then people would have never used so much quilted and leather armor in history. The reason modern body armor is not optimal against this sort of threat is in ordered to avoid shattering damage from bullet impacts the weaves are made loose and intended to allow maximum elastic deformation. That can let a very fine pointed arrow through or an icepike, but you add on any kind of strike face like chainmail and that risk functionally goes away, and you can get anti melee tight woven kevlar like products, some modern stab vests already are chainmail kevlar hybrids.

You could also use shear thickening fluid packs for selective added protection, the helmet would absolutely want them. That tech is presently functionally useless against gunfire at the moment, but it can absorb a lot of energy in melee terms.

Modern plate armor meanwhile would have limited advantage over old school plate armor because of the fact that extremely thin metal is not very rigid, no matter how good the steel is. So while modern plate armor could be a fair bit stronger, it would be very hard to make a suit much lighter. The rule of thumb was 3mm for the torso, 2mm for upper limbs and 1mm thick for lower limb armor back in the day, not much to shave down even if you add elaborate spot welded backing stringers ect
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Re: Modern Materials/Methods for Medieval Armor and Weapons

Postby LaCroix » 2017-05-22 10:00am

Active cooling and air supply.

A lot of casualties in fighting occured when the fighter overheated and had to open his visor/take the helmet off in order to avoid blacking out, or actually blacking out during combat (just getting a bit slower is sometimes enough).
Since the armor is pretty much "airtight" in the sense of proper ventilation, apart from a few holes in the facemask and the eye slits, you are sweating buckets and feel the onset of fatique after just a few minutes of fighting in it. People have reported severe signs of exhaustion due to heat buildup, sweating and lack of air within less than 15 minutes. So, in a prolonged battle where your route to retreat and recuperate are blocked, you either have to risk getting stabbed/shot in the face or suffocate.

Putting a backpack active cooling "aircondition" system into the armor (integrate in the backplate), and some tiny rubber hoses cycling cold liquid through the padding layer, and maybe venting fresh air directly into the helmet would make you much more effective in the long term. Even half an hour or an hour of run time (Some Cosplay costumes do have rough versions of such cooling vests built in.) would make a lot of difference in survival.
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Re: Modern Materials/Methods for Medieval Armor and Weapons

Postby Imperial528 » 2017-05-22 11:01am

You could replicate the cooling systems they use in space suits actually, they work quite well and in a much more "airtight" environment. They are basically a form-fitting garment lined with small tubes containing water. Non-space versions of these cool the water just by passing it through an icepack, often small enough to be worn on a belt if you're not using it very long.

Just circulating water between the interior and the exterior would probably go a long way towards cooling even if your ice reservoir melts, since under the armor sweat is nearly useless and your skin can't radiate or convect at all.

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Re: Modern Materials/Methods for Medieval Armor and Weapons

Postby FireNexus » 2017-05-22 12:52pm

Civil War Man wrote:Also, since it was mentioned as an example in the OP, there's the fact that materials like kevlar are pretty much garbage at stopping anything that's not a bullet. A kevlar doublet would probably provide about as much protection against swords, arrows, and crossbow bolts as one made out of burlap.


Would Kevlar under plate armor provide any additional benefit over the plate itself for projectiles like crossbow bolts or arrows? or is the ability to penetrate the plate not really affected by the spreading of force that Kevlar provides?
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Re: Modern Materials/Methods for Medieval Armor and Weapons

Postby Elheru Aran » 2017-05-22 04:22pm

FireNexus wrote:
Civil War Man wrote:Also, since it was mentioned as an example in the OP, there's the fact that materials like kevlar are pretty much garbage at stopping anything that's not a bullet. A kevlar doublet would probably provide about as much protection against swords, arrows, and crossbow bolts as one made out of burlap.


Would Kevlar under plate armor provide any additional benefit over the plate itself for projectiles like crossbow bolts or arrows? or is the ability to penetrate the plate not really affected by the spreading of force that Kevlar provides?


Bolts and arrows penetrating plate armour in a battlefield environment is a subject of some debate, actually. There are plenty of tests where someone has put up a breastplate on a stand and pinged off a few arrows at it; some penetrate, some don't. But it's hardly a very scientific test given that often they use a cheap breastplate from some re-enactor store, or they have it tied down tightly so it's a very static target, they're firing dead on at nearly point blank, whatever... the general consensus seems to be that full plate, at least on the head and the breastplate, would probably deflect nearly all arrows and most crossbow bolts in combat conditions, which is exactly what it was designed to do. If they didn't deflect, either they wouldn't penetrate very far, or they'd be stopped by whatever was inside the armour (gambeson, jack, doublet, pourpoint, whatever).
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Re: Modern Materials/Methods for Medieval Armor and Weapons

Postby LadyTevar » 2017-05-22 06:12pm

The point you're overlooking is while arrows and bolts are penetration damage, the majority of damage is blunt force. Yes, a sword cuts, but there's a lot of torque behind it that adds kinetic force to the swing. Then, you have the footman's preferred weapon, a Mace, which was pure blunt force trauma to wherever it hit.
I havent' seen the pictures in years, but there are examples of breastplates and other large sections of armor with large dents from (probable) mace impact. Another source that I've lost over the years spoke of a archeological dig where a buried warrior was found with a shattered hip, and shards of bone were found imbedded in the rib cage on the opposite side of the body. The conclusion at the time was a blunt force weapon (mace or axe) had hit at a rising angle, and impacted the hipbone with enough force to send the broken shards flying. Death was most likely internal bleeding and shock.

Now, a more modern look: SCA Helms are required to be 10g steel or better. Our swords are unpadded rattan no thicker than 1.5in round. Helms Get Dented On A Regular Basis. Anyone wearing a brand new helm out on a battlefield often finds himself surrounded by fighters who want to be the first to put a dent in the new helm, Just Because. I knew of one gentle who had a dent signed by the Knight who put it there!
I'm getting sidetracked, but the point is even 10g steel can get dented by a simple length of wood/rattan when swung hard enough. The lesser, milder steel of the Medieval period had the same problem. Blunt Trauma causes more damage than a simple cut or penetration.

And LaCroix is right -- Heat Exhaustion can take out an army within an hour. That's why SCA has Waterbeaters and stresses learning the signs of overheating, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke. The waterbearers offer water, Gatorade, pickles, grapes, oranges, and other refreshers, and during the larger melees carry milk jugs to offer drinks during breaks in fighting. In the East, Æthelmearc, and Atlantia, the cry "Drink or we'll sic (mistress) Morwenna on you!" is a potent threat. (Said gentle is damn near Granny Weatherwax when it comes to making sure you're hydrated.)
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Re: Modern Materials/Methods for Medieval Armor and Weapons

Postby Formless » 2017-05-22 07:33pm

130 pound English warbow VS period accurate breastplate:



Breastplate wins. Easily. No dent. The arrow shattered. And there is no way that transferred enough blunt force to even make someone flinch. This is because the armor is designed to deflect the force of the impact away from the wearer in addition to being a solid piece of metal that can't be penetrated. Notice that the arrow bounced upwards. The idea that arrows can penetrate period breastplate is a historian's myth, and sadly, archeologists aren't much better when it comes to weapons either; most just don't have the martial training to fully grasp the mechanics of combat. After all, like I said earlier matchlocks couldn't penetrate breastplates and breastplates continued to be useful even after early flintlocks came into use, so why would an arrow be any more dangerous to a fully armored man in the 15'th century?

The reason longbows were useful for so long is that not everyone could afford that level of protection. To put it mildly. Also, when you are shooting at cavalry the horse's barding can't provide as complete of coverage as armor meant for humans. It would simply weigh too much after a certain point. So you can kill the horse and effect the rider's ability to fight, but the rider will survive. Probably as a hostage.

As for swords, from what I've seen of people testing swords on various metal targets (mostly helmets of varying degrees of historicity), only in early periods could they deliver any significant bludgeoning damage (unless you flipped them around to perform a Mordhau with the hilt, of course). Earlier swords (such as in the Viking age) were more forward balanced, but sometime after the Crusades the swords get more and more balanced towards the hand to facilitate thrust-oriented fencing. The earliest fencing manual (13'th century) uses the point quite heavily, from what I've been told. Its actually surprisingly similar to rapier fencing, but with more options for the cut. It takes more than just force to create a dent in armor, because a slicing action will just push the person away. There are many kinds of cuts in HEMA. You need to deliver the energy in one short, sharp shock if you are going to get the percussive force needed to do bludgeoning damage to armor or bone. So any dents you see in later period armor almost certainly were caused by some other weapon than a sword. A pole-hammer, for instance, or possibly a cannonball depending on the period. Anyone with a brain wouldn't use a sword against plate armor if they could avoid it, anyway.

Sticks should NOT be compared to actual swords on account that they do not have an edge. The edge allows the sword to bite into the armor, so if it dents it will create a crease rather than a round, long dimple. But again, there is no point in doing that (and, of course, in dulling the edge pointlessly). It just won't do enough damage to be worth it in real life or death combat, especially because denting the armor is less likely when it the plate is shaped properly. Again, it is designed to deflect blows to the side as much as to prevent penetration. Most re-enactment armor is not properly made. Proper armor is more than just sheet metal, and there are important variables besides hardness and thickness. Shape and temper are also important. SCA is essentially a sporting activity with safety as a top concern, but safety is achieved by using rattan weapons instead of trusting the armor to protect you like a historical soldier would. NO HEMA expert I've seen suggests that armored knights would hit each other with swords, and quite a few I've seen say the exact opposite. It just doesn't make sense in a historical, non-tournament context.

Sorry if it sounds like I'm shitting on the SCA, but the acronym includes the word "Anachronism" for a reason. Its not meant to be a serious academic pursuit, and the experiences of people in the SCA has to be interpreted with the understanding that it is meant to be entertainment. HEMA is amateur of course, but still more academically focused. And the sources are clear about the ineffectiveness of attacking armor with blows from a sword. Or most weapons, really. Lots of armored combat appears to have ended with a grapple.
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Re: Modern Materials/Methods for Medieval Armor and Weapons

Postby Q99 » 2017-05-22 10:38pm

Even examples of arrow penetrating less-effective armor I've seen would be entirely useless for actually stopping the person. There was a demonstration documentary I watched where they used a press thingy to show power/penetration, and they were getting half an inch, an inch at best (and I suspect that much due to the press meaning no rebound). And that armor isn't flush with the skin, so in short? Not hitting vitals.

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Re: Modern Materials/Methods for Medieval Armor and Weapons

Postby LadyTevar » 2017-05-23 12:59am

Sorry if it sounds like I'm shitting on the SCA, but the acronym includes the word "Anachronism" for a reason. Its not meant to be a serious academic pursuit, and the experiences of people in the SCA has to be interpreted with the understanding that it is meant to be entertainment.
And there you are incorrect. We are not Rennfairs, we are not LARPers. We research, practice, and to the best of our ability imitate and recreate the armor, garments, food, crafts, and sciences, using the most up-to-date archeology we can obtain. We have gentles who have written some of the papers used in more mainstream historical circles. We have one blacksmith who had to register his maker's mark with the Smithsonian because one of his weapons was mis-identified as an actual historical sword.

Now, not all of us are that dedicated -- but if you'd like to check the SCA Page in OT, you will see I posted not just the scroll I was working on, but the manuscript page I was working from. I do not have the skills to make period pigments (some are toxic), but I use the same techniques we have learned by studying their methods and manuscripts. I learned this because I wanted to know how, and no, it's not as fun as you think it is.

As for "Most Reinactment armor is not properly made", yes... we do use plastic where we can, to make it lighter weight, and because we are not using cutting weapons. Helms, however, are made following actual helms of the period, including the curves and angles meant to deflect blows. It is more than just 'sheet metal', it is welded and hammered by blacksmiths who have dedicated themselves to creating not just helms, but also cuirasses and breastplates using the techniques of the period and better steel. Perhaps you might take the time to do some research on SCA helms and armor yourself -- there are several armories online that can answer your questions far better than I.
Or... perhaps you should go to a local SCA event and test out the armor by wearing it.
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Re: Modern Materials/Methods for Medieval Armor and Weapons

Postby Formless » 2017-05-23 02:01am

Care to explain why you would think that sword strikes would be used against plate armor when none of the historical literature backs that up? You are missing the point spectacularly. All of the historical literature says to either hit an opponent with a different weapon, hit the opponent with your pommel, or use half-swording technique to get into the gaps of the armor. The historical masters appear to consider cutting technique a complete waste of time against plate armor.

And for the record, I've seen other SCA members disagree with you about that, at least where the Heavy Armor combat stuff is concerned. The safety rules render it a mockery of real combat. This isn't me disrespecting the organization. But it isn't the most useful source whether you like it or not. Nor do I consider archeologists actual experts on combat, if you were paying attention.
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Re: Modern Materials/Methods for Medieval Armor and Weapons

Postby Formless » 2017-05-23 02:46am

By the way, as long as we're talking about helmets and helmet tests, here is one of the videos I was talking about:



Jump to 3:25 if you want to get straight to the test and skip his critique of the other test by Skallagrim he is replicating. The helmet is 16 gauge, representing a late period Norman style face helm, and the sword is period appropriate. Notice the crease-like dents the sword makes, just like I talked about. Also, notice that the sword, despite being forward weighted like other swords of the period, does not initially damage the coconut he uses as an analogue for a skull. It isn't until he pulls out an ax and continues to hit an already dented part of the helm that he starts to see damage to the gelatin head. And even then, the most significant damage is to the neck and spine, not the skull. Why? Because the helmet has padding underneath. All helmets have padding underneath for this very reason. Again, you needed to hit the same place multiple times to actually cause serious damage to the skull itself, and you need a (less agile) weapon like an axe to accomplish that.

By the way, just for reference Thegn Thrand is a member of the SCA, but the respect I have for him comes from his martial arts background, his constant dialogue with the HEMA community, and tests like these. I don't think I've ever seen him merely cite his experiences within the organization as proof of anything, and occasionally I've seen him mention things he perceives as less than realistic about SCA combat.

But we're getting off topic. I hope this proves my point about metal armor of the time being good at serving its function, though. After all, you have to wonder why anyone bothered wearing it otherwise.
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Re: Modern Materials/Methods for Medieval Armor and Weapons

Postby LaCroix » 2017-05-23 02:45pm

Yes - full plate is pretty much immune against almost anything a knight would encounter on the field. Especially the french knights were known to sometimes protest and ignore orders to attack common foot soldiers, for reason of being 'unchivalrous' to mow them down. The only way to take down a full plate armored fighter is to either use a high-powered impact polearm (polaxe or halberd), and overwhelming numbers, or keeping heim fighting till he keeled over from exhaustion. And even then, most times the man would only be knocked out, not outright dead. Usually, he would then be taken prisoner, because ransom payments were high. Still, the ransom thing was something to prevent people killing knocked out knights, killing them outright due to weapon damage was very rare. The most common reason for them to die was falling from their horse at speed.

Even at Agincourt, a high percentage of the French losses were captured knights that were ordered to be massacred except for a few handful that were especially valuable when the second(third?) attack was threatening to be successful, and Henry feared the prisoners (who are said to at this point alredy outnumbering their captors, so they were at least more than 6000, maybe even more than 9000, depending on English army size.) would try to rejoin the fight. Given the estimated losses, over 50% of the French losses are due to this event. The rest were the 1500 genuese crossbowmen that were in part massacred by the french in outrage at their "cowardice", and thousands who were knocked down and trampled in the dense packed melee, suffocating in the mud in their armor before they could be taken prisoner.

Arrows were pretty much useless gainst plate. Even at Agincourt, the sources say that after having their horses shot from under them - or not bothering with using them after the field became REALLY bad churned up - and walking through the mud towards the English, they almost all the time reached them with almost no losses due to the archers.

Only to arrive there in a state of exhaustion so bad that they were barely able to lift their weapons, anymore, and were clubbed into submission by the pretty much unarmored archers with mallets (used to ram spikes into the ground to prevent cavalry charges) and maces.
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Re: Modern Materials/Methods for Medieval Armor and Weapons

Postby Q99 » 2017-05-23 09:45pm

LaCroix wrote:Yes - full plate is pretty much immune against almost anything a knight would encounter on the field. Especially the french knights were known to sometimes protest and ignore orders to attack common foot soldiers, for reason of being 'unchivalrous' to mow them down. The only way to take down a full plate armored fighter is to either use a high-powered impact polearm (polaxe or halberd), and overwhelming numbers, or keeping heim fighting till he keeled over from exhaustion. And even then, most times the man would only be knocked out, not outright dead.


There's also 'grappling and slip a knife under a joint'. And for impact, maces and such work in addition to polearms, they're good for making dents and concussions.


The best thing to do with a sword is often to turn it around and use the crossguard as a blunt strike, which can be surprisingly effective.


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