Armored Knight moves better than Modern Soldier

Discussion in 'Research' started by Devor, Nov 24, 2018.

  1. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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  2. skip.knox

    skip.knox Staff Moderator

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    Well, I'd have to know more about that armor, specifically how it compares to actual 16thc armor (that's more or less what's depicted here; 15thc at the earliest). I'm immediately skeptical of anything that just says "medieval" -- a word that covers a thousand years and an entire continent. If the argument specifies place and time, then I'm more inclined to take it seriously.

    The historical record is decidedly mixed. Two examples. One, of the French knight--the Marshall of France, in fact--who, in full (14thc) armor, could leap onto a horse. His name was Boucicaut. The story is reported as an example of his prowess, so we can assume the feat was not common.

    In the other direction, from the same century, we have reports of common soldiers who were able to stab to death French knights who had fallen in the mud and could not get up. That was at Crécy (1346), if memory serves, and at Poitiers (1356) if it doesn't.

    One other issue with that video. Just because this particular person dressed in that particular armor could get through that particular obstacle course more nimbly than that particular soldier wearing that particular equipment doesn't really let us draw conclusions, either about modern or about medieval soldiers.
     
  3. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    While that's definitely true, it's still pretty telling. The image we have of the armor is that it's stiff and slow, but you can see clearly that the person in the armor is moving pretty well. If the point was "armored knights moved faster than modern soldiers," it doesn't make it. But the armor is clearly not the hindrance it's commonly made out to be.

    Of course, I didn't follow up with the video to find out more about the authenticity or dating of the armor or anything.
     
  4. skip.knox

    skip.knox Staff Moderator

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    Still, what are we to make of the reports (Froissart is but one) of knights seriously encumbered on the battlefield? Are the chroniclers wrong?

    In general, all generalizations are false. :) Both positions are reductionist. That knights could barely move in their armor isn't a myth, it's a common misunderstanding. It's a stereotype. Such things are both easy to disprove and impossible to dispel.

    Such are my reactions and responses to the video.
     
  5. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    I wouldn't try to answer that. And I'm sure that armor varied widely even within the same time period. Maybe the knight in the video wasn't wearing enough of the under padding that might have carried the mud and made getting up too difficult for the Frenchmen? Or one knight might have worn an armor that was more show because he was trying to impress and oppress the peasants, and not one that was meant for warfare? There's too many variables and possible circumstances and vagueries. I know that.
     
  6. skip.knox

    skip.knox Staff Moderator

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    I do wish the video had some commentary, especially as to the type of metal used. It does give total weight, which allows a bit of guessing.

    The military historians will know this better than I: were knights still wearing heavy linen padding underneath plate armor? That would add weight and might interfere with mobility.

    I'd love to see someone thwack that fellow with a sharp sword to see how well the armor held up. Even so, I've seen other reports and experiments that show even heavily armored knights could get around pretty well. It makes sense: why would anyone wear armor that was more impediment that protection. Except for show, knights were a pragmatic bunch. Life and death and all that.
     
  7. TheKillerBs

    TheKillerBs Grandmaster

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    I would like to see some testing of full plate harnesses in mud to see how the conditions would affect them. Perhaps the mud gets in the joints of the armour and prevents or stunts movement. Though it must be said that depending on the mud, even completely unburdened people may find themselves struggling to get up after falling in it.
     
  8. Malik

    Malik Shadow Lord

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    The video is correct; it all comes down to distribution of weight. I've run those obstacle courses in full battle rattle, and it sucks.

    I have to wonder how much of the trope about knights falling down and not getting up had to do with the simple fact that falling off a horse can kill your ass under the best of circumstances. Add 50 lbs. of armor to an uncontrolled fall from six feet in the air and it will leave a dent. All it takes is a separated shoulder or a slipped disk, and no way in hell are you getting up under a full combat load and defending yourself hand to hand. Sorry, you're just not, I don't care who you are. I really think this is the genesis of stories about knights rolling on the ground like upended turtles while hordes of toothless mooks killed them with sharp sticks. It was much more likely compound fractures, dislocations, and internal injuries--not the weight of the armor--keeping them down.

    And if an armored warhorse falls on you, holy shit, cancel Christmas. A Percheron decked out for a battlefield weighs the same as a Honda Civic. Nobody's getting up after that.

    The late 16th Century saw the development of specific armor rigs for tilting that, for safety reasons, had fewer articulations; sometimes the plates literally bolted together.

    [​IMG]
    There are images and tales of knights being lifted into their saddles with cranes, and that's likely this. That would have been more a function of the immobility than the weight, though; and still, you didn't wear that stuff into battle.

    (EDIT: Also, has anyone here actually read my books?)
     
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2018
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  9. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    It's second on my reading list right now.
     
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  10. skip.knox

    skip.knox Staff Moderator

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    *raises hand*
     
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  11. Insolent Lad

    Insolent Lad Lore Master

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    We can note that jousting armor from the Hundred Years War period was somewhat heavier than the typical battlefield armor. When one fell down in it, one probably did not get back up. There were degrees between these two and some knights certainly went too heavy in their personal choice of armor for war (especially as it was expensive and they used what they had).
     
  12. Demesnedenoir

    Demesnedenoir Dark Lord

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    With the mud issue... much would depend on the mud! I’ve been stuck in mud I couldn’t pull my foot from (About knee deep) without bending over, sticking my hands in, and untying my boots. Trying to pull them out would create such suction I’d fall over. So, that could be true under the right circumstances, and a soaked field ripped to goo by heavy horse and other combat? Yikes. Armored joints could grab mud like an SOB, and the slick alone could be enough to get you killed while looking like an idiot. Now, if that soil is heavy in bentonite? My guess is you just tacked on a shitload of dead weight that isn’t going to come off without scrubbing, LOL.

    And Malik is dead on with injury from falling. You wouldn’t even have to do your back super bad to screw you long enough for mooks to poke you to death.
     
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  13. Guy

    Guy Grandmaster

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    In addition to injuries, I'm going to throw in exhaustion. A man engaging in hand to hand combat for hours, wearing fifty or sixty pounds of armor, slips and falls, he's going to be slow in getting up.
     
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