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Arrows vs armour

Discussion in 'Research' started by Aldarion, Oct 6, 2019.

  1. Aldarion

    Aldarion Sage

    You mean embedding magic into armour during the forging process? Then you would still have just the usual pieces of armour, just reinforced.

    Tolkien did something similar to that with Daggers of Westernesse, which was then copied by George Martin for his Valyrian Steel.
  2. Demesnedenoir

    Demesnedenoir Istar

    So many variables, and I never trust tests against mail. I remember some idiots testing “double mail” that was butted... what a waste of time. One of the big problems is that textile armors didn’t survive, so it’s difficult to know exactly what people were wearing beneath. Linothrax recreation has been able to stop arrows with impressive effectiveness from point blank. I hada conversation with a guy years back who spoke of doing tests on leather armor at a museum in Britain, and it was way better than anyone expected. Wish I still had contact with this guy, but alas... A mail/gambeson combo would be formidable as heck. Take the high end double mail and... it’d be hell getting through that stuff.

    Old time breastplates could stop the old time bullets, but the cost was prohibitive. Double mail against an old bullet, with a good gambeson, would be very interesting due to the energy absorption/distribution properties which are similar to some modern body armors.
  3. Aldarion

    Aldarion Sage

    True; although that depends on who is doing the tests and how. Problem is, to my knowledge, even historical sources are kinda inconsistent. Going off the top of my head, Muslim sources state how Crusaders (during Third Crusade IIRC) walked around looking like pincushions with all arrows sticking out of them. On another occasion, a king (English?) had to be put into jousting mail, as battle armour was not sufficient protection from infantry warbows. I interpret that with first example being one of cavalry bows, which tend to be weaker than infantry counterparts: missile cavalry is uniquely suited for such harrassment tactics, whereas the second occasion - taking place aboard a ship - is indication of power of infantry bows.

    However, fact that mail armour was supplemented by shields - first very large shields, which then got progressively smaller - may indicate that early mail at least was not effective against arrows, but that latter riveted mail combined with gambeson may have been "good enough" protection, if inferior to full plate.

    Also, I am not sure mail-gambeson combo was worn often, if at all. Aketon and under-armour padding would naturally be thinner than gambeson which was intended to serve as armour on its own.

    EDIT: Linothorax and leather armour were actually quite good against arrows, problem is that under battlefield conditions they literally fell apart in fairly short order.
  4. Yora

    Yora Maester

    During the crusades we would be dealing mostly with mail over gambesons. An arrow piercing mail would lose a lot of energy, and a gambeson is really effective at stopping stabs. Arrows could easily get stuck in the mail without having fully penetrated the gambeson, or only causing minor nicks to the skin.

    Some centuries later we have full plate armor, were such a thing would be a lot less likely to happen.
  5. Gray-Hand

    Gray-Hand Minstrel

    Although volley fire was often used in battles on the open field, archers were most definitely required to shoot accurately at single targets, particularly during sieges, both on attack and in defence. In general, volley fire is more effective at long range, where the flight time of the shot makes precise aiming at a moving target fairly useless. Individual target selection is more appropriate up close, where making an individual shot count against a close enemy takes priority.

    In terms of whether a full strength pull would be possible after a long march, half rations an a poor nights sleep - yes, easily. This isn’t putting in your 30 practice shots on a Sunday morning with a hangover - this is a battle against an active opponent who will kill you. The adrenaline would make every pull feel light as a feather - although accuracy and stamina would probably suffer.

    In terms of whether the pull weight can be adjusted for a ‘boss fight’ - the answer is yes. If the enemy is wearing weaker armour, you don’t have to draw back the string as far. You can get that a long bowman foraging for, say rabbits wouldn’t bother drawing the full 200 pounds into his shot.
    Sheilawisz and Devor like this.
  6. Yora

    Yora Maester

    Using a longer string would mean that you need to bend the bow less to get both your hands into the position where you can hold it to aim.
  7. AlexK2009

    AlexK2009 Dreamer

    I remember seeing a documentary that showed a crossbow bolt would not penetrate plate on its own but putting a blob of wax on the tip let it sticl long enough to penetrate. I was only a kid at the time so this may have suffered from the research flaws you mention and I am unaware of any mention of putting wax on arrowheads.

    Aldarion likes this.

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