Historum - History Forums  

Go Back   Historum - History Forums > Themes in History > Speculative History
Register Forums Blogs Social Groups Mark Forums Read

Speculative History Speculative History Forum - Alternate History, What If Questions, Pseudo History, and anything outside the boundaries of mainstream historical research


Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
Old December 7th, 2011, 06:07 AM   #11
Archivist
 
Joined: Nov 2011
From: Near London, England
Posts: 198
Blog Entries: 1

Surely a soldier would choose (if compelled to) a weapon over armour; so as some have suggested I think cost should be considered a crucial factor in the availability and the nature of an armies armour. It would perhaps in many cases aswell reflect the class of the soldier. Those considered of a higher status would probably have worn heavier armour as they could afford it firstly but also as they considered their lives of greater value and worth than those of the lower peasant class of soldiers.
mesopotamia-man is offline  
Remove Ads
Old December 7th, 2011, 06:34 AM   #12

bluesman's Avatar
Scholar
 
Joined: Jan 2011
From: Boston
Posts: 820
Blog Entries: 1

In China, armies could be huge. Hundreds of thousands, even. Most of these were levies for the majority of the imperial period (I am using that to broadly refer to the Qin-Qing). Sometimes, as in the Ming, there were very professional units within those armies which did, in fact, have effective armor. By and large, however, the average soldier might not even wear armor. It was expensive and they didn't really think preserving the individual soldier was too important. Generals and elite soldiers in China? Yes, they did have armor.

The lamellar and laminar armors used for much of Chinese history were pretty decent for the weapons they were facing, though. Heavy plate armor would have been kind of pointless, and even more expensive.

At least, that is my undergraduate reading of the situation.
bluesman is offline  
Old December 7th, 2011, 06:41 AM   #13
Historian
 
Joined: Jul 2009
Posts: 6,715

Quote:
Originally Posted by DreamWeaver View Post
The development of armour is in response to the advancement of weaponry used by a culture.
The heaviest full armor was encountered at the end of the 16th century, and up to the mid 17th. This coincided with much more effective firearms and their tactical use in Europe.
pikeshot1600 is offline  
Old December 24th, 2011, 04:40 PM   #14
Citizen
 
Joined: Nov 2011
Posts: 36
Here's A Good Answer for Why East Asian Armies Didn't Develop Plate Armour


Quote:
Newbie wanna add few things.

First, the main driving force behind plate armor was not the widespread deployment of the crossbow. The original 13th century crossbow that the church issued an edict against was strong enough to go through mail, but not the combination of mail, leather, padded shirt, and brigandine that was worn near the mid-14th century. There was a study made by the British Armory, IIRC, on how effective bolts were at penetrating the composite armor, that found that the primary effect would have been shock trauma to the knight; the bolt wouldn't penetrate. The major reason behind plate armor was the widespread deployment of pikes. A medieval knight wearing the composite armor would have been protected enough against crossbow bolts, but a pike would still have impaled him, or at least dropped him from his horse. The strange bulging stomach of plate armor was designed to deflect pikes upwards (same reason horse armor had the bow shape), thereby changing the angle at which force is transferred to the knight. This not only protected him from impalement, but also made sure he stayed on his steed. The resulting long pikes were actually meant not to keep the knight at bay but to allow several ranks of pikemen to project their pikes forward, ensuring that the knight would at least be stopped by the wall of pikes. As an added bonus the longer pikes prevented the knight's steed from trampling the pikemen. The horse itself is too often forgotten in these discussions, but anyone who's ever ridden a horse knows how scary it would be to end up under one of these great animals.

Second, the knee-to-knee charge favored by the West was a rarity in the East. Riders in the West relied on the charge; in the East, it was a last resort. Most cavalry east of the Caucasus practiced horse archery, the main tenet of which is to never close with the enemy. In such a situation, powerful crossbow bolts would have been useless against the cavalry as a whole, since they could actually shoot back from about the same distance. Mass archery would have been a greater threat, but mass archery by its very nature was inaccurate. So long as the riders avoided the target area, they would have been okay.

Third, with the exception of pre-Mongol invasion samurai, Eastern horse archers attacked in small groups of three to five at a time, then rotated back to allow the rest of the group to release their arrows in a continuous hail, instead of one huge volley. The traditional mode of samurai warfare is actually a perfect, albeit also perfectly extreme, example of the advantage of this tactic. In that style, a single man would charge at the enemy line, give a detailed description of his reputation and family history, then release his arrow and start riding back. The whole enemy line would respond by either sending their own champion to take him out or release a volley of arrows at him. It must be noted that the majority of samurai survived the latter, showing the inherent ineffectiveness of massed archery against cavalry attacking in sparse formation. Of course, the traditional Samurai warrior was a special (and rather moronic) example, but it does illustrate the point.

Fourth, getting back to the samurai, his traditional mode of combat illustrates another point. After releasing an arrow, he would start riding back. If an opposing samurai decided to take his head, he would have to give chase. This is the important distinction. Cavalry battles in the East were fought as chases, not charges. One side would retreat to an advantageous position, the other would try to prevent him from getting there. As a result, Eastern cavalry preferred the use of polearms over lances. The latter was optimized for charges and thrusts, which only worked if the opponent would actually stand still to be charged (or is charging back, as in a joust), the former could do many more things, not the least useful of which was to drag the opposing rider off his horse. Even mounted spearfighting in the East, as illustrated by Chinese and Korean manuals on the art, never relied on the lance thrust, preferring instead the use of stabs and quarterstaff-style pushes. The primary weakness of this tactic is the reliance on the user's arm for penetration power, very much inferior to the Western knight's charge momentum, combining the weight of man and horse on a single point at the tip of the lance. A horse archer simply never needed to charge, unless badly cornered.

In conclusion, the Chinese never developed plate armor simply because their cavalry never needed it. People who almost never charged never needed armor optimized for charging. Since the cavalry didn't get plate, there was no way lowly infantry would've been issued any, and by the time they did need any, muskets had ruled the battlefield.

As an aside, Qing musketeers operated in rigid formations too. And this was before Europeans introduced their style of warfare to China. The reason behind musket formations had nothing to do with the philosophy of violence. The majority of musketeers in many armies before the 19th century were never actually taught to aim. To teach soldiers to use firearms effectively, you had to issue them gunpowder for training. Well, pound-for-pound, gunpowder used to be more expensive than the muskets themselves, so with the exception of elite troops armies only had the amount of gunpowder they needed to fight. To compensate, they needed barrages by tight formations against similarly tight formations. Battles in that era were not between soldiers shooting at each other, they were between officers directing barrages at each other's formations.
I found the above gem of information from the following link
Why didn't China ever 'invent' plate armor? - China History Forum, Chinese History Forum - Page 3
I hope you guys enjoy this delicious food for thought :-)
SuperMario65 is offline  
Old December 31st, 2011, 08:54 PM   #15

Landsknecht's Avatar
Archivist
 
Joined: Dec 2011
From: Texas
Posts: 160

Quote:
Originally Posted by SuperMario65 View Post
I found the above gem of information from the following link
Why didn't China ever 'invent' plate armor? - China History Forum, Chinese History Forum - Page 3
I hope you guys enjoy this delicious food for thought :-)
There is a lot of truth about that but still has some gaps to cover.
The thing is that Europe was in a consently in a arms race with each other as well as outsiders and Europe had an arms industry which came with the military industrial complex sence the fall of Rome. Also the fact that Europe encounterd many different cultures and was more willing to learn from them. This led to computation that is unmatched anywere else in the world. This is how such arms &armor was made.


Quote:
Originally Posted by bluesman;84720[LIST=1
[/LIST]2]In China, armies could be huge. Hundreds of thousands, even. Most of these were levies for the majority of the imperial period (I am using that to broadly refer to the Qin-Qing). Sometimes, as in the Ming, there were very professional units within those armies which did, in fact, have effective armor. By and large, however, the average soldier might not even wear armor. It was expensive and they didn't really think preserving the individual soldier was too important. Generals and elite soldiers in China? Yes, they did have armor.

The lamellar and laminar armors used for much of Chinese history were pretty decent for the weapons they were facing, though. Heavy plate armor would have been kind of pointless, and even more expensive.

At least, that is my undergraduate reading of the situation.
Well the thing is that some European armies at thos time could have an army that soze...

Quote:
Originally Posted by mesopotamia-man View Post
Interesting.
Just an idea, maybe Europeans had a greater fear of and desire to avoid death during battle?!
Wheras for Eastern cultures it was perhaps more of an honourable and acceptable thing to die in battle.

So my suggestion is that perhaps the west armoured up more that the east as a consequence cultural customs and sentiments? Obviously it would implicate a lot deeper than I have suggested.
I would not say a greater fear because you had men like the Teutonic Knights that were fearless, it was just more of a negitive thing when you loose trianed troops that you invested in...
Landsknecht is offline  
Old January 1st, 2012, 12:34 AM   #16
Archivist
 
Joined: Dec 2010
From: Southwest U.S.
Posts: 247

Could it also be dependent on the size of the horses? I remember reading that Alexander the Great found that horses became smaller as he headed East. Maybe, the horses in the East would not be able to support a knight in metal armor?
histobuffkg70 is offline  
Old January 1st, 2012, 09:37 AM   #17

purakjelia's Avatar
Historian
 
Joined: Dec 2011
Posts: 2,073

It's probably because that Eastern lamellar armors and laminar armors are easier to mass produce, and they are also much cheaper compared to Western heavy plate armor.

However, East Asian civilizations did have heavy lamellar armors. For example, the Chinese Suong Dynasty used heavy infantry to counter Jurchen and Mongol cavalry. The Suong Dynasty's heavy infantry was probably the most heavily armored infantry in East Asian history. According to ancient Chinese records, their lamellar armor weighed around 30 kg.
purakjelia is offline  
Old January 1st, 2012, 11:03 AM   #18

Frank81's Avatar
Guanarteme
 
Joined: Feb 2010
From: Canary Islands-Spain
Posts: 2,580

Quote:
Originally Posted by SuperMario65 View Post
I found the above gem of information from the following link
Why didn't China ever 'invent' plate armor? - China History Forum, Chinese History Forum - Page 3
I hope you guys enjoy this delicious food for thought :-)

An interesting hypothesis, though incorrect in my opinion. The general adoption of the pike took place after 1400, and even 1500. In Iberia for example the pike was unknown by late 15th century, and was adopted after looking the Swiss in Italy during the 90's of that century. However, plate armour was widely used.

Polearms became very popular after 1300, again, in response to the increasing quality of armour. It was the wide used of crossbows during 12-13th centuries which resulted in the increased need of armours that could deflect projectiles. The coat of plates become popular during the 13th century, and some years later the full plate armour appeared.


Quote:
The original 13th century crossbow that the church issued an edict against was strong enough to go through mail, but not the combination of mail, leather, padded shirt, and brigandine that was worn near the mid-14th century.

They can't compare crossbows of 13th century with armours of 14th, since both armour and crossbow were involved in a hard race. The armour of the 14th century was effective against early crossbows, of course, they born because the danger of such crossbows. But the weapon got more powerful characteristics and could overcome such armour improvement.

Last edited by Frank81; January 1st, 2012 at 11:16 AM.
Frank81 is offline  
Old January 1st, 2012, 12:12 PM   #19

HackneyedScribe's Avatar
Historian
 
Joined: Feb 2011
Posts: 2,271

The answer to the question "why didn't the East adopt plate" isn't the same as "why didn't the East adopt heavy armor". The first is a valid question, the second is not as the East did adopt heavy armor that rivaled plate (the 步人甲 weighs about 30 kg, which in terms of weight is heavier than most full plate armor). For example, here is a Song painting of their cavalry:

Click the image to open in full size.

Besides the face/hands, they are armored from head to toe. The question of why they didn't adopt full plate armor is a more valid and interesting question, in which there could be much more than just one answer. My own reasoning is that (possibly excluding Japan) the government supplied the armor, so that they needed a one-type-fits-all design. Combined with a lack of a knight class, the absence of plate armor shouldn't be too surprising.
HackneyedScribe is offline  
Old January 1st, 2012, 12:39 PM   #20

purakjelia's Avatar
Historian
 
Joined: Dec 2011
Posts: 2,073

Quote:
Originally Posted by HackneyedScribe View Post
The answer to the question "why didn't the East adopt plate" isn't the same as "why didn't the East adopt heavy armor". The first is a valid question, the second is not as the East did adopt heavy armor that rivaled plate (the 步人甲 weighs about 30 kg, which in terms of weight is heavier than most full plate armor). For example, here is a Song painting of their cavalry:

Click the image to open in full size.

Besides the face/hands, they are armored from head to toe. The question of why they didn't adopt full plate armor is a more valid and interesting question, in which there could be much more than just one answer. My own reasoning is that (possibly excluding Japan) the government supplied the armor, so that they needed a one-type-fits-all design. Combined with a lack of a knight class, the absence of plate armor shouldn't be too surprising.
Here is a Suong Dynasty painting of heavy calvary. We could see that the Suong soldiers had a variety of polearms and they were well armored. Suong Dynasty had heavy lamellar armors called "步人甲". Ancient Chinese armies had heavy armors, but they didn't have heavy plate armors.

Click the image to open in full size.
purakjelia is offline  
Reply

  Historum > Themes in History > Speculative History

Tags
armour, develop, east, heavy, plate or fullbody, west


Thread Tools
Display Modes


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
East/West historiography Clendor General History 6 July 26th, 2011 08:26 PM
East vs. West Salah Philosophy, Political Science, and Sociology 16 July 2nd, 2011 09:31 AM
Modernity & West vs.East niemand History Help 1 May 25th, 2011 03:35 PM
Asia vs West vs Middle East Jebusrocks War and Military History 13 March 31st, 2010 09:00 PM
Plate Armour and support elements Chookie Medieval and Byzantine History 4 May 15th, 2008 11:07 PM

Copyright © 2006-2013 Historum. All rights reserved.