- Aug 2014
The only "horrible" armour I've seen has been caused by centuries of rust and decay.
There is quite a bit of textual first source evidence that some arrowheads were hardened or had something done to them that we haven't found many examples of in the archaeological record so I wouldn't be that dismissive though I agree that the bodkin type doesn't make sense as an armour piercer.So you also believe in this fantastical magical disappearing steel that the English had. None of you people can explain why the hardened steel has disappeared from all of your "plate cutters" but can be easily found on extant compact broadheads. Try shooting plate with a hardened Type 16. It is just as good at punching through armour as the Type 10. The Type 10 was used on "byker" arrows. They were designed to harass and gall the enemy at range, which is why they were not "steeled". The Type 16 was used on heavier arrows at short range.
Well Dan, I did go back and re-read your post. I think you are comparing apples and bananas. The type 16's mentioned by David Starley had steel edges welded to the barbs/tip. The heads I'm referring to were case hardened, a much simpler process. The latter could be mass produced, while the former would take a skilled smith longer to produce. Henry V took 1.5 million arrows on the Agincourt campaign. Mark Stretton mentions in 'Secrets of the English War Bow' that the type 10's are the easiest heads to make, taking around 10-15 minutes. By contrast a broadhead is difficult to make. The one he details in the book is admittedly a large swallow tail, but the process is similar. He reckons 45 minutes to properly construct a broadhead. The smaller type 16 may well have taken less time, but add in the steel welding to each head and the times could be similar, or even more disparate, I'm no arrow smith.So you also believe in this fantastical magical disappearing steel that the English had. None of you people can explain why the hardened steel has disappeared from all of your "plate cutters" but can be easily found on extant compact broadheads. Try shooting plate with a hardened Type 16. It is just as good at punching through armour as the Type 10. The Type 10 was used on "byker" arrows. They were designed to harass and gall the enemy at range, which is why they were not "steeled". The Type 16 was used on heavier arrows at short range.
If the plate quality was a "moot point" then why bother to bring it up? Apparently it only becomes a moot point after an ill-considered argument is dismantled with proper evidence.
Go back and read post #34 in this thread.
The Crowd Crush was caused by arrows. Very few arrows killed or injured armored Knights- but on the muddy terrain, they DID bring down horses. Horses were not nearly as well protected as their riders.Very interesting. Tends to confirm the 'crowd crush' theory at Agincourt as opposed to the longbow legend.
Oh? I had understood that Oetzi's bow (3500 BC) is roughly D-section, and pretty sure a number of Germanic and Scandinavian Iron Age bows are as well. Obviously that doesn't mean they have the same draw weights as later English warbows! Just nitpicking!I think we should not become too restrictive on either side. Some remarks:
Bows in the Paleolithic, Mesolithic, Neolithic, Bronze Age and earliest Iron Age were not exactly longbows with the peculiar oval form or the D-form but flatbows...
Sure- armour was not 100% proof against arrows even when it was the fanciest plate available because of the eye slits, visors open to breathe, less armour in certain places, and the horses being overall less armoured. But it would take a relatively lucky shot to incapacitate a well-armoured knight though with 100,000s of arrows loosed I'd guess there were still quite a few lucky shots. Agincourt should be celebrated as much or more for the terrain and conditions and the placement of the archers on the flanks as well the French charging right in. English longbowmen were defeated at other battles that get talked about a lot less when the conditions weren't so perfect as a prepared defensive position and enfilade longbow volleys.I think the heavy and increasing draw weight of the crossbows, recurve bows and self bows in the later medieval period had to do with an arms race. If penetration is no goal at all, there is no need to make bows ever stronger up to the utmost human body restrictions (up to 200 lbs seemingly), or make crossbows cumbersome and slow in case by insane draw weights. I think they wanted to penetrate armor. BTW the armor won the arms race.
So I think arrows were also meant to penetrate armor and humans even if some armor could not be penetrated for several reasons. Contemporary arguments from the 16th c. AD, when one of the big negatives of longbows was given as utter incompetence to pierce through pistol proof armor, would have made no sense if penetration was not one goal in archery. It is equally difficult to understand why sources about the battle of Agincourt mention the fear of French knights that the sides of their helmets and visors could be penetrated by arrows, as weaker parts of the armor, if penetration was of no interest for archers.
The sources about Agincourt are relatively clear that the archers shot for a longer time, during the attack by horse on them and during the advance of the French vanguard by foot (the strongest department), and also during the later melee of the French and English men-at-arms. It is quite probable that they shot volleys on longer distance and took sniping shots at close distance. They were a versatile force.
Actually, it was not the cost, but the weight of the armour that was the problem - as power of gunpowder weapons improved, armour became thicker and thicker. This in turn led to gradual shedding of armour so the protection could be concentrated on more important areas. Eventually, armour was alltogether discarded.We can see the rapid adoption of guns with both longbows and crossbows falling out of the inventories of most European armies rather quickly while armour persisted so it seems the arms race continued as armour benefited from continual improvements in technology until the cost of a suit of armour was made impractical vs the cost of a gun and a ball that could defeat most points on that armour.
|Similar History Discussions||History Forum||Date|
|How were medieval artillery crews and handgonners selected/recruited?||Postclassical History|
|Any ancient/medieval movie in the last decade with decent historical accuracy?||Movies / Television|
|Demolishing the Myth of Medieval European Backwardness||General History|
|The Medieval Ostsiedlung Myth||European History|