Why would heavier lances be more effective?

Oct 2017
79
South Australia
#1
I'm reading John Stone's article "Technology, Society, and the Infantry Revolution of the Fourteenth Century" and in it he states that "developments in the horseman's weapons and armour would play a role in enhancing his battlefield effectiveness. The introduction of a lance rest made it possible to employ a heavier lance"

I'm not sure how a heavier lance would "enhance battlefield effectiveness" though, wouldn't it just be more cumbersome to wield? I'm sure there must be some reason - perhaps the greater force produced by greater mass would be better at penetrating armour?
Were lighter lances prone to breaking after the first impact and heavier lances less likely to do so?

Any ideas on why a heavier lance would be beneficial?
 
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Tulius

Ad Honorem
May 2016
5,118
Portugal
#3
Physics is out of my league, but it is a Physics “thing”. Heavier lances have more mass, which together with the velocity of the horse will give a bigger impact.
 
Oct 2017
79
South Australia
#4
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Oct 2017
79
South Australia
#5
Lances often where made to break on purpose.
I am aware of this, however I'm wondering if in this case they were trying to prevent lances breaking by making them heavier, so that the same lance could be used more than once (that is, if making a lance heavier would indeed make it less likely to break, I dont know if it would or not as I'm just conjecturing here).

Not sure what author means, some cavalry started to use very long lances, that gives pretty obvious advantage.
Sorry what were you unsure of exactly?

Indeed longer lances would give the obvious advantage of greater reach. However, John Stone doesn't mention length at all so I guess what I was wondering was whether a lance that was the same length as another but heavier would give any advantage. Does that clear things up at all?
 
Mar 2014
1,877
Lithuania
#6
No it does not. With lance rider can use his body weight to make heavier blow. He could use heavier armor and get same result plus more protection. Heavy lance means weapon is hard to maneuver, where is advantage in that? Unless heavy in lances could mean long as some kind of idiom.
 
Oct 2017
79
South Australia
#7
Sorry, do you mean my answer does not clear things up, or do you mean heavier lances do not give any advantage?
No it does not. With lance rider can use his body weight to make heavier blow. He could use heavier armor and get same result plus more protection. Heavy lance means weapon is hard to maneuver, where is advantage in that?
Good answer to the idea that maybe lances were made heavier to give a heavier blow, thankyou!
Heavy lance means weapon is hard to maneuver, where is advantage in that?
My thoughts exactly. As I said in my original post "I'm not sure how a heavier lance would "enhance battlefield effectiveness" though, wouldn't it just be more cumbersome to wield?"
Unless heavy in lances could mean long as some kind of idiom.
Not really, as far as I know
 
Mar 2018
655
UK
#8
A longer lance would be heavier, all other things the same. A heavier lance could also be stiffer, which would probably make it better at penetrating armour.
 

Edratman

Ad Honorem
Feb 2009
6,460
Eastern PA
#9
I interpret "heavier" to mean stronger and more difficult to break as opposed to mass added to improve effectiveness. A weapon that is more difficult to break has obvious advantages, but beyond that I've got nothing.
 

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