Why would heavier lances be more effective?

Oct 2017
110
South Australia
I thought the lance rest on armor was only used for jousting in tournies, not combat armor.
It would seem that's not the case. Makes sense to me, I can't see any reason why they would only use it in tourneys and not on combat armour, it would be just as useful in battle as in a joust. Also, I imagine that only the extremely wealthy would have separate sets of armour for tourneys and battle, less wealthy knights probably only had the one set because armour was ridiculously expensive.
 

aggienation

Ad Honorem
Jul 2016
9,745
USA
It would seem that's not the case. Makes sense to me, I can't see any reason why they would only use it in tourneys and not on combat armour, it would be just as useful in battle as in a joust. Also, I imagine that only the extremely wealthy would have separate sets of armour for tourneys and battle, less wealthy knights probably only had the one set because armour was ridiculously expensive.
What evidence do you have tourney armor was used in battle?
 

Dan Howard

Ad Honorem
Aug 2014
4,762
Australia
I thought the lance rest on armor was only used for jousting in tournies, not combat armor.
Stone doesn't have a clue what he is talking about. He thinks that the "lance rest" was for actually resting the lance, which is bollocks.
It was never called a "lance rest"; its real name was arret, which means to "stop" or "arrest" - it was designed to stop the lance sliding backwards upon impact. Yes they were used in combat; we have examples of brigandines with them attached.
 
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Nemowork

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Jan 2011
8,464
South of the barcodes
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?
Im guessing here but it might be flexibility. If your throwing the weight of an armoured man and horse against a target, the lance point is going to meet the target and be halted. How briefly depends on whether the target is wearing thick clothes, armour and so on.

If the lance is too light, on being stopped by armout it will flex and then either deflect or possibly break. A heavier lance will not flex allowing you to maintain pressure at the point of impact and possibly penetrate.

The point of war lances is to penetrate and kill. the point of tourney lances is explicity NOT to penetrate and kill, in some cases theyre designed to shatter on impact displaying to the crowd that you have made a full force and legitimate hit and scoring points.
 
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Dan Howard

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Aug 2014
4,762
Australia
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.
The rider isn't a rigid immovable object. He acts as a buffer between the horse and the lance. The amount of energy available to the lance is dependent of the strength of the rider.
 
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Tulius

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May 2016
5,891
Portugal
The rider isn't a rigid immovable object. He acts as a buffer between the horse and the lance. The amount of energy available to the lance is dependent of the strength of the rider.
Now that you mention it... it seems obvious. Relevant point.
 
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aggienation

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Jul 2016
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USA
Stone doesn't have a clue what he is talking about. He thinks that the "lance rest" was for actually resting the lance, which is bollocks.
It was never called a "lance rest"; its real name was arret, which means to "stop" or "arrest" - it was designed to stop the lance sliding backwards upon impact. Yes they were used in combat; we have examples of brigandines with them attached.
In the 14th century? That is what the OP mentions too. Wasn't that the early years of plate armor replacing mail?
 

Dan Howard

Ad Honorem
Aug 2014
4,762
Australia
In the 14th century? That is what the OP mentions too. Wasn't that the early years of plate armor replacing mail?
I don't understand the question. The fourteenth century is when the mounted knight lost his place as the preeminent battlefield unit. This is the time when heavy cavalry stopped dominating the battlefield and started to play a supporting role for infantry. Instead of opening the battle with a charge they waited and tried to determine when the charge would have the most decisive effect.

Stone's entire premise is flawed. After the heavier lance was introduced, the knight's effectiveness was diminished, not enhanced. One had nothing to do with the other but Stone apparently wants to try and conflate the two.
 
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