Saturday, December 30, 2006

Armor vs. Muscle

Impact tests:

Williams unless specified otherwise)

Energy to defeat, in Joules:

Arrowhead vs. Buff Leather 30 J
Lance vs. Cuir-boulli 30-20 J
Lance vs. Padding (16 layers linen, 60g for 16 x 21 cm) 50 J
Arrowheads vs:
Modern Mail (mild steel) alone 80 J
Modern Mail & Jack Penetration 100 J
Modern Mail and Tailor's Dummy 100 J (Soar et al)
Modern Mail, Jack Penetration, and 35 mm penetration of Plastilene behind 120 J
15th c. Mail (low carbon steel hardened by quenching) two links broken and jack behind completely penetrated: 120 J
1 mm mild steel plate (perpendicular impact) 55 J for 45mm penetration
1. 5 mm mild steel plate 110 J
2 mm mild steel plate 175 J
1 mm “Victorian wrought iron”: 46 J for 51 mm penetration at 10 m
1.9 mm “Swedish” Wrought Iron 80-75 J

Energy delivered:

Underarm: up to 63 J
Overarm: up to 115 J
(These are maximum values. PSDP testing suggests that a stab resistant vest rated at 43 joules should be able to stop stabs from 96% of the male population. These standards assume typical commercial knife handles. A fighting handle with a well designed guard to prevent slipping might add another 5 J to the effective attack.

English bows:
70 lb bow: 52-55 J (Hardy)
70 lb bow: 46-47 J at 10 m
80 lb bow: 70-83 J (61 J at 50 m)
140 lb bow: 99-104 J (Calculated from Soar et al)

The Mary Rose bows with draw weights estimated by Hardy ranged from 98 to 185 lbs, with the median values 115 -124 lbs. Mark Stretton conducted tests with heavy war arrows suggesting that they had about 80% of point blank penetration against foam targets at 60 yards and 67% at 180 yards. (Soar et al). At longer range penetration of plate would also be adversely affected by more oblique impact.

Olympic level javelin throw: 360 J (Calculated from 30 meters/second)

Armor thickness, from Hardy unless noted
Four bascinets, 1370-1380
Top front: 2.44-4.57 mm
Side or visor snout: 1.27-2.54 mm
Breastplate ca 1400, Churburg 2.6 kg (Williams) This is probably equivalent to an average thickness of about 1.5 mm. The segmented breastplate at Churburg is 2.63 kg but wraps partly around the back, and so would be somewhat thinner. It seems likely that breastplates intended to by worn over habergeons tended to be somewhat thinner than those intended to be worn over arming doublets with mail gussets. The velvet covered breastplate with a skirt of hoops in Munich weighs 4.6 kg (Williams)
Breastplate ca 1470 2.03-2.79 mm
Five Breastplates 1470-1510 1.5-2.5 mm, 2.1 mm median (Williams)
Cuisses 1390 1.78-1.27 mm
Legs and Cuisses 1510 .8-.7 mm, breastplate 1.3 mm (Williams)
The AVANT armor, ca 1440, Glasgow (formerly Churburg 20) 57 lbs (25.9 kg) without tassets, right gardbrace and left gauntlet, a relatively heavy armor for its size and period. Thickness measured by Robert MacPherson:

Gauntlets: 1-1.8 mm
Lower arms, 1.1-1.5 mm, avg. 1.3mm
Upper arms 1.1-1.9 mm, avg. 1.4 mm
Greaves.6-1.55 mm, avg. ca 1mm
Breastplate 2.3-3.2 mm, avg. for center front 2.8 mm

Hardy, Robert Longbow: A Social and Military History New York 1992 ISBN: 0-685-62481-1

Soar, D. H. Hugh, with Joseph Gibbs, Christopher Jury, Mark Stretton Secrets of the English War Bow Yardley, PA 2006 ISBN 1-56416-025-2

Williams, Alan The Knight and the Blast Furnace: A History of the Metallurgy of Armour in the Middle Ages and Early Modern period History of Warfare, 12. Leiden: Brill, 2003 ISBN 90-04-12498-5.

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