ARROWS vs ARMOUR – Medieval Myth Busting

ARROWS vs ARMOUR – Medieval Myth Busting

Well this might work too though yeah
that’s why we’re here. Tods Workshop here and today we have
got an extraordinary film for you it is arrows vs. armor Agincourt
myth-busting. This is something that we’ve all wanted to see for a long long
time and we because I’ve got Joe the archer Will the Fletcher and Kevin the
armorer to help out This is a day that I have wanted to do
for so long, so longbows and arrows versus armor. There is so much myth and
legend around the longbow it obscures what happened, so we’re running a series
of tests with the best people in the best equipment that I can find and that
we’ve we put together; they have pulled out all the stops to make the
gear for today. First up we’ve got Joe Gibbs, he shoots a 200 pound longbow
he can do that and it doesn’t put him to hospital and and I quote, “shooting a 160 pound longbow is easy I can do it all day”. I mean the man’s like half machine
you can’t get a different Archer than Joe it has to be Joe. And then we have
Will Sherman from medieval arrows he’s a full time Fletcher and an Arrowsmith and
there are not that many people who are good enough to be able to do that full
time and making a living at it you know the passion and the knowledge that he
has is extraordinary. So again there is for me, no other choice than Will Sherman
to do this. And then of course there’s Kevin Legg from Plessis Armories. He’s the only armorer I know, who doesn’t even own a MIG welder he raises all of his helmets,
all of his work is done in the 14th 15th century way, has a really good
understanding of the subject and that’s not surprising because he does
conservation metalwork as well as armory. He’s an extraordinary armorer, he’s
brilliant. We have no predetermined outcome today
we’re not following a script, as much as you want to know what happens, we want to know what happens as well that’s why we’re here so we are going to do the
tests and what happens is what you’re seeing we’re not going to go back and do
it again until we get the result we want we are learning here hopefully you will
be learning here and we’re all going to take this knowledge area of what happens
with arrows versus armor on to a better level than we have now. Now, when putting the team together to do this I needed people that I could really
believe in; the last member of the team is of course Dr. Toby Capwell is an
author, a museum curator and importantly a practicing jouster and that gives him
an understanding of the armor and the weapons and how they’re worn and how
they were used. So when Tod called me for this when he’s putting this team
together to do this experiment I was really excited by that but I also made
the point that I think we need to be very specific about a particular moment
in history that we’re trying to explore. So we’ve chosen a specific
date because armor changes of course over time so this way we can get a meaningful
set of results, targeting one date and what better date is there than Agincourt 1415. So this is an evidence-based experiment, but what is the evidence
exactly? I mean Agincourt is a good battle to focus on here not only because
it’s really famous and and and very much mythologized but also because there’s a
lot of evidence, I mean we know more about the Battle of Agincourt than most
medieval battles actually we know the battle site, we know more or less what
the numbers were, we know the makeup of the armies we have visual sources of the
time which gives us a sense of what these people looked like and how they
shot. They’re shooting straight, not up in the
air we have then the written accounts there are both eyewitness accounts on
the English side and on the French side and lots of them. And then we have the
material surviving, there’s armor from this period surviving and enough of it
that we can get a good sense of the metallurgy, the construction and the way
its design. One of the reasons i want to do this test today is it’s like we can
take all that evidence we can take our ideas and then we can see what the real
physical world has to say about it. Now we won’t answer all the questions that are
in our minds but we’ll answer some and that’s what today is about. The first
step was to get some chronograph readings to measure the speed and then the
energy of the arrows at different distances. Because at Agincourt we knew
there were flat shooting, but we don’t know what the distance was. So we’re
shooting at 10 meters here which is is clearly too short, but it gives us an
idea of the maximum power of the bow. So those shots we managed to get a
reading for and that’s giving us 123 joules or 91 foot-pounds. The next stage
will be to do it 25 meters because that’s the distance we’re doing the
breast plate tests over and again we managed to get a chronograph reading off
it and that gives us 109 joules or 80 foot pounds. Now unfortunately we did go
for a 50 meter one but we just failed to get it through the window I don’t know
why the the chronology wasn’t working but we will come back to this in a later film.
So we got readings at 10 meters we’ve got readings at 25 unfortunately
it’s too hard a shot for this at 50 to get it in the chrono window. But I mean
look at that. Thats very impressive it’s gone all the way through, it’s still carrying
a punch. Well it is it’s gone through a pretty new straw boss and still 25 mil, an inch, sticking out the back. But it’s not wearing armor yet. So Joe what have you
done to make sure that this weapon is the same thing as what they were
shooting at Agincourt. Visually this is a pretty impressive looking bow I have to
say and it sure looks like the things you see in paintings and manuscripts. The
only bows we have left are the Mary Rose bows, so I’ve been and measured the
Mary Rose bows and made a copy of some of the bows that are on that ship. So
basically in in your physique in the weapon you’ve gone through the process
from childhood that they went through in the 15th century. Yeah, I grew up with a bow shot since I was 14 ,15 ,sort of like a hundred pounds
plus, yeah, and I shoot three, two to three times a week so what’s the draw weight
on this bow? 160 pounds at 30 inches that’s pretty heavy, that’s a lot heavier
than most people will shoot. Yeah it is these days. And is that your maximum
or can you shoot higher? No, I can shoot up to 200 pounds. Okay so if you can shoot a
200-pound bow why aren’t we using that for the test? I feel this is probably an
average weight for medieval period. With a 200-pound bow after six arrows
I’m knackered, can’t shoot a bow but with a 160-pound bow I can shoot all day and I
can shoot accurately. Right yeah and let’s not forget after you shot all
your arrows you still have to be in good enough shape to get your sword out or
your axe or your whatever, and fight hand-to-hand. Yeah exactly you don’t want
to be knackered, you want to still have a bit of energy left so you can yes so you
can do the business. Excellent OK these are the arrows were using for the test I
gotta say just having come in and looked at these for the first time. They’re
really impressive just as objects, but you know we’ve got to replicate the
right conditions as far as we can, so can you just tell us a little bit about what
you’ve done to make us feel confident that these are the same kinds of arrows
that they were shooting at Agincourt. Well the problem we’ve got is that we
haven’t got anything from Agincourt to look at, so all we’ve really got is one
arrow from Westminster Abbey which is about 1403 and the arrows from the Mary
Rose which number about three and a half thousand. The Westminster Abbey arrow is a really tiny arrow there’s no way they were using that for armor penetration, so
all we’ve got to look at are the Mary Rose arrows. They have all, well pretty
much most of them I’ve got a half inch shoulder and they taper to a certain
degree and the half inch shoulder allows you to have a fairly large head. So we do
have archaeological evidence for the heads separately and we can kind of
match that up. Yeah these are from the Museum of London the exact head is a
number 7568 from about 1403, so we’re in that rough area. And some of those heads
that date from the right period would basically fit on the Mary Rose arrows?
Absolutely yeah. That’s a crucial question; the Mary Rose is still
a hundred years later, so you know we have to ask the question how do we
know that the Mary Rose is the same as what Henry the fifths archers are
shooting. But that’s the sort of thing that starts to give us a bit more
confidence. Yeah once you take an actual head and you put on an actual arrow
shaft and it fits and the weight remains usable and shootable, you know you’re in
the right area. And they’re fletched with goose feathers? These are swan. Swan?
Swan primary feathers. Very nice. And they’re they’re bound into a fletching
compound of beeswax, kidney fat and copper verdigris. That goes on first
the feathers go on, bind them on, and then you heat up the whole lot and
that forms this nice encasing of binding and feather. And the heads are made out
of iron? Yes iron. Real wrought iron we’ve got a non-hardened one here and
we’ve got a case-hardened one here. Just to look at the difference. And we’ve got
evidence that sometimes they were hardened and sometimes they weren’t or……
Not really. Is it hard to tell? Yeah, because it’s such a tiny amount of
carbon that goes on the outside, once it’s been in the ground for a few
hundred years that’s gone. But at least we’ve got the comparison and
you know if there’s a drastic difference in performance we can be aware of it. I mean this is not a garden-variety
target shooting arrow, this is heavy. How much do these weigh The whole arrow is
80 grams, the head is about 25 and then the shaft makes up the rest of them. I
mean I’ve been shot with arrows in armor for other experiments, and although they
didn’t penetrate, they hurt and they were a whole lot lighter than this. I mean you
know this is this kinda scary. Yeah they are scary.
So we’ve replicated the weapon and now we’re here on the other end at the the
French Knight being shot at. It’s very, very important that we’re shooting at
something that really closely replicates the reality, so what have we
done to get there? The choice of the armor pieces to copy is fairly limited
and from this period so so what I found is the Churburg 14 breastplate dated at 13
90. We know the carbon content of the
original, we know the thicknesses of the original, the weight and the dimensions.
So I’ve taken all that information and I produced this piece. So the original
breastplate is thicker in this central area here just as mine is here it’s two
and a half millimeters thick in the center, a robust piece of steel right and
then the thickness eases off to the side so at the very sight here we’re
down to one and a half millimeters thick. There’s a number of different things
that are important here we’ve got the shape we got the thickness what about
the steel itself I mean what it what is this supposed to be made out of. Now the
original steel was a lot more varied than our modern homogeneous steel
it had a varied carbon content but the maximum carbon content we had was a
point six percent. Which seems like a really small amount but that’s enough to
make it hard but not brittle. That was the peak so what we’ve done is we’ve
backed off from that slightly and we’ve gone for a point five percent carbon
steel. And you have heat treated it? The original, was air cooled so the whole
piece has been heated and then just allowed to cool naturally which I
suppose in a modern term would be normalizing the steel. So this has gone
through that same process so the hardness of the steel is exactly the
same as the original. What’s underneath? Now underneath this you’re still going
to be wearing a full shirt of maille; now the maille that we’ve reproduced to go
under here is riveted mail. Every single link is riveted together and that will
increase the strength. Beneath that we’ve got our representation here of the
arming doublet which again is layers of fabric. Now arming doublet is the
foundation garment that you wear over just a shirt or even next to the skin.
That’s what supports the whole armor, but it also adds a crucial layer of
padding and protection underneath as well. Well that’s it it’s a sturdy
garment. And then even after all those layers, everything you’re wearing, it’s
still got to go into the human body underneath to make a
difference that the ballistic gel itself yeah if I press you can see it
compresses just as the human body does it’s mounted so it it’ll give. It gives
like a human just like getting shot. It wouldn’t get us anywhere to just bolt
the breastplate solidly to to a target would it? That would have an adverse
effect because it would constrain the force. You need that force to be able to
dissipate just as it would when hitting a person. It’s just moving the person back,
rather than going through them. It’s giving that that inertia. OK, First time shooting at the armor. So
which heads are we shooting now? So these ones are the wrought ones that haven’t
been case-hardened, so you could refer to them as the soft ones. Basically the
easier ones to make. And there’s likelihood is that there were lots of
those around. I think so, I mean we simply don’t know
is the bottom line. Okay well this might work too, though we
don’t know. It might yeah, that’s why we’re here. That’s the sort of one we want to see
what’s happened we should carry on Yeah I think so. Nice. That was full on. That was cool.
That went did he see as well I couldn’t see where but the arrowhead flew. Yeah I
mean the shaft went right but the arrowhead went up somewhere. The noise, its really loud. So first shot through the maille, through the jack, through the body. So it hit the
turned edge and just made a bit of a mark and then skipped down underneath it.
That’s the next hit; there’s a real deep dent there, but it’s then skated off
without without punching through. That’s kind of a weird one though because it
hit really hard but it’s not made a mark. Really it’s just kind of hit at a
steeper angle and skidded off. It does show completely what that V is for
though to try to stop those ricochets coming up because that’s exactly where
that would have gone. I mean it’s doing did its job both of those times.
And so that’s with the soft head, lets go again with the hard.
yes I think what I’ll do though is I’m gonna mark off the soft so that we know.
Just make a mark of what’s what.
So that’s soft number one, here really, soft number two. So that was the
the softer, the wrought-iron heads and we’re gonna have a go now with the
case-hardened wrought-iron. Ok. And just see if they’re extra hardness the hard
jacket just needs to bite a bit more they’re just skating off I wonder if
that will make a difference. We’ll see I mean it should mark the steel better if nothing else, whether it penetrates is a different thing. Whoa! Square you don’t have to worry about
them shooting them back at you. No you’re right because there’s always that myth
about you go and collect them and then you reshoot them back and all that. No. Not if they hit anything. No. Wow So low and left, so I mean that’s absolutely what the curve is there for. It took a
left, absolutely straight left turn didn’t it? Wow. Can see the dent from here. Holy cow. That
was a big one. Well there’s a message in that isn’t there? Blimey, look at that.
So, that was the first. You just feel a little bit, but
there’s a definite mark. It has scored the metal a lot more
than that one did yeah and there’s this one yeah they are biting more.
There’s not enough data yet to really say but it seems like they’re behaving
differently. Yes, well the obvious thing obviously that we haven’t
mentioned is they haven’t gone through. Right there’s that, there is that yes.
Mustn’t forget that. H1, h2, so H for ‘Hard’ and that’s
the central section Kevin was saying that’s 2.5 is that, so that’s somewhere
between 2.5 and let’s say 2 and its done that to it. Wow. I’m think we’re just
going to review the footage see what we can learn from that, see if we can find
the arrow heads. Where’s the rest of them? So, that one’s half disappeared,
heads have completely gone. There’s a crack in…right in there. God, I wasn’t expecting that. it’s like it’s
crumpled and part of its broken this broken again. Yeah well when we look at
the footage it might be that that’s struck something on the way past. Got one. That is interesting, I mean look at the point on that. You know how
steel changes color depending on how hot it gets?
And what color are you seeing on the center of that? Where it is blue. it’s
blue yeah so that’s like 350 centigrade, Idon’t know what that is in Fahrenheit
500 or something. That’s interesting because when musket shooting
tests against armor you can see there’s a there’s an instant of superheating
when there’s contact. Well that’s what that’s what’s happened here, so there’s
enough energy in that strike, that it has heated the the iron so hot it’s turned
blue. how cool is that? Yeah, I don’t know what
to make of that but it’s neat. I don’t know if it matters, but I didn’t think it ever happened. So here we got the first of the arrows which is wrought, unhardened. Just clipped underneath you see that
wobble shockwave got the gel straight through the maille and the jack, just, just
clipped the bottom edge of the breastplate. Ruining somebody’s
day. You see that. It moved back a bit and the wave on the gel went right
up through the chest. So got the second one coming and that,
it’s just a strike right in the edge where the armor is so curved that it’s
deflecting it, which of course, exactly what the armor should be doing. As you can see the arrow hit and then
glance up and it’s hitting that V rib. Guiding it away from what
would be the the throat. There’s still a fair amount of movement in the gel and
that shot too. I mean it definitely knocks our guy back a bit as well. Wow Here we go, case-hardened. Shattered the arrow completely
obviously. Can’t shoot that back at anyone. Did it hit the V though Tod? Lets look at that again……and it just follows it up doesn’t it right over the shoulder. I
mean it does show though the mechanism of lucky shots though doesn’t it? If they’re
not going through the plate, which I think we’ve shown that they’re not.
uh-huh People are getting hurt in another way. Glancing. You saw the arrow
head go actually, I wonder how far? Again you saw the head separate from the shaft
and go spinning off, but the shaft actually stayed in contact and slid
across the surface. Wow, that was good, lets look at that again. It rebounds basically straight off.
Yeah it did, but maybe it’s the case hardening, but it didn’t skate. But also if you look at the amount of movement on that when this strikes I
think that’s moved more than any of the others. So I mean you can see that I guess
from the dent, it really has transferred the energy on that one. Hasn’t gone
through, but wow there’s some force in that. And again you can see the armor
flex, the ripples through the gel, the carriage moving back, it’s all doing what
you’d expect it to do. So Joe, you’re looking at that from the archers
point of view, what you seeing? Looks to me like with that that type of arrowhead hardened or not there’s no way that’s going through that that
breastplate. If you’re out there where you targeting? I would just try and get as many
arrows into him as I can and hopefully one of them will find the soft part of
the whole amor. So volume of arrows frankly. Yes that what I would do.
So Kevin what are you seeing? I’m seeing a really really well-designed
piece of armor. I mean that’s experience that’s put the thickness right in the
center that you need. it’s experience that’s put that V in the
front of it to deflect exactly what we saw in the footage. Perfect design engineering
really. That breastplate is obviously thick at the front and it’s a good quality steel even if it’s not hardened so what about
legs arms. You move out onto the limbs and the armor is half this thickness
that makes it more vulnerable, but the curves are a lot tighter so to get a
square shot is harder there’s another video in there. So again
the volume arrows and I suppose. We’ve killed a few of your arrows today
Will, so what do you make of what you saw? I could just echo what people are saying
we’re looking at something designed to stop arrows and it does exactly what
it’s meant to do. Whether the head could be more case-hardened we
don’t know we can look into that perhaps. It’s going through maille, it’s going
through the flesh, obviously it’s going through textile armor, but that is doing
what it was designed to do. And it’s destroying arrows at the end of
it, you can’t shoot them back at people and they are ruined that’s it. Toby
what are you what are you thinking? Well I’m not surprised because I knew that
the armor was gonna do its job. I think this is this is useful though because
it’s a reminder that we’re dealing with a really complex physical situation.
There’s all kinds of secondary effects going on and I’m amazingly
impressed at how basically all of the arrows just explode. But then you’ve got
all this wood flying around and you’ve got heads flying around and and the
noise. I think this this experiment helps the imagination, as well just trying to
flesh out the real human experience of this, because ultimately that’s what
matters. Looking at that breastplate and the damage that it’s received, I can’t
see the arrows going through that now. It’s not to say they won’t go through
weaker bits of armor, like leg armor or a back plate or something, but I think
we can put to bed ‘do they go through the breastplate?’ Perhaps
occasionally, but generally no. So that brings us to the mechanism of what
happens. How do people get killed? How do people get injured? So, it’s got to
be the lucky shots hasn’t it so it’s got to be; a strap is broken and your arm is
open, or you get one under the armpit. We saw that with the maille and in the
doublet I wonder about the role of the jupon. The English knew about them and
there are depictions of English knights wearing them but it’s it’s it’s not
typical where it is typical in France so there’s this this usefulness in having
more thickly padded textile armour over the plate armor. I mean that’s
that’s a big thing in this period. Well lets go an have a look at that. So here we have a upon that’s been
made by Chrissi Carnie from The Sempster. Again, like everything else, made as authentically as we can. so with the layers of the linen and the cotton
wadding and the silk over. This is a really important part of the test,
because we know that thickly padded textile armors or jupons were a
special French fashion in this period and it was typical for French
Knights to wear these these textile armors in addition to their plates they
didn’t always do it but they tended to. It’s certainly more common in the French
army than it is in the English. So we need to add that to the equation
and nobody’s ever done that before well it it does really strike me as a key
element that they wore them over the plate armor; I know you were saying that
sometimes they wore them under, but you wear it over and it’s gonna
radically change what happens when you impact it with things. As well as swords
and maces and such things it’ll take some of the sting out but I think it
will make a massive difference with the way the arrow strikes as well. Let’s
see. Interesting, looks like you’re right. That it has
absolutely captured it. Absolutely captured it and for once we’ve recovered
an arrowhead as well. Did the head stay in?
I don’t know I think we’ll find out. So I mean that was square on center of the
breast all the other arrows have just exploded. So far no blowing up. Yeah.
Fascinating Wow Now look at that, so this is with the jupon over the breastplate there’s very clearly something quite different
happening, they’re behaving in a completely different way. Should we open it up? The heads again just mangled. What we got here? So those are those two strikes
there. And the other one didn’t make much it didn’t make impression, this is a new scratch there, I think that’s what’s
going on here. Not much but I mean that really did completely
change the characteristics of what happened. but it’s not I mean they’re not deep
dents, they’re not worrying. No not remotely. I mean they’re
shallow compared to this one. The fact that it’s come out its come in
here. Is that this one here? Now that is interesting
because that’s exactly the lucky shot thing that we are talking about. If it
does that through the fabric….so it’s it’s gone, it’s hit the plate, it’s
turned and it’s gone up under, but again that’s heading straight up under
the aventail. I think it has hit that actually because
it’s traveling up at that same angle again, you know if you if you marry it
back up it lines right up with the stop rib it’s right on the stop rib.
The exploding flying debris is very impressive but the the greater risks of
the individual that it’s hitting is the deflection into some other gap of some
part of the arrow. In sword combat in Lance combat, the skating weapon is one
of the paramount risks in armored fighting. I mean certainty it’s gonna
help take some of the spank out of a sword blow or a mace blow but I would
say quite clearly that’s also massively reducing the fragmentation the arrows.
Imagine if you had 40 of those sticking out. I know it’s quite look isn’t it?
Quite the fashion accessory. Souvenirs for Will. So there did appear
to be a bit of a difference between the case-hardened and the uncase-hardened,
but it’s difficult to tell on that so I how did what was the process how
did you K suddenly the heads that we made for this test were forged in
wrought iron and in the half that we case-hardened were heated to 850 Celsius
or 1500 Fahrenheit and then they were quenched in a compound of organic
material like hoof, horn and sugar and that forms a layer of carbon. There’s a
lot of variation in there and a lot of cooking times changed, the level of
carbon that you get on these arrowheads and there’s an awful lot of information
that we need to learn about that. So to try and put that one to bed I’ve got
a modern arrow of Joe’s here so it’s a modern steel case hardened so this is as
good as we can get it. We’ve shortened the range now to 10 meters to give us
everything, the best possible chance of being able to achieve this and we’ll see
what it does. Give it a go Lets have a look Well the arrow didn’t fare any better. Its
clearly made a deeper impact, not by much, but a deeper impact. My take on this is
that the breastplate is maybe about two millimeters thick at that point and
given it our best shot pun intended, with a modern steel case
hardened it’s still not doing it. It doesn’t do anything here, great it
doesn’t go through, but on the thinner areas of the armor like the size of the
legs or something suddenly it might start to make a difference and I think
that’s where we’ve got to go looking. I think what we’re looking at here
is an unanswered question, is does the case hardening really work is it really
worth all those extra man hours and the time and the materials it takes the case
hardened your heads and we need to go away really and have a look at that and
really look into what you can do how far you can take it. The problem
unfortunately that you’ve got, is you can’t go to a book and look at it, it was
never written down. It’s that master and apprentice thing, you do it the way it’s
always been done and you go “oh great” and because of that we have to go away and
we have to do practical testing and see how far we can take it. Wow, what a day
guys I mean this has just been absolutely fantastic to see this and
thank you so much for your input I mean really it’s been great and it’s answered
a lot of questions for me. It’s quite clearly brought up a lot of other
questions that we need to come back an answer; helmets Kevin! So we need we
need to look at that about piercing the breaths and sights of a helmet. Again
with the case hardening but it’s it’s been fantastic this. But really it’s it’s
you guys I hope you’ve enjoyed it too and make sure you comment on it, you know
we like to discuss this we read your comments we try to reply when we can and
we learn from it so it’d be good to see you there. Thank you very much

100 Replies to “ARROWS vs ARMOUR – Medieval Myth Busting”

  1. i can help but notice those arrows braking, also they have not said anything about the wood/material that was used back in those days, personally i think they should have tried different wood or something for the arrows, that arrow stick looks like factory made

  2. Very interesting.I would imagine, though, that this quality and thickness (~ 1/10 of an inch in center)  of  breastplate likely would not have been universally available, as not every armorer knew everybody else's techniques. Thinner steel breastplates, or of inferior quality steel, would not be expected to turn the arrows as readily.I say this, because I recall reading a journal of  a group of Conquistadores in the Amazon , who wrote of an attack by primitive Indians who did not even use  stone arrowheads.These Indians simply fire-hardened their untipped arrows , the projectile ends becoming, essentially,  wedge-shaped, barbless, pointed stick-ends.The journal noted, that while  the stone arrowheads of more advanced tribes would glance off or shatter upon striking the Spanish steel armor, these fire-hardened wedge tips easily passed right through the armor, and into the body of the wearer.It seems likely that such low-powered Indian bows would NOT penetrate  quality armor as the 1390 AD breastplate design  in the test, but they apparently  DID  with the 1500's AD Spanish Breastplates.

  3. Thanks so much for putting this experiment together. It would be interesting to see what the 200 pound bow would have done to the armor. However, I don't think there would be too much of a difference in results. Most likely just a bigger divot in the armor.

  4. In the battle of Agincourt, do we know how many arrows (on average) struck a given breastplate? I'm wondering if repeated arrow strikes caused metal fatigue, allowing some later arrow to actually penetrate.

  5. perhaps it would be linterresting to try with the most advanced arrow and bow we can make today. ie a compound bow with titanium arrows to see if that pierces

  6. I can barely pull back a 50lbs bow so I'm utterly in shock when 160lbs was said. Utterly fascinating video, glad this came up on my recommended videos!

  7. the reason the archers were firing toward mounted knights was not to kill the knights (they're archers, not idiots), it was to kill the horse

  8. Great video. Would love to see shots at upper leg plate armor. Least tightly rounded of the limbs, most surface area, and I'd assume the most implications of penetration.

    And , as you mention, the sides of helmets.

  9. This is a superb video and study and is to be commended. I would only add that it "appears" that the vast majority of English archers were deployed on the left and right of the French, and only a few in the centre. So possibly they knew that the results you obtained were typical, and were attempting to pierce the sides and not the front of the armour, also the largest target is the horse, could it be that they were just trying to disable the horses to allow the footsolders to go in ?

  10. What is this channel? Over million views in couple of weeks? Interesting. As for the myth, I haven't really heard this one. I heard about the bolts and armour.

  11. Definitely explore more into this! Like I heard the archers even tried to aim for weak points in the armor. Like between the plates etc. Also look into possible different heads used on the arrows.

  12. Man, that is what i call a documentary! really cool, really entertaining and great demonstration. I had love to see, when the arrows hit, what was the pressure felt 'inside' the armor. Did the person fall back at impact? Was it possible to be hurt even if the arrow didn'T penetrate the armor from the pressure alone?

    All in all an incredible job.

  13. It looked like the hardened heads did have more punch. And if the plate had a flaw(unlikely as they were masters of their craft) then it may do something. But as they said the limbs have thinner metal but the curve is tighter. Which may lead to the real damage potential is flanked, behind, or hitting the shoulders, lucky head shots or others where the head can puncture through. Flanking I'd see hitting the seam where the two plates meet, the side of legs where the curve isn't as great and so on. I AM curious though on since arrows right now 'can't' go through the steel plate unless the conditions were perfect(weakened plate being hit multiple times in that same spot) but something say the mace or flail could. As I believe the flanged mace would be the better contender for being the one to destroy full plate.

  14. just goes to show you that Lars Anderson knows literally nothing about the history of archery…he thinks a bow with a 20-30 pound draw is going to penetrate Armour like nothing…

  15. Amazing video. People that really know their craft coming together to conduct meaningful tests. Would be cool to one day see a video of a combat dummy fully suited up on a mock horse and have a few volleys shot at it to see what happens.

    Very cool to see that the armor did its job, thank you guys for putting this together!

  16. What myth is being busted?

    Agincourt is historically recorded as the English winning, vastly outnumbered, and their army being compromised of up to 80% archers.

    No one ever said they were mowing them down with arrows alone. It's known that by the time the French reached the English line in full armor after marching hundreds of yards through mud they were too exhausted to fight and the English archers and men-at-arms actually defeated them in melee. It has also been suggested that in the crush of men, some of the French actually suffocated in formation before even getting to the melee (also something known to have actually happened in other battles).

    Cool video, but you're perpetuating the very myth you are busting….

  17. I know that many arrows of that time were made with hardwood shafts for the first 8 inches or so and then lighter soft wood for the rest of the shaft. My understanding was that the hardwood would allow for less breakage and more target penetration. Have you considered trying those?

  18. target the horse only ! not his neck or his legs etc, too hard to hit, plus so many arrows coming in at you that you would've probably been pretty scared and close to panic anyway

  19. Great documentary and experimentation! I think lot of people were looking for this for long time! My only concern is that if I remember well, the longbow english archers used to shot at the sky to involve gravity accelleration on their arrows against armored enemies. Maybe to use that kind of shooting could change the outcome of the experiment?

  20. Arrows aren't going to pierce plate armor, there have been enough tests shown over the years about that. My question is if the impact will do damage to extremities through the armor, after all the person who stated he had been shot before commented that it did hurt. If you have a firing line and put 20 blows like that into a person would the result be like you took 20 punches from a fighter? Especially if its as you are charging and you have your own forward momentum increasing the impact.

  21. After watching the video, I came to the conclusion that it hasn't been properly researched in the methods used in the 15th and 16th century wars. To stop the arrow glancing off the armour, which was the prime function of the armour, archers used a very simple trick to prevent this from happening and to make the arrow stay where it was in order to pierce the armour. If you can make the arrow stay in place for an extremely short length of time, to allow the full force of the arrow head to pierce the armour, the archers used a simple blob of clay on the arrow head. This kept the arrow from skating off the armour just for that fraction of a second to allow the momentum of the arrow to carry forward through the armour, thereby causing maximum damage.

  22. You only shot an arrow straight on, when the body is inert and is still facing the front completely. The experiment did not catalog the side shots where the armor is thinner. Incomplete experiment imo, coming from an enginerd standpoint. You should probably revisit this, because historical documents from both side said there was a piercing — they did penetrate it — likely be due to stress on the armor or in the thin area in the armor itself. Never dismiss myths so easily until you've done all you could to really test the material — I do this for a living so I can not say for certain that this is conclusive evidence.

  23. Regarding the Agincourt reference… we know from studies and reports on the battle the ground was muddy and the attack was unorganized… would it not have made sense to direct your archers at the horses that made the initial charges. Parabolic angles, snout targeting and horse armor would be the next study in which I would be interested. Drop 100 pounds of armor into the mud tied to a man with a horse on top of him or piling the ground and… dagger wielding un armored country bowman become terrifying pretty quickly.

  24. Would have liked to see the experiment continue with the 200lb bow. Also using a crossbow would have been interesting. I am sure that they had them then. A cross bow reaches velocities of over a hundred meters per second. That is twice the velocity of the long bow used.

  25. Cold weather gear over the top of the plate may also be a saving to your neighbor standing next to the you as for as not receiving the shrapnel. For the guard standing on the wall alone ricochets from the arrows hitting him would not matter but on the ground or other defenders might feel the pain.

  26. How many people at Agincourt were actually wearing Armour? Only the lords and other assorted rich folks, the peasantry? Not so much.

  27. I thought that the arrows wouldn't go through. I was thinking that mail armour was still a big thing among lower class people that couldn't afford plate armour. I'm not sure if that was still the case in 1450.

  28. I have to imagine that the unseasoned among those nobles – those who, because of their nobility had plenty of funds to have excellent armor created for them, but not a lot of experience in actual war – must have been horrified when struck with so much force at a distance where they could not even strike back at the English.

  29. I think a 2nd test would be multiple shooter at once as it wasnt just 1 archer versus 1 knight it was a barrage of arrows and more than 1 arrow at a time would happen. It would be interesting to see more shooters

  30. You should send one of those historically-accurate cuirasses to Matt over at Demolition Ranch. That'd be a really interesting thing for him to test modern bullets against–I wonder if he'd defeat it with a .22LR or if it would take a .357 magnum? I wonder what a shotgun slug would do? That's probably the closest there is, in today's world, to a musket. Well, except for actual musket replicas.

  31. If you're going to be wearing armor that heavy you're going to be riding a horse just shoot the horse and let everybody Club the guy to death that's wearing 200 pounds of armor

  32. try using the celtic longbows instead of the english version of it. Those could penetrate the armour of a sherman tank at 100 meters.

    The celtic longbow was a lot longer than the english version and it had to be fired horizontialy not verticly.

    It was the celtic longbows that were at agincourt from the crymru tribe of north wales. The king of france who was actualy german put a bounty on the bow fingers of celtic longbowmen as they wiped out the cream of the french knights.
    To taunt the french into attacking them they stuck up their 2 bow fingers and shouted come get them if u can.
    The king of England was french and a cousin of the french king. It was a civil war as both wanted to unite the 2 kingdoms into 1 kingdom.

    The french were original called franks from frankfurt Germany. The English r a mix of angles from northern germany and saxons also from germany and Normans who were vikings given land in france to stop them raiding paris.
    But it was the celts still in Britain that had the devistating weapons that beat the french knights.
    The celts were using the longbow in pre roman times. No Non celt could even string them let along fire them.

  33. In the olden days of the midevil era some specific knights armor thickness would be different than each other like a kings guards armor would be thick enough to stop an arrow but agile to thrust a hailbird javelin and horse back knights armor would be light for speed and not to harm the horse,
    History was very misleading on this cause every man was different and most had to use the basic armor in the barracks Pluse since their was a hand full of rich knights their armor was customized to their specific needs and wants.

  34. col vid but we also have to consider that at Agincourt not all knights wore armor, because it was expensive and that arrows would 'rain' down instead of being shot linearly to a target.

  35. Some science here, That ballistic gel is absorbing most of the energy. put hardwood behind it and I bet you would see better penetration. Not all of the body is as soft as that gel

  36. Former Army Combat Medic (didn't see any combat, but can speak to the battlefield trauma theory that is taught). ASIDE from the obvious vulnerability of the neck, a huge amount of emphasis is placed on the potential lethality of Inguinal (above femoral into the pelvis) and Axillary (above brachial, into the chest) arterial bleeds. These are the areas not covered by modern body armor, just as they would be the areas not covered by medieval body armor, since the body needs to flex there. Striking these arteries would be a high lethal probability, and was likely one of the leading causes of arrow related fatality in armor wearers. Don't know if those were factored in the "lucky shot" references.

  37. "Imagine if you had 40 of those sticking out of you." You know what, if I see a guy with a sword and 40 arrows sticking out of him coming at me. I'm going the other way.

  38. I am so glad I watched this. Insightful and scary. Imagine all those arrows shoting at you, the noise, the confusion, the debris if you weren't wearing padded armor on top of your breasplate…

  39. That first arrow that went into the maile wouldn't have done anything to the French knight because they wore lower armor as well and the saddle he was on would have taken the shot if mounted, I'm sure some knights caught an arrow through the eye sockets but the actual thing that did them in was getting stuck in the mud during their charge against Henry's forces, once they got stuck the English waded out and literally beat them to death.

  40. Excellent video and a great empirical bit of research. I would make one comment though, and that this was not a 'human' trial, not that I am suggesting you do something so dangerous.
    Personally, I don't think that the arrow didn't get through my armour is enough. Can you imagine how painful it would be to be a human guinea pig for such an experiment, or to be a knight in armour in that bygone age having to sustain a hail of those things, each one a devastating body punch?
    I might not get killed outright thanks to great armour, but those kinds of body blows are very debilitating.

  41. The padding over the plate to avoid errant pieces of the arrow is the same as inserts added to modern ballistic armor especially the steel armor that keep bullet fragments or bullets from ricocheting into unprotected parts of the body or hitting someone else, interesting how the technology from that period is still in use today.

  42. For future tests, it might be interesting to put a sensor in the gel, to see how much force is applied to the body. From the shaking alone, I could Imagine that 10 hits with those arrows could really impact you fighting abillities even if they didn't penetrate.
    Also building a colarbone or ribs into it, might be helpful to see if it is enough for fractures.

  43. Since the armor was destroyed anyway as a beauty piece, it would have been interesting to see how it would fare with a modern, metal bows, etc i believe those could penetrate?

  44. I have a new question. What if your archers aimed diagonally and cross-ways to have a better shot at hitting the thinner sides and armpits and things. Like, if you knew the plate was thicker dead on wouldn't you adapt a strategy like that in order to maximize your damage?

  45. The very first shot – "Yeah, I meant to do that." I don't think making two or more shots is fair. Once the archer would see the results after one shot, he'd be running.

  46. A most fascinating insight into medieval weaponry and armour.
    Makes you wonder about the ways archers would go about gaining the upper-hand against an opponent with breastplate armour.
    Only one I can see is a volley of arrows, hoping to pierce around the shoulders and collarbone.
    Again, most interesting.

  47. I would be very interested in measuring the force that is transferred into then gel/body to see what impact there was to the individual. Where/ how hard would an arrow need to land in the plate to be fatal without penetration? Or, if not fatal, at least debiliating?

  48. So, everything I was taught as a kid from countless history teachers – that arrows could and did pierce armor at over 100 meters – is all a load of bullshit. Thank you for putting this experiment together – loved it.

  49. Maybe that's why archers started shooting knees in Skyrim. "I used to be an adventurer like you, until I took an arrow to the knee."

  50. None of the items are as powerful as they would have been in the past. We simply don’t know how to recreate things exactly.

  51. Oh look, a video WITHOUT drama and it still kept 1.1 million people watching while only 1/8 of those viewers are subscribers, maybe it's time these stupid fucking network shows take notice that this is how historical weapon videos should be made. LOVED IT!

  52. So in summary, even if firearms had never been invented, this armor alone was pretty much the end of the English longbow.

    A friend of mine says that a cranked crossbow could hit a 700+ pound draw weight, which would probably be enough to break this armor, but the longbow had the advantage of range. Which now brings to mind the possibility of archers outside of the defenses, flanking and behind enemy lines, basically sniping.

    "Modern problems require modern solutions" and all!

  53. that looks moore like hunting arowheads then war arowheads,%20footed%20arrows,%20target%20arrows.htm + can you compare quality or your armor with medieval armor ? because historical record say arows win in agincourt

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