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 thoughts on “ARROWS vs ARMOUR – Medieval Myth Busting

  1. This is a very well done video. I look forward to you cover topics such as this in the future. As a possible video idea, I've always wondered how modern bows/crossbows would stack up against their medieval counterparts and armor. Maybe you could do a video exploring the advances made to these weapons in modern time and, to demonstrate said advances, pit both the ancient and modern version through trial runs

  2. Not every arrow is European style. The Parthian arrows could Pierce the Roman shields,let alone the armor. The Parthian arrow head was serrated(not diamond shaped) and the arrow shaft was made of salt cedar wood strengthed by fire and some wire.also the bow was compound of wood and metal,very long and powerful.the arrow itself was longer than European arrows. The Parthian Shot( or erroneously,the parting shot) has been named after this weapon and technic.

  3. very interesting video. I wonder what difference it would have made if the armor was moving toward the archer at a trot, canter or charge speed? Shooting the horse would have been a tactic. I wonder if the barding was thinner or thicker than the knight's.

  4. Thank you for your effort in educating others. Also, what a great joining of the best of the best! Time well spent watching!

  5. It was the mainly tactics the English had developed to maximize the longbow IN BATTLE that counted as much as the weapon itself surely! There were of course 1000's of men in these battles (Crecy, Agincourt etc). In all of those battles the English Archers had prepared the ground with stakes in front of themselves and deployed to fire into the FLANK of the enemy horsemen who preferred to attack the English foot knights in the bottom of the V. The English line being a long CHEVRON formation (think VVVVV), the archers fired diagonally (flanking) into the enemy ranks rather than at the man directly in front on themselves.

    In these tests the front 2.5mm plate of a chest plate cannot be penetrated at 25 meters….but probably the side Armour that is just 1mm would have been with an archer more to the side. Such a test would be more historically accurate for how the English Longbow was deployed on these pre-prepared and stacked out battlefields; causing 1000's of casualties among the French.

  6. I kind of wonder what a hornbow of the Qing era would do with the same draw weight. As far as I know those were optimized for shooting very heavy arrows at moderate speeds and I could see these bows effectively having more kinetic energy for the poundage. That being said this is a wonderful video and something I have been waiting for for a LONG time! Thank you guys 🙂

  7. That was brilliant. Just been reading John Keegan's The Face of Battle and a lot of this resonates with his ground-breaking work. He suggested that few French men-at-arms suffered mortal wounds from either arrows or hand-weapons whilst they were on their feet, but that many died once they had tripped or slipped and couldn't properly protect themselves from archers cutting straps and stabbing them in their least armoured areas. Have to think what the psychological effect would be of taking shots, even those that bounced off. The impacts seem impressive, even if they don't penetrate.

  8. just imagine 500, 1000, maybe 8000 archers fireing in volly… thats whats missed, if 1 arrow in 100 hits a soft spot or a horse then the knight falls.

  9. So interesting to see just how much damage a solid hit did.
    Imagine being in combat with those monster arrows hitting you every couple of seconds. You'd have to very confident of your armour to even try attacking.

  10. Numbers kills…..Imagine 40.000 knights attacking through a point where there's only room for 100. Then add 10.000 archers each firing 8-10 arrows a minute…..That's 80.000 to 100.000 arrows raining down on you each minute…your breastplate and helmet is ok. But your arms, your legs and most important….your horse isn't safe from that storm of English arrows. I remember watching a program about the battle and they timed the seconds for 1 horse to travel from the point where the English would fire upon the french. 11 seconds isn't much…but it would mean that you had to evade the 15.000 arrows traveling towards you. You can compare it to the British attacking the German machine guns in WW1. Doesn't really matter how many you are and how well protected you are on vital spots of your body. All that matters is the amount of flying death coming against you.

  11. Fantastic!! If the archers are shooting in an extended line, why the assumption that they shoot straight on? Maybe their experience taught them to shoot at their opponents to the right or left.

  12. Shoot magnesium arrows there interesting but there's not a whole lot of research on them, they are very deadly

  13. Thank you for the video! Any plans on making an update in the future? Looking forward to seeing you conducting more experiments, how about crossbows for the next edition!?! Aloha from Hawaii ;D

  14. It would be interesting to do the tests on back plates etc….One particular mediavel illustration seems to focus on arrows piercing the back armour…..l always wondered if the archers knew where the thinner plates where . I also had a thought that the timber steaks placed in front of the archers caused many knights to turn back ….this perhaps was when the arrows piercing armour plate happened……Shot in the back….. literally.

  15. I have been watching documentary-style programming since the early 1970s, and it has been a LONG time since I watched a program that simply documented something, without adding in drama to boost ratings.
    Well done, gentlemen. Thank you for this video.

  16. aren`t there chained segments to wear aswell? those should be cool to wear too… did you already upload a how to make your own bow and arrows tutorial (like original bows from the medieval and comparing bows from todays)?

  17. Probably you had horses killed at 100m distance and knights had to walk through mud. Things must have been frantic at 5-10m distance, archers shooting at unhorsed knights across defensive ditch, trying to hit weaker spots in armor.

  18. This all comes down to.. Not everyone was given equal or maybe in some cases, ANY armour. Those poor souls would have faired far worse in the event of a barrage of arrows. Then, later on, crossbows were invented and armour did a lot less to help.

  19. Hey this was pretty cool, actually watched it until the end. My only critique is I wish that they invite the fletcher, armorer, and archer to join in conversation as they were testing instead of just during the review footage – not as a gripe but just feels like it would give a faster pacing/feel to the format.

    Overall this was analytical, thorough, and enjoyable. Thanks!

  20. What kind of wood was used? Because that might help make it fly quicker or hit with a harder punch. And making sure the wood was native to England or places it owned.

  21. I think even though it didn't penetrate the armor… The impact alone would be enough to incapacitate a person wearing it… Just look at the way ballistic gel moves… I think it might even break some ribs if the shot was strong enough.

  22. This is why the combat in movies like Lord of the Rings are so painful to watch. The armor exists purely for looks… unless it's critical to the story that the armor saves the hero. Haven't these moviemakers ever heard of armor class?

  23. Fascinating study and well researched but I found this video of a guy called Lars who has researched Saxon techniques and believes we dont practice archery they the did back then. Assuming its not fake 🙂 he shows shooting more quickly and from very close range which may affect your test.

  24. What about a large volley of arrows shot at distance in a parabolic arc at say 100 meters? with the aid of gravity, would that increase lethality? That'd the picture I always thought was the norm. I imagined the archer shot the arrows as far from the enemy as practical and when the knights advanced, he drew his hand weapon or ran away. The percussive force looks like it might disable the knight from a big bruise or ruptured flesh. Did you look at the ballistic gel for fracture?

  25. Forgive me , but i beleived at the battle of againcourt the french knights were defeated not because of armour penetration but by straight close ranged shooting at slow-moving non armoured horses being ridden in bog

  26. Wonderful to see you guys actually doing it than talking about it like most youtube videos. I did have a question (and maybe it's because I'm late to this party :-)) – don't you think an armoured warrior would seldom face-off archers. I as an archer would always like to flank em. How that would make a difference is that the area around the solar plexus has been thickened but what about the area over the fellow's appendix. That armour would be thinner and when being flanked that would be a perpendicular surface instead of the oblique surface so maybe that was where the arrow would go through. Either way you're the experts, mine's just a suggestion, food for thought if I may call it that. If you do try out the flank shot lemme know 🙂

  27. If I ever daydreamed how cool it would be to be a knight, this bit of research put an end to that. I'd be shot in the neck on day 1 right after my first cup of coffee by one of those giant arrows for sure. Such a great video, thankyou guys. And props to those amazing artisans and archer. Dang!

  28. Surprised at the fragmentation of the arrow shafts. Far more than I expected. The armour was designed extremely well for its day!

  29. Thank you all for taking the time to do this. It takes a lot of energy and effort to put this together but it paid off. At some point can you compare the differences between the Battle of Crecy (1346) and Agincourt (1415). The Armor obviously got better over the 69 years but would have arrows have changed much? Also What level of Armor did the horses have? Take out the horse and you have now have a grumpy slow moving target.

  30. The secret to putting Mary Rose-style arrows through 2.5 mm of steel with a 70 lb longbow is to use beeswax on the arrow head so that all of its momentum transfers into the metal at a single point. Tested by an acquaintance who was a traditional archer and mechanical engineering grad student at the time, presumably using fairly modern metals (he made his own arrowheads in the engineering lab).

  31. Maybe try aiming for the thinner part of the plate where its closer to 1mm thick . You wouldn't always be facing your target. Yes it would be a harder shot but be interesting to see the result.

  32. That was awesome! It brings up a ton of questions though. For me the first and most obvious question is about longbow tactics. Clearly the archers of the age would be familiar with the types of armor they would be facing and having seen that video I can't imagine that they would be aiming center mass at the breast plate. So questions…

    1: With the amount of strain you are under pulling the Longbow how much do we think these archers could reasonably be expected to aim at their targets? Was it just put it on target and hope, in the manner your archer seemed to suggest?
    2: is there any record of the types of injuries that were most often fatal in those fights? It seems to me the more expedient solution for the archer is to try and disable if not kill the enemy. Knock them out of the fight instead of trying to kill them with every shot. I think aiming waist down or at the horses seems to be a much more valuable use of the arrow. Kill them later but get them out of the fight now.
    3: Is it feasible to do a maximum damage type of targeting for a Longbowman. Aim high at a guy in front but make sure if you miss you will hit mid or low on something in behind? This seems doubtful to me. I think question 2 is more common sense.

    Anyway clearly for me the tactics are fascinating because having seen that I just don't see the archers shooting at the plate. So what would you do if you are trying to survive at Agincourt?

  33. They shot loads of arrows in order to hit horses to stop cavalry charges.
    Also, a hail of arrows will occasionally find weak spots.

  34. I love these things!

    With regards to Agincourt, I remember a historian saying something like "Yes, the wealthy had the best armour. Lower knights and footman, and horses did not"

  35. If you are really curious to why the English won the battle of Agincourt with longbows, there are 2 reasons. One was that most of the French Armies were Men-at-Arms and Crossbowman. Crossbows don't shoot nearly as far and as fast as the longbow. Men-at-arms may have had chainmail and some plate protection if his lord had a well prepared army. But this type of armour were for lords, knights, and nobles. Important people. Sure, these arrows didn't much against the 100-500 heavily armoured knights. But they killed Men-at-Arms, the crossbow, the horses the knights would have been riding. The second reason, is that they were fighting in a freshly plowed field and it had rained the night before. Have you ever tried to walk across a slippery muddy field with 50 pounds of extra weight? With arrows flying at you? And people dying and screaming in pain?

  36. Really enjoyed this one, brought up some things I had not considered before, like the sound of impact being so loud, etc. Great work all the way around.

  37. It's important that people understand that people hundreds or even thousands of years ago weren't dumber than we are today (quite to the contrary actually). The only real difference is the tools and scientific understanding of materials and physics. Otherwise, it would appear quite clear that people have, in fact, become noticeably dumber overall. Hard times call for more knowledgeable individuals. Easy times…. well, yeah…

  38. Very interesting and well done video. The breast plate was more effective than I first thought. I bet those arrows would be more effective against the helmet, but that's a harder shot.

  39. There seems to bit of misconception about all the getting wind knocked out of you and not being able to fight because of impact damage. It is important to remember that the term "battle hardened soldiers" wasn't just for the ability to not go into complete panic mode in combat, it also refers to the hardening of the body. This can be seen into todays "gladiators" like the boxers and MMA fighters. Imagine two regular people (untrained) getting into a ring with some lightweight gloves, they start wailing on each other and become ineffective after a few minutes as well as unable to take a hard shot. A professional fighter would knock them out easily. Just as a professional fighter can take a hard shot and it literally not effect them much at all. The medieval fighters were beasts! It was literally life and death to be hardened for battle. They would need to injured not just "punched" by arrows!

  40. so now the question arises, when and where did the myth of the English long bow and its shot arrows penetrating enemy armor get started from?

  41. The guy uses a tripped out longbow. Before i even watch this. I want to see Standard Longbow. Or at least average. Its biased to the bow. I say this before i watch past the beginning.

  42. I love the break down. They described how everything is made and how close it is to the actually arrow heads and armor of the time period or used the the battle. Awesome.

  43. This is very interesting. There's clearly no way if the armored breast plates of the French knights at Agincourt and the arrows corresponded closely to this armor and arrows in the test, that the arrows would normally penetrate. Obviously they didn't, and we have to look at what really happened. I would mean that the bad French tactics and the terrain contributed a lot more to English success than Longbow technology. The knights foundered in soft mud and got in each other's way, their horses were killed, they were caught in a crowd press where they couldn't fight effectively, etc. Then the English advanced and finished them off. It certainly wouldn't be pleasant to be shot even with non-penetrating shots, but it wouldn't normally be fatal unless they struck a soft spot.

  44. I guess we'd all like the idea of armour piercing arrows to be true but if you can imagine how hard you'd have to hit a modern day centre punch (case hardened tool steel) with an engineering hammer to get it to go through a piece of 2mm mild steel with more than a couple of mm penetration then it doesn't look at all likely. That said in the heat of battle with the adrenalin flowing maybe a 200lb bow would feel like an easy pull!

  45. So.. Bodkin arrowheads.. against literally anti arrow armor.. and your going to do a 160 pull bow? I assure you even in mock combat your going to have enough arm strength left to swing a something after a 200 pull bow.. Adrenaline bro… Although since archers require actual training and are far less expendable.. My legs are going to be just fine to pretend I am brave Sir Robin.
    I was going to write out a long rant but I have a bunch S.C.A. people screaming with incoherent rage in the background and its rather distracting.

  46. But knights were fighting on horses, and it was enough to hurt them to eliminate the knight. I guess there were many injuries due to falling horses, maybe even fatal ones.

  47. This is a great test with the collaboration for accurate testing but full plate and chain for every soldier would be ridiculously expensive and to fill out a large army you'd have a lot less well armed soldiers probably with chain or gambason. The soldier elite could afford full plate though so it's great to see someone showing how effective armour is

  48. It's interesting to see that arrow didn't do much against armor but take a weapon like the Warhammer (specifically the spike) the armor couldn't do shit against it

  49. I was thinking of something. Would it be possible that the fact that the french knights were charging against the bowmen and opposing a force against the arrow with there movements that would have make the effects of the arrow better?

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