Tod and Co's Arrows vs. Armour Test

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Tod and Co's Arrows vs. Armour Test

Post by Sean M »

So Tod, Toby Capwell, Joe Gibbs, and co. did an arrows-versus-armour test, and because it is them doing it the test is actually good!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DBxdTkddHaE

Do the plate, mail, and linen armourers here have any thoughts?

I am glad that the armourer (Kevin Legg of Pleissis Armouries) took the time to carefully distribute thickness across the breastplate, but it looks a bit flat-chested for a copy of CH-14 to me. French armour might have been less curvy but the red Charles VI garment is big in the breast and narrow in the waist.

Image

(From What exactly is the chest-piece of the Churburg S18?)

I wish they gave some more information about the doublet and the jupon. At minute 7:18 of the Armour video, it looks like the doublet swatch is made of a layer of blue moleskin, three layers of something canvasy, and a layer of finer unbleached hemp or linen cloth but I don't know if they pad-stitched it, quilted it, etc.

Image

And it would be nice to know if the mail is the usual smashed-flat rings from South Asia, or higher quality.

Image
(From minute 6:57 of "Find Out More: The Armour")
Last edited by Sean M on Sun Nov 10, 2019 7:26 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Tod and Co's Arrows vs. Armour Test

Post by Chuck Davis »

So this raises the question for me: "How did Medieval armours determine how thick to make the armour?"
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Re: Tod and Co's Arrows vs. Armour Test

Post by Dan Howard »

I liked it. It is definitely good enough to add to the body of test data we have. Some observations:

1. The arrow that compromised the mail under the breastplate didn't seem to penetrate far enough to cause a potentially fatal wound, though I couldn't tell if that was because the wooden backstop halted it from going further.

2. It shows us the function of the v-shaped stop-rib on the breastplate. It prevented arrows from skipping upwards into the neck or chin. This stop-rib doesn't seem to be as necessary if a jupon is worn over the top.

3. Any arrow that hits armour is unlikely to be in a condition to enable it to be reused.

4. Hardened arrowheads seem to "bite" better and are probably more likely to penetrate thinner sections of plate on the arms or legs.

5. Not everyone was wearing mail under the plate during this time. We have references to mail voiders starting in the late 14th century.

6. It looks fricken scary as hell. Even if you were confident in your armour, you would still need super-sized balls to wade through an arrow-storm.

I have the same misgivings as Sean. It was hard to see how the mail was assembled but it looks like they used the overly-flattened Indian links, which are in no way suitable for weapons testing. The doublet and jupon don't look well constructed to me. The doublet doesn't seem to have been quilted at all. However, the mail and textiles don't come into play unless the plate is compromised, and so were essentially irrelevant for this series of tests.
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Re: Tod and Co's Arrows vs. Armour Test

Post by Dan Howard »

Chuck Davis wrote:So this raises the question for me: "How did Medieval armours determine how thick to make the armour?"
Trial and error. The same thing that caused them to add the v-shaped stop-rib.
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Re: Tod and Co's Arrows vs. Armour Test

Post by Croquart »

Very exciting video by Tod!

Regarding the v-shaped stop-ribs I wonder, why most of the later breastplates didn't have these anymore? Or had the rolled upper edge the same function?
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Re: Tod and Co's Arrows vs. Armour Test

Post by Dan Howard »

I don't agree with Toby's claim that the archers employed direct fire rather than volley fire. Look at the number of arrows they shot. The English had approx. 5,000 archers shooting 60 arrows each, which amounts to 300,000 arrows. We are told that they ran out of arrows during the battle so all 300,000 were shot, and more in addition as runners retrieved some from the battlefield. French casualties during the actual fighting numbered around 4,000 and the vast majority of those were killed in hand to hand. The number of French incapacitated by arrows would have been less than a thousand. That's a hit ratio of 0.3% or three hundred arrows for every French casualty. If the English were shooting directly at the French, they would have needed far less than 300,000 arrows to take out a thousand men. The explanation that makes more sense is that they employed indirect volley fire for the majority of the engagement and only employed direct fire for a short period before dropping their bows and fighting hand-to-hand.
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Re: Tod and Co's Arrows vs. Armour Test

Post by Sean M »

Dan, I added a photo of the mail to the OP. I guess it would have been even stronger with better mail (Le Fèvre says "very heavy coats of steel which hung down below their knees", I think Pietro Monte complains that Italians wear too much mail with their harness and it tires them out when they fight on foot).

Are there any heavy bow archers here? How far can you shoot reasonably flat with such a bow? I would think more like 60 yards than 240, so you would start shooting at maximum range with the arrow pointed into the sky (and wait several seconds for it to land) then start shooting faster and flatter as they closed in.
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Re: Tod and Co's Arrows vs. Armour Test

Post by Matthew Amt »

That doesn't quite look like Indian-made mail to me, though I only have one piece of my own to compare to. The blue layer on the jupon looks like a nice tightly-woven wool.

What Dan said about scary.

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Re: Tod and Co's Arrows vs. Armour Test

Post by Signo »

If I remember correctly the maximum rate of fire of a longbow is estimated in 10 arrows/minute. Depleting 60 arrows mean 6 minutes of continuos shooting. The front line of an army can walk quite a lot in 6 minutes, I guess they started shooting at maximum volley range, especially if you consider that knights in high quality full plates are not the majority of the targets avaiable. Volley fire will slow down the enemy and disrupt their strategy even if PK is low at that range. And still, the breastplate may be proof from arrows but a lot of the armored surface of the body probably is not.
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Re: Tod and Co's Arrows vs. Armour Test

Post by Sean Powell »

Chuck Davis wrote:So this raises the question for me: "How did Medieval armours determine how thick to make the armour?"
And this raises the answer for me "Clinical Trials". The HOW is by looking at the thickness of the breastplates of everyone who survived. There is a story about Henry Ford and the Model-T where he would build one, have it crashed into a tree and any piece that DIDN'T break was made thinner and lighter. That's a controlled scientific process that can be duplicated with enough open environment testing in the field. When the enemy invents a better bow then suddenly fewer of your troops return. You add thickness. When it is too thick your customers complain about the weight. The wealthiest customers then demand spring tempering and that you prove that the armor is heat-treated not too brittle and not to soft with a proof-test.

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Re: Tod and Co's Arrows vs. Armour Test

Post by Rene K. »

My english is to bad to get into this discussion about Materials, hardened or unhardened parts etc.
We all where not in place when war like this happened, so we only can get as close we can in reproduction to get a little idea about this warfare and its effects.
For me it was the first realistic test in this direction that has ever published on youtube.
Some of the points i agree, some not.

But don't forget, there is normally a warhorse under the balls of a well armoured knight that will not be happy about a rain of arrows, for shure, and the horses in an attacking line will give the archers much more area for a cloud of arrows ;-)

And yes, the impacts of the arrows look really scary...
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Re: Tod and Co's Arrows vs. Armour Test

Post by Dan Howard »

Sean M wrote:I guess it would have been even stronger with better mail (Le Fèvre says "very heavy coats of steel which hung down below their knees", I think Pietro Monte complains that Italians wear too much mail with their harness and it tires them out when they fight on foot).
I vaguely recall someone being teased for being a woman because his mail skirt was so long.
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Re: Tod and Co's Arrows vs. Armour Test

Post by Tom B. »

I think that on a FB thread Kevin Legg said that he had made up the mail from Indian made rings.
He carefully selected only the best rings and I am sure did a very good job riveting them.
This means that it would be of superior quality to the mass produced Indian mail but would still have all of the short comings from the non-historical Indian made ring and rivet shape.
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Re: Tod and Co's Arrows vs. Armour Test

Post by Dan Howard »

The main problem is that they are hammered way too thin. It might make it easier to pierce a hole but it seriously compromises its strength. Were the holes done with a punch or drift? Punched holes compromise the strength even more.
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Re: Tod and Co's Arrows vs. Armour Test

Post by Indianer »

Indian stuff is punched, often the small section around the hole is not even 1mm wide, at times (1 in 10 - 20) the crosspiece is punched right through (only half a hole then, that´s unrivetable junk).
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Re: Tod and Co's Arrows vs. Armour Test

Post by Dan Howard »

Dan Howard wrote:The main problem is that they are hammered way too thin. It might make it easier to pierce a hole but it seriously compromises its strength. Were the holes done with a punch or drift? Punched holes compromise the strength even more.
And punched holes with corners are even worse still.
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Re: Tod and Co's Arrows vs. Armour Test

Post by Indianer »

Hey guys. Since we´re talking Agincourt and horses again, I thought it might be pertinent to refer to a video that presents a scrutiny of the environmental conditions on the battlefield. Arrows are always in the focus, and I think that may be a forced and twisted PoV.

Core findings:
° Arrows could not penetrate plate armor (might have been hardened though in this test, I don´t recall)
° back then, the soil became a sticky mud in the rain. Plate armor felt like glued to it once impressed even a little into the turf.
° the battlefield was like a funnel - a wide crest up on the hills (pic form 39.21), that the soldiers, the investigators figure, would have tried to stay upon. The french were on the wide end to begin with...which is bad.
Agincourt.JPG
(51.25 KiB) Not downloaded yet
best, Indi
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Re: Tod and Co's Arrows vs. Armour Test

Post by Scott Martin »

Dan Howard wrote:<SNIP>
6. It looks fricken scary as hell. Even if you were confident in your armour, you would still need super-sized balls to wade through an arrow-storm.
<SNIP>
It was hard to see how the mail was assembled...
I think that one thing that French knights (in general) had a lot of was gigantic brass balls. They needed it to make up for a systematic lack of leadership (at least in the first half of the hundred years war). Historically very few have questioned the valor of the French, many have questioned their sanity :)

On the subject of mail, I would argue that in the specific circumstances of Agincourt, whether the mail was penetrated or not was likely immaterial. Taking a 100+ joule impact to the gut (Baseball bat to the gut) without rigid protection would be a knockdown, and that would likely have been eventually fatal. You would certainly be out of the fight, giant brass balls or not.

The comments were entertaining, especially the folks criticizing "the guy in the black hoodie" (Toby) who IMO was there to point out any issues the rest of the team had missed. I'll look forward to crossbow testing of armour, since crossbosw with square heads were explicitly banned by the church for use against Christians suggesting that they were effective. I seem to recall some discussion on crossbows in the Wisby books (Thordeman et.al.) but I'd have to review - it's been quite a while since I delved into those volumes.

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Re: Tod and Co's Arrows vs. Armour Test

Post by Dan Howard »

The armour wasn't hardened. The steel consisted of 0.5% C and was heated to annealing temperature and allowed to air cool, so not only was it not quench-hardened, but there was no work-hardening either.

We have a century of ballistics data telling us that the energy in even the heaviest longbow cannot deliver enough blunt trauma through armour (even mail) to prove fatal. You need firearms for that, which deliver energy 10-20 times higher than any longbow. Impact from a longbow in the right spot could certainly be incapacitating, at least temporarily, but not fatal. In any case, the chance of being hit below the chest in this kind of battle is negligible unless you were standing close to the archer with no obstructions. The arrow trajectory would make you more likely to get hit in the foot than the stomach or groin.
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Re: Tod and Co's Arrows vs. Armour Test

Post by Sean M »

Dan Howard wrote:6. It looks fricken scary as hell. Even if you were confident in your armour, you would still need super-sized balls to wade through an arrow-storm.
I think I remember that after 1945, the US Army Air Force found that even with all their dive bombers and rocket pods, the main way they disabled Axis armour was scaring the crew so much that they bailed out or crashed into something too big to drive over (or blowing up the train full of spare parts of course!) They had not been very good at destroying tanks with their fancy weapons, and that had not been a problem.

It might have been good to add a few minutes of the 15th century sources talking about how the French vanguard was a solid mass of lords and banners, with the poor men shoved to the rear, and about how steel armour was a bulk product by the 1380s (Datini ordered it). I am sure that some breasts were stronger than CH-14 and some were weaker but its a good choice to start with.

But they did give Toby a side video to talk about the battle and YouTube commenters are going to be YouTube commenters.
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Re: Tod and Co's Arrows vs. Armour Test

Post by Dan Howard »

I'll look forward to crossbow testing of armour, since crossbosw with square heads were explicitly banned by the church for use against Christians suggesting that they were effective.
Crossbows were never banned. The injunction forbade crossbowMEN from shooting Christians. The distinction is important. At the time, Guiscard's army was coming up from southern Italy to invade Papal territories. Guiscard's army consisted primarily of Muslims from Sicily. The injunction was made to give the Papal army an unfair advantage over Guiscard's army. Papal troops could shoot Guiscard's troops with crossbows with impunity but Guiscard and his commanders faced excommunication if they allowed their troops to shoot back.
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Re: Tod and Co's Arrows vs. Armour Test

Post by Scott Martin »

Dan Howard wrote: We have a century of ballistics data telling us that the energy in even the heaviest longbow cannot deliver enough blunt trauma through armour (even mail) to prove fatal. You need firearms for that, which deliver energy 10-20 times higher than any longbow. Impact from a longbow in the right spot could certainly be incapacitating, at least temporarily, but not fatal. In any case, the chance of being hit below the chest in this kind of battle is negligible unless you were standing close to the archer with no obstructions. The arrow trajectory would make you more likely to get hit in the foot than the stomach or groin.
Apparently I wasn't clear enough. In this specific battle, incapacitated french soldiers were killed. A baseball bat to the gut is likely sufficient to take someone out of the fight. Whether they were trampled into the mud and asphyxiated, or finished off by the English, in this specific battle, that shot would likely have been fatal.

Given the postulate that archers were firing on a flat trajectory into the funneled (and possibly flanked) French, I would anticipate that shots to the foot were minimal - again in this specific battle.

I seem to recall that a number of cannon balls were found recently (in the last 20 years) at Agincourt, which changed the understanding of the army composition. the additional "excitement" and acoustic impact on the massed French (who may have been exposed for the first time to cannon fire) would not have been welcome - at least not to the French! Cannons would certainly penetrate any armour of the period, and was responsible for the demise of a number of renowned knights in this conflict: IIRC from friendly fire in some cases.

Scott

(Edit and I was amused by the commentators - it's always interesting to see people "give their opinion" about something they clearly know nothing about. Especially when they can't be bothered to google those people to see if, just perhaps, they might have some reason to be there. Irony is difficult to transmit into the written word unless you are a master of the pen like Churchill, and I most certainly am not.)
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Re: Tod and Co's Arrows vs. Armour Test

Post by Dan Howard »

Scott Martin wrote:Apparently I wasn't clear enough. In this specific battle, incapacitated french soldiers were killed. A baseball bat to the gut is likely sufficient to take someone out of the fight. Whether they were trampled into the mud and asphyxiated, or finished off by the English, in this specific battle, that shot would likely have been fatal.
Got it, and I agree. I'm a little sensitive to the subject after spending two decades debunking longbow-fatal-blunt-trauma arguments. This is a longbow enthusiast's "go-to" argument after it is proven to them that their superweapon can't punch through armour. A classic example is the Defence Academy warbow trials back in 2005. It was a good paper but spolit by their justifications for why their arrows failed. There is a good discussion here
http://www.swordforum.com/vb4/showthrea ... ublication
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Re: Tod and Co's Arrows vs. Armour Test

Post by Ian BB »

I know the lady who made the cloth quite well. She's every bit the expert as the others are in their pursuits. There will be some interesting things to come out about the under-armour in a later video which will feature her (Chrissi). Most of her work is aimed at Museum or living history types, I've been on her waiting list for years but she's in high demand.

They have much more planned in future and some great ideas to keep this trend going.

But as someone who makes his living making heavy warbows there were some things I wasn't keen on, but Will and Joe are both good friends of mine so I won't say anything on that.
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Re: Tod and Co's Arrows vs. Armour Test

Post by Mac »

Bowan12 wrote:
But as someone who makes his living making heavy warbows there were some things I wasn't keen on, but Will and Joe are both good friends of mine so I won't say anything on that.
It seems like at this point, you might as well tell us what's on your mind..... if you see what I mean. :wink:

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Re: Tod and Co's Arrows vs. Armour Test

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Mac wrote:
Bowan12 wrote:
But as someone who makes his living making heavy warbows there were some things I wasn't keen on, but Will and Joe are both good friends of mine so I won't say anything on that.
It seems like at this point, you might as well tell us what's on your mind..... if you see what I mean. :wink:

Mac
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They struck me as being secure in their craft enough to listen to constructive criticism. I'd certainly be interested in knowing if something was wrong, or even debatable, about my processes.
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Re: Tod and Co's Arrows vs. Armour Test

Post by Ian BB »

Mac wrote:
Bowan12 wrote:
But as someone who makes his living making heavy warbows there were some things I wasn't keen on, but Will and Joe are both good friends of mine so I won't say anything on that.
It seems like at this point, you might as well tell us what's on your mind..... if you see what I mean. :wink:

Mac

Yeah, one thing which got me was the weakness of the arrow wood. You can make arrows much stronger than that and period arrows showed signs of heat hardening. I think you could get more 'punch' with stiffer arrows. I cant comment on the arrow head only that it's got some criticism from blacksmiths on the quality of the heat hardening, again medieval arrow-smiths would test things all the time and if there was an obvious area for improvement they would act upon it.
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Re: Tod and Co's Arrows vs. Armour Test

Post by Chris Gilman »

The arrows had such little penetration, I think you could make the shafts out of fiberglass and it would make little difference in the outcome of the arrows effectiveness against the armour.
In fact. the arrows breaking make sense to me in 2 ways; 1. they aren't going to be shot back at you. 2. The shards of wood and iron tip flying everywhere makes a bigger deterrent. The stop rib effectiveness certainly indicates that arrows breaking was a common enough to be a concern.
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Re: Tod and Co's Arrows vs. Armour Test

Post by Dan Howard »

Tod's test should have included type 16 arrowheads, not just type 10s. This is cut and pasted from an earlier thread. Consider the following:

1. In order for an arrow to have even a small chance of penetrating armour it has to be heavy and shot at short range with a powerful bow.

2. Many sources acknowledge that hardened steel arrowheads stood a greater chance of punching through armour than soft wrought iron. Yet, according to Dr. Starley at the Royal Armouries, the hardened arrowheads we have found are not of a bodkin typology but of various broadhead typologies. All of the bodkins so far examined have turned out to be unhardened iron.

3. If you shoot a bodkin-type arrow and a broadhead arrow, both of the same weight, from the same bow, the bodkin constantly outranges the broadhead.

4. Flight arrows used in exhibitions and competitions by Turks, Magyars, Mongols etc. have bodkin-shaped arrowheads, though they tend to be a lot lighter than those used in battle. This shape seems to be the most aerodynamic and ideal for ranged shooting.

5. There have been a few experiments that show that the compact broadhead (MoL Type 16) is just as good at penetrating armour as the bodkin (MoL Type 10) and we have extant examples of these made of hardened steel but no steel bodkins.

6. Sir John Smythe recommended a fourth of each sheaf be flight arrows to "gall" the enemy at range. We also have inventory references to "byker" arrows. Byker means to harass or irritate. Smythe gives a range for these arrows of 20-24 score (400-480) yards. He said that war arrows only travel 12 score (240) yards.

7. There were no arrowheads found on the Mary Rose. All that remains is a rusty outline on the surface on which they were resting. But the rust pattern was analysed and the general shape could be determined with a lot of them. Out of these, around a quarter were bodkin-shaped and the rest were broadhead-shaped, which is the same ratio mentioned by Smythe.

All this suggests to me that the compact broadhead was intended to be used against armour at shorter ranges and the bodkins were intended to be used on the flight arrows described by Smythe. These "byker" arrows were heavier than those used in competitions, but not as heavy as the armour piercers. If the bodkin typology was not meant for Smythe's flight arrows, then which one was?

Here is the letter that came from Dr. Starley, which was originally posted here on the ArmourArchive back in 2004.
viewtopic.php?f=2&t=38251&start=35

"As a metallurgist this is a question which interests me greatly. Some early studies were done by Peter Pratt and Peter Jones, involving a current member of RA staff but before he joined us. Some of these experiments are recorded in an appendix to Robert Hardy's book. However I have been concerned that the published version of these experiments used heat-treated steel bodkin points, for which we have no evidence. By contrast it would appear that other types of arrowheads: the compact tanged and barbed (London Museums Type 16), did indeed have steel edges/points welded to them and these were quenched and tempered. The metallurgical work is in progress but some of the information is due to be published by Ashgate in a collection of papers from the International Medieval congress, Kalamazoo (The volume will be titled de re Metallica). Unfortunately I haven't seen any results on the testing of such weapons.

Hope this helps,

David Starley PhD
Science Officer

Royal Armouries Museum
Conservation Department"


--------------------

Here is a Royal Armouries study supporting my case. The sample size is small but no other data has been produced to contradict their conclusions.

https://royalarmouries.org/what-we-do/r ... arrowheads

Conclusion:
"Through this and other routes, the previously widely held view that bodkin points were the main type of armour piercing warhead has gradually given way to greater acceptance of type 16s in this role."
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Re: Tod and Co's Arrows vs. Armour Test

Post by Jonathan Dean »

Bowan12 wrote:Yeah, one thing which got me was the weakness of the arrow wood. You can make arrows much stronger than that and period arrows showed signs of heat hardening. I think you could get more 'punch' with stiffer arrows. I cant comment on the arrow head only that it's got some criticism from blacksmiths on the quality of the heat hardening, again medieval arrow-smiths would test things all the time and if there was an obvious area for improvement they would act upon it.
How does heat hardened aspen compare with unhardened ash?
Dan Howard wrote:3. If you shoot a bodkin-type arrow and a broadhead arrow, both of the same weight, from the same bow, the bodkin constantly outranges the broadhead.
Do we know that the bodkin arrowheads in use were the same weight as the military broadhead in common use? According to Pratt, the LM16/Jessop M4 averaged between 6.5 and 7.5 grams (British Museum and London Museum, respectively), while the LM7/8 weighed between 10 and 20 grams.
6. Sir John Smythe recommended a fourth of each sheaf be flight arrows to "gall" the enemy at range. We also have inventory references to "byker" arrows. Byker means to harass or irritate.


I can't find a reference in Smythe to archers carrying a number of arrows to gall the enemy at range. Are you thinking of Henry Barrett, who advocated the inclusion of 8 arrows that were "more flighter" in each sheaf for this purpose? The way he writes suggests that this wasn't common practice in 1562 and that he thought it was necessary to get the best out of the bow.

I haven't been able to find reference to "byker" arrows, but there seems to be some interference from a medieval fletcher surnamed "byker". Where's the best place to start looking?
Smythe gives a range for these arrows of 20-24 score (400-480) yards. He said that war arrows only travel 12 score (240) yards.
I think your source is quoting Smythe out of context. When he discusses using flight arrows, it's to use them as a way of discrediting claims of the musket's long range superiority:
If Mosquet­tiers may giue effectuall vo­lees 24. scores of (as it is fondlie repor­ted) then some number of Archers being chosen, that could with their flights shoote 24. or 20. scores (as there be manie that can) may by the same reason giue volees of flights at their enemies 18. scores of, which both the one & the other are moc­keries to bee thought of, because there is no weapon in the field ef­fectuall, fur­ther than to a conuenient and certen di­stance.
(source)

I've been unable to find the instance of Smythe given the range of a war arrow as 240 yards; he provides 160-220 yards as the various points at which an archer might engage in long range shooting with war arrows. This seems to be entirely consistent with 16th century estimates of the maximum practical range for military archery. Even Henry VIII's famous archery statute seems to have 220 yards as the maximum expected range for a military arrow, as this is the distance at which he allows the use of flight arrows.
7. There were no arrowheads found on the Mary Rose. All that remains is a rusty outline on the surface on which they were resting. But the rust pattern was analysed and the general shape could be determined with a lot of them. Out of these, around a quarter were bodkin-shaped and the rest were broadhead-shaped, which is the same ratio mentioned by Smythe.
Do you have a source for this? I may have missed it, but Weapons of Warre doesn't provide any information on the types of arrowheads or their breakdowns beyond one archaeologist's notes that one find seemed to have bodkin heads. Has there been a more recent paper? I know there was at least one concretion of arrowheads; has it been x-rayed?
All this suggests to me that the compact broadhead was intended to be used against armour at shorter ranges and the bodkins were intended to be used on the flight arrows described by Smythe. These "byker" arrows were heavier than those used in competitions, but not as heavy as the armour piercers. If the bodkin typology was not meant for Smythe's flight arrows, then which one was?
I question this. Where we have information on medieval arrows that match your 1/4 proportion, they seem to be heavier than standard livery arrows. For instance, a 1475 indenture for Edward IV's expedition to France lists 350 sheaves of arrows with 9" fletchings (3.4%), 1750 sheaves of arrows with 8" fletchings (16.5%) and 7960 sheaves of arrows with 7" fletchings (75.1%). This is eerily similar to the proportions from the Mary Rose (17% for the 8" and 3.5% for the 9") and matches an inventory of Rouen Castle after the Duke of Bedford's death, where 26.8% of arrows were valued at 21.25d per sheaf and 73.2% were valued at 19.25d.

(all numbers are from Wadge's Arrowstorm)

While this is very meagre evidence - although par for the course regarding the topic - I think it points much more strongly towards heavy, armour piercing arrowheads being the minority with the livery arrowheads having a military broadhead and making up most of the arrows an archer was issued.
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Re: Tod and Co's Arrows vs. Armour Test

Post by Dan Howard »

Do we know that the bodkin arrowheads in use were the same weight as the military broadhead in common use?
The experiment was to simply confirm which design is more aerodynamic. Flight arrows would be lighter than armour piercers. A lighter arrow combined with the most aerodynamic arrowhead, produces the longest range.

Regarding "byker" arrows. Here is one source to start with:
https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov. ... 60ffd4c461

It mentions five different arrowheads.
1. "spearhead"
2. "byker"
3. "duckbill"
4. "broadhead"
5. "broad hooked"
I've been unable to find the instance of Smythe given the range of a war arrow as 240 yards; he provides 160-220 yards as the various points at which an archer might engage in long range shooting with war arrows.
I can't find it either.
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Re: Tod and Co's Arrows vs. Armour Test

Post by Jonathan Dean »

Dan Howard wrote:Here is one to start with:
https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov. ... 60ffd4c461

It mentions five different arrowheads.
1. "spearhead"
2. "byker"
3. "duckbill"
4. "broadhead"
5. "broad hooked"
Very much appreciated.

The problem I see here is that these are not necessarily military arrows and the terminology of the different arrows is obscure. For instance, what's the difference between the broadhead and the broadhook arrowheads? What's a duckbill (is it just a Jessop MP3 that looks a little like a duck's bill?), and what's a spearhead? And, given that "byker" most often meant simply "battle" rather than "harass" or "irritate", these may indeed be arrows meant specifically for battles, i.e. for circumstances when armour penetration becomes critical. For skirmishes and the like, which is what most of a campaign was all about, lighter shafts with an arrowhead that could penetrate textile armour or mail better than arrowheads designed for penetrating plate armour would serve better.
I can't find it either. My notes were taken a couple of decades ago and it looks like I either misread Smythe or have taken it from a different source. Give me a few days.
No problemo.

I did a little more digging and found this passage in William Garrard's work:
THese bands of Archers béeing brought to seruice by the Har∣gabuziers, although the hargabuziers bée accompted to be of greater force then they bee of, and the Archers not now so much vsed in the field as they haue bin, yet hauing light shaftes made to shot 12. or 14. scoore, may kéepe their place, shooting al together ouer the heads of the hargabuziers, to the gauling, blemishing, and great annoy of the enemie.
I don't know whether this is what you were thinking of, but it's interesting to see that 240-280 yards is considered the distance "light" shafts could be shot, presumably with livery arrows for closer range. Of course, the question of what was considered a "light" shaft raises its head to muddy the waters even more.
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Re: Tod and Co's Arrows vs. Armour Test

Post by Dan Howard »

I couldn't find it in the above link to Smythe but this is the original quote I have:

"a sheafe of arrows in noumber xxiv whearof I wishe viii of them more flighter then the reste to gall and annoy the enimyes farder of then the usuall custom of the sheafe arrowes, whose sharpe hallshot may not be indured."

"A sheaf of arrows, 24 in number, whereof I wish 8 of them more flightier than the rest to gall and annoy the enemies farther off than the usual custom of the sheaf of arrows, whose sharp hallshott may not be endured."

So according to this, it is 8 arrows, or a third (not a fourth) of a sheaf of 24 that should be flight arrows.
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Jonathan Dean
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Re: Tod and Co's Arrows vs. Armour Test

Post by Jonathan Dean »

Dan Howard wrote:I couldn't find it in the above link to Smythe but this is the original quote I have:

"a sheafe of arrows in noumber xxiv whearof I wishe viii of them more flighter than the reste to gall and annoy the enimyes farder of then the usuall custom of the sheafe arrowes, whose sharpe hallshot may not be indured."

So according to this, it is 8 arrows, or a third (not a fourth) of a sheaf of 24 that should be flight arrows.
That's definitely from Henry Barrett. Stickland quotes this passage in The Great Warbow. I also think that these aren't meant to be flight arrows, but perhaps more optimised arrows or else slightly lighter arrows for those extra 20-60 yards Garrard assigned to "light shaftes" (see the edit to my last post).
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Re: Tod and Co's Arrows vs. Armour Test

Post by Dan Howard »

So what arrowheads were used on these arrows?
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