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. Ok, so, I always thought that the reason medieval archers were always painted/woven with their hips stuck out like how this guy does it because that was just the art style back then. Cool to be proven wrong. Yet another thing they constantly get wrong in the movies.

  2. I read when I was a kid that a blob of bee’s wax was put on the arrow points to help them bite into the armor, do you think that would change any thing?

  3. I really enjoyed this. Thank you so much for the attention to detail, the time, cost and expertise that you put into this video.

  4. Wonder what the 1250 pound crossbow would do to the armor. In that battle I believe hand held crossbows were used. They could be very powerful. I am not convinced that all longbow arrows were shot straight forwards in that battle. Painters and illustrators then did take liberties…artistic license. Would love to know more. A long decease collector gave me an arrow found in the silt of an ancient moat what was around a Swiss castle. The wood arrow and wood fletching is perfectly preserved because of the silt keeping oxygen from the wood (?) . The arrow head has corrosion. Provenance was from the archeologist who brought it back to the states and then to my old acquaintance who had trouble shot P 51s in WW2 and donated a wing to the NRA building I understand.

  5. ETA on the next video – one assumes striking the "weaker"/side armor, helmet, leg/arm guards, etc? Also will there be an obligatory 3rd video vs plain iron? Lotsa videos out there but no one else is using a proper target surface and giving "body" – really wanna see the difference doing it right makes. Great job all around! Thx Shad for letting all of us know there is a properly done test out there.

  6. Wow, just wow such an impressive video! absolutely great work, I can't believe I needed 2 other vids diskussing this one to find this channel!

  7. I thought the archers put a lump of beeswax on the tip. This prevented slipping and the full weight of the arrow penetrated the breast plate and caused injury.

  8. The arrows may not pierce the armour, but I feel like most people would get bruised/winded from repeatedly blows at that force

  9. Some very good stuff here, but I note a few things:

    The records say that longbows were effective against armor, and that it was English longbow men who won the Battle of Agincourt. I would tend to listen to the opinions of the people who were there over the results of a reconstructed test by people who aren't even sure they are testing the same equipment centuries later.

    Basing your test on equipment made to the specs of surviving armor has a problem common to studying history and trying to figure out how people in the past lived: they saved and passed on their best stuff, not the average or below average stuff. The armor that was pierced by arrows? Probably melted down and reused several times since then. In other words, selection bias and survival bias.

    English longbows required so much strength that the skeletons of English archers can be identified by how their bones are deformed. They trained from childhood to be strong enough to be effective archers. With that in mind, maybe your archer should have done this with his most powerful bow.

    Of course, we know very well that armor was effective against normal bows and most other weapons. The end of armor is generally considered to be due to the rise of three weapons: crossbows, longbows, and pikes. Throw in muskets and it was all over.

    Finally, the records say that many French knights were unseated as they road across a muddy field, and that the mud prevented them from being able to get up and do much in their armor – and armored men mired in mud, unable to get up, and possibly still feeling the concussion of being struck by an arrow from a longbow, even if the arrow did not penetrate their armor, would be sitting ducks for unencumbered foot soldiers armed with daggers, axes, and other such weapons.

  10. This is an excellent video! Yet the English won the day and the flower of French Chivalry was slaughtered. Actually that was what Froissart said about Poitiers, but whatever…
    My question is how many knights had plate armor of this quality? Chainmail was expensive, it took at least the produce of a village to pay for the full armor of a knight, and plate armor even more so. It was also made in varying levels of quality. So the higher up the feudal food chain you were, the better armor you could afford. Which is why poorer knights died of the battlefield , richer ones survived, and could be ransomed in the event of a lost battle.

  11. But what if a arrow hit the same dent a second or a third time? I think you guys should shoot the same armour a lot more. See how likely that is and if the armour weakeneds and give in when hit at or around the same spot.

  12. I had wondered why some armor had a globe like shape almost like the wearer had a big belly. Seeing this it was obviously by design!

  13. Hey guys, thanks for the amazing video! I found your channel through Shadiversity; Shad highly recommended it, and now I know why. This was incredible! Don't get me wrong – I was pretty sure the arrows wouldn't go through the armor – but I thought they would make more than a dent (especially seeing that humungous bow)! I love that you tried to make everything as authentic as possible, but of course you had me thinking, "could a modern arrow do it?" And you gave us that test too! This was absolutely fantastic, and I really enjoyed it. Like you, I do have some questions that are still unanswered, but even so this was awesome!

  14. Any comment on how the impact would feel to the wearer? That direct hit to the center of the plate looks like it might jar your whole body like getting hit with a heavy blunt object. If it's shot from a 160 pound bow might it feel like getting clobbered by a 100+ pound object by the time it hits?

  15. I would love to see a follow-up video with a dummy in a full suit of plate on a horse dummy with the appropriate barding and see how that works out. Makes me think it wasn't so much being pierced by arrows that took the French knights out but getting knocked off the horse or the horse itself being wounded. Add in the muddy conditions and the odds of being trampled and drowned after getting knocked off your horse.

  16. my big thing is that people were a lot stronger back then. remember they didn't have even a fraction of our convienences. need water? go to the river/ well/ pond/ etc and bring it back. spend all day working building strength and constitution. i say see if the guy would fire the 200lb draw bow and see if it makes a difference.

    also movement means that the "flat" face of the armor isn't always the thickest part as it swings side to side with movement.

  17. at first i dislkied it because he made a big fuss about the people and what they were about to do while playing the good old – nowadays overused – trailer kind of musik , when they were in fact just shooting arrows at armor.
    than i changed and gave it a like because they actually took it serious and also went out of their way to explain why its the best they could do to replicate the scenario instead of just saying "we replicated it" . so now i know what the testing conditions are and that they for example did or didnnt forget anything (like hardened and non hardened arrows(the wood) /arrowheads).
    i mean i was pretty sure the arrows wouldnt pierce the armor because otherwise people would have stopped wearing it 😀 but i didnt think the V shaped thing was anything other than decoration. so it was actually supposed to stop splittering /slittering arrows and stuff from fucking up your throat. i mean makes sense but i didnt think of it :). as im writing a fantasy book thats actually useful knowledge for me .

    gj with the vid and also since all the people gave it their best (like the dedication to making those arrows with good old raw/natural materials) good job with paying them all some respect / introducing them at the beginning.

  18. Those arrows may not have penetrated the breast plate, but those deeper dents would certainly lead to injury for the knight wearing the armour. A cracked rib, soft tissue damage, internal bleeding etc.

  19. Hey!! This was a super cool video!

    Here are a couple of things I would consider to make it a bit more of a test of conditions than at ballistics test of arrows and armor.

    1st. Use a pressure sensor between the ballistic gel and the rest of the armor and padding to
    get an idea of how the energy is felt and consult with a surgeon who has dealt with pistol fire into ballistic vests offering the same level of deflection. Small handguns come to mined. Larger than a.22 but smaller than a 9 mm. Ballistic vests of Kevlar react differently than steel armor to that will be a big part of the equation!

    2nd. Repeat this with 5 archers firing/releasing arrows at the same time.

    3rd. Consider that longbows were primarily used on the horses, and not the Knight. Once unhorsed the knight was at a singular disadvantage due to the weight of armor and lack of visibility.

    4th. Test this on an accurate replica helmet, joint, and leg armor.

    5th. and most importantly, Keep making great videos! This was interesting and fun to watch!!

  20. Great job to everyone! I really appreciate the level of effort and details done as well as the explanation given.
    If there's a video about limbs plating, I would also be curious about side-shots on the plate armor considering the thickness of the armor is thinner on the sides. turning the armor up to 75 degrees and taking a shot on the side might have resulted in a different result and, maybe, could have been the small bit of damage versus weaker armor required for the arrow to either pierce of even just deform the plate (and damaging a rib something).
    This video shows that, during the initial stage of a frontal battle, the plate armor was truly the "life" in "life or death" situation since the first arrow clearly punched through the chainmail. But once the melee stage is reached and the involved armored people start swinging and twisting around, it makes you wonder what would happens.
    Also, I do wonder what kind of difference we would see with a crossbow from an higher position instead of the bow. The crossbow was a prime weapon used from higher ground in fortifications since it allowed shot to be taken without exposing as much of the body as with the bow.

  21. I was also convinced by Shad to watch this video. Glad I did. I am amazed at how brilliantly engineered that piece of armour is. To think that armour was forged and created so long ago just tells you how much went into armour technology at that time. Thanks for conducting and posting this video! So educational!!

  22. what's the take away? am i suppose to believe that st crispin's day battle at agincourt never happened? arrows can't pierce armour so why did the english fight with longbows? did the english fight with longbows? is that another myth?

    okay the english are full of bull shit. i get that. but is it all bull shit? i hope you do a follow up for people like me who want something to believe in even if it's not true.

  23. There are so many questions. First I wonder what happens when a second arrow strikes an existing dent from a previous shot. And then what happens with a third strike? Can multiple arrows finally penetrate? If you have enough archers, it seems like it might be a possibility, though I'm still skeptical of even that.

    What a fan-effing-tastic video guys! This is next-level research.

    Next time I suggest putting up some net around the target to capture the heads and see what sort of deformation is happening.

    Also, we've got to see what starts happening to the armor after 30+ arrows have hit it. How long until the human tanks start to show vulnerability?

  24. This also makes me wonder if some arrowheads were designed to be fragmentary? Broadheads might seem as if they are designed to cut flesh, but could they also explode into pieces and slip into armor? Are other arrowheads better at fragmenting? It seems like the most effective element of an arrow strike against armor, and I would be surprised if the heads weren't designed to accomplish this.

  25. the arrows may have removed all the knights back up people, so in the end it would be a heavily burdened knight dealing with a dozen enemy surrounding him. at which point the knight would surrender. aircraft carriers today need there fleet defence. a knight on knight fight would be won by the knight with the most helpers who would quickly move the the rear of opponent.

  26. If I were buying a suit of armor, I'd have them show me the worst arrow strikes would keep me safe or no sale.
    Actually, it WOULD be strange if the armor didn't work. Whenever adversaries are familiar with each other's weapons, each offensive weapon is countered by a defense or you lose.

    Now what about those huge catapults that tossed massive pointy projectiles?

  27. Very cool. It's a shame that technology evolved so much making armor nearly irrelevant to modern ballistic technology unless you start considering very thick hardened steel and layered polymer armor that's pretty bulky and heavy to help slow down bullets. I want a one mm thick carbon nanotube armor woven into a spandex shirt that can deflect a 50 caliber 100% of the time. Unfortunately it would still probably kill from the impact dents depth crushing bones or shredding tissues while also cooking the dammaged area just a little but, it would still be amazing. I'd pay any price I could afford for such a chemical marvel.

  28. I was under the impression that the English often aimed at the horses. I believe that some horses were armored in the period as well. How do the horse armor compare with the people armor?

  29. Here’s the take away.
    Can arrows defeat armor?
    Eeeehhh… it depends. It depends on:
    1: the quality of the armor.
    2: the poundage of the bow.
    3: the quality of the arrowheads.
    They tested the armor and bows at Agincourt. However, years earlier, there was Crecy. The poundage of the bows was the same. The arrowheads were likely the same. What was different was the quality of the armor the French knights were wearing. They were wearing a softer metal armor than at Agincourt. At that battle, when the knights were quite close to the English archers, the arrows were then defeating the French armor.

  30. Why not factor in the fact that knights were charging on horseback, adding a significant amount of force at impact, with the target moving forward for example ?

  31. Certainly food for thought. It leads to a further question: If the arrows didn't penetrate, then what killed all the French knights at Agincourt? Shock? The shockwaves moving through the gel could perhaps seriously effect a heart.

  32. Amazing video! Although I am wondering about how this test would apply to a volley of arrows. I'm guessing that a whole volley of arrows would create lots of dangerous debri. Which is why the French wore padding ontop of their armor. Which presents the idea of how effective padded armor was against debri. But also when fighting someone in melee combat. It's would be more difficult to pinpoint weak spots and openings, if your opponent was wearing gambison ontop of their plated armor. So many questions and theories! This video really showcased a lot of medieval technology, but also presented many more questions!

  33. I can’t believe I never realized the V on breastplates was to deflect arrows before now. I must concur, you’ve gotta appreciate that bit of design via experience. Poor sods that got arrow shards to the throat!

  34. It's amazing how the strongest bowman with the best bow and arrows can't do jackshit to a decent set of armor, but black powder guns cut through like butter which is why armor as a whole, for the most part, was kind of just a lost concept until kevlar came into existence.

  35. I don't remember exactly where I read it but I was under the impression at least some of the Welsh bowmen at Agincourt (sp?) used 180 to 220lb draw weight bows. (pretty sure it was a 1840's reprint armour book my great aunt gave me, souvenir from some museum) I do remember it had various 'technical ' details I didn't understand (I was about 7 or 8 at the time) Unfortunately I have no idea what happened to the book, last time I saw it I was 11 or 12 (I'm getting on towards 63 now). Also, would a mounted knight coming at you move less than a target allowed to move back on rollers? I'm sure your arrowmaker knows the correct wood for armour piercing arrows (oak, elm, yew, something else??)

  36. Agincourt? The longbowman discarded their bows and used their knives to slaughter the knights caught in the mire, and then the armoured footmen who also got caught there.

  37. This is an awesome video. Brilliant content. I came here via Shadiversity and I am very happy I did. I do have a question. Agincourt being one of the iconic stories of our history, the battle having played out in such a way as to so incredibly favour the use of the bow. How is it the French were so surprised? It's not like the longbow was that new an invention and it had been used substantially in other engagements before. Was it perhaps a logistical situation? (Really large supplies of arrows, with the archers to use them?) There is no way this has a simple answer… but I'd interested to see what people think.

  38. I love how the first shot was the ideal shot any archer of the time would want. lol First he killed the test dummy then further testing proceded.

  39. Armor piercing artillery shells don't have a pointy tip (there's an aerodynamic pointy tip so they'll fly better). The tip is squared off. I wonder if a squared off arrow head would make a difference?

  40. Didn't test with a Night-Elf Master Assassin shooting a quiver full of Druid-Blessed +6 Vorpal Arrows of Piercing vs a Half-Orc Barbarian (with Arrow Cutting feat) in Full Dragon Plate & Mithril Chainmail in a Berserker Rage…

    I CALL BULLSHIT: Roll 1D20 to save vs Turning Gary Gygax (in His Grave.)

  41. surely the archers are not standing square on unless using a cross bow, the longbow archer is almost SIDE on when firing thus making them more vulnerable as the armour is thinner on the sides OR did they account for this and make the archers breast armour thicker on his vunerable side …that would make sense.

  42. Imagine you're lined up with your fellow warriors, waiting for either the word to charge or for the enemy to close with you. Then the archers open fire all you hear is that sound of arrows hitting armor. Tink, tink, tink, each archer loosing an arrow every 5-7 seconds, possibly hundreds of arrows coming towards you. Occasionally a scream as one lucky archer finds an opening in the plate and a comrade goes down… It had to be terrifying. You know there are small gaps in your suit. You know that despite all the practice you've been through, all the battles you may have survived, that it's just random bad luck that will end your life at this stage of the battle and there's little you can do about it. Even if you do not get seriously wounded it will reduce your combat effectiveness as you cringe, maybe spend too much time looking up, maybe try dodging or shielding with you arm. If you're mounted… Your horse is not going to survive if you're standing still (the historical art showed dead horses). So movement, especially random movement is safety, but that messes up the battle line.

    So much to consider about how this affected the battle even if it was ineffective as a killing weapon, it had to have been an effective terror weapon.

  43. Those shots that dented the plate, are they going to knock a knight down, or knock the wind out of him? I'd like to know how badly getting hit by a longbow would stagger somebody.

  44. due to the fact that the British archer pushed the arrow into the ground beside them. A enemy that was wounded by a arrow would get blood poisoning . So, they were using germ war fare unknowingly

  45. Old technology was way better. Easier to produce, easier to fix, easier to maintain and mostly non-toxic.
    Unlike our modern technology, almost anything we produce is toxic, non-fixable, and hard to maintain.

  46. It would be interesting to look at the design of the armor that the french were using. Since they were wearing the colth over their armor, could they have had a different armor design that would force them to wear it to prevent the arrows from hitting their heads or neck?

  47. Great content hell lot of work have been put into it. Good job

    But if armours were that advance why were people using bows till 19 century.

    There must be something missing

    1. Only a few guys used to wear them
    2. They had better arrows
    3. They had better bows or technique

    I saw a video on YouTube not sure what. But it told me that draw weight is not the only factor of force generated by arrow.

    I loved your content but do reply if you think we are missing something

  48. Excellent test. The effectiveness of the breast plate armor Vs The heavy arrow projectile was impressive. This test suggests that the greater advantage was gained by the English Bowmen in choosing a muddy bog flat where the heavy weighted French Knights were lured to their ultimate disadvantage and were rendered unable to move or to rise after falling. I believe was the pivotal disadvantage and effectively negated any advantage attained by the superior numbers of the French Armored Knights at Agincourt. I suspect that The English King in 1415 had planned and was fortunate in finding and selecting a narrow muddy field to challenge the French and to lure them to attack at Agincourt. His order to kill the prisoners was likely based on his anxiety and inability to control a large group of French prisoners with a smaller force of English Bowmen.

  49. You should try heavier arrows nad much bigger distance, it's where penetration comes from. My friend owns a long bow which does more penetration than what you're using here, and we used cheapest plastic arrows…

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