Arrows

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Arrows

Postby Thearos » 09 Oct 2016 18:11

An article on issues which the forum often discusses

https://www.academia.edu/7691143/Arrows ... ail_armour
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Re: Arrows

Postby Dan Howard » 07 Nov 2016 13:23

He goes to some trouble to tell us how medieval mail was made and then ignores all of that and uses Indian mail as test pieces. He also tells us about various metallurgical analyses of arrowheads and then ignores all of that and uses hardened steel bodkins.
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Re: Arrows

Postby Strelets » 28 Nov 2016 05:49

The metallurgical analyses showed that hardened steel was available to medieval arrowsmiths, even if it was not always used. In addition to hardened steel, one bodkin made from medieval iron was used in the tests. The results for hard steel and medieval iron were not significantly different. It is therefore entirely valid to use hard steel. This is much more resistant to damage than softer iron or steel, and gives that advantage that the same head can be used repeatedly for all the tests, thus eliminating one variable.

Yes, I used commercially available mail for the tests pieces. Did you expect me to use genuine medieval mail?

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Re: Arrows

Postby Dan Howard » 01 Dec 2016 11:40

Bodkins were not used for armour piercing; the available evidence suggests that they were used on flight arrows. The compact broadhead was the primary armour piercer, which is why these are found made from hardened steel while bodkins are made from soft wrought iron.

If you want to know why the mail you used is completely unsuitable for weapons testing, this might prove edifying.
http://myarmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t=19189
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Re: Arrows

Postby Strelets » 01 Dec 2016 15:21

Long bodkin points began to be used in Europe in the 10th century onwards, becoming very common in the 12th and 13th centuries and then declining in the 14th century. This coincides exactly with the rise and then decline of mail. Furthermore, tests show that long bodkin points are the most reliable way of penetrating mail and gambeson combinations. This convinces me that penetration of mail was their primary purpose.

Medieval mail was made in a very wide range of ring diameters and wire gauges. Unfortunately the available commercial mail tends to be of lighter gauge and wider diameter, but still within the range of medieval samples. There is one sample of medieval mail in Salisbury museum that has an internal diameter of 9 to 10 mm; wide enough to allow a long bodkin to pass through without jamming in the ring.

There is much discussion on whether modern wedge rivets are equivalent to medieval. In current tests I am using mail with half-riveted, half solid rings. The bodkins often reach potentially lethal depths of penetration even when the shot centres a solid ring. Similarly, the steel leaf (a "compact broadhead") is capable of cutting a solid ring (1 mm thick, 2 mm wide and 8 mm ID) into two separate halves. The rivet type then becomes irrelevant.
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Re: Arrows

Postby Dan Howard » 01 Dec 2016 22:14

The so called "rise of mail" occurred around a thousand years earlier than you seem to think and was the preferred type of armour in virtually every metal using culture on the planet for all of that time.

Modern Indian wedge riveted mail is much less capable of resisting weapons than museum examples for all of the reasons listed in that link. The only dissent comes from those who couldn't be bothered doing the research required for decent weapons tests.

Bodkins are not armour-piercers. 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, the hardened arrowheads found are not of a bodkin typology but of various broadhead typologies. All bodkins so far examined have turned out to be unhardened.

3. If you shoot a bodkin type arrowhead and a broadhead arrow weighing 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.

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 and we have 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. Around a quarter of the arrowheads found on the Mary Rose were bodkins. The rest were broadheads.

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 flight arrows were heavier than those used in competitions but not as heavy as the armour piercers, which could weigh up to a quarter of a pound each.

It is very easy to debunk the above theory: simply produce an extant bodkin for a longbow arrow made from hardened steel.
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Re: Arrows

Postby Strelets » 03 Dec 2016 17:53

"It is very easy to debunk the above theory: simply produce an extant bodkin for a longbow arrow made from hardened steel."


OK. See page 137 of "Armes du Diable: Arcs et Arbaletes au Moyen Age". Valerie Serdon, Presses Universitaires de Rennes, 2005. ISBN 2-73535-0039-8.

This gives the analyses of 13 arrow or bolt heads. Seven were of steel and the remainder of iron. Four of the steel heads were of long bodkin types, similar to the ones that I used in the tests.

However, this is somewhat beside the point. My tests show that hardened steel is not necessary for the bodkin, it works just as well in soft iron. But steel is necessary for broader heads that need to cut through the mail and still remain sharp enough to cut through the gambeson.
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Re: Arrows

Postby Dan Howard » 03 Dec 2016 23:06

Crossbow bolt heads are not longbow arrow heads. We don't have a single longbow arrowhead of a bodkin typology made of hardened steel.

The other problem is the lack of an arrowhead that was used on Smythe's flight arrows. If the bodkin was not used on these then what was?

You never shot anything that resembles historical mail so your test didn't show much at all. It is pretty clear from the historical accounts that mail was far more resistant against arrows than you seem to think. Mail was the most expensive type of armour ever invented yet it was the preferred type of armour for well over a thousand years and during this entire time the most prevalent threat on the battlefield was from arrows and spears.

http://myarmoury.com/feature_mail.html

If a physical test contradicts the historical record then there are fundamental problems with the test. Just to repeat, here is a list of problems with the mail you used which makes it completely unsuitable for weapons testing. A lot of this mail is so weak that it can be ripped apart with your hands.

* The thickness of the wire is generally too light for the diameter of the link, making it lighter but less capable of resisting a weapon.
* Holes are made with a punch rather than a drift. This leaves a lot less metal around the rivet to help secure it.
* Rivet holes are either too large or not centred. Both will leave too little material on one or both sides and the link will tear too easily.
* The links are hammered way too thin (probably to make them easier to punch), but this greatly reduces the strength of the link
* Rivets are incorrectly set. If a rivet is not peened tightly, the link will pull apart too easily
* There isn't enough overlap in the lapped section of the link to create a decent join
* Wrong shape rivet hole. Indian mail has rectangular holes. Historical wedge-riveted mail has ovoid holes. Rectangular holes tear very easily at the corners. Circular or ovoid holes are much stronger
* Incorrect metallurgy. Mild steel (or even so-called modern "iron") is not as ductile as bloomery iron and it is more likely to snap upon impact instead of stretching/bending
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Re: Arrows

Postby Strelets » 13 Dec 2016 15:26

We don't have a single longbow arrowhead of a bodkin typology made of hardened steel.

Yes we do. See Jones, Peter N. "The Metallography and Relative Effectiveness of Arrowheads and Armor During the Middle Ages. Materials Characterization 29: 111-117.
This describes a long (130 mm) bodkin of Jessop's Type M8. The socket was of low carbon iron, and the blade of 0.35% carbon steel of remarkably fine grain size, less than 10 microns.

Crossbow bolt heads are not longbow arrow heads.

In the 21st century the same heads are often used for arrows and crossbow missiles. The same could be true of the middle ages. The steel bodkins reported by Serdon correspond closely in type and socket diameter with those that would have been unhesitatingly described as "arrowheads" if found in England. The technology to produce hardened steel bodkins clearly existed in England and France; whether they were mounted on longbow or crossbow missiles could be down to choice of weapon.

The other problem is the lack of an arrowhead that was used on Smythe's flight arrows.

Why is this a problem? Smythe wrote in 1590, more than 200 years after the long bodkins (LM Type 7, Jessop Types M7 and M8) had largely disappeared from the archaeological record (London Museum Catalogues; No 7, Medieval Catalogue, HMSO, pp 65-72,1954). Whatever heads Smythe had in mind for flight arrows, they were certainly not long bodkins, which are not light (26.7 grams for the "Urqhart" head, which compares well with some medieval specimens that I have weighed).

Just to repeat

Not necessary. You have appear to have seen "Made in India" and responded with this list that you first published some years ago, rather than reading and replying to what I actually wrote.

The thickness of the wire is generally too light for the diameter of the link.
The mail that I used was within the medieval range of thickness to ring diameter ratio (see Table 1).

Holes are made with a punch rather than a drift. This leaves a lot less metal around the rivet to help secure it....Rivet holes are either too large or not centred.
Not on the wedge-riveted mail that I used. See the left hand rings in Figure 1.

Rivets are incorrectly set
. A few were. That is why the mail was carefully inspected and any defective rivets replaced.

There isn't enough overlap in the lapped section of the link to create a decent join
.
There is an overlap of 5 to 6 mm.

Wrong shape rivet hole. Indian mail has rectangular holes
.
Not in the mail that I used, see Figure 1.
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Re: Arrows

Postby Dan Howard » 27 Dec 2016 10:32

The main problem with the mail you used was that the links were hammered way too thin. The more recent Indian mail products are actually worse than the earlier ones as they cut more and more corners to reduce the price. The original product introduced by Steve Sheldon wasn't too bad. Their mail has gotten progressively worse since then.

Why is this a problem? Smythe wrote in 1590

And the Mary Rose was lost in 1545. Only a generation earlier. The arrows and equipment described by Smythe were likely on that ship.
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