Bullet Proof Medieval Armor.


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  1. #1
    Member Rojack79's Avatar
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    Bullet Proof Medieval Armor.

    Does anyone have an extensive knowledge of black powder firearms and if so can they tell me how bullet proof armor of the 14th century was against them? I have a sparse knowledge of medieval firearms but it's not enough for me to be comfortable when it comes to putting them in my books. I'd like to get a better knowledge of them in general before I use them and would love it someone could help me out in that regard.
    This might not be my best work but that just means there's room to improve.

  2. #2
    Medieval armor was designed to protect against blunt force trauma from melee combat. It offered some projection against volley fire from archers as well. However, even the crossbowmen that preceded the earliest musketeers could already penetrate armor.
    And crossbow bolts only fly at 300-400 fps.
    I have no doubt that both chain mail and plate armor would slow down a 68 caliber projectile traveling at 900 feet per second. I can also guarantee that no medieval armor would be "bullet-proof."
    Musket balls were soft lead, but medieval armor was only about 3mm thick max. And even if it didn't penetrate, hundreds of foot-pounds of energy would smash against the plate, knocking the wearer on his ass, probably breaking a few ribs.
    Ironically, Classical-era Phalanx armor would perform better. Greek armor utilized layers of leather, soft metal and wood that would deform and absorb the energy of a projectile.
    Other factors to consider are length of the barrel (pistol or rifle) and range to target. A big, heavy pistol ball at fifty yards might just bounce off of a metal chest plate. Whereas a 40" long musket would not.

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  3. #3
    Armor would slow a black powder ball (the Minnie had not been invented when they still wore armor) but not stop it.
    If you were wearing modern steel over chain mail (also made of modern steel) then a black powder round of the era would be stopped, and you'd just walk away with a bad bruise.

    But back then, armor was made with old steel...pig-iron, and it simply did not have the hardness. Hell, that was malleable metal, soft by modern Rockwell hardness standards. A rifle could shoot right through the armor. However, the ball would have lost a lot of energy in the process, so you are not assured a kill. Often it would just injure them.

    Also, in the era where armor overlapped firearms, the matchlock was king. Flintlocks were the next great technological era. And with a matchlock, there is a terrible delay between pulling the trigger and firing. The only people who couldn't get out of the way in time were guys in metal suits.

    Lemme know if you have more detailed questions.

  4. #4
    Oh, and penetration against armor was something that happened at ranges under 100 yards.
    Beyond that range, the subsonic ball shed too much energy and would simply leave a big dent.


    (but the sights in that era were horrible, so hitting someone further than 25 yards was tough.)

  5. #5
    Mentor Dluuni's Avatar
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    For awhile, armorers would test plate armor by shooting a musket at it, armor was sold dented. As firearms improved, the armor had to be thicker, until it was too thick to wear.

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    Great. Now i know that some character's will be able to survive gun combat a bit better than other's depending on the gun, the range, and the armor. Also i didn't know that modern day armor was that good compared to way back when. Also good to know. I'm kind of stuck on just what the technological era would be here. This world is our just done differently. It's a literal all myths are true world with The Big Guy Upstairs having created the world and then all of the other pantheons following after various human's, nephalem, and monsters came into existence due to magic becoming real. The tech level for this world is all over the place with trains as the main mode of transportation and Gun's are just now coming into the picture and they aren't the best thing ever however the armor and weapons of the ere are top quality comparable to our own made with today's technology.
    This might not be my best work but that just means there's room to improve.

  7. #7
    "armorers would test plate armor by shooting a musket at it"

    I have heard this before in internet discussions, but never seen it published by any reliable sources.
    I have, however, seen this with respect to crossbows:
    https://books.google.com/books?id=Ec...t%20it&f=false

    But you are right Rojak; it will not kill them all, so you have plenty of leeway to kill whoever you want, and spare the ones you need.

  8. #8
    Member Rojack79's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ralph Rotten View Post
    "armorers would test plate armor by shooting a musket at it"

    I have heard this before in internet discussions, but never seen it published by any reliable sources.
    I have, however, seen this with respect to crossbows:
    https://books.google.com/books?id=Ec...t%20it&f=false

    But you are right Rojak; it will not kill them all, so you have plenty of leeway to kill whoever you want, and spare the ones you need.
    Now that was an interesting read. If I read it correctly they tested out modern weapons on plate armor and found it protective or did they use guns from that period? Either way that is cool that the armor held up to that kind of abuse and firepower. If that is indeed the truth of the matter either way then i can have some very harrowing action scenes involving the character's, their weapons, armor, skills, and magic.
    This might not be my best work but that just means there's room to improve.

  9. #9
    Don't underrate the bow and arrow. Tests on bows recovered from the Mary Rose suggest a pull of well over a hundred pounds on a long bow, a trained archer could probably fire an arrow up to three hundred and fifty yards. Think an arrow made from hardwood like ash or oak, a clothyard long, and about an inch thick, or a bit more, with a 'needlepoint' tip, basically a large bullet on the end. That is heavy, and it fires in a long trajectory so it gathers momentum as it descends. Most of the French heavy cavalry charging the English archers at Crecy got nowhere near them. Cross bows and firearms were used as much shorter range weapons put between pikemen with long spears so they could retreat behind them when cavalry got too close.

    If you really want to know about Medieval warfare the book to read is 'The Art of War in the Middle Ages' by Oman. I read it as a two volume book, but it is old enough and well known enough I bet it is available on line for free. It was a really good read, it covers from the last of the Romans to the early fifteen-hundreds, but amazingly French foreign legion was still using some of the basic Roman tactics in Algeria in the 1960's.
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  10. #10
    Member Rojack79's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Olly Buckle View Post
    Don't underrate the bow and arrow. Tests on bows recovered from the Mary Rose suggest a pull of well over a hundred pounds on a long bow, a trained archer could probably fire an arrow up to three hundred and fifty yards. Think an arrow made from hardwood like ash or oak, a clothyard long, and about an inch thick, or a bit more, with a 'needlepoint' tip, basically a large bullet on the end. That is heavy, and it fires in a long trajectory so it gathers momentum as it descends. Most of the French heavy cavalry charging the English archers at Crecy got nowhere near them. Cross bows and firearms were used as much shorter range weapons put between pikemen with long spears so they could retreat behind them when cavalry got too close.

    If you really want to know about Medieval warfare the book to read is 'The Art of War in the Middle Ages' by Oman. I read it as a two volume book, but it is old enough and well known enough I bet it is available on line for free. It was a really good read, it covers from the last of the Romans to the early fifteen-hundreds, but amazingly French foreign legion was still using some of the basic Roman tactics in Algeria in the 1960's.
    This all of it is intriguing. I shall see if i can find this online to read.
    This might not be my best work but that just means there's room to improve.

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