Thursday, January 08, 2009

Weapons VS Armour - an Ancient story...

Abstract: What are the effects of real weapons through real armour? An old story of a test from the dawn of the SCA. Repeated from my posting on NorseFolk.

Way back at the dawn of SCA time (when dinosaurs walked the earth) A fellow, AKA Sir Polidor Haroldson (sp?), was a major maker and teacher in the making of armours. (Now this was back when we used freon tanks for helmets, boys and girls. Yes, Really!) Polidor undertook a series of weapons effects testing against armour types.

Now the 'rules of the list' standard back in those simple days was 'Hard enough to effect a killing blow against a target armoured in chain maile' It was not 'as hard as possible'. It was expected that all blows would have the ability of reserve power sufficient to provide killing force - even if that force was not fully expressed against the target. Meaning use of the soft hand, 'I could have hit you harder but you were wide open (and I did not want to actually hurt you)'. And yes children, we really did think we were training to use real weapons on real targets. (Admittedly, the combat arts were new and we did not have much of a clue what we were doing - this *was* AS 10 after all!)

Back to Polidor.
He and his gang made up some replicas of Medieval weapons, and some armours. They 'recruited' a dead sheep. The one test I can remember being told about was chain maile (the standard) against a flanged mace. The maile was butt linked (just twisted, not welded or riveted) over a padded gameson. This was dressed on the body, which was hung from a tree. The mace was something like 5 lbs, a set of 1/4 inch wide triangle plates welded to the end of a 18 inch (or so) pipe shaft. Polidor stands to, assumes a stance as if wearing a shield, and throws down with what would have been considered at the time 'a good killing blow'. (Now I had actually been beaten by Polidor a bit later at a tourney, and I remember he hit on the higher end of the force scale for the times, but still quite reasonable.)
Anyway, they take the sheep down. Take off the armour. No mark at all under the impact point. Hmmm...
So they open up the body. The ribs under the impact point had been shattered and tore away from the rib cage. The splinters had been driven clear through the organ mass and were now laying against the opposite side of the rib cage. On the way through, the splinters had perforated every major organ. The general opinion of the testers that the victom would have 'bled out' in a minute or less.

Now thats an ancient story, and the details are sure to be fuzzy. I heard it second hand near the time. Me old memory aint that good...

Addition: A latter post by Folo suggested that this tale actually relates to Andrew of Seldom Rest. Now Andrew was the original 'heavy hitter', which changes the implications about force and early SCA fighting styles!

No comments:


February 15 - May 15, 2012 : Supported by a Crafts Projects - Creation and Development Grant

COPYRIGHT NOTICE - All posted text and images @ Darrell Markewitz.
No duplication, in whole or in part, is permitted without the author's expressed written permission.
For a detailed copyright statement : go HERE