How did plated armour work in combat? - Politics Forum.org | PoFo

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End of Roman society, feudalism, rise of religious power, beginnings of the nation-state, renaissance (476 - 1492 CE).
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#14120985
I just visited the royal armory and I got to look at this in detail. I think the idea was to bash the other guy carefully until he collapsed from heat stroke. At that point it was fairly easy to turn him face up and put a plastic bag over his head.
#14120988
If two combatants were dressed in full plate armour, how would that work out? Did they just bludgeon each other in the head until one of them was knocked unconscious?


That's one option. With a heavy enough blow you could fold in the helmet and cause a compression fracture to the guy wearing it (which would kill him), but more likely you'd try to get your sword into a place on the armor where two pieces met. When a heavily armored person (like a knight) was fighting someone who was not heavily armored, the guy without was SOL unless he had an armor breaker, basically a heavy ax/pick combination on the end of a pole. The ax could be used to to kill regular people, and the pick would be able to penetrate the armor and kill the squishy parts inside.
#14120992
I think the solution was a pair of sneakers, a sign on your back that said "your mother was a whore", and a fairly thin but long ice-pick device. With this equipment I take off walking fast, the dude in iron chases me, he eventually collapses, and I use the pick to blind him. Then I strip him, put the junk on my mule and send him back to his buddies with the sign stuck on his chest.
#14121024
You typically didn't wear full plate armour in melee combat. It was designed to be used in a heavy cavalry charge. In fact plate armour was developed in response to stuff like longbows and later gunpowder that shot through chain mail.
#14121036
I'm pretty sure the longbow undermined plate armor, Travesty, not promote it. Plate-armored knights, for instance, had been a part of war for hundreds of years when, at the battle of Agincourt, the English made quite a pointed argument against the validity of French Knights in battle.
#14121050
Thats true Figlio. However Plate Armour did start to develop only towards the late middle Ages when the technology became available. And It did get heavier and heavier in response to new weapons until it really became obsolete.
#14121107
I bet you are right, it had to be used with horses. I did notice most of the suits had a hook under the right armpit to hold a lance. I think the trick is to use volunteers to put on turtle like wooden suits, with protruding blades. two lines of these guys could be followed by two lines of guys holding plastic bags. When the horsemen fell then bags could be applied over their faces.
#14121416
Captain Sam wrote:If two combatants were dressed in full plate armour, how would that work out? Did they just bludgeon each other in the head until one of them was knocked unconscious?

As better plate armour became more common, so did weapons intended to defeat it. So while a sword isn't much good against someone in full plate, a decent mace, hammer or pick could either create enough concussive force to make the armour less relevant or for something like a pick - just make holes in it.

Figlio di Moros wrote:I'm pretty sure the longbow undermined plate armor, Travesty, not promote it. Plate-armored knights, for instance, had been a part of war for hundreds of years when, at the battle of Agincourt, the English made quite a pointed argument against the validity of French Knights in battle.

Yes and no. Higher quality plate could actually withstand shots from a longbow, and some could even stand up to the handguns of the era. While full plate armour did fall out of favour, plate-armoured cavalry continued for quite a while after that in the form of cuirassiers. On the other hand one of the more significant innovations of the longbowman wasn't just his weapon, but the principle that a nation could raise units of well trained, reasonably effective infantry. This is reflected even more as pike-based formations become more popular.

Social_Critic wrote:At that point it was fairly easy to turn him face up and put a plastic bag over his head.

If you're trying to be funny you aren't doing a very good job.
#14123905
If two combatants were both wearing plate armor they would be knights and would usually not kill their opponant but would capture him for ransom...but if they really wanted to kill their man they would use a dagger or something to get between the plates...

But unless I'm mistaken, what nearly made the armored horseman obsolete was one of these:

Image

With one of these a footman could hook a knight from horseback and open him like a can of peas while on the ground...and these footmen did not take prisoners for ransom!
#14126073
How did plated armour work in combat? It didn't work very well when heavy cavalry faced well trained light cavalry armed with powerful bows and organized with a fast and well run communications system. This is from Wikipedia about the defeat of an European army at Legnica

The New Encyclopædia Britannica, Volume 29, says that "Employed against the Mongol invaders of Europe, knightly warfare failed even more disastrously for the Poles at Legnica and the Hungarians at Mohi in 1241. Feudal Europe was saved from sharing the fate of China and Muscovy not by its tactical prowess but by the unexpected death of the Mongols' supreme ruler, Ogedei, and the subsequent eastward retreat of his armies


This battle took place in 1241.

Here's excerpts from Wikipedia about the battle of Manzikert between Byzantines and Selyuk Turks in 1071:

The Seljuks were organized into a crescent formation about four kilometres away.[15] Seljuk archers attacked the Byzantines as they drew closer; the centre of their crescent continually moved backwards while the wings moved to surround the Byzantine troops.


Also, later in the battle we read:

However, the right and left wings, where the arrows did most of their damage, almost broke up when individual units tried to force the Seljuks into a pitched battle; the Seljuk cavalry simply disengaged when challenged, the classic hit and run tactics of steppe warriors. With the Seljuks avoiding battle, Romanos was forced to order a withdrawal by the time night fell.


In "Theory and Practice of Medieval Warfare" we can see that heavy armour was rarely used when on foot, and that it was oversold by historians. The key most texts repeat, is that it was necessary to have a well organized army opposing them. And when I thought of it, the great historical defeats were between armies using heavy cavalry and armies using light cavalry which had effective tactics to refuse engagement. As they say at West Point, they were adept at asymetrical warfare. I mention Manzikert and Legnica because they were defeats in which European armies fought against light archer cavalry.

Regarding whether an arrow could go through chain mail, evidently it could do well enough - it was the mongol's use of a heavy compound bow, coupled to the light cavalry which allowed them to conquer such a large empire.

I know my posts are too subtle and lack the ponderousness some of you wish to see, but if we distill what goes on, it's the refusal to hold ground, the ability to surround, and the discipline to wait until the enemy is gasping for air which allows victory in almost all circumstances. This lesson seems to be lost to US generals in Afghanistan, and to others who like to write and play act warfare.
#14270929
One could bang around like an insane tank, but most would want to avoid destroying their armor.
The basic principle was using superior arms against ones opponent, as in a knight in armor, on horseback against a mob of poorly armored foot soldiers. However in singular combat, with an equally equipped foe, it would come down to wit, experience and technique.



The idea.
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The how.
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