Arrows vs Armour: Agincourt Myth Busting

Field of Glory II is a turn-based tactical game set during the Rise of Rome from 280 BC to 25 BC.
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Arrows vs Armour: Agincourt Myth Busting

Post by uneducated » Tue Sep 03, 2019 9:52 pm

A video investigation here with some pretty powerful bow and arrows! Seeing that arrow, I don't care how thick the armour is. I don't want it heading anywhere near!

https://invidiou.sh/watch?v=DBxdTkddHaE

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Re: Arrows vs Armour: Agincourt Myth Busting

Post by MVP7 » Wed Sep 04, 2019 11:32 am

Thanks for the link. That's probably the best practical video on the subject I have seen so far. It's a bit shame they didn't test the chainmail and padded armour more.

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Re: Arrows vs Armour: Agincourt Myth Busting

Post by Latro » Wed Sep 04, 2019 2:35 pm

They said that there are going to be follow up videos.
Anyway that one arrow went straight through that single layer of mail.

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Re: Arrows vs Armour: Agincourt Myth Busting

Post by MikeC_81 » Wed Sep 04, 2019 11:23 pm

Absolutely fantastic video. I was shocked at how little resistance riveted mail provided on the shot that slipped under the plate. Even though they shot at the plate at the central bulge there was still denting at close range.

One thing that surprised me was the cloth doublet worn over the plate providing much the same function as a rubber coating on modern steel plate armour which is designed to hold shrapnel from the bullet exploding on the plate from hitting your neck and arms. In this case, stopping the arrows from exploding and sending wooden shrapnel was impressive. I guess similar problems lend themselves to similar solutions.
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Re: Arrows vs Armour: Agincourt Myth Busting

Post by melm » Sat Sep 07, 2019 5:50 pm

It's fantastic video. Although from my previous knowledge that arrow can't penetrate the plate, which I guessed right, the impact power of the shots and effectiveness of jupon still amazed me. Thanks for the link.

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Re: Arrows vs Armour: Agincourt Myth Busting

Post by FightingPoultry » Mon Sep 09, 2019 10:56 pm

Great video - while it admirably demonstrated the strength of breast plates to withstand a direct impact face on - i think the real effect of the bow was from an arrow storm coming down vertically into masses of knights an horses - the french may have been wearing armour, but the horses were most definitely not and i suppose once the horses are panicking and dieing and french knights are falling off horses etc , that's when all those chinks and weaker parts in the armour really start to get exposed . Fascinating stuff.

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Re: Arrows vs Armour: Agincourt Myth Busting

Post by MikeC_81 » Mon Sep 09, 2019 11:50 pm

Arrows coming down verticcally have lost almost all their kinetic energy and would be unlikely to do any harm at all. French horses did have armour or padding. There is absolutely no evidence for the English using bows to "arc" arrows into the enemy. Almost all iconography, as well as practical tests with modern replicas like this video, indicates that you need to shoot flat and you need to be relatively close, to do damage.
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Re: Arrows vs Armour: Agincourt Myth Busting

Post by SnuggleBunnies » Tue Sep 10, 2019 1:03 am

That and the vast majority of the french army at agincourt was on foot.

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Re: Arrows vs Armour: Agincourt Myth Busting

Post by General Shapur » Tue Sep 10, 2019 2:23 am

Not everyone had good quality plate some had none in some locations. Wounds and arrows lodged in your armour would hamper your ability to fight. Period descriptions describe bodies covered in arrows - penetrating a little and lodged there. Just being hit by an arrow would rattle you I think.
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Re: Arrows vs Armour: Agincourt Myth Busting

Post by jomni » Tue Sep 10, 2019 4:33 am

I would imagine a pointy thing pressing on (but not piercing) your body would hurt too. It may cause bruises.

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Re: Arrows vs Armour: Agincourt Myth Busting

Post by MVP7 » Tue Sep 10, 2019 3:22 pm

General Shapur wrote:
Tue Sep 10, 2019 2:23 am
Not everyone had good quality plate some had none in some locations. Wounds and arrows lodged in your armour would hamper your ability to fight. Period descriptions describe bodies covered in arrows - penetrating a little and lodged there. Just being hit by an arrow would rattle you I think.
I have never seen accounts of arrows being stuck in plate, only in mail and it's doubtful even that would be a major issue if the arrow hasn't penetrated into the person wearing the armour. Arrows are usually designed to get stuck and be hard to remove but that's not really possible with arrows designed to penetrate armour. In tests I have seen, the shaft of the arrow/bolt often breaks when hitting armour without glancing.

When it comes to the "quality plate" I have yet to see any testing where a plate of any quality would have been penetrated. I also doubt that anyone would produce a full plate of such low quality that it would shatter from arrows. There are easier to manufacture armour types if good plate is not an option for the armourer. When it comes to coat of plates, brigandine and lamellar I'd imagine low quality is more likely to be a factor.

Here's a pretty good video about armour vs crossbow: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XMT6hjwY8NQ
jomni wrote:
Tue Sep 10, 2019 4:33 am
I would imagine a pointy thing pressing on (but not piercing) your body would hurt too. It may cause bruises.
When it comes to hitting plate, the actual depth of the thrust from arrow/bolt denting the armor isn't that much and under the plate is gambeson or some other sort of padded armour which would absorb most of the impact and definitely wouldn't be penetrated. I would be surprised if the end result is much worse than being hit by paintball gun from close range. It definitely hurts and leaves hell of a bruise but it's not something that's going to effect you during proper adrenaline rush.

In my opinion, the main effect of any bows and crossbows on armoured target would have to be from arrows hitting the various gaps between plates (Tod's Workshop's video definitely demonstrates how effective that can be). That's likely to take several harmless impacts to the plate (which could of course be a bit stressful to the wearer) and a good archer would probably aim at generally weak areas of armour even if aiming directly at gaps and slits wouldn't be realistic.

At least for Turks, shooting the horses of knights was an important tactic long before knights started wearing plate. In both of the videos here the armour is being shot from very short range. In combat the shooting as shown in the videos would occur at pretty much the last moment before impact. A typical combat range would likely be a good bit longer. I have not seen experiments where armour is being shot from over 100 meters, not to mention from some "barrage" distance. During crusades period, Turks were notorious for often shooting their arrows from extremely long ranges in high arcs and their effectiveness on even padded armour was pretty awful when used in such way.

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Re: Arrows vs Armour: Agincourt Myth Busting

Post by leonardus68 » Thu Oct 10, 2019 10:56 am

And what's so fantastic here ? It's very clear that the a cumulationof factors win the battle for the english. It's very logic. Horses were mowed down by the arrows and the rear lines just stumble upon the front, having a big mass of bodies killed by own weight ! That's Agincourt for short ! Tight mass of cavalry charging against missiles was always a bad idea. Point.

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Re: Arrows vs Armour: Agincourt Myth Busting

Post by SnuggleBunnies » Thu Oct 10, 2019 2:43 pm

leonardus68 wrote:
Thu Oct 10, 2019 10:56 am
And what's so fantastic here ? It's very clear that the a cumulationof factors win the battle for the english. It's very logic. Horses were mowed down by the arrows and the rear lines just stumble upon the front, having a big mass of bodies killed by own weight ! That's Agincourt for short ! Tight mass of cavalry charging against missiles was always a bad idea. Point.
Except that besides a small diversionary force, the French army was entirely on foot. So not point.

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Re: Arrows vs Armour: Agincourt Myth Busting

Post by MikeC_81 » Mon Oct 14, 2019 5:02 pm

MVP7 wrote:
Tue Sep 10, 2019 3:22 pm
When it comes to the "quality plate" I have yet to see any testing where a plate of any quality would have been penetrated. I also doubt that anyone would produce a full plate of such low quality that it would shatter from arrows. There are easier to manufacture armour types if good plate is not an option for the armourer. When it comes to coat of plates, brigandine and lamellar I'd imagine low quality is more likely to be a factor.
It is likely that not everyone was in full plate harness. Most footmen who were non-noble definitely wore brigandine style armour which mainly protected the torso and offered inferior protection elsewhere. Arms and legs largely uncovered by plate and mainly with mail which we already know is suspect for protection. First party accounts also seem to indicate that visors and breathing slits in helmets were vulnerable to arrows and most men tucked their heads down to try and limit this type of exposure. English archers probably held the majority of their volume of fire until around 50 meters or less. Arthur of Richemont who fought for the French in Agincourt specifically states that the arrows broke up his line just as they closed to distance where the final charge needed to take place, just as when they would need to lift their heads and their visors as they prepared for hand to hand melee.
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Re: Arrows vs Armour: Agincourt Myth Busting

Post by Jagger2002 » Mon Oct 14, 2019 5:55 pm

where the final charge needed to take place,
What distance would that be? I imagine pretty close range if they wanted a coherent front on contact. I really don't know but I assumed infantry advanced at a walk up to about 10-15 meters. Then perhaps short dashes by individuals or small groups in an attempt to close with advantage and see where and if the defenders shrink back. I have never felt comfortable with the mass of troops breaking ranks with a mad dash forward from 100 meters concept.

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Re: Arrows vs Armour: Agincourt Myth Busting

Post by MikeC_81 » Mon Oct 14, 2019 6:17 pm

Sadly we don't know as the distances are typically not mentioned in these types of things and the gentleman is long dead so we cannot get clarification :) . I would assume no more than 50-75 meters at the very most. It was a hot day on soft ground and with your head tucked down and only a small slit to see out of I can only imagine that it would have been slow going right up until the last second when you would risk flipping up the visor and running in. It seems clear though that some Frenchmen never got close enough. There is an author that puts forward the notion that the majority of French casualties were simply trampling and suffocation as they packed themselves in trying to avoid flanking arrow fire.
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Re: Arrows vs Armour: Agincourt Myth Busting

Post by rbodleyscott » Tue Oct 15, 2019 9:15 am

Jagger2002 wrote:
Mon Oct 14, 2019 5:55 pm
I have never felt comfortable with the mass of troops breaking ranks with a mad dash forward from 100 meters concept.
That is just Hollywood/TV. It relates in no way to historical battle tactics. (Any more than the ludicrous testudo-like representation of shieldwalls in Last Kingdom).

Sadly the media is not the place to look for realistic battle depictions.
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Re: Arrows vs Armour: Agincourt Myth Busting

Post by TheGrayMouser » Tue Oct 15, 2019 11:15 am

There was a history channel show about 15 years ago about the mud at Agincourt. Sadly, although I can find references to it on the web, no videos etc can be found.
A brief recap : the mud is clay like in the area, the fields were freshly plowed and sopping wet. The men were sinking in past ankles. The French men at arms were wearing sabotons , smooth and rigid and exerting more weight on a smaller surface area than say a leather shod foot.

Hydraulic pistons were used to simulate the French walking across he mud. What they found was although sinking in the mud was certainly not helpful, the worst effect was trying to pull you legs out. The clay, enveloping the smooth surface of steel armor created a true suction effect. Hip flexor muscles are not really designed for heavy work, the men must have been cramped up, exhausted and barely able to walk when reached the English line.

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Re: Arrows vs Armour: Agincourt Myth Busting

Post by MikeC_81 » Tue Oct 15, 2019 11:22 pm

rbodleyscott wrote:
Tue Oct 15, 2019 9:15 am
Jagger2002 wrote:
Mon Oct 14, 2019 5:55 pm
I have never felt comfortable with the mass of troops breaking ranks with a mad dash forward from 100 meters concept.
That is just Hollywood/TV. It relates in no way to historical battle tactics. (Any more than the ludicrous testudo-like representation of shieldwalls in Last Kingdom).

Sadly the media is not the place to look for realistic battle depictions.
Come on, it looks amazing though.
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Re: Arrows vs Armour: Agincourt Myth Busting

Post by rbodleyscott » Wed Oct 16, 2019 8:54 am

MikeC_81 wrote:
Tue Oct 15, 2019 11:22 pm
rbodleyscott wrote:
Tue Oct 15, 2019 9:15 am
Jagger2002 wrote:
Mon Oct 14, 2019 5:55 pm
I have never felt comfortable with the mass of troops breaking ranks with a mad dash forward from 100 meters concept.
That is just Hollywood/TV. It relates in no way to historical battle tactics. (Any more than the ludicrous testudo-like representation of shieldwalls in Last Kingdom).

Sadly the media is not the place to look for realistic battle depictions.
Come on, it looks amazing though.
If you say so. I would prefer a realistic depiction, if only because the Hollywood/TV travesties can lead to people complaining when the game does not match them!
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