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Old 26 March 2008, 01:40 PM
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rlobinske rlobinske is offline
Join Date: 15 December 2005
Location: Florida
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Originally Posted by Squirt View Post
I can well imagine armour making you stinky - I've done some kendo and after a couple of hours in the light weight padded armour used you pong to high heaven. A full day in metal armour with a quilted jacket and under clothes would make you smell horrific.
Oh yes, you can get real funky.

Story with "EWW" factor ahead.

Years ago, I was in south Florida and after spending most of the day in SCA fighting, I was padding down and had hung my gambeson (the padded jacket) on the stump of a tree limb to dry out a little before putting it in my armor bag. Since it was hot, I hadn't put a shirt on and was standing around near the gambeson talking to a friend when my wife pointed out that there was a swarm of mosquitoes ignoring my bare skin and attacking the gambeson instead.
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Old 26 March 2008, 01:50 PM
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Chloe Chloe is offline
Join Date: 13 September 2004
Location: Kentucky
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Originally Posted by Troberg View Post
You simply can't sneak in plate armour. Just forget it. Also, you can't sleep in it. I don't care how scared you are of monsters sneaking up on your camp, you can't sleep in armour.
Gawain sleeps in his armor in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. And it's pretty clear from the arming scene that it is not mail.
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Old 26 March 2008, 01:53 PM
Troberg Troberg is offline
Join Date: 04 November 2005
Location: Borlänge, Sweden
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Whilst even a bodkin longbow arrow might not be able to pierce plate, what about the actual force of the impact? Could the jolt of a head-on strike be enough to knock a knight back in the saddle or at least make them lose control of the horse momentarily?
The surprise might make you flinch, but there is no chance that you'll get knocked back, or you'll have archers falling over when firing. It's the same basic principle that Hollywood breaks when someone gets shot and is thrown backwards. The projectile has exactly the same momentum as the gun gets from the recoil. If the projectile were to strike a solid, shoulder pad sized protection in a non-elastic hit, it wouldn't be more unpleasant to be shot than to fire a rifle.

I'd say aim for the horse. The horse is much more lightly armoured and likely to panic if hit.

I read the Wikipedia article on bodkin arrows, and apparently, wikipedia agrees that they don't penetrate armour.

"It has been mistakenly suggested that the bodkin came into its own as a means of penetrating armour, but research[1] has shown that no hardened bodkin points were made, so it is likely that it was first designed either to extend range or as a cheaper and simpler alternative to the broadhead. The latter point is supported by the finding that bodkins were made from soft iron while broadheads were made from steel, sometimes with hardened edges."

"The ability of the bodkin to penetrate armour was nonetheless limited by the skill and strength of the archer, and armour of the Medieval eras was proof against arrows."
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Old 26 March 2008, 01:53 PM
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Ravenhull Ravenhull is offline
Join Date: 13 September 2005
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I'll one up the stinky armor story. A guy in our local group fights irregularly... and has a habit of simply keeping his armor in the trunk of his car.
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Old 26 March 2008, 02:25 PM
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Squirt Squirt is offline
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Urk. Wear armour all day. Place in boot of car. Leave car in the sun for week. Open boot. Pass out.

As for the impact / recoil of an arrow, wouldn't it be less for the archer as the momentum is imparted to the arrow over a long period of time than it is imparted to the target on impact? The moment of inertia would be the same, but the impact would be a short, sharp shock as opposed to a longer, smoother recoil?
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Old 26 March 2008, 03:02 PM
Aud 1 Aud 1 is offline
Join Date: 05 October 2005
Location: Missouri
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The use of wool can mitigate the stinky fighter smell a little. It has antibacterial properties. I was really suprised how much wool diaper covers didn't stink even after several uses if allowed to dry out throughly in between. Linen has this quality too though not as much. A period fighter's fabric armor would be all linen and wool which might help a bit. Plus, he's not stuffing it all in a trunk as others have observed. It wouldn't be Irish Spring fresh but not nearly as bad as out of the trunk a month after Pennsic stinky.

I should mention that the just off the field sweaty leather fighter smell has certain appeal.

As for the arrow issue I have another non data ancedote to share. Some friends in armor (with additional face protection) were easily able to bat arrows shot at them away. The archers in this case were a troop from England who use very accurate longbows. This test was for arrow speed rather than penetration. As others have stated the rain of arrows described at Agincort would make a huge difference but two guys facing 6 archers were easily able to run up on them without taking any damage.
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Old 26 March 2008, 07:55 PM
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hijack: If you have acess to good art history books, you will find contemporary depictions of armor. Look in the chapters on northern gothic and the reneassance for mideaval/late mideaval stuff.(there might be some armor in the chapers on italian gothic, but don't count on it)
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Old 21 September 2010, 03:43 PM
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Default Other considerations

I recall reading the fitness requirements of a knight during the middle ages, and they are quite impressive. In addition to expertise with a variety of weapons, he was expected to be able to run considerable distances, climb up the back of a ladder propped against a wall using only his arms, and vault neatly into the saddle, all while wearing full plate. There were several other examples of this sort of activity, and they all impressed me, as a former infantryman, because I think even a modern Ranger or Marine would have difficulty performing under those conditions.

Yes, you can sleep in armor, Gary Gygax notwithstanding (he claimed that weapons used in the "off hand" could not be used as parrying devices, either) it would just be uncomfortable to do so. And, as those who have had the pleasure of wearing a full set of plate made specifically for them can attest, the first impression you have is of incredible mobility and flexibility-it's as if you had suddenly sprouted an exoskeleton, much like that of a beetle or lobster. True, threading a needle is pretty much out of the question, but who cares?

A close look at armor of the period will show that it was was designed to be donned by the individual without assistance, as it would be ridiculous to do otherwise-who is going to help you if you are suddenly overrun? Chances are, your squire and attendants will be either dead, dying or fighting for their very lives, and helping you with your preparations will be the furthest thing from their minds.

As for arrows, it is unlikely that they would be able to penetrate plate armor deeply enough to pierce the wearer, even if fitted with bodkin or "square" heads. A crossbow quarrel, on the other hand very probably could, but the shooter would have to be fairly close to the target

In closing, I suggest that you read the short essay "On Thud and Blunder", by Poul Anderson available at, as it points out many facets ancient and medieval society, commerce and warfare largely ignored by many writers, even those who should know better.

Good luck with the story.
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