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damaged armour


Dick Sexstone

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most of us here are on the offense side of the game........ Knives & swords....... I learnned hollware (making holow vessels like bowls from flat sheet) when I was going to school....... and led me to a love of armour....... the defensive side of the game... I got a grant long ago to do a suit of armour but it turnned into body scultures instead....... I am not realy "studied" in armour at all but I have seen the collections in the Higgins museum in worchester mass. and the collection in the philadelphia museum .( sorry.... was a long time ago and I don't remember the name) In both collections there are a few pieces with some "damage" holes or dents........ I have read that some of the dents were test marks to prove the worth of the product..... but I have not seen real battle damaged armour....... I think most of it would have been repaired or cut up and used again and so there wouldn't be much battle damaged stuff that was kept....... but there must be some....... Have any of you guys seen any when you have gotten in to see the back rooms of curators?Got any photos?

curiously,

Dick

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There was an Arms and Armour exhibition in Seattle in the '80's (?) that had a few pieces with damage. Sometimes, particularly towards the end of the era of armour, armourers would "proof" armour by firing a bolt or arrow of a known penetrating power at a piece, leaving a "proof mark" on the armour.

 

The most interesting piece for me was a 3/4 suit, knees to head, in very heavy, thick plate. The breast plate had several proof marks in it, supposed to indicate protection of a very high degree. It also had a .75 caliber bullet hole center mass, left side, though front and back plates. A bad day for someone.

 

My guess is that damaged pieces were re-furbed, re-used, or re-purposed, it's just too valuable to throw away or mount as a trophy.

 

Geoff

"The worst day smithing is better than the best day working for someone else."

 

I said that.

 

If a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing badly.

- - -G. K. Chesterton

 

So, just for the record: the fact that it does work still should not be taken as definitive proof that you are not crazy.

 

Grant Sarver

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saw a chest and back plate with a fist size hole in it with your tipikal torn metal edges with a bit of role suggesting a projectile as one person looking at it stated that ruend his dry cleaning

Brandon Sawisch bladesmith

 

eagles may soar but weasels don't get sucked in to jet engines

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In the Met in NYC there is a full set of Muslim horse armor with rider that has several holes in the flank and rear that appear to be arrow holes. I saw several pieces in the back room there but I don't recall if any were actually battle damaged or if they were just being restored from the normal wear and tear of time.

Adlai

Klatu Baratta Necktie!

 

Macabee Knives

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Leave it to Sir Longbeard to lend the comic relief...... I scrolled down so expectantly when I saw your name in the "last post" block, Alan.... & then dropped hot spagetti on myself when I got there. I don't care much for the acronyms, generally, but that certainly deserves a ROFLMAO!

 

Well played! And an interesting question as well..... now go & change your armour......

 

randy

"Despereaux?"

"Yes...?"

"You didn't cower."

"It looks like a sword."

"It's a CARVING KNIFE!"

"It's BEAUTIFUL..."

"It's DANGEROUS!"

"Do... do you have any more?"

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Ambrose Bierce once defined a knight as "a gentleman whose tailor is a blacksmith".

I've seen a suit of battle harness with a crossbow bolt hole in the chest. Considering the high quality of the armor, I'd like to get a good look at the crossbow that did the damage!

"I'm not anti-gun. I'm pro-knife." Molly Ivins

NT Limpin' Cat Prokopp

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Ah........ so they rusted away in the washer........ha ha ha good one Alan.......Holes seem to be the only damage most have seen eh? I would imagine there would be some with a big crease mark or a big square hole punched from a pole ax or such.......

I've seen a couple of metal WW11 helmets that were use as test pieces for a samuri sword......... the sword won.........

I haven't looked but there must be a site where armourer's hang out...... does anyone have a good link where they have seen battle damage discussed or shown? I shouldn't be so lazy and go looking myself but maybe an expert will chime in here...... But thanks for the comments so far

Dick

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http://www.armourarchive.org/

 

Ask over there Dick, no doubt you will get an answer.

Let not the swords of good and free men be reforged into plowshares, but may they rest in a place of honor; ready, well oiled and God willing unused. For if the price of peace becomes licking the boots of tyrants, then "To Arms!" I say, and may the fortunes of war smile upon patriots

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As most of us have never worn armour, there are a couple of things which are not obvious.

 

For one thing, armour is not designed to protect you from a dead center, full on hit. Rigid armour, plate, lacquer, leather, and such, is always sloped or angled to shed blows. Helmets as well are usually rounded to deflect a shot. If you get hit at 90 degrees, you can punch through most plate without too much trouble. Take a rock hammer (a pretty good analogue of a war hammer) and hit a 55 gallon drum straight on. It'll make a big hole. Do the same thing at an angle and you may get a small tear or a dent, but not much more.

 

Those folks who fought in armour knew how to shed blows and to make the armour work for them. If the armour needed to be close to impenetrable, it becomes very thick. The armour show I spoke of above had the upper half of some late jousting armour. It was basically bolted to the saddle and the knight was lowered into it from above. The center of the breastplate was over a 1/2 inch thick. The upper half alone must have weighed 200 lbs, and it had hardly any articulation.

 

The test of an army steel pot against samurai sword is hardly a fair one. If you put the helmet on a post, you could split it open with an axe. Put it on a live target, who is moving around and trying not to get hit, it's a different story.

 

Many years ago, the local SCA was trying to determine if pole weapons could be adapted for both single combat and mêlée. They took a battle spec barrel helm, put it on a post, and had a trained fighter take a shot with a wooden 6 foot staff. His first hit reduced the inside volume 40%. They decided to leave unpadded pole weapons out of the mix. And this was on a helmet DESIGNED and TESTED for combat.

 

I guess my point (assuming that I had one to make) is that armour is not intended to be beaten on and to survive untouched, so undamaged, un-repaired armour probably never saw combat, and the stuff that did, may have gotten used up.

 

Geoff

"The worst day smithing is better than the best day working for someone else."

 

I said that.

 

If a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing badly.

- - -G. K. Chesterton

 

So, just for the record: the fact that it does work still should not be taken as definitive proof that you are not crazy.

 

Grant Sarver

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sam . thanks for the link....... a whole other world........ one of the things so great about the internet..... I will have to spend a little time over there.......

Geoff. yeah exactly,,,,,, most of the steel was repaired or reused..and like you say the style of combat had much to do with how it was damaged....

I was woundering if any that had been damaged had survived being repaired or reused.........and what kind of damage it was and what that led to in the evelution of armour .......

 

Dick

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One thought comes to mind - try the book: Armour from the Battle of Wisby (Hardcover)

by Bengt Thordeman (Author) - Recovered armour from a Swedish archaeological dig - the armour is from the local town folks who lost. It's down to about $70 on Amazon.com

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I've been fortunate enough to have handled several pieces of antique armour. One thing I always look for is damage, it makes it all more "real" for me.

Bear in mind much of armour of the late 15th-16th centuries was hardened and tempered. Its very resilient. As such, most of the damage you find will be cuts in the steel, or cracking from impacts.

I handled a jousting helm which had cuts all across the visor and corresponding cuts on the forehead, so that the path of the lance was evident when it was impacting.

The Museum of Natural History in NYC recently had an exhibit on the horse which included a 15th/16th c. horse armour. I snuck my way around the backside and saw two real nice halberd/polearm strikes on the horses rump.

I tend to see damage on the knuckles of gauntlets as well which would make sense.

 

Grant

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Geoff. yeah exactly,,,,,, most of the steel was repaired or reused..

 

One thing to consider as well was that only the wealthy could afford armour and to them it was often a statement of that wealth. Thusly, one would have to think that they would want it in good repair for a better statement.

 

Gary

Gary

 

ABS,CKCA,ABKA,KGA

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Though I can't find the reference just now, I remember readning an account of the Earl Marshall under Henry VIII who, after a tournament, had to have his helmet cut off by a blacksmith, the helmet being damaged in the fray. One tough SOB, by all accounts.

 

Geoff

"The worst day smithing is better than the best day working for someone else."

 

I said that.

 

If a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing badly.

- - -G. K. Chesterton

 

So, just for the record: the fact that it does work still should not be taken as definitive proof that you are not crazy.

 

Grant Sarver

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thanks everyone........

I did find some books .......I used the image library in google and found interesting stuff.........but no photos ....... It realy is a whole other world of study .......there is just not enough time to do it.......next time I am in real library i'll have to look in some of the books they have.......

dick

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I checked my copy of The Churburg Armoury, available from www.hansprunner.com, the photographer is Carlo Pagggiarino. Lots of close-ups of a limited selection of armour - you'll see metal laps, especially on the inside, broken rivets, damage, etc.

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