Interesting facts you know about medieval warfare?

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DarkTemplar

Knight at Arms
WB
ultimate proof would be just looking on average medieval bed, only our children could fit in it, average was seemingly smaller, visit malbork or any other castle with preserved bed, people were smaller, but not alot. 160 centimeters was about average, 175 cm people were considered high
check their length measures, that was sometimes unfair, it was never the same :mrgreen:
 

DrSane

I dont mean they were dwarfs. Bu that they were shorter than us on average. Of course its all very dependant of nutritional intake and genes, so some may have been as tall as us, depends on the availiability of food at the specific time. Alot was probably a poor choice of words on my part.
 

Shire

Sergeant
Well what about the armors reconstructed in modern times to compare, I haven't looked into them, but I'd assume they tried to make them as 1:1 accurate as they could in materials and techniques? Only, they'd make the armor to fit modern men. And if those tests would still indicate that they weren't really heavier than what gear a US marine carries in combat situation, then what gives? I doubt the human race grew several levels stronger in a few hundred years since then.
 

DrSane

professional armies of today have standardised and drilled training, knights wouldnt spend as much time in dedicated endurance training as the army does today. Humans arent naturally stronger, but because of training they have the capacity to strong enough to carry heavy equipment.
 

Shire

Sergeant
I doubt all those doing the reenactment in the armor are trained soldiers or super buff atheletes. Besides, even I was able to carry military gear during my service time (not in US tho) and on a grade of peasant-knight-lord of being fit, I'm the baron that ate the country into debt.
 

DrSane

A reinactment isnt a pitched battle going for several hours, not including the long march to the battlefield. Eh theres no real way to know, because there were simply to many different types of armour for all sorts of varying sizes of human being in different geographical regions.
 

Mothanius

Recruit
WB
heavy armors were actually VERY hard and cumbersome to move and fight in. it required both high strength and high endurance. not to mention falling in one of these made it near impossible to get up no matter how strong you were. this was why everyone wasnt running around in a set of full plate,not to mention how expensive it was on top of that.
Whoa... no not even close.  A full suit of armor in the late medieval period weighed about 50-60 lbs (I think you could stretch it to 75 lbs if it was really thick).  My load out on my first deployment averaged 75-80 lbs on any given missions (there is a reason why we drive/ride when we can).  Even when I deployed later with an M-4 instead of the 16, it only dropped my given weight by a few pounds.  Now, that's just a normal grunt's weight, take in an account for the medic or anyone who has to lug a MG around.  I think we were told that some loadouts can exceed 120 lbs.

A knight had their weight completely distributed around them as well.  They were fortunate in that believe me.  Rather than having your weight around your waist, chest and head.  Not to mention that they had squires and only wore the armor before battle or when they were in enemy territory.  Most of the time when traveling they wore lighter armor that was more akin to what everyone else wore.  They also didn't have to carry any of the rations because they had squires and baggage trains.  So aside from weapons and armor, that is all they had to wear.

Also, the myth behind not being able to get up after falling is totally farce.  I've seen people get up in 65lbs of full plate armor.  They said it wasn't nearly as difficult as they expected, but kind of awkward at best (I didn't get to try because I was too short to wear either one).  Granted, if you were to fall during a battle and are already bruised and tired, I could see this becoming an issue.  But that would be true about anyone.

Also, I believe the reason why Fredrik I drowned on his way to the crusade was not solely due to the weight of the armor.  If I remember correctly, the river's waters were a bit higher and the current was a bit stronger than usual.  It only takes about 6" of water to knock a man off their feet if it is flowing hard enough.  So, after his horse freaked, and he fell in, it was probably impossible for him or his men to get any hold before he drowned.

EDIT:  Accidentally quoted the wrong guy at first  :oops:
 

Fulkram

Recruit
WB
I'm going to have to agree that most armors didn't weigh more than 60 pounds. I can imagine the really heavy stuff some folks were talking about because someone actually invented a crane to get people onto their horses. I imagine this was tournament jousting armor. I actually own a mail hauberk that is pretty close to period (it's not riveted) at about 35 pounds. add in some greaves, and a helmet and I'm sure you can hit 45 or even 50 pounds. Shield...yeah, those can start to suck if it's a good shield. Yeah, they were almost ALWAYS wood, some cultures would sheathe them in metal, but that's about it. A good shield weighs in at about 10-20 pounds I would say. I would also point out that the shield is probably the most effective armor product invented throughout the entire period. Probably also the first.

The lack of plate armor had less to do with weight and more to do with availability. Mining and geology weren't exactly explored sciences back then. Not to mention that fact that the people in charge had figured out that if you were not armed and armored you could not fight back. Soooo...they made it illegal, in at least most of Europe, to bear arms and armor unless you were one of them or they had given you that right so you could go fight for them.

As far as getting up if you fall down, sure you can, but not if someone is working on you. It's pretty encumbering stuff, and I am not talking about just heavy, it actually does restrict movement. You can get up, but it pretty much demands your complete attention. So, yeah, knocking down an armored combatant then finishing him off would be a perfectly sound tactic, in fact, considering the weapon technology, it would almost demand it. You would almost need to be above your opponent with strong leverage, and have him below you with the ground below him preventing any "rolling with the punch" to actually pierce the armor.

For drowning....I wouldn't want to be in full armor in any sort of underwater situation. You would have to be a strong swimmer to even have a chance to survive that. Go talk to a scuba instructor and ask him how dangerous it would be if you found yourself underwater with no current and had a divers weight belt strapped to you that you could not get off. Make sure you point out that you do not have the zero buoyant wet suit on.
 

VuK_VuK

Recruit
Yup, those sciences where in shamble, also the metalurgy was too. So the metal was of bad quality (bad alloys) that where never the same, so there is no talk about a average weight, as every BS made his own special blend of alloys. The fabric was also more bulkier than today and so on... So the weight goes up with each layer.

No one is talking about just laying down and getting up, you where strucked down. Its very different from just getting on the floor and getting up.

Reenactment gear doesn't count for anything as it is made from modern alloys using modern methods.

Like I wrote earlyer, chopping knight on the ground was a big no, no. It was forbidden by the law of the land and the Church.
Nobles where to be given a different treatment than other peasants, same as officer and soldier treatment in WWI.

And yes, average height was not as today, also people where bulkier than today as the spent more time in hard physical labor.

Edit:
Oh, comparing modern army with an army from the middle ages is pointless. Modern army's train true a specially developed regime to develop stamina, endurance and physical strength, army's back then where drafted peasants who just wanted to get back to there fields. And to my knowledge the British where the only ones that demanded by law some sort of training (longbow).
 

Shire

Sergeant
No one's comparing a peasant taken from a field to a marine. Did the peasant wear the plate armor?
 

Gambino

ppl count only the plates and say medieval armor is light, theres padded leather and chain and greaves and gaunts and full helm, shield, lance, sword, and also the medieval people used to move from place to place on land for months, while modern just sit in an airplane and watch tv and boom were there..
 

M0rdred

Master Knight
Interesting facts about (Viking) shields; the rim of Viking shields was almost always dressed in leather to stop weapons from bouncing off them. A weapon which bounces on impact is unpredictable, and unpredictability in battle is dangerous. Furthermore, Viking shields (or any wooden ones really) were painted, not to look cool but to hide the grain of the wood. If you could see the grain, you can aim blows along it, and thus split the shield more easily.

Also, having been to Scandinavia to see some recovered and preserved shields, those things were MASSIVE, I am talking cartwheel size here. I think that was the most startling thing for me, you don't realise just how big those things were.
 

Shire

Sergeant
And you'd think the people who had to walk into places instead using a car and who did manual labor instead of office duty would be in better physical condition than us, hmm?
 

Yeferz

Veteran
WBWF&SNW
I think a lot of people actually seriously underestimate the maneuverability of medieval armour. As previously mentioned it only weighed roughly half of what a modern marine has to carry on their back. Henry the Fith of England used to show off by running up and vaulting onto his horse from behind wearing full plate, and French knights used to demonstrate their strength by placing ladders on their castle walls and climbing up the underside using only their hands, while wearing full plate armour.

Furthermore, at talk I heard recently from a pair of experts at the royal armouries museum in Leeds, they mentioned a German knight who had sent his armour back to his armourer in disgust because he couldn't swim front crawl in it (he had to swim breastroke because it was too encumbering.)

As for Fredrick Barbarossa he was a man of 68 and it is likely that he had a heart attack, or that he was not able to swim anyway (armour or no) though the weight of his armour was certainly a contributory factor in his death.

Also Vuk_Vuk; Though you're right to a point in that medieval training wasn't standardized, remember that the knight was basically the equivalent of a modern professional soldier, but paid in land, rather than money. Most knights would train for battle from a young age and were required to fight for their lord (so saying there was no professional training isn't quite right.) Also the armour was tailored to fit to the individual knight, which would have made it far easier to move around in.
 

Scotterius

Squire
WBM&BWF&SNWVC
Knights were quite large.  It was not uncommon for to have 6 to 6.5 feet tall knights.  We can tell because of surviving pieces of plate armor.  This demonstrates feudal thinking.  If you are going to invest all this money in a soldier and provide him armor and land...make it a large soldier.

Another interesting thing is the properties of curved and straight blades.  Curved blades are great for slashing, and deliver the energy of the swing throughout the stroke.  This is why you can see a katana cutting through a pile of pigs.  A straight blade is a different animal.  With a swing it delivers all of its energy to the strike point and on a very fine edge.  This allowed them to transfer kinetic energy through flexible armor like chain that defeated curved weapons entirely.  With a straight blade you could break bones and cause effective amputations without ever breaking a chain link.  The advent of chain around 800 ad is likely why curved edged weapons grew so rare in Europe.
 

Rpground

Sergeant at Arms
WB
Mothanius said:
heavy armors were actually VERY hard and cumbersome to move and fight in. it required both high strength and high endurance. not to mention falling in one of these made it near impossible to get up no matter how strong you were. this was why everyone wasnt running around in a set of full plate,not to mention how expensive it was on top of that.
Whoa... no not even close.  A full suit of armor in the late medieval period weighed about 50-60 lbs (I think you could stretch it to 75 lbs if it was really thick).  My load out on my first deployment averaged 75-80 lbs on any given missions (there is a reason why we drive/ride when we can).  Even when I deployed later with an M-4 instead of the 16, it only dropped my given weight by a few pounds.  Now, that's just a normal grunt's weight, take in an account for the medic or anyone who has to lug a MG around.  I think we were told that some loadouts can exceed 120 lbs.

A knight had their weight completely distributed around them as well.  They were fortunate in that believe me.  Rather than having your weight around your waist, chest and head.  Not to mention that they had squires and only wore the armor before battle or when they were in enemy territory.  Most of the time when traveling they wore lighter armor that was more akin to what everyone else wore.  They also didn't have to carry any of the rations because they had squires and baggage trains.  So aside from weapons and armor, that is all they had to wear.

Also, the myth behind not being able to get up after falling is totally farce.  I've seen people get up in 65lbs of full plate armor.  They said it wasn't nearly as difficult as they expected, but kind of awkward at best (I didn't get to try because I was too short to wear either one).  Granted, if you were to fall during a battle and are already bruised and tired, I could see this becoming an issue.  But that would be true about anyone.

Also, I believe the reason why Fredrik I drowned on his way to the crusade was not solely due to the weight of the armor.  If I remember correctly, the river's waters were a bit higher and the current was a bit stronger than usual.  It only takes about 6" of water to knock a man off their feet if it is flowing hard enough.  So, after his horse freaked, and he fell in, it was probably impossible for him or his men to get any hold before he drowned.

EDIT:  Accidentally quoted the wrong guy at first  :oops:

others have said it better then i could so ill just post what theyve said themselves here:

Fulkram said:
I'm going to have to agree that most armors didn't weigh more than 60 pounds. I can imagine the really heavy stuff some folks were talking about because someone actually invented a crane to get people onto their horses. I imagine this was tournament jousting armor. I actually own a mail hauberk that is pretty close to period (it's not riveted) at about 35 pounds. add in some greaves, and a helmet and I'm sure you can hit 45 or even 50 pounds. Shield...yeah, those can start to suck if it's a good shield. Yeah, they were almost ALWAYS wood, some cultures would sheathe them in metal, but that's about it. A good shield weighs in at about 10-20 pounds I would say. I would also point out that the shield is probably the most effective armor product invented throughout the entire period. Probably also the first.

The lack of plate armor had less to do with weight and more to do with availability. Mining and geology weren't exactly explored sciences back then. Not to mention that fact that the people in charge had figured out that if you were not armed and armored you could not fight back. Soooo...they made it illegal, in at least most of Europe, to bear arms and armor unless you were one of them or they had given you that right so you could go fight for them.

As far as getting up if you fall down, sure you can, but not if someone is working on you. It's pretty encumbering stuff, and I am not talking about just heavy, it actually does restrict movement. You can get up, but it pretty much demands your complete attention. So, yeah, knocking down an armored combatant then finishing him off would be a perfectly sound tactic, in fact, considering the weapon technology, it would almost demand it. You would almost need to be above your opponent with strong leverage, and have him below you with the ground below him preventing any "rolling with the punch" to actually pierce the armor.

For drowning....I wouldn't want to be in full armor in any sort of underwater situation. You would have to be a strong swimmer to even have a chance to survive that. Go talk to a scuba instructor and ask him how dangerous it would be if you found yourself underwater with no current and had a divers weight belt strapped to you that you could not get off. Make sure you point out that you do not have the zero buoyant wet suit on.
VuK_VuK said:
Yup, those sciences where in shamble, also the metalurgy was too. So the metal was of bad quality (bad alloys) that where never the same, so there is no talk about a average weight, as every BS made his own special blend of alloys. The fabric was also more bulkier than today and so on... So the weight goes up with each layer.

No one is talking about just laying down and getting up, you where strucked down. Its very different from just getting on the floor and getting up.

Reenactment gear doesn't count for anything as it is made from modern alloys using modern methods.

Like I wrote earlyer, chopping knight on the ground was a big no, no. It was forbidden by the law of the land and the Church.
Nobles where to be given a different treatment than other peasants, same as officer and soldier treatment in WWI.

And yes, average height was not as today, also people where bulkier than today as the spent more time in hard physical labor.

Edit:
Oh, comparing modern army with an army from the middle ages is pointless. Modern army's train true a specially developed regime to develop stamina, endurance and physical strength, army's back then where drafted peasants who just wanted to get back to there fields. And to my knowledge the British where the only ones that demanded by law some sort of training (longbow).
Gambino said:
ppl count only the plates and say medieval armor is light, theres padded leather and chain and greaves and gaunts and full helm, shield, lance, sword, and also the medieval people used to move from place to place on land for months, while modern just sit in an airplane and watch tv and boom were there..

that pretty much says exactly what i would say plus more. thank you.
 

Rpground

Sergeant at Arms
WB
M0rdred said:
Interesting facts about (Viking) shields; the rim of Viking shields was almost always dressed in leather to stop weapons from bouncing off them. A weapon which bounces on impact is unpredictable, and unpredictability in battle is dangerous. Furthermore, Viking shields (or any wooden ones really) were painted, not to look cool but to hide the grain of the wood. If you could see the grain, you can aim blows along it, and thus split the shield more easily.

Also, having been to Scandinavia to see some recovered and preserved shields, those things were MASSIVE, I am talking cartwheel size here. I think that was the most startling thing for me, you don't realise just how big those things were.

wow i actually didnt know that,kinda sad cause im into researching this kinda thing. cool fact dude.
 

Rpground

Sergeant at Arms
WB
Scotterius said:
Knights were quite large.  It was not uncommon for to have 6 to 6.5 feet tall knights.  We can tell because of surviving pieces of plate armor.  This demonstrates feudal thinking.  If you are going to invest all this money in a soldier and provide him armor and land...make it a large soldier.

Another interesting thing is the properties of curved and straight blades.  Curved blades are great for slashing, and deliver the energy of the swing throughout the stroke.  This is why you can see a katana cutting through a pile of pigs.  A straight blade is a different animal.  With a swing it delivers all of its energy to the strike point and on a very fine edge.  This allowed them to transfer kinetic energy through flexible armor like chain that defeated curved weapons entirely.  With a straight blade you could break bones and cause effective amputations without ever breaking a chain link.  The advent of chain around 800 ad is likely why curved edged weapons grew so rare in Europe.

cool,ive never seen it explained so well before.  gj.
 

omegaweapon

Sergeant at Arms
curved blade was for continues damaging (like opening a shallow long wound) when straight blade was for delivering whole damage in one point only. (like opening a deep small wound)

like difference btw saw and axe when you are cutting woods. did i understand it?

and btw commonsense is good thing, even for jatu.
 
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