Leather Vs. Gambeson/Aketon/Padded Jack

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Fenix_120

Sergeant
So in the world of Mount and Blade the item known as "Leather Jerkin" that is common among Nords offers 1 more point in defense and is 5 (what ever M&B uses for weight) lighter than the item known as the "Aketon" that is used extensively by the Rhodoks while costing relatively little more, making it a far superior armor.

The discussion I want to start is was this the case in the real world and why?  (and I am talking about independent armor not padding worn with mail)
 

Devercia

Grandmaster Knight
WB
no, for several reasons.

1) leather tends to catch blades, allowing them to bite
2) Jerkins were not really considered armor.
3) The medieval cloth necessary to produce quilted armor is vastly more expensive than the leather needed for a jerkin. If this were not so, and jerkins were better armor anyway, cloth armor would not exist.
4) something will go here.
 

Soil

Grandmaster Knight
Allow me to help you out.

4) Leather does a ****ty job at protecting the wearer against blunt trauma.


I'm not quite sure if gambesons were that expensive. Mind you, they weren't mostly layered fabrics but rather padded with whatever material was available, such as raw wool, for example. Clothes weren't all that expensive, especially because just about every woman at that time could turn wool and linen into thread, weave or at least sew clothes. Leather however takes more specialised tools and knowledge to make (no, as much as skyrim might show you it works, making leather out of fur consists of more than just scraping it a bit), not to mention that you need to slaughter at least one cow or multiple smaller cattle. It's definitely a more expensive material than clothes.
More than that, gambesons actually offer a relatively good resistance against cuts and thrusts, at least better more than you'd expect clothes to.

I thought leather was doing an okay job at protecting against slashes, though. Did you do a few field tests, Devercia?
 

FrisianDude

Archduke
M&BWB
What, cloth for gambesons more expensive than leather for jerkins? Really? I thought it was the other way around.
 

Devercia

Grandmaster Knight
WB
No testing, and I should mention that there is a great deal of variability in leather's texture. A great deal of variable types don't apply to 1). it being a jerkin, I doubt its the sort that is hardened for combat.

This is just a hunch, but I would think that cloth armor would be layered by necessity, while padding would have filler. Given that modern usage is far more for looks than function,;that may explain why the filler-type would be more popular out of context. (who is going to call you out on it?)

Assuming it is layered, its a buttload of cloth (15x?), far more than a hide or 2 for a jerkin.
 

Soil

Grandmaster Knight
No, why? Gambesons can be layered and filled, I can't say for sure what the respective advantages would be. The layering would be harder to penetrate or cut I suppose, while not as feathering to blunt hits.

If you go for the layered version it would take up to 40 layers, though. That's probably why the filled version was/is more popular, especially if the wearer only needed it as a way of padding.

Now something I've been wondering about is whether padded leather jackets existed, basically a gambeson with leather for a top material. Would the leather need to be too soft to offer any real advantage so it could still be sewn?

Oh and to be fair, we should probably compare hard leather to the gambeson because I'm pretty sure that's what would be used for protection. Which leads to another question, were leather cuirasses a common form of protection in the middle ages?
 

thomasNL01

Master Knight
I don't believe it was used much. It was very expensive too get, and unrepairable when damaged. I personally think that mail was much more used.
 

thomasNL01

Master Knight
yes but to get the leather hard you needed to boil it at least 3 times. It was a very time consuming process, although it would be the same for mail XD
 

Soil

Grandmaster Knight
thomasNL01 said:
I don't believe it was used much. It was very expensive too get, and unrepairable when damaged. I personally think that mail was much more used.

No. Mail was incredibly more time consuming to make (usually about a year's work for a single armourer). Not to mention that iron was pretty damn expensive.
 

Soil

Grandmaster Knight
Repairing maille requires the right tools too (a forge being one of them), whereas leather can be patched up relatively easily.  I do agree that only professional soldiers could afford maille and definitely not all of them, at least in the early/high middle ages.
 
thomasNL01 said:
I don't believe it was used much. It was very expensive too get, and unrepairable when damaged. I personally think that mail was much more used.

Mail was never used without a padded subarmalis anyway, and it was very expensive. However, it was the best armor until plate came along.
 

jamiehamo

Recruit
Mail was a good armour against standard swiping blades and such, but when it came to the longbows arrow heads the mail links would simply splice open unless it was of outstanding quallity or at long range, at the same time the chinese were using far superior cheaper and easier manufactured armour. This was the layerd paper armours which were really good against your standard misiles of the day. (paper armour not on the list i know, but same periods)
 
In my experience, filled gambesons tend to be better used as a foundation garment for mail because they're slightly better at shock absorption. There's a very wide range of variances though, things like filling material and stitching patterns can affect this to a very large extent. Layered gambesons (or jacks, not too up to scratch on the nomenclature) might be better as a standalone defence. According to backyard tests done on myArmoury, a jack with 20-30 layers of cloth demands damned good technique with a sword to penetrate, and that's not always in evidence when the **** hits the fan. The resistance of cloth protective garments to cutting does seem to vary quite a bit though, as this video demonstrates: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uMkGF3EqUjU

Leather could have been used to cover protective garments in the same manner as felt and canvas. It wears better than cloth and is slightly more resistant to the light cuts and scratches you pick up in frequent use.
 
jamiehamo said:
Mail was a good armour against standard swiping blades and such, but when it came to the longbows arrow heads the mail links would simply splice open unless it was of outstanding quallity or at long range, at the same time the chinese were using far superior cheaper and easier manufactured armour. This was the layerd paper armours which were really good against your standard misiles of the day. (paper armour not on the list i know, but same periods)

BS. Arrows of any kind are only good against mail from less than 30 meters, and even then they're equally likely to fail. Most "tests" use butted mail up against a hard backing. Real mail was never fully stretched, and real mail had padding underneath. Not to mention butted mail is a modern invention, used for reenactment. It is not real armor. Riveted mail, however, is.

About Chinese armor, that's retarded. Lamellar is generally much worse than mail in every aspect, except cost.
 

Soil

Grandmaster Knight
While I agree (mostly) with the first part, longbows may indeed have a chance of piercing maille, depending on the arrows used and the distance. In fact, it would take an arched long range shot to give the arrow a sufficient amount of inertia to have a good chance of piercing the maille. That's what made longbows effective against armour.

You should give lamellar a bit more credit, though. It does a MUCH better job of spreading the force of the impact than mail and metal lamellar armour is certainly not easy to penetrate, either with melee weapons or arrows. It could be extremely effective if it was used on top of mail. And in comparison to chainmail it was much easier to repair or re-fit. The main disadvantages are actually the lack of flexibility of the material (which is also one of its advantages, though), the fact that it is laced and those laces can be cut, weakening the structure of the armour and that they easily start rotting if not maintained properly.
 
Soil said:
You should give lamellar a bit more credit, though. It does a MUCH better job of spreading the force of the impact than mail and metal lamellar armour is certainly not easy to penetrate, either with melee weapons or arrows. It could be extremely effective if it was used on top of mail. And in comparison to chainmail it was much easier to repair or re-fit. The main disadvantages are actually the lack of flexibility of the material (which is also one of its advantages, though), the fact that it is laced and those laces can be cut, weakening the structure of the armour and that they easily start rotting if not maintained properly.
[/quote]
But mail has padding, negating any advantages lamellar has in blunt trauma. As for resilience, the lacing comes apart quite easily when struck by melee weapons. An arrow, conveying less energy, will generally be deflected by both. Remember that the Saracens - using lamellar a lot - were very impressed by the mail clad Christian knights. A sword thrust or chop will generally go straight through lamellar, but to get through mail even a lance will often fail.
 

Soil

Grandmaster Knight
Well, of course short range shots with longbows would be more effective, but since that was only an option shorty before a charge, troops armed with longbows had a better chance against maille when firing arching shots while using heavy arrows. Those tended to have more penetrating power than regular arrows fired at midrange.

I never said lamellar was superior to mail. Of course, mail has padding, but I'd say a lamellar cuirass over padding would still do quite a lot better against mace hits, for example. How easily each is penetrated depends on the thickness of the rings and the lamellae, too. Keep in mind that mail was nothing new for the saracens in the crusade, in fact, they were already widely used during the arab conquests. It somehow seems that european mail was of superior quality. There are multiple reports of arabs and turks about the surprising effectivity of frankish armour. A crusader knight surviving a lance charge without any major injury or crusaders hit by multiple arrows (which were still sticking inside the armour) without breaking formation are just examples. For what it's worth, Byzantines described their own lamellar armor, especially when used with maille, to be extremely effective.
 

Devercia

Grandmaster Knight
WB
Soil said:
Well, of course short range shots with longbows would be more effective, but since that was only an option shorty before a charge, troops armed with longbows had a better chance against maille when firing arching shots while using heavy arrows. Those tended to have more penetrating power than regular arrows fired at midrange.

There is nothing wrong with this statement, but I have a strong feeling the underlying mental construct that produced it is greatly flawed. For instance, lighter arrows being used for shorter ranges.

However, this statement:
Soil said:
In fact, it would take an arched long range shot to give the arrow a sufficient amount of inertia to have a good chance of piercing the maille. That's what made longbows effective against armour.

is 100% false.
 
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