Longbow versus breastplate – which will win?
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Longbow versus breastplate – which will win?

August 10, 2019


Nikolas: I was being given a tour around the rather large and impressive reenactors’ camp at the Visby Medieval Festival when I was shown some armour. Well this well-made armour – this was made by who?>>Guide: Albert Collins>>OK, so a Swedish armourer who is much admired in Sweden and you can see that even though he’s moving this through its range of movement there’s almost no gap between these plates arriving so it’d be very difficult to slide a blade through any of these little gaps during a fight. Nice. A short while later, I saw that something was going on.>>The armour, down there–
>>It’s actually the breastplate of [Thomas], from Albert.>>OK, oh no, that is a real breastplate from from Albert, the armourer from before.>>Wow.>>It’s quite expensive. Yes, he paid about 6,000 Swedish krona for that.>>Right. [6,000 SEK=c. £530 or US$700] (O.S.): That is Swede– real … (thwang)
(THACK) (crowd cheers) A 120 pound English longbow.>>N: Wa-hey, 120 pounds – defeated! This is the result of a 120 pound warbow. Is that right?>>It was 130.
>>130?>>N: Ok, this is the result of a 130 pound [c. 59 kg] warbow being shot at a piece of steel and just breaking and not even scratching it. Is that true – not even a scratch?>>Not even a scratch. Well, a scratch.>>Ah, it’s good. You’d want a scratch, wouldn’t you – for the anecdote?>>Yes.>>You know, this is where a longbow hit me.>>But it wasn’t a dent. It just scratched the surface.>>So – armour works.>>Yes. And this one is a 1/2 inch [12.7 mm] of ash.>>Oh yes, I can see that is a substantial arrow.>>113g [4oz], I think.>>Thank you very much. Can you see the mark? There it is. Ooohh h – Double A.>>Here we have a happy smith. Why are you happy?>>Albert Collins, the armourer: Because it’s proven that it could cope with an arrow hitting it. So I’m very happy.>>And 130 pounds! And that wasn’t very far – that was only 20 yards? Something like that?>>But I though that it would not break.>>All right – you had confidence.>>Yes, I had confidence.>>So why weren’t you wearing it?>>Because I have children, and you know if it missed and hit my head …
>>(o.s.): It’s not his size!>>Yeah; it’s not my size, exactly!>>Some considerable while later and they’re still looking for that arrow-head. It just disappeared. It did turn up eventually. That head must have been made of pretty tough stuff too. ♪ (The Mandeville March) ♪ LINDYBEIGE!
♪ (The Mandeville March) ♪ What do you say, Mr Collins?

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  1. Until somebody has brought Mongolian short bow that can accumulate much more power than long bow and can penetrate this chest protection 😀

  2. So how heavy was that small portion of armor? An article in Scientific American a few years ago was very interesting. In tests with healthy young men in good shape, it showed that breathing was depressed by a full 40%. So while armor may have stopped arrows, the people inside couldn’t fight at full strength either.

    Even when standing still, they were forced to take short, shallow breaths. It must have been really difficult when attempting to fight.

  3. I don't think we have a definitive answer yet because that was a lightweight arrow. weight and momentum are also very important a long bodkin 2oz (60 gram) arrowhead will have a very different result as the weight and momentum of the arrow will drive it much harder into the armour.

  4. Should have rested the armour fully vertical and used a proper armour piercing arrowhead. I'd bet anything it would at least make a substantial indentation if not penetration.

  5. And this is why the arrow head matters… One doesn't use a normal head, but an armour piercing one. The arrows won't break if you do that.

    (there's a reason why the Spanish cavelry were defeated by English longbows)

  6. Yes but what type of arrowhead did they use? I couldn't see it but I'm pretty sure that's an important detail.

  7. Wait, didnt armor just get pierced like butter by a mere flick of anything wielded by the main character?

  8. Obviously the breastplate was properly hardened. Without knowing what the arrowhead was made out of, this doesn't tell us much. Glad you were able to capture this, wishing for a little more attention to detail next time regarding steel composition, asking more questions about the forging process on each weapon and armor, please?

  9. I can confirm from personal experience that a bodkin point arrow from a 40lb longbow will go through the side of a washing machine so if you are short of funds and thinking of wearing a washing machine into battle… Don't.

  10. Crosbow is for close combat, arrow get it's strenght when it's high in the sky and then it fall's down with high speed and penetration…

  11. Seeing how there are much heavier bows, does 120 pound/60kg even count in terms of warbows? Would a bow like this have been used against armor like that?

  12. My god can you imagine the medieval battles that lasted the whole day trying to pierce that armor or crush it with a blunt weapon

  13. So how did longbows wipe the French at Agincourt? Did they just pepper the horses and Frenchmen at their faces then defend wood spikes in melee formation? Films lead to believe that the English just mowed them down with longbows

  14. Its all fun and games until someone pulls out a bodkin arrow…then who ever is is waring that armor is shitting themselves

  15. I’m impressed that the guy could draw the 130 pound long bow let alone that the arrow didn’t pierce the breast plate. 60lb recurve is about my maximum.

  16. It’s cool that they make armour, bows, swords and arrows… but when the women and men start wearing villager clothes it’s just cringe and sad… 30-40 yr old people dressing up, go get a job or at least a normal hobby lol

  17. I know you are in a reenactment camp man but the fans can't see if you cut your finger nails… So just do it

  18. yes it worked but they rode horses which got hit first not the knight he just got battered by warhammers ect after falling from his horse which was oohhh hit by arrows lol great video like the comment why didnt you wear it lol

  19. Because arrows distort so much when fired, I wonder if being that close to the target was actually detrimental. If the arrow was in the wrong part of its flex (which should lessen as it travels longer distance) that would explain the head not showing much sign of impact and being so difficult to locate.

  20. Wrong arrowhead. This one in video was made to go through a gambeson or regular cloths.

  21. I'm new to this stuff but from my single evening of research it sounds like the English long bow sucks in every conceivable way.

  22. My question is, did the arrow have a period accurate, sharpened along the edges, proper armour piercing arrow head?

  23. Belive it or not but the same experiment was made by historian from Poland by reflex bow (more uesed in that period by people from easten europe) and it penetrate the armor.

  24. Do it again with a drop of bees wax on the tip of the arrow – this stops the tip skidding for the split second required to transmit the full force of the arrow's kinetic energy through the steel. Remember, at Agincourt the long bows were targeting high quality French amour at up to 100 metres, and penetrating, not glancing off as this shot did.

  25. i am amazed, not because the armor 100% deflect the arrow. but because the archer, 150lbs and he pull the string by his arm only? no leaning backward with the whole body? dude must be responsilble for all the arrow in the knees, nearly 70kg pull by 1 arm

  26. You were shooting it wrong… As far as I understand it, medieval war bow shooting utilised parabolic arrow flight… And as such, the arrow would effectively fall on the target. And then there is the use of Bodkins and similar armour piercing arrow tips…. Someone more versed at English long bow warfare could help out here. But regardless of this, it was a very nice armour! 👍❤️

  27. That breast plate certainly would stop a pistol bullet, too. A 9×19 mm Parabellum just has 200 Joules (the bow has approximately 150 Joules) but the pistol bullet is soft due to its lead core while the arrow behaves more than steel core ammunition.

  28. In Crecy and Agincourt, it was the horses that got hit, especially from arrows hitting their sides….as the longbow men were deliberately placed on both the flanks. I recall it was recorded that Lancaster led archers hastily to flank and shoot at French Cavalry, sowing much confusion in one battle in the Hundred Year's War. It was also recorded that once the arrows were all spent, English archers ran and attacked the de-horsed French knights with mallets (with they carried to hammer wooden stakes into the ground)…..Medieval armour in Europe were not all of the same quality – the arrows could not penetrate the expensive armour of the rich knights (and that type of high end armour is what was preserved in museums today), but it probably did some damage to the cheaper armour of lowly knights and squires (examples of which nobody bothered to preserve).

    With Modern science and metallurgy, high-quality armour from Sweden is unlikely to be dented by a mere 130 pound bow.

  29. What was the archers lvl 2? Im mean a 99 archer with a dlc will surely pierce this common/ not even legendary armor

  30. Sorry, they have NO CLOU at all! Take a arrow tip out of Obsidian and it will go straight through the plate. Dont believe me? Try it.
    The spanish conquerers know this for sure.

  31. It's not really a fair test though. Some Longbows could go up to 230ibs, the Archer had been training a very specific muscle group since he was he was 5 years old and by the time he was in his 20's, he was freakishly strong. The English created Bodkin arrows for this purpose.

    Then there is the fact the Knight would be on his horse and charging at 15 mph, so the kinetic energy may well have gone through.

  32. Mean while in M8B warband

    My character is wearing a plate armor set, loses 1/5 health to a nord veteran archer as I'm on a war horse

  33. Actually, special arrowheads were used against armor and those who are interested can be searched on the Internet. Moreover, they usually fired non-singles, so there was a chance of hitting the unprotected area.

  34. Okay, now do the same test but this time mount the plate on top of a galloping horse. Now shoot the horse.

  35. So you generally used the breastplate made from highest quality, modern steel, by master blacksmith who was using modern tools? Yeah, great, viable test…. Next time try a musket ball against kevlar helmet to prove they were uneffective too.

  36. War Bows from the medieval period pulled a much greater newton force than modern bows.
    Some were so powerful that the archer would have had a huge deformity of the pulling arm.

    It is difficult to provide a comparison, this video doesn't give the draw weight in Newtons or Lbf.
    Having said all that, this is not a fair scientific assessment of the effectiveness of an original bow,or an authentic archer from the period.

  37. That was impressive, but I would like to point out that the majority of Henry V’s army at Agincourt was made up of archers armed with longbows, and they won against a much larger army of French knights.

  38. I mean that's normal, there are plenty of historical records that agree on the fact that steel plate armour was essentially immune to archery, something that was proven in several battles in the 14th century. Regardless of steel quality between then and now it wouldn't be much different since the material ont hea rmour would also be of a lower quality.

    It would be interesting to see how a tungsten tipped bodkin would do against that armour, looking at the way the arrow deformed it's easy to say that the steel arrow was softer than the steel plate.

  39. In the movies, one arrow to the shoulder will kill a bad guy, but it'll take 7 arrows, 5 spears and 20 people to kill a good guy.

  40. I guess noone will read this one, but just in case… I'm not an expert, but isn't he supposed to be shooting from 100+ meters so that arrow would fly sort of an arc (sorry 4 my poor english)? And also, this armor looks morу of a period when crossbow was used against it – am I wrong?

  41. Presumably, you wouldn't need to kill the knight, just injure his horse. Charging across a muddy field on foot wearing full plate armor would hardly be practical.

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