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Weapons & Armour :use by date:

Printed From: History Community ~ All Empires
Category: Regional History or Period History
Forum Name: De Re Militari: The Society for Medieval Military History
Forum Discription: Official forum for the academic society De Re Militari: News about the society, its website and forthcoming publications; Discuss medieval warfare as well as ar
URL: http://www.allempires.com/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=15679
Printed Date: 29-Jun-2022 at 18:26
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Topic: Weapons & Armour :use by date:
Posted By: think
Subject: Weapons & Armour :use by date:
Date Posted: 21-Oct-2006 at 09:47
How long did armours an weapons last, where certain swords prone to break after a few battles ??

Could a Euro sword break a Scimitar or Samurai sword in half ???

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Replies:
Posted By: Goban
Date Posted: 21-Oct-2006 at 09:58
Many weapons were used for generations.
 
In fact in Norse mythos, some would acquire weapons from old buried relatives to use in important battles. Even some unrelated warriors would acquire them; sometimes even asking permission from the living relatives.
 
Your sword would wear after use, but it shouldn't break. Even if it did then you now just have a shorter sword or even a knife. Smile 
 
But swords do last for a long time. In the migration period, some would intentionally destroy their weapons when they fell ini battle because they didn't want them to be used by the enemy or even a one of his own (who could, god forbid, be a coward in battle).
 
 


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Posted By: Paul
Date Posted: 21-Oct-2006 at 13:45
The answer to this question is how well was the sword made? Like everything in life today, quality of manufacture varies.
 
Then of course is how well is it looked after? If a sword is to be kept for a long time it needs regular maintanance to prevent it from rusting.


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Posted By: Aelfgifu
Date Posted: 22-Oct-2006 at 13:22
It also depends on the kind of weapon. In Europe, early medieval swords were made of layers of different metal, making them flexible and so less likely to break. In this period the best swords were Frankish swords. The were so much better than Scandinavian swords for example that the German Emperors forbade them to be sold to Scandinavia (were they were used by Vikings to plunder Frankish territories), of course, this ban was broken by opportunistic traders, and the Vikings got them anyway.
 
Later medieval swords (which were longer, and meant to be used while riding a horse) were of a harder and more brittle metal, better to thrust, but more liable to break when hit on the flat side. The best of these came from Spain, where the art hardening of metal by tempering them with carcoal was perfected.


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Women hold their councils of war in kitchens: the knives are there, and the cups of coffee, and the towels to dry the tears.


Posted By: Guests
Date Posted: 22-Oct-2006 at 14:50
As for armour, well it depended really on the situation warfare found itself in. So you have Egyptians and Mesopotamians going into battle fairly haevily armed, while 1500 years later the Persians were wearing fairly thin armour (most of the units anyhows).


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Posted By: Eondt
Date Posted: 23-Oct-2006 at 03:05

Another factor that would have determined the lifetime of the weapon or the armour is the use of it in battle, or practice for that matter. Weapons and armour are tools designed for a specific function and like any tool the frequency and amount of use will determine the wear and tear on the tool which needs to be repaired and later replaced.

The layering of early swords (woots) did not make it stronger than later swords. In fact, it was more prone to breake alot of the time as this type of construction is often a hit or miss exercise. The folding of the steel is done in order to spread the carbon content of the steel and get a homogonous carbon content throughout the blade.
 
In later medieval times, technology improved to a point that you could now get billets of steel that was already carbonised and therefore the need to spread the carbon throughout the steel became unnecessary. The practice of woots never died out in Europe (the folding effect still looked pretty), but the fact that a sword smith could now order billets ready and suitable for sword-smithing allowed for more swords of the same quality to be manufactured. This is also why you see a remarkable increase in the use and variety of designs of swords later in medieval times. Although you got the swords designed more for thrusting with little flex you also got the swords designed more for cutting with alot of flex and all those inbetween. Refer to Ewart Oakeshotte's "The archeology of weapons" for a detailed discussion.
 
Spain only became a sword-producing centre fairly late. In medieval times the biggest producers of swords and armour were Germany and Northern Italy (Innsbruck and Milan). In fact if you read up on museum pieces, it is very likely that you'll find in the description that the fittings were produced locally but that the blade were of German origin.
 
The manufacturing process for European and ME swords were very similar so the chances that one would break the other is left to the quality of the individual piece. Japanese swords made use of differential hardening which basically means a softer spine and a harder edge on the sword. This was done in order to put a sharper edge on the sword but the disadvantage of a hard edge is that it's prone to chipping and breaking.


Posted By: Paul
Date Posted: 23-Oct-2006 at 04:57
Woots or Wootz was the name of the process used in construction of ME and Indian swords. It was not layered and made form an unfolded piece of high carbon steel. The patttern in the steel comes from the carbon content. You're thinking of Pattern Welding which was the folding process used in Europe up to about 1000 ad.
 
Japanese Swords used a process very similar to Pattern Welding which was also developed in China and spread from their in the early years BCE.


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Light blue touch paper and stand well back

http://www.maquahuitl.co.uk - http://www.maquahuitl.co.uk

http://www.toltecitztli.co.uk - http://www.toltecitztli.co.uk


Posted By: Eondt
Date Posted: 23-Oct-2006 at 07:06
Originally posted by Paul

Woots or Wootz was the name of the process used in construction of ME and Indian swords. It was not layered and made form an unfolded piece of high carbon steel. The patttern in the steel comes from the carbon content. You're thinking of Pattern Welding which was the folding process used in Europe up to about 1000 ad.
 
 
You are correctOuch I mixed up my terms. ApologiesEmbarrassed


Posted By: Nick1986
Date Posted: 27-Jun-2012 at 19:31
Muslim warriors wore chainmail well into the 19th century. The Indian "coat of ten thousand nails" was reinforced with steel plates and studded with brass rivets

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