English Longbow Testing against various armor circa 1400
www.currentmiddleages.org, January (2006)
Throughout all my research on archery and armour, one detail seems to vary from expert to expert. This detail is the effectiveness of armour against archery. From one source to another, the conclusions (almost always stated as fact) are wildly different. For example, a website by the BBC states that:
“In tests against a steel breastplate, a bodkin-tipped arrow would dent the armour at 260ft, puncture it at 98ft, and penetrate right through plate and underlying doublet coat to the flesh at 65ft.” (Channel 4)
Although a seemingly trustworthy source, there is no detail given about the elements used. Another source states;
“an arrowhead, on the other hand, would only need to deliver 120 Joules to pierce the mail and padding underneath. An archer would find this difficult” (Williams).
Dr Williams very clearly details all his methods and elements but fails to consider that mail is flexible and could still kill a person without penetration. This mass weapon effect has never been considered in any testing that I have come across.