Part 28: Campaign: How Do Medieval Warbows and Armour Compare to Modern Equivalents?



here we are big wide-open space nice and safe we've got a reproduction medieval breastplate they're a bit of a later period though yeah a little bit later you're looking around sort of early 1400 this sort of shape we've got some male behind it and then some linen padding and then a lump of meat just where the heart is so what's your betting you're going to try and shoot that what's you what do you reckon is going to happen I'm thinking with the shape mainly deflections but it all depends on where I hit it mark I have more confidence in you I think it might actually stick in penetrate a bit so we'll see I'm gonna step back and I'm going to let you unleash the war bo I reckon that that did more damage to the new thought look look Wow certainly punched through she got him in the armpit yeah which is pretty nice either yeah we skipped off here this is in the belly it you talked about the kind of can opener effect didn't you so yeah I mean you can see the the diamond shape of the holes and if you look at it from the side it's almost like little triangles where it's thunk peal yeah yeah so it's kind of how they just punched a hole in it sort of punched quarters out and yes healed back roll back I mean I don't know whether it's actually gone through the mail there can't really maybe maybe the mail actually stopped it I think that the shape of the the hole it's not penetrated any further than maybe the shoulder of the head but the impact the sheer impact is gonna knock you so and they're down here as well we've got some that's two layers and that's done a lot of damage but maybe saved the blokes life I don't know yeah it's definitely not penetrated far enough to cause injury yeah let alone death but even so it didn't just skip off this is a slightly more modern breastplate is made with modern materials obviously cause it's a reproduction but just the energy of that longbow arrow going into it that would have knocked a man down I would have thought it may not have killed him leave so yeah it certainly certainly Rock you and make you think twice and when you combine that with the energy of a cavalry charge for example it's gonna be an even more catastrophic hit so a couple of arrows and then you know well I wouldn't want to be a knight wearing that charging at you you'd have hit me several times sport my day sport my name probably killed me about a hundred yards before I got to you but some at shows incredible power of a war bow against the armor of the day yep how are the arrows obvious damage done to them so not even the tips is no note implanting on them no nothing at all wow so they've actually they could just be picked up again on the battlefield yeah and reused just pull straight out and then straight away ready to go out let's see that's the armor that's contemporary ish to the actual war bow I'd like to challenge you to have a go at modern harness your Laden armor used by modern military ceramic plates Kevlar what do you reckon yeah we'll see how we go okay let's do that right yeah you can have a look well that's interesting so this is more than Kevlar so this is the fragmentation protection this is a kind of fabric but this is the plate and I I think you hit in the juicy tiny or old scratch on this the scratch if you ever look right it's not really done anything I don't think it's some little impact point but my my old damage no real damage there to also it's a good thing because it would be insane to think that mother's ceramic plate couldn't withstand a longbow shot but yeah although here you can see this has penetrated all the way through both sides and just been stopped right at the back here so there was a person in there that would have no would have done a lot of damage I'm so assume they're just skimming the edge yeah and then you could see the impact point the one where you actually got him in the shoulder where he's got no armor at all here it's gone all the way through straight out the back by quite a substantial margin and see what the ceramic plates done to the head how this actually it's completely it's not only completely flat in the front of the head where it stopped it dead but it's broken half so all that energy has gone into deforming the head and then making the word breaking up the wood yeah and as you said the tail of the arrow follows and pushes it through exactly it comes through an earth sort of sneaking motion as it tries to go in so as its found no real purchase first it's been stopped dead and then that's just constant evil itself in see how it's moved it completely to the side on the area you can see how that's shifted down yeah brilliant so we know that up to a point modern ceramic plate protects you from longbow arrows but now let's reverse things let's go indoors into a shooting range and let's see what modern weapons do against medieval armor as well as modern armor hello a tune nice nice to see you we are here at the tunnel Target Support Centre which is an indoor range is fantastic for our experiments we have been playing around with long bows against medieval armor and we're here today to use your expertise so what are we going to try and do well on our hundred meter indoor range you've got a couple of targets that you're setting up one of them is a set of medieval armor right and we don't think that's going to withstand bullets we don't think that's going to stop modern rifle bullets no but you've got a set of Kevlar armor with ballistic ceramic plating and that's maybe the equivalent of medieval armor against medieval weapons so we're going to see if that will stop modern rifle bullets for you obviously that armor is designed for that particular threat medieval armor designed for medieval threats this is modern rifles against modern armor so I've just got to hit the target though let's see how we go okay right we're down here in the tunnel fantastic place that it is we've got a couple of targets here and Ageing you're gonna tell us a little bit about what we're going to be trying to do so modern medieval that's right yeah absolutely Jason yes so you've got two sets of armor individual armor as might have been used by soldiers I guess in the medieval period and much more recently and there's this this is kind of Kevlar a Kevlar vest yeah and then this is just like a round like plate yes so within this part of the cover there's a succession of layers of Kevlar right especially into woven to provide resistance for ballistic strikes so the idea of armor isn't to immediately stop the thing it's to slow the threat down and try to absorb some of the energy from it which is exactly what the medieval shots do right and seems very similar so they get modern yeah and then where this might be a little different is that if you're expecting a particularly powerful round to be fired at you're particularly powerful bullet to be fired and you're able to take protective measures against that you might insert what's in here a rigid ceramic plate that'll be proof against much more powerful rounds but they because the payoff is the ceramic plate is really heavy it's dense yeah and that is trying to do that is trying to stop things more or less straightaway right so it still deforms but it's a much denser material therefore a lot heavier so if you built the whole vest out of the ceramic plate it's getting massively difficult and you might say that for a specialist military or police role that you've got something that's more or less linked to plates because of course this stuff's not flexible this the Kevlar has the advantage that it's flexible right right okay so that's interesting because again we know that medieval layers were very important and depending on your status and how much money you had you had more plate or less plate you had mail you had just plates and this layers and layers of linen right and it's interesting you've got layers and layers of cloth yeah in this modern device albeit specialist cloth yeah you had layers and layers of cloth sure in the medieval thing it's just a different type of cloth same sort of thing but they but they are also both designed to have some kind of effect on war weapons yeah of the time so we talked about longbow and Lance yeah now you've got some ferocious-looking machines behind you there do you want to take us through what those are yes and what they can do certainly yes so with two rifles here this one is based upon the American ar-15 design and just quickly what's the what's the yellow thing for what do both rifles have got safety blocks in in this case this one's fitted in the magazine well and you can see the flags sticking out through the aperture here on the bolt-action rifle we'll look at in a moment got a breech safety flag tucked into the barrel itself into the chamber and and that's because we're here on a range we're discussing the various features of the firearms and the ammunition and the target tree here and this just gives us a visual and physical check that these firearms do not have ammunition in there so this couldn't be fired in fact the rifle won't operate whilst this block and it's great so that means we can handle this and look at it now still really good practice to make sure as I'm doing there that this still doesn't point at anybody it feels much better for me yeah and it might not be immediately obvious to everybody else but that way yes the way on this range the people shoot pointing down the range separately yeah that's all that's all the safety great so this is this is an ar-15 this is very similar to a large number of American and some British service rifles in use by military forces and replaced law enforcement forces this specific rifle is designed for the civilian shooting market here in the United Kingdom and that means that although it has a similar operating system actually it has to be loaded between each shots there's an operating mechanism to load each round it doesn't sell flow because of our gun laws that's why in particular that's my particular configuration so this rifle is chambered for the two to three inch Remington round and that's the commercial equivalent of the 5.56 by 45 NATO round but what I'm essentially saying to you is that this rifle fires the same round that a soldier and a number of police officers in the UK would be equipped with so you've got another machine that different yes so this rifle has a bolt-action to it that means that there's a magazine going to go up here in due course when we're going to fire the rifle and each round will be loaded by pushing the bolt forward pushing the bolt down then it's able to be fired there's a safety catch here that will need to come off and then to load the next round the bolt comes up and comes back that's a firing mechanism an operating mechanism it's gonna be really familiar to soldiers from as long ago as the 1880s 1890s and the reason it's used now is because it still continues to lock at the front end here there are some lugs and they lock into the breech of the barrel and that's really solid so that gives great consistency shot-to-shot so would you say that was more accurate than that this rifle has capacity to be more accurate this design of rifle has greater accuracy potential and that's why they're still in service now typically in sniping or rifle officer modes right fantastic and that's going to shoot a bigger round it is this one's chambered for the point 308 inch so point two to three inch this is point 308 inch Winchester cartridge and that's the commercial equivalent or similar to the 7.62 by 51 millimeter NATO round so the larger type of ammunition if fat was more commonplace for infantry soldiers to use that say 30 years ago but because it's a large around to carry fewer of them more recoil and so on there's been a move to adopt the 5.56 by 45 round so what do you think we're going to do – I have a suspicion that the material stuff will be totally destroyed I'd be very surprised if it isn't but we've got to try it we've got to try it absolutely and then the modern stuff with is big around this yeah so it is quite possible that this round will penetrate this part of the armor yeah but I am quite hopeful that the ceramic plate will be able to stop this round that's going to be really interesting to see I'm I'm fascinated we look at armor in the context of the weapons that it's going up against there's no point wearing medical Homer if you're going up against somebody with guns which is why guns became so popular yes on why the knight in Armour lost his supremacy on the battlefield rather sadly from my perspective yes uhm the supreme military offensive ranged weapon in medieval times was the crossbow potentially deceased crossbow and thee and the longbow and they had a draw weight of up to a hundred and eighty pounds which is quite a lot if you ever tried to use them you need to be strong and fit to actually shoot it yeah these would you describe these as the equivalent of the longbow for modern-day I missed a bit of a strange question there I see where you're going with it takes another I would suggest that this is the equivalent of your 180 pound draw weight longbow and probably the 5.56 round the two to three Remington in that case is something it would be a bow but not like a hunting but like a practical thing you cause injury a course could cause fatality that may be used for that purpose but wouldn't have the same penetrating capability as the animation right well as somebody who's familiar with with rifles I think you should put that down absolutely carefully and then we should set up and have a go and see what it does to our targets of course thank you for that that's really interesting the range is clear the life rounds being loaded in a magazine into the rifle right well where we've done quite a lot of damage this poor old medieval knight and he hasn't had a lot of chance that's my Lance impact a lot more denting there what's that one that's the 5.56 mm that was your first round so that's gonna say in fact you can see some of the debris of the bullet jacket yeah so lead cores gone through but they jacket has some of the jackets scraped off as it's cut through thee yeah there's a bit of flaring on the inside down it's not straight through the mail yes you can see some other disrupted rings actually yeah and then this is the larger round that's right they point three right Winchester the equivalent of four 7.62 by 51 they round yep and that's why you can see the holes a lot perfect but I start the same started to split the steel as well as some of the casing sorry some of the bullet jacket as again just come off as it's gone through it's just gone straight through out the back yeah you can see the exit is this is the reason guns prevented so I think let's compare it to some of the wardens stuff so there's a reason why there's a ceramic plate what's interesting though this is steel it's punched holes yep but if you took that off a dead body and you kind of put a bit of patch over it yeah it would still work as a steel breast want to get shot in the same place again okay um but that's interesting so yes so that's the ceramic plate that we looked at a while back and that's a strike from the 5.56 millimeter round did that steam that's the equipment about that's exactly right yeah and you can see actually on the reverse of it although there's no exit of a projectile actually is a huge bulge there so you would get a traumatic injury from that but the entire round has been contained within the ceramic plate although the little bits of ceramic material and our shattered yeah and you're getting them to fall out on your hands so yeah so that plate would take separate strikes but not in the same place disintegrated now it's a function yeah so I suppose it's got a hole in it and the other places would yeah as you said take the impact and this is the Kevlar as well so yep so this is the larger round wasn't it yeah they strike here on that lipstick plate yeah you might want to take that out and let's just read what's happening for the plate you want to grab that yes sure so that's the larger round slightly larger hole isn't it yeah yeah these are my shooting is okay look at ya look at the size of that defamation now we were expecting potential penetration of the bullet through the back of this we haven't quite got that but when you compare yeah the ceramic coming up when you compare the two mmm look at this difference in that there's a significant trauma wound it's it's almost gone through yeah and so would that have shattered more the yeah more or less that's right plate is now disrupted it's not gonna be able to function properly stun its job that's it now that's over with so so you'd need to what you need to replace yes replace all of that yeah and you may just recall that of course you fired around deliberately over here yes good shot so that's gone straight through the Kevlar as we thought it might straight through this side oh yeah straight in the back and straight out there right with it yeah thing is it's slowed down it's pulling pulling material that's right and we know it came out because it punched a hole in the screening at the back before it hit the bar so basically our hypothesis that but it's go through many human nights almost absolutely proved sure yes that's really not much hope but modern armor does its job pretty well the Kevlar is not designed to stop the bullet as we discussed earlier it'll slowed it down of course it's beginning to do its job a lot of Kevlar would eventually stop it the plates do that job and they've done it they I'm quite impressed so well done modern technology thanks for watching please like and subscribe and don't forget to use that notification button and we'll see you next time you

Author Since: Mar 11, 2019

  1. Remember prior to direct fire like this the archers would have fired high for distance, subsequently it would have literally rained arrows finding gaps in armour etc.

  2. Can anyone speak to the plate being used? It looks like in only covers a portion of the chest, vs more modern options that cover the entire chest/some of the gut.

    Anyone know what those plated are for and what military uses them?

  3. I wonder if you placed a piece of bees wax or some such, on the tip of the arrow what would happen.
    Would that be enough for the arrow to penetrate rather than deflect.

  4. lol no way would an arrow knock a person down. even a bullet will not knock a person to the ground with shear force. read newtons 3rd law ffs.

  5. pause at 15:28 to guess!.
    i think the plate will stop take alot of damage but stop it. rest of vest will just go through. and midevil thing is garbage against firearms :p

  6. If you want to see what a war bow does to a human just watch that Game of Thrones footage during the Battle of the Bastards when Ramsey shoots down Bran, colorized.

  7. Very interesting video. I was surprised at the effectiveness of the armour against the arrow, but I have a question. The video spoke of knights riding in cavalry charge, would the arrow have more chance of penetration if the knight is moving towards the arrow in a charge? The shot was taken at a stationary target, but the force of two moving objects (knight and arrow) colliding might be greater??

  8. I think after watching this test and another on a different channel using a 1k pound crossbow against a breast plate, that knights armored in full plate weren't necessarily hurt at all by warbow or crossbow. They simply won't penetrate enough of the plate and the gambeson will absorb a lot or most of the impact force. Wounds to mailed areas of the body may have been likely. A greater probability for the knight in full plate armor was their horses were wounded by missiles, they fell and threw mounted soldiers off causing impact damage with the ground, plus rendering the mounted soldier ineffective as he was now heavy infantry if the fall didn't seriously hurt him. Even a horse not wounded by a missile, due to it's own plate armor protection, would be highly rattled by a missile strike and still may throw the rider.

  9. Well, my korean style horn bow allows for fighting up to 400 meters which is pretty much the effective range of an m4 :v
    And we have a record of some turkish dude reaching something like 520

  10. He seems really out of his element and a bit intimidated by the rifles. I was taught to shoot at an early age by my father, and continue to enjoy it into adulthood so I guess I take it a bit for granted that there are adults that haven't been exposed to firearms.

    Conversely I am completely out of my element with swords and Spears and the like and would probably exhibit a similar reaction in his eyes (that bow looks fun though!).

    Interestingly you can see how easily one could become competent fighting with a rifle vs a lifetime of practice with the longbow to achieve the same effect.

  11. Just one question: Why does he lean forward so much when shooting? I'm only a hobby archer and am wondering about that since I was always told to straighten my back as much as possible, to never lean forward. I shot both, intuitive with a classic long bow and precision with a modern, must more powerful compound bow made from carbon.

  12. It's really sad that there are a lot of people that are scared of guns and don't know how to operate them. I'm extremely lucky to have grown up in the Deep South in the US were everyone owns guns. I have at least 15 guns from pistols, rifles and shotguns. I can just walk outside in my front or back yard and shoot all day. It must suck to live in the UK with all those gun laws. Handling a gun just takes common sense. There are basically just 3 rules. Don't point it at anything you don't intend to shoot, don't put your finger on the trigger till you are ready to fire and always assume the gun is loaded. I can promise you that most of my guns in my house are loaded! Even my 15 yr old daughter has her own pistol, rifle and shotgun.

    I also served 11 yrs in the US army (2000-2011) with 2 tours in Iraq and one in Afghanistan. I'm not sure what type of plates they were using in the body armor, but they seemed like they were cheap. The ones we used where bigger and thicker. They would easily stop multiple .308 rounds. I've also seen just the body body armor without the plates easily stop multiple pistol rounds. That vest they were using looked more like an old flak vest lol.

  13. Great video! It looks like you replaced the ceramic plates between shots, but it wasn’t shown. Ceramic plates are only meant to be effective against a single round, then the medic is theoretically supposed to examine you under cover. Most importantly, you should always wear eye protection when using firearms!

  14. What's the poundage of the bow?

    By the way, there are actually a couple of significant differences between .223 Remington & 5.56x45mm NATO, namely pressure & the chambers that they're used in conjunction w/.

  15. All the deflected arrows would not be harmless either. They would probably have deflected into someone else's face…

  16. So that rifle is not an AR 15, it's a bolt action replica of a real rifle. Are you really scared of unloaded rifles?

  17. A lot of people seem to be worshipping plate armor and how invincible it is. May i remind you all of weapons like clubs, axes, pole arms, and even some arrows and swords designed for more armored opponents

  18. Jason is the CEO of Rebellion,the guys who made Sniper Elite.
    He is a passionate history enthusiast.
    He is a youtube content creator.
    He is a living legend,and we don't deserve this man.

  19. i love how professional he was when addressing and talking about the fire arms. not acting as if they are scary machines that work for the terminator.

  20. I really love the actual "maille" being pinned…. and not "butted"…. yet… aim??? from a fixed position???? shooting down range…. I can hit vermin better than that… with a sling shot….
    yet… you do deserve a place on history channel or any other media channel…

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