Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Unmitigated Geekery

Anybody want to buy a full suit of body armor? Guaranteed not proof against modern munitions...

Am making and will sell two sets of lamellar armor in order to finance the production of some very, very specialized leather. Part and parcel of this is that my next research project is on, just as soon as I can muster the fundage for the testing.

Armor vs. Weapons System: the "heaviness" of heavy cavalry in the Crusading Kingdoms.

Much as I dealt with in my most recent paper (awaiting the return of the editors from their summer break, theoretically to be published in a year or so), medieval military historians, being primarily linguists and text-based researchers, tend to focus on one element of a given weapons system to the exclusion of other considerations. Thus, at Crecy, historians tend to focus on the longbow primarily in terms of either rate of fire, or maximum poundage, without considering that the bow is an analog-power weapon, not a digital/binary one, in contrast to the crossbow, which must be drawn to its maximum force (as strung) in order to be loaded and fired. Similarly, historians tend to depict the Genoese as "crossbowmen," while giving short shrift to the large shield which was very much an inherent part of their weapons system.

As soon as I have gotten the leathers made, I will build on my previous study of archery and mail, to conduct another archery penetration test in order to determine the relative effectiveness of various sorts of soft armors, and then compare the tactical methods to the totality of the weapons systems involving Norman and western men at arms, and two of their more dangerous opponents in the field, the Cuman and Seljuk "light cavalry" horse archer. The conceit of weapons system as a combination of "equipment strategy" plus "tactical method" should provide a way to discuss the differences in cavalry much more meaningfully than simply marking them as "heavy" or "light."

This would make a hell of a fun dissertation. I wonder who I might be able to sell it to locally?

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