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Effectiveness and use of 17th century armour

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  • Effectiveness and use of 17th century armour

    There are countless portraits of kings and other notables from this period wearing what looks like plate armour.
    Was plate armour actually still worn in combat during this period and if so how effective was it? Obviously it would be effective against swords and to a degree against pikes but could it stop contemporary pistol and musket shots?
    "To be free is better than to be unfree - always."

  • #2
    A few videos from you.tube:







    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kEPG98tTIlU">https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kEPG98tTIlU" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="425" height="350">


    And PBS:

    https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/video/...edieval-armor/

    It looks like You tube says it won't stop a musket ball. PBS is using a rounded breast plate and that appears to stop the musket ball.

    I would say it depends on the armor and the fire arm.
    Last edited by 17thfabn; 20 May 20, 19:28.
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    • #3
      Originally posted by Surrey View Post
      There are countless portraits of kings and other notables from this period wearing what looks like plate armour.
      Was plate armour actually still worn in combat during this period and if so how effective was it? Obviously it would be effective against swords and to a degree against pikes but could it stop contemporary pistol and musket shots?
      A question that has intrigued me as well. Certainly breast and back plates were worn in the field,but were they effective against firearms?
      "I dogmatise and am contradicted, and in this conflict of opinions and sentiments I find delight".
      Samuel Johnson.

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      • #4
        In the 17th century firearms were considered 'armour piercing' at close range I think - but it offers protection against swords, pikes, knives and presumably nearby impact of artillery I imagine ?
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        • #5
          Originally posted by 17thfabn View Post
          A few videos from you.tube:







          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kEPG98tTIlU">https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kEPG98tTIlU" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="425" height="350">


          And PBS:

          https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/video/...edieval-armor/

          It looks like You tube says it won't stop a musket ball. PBS is using a rounded breast plate and that appears to stop the musket ball.

          I would say it depends on the armor and the fire arm.
          Interesting that the best armour could stop a musket ball fired straight on. I had thought it may stop a glancing shot or a shot at extreme range but that was a shot fired straight and close range.
          "To be free is better than to be unfree - always."

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          • #6
            Yes... sometimes thought of egg-shaped tanks later on. Glancing shots all around maybe? Putting guns and such on/in it probably messes up the whole thing tho. Haha
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            • #7
              Originally posted by Surrey View Post
              There are countless portraits of kings and other notables from this period wearing what looks like plate armour.
              Was plate armour actually still worn in combat during this period and if so how effective was it? Obviously it would be effective against swords and to a degree against pikes but could it stop contemporary pistol and musket shots?
              I've read that breastplates were musketproof and backplates were pistolproof. A viable tactic during an English civil war cavalry melee was apparently to fire your pistol in the armpit of the enemy and let the round bounce inside the persons armour.

              Some cavalry still wore extremely heavy armour in the 30 years war, such as that of Savoy, up to 40kg's.
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