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7-14-2009 @ 11:03AM
Historically the largest number of wounds inflicted in battles were suffered to the back of the legs (then front.) Chain mail was able to withstand pretty much any attack at the time simply because a human being cannot generate the amount of penetrating force needed to get through the armor. Stabbing weapons designed to get through the links in the mail were adapted and they were quickly defeated by wearing wool cloth layered underneath.The leg wounds usually happened when one side routed. The moment their lines broke they all ran for their lives, exposing their backs to the enemies. Well, usually people weren't armored in the back all that much wearing some types of armor and legs were almost never armored in the back... Cut their hamstring, they scream like a girl and hit the floor. Continue past and get more of them while this happens.The armor vs weapon arms race always had armor winning out simply because a new weapon showed up and armor could be modified quickly to defeat it again. Only real exceptions were late in the period. British Longbows could penetrate chain or even plated armor at normal thicknesses with little effort. These weapons were also trained on from childhood and deformed the bowman's skeleton to enable the amount of force required to launch the arrows like this. Even then, sloping armor made this more difficult as arrows would shatter on impact and lose the penetrating force (it was deflected not absorbed.) Heavy Crossbows could penetrate armor at short range and were devastating. These required a long period to reload and were preferred for assassinations and not general warfare. These weapons were replaced by muskets which while being no where near as accurate or having the range of a longbow required only training in reloading and firing at point blank. Once the firearm became common armor vanished. It could not stop the rounds and so people moved away from it and towards tactics that allowed mass infantry to engage and not have nobility singled out for special target practice. Maces were not that effective even against chain or wool armor. The damage of a mace is caused by bring all teh force into a general area and causing blunt force trauma. When the armor absorbs the impact and spreads the force over a larger area the damage is buffered very well. Exceptions to this are hitting unarmored places or places where the armor cannot absorb damage very well. The legs were the best spot for this as they were relatively stationary, not as well armored and wounds there tended to make the opponent give up and ask to be ransomed. Swords that hit the back of the legs could often cause damage as well.While the romantic aspects of battle in the time period show valiant knights fighting on a field with honor. The reality of it was that they did this while bored waiting for the crops to grow and they did whatever it took to force the other guy to ask to stop. Ransoms were common and expected. Deaths happened but if you had an option of beating a guy and killing him, or beating him, selling him back to his family for some chickens and then waiting till next year to beat the snot out of him and get more chickens, you probably would get the chickens. Eggs are nummy.
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