Samurai Armor

Discussion in 'General Weapons & Armour' started by Tiberius, Mar 3, 2004.

  1. Cudgel

    Cudgel The name says it all

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    Well I do know that in Europ at least the were making proffed breast plates during the renenscance so its possible that the Jpanaes made proofed armor to some extent.
     
  2. Justice

    Justice New Member

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    If by "proofed" you mean bullet proof, please post where exactly you heard this information. If various polearms (war hammers, axes and such) we able to crack and split armor, a lead ball shot at a tremendous force could easily go through more than an axe or bill (variously design axe) or war hammer could.

    Armor wearing started to decline in parts on the Rennaissance because of the lack of protection due to increasing technology. Take a look at the three Musketeers, no armor. Rapiers and smallswords are the WORST weapons for defeating most forms of armor (no shearing capability, thin light blades), but they didn't need to because the wearing of armor was declining.
     
  3. Cudgel

    Cudgel The name says it all

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    I sadly no longer recale from shich source I ganed such information. I do not mean,owever that all armor during tha tperiod was proffed, nonly that some armorers made proofed armor. I assume that doing so would have ben tremendoulsy expensive.. I will endevor to to re check my facts as well.
     
  4. elrond243

    elrond243 The Fighters Guide House Member

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    perhaps you didn't have real samuri armor it was made light and flexible . it used some mettal but enamled leather and wood beacuae of the lack of iron ore on the islands of japan . i dont see how it could stop musket balls nor could class three boddy armor angainst 68 cal. wepons thats more than a half inch a tank cant even stop a fiftey cal.
     
  5. elrond243

    elrond243 The Fighters Guide House Member

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    and that the jappanese had no need to make buller proof armor there were no guns until far later in thier history. plus the code of the samuri states that the only honnorable way to kill is to run up and face your enemy head on. one little tid bit of info there
     
  6. elrond243

    elrond243 The Fighters Guide House Member

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    that is false the katana was made very light no maor than two bounds at least mine is at 44 inches easly wielded one handed and made with a duble metal one soft one hard when cooled and made right the soft steel would contract and make the curve commonly seen in japanese wepons and if the wepons freqently bend how is it that when practicing katana you train on tonkin cane bamboo the same density as bone?
     

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  7. Justice

    Justice New Member

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    Actually, I can split wooden timbers with my Del Tin 2133, both with the grain and sometimes against the grain, and that is far stronger than human bone or bamboo. The sword isn't even sharpened. Edge geometry matters more than the sharpness of an edge.

    And secondly, yes, Japanese swords are far heavier than European swords in most cases. Look at the specs, the japanese katana is only about 1.175 inches wide at the base on most katanas, has a blade only 28 or 29 inches long, and they tend to weigh OVER two pounds, usually around two and a half. Compare that to a European sword with a 33 inch blade, 2 inches wide at the base, not to mention a heavy pommel which the katana doesn't have, and actually get a sword that weighs the same or LESS than the katana.

    Many were made with a folding process in which the metal while red hot was folded in half and forged out again (usually 10 to 12 times, NOT thousands of times) to even the carbon content distribution. That would increase the strength of the blade.

    When tempered, the blade is coated in clay and then the edge has the clay removed, meaning the back of the blade remains softer (rc 40) and the edge of the blade remains harder (rc 60) A higher rockwell hardness meas the blade can hold a wickedly sharp edge, but it is still brittle.

    A european blade is through tempered at about 50 to 52 rockwell hardness. Can't hold as sharp as long as a katana, but has the ability to flex a great deal out of alignment and then snap back to its original shape. Try that with a katana, it'll either bend and stay bent, or snap.
     
  8. Justice

    Justice New Member

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    And apparently from your picture you picked a couple of tachi style katanas off eBay. I know what I'm talking about because I own Paul Chen's Bushido katana, full retail over $1000. Before that I owned a Bugei Lion Dogs katana, originally valued at over $1400.
     

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  9. Justice

    Justice New Member

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    Very untrue. The japanese had guns as early as the 15th century. Samurai used the constantly. I cannot think of a time when Samurai didn't stop using them at least until later in the 18th and 19th centuries, and even then it was a matter of choice, not a rule.
     
  10. Cudgel

    Cudgel The name says it all

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    Good posts Justice.
    And it should be made apparent that the Samurai were mounted archers first and in your face foot combatants second.
    I really dont know why pepl believe that samurai armor was made of wood, and why they all sem to think that samurai were all in your face hand to hand fighters. The katana was a side arm and dueling weapon, sure you culd stride into batlle weilding one but you have to realize that a katan sized for the average American is short being a bout 28 inches and seeing hwo most japanese evn to day are much shorter than most americans and westerners tha means the katana is proportionally shorter being i think around 24 inches now tell me if you wold go into battl into weilding a sword that short with two hands?
    I wouldnt even go into battle using a 28 in blade in two hands. I might duel with a blade that short.


    And as for samurai armor, I ve heard that compared to simalr period European armors arms the European armor is more comfortable for longer, but once agsin I cannot recall where I heard or read this so it cold all jst be my opinion.

    Peace all.

    EDIT: oh and those swords do lok like ebay/ bud k/ truck stop/ kife shop fake wall ahnger katana. OI own a wallhanger katana and it is freakishly light.

    And I love the sword Justice.
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2004
  11. Jessehk

    Jessehk The introverted

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    I know very little in thsi field, so I am staying out of the discussion.

    I just wanted to mention that you have the nicest real katana I have ever seen.
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2004
  12. Justice

    Justice New Member

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    Thanks.

    I am in no way saying that Japanese katanas are bad, but they do have shortcomings. Harder to thrust with, often times more brittle, VERY expensive to make.

    Here's a few more of my Bushido and one of my Bugei Lion Dogs. In the top picture the folded steel is just BARELY visible in the reflection on the blade. The Bugei was also folded, but the picture was too light to see it.


     

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  13. Cudgel

    Cudgel The name says it all

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    ohh pretty,but it looks to be hollow ground. i thought katana werent hollow ground?
    I can barely see th ehamon and some of the folding.
     
  14. Justice

    Justice New Member

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    On both pictures you can blame the lighting for the disappearence of the hamon and hada (folds). I have another one I can upload.

    These katanas aren't hollow ground. The Japanese didn't hollow grind swords as far as I know. Personally, it would be a bad idea to because you need some strength behind that edge, or it will chip like crazy.

    Some sword smiths (like John Lundemo of Odinblades) actually triple fuller swords and then bevel them instead of hollow grinding, leaving the edges thick and the sword light.
     

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  15. Cudgel

    Cudgel The name says it all

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    I thought so, oh nice hamon, very clean and plan. But it still looks like its hollowground, my eyes are prabaly tricking me. Look a the colar closer it looks like the blade is hollow ground, but its probably an illusion.
    Any ways nice katana, even though imnot the wrolds greatest fan of them, i can still see the beauty in it.
     
  16. Justice

    Justice New Member

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    Oh, I see. The blade looks hollowground because of the reflection of the tsuba on the blade. since the tsuba is rounded, and the reflection inverses the image, it gives the appearence of being hollow ground.
     
  17. Gregorius0202

    Gregorius0202 The Bronze Warrior

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    Back to the firearms thing... Firstly, Justice, you're a few years off in WHEN the Japanese recieved firearms. The Dutch & Portuguese first arrived in Kyushu with matchlock weaponry in about 1530... That would be the 16th century, not the 15th:)

    Also, here is some reported tests of firearms from the early Edo period, as written by Stephen Turbull, on the strength of fire...

    "Even at 50 metres, however, a bullet that struck home on a man could do considerable damage, as shown by the results of the second experiment. Bullts of 9mm calibre were fired using a charge of three grams of powder at ranges of 30 and 50 metres against the following materials:
    a. 24mm wooden board
    b. 48mm wooden board
    c. 1mm iron plate
    d. 2mm iron plate
    At 30 meters each was pierced cleanly. At 50 metres a. and c. were against peirced through. The bullet entered the 48mm board for three-quarters of its depth, and also entered the 2mm iron plate, causing a dent on the inside, but not passing through. As the iron scales of a typical do-maru armor of the Sengoku Period were about 0.8mm thick, the armour could be holed by a bullet fired at 50 metres."

    BUT, there is also points that stand out to the weapons ineffectiveness, as well. I can't find a quote at the moment, but I'll keep digging. During one battle during the Sengoku Jidai (bear with me, because I wanted the quote mainly for the names and dates in the event, as I've forgotten them, I only remember the story) a general had been in battle for most of the day. During the time he was in action, he had been shot about a half of a dozen times. In the evening, when he removed his gear, every one of the bullets fell from his kimono, as his armor had caught them all, and none of them had even reached his skin. The armor was penetrated, but slowed the shots down so much that they didn't even rip through his shirt, and lodged between the two.

    Also, Justice, the hype about the almighty Katana is really just that, a bunch of hype, but they are not comparable to European weapons for many reasons... The way they were used, the types of armor they were made to penetrate, the way they were made, etc... Is all WAY too different from European counterparts to make accurate comparisons. Katanas are slicing weapons, and they attested that they can do it well. I've read of documents from cutting tests in the 16th and 17th centuries showing information on blades that were tested out at executions (a popular way to find out what they could cut) and some that went through three men cleanly across the chest.

    Also, there are different methods of construction for Katana blades... Here's a quick review on those:

    Cross-sections:
    -The Maru-kitae, which has the entire blade hard.
    -The Wariha tetsu kitae, where only the cutting edge is hard.
    -The Kobuse san mai kitae, where the back and core are soft metal, with the outer edges and cutting edge greatly hardened.
    -The Shihozume kitae, where there is a soft core with hardened back, sides, and edges.

    Courtesy to the Diagram group for making that simple for me to explain!

    Well, I'm off to bed! Cheers, mates!

    -Gregory-
     
  18. Justice

    Justice New Member

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    My mistake, I think I meant to put 1500's but instead put 15th century.

    As for the test and the example of the armor, it sounds much more plausible than the previously mentioned "bullet proof" armor. If the story is true, which I can't vouch for the validity, it sounds like what I was trying to say, bullets won't just "bounce" off armor. There is a story of Richard the 3rd proving to a sultan during the crusades the power of a through hardened sword. He showed him by getting an iron bar, throwing it into the air, and then cutting it in half. Both this story and the 6 shots in the armor story sound like exagerations.

    What the tests don't replicate are the actual battlefield conditions. A running target, wind speeds, the accuracy of the man firing the gun, things of that nature.

    I understand the many differences between a katana and a European sword. But one thing remains, they are both sharpened hunks of steel. Their designs may vary wildly, but even in their differences they share many common designs. The shinogi is like that of a diamond cross sectioned blade, the area of thickness that translastes to the penetrating tip. The niku of the flat is similar in concept to the convex edge of many horse mounted blades which needed more blade heaviness. A katana with no shinogi-ji is like a viking seax in design, flat ground to a triangle cross section. I try to downplay all differences because they have led to this enormous katana / euro sword divide. It's not comparing a gun to a cannon as some would have people believe, but a gun with a different style gun.
     
  19. Gregorius0202

    Gregorius0202 The Bronze Warrior

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    "Both this story and the 6 shots in the armor story sound like exagerations"

    It's likely. Turnbull, although an EXTREMELY well appreciated scholar of Japanese Martial studies, tends to focus many of his examples from the Medieval Japanese, which tend to exxagerate... He even uses the one about a samurai on a bridge with a Naginata, who whirled the thing in the air so fast that he stopped the arrows coming at him.

    He also doesn't give any explanation, he just tells the story:\ That's one thing wrong with Turnbull's stuff, but he's still a joy to read:D

    Cheers!

    -Gregory-
     
  20. Justice

    Justice New Member

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    there is also a story about George Washington coming out of battle with multiple musket holes in his vest, yet not a single one struck him. Once again, if his vest were flapping in the wind, and he was nearly shot but instead the vest got hit, it would not be too unlikely. But then to have it repeat 4 or 5 times would be. It probably happened I am sure, but one bullet turned into 'I don't know, a few maybe" then into 4 or 5.
     
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