Samurai Armor

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

  1. Gregorius0202

    Gregorius0202 The Bronze Warrior

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    That story actually has some truth too it. It happened during the French/Indian War, and the Indian Chief in charge of the attack of the troops against George and the men he was accompanying specifically told several of his sharpshooters to take Washington down.

    Washington had at least 4 horses shot out from under him that day, without sustaining a single wound, and taking several holes to the vest.

    Years later, the chief met Washington, and told him the story, expressing his disbelief that not one of the men was able to kill him. That's when he decided he was destined to be something great, and in later encounters he would tell his men to NOT fire on him.

    An exaggerated story, perhaps, but with much truth to it...

    -Gregory-
     
  2. Kellarly

    Kellarly Snow Merchant

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    Ah this story...the verison I read was after negotiations the Sultan and the King compared their weapons, the Sultan threw a silk hankerchief in the air and sliced it cleanly once or twice...Richard III had a lead bar placed across a fire and with one swing chopped it in half...apparently there are some sources...but having never seen them I cannot say otherwise.

    EDIT: By the way, those are some very nice swords you have there, I've handled the Bushido once, very nice :D
     
  3. elrond243

    elrond243 The Fighters Guide House Member

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    fo any of you guys live near boston? theres an exibit on dynastic japan; every aspect of it and theres one room that has samuari armor i think i've heard it called yori. but in it the armors aranged in a timeline the earlier edo period armor was made of wood and had fin chain mail and leather, the most recent armor had a full steel curias and consisted of mainly metal so it depends on what time you want to look at.

    p.s. on the wood armor thing i learned so where that the idea behind breaking baords in lots of martail arts is for that reason. to crack the chest plate and then probably the ribs of an armored aponent.
     
  4. CanadianRCist

    CanadianRCist Guest

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    sounds cooooool ...... i wish i was there
     
  5. kagetora

    kagetora New Member

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    aloha i am new to this forum i came across your postings of samurai armor.I have been fighting as a 1500 1600 century samurai for over 10 years.I belong to the sca and i have learnd alot about samurai armor and diffrent ways to make them.I have fought in leather and now plastic i make the helments myself as well as the armor.I like samurai armor its light so you can move it gives you the mobility to dodge your opponent rather then stay there and get hit.Well i hate to come in the middle of a disscusion if someone would bring me up to speed as to what you are all talking about maybe i can pass some of knowledg on.mahalo
     
  6. Mububban

    Mububban Administrator Staff Member

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    why use plastic and or traditional materials? of course it's light if its plastic! if i wore aluminium chainmail it'd be a lot lighter than my steel.

    what were they traditionally made of? what sort of strength did it have? what could it absorb, and what would go through it?
     
  7. Tsuchigumo

    Tsuchigumo Ronin

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    This is an old topic that I happened across while searching Google. There is a lot of wrong information stated about Samurai armour.

    • It was never made out of wood. The armour was made using steel and/or leather. Most examples were made using plates that would be laced or riveted together. The armourer(s) would then apply urushi (lacquer) in very, very thick layers. The lacquer could actually be as thick as the plates themselves. This made the armour very strong.
    • The armour is not cumbersome when it is made for a specific warrior. "Generic" examples, pseudo-custom (height/weight) examples, etc. are not representative of the quality of Japanese armour. The same is true for European armour.
    • The armour is not overly heavy. The SCA typically uses plastic where possible because it is much cheaper. Japanese armour is not cheap for any level of quality. A very, very basic (ashigaru/foot soldier) grade could still run you $1,000+ for a custom suit, which can be extremely cost prohibitive. Suits to the level that would have been worn by major warlords will run you a minimum of $10,000 USD for a custom suit, and I have seen examples that easily push $30,000-$40,000 USD when actually produced in Japan using authentic techniques.
    • THERE WERE PROOFED SUITS OF ARMOUR! This is not a myth. For those that don't know what this means, the armourer allowed the do (breast plate) to be SHOT by a musket to prove it could stop the ball. If the do passed, it would have a dent that would typically be a major mark of pride for the owner. This would be limited to higher level warriors because this level of armour would not be cheap.

    As for the katana, it is a surgeon's tool while European blades are usually a butcher's tool. Apples and oranges. The fighting styles for these blades are also quite different, and people have many misconceptions based on Samurai movies based in the Edo period.

    Samurai originally focused on the bow and arrow while mounted. As Japan progressed into the Sengoku Jidai (Warring States Period), spears became more popular for the Samurai themselves while foot soldiers would use the bows ala English longbowmen. Spears came in two major varieties -- yari (straight) and naginata (curved). Starting in the 16th Century, many warlords began purchasing and/or building large amounts of teppo (arquebuses). These were also used by the ashigaru. The 'officers' would use a spear as his primary weapon, and he would fall back to his katana only when necessary. In rare cases, you will find samurai using the katana as their primary weapon, but these cases are almost always someone considered to be a master of the katana.

    Anyway, just felt the need to set the record straight.
     
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2008
  8. Tsuchigumo

    Tsuchigumo Ronin

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    I also need to point out that it is completely incorrect to use a .357 Magnum as a reference point for penetration or lethality for muskets.

    The Japanese received arquebuses from the Dutch and Portuguese. These could range in caliber from around .50" up to .75", and you could expect an "average" example to produce muzzle velocities of approximately 1,400 ft/sec with an optimum and maximum killing ranges of approximately 160' and 650', respectively. These would fire solid, lead balls. You could expect a .75-caliber round ball to weigh around 550 grains. That yields a muzzle energy over 2,350 ft-lbs across an area of .44 in^2 (~5,340 ft-lbs/in^2).

    The .357 Magnum uses .358-caliber bullets. The "Magnum" can propel a 180-grain, lead bullet to about 1,060 ft/sec (revolver). This equates to a muzzle energy of about 460 ft-lbs across an area of .10 in^2 (~4,600 ft-lbs/in^2).

    The big difference here is how the bullet performs at range compared to the round ball. The bullet would maintain more energy as it travels down range compared to the ball, so its relative penetration capability stays higher longer. It is possible to "proof" armour against musket balls, but the primary question is at what range the test was performed. You could then attempt to calculate how far away you would have to be for your armour to stop the .357 Magnum. It is possible.

    The thing to remember is that an arquebus was outperformed by muskets. Muskets were outperformed by rifles. Modern rifles outperform antique rifles. You cannot make generalizations about armour protection or firearm lethality based solely on caliber. Just because Samurai armour would not stop a .357 Magnum at medium range does not mean that it couldn't stop a .75-caliber arquebus' round ball. Afterall, would anyone argue that body armour could stop a modern .50-caliber BMG simply because it could stop a .50-caliber lead ball fired from a musket? Need to use some logic on this one.
     
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