Funky Buckler and Vier Blossen Historical Fencing paired up to see how armor impacts the fight. This blog will explore the data from the workshop and what can be learned from this experiment.
This experiment and workshop was inspired by the Knight of Hope.
Fencers were expected to fight unarmored and were allowed to choose any weapon they wanted. Two fencers picked longsword while the other two picked sword and buckler. They would fight against Joe using a longsword while he was unarmored and when he was armored. The unarmored results would be used as the baseline when comparing the performance of armor.
Fencers would fight to 5 points. Points were determined by the following hits:
Fencers were advised to not stop attacking until their opponent acknowledged that they were hit. This was decided to reduce potential doubles or after-blows that may occur from one fencer thinking they had struck their opponent and stopping while the opponent continued to attack.
Unsurprisingly, armor dramatically improved Joe’s performance. While Joe was struck by his opponent while he was unarmored, he was able to make three of the four opponent’s fail to land and attack when he was in armor.
The Outlier – Burhan
Burhan, who was unable to hit Joe while Joe was unarmored, was able to deliver a thrust past Joe’s armor. Even with Burhan earning the title of MVP (Most Valuable Peasant) for the workshop, he felt that he only achieved the hit by pure dumb luck.
Armor verses Multiple Opponents
Joe successfully defeated a pair of sword and buckler fencers but lost to a pair of longsword fencers, taking one with him. When an armored Joe fought five opponents, he successfully hit three opponents before being hit himself.
While the fight ended when Joe was hit, this assumes that he would not have continued fighting after being struck by a sword. Joe was able to isolate each opponent and defeat them before moving on to the next opponent. It was not until he was surrounded and all the opponent’s closed on him that he was defeated.
Potential Improvements Against Armor
One noteworthy data point is that none of Joe’s opponents had experience fighting someone in armor. It is possible that someone who has fought armored combatants would have had more success even if they were unarmored.
Some of the opponents for Joe had experience with thrusting systems that may have aided in finding gaps in armor. As mentioned in the video, thrusting into the gaps were far more difficult than expected.
Armor is incredibly effective. Even against multiple opponents, the armored fighter had a chance to fight and survive. The ability to reduce the target zone while also being able to fight more aggressively cannot be underestimated.
What surprised me the most was how hopeless it felt fighting against someone with armor. Every time a thrust failed to get past the armor, it felt like there was less and less I could do. This forced me to fight more defensively and made me feel like all I could do was delay the inevitable.
The psychological impact of fighting an armored knight is something worth exploring in a future workshop.