Axe Spike vs Chain Mail Armor

Today we continue our examination of how medieval weapons designed for armored combat actually interact with armor.  Today we look at the Arms and Armor hardened Horseman's Axe against riveted mail armor.  We also examine two pieces of historical armor from The Oakeshott Institute collection, including an original 16th century mail shirt and a piece of late medieval plate armor (a cuisse).  

horseman's axe

Arms and Armor Horseman's Axe, now with hardened point and edge

While modern popular culture and many medieval images depict weapons like this one going straight through armor, our testing suggests that this is pretty unlikely.  

cutting through armor

A tall tale?

As you can see in this video, armor does a pretty good job stopping weapons from penetrating into the body.  You can also check out our previous tests with the same weapon on plate armor, with a Hungarian Axe vs Plate, Flails vs Plate Armor, Dane Axe vs Chain Mail, Dagger and War Hammer vs Mail, and Can Swords Cut Plate Armor?.   

divider swords

Nathan Clough, Ph.D. is Vice President of Arms and Armor and a member of the governing board of The Oakeshott Institute. He is a historical martial artist and a former university professor of cultural geography.  He has given presentations on historical arms at events including Longpoint and Combatcon, and presented scholarly papers at, among others, The International Congress on Medieval Studies.

Craig Johnson is the Production Manager of Arms and Armor and Secretary of The Oakeshott Institute. He has taught and published on the history of arms, armor and western martial arts for over 30 years. He has lectured at several schools and Universities, WMAW, HEMAC, 4W, and ICMS at Kalamazoo. His experiences include iron smelting, jousting, theatrical combat instruction and choreography, historical research, European martial arts and crafting weapons and armor since 1985

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