Testing Medieval Flails Against Armor

Flails, sometimes erroneously called "Morningstars", are an iconic weapon of the late medieval period.  Since these weapons are pretty unwieldy many people are interested in what they were actually used for, and how well they worked, today we find out!

medieval spiked flail

Medieval Spiked Flail

While we did a previous post on how they were used and what advantages and drawbacks using a flail might have incurred, in today's video we put one of our Medieval Spiked Flails to the test against several kinds of armor. 

German Flail

Arms and Armor German Flail

These tests include trying to break an ash board protected by linen and maille, and hitting mild steel and hardened steel plate to see if and how it was damaged.  We also use an Iberian flail dating from the renaissance to see how these weapons worked against unarmored opponents.  


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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