Mail versus Arrows.

Date Proves: 22-12-2005


I was looking to test my mail against arrows. I know, there are a lot of tests about it but usually the people use butted or riveted mail from India (and it isn't a very good quality mail really), or use modern tip for the arrow and these arrows aren't design for to penetrate.
Frequently, I make rings with I.D. 7-8 mm and 1'3 mm thick wire, flat section and wedge rivet. For this test, I changed the ID to 6 (I coil the wire in a bar of 7 mm but when I make the overlap it goes to 6 internal diameter). Too I used a thicker wire, 1'5 mm. This wire when I flat it goes to 1'2 mm thick more or less.
Here you see my mail:
I wanted to test so real like I could, so I used a 50 pounds bow. I can't to discharge more than 50 pounds. Perhaps in the old times the bows were upper but I can't use it. For compensate it, I use the bow near, very near.
The arrows were Bodkin square section, with 3'5 and 2'5 inch in the point. They were made by Jose Luis Castillo , archer from Zaragoza. Thanks, Jose Luis.


Well, we have got bow and arrows very "middle ages". Let go with the target.
-First, I put two sacks, bags with sand, 25 kilograms everyone, and then I united both with tape.
-Second I used a piece, 50x50 centimetres of gambeson weave, with wool press. It was 5 mm thick in the seam zone, and 8 mm in the not seam zone. It was made by Fernando Abad, from Alfajarín, your web : . Thanks, Fernando.

Of course, the third part will be my mail For this test, I made a piece of mail of 40x40 centimetres with 5500 rings and I joined the mail with the gambeson and the bags with sand using wire, holding it around the sacks.
My first idea was to shoot from 30, 20 and 10 metres, but I became from 10 only.
Well, the arrows hit the mail, the tips was lightly bind, clasp in the mail weave, the ring become deformed a little, not much, the gambeson weave got a little hole, only a few millimetres and the bag with sand, nothing. Undamaged. Well, I didn't wait it. I thought the arrows will break rings and pass through the mail, the gambeson weave and the sand. I shot a few arrows more and always the same. In a battle, 10 metres was very improbable distance.
Well, let go to 5 metres.
The arrow hits the mail, the tip point bind, clasp in the mail weave ( you must pull hard for to get the arrow out of the mail) , the rings become deformed a lot , the gambeson weave got a little hole and now appear in the opposite side of the gambeson but one or two millimetres. Nothing in the light weaves of the sacks with sand. Amazing, al least for me. I shot more arrows and the same.
He we can see some impacts in the mail
The upper ring had bent a little, and the others we can see marks after the arrow hit

More rings with impacts.

Here we can see a very deformed ring. Isn't oval now, and almost it is open..

 Perhaps the gambeson was a great protection against arrows. Well, I'll shoot from 10 metres without the mail. The arrows through easily the gambeson weave and penetrate in the bag of sand 20-30 centimetres.

The owner of the gambeson was died, sure.

Let go with the mail without the gambeson from 5 metres.
The impact sounds like a hit in iron, the arrow broke in the wood (1/3 back) and the arrow broke, better it open one ring (curiously, the impact broke the little rivet of 1'3 millimetres long in the middle, in two fragments. I was waiting the rivet unfasten, untie in one of both sides of the overlap. Every side of the overlap had got a little fragment of the rivet)

The open ring


The rings become very deformed and the tip of the arrow penetrated in the mail 3 centimetres. Remember, we are shooting from 5 metres, with 50 pounds bow, arrows made for to penetrate mail, without gambeson… My mail is good, but it isn't miracle.


Aquí Here we have the sacks, the mail, and the arrow through the mail. Down we can see the "second part" of the poor arrow.
The impact bent a little the tip, but not very much
Zone with the lost ring. We can see the very deformed rings.

Few days after, I repeat but more impacts, more than thirty and I broke or open six rings. The penetration was the same, about one centimetre when the ring didn't break and two, three cms when the rings broke.
What's different? I don't know. Perhaps better archer, a lot of impacts in the same mail, different arrow… Someone wrote me about the low potency of the bow. Well, a bow what make this isn't low potency

In this photo, down, you can see a solid ring normal and other after the arrow. Do you think the bow was short potency?
Too I shot with the same distance to iron plate with 1 mm thick. The arrow passes through the plate four centimetres:

In conclusion the mail, the good mail, was a excellent protection against archers. The mail and the gambeson dissipate, decrease the potency of the arrows like a net, a protective curtain. When the arrow hit, hundreds of the rings closed and the arrow potency decrease. If the warriors used mail for 2000 years…. They weren't stupid, sure.

I'm sure this test will get a lot of incredulous. I understand it because I was the first incredulous.. But the mail is amazing, like all us know.