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Chain Mail
Mister Grey Wonders about Iron Age Armor in the New Dark Age: 1/4/22
“Stupid question...would chain mail shirt help minimize getting shanked? Maybe an article out of this… I mean they were made for medieval combat with bigger blades swinging around.”
-Mister Grey
There is no such thing as a stupid question when it comes to avoiding the fate of the pin cushion. There are good forensic tests with ancient weapons on mailed crash test dummies on the Deadliest Warrior episodes against period weapons. We are concerned with what the new iron age weaponry will offer for injury.
Mail should be worn over a padded jacket to diffuse impact from heaver blades like a cleaver or ax. Based on its characteristics, broad-headed arrow tips would be no more damaging than field points. In the early expeditions in Mexico the Conquistadors suffered like 100% injury but very little death from arrows and darts and spears as only shallow splintering penetration came through their mail.
However, against armor piercing heads, like the bobkin, mail is useless and was superceded by plate because of specialized points on long bow arrows and crossbow bolts.
Now to the modern arsenal against a chain mail shirt worn over a hooded sweat shirt. From most to least protection:
-0: Razors will be totally ineffective.
-1. Machete slashes will have almost zero effect. However, the blade will tend to slide along the arm down to the wrist. Also, against machetes, you want a coif or mail hood over your cloth hood to cover your neck. The head shots would knot your head some but no criticals would be expected. The big danger with a machete stroke to the protected head is it glancing down into your neck or shoulder.
-2. Bats of aluminum will tend to slide along mail while wooden bats would dig in and drive the rings into your bones. Mail offers the worst protection to shoulders against blunt weapons. But against aluminum bats, I like it.
-3. Flat head screw drivers and broad bellied knives will be mostly deflected and fail to penetrate deeply enough to kill.
-4. Clip point and tanto point knives will do nothing with the edge but could get shallow stabs. Remember, that a magazine taped around your guts will keep most knives from penetrating unless you are pinned or checked and a strong thrust is being driven in.
-5. Double edged “dirks” are illegal most places for a reason and will get deeper and might burst links on a hard thrust.
-6. Commando knives with geometric rather than flat cross sections could bust right through the links, especially of cheap butted mail.
-7. A phillips head screw driver should go right in through the links.
-8. The one weapon that mail will do little to stop from skewering you, is a the pitch fork! Thus, against the Machete Virus, I suggest that Amish mail be worn by pitchforkers against the Philthadelphia Hordes.
To defeat mail, a pry bar, crow bar, hammer, claw hammer, framing hammer and hatchets, axes and even wooden clubs are good weapons. I once sparred with Robert with sticks and tore holes in his butted chain mail.
For my money, the best use of mail in the darkening future would be like so:
Wear a leather jacket with a magazine or pocket planner in the inner pocket over your heart and spleen on the left.
Wear a driving or batting glove on your right hand that enables you to deploy your weapon from your right side.
On your left hand, wear a mailed glove that butchers and oyster shuckers use to keep from getting their left fingers and hands in the bone and fat can. This mail is better quality than that made for armor and is perfect for checking the foeman’s knife hand. You could even grab his blade with this glove while you go to work with your framing hammer or that flashlight with six D-cells. This mailed butcher’s glove would be great against the machete, especially if you duct-taped a magazine around your left forearm.
Do not forget that one of the best armors against blades is a glossy magazine taped to your body. Many thin pages of coated paper, especially wound around the forearm and overlapped will deflect most blades. One could make a good pair of offense and defensive weapons by taping on a magazine over the left forearm and rolling the other one in the right hand.
The two best places for mail in the future will be the left hand and the neck, the gauntlet and coif of old.
For makeshift gauntlets welding gloves are very good.
If you are a stick fighter, keep in mind that your hockey gloves [a little less so] and fencing mask [a little better] will work as good against a machete as a stick.
Enjoy the End Times!
It’s a new beginning.
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