East Kingdom KEM Master Padraig (MIC Pennsic 2008) gave permission to repost
his summary of the 2008 Pennsic CA helm penetrations & injuries. He sent
this originally only to the SCA chivalry list on Yahoo. It is attached below
unedited, he considers it part of the public record anyway. Feel free to
skip my comments and go directly to his post. Please distribute it to other
lists as you think would be helpful.
I have not figured out how to repost E-Mails as files to the EK South list
as Duchess Gabrielle has suggested for everyone to read in a single location
and only by those interested; so I have stopped forwarding other posts at
this time to avoid burying the lists. Unless they are critically important
like this one from Padraig. I would like to say though that people are
posting good info to a variety of lists and those only on one are missing
out on a lot or only getting part of the discussion. Thank you for your
patience and feel free in the meantime to click delete if you see CA or
siege in a subject line and are not interested.
Sir Richard Blackmoore
P.S. I have two quick observations after all of these discussions.
1) Having standardized mass produced arrows/bolts with identical tips,
shafts, fletching etc. for both CA and siege, that are made the same way
every time without fail (same design, size, shape, density, mass, weight,
materials, assembly, etc.) that can be inspected easily, is the way to go.
This is my personal opinion, not necessarily fact. It would help to improve
safety, allow common calibration at short direct fire as well as long
distance ballistic ranges and for measureable and common usage society wide.
It wiould allow for repeatable and simple impact tests for whatever the
accepted level of force on the target is, from any engine using a standard
test device. Without common ammunition, test devices come up short, too many
variables in terms of perceived and actual impact upon the target. Anything
less than this will not be sufficient. I have spoken or corresponded with
enough engineers and physicist types over the years and this past month, to
believe that with a fire and forget weapon, the engine is not the main
issue, the ammunition's flight characteristics & final impact behavior,
based on its design and properties (overall mass, weight, shape, wind
resistance plus tip composition, compression and deformation, etc.) are what
matters once it leaves the engine. And impact data is a much easier thing to
study, quantify and build a test target for. Other tests are valuable from a
scientific perspective, but of less directly applicable value on the
battlefield or for evaluation of how a given engine and ammo combination
actually affects their intended targets. Per KEM Padraig's request, one of
my physicist friends with real life experience with fire and forget weapons
(US Army) is working on a prototype test go/no go dummy and has been
corresponding with other EK siege weapons folks on issues for siege. Maybe
the concepts will be applicable to CA as well at some point in a modified
form. Certainly common tips would be a huge improvement (assuming the tip
design does not suck and we get a good source for mass produced tips).
2) I have a much better understanding of the issues now, knowing more
of the history of CA and siege from those that have been there since the
beginning and those from out of kingdom whose CA evolved differently than
the Easts. Thank you in particular to Duke Henrik & Earl Kevin, for their
patience and detailed posts on the topic of CA history.
Hello brothers, I am Padraig MacEanruig, Master of Arms so I will start with
an apology to Richard and the other Knights who find my existence
blasphemous for deigning to call them Brothers :)
Some one asked about the CA stuff from Pennsic and since I was MiC this year
I will post what we did and why. Then you can all line up to crucify me :)
During a resurrection battle we had some penetrations of bolts into grills.
We pulled them from the field and inspected the Helm to insure they were
legal and safe helms ( we do get folks that try to not get inspected or
avoid it at the war and we did fail seven helms that were completely unsafe)
the helms were safe so with the CA marshals we turned to the ammo and cut it
open. in all cases the ammo was not properly made. And in checking the other
bolts not cut open from the archers in question I determined that you could
tell that by feel alone:
A the stopper was not seated deep enough.
B that the foam was not strapped down correctly.
C that some heads were too soft or actually a hair under sized.
I then cancel CA for the next battle and after looking over the ammo decided
that with a side wrap of foam AND strapped down tightly the heads that had
foam problems should:
A be stiff enough not to go in
B be wide enough (1.5 in) that they couldn't even if the bars were a bit out
C CA marshals would check head the same way we check a thrust tip for bend
over too soft or poor strapping. I showed them how this was done and the
next days battles in both there no incident of CA penetrations.
D The stopper head would have to be reworked to pass.
At the society Marshal meeting that followed I then took the SCA CA
marshal's examples of safe ammo and his own helm and showed him how at
A his helm failed the bars were too wide.( I carried my gauge with me the
entire war and used it on him mid meeting).
B the sword he brought to show how it could go thru bars also failed. The
tip folded over and wasn't strapped properly.
C that most of his ammo if treated as a sword thrusting tip would be failed
because it wasn't strapped down tightly enough nor used enough tape to give
it enough firmness that it couldn't mush and enter a helm.
I showed from his pile those bolts that passed a simple test for a thrusting
tip. Those bolts they had a very hard time jamming into grills( legal ones).
Unless they sat there and screwed the tip in basically tearing it up to
force it in. which you could do with any weapon if you worked at it long
In any case the fellwalker and proper constructed heads did not go into
A few other notes:
In the East archers cannot call shots. the standard for CA is the same as
any other weapon. the struck man decides.and target areas are the legal ones
only as in any other weapon. CA's who bitch are ejected like any other
stupid mook. CA archers are all heavy and can and should be struck. ( I
personally have hunted down annoying ones with my pole arm just to see the
look on their
face at point of impact) They cannot declare themselves dead and walk off
before impact but may fall into a defensive position instead, there to be
walked over and dirtied like any other fighter.Any other questions?
Padraig MoA, OP
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