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582
ARMS AND ARMOUR

against the 0.32 in. 231-grain Lebel bullet at the same distance, the striking velocities being approximately 1490 and 2070 ft. per second respectively. The bullet-proof steel made by Messrs Cammell, Laird & Co. in Great Britain may be taken as typical of that produced by the best modern manufacturers. It is proof against the 215-grain Lee-Enfield bullet of 0.303 in. calibre striking directly, as under:

Range.   Thickness of Plate.  Striking Velocity.
10 yards  0.187 inch  2050 f.s.
100   ”  0.167  ”  1865  ”
560   ”  0.080  ”  1080  ”

The weight of the 0.08-in. plating is only 3.2 ℔ per sq. ft. The material is stated to be readily adaptable to the ordinary operation of bending, machining, drilling, &c., and is thus very suitable for the purposes indicated above. (W. E. E.) 

ARMS AND ARMOUR (Lat. arma, from the Aryan root ar, to join or fit; cf. Gr. ἁρμός, joint; the form armour, from Lat. armatura, should strictly be armure). Under this heading are included weapons of offence (arms) and defensive equipment (armour). The history of the development of arms and armour begins with that of the human race; indeed, combined with domestic implements, the most primitive weapons which have been found constitute the most important, if not the only, tangible evidence on which the history of primitive man is based. It is largely from the materials and characteristics of the weapons and utensils found in caves, tombs and various strata of the earth’s crust, coupled with geological considerations, that the ethnological and chronological classifications of prehistoric man have been deduced. For a detailed account of this classification and the evidence see Archaeology; Bronze Age; Flint Implements, &c., and articles on special weapons.

Offensive weapons may be classified roughly, according to their shape (i.e. the kind of blow or wound which they are intended to inflict), and the way in which they are used, as follows:—(1) Arms which are wielded by hand at Classification. close quarters. These are subdivided into (a) cleaving weapons, e.g. axes; (b) crushing, e.g. clubs, maces and all hammer-like arms; (c) thrusting, e.g. pointed swords and daggers; (d) cutting, e.g. sabres (such weapons frequently combine both the cut and the thrust, e.g. swords with both edge and point); (e) those weapons represented by the spear, lance, pike, &c., which deal a thrusting blow but are distinguished from (c) by their greater length. (2) Purely missile weapons, e.g. darts, javelins and spears. Frequently these weapons are used also at close quarters as thrusting weapons; the typical example of these is the medium-length spear of not more than about 6 ft. in length. (3) Arms which discharge missiles, e.g. bows, catapults and fire-arms generally. (See Archery and section Fire-arms below.) The weapons in (2) and (3) are designed to avoid hand-to-hand fighting.

Weapons are also classified in a variety of other ways. Thus we have small-arms, i.e. all weapons in classes (1) and (2) with those in (3) which do not require carriages. Side-arms are those which, when not in use, are worn at the side, e.g. daggers, swords, bayonets. Armes blanches is a term used for offensive weapons of iron and steel which are used at close quarters.

Defensive armour consists of body armour, protections for the head and the limbs, and various types of shield.

1911 Britannica - Arms-Flint Dagger.png

Fig. 1.—Leaf-shaped Flint
Dagger.

1. Stone Age.—One of the chief problems which have perplexed archaeologists is that of finding a criterion which will enable them to distinguish the most primitive products of human skill from similar objects whose form is due History. to the forces of nature. It is often impossible to say precisely whether a rough piece of flint is to be regarded as a weapon (except so far as it could be used as a missile) or merely as a fragment of rock. Passing over these doubtful cases, we come first to indubitable examples of weapons deliberately fashioned in stone for offensive purposes. The use of stone weapons appears to have been universally characteristic of the earliest races of mankind, as it is still distinctive of those savage races which are most nearly allied to primitive man. These weapons were naturally simple in form and structure. The earliest examples (Palaeolithic) found in river-drift gravel in various parts of Europe are merely chipped flints, celts, &c. Later on we find polished implements (Neolithic) progressively more elaborate in design and workmanship, such as socketed stones with wooden handles and knives or daggers of flaked flint with handles. Besides flint the commonest materials are diorite, greenstone, serpentine and indurated clay-slate; there are also weapons of horn and bone (daggers and spear-heads). Spear-heads and arrow-points (leaf-shaped, lozenge-shaped, tanged and triangular) were chipped in flint with such skill as to be little inferior to their metal successors. They have accurately flaked barbs and tangs, and in some cases their edges are minutely chipped. The heads appear to have been fastened to the shafts by vegetable fibre and bitumen. Knife-daggers of flint, though practically of one single type, exhibit much variety of form. They vary in size also, but seldom exceed 12 in. in length. They are sometimes obtuse-edged like a scraping-tool, sometimes delicately chipped to a straight edge, while the flakes are so regularly removed from the convex part of the blade as to give a wavy surface, and the corners of the handle are delicately crimped. The daggers attain their highest perfection in the short, leaf-shaped form,—the precursor of the leaf-shaped sword which is peculiarly characteristic of the Bronze Age,—and the curved knives found especially in Great Britain and Russia, and also in Egypt. The precise object of the sharpening of both convex and concave edges in the curved variety is not clear. There have also been found sling-stones, and, in Scotland and Ireland, balls of stone with their “surfaces divided into a number of more or less projecting circles with channels between them.” These latter, Sir John Evans suggests, were attached to a thong which passed through the surface channels, and used like the bolas of South America. The weapon could thus deal a blow at close quarters, or could be thrown so as to entangle the limbs of an enemy. Of defensive armour of stone there is none. The only approximation is to be found in the small rectangular plates of slate, &c., perforated with holes at the corners, which are supposed to have been bound on to the arm to protect it from the recoil of the bow-string. Similar wristlets or bracers are in use among the Eskimos (of bone) and in India (of ivory). These plates measure generally about 4 in. by 1½ in.


1911 Britannica - Arms-Bronze Sword.png

Fig. 2.—Leaf-shaped Bronze Sword.


2. Bronze Age.—It is impossible to assign any date as the beginning of the Bronze Age; indeed, archaeology has shown that the adoption of metal for weapons was very gradual. The stone weapon perseveres alongside the bronze, and there exist stone axes which, by their shape, suggest that they have been copied from metal axes. In the earliest interments in which the weapons deposited with the dead are of other materials than stone, a peculiar form of bronze dagger occurs. It consists of a well-finished, thin, knife-like blade, usually about 6 in. in length, broad at the hilt and tapering to the point, and attached to the handle by massive rivets of bronze. It has been found associated with stone celts; both of the roughly chipped and the highly polished kind, showing that these had not been entirely disused when bronze became available. A later type of bronze dagger is a broad, heavy, curved weapon, usually from 9 to 15 in. in length, with massive rivets for attachment to an equally massive handle. The leaf-shaped sword, however, is the characteristic weapon of the Bronze Age. It is found all over Europe, from Lapland to the Mediterranean. No warlike weapon of any period is more graceful in form or more beautifully finished. The finish seems to have been given in the mould without the aid of hammer or file, the edge being formed by suddenly reducing the thickness of the metal, so as to produce a narrow border of extreme thinness along