French Knight vs Japanese Samurai

Samurai armour initially has the shields built-in, as it were. Those big shoulder pieces (sode) served that function. The other important thing is, as Max the Immortal intimated, the samurai was actually primarily a horseback archer. This is what their gear was optimized for - archers can’t use shields (except big pavises, and the Japanese used those - taketaba).

Knightly armour was not cumbersome. Tourney armour could be, but actual war armour? Not at all.

Just what do people think is under that lacquer? It’s either thick rawhide or iron. in overlapping layers, with many interlayers of lacquer and a leather lining. Which makes it a composite, and those are actually pretty tough - see modern antiballistic armours for examples.

I think the knight would win, but it’s not because Japanese armour is particularly shitty in its construction. It’s just not optimized against Western swords (the kubuto, for instance, is a little more anti-arrow than anti-sword-in-the-face,) has less coverage especially at the knee and elbow joints, and is actually quite bit bulkier than plate overall.

I think the knight would win, but it’s not because Japanese armour is particularly shitty in its construction. It’s just not optimized against Western swords (the kubuto, for instance, is a little more anti-arrow than anti-sword-in-the-face,) has less coverage especially at the knee and elbow joints, and is actually quite bit bulkier than plate overall.

Since it probably wasn’t very effective against broadsword/longsword type weapons I would think that it would make the armour as you put it ‘shitty’. I doubt the stopping power of the O-yoroi would be enough if for example the knight was from the highlands or the HRE then he would probably be wielding a claymore or grosse messer sort of weapon and would put a pretty big dent in the samurai.

It’s not the armour’s construction that is shitty, IMO, it’s the overall design, if you can understand the difference. I doubt a hit from an arming sword is going to penetrate Japanese lacquered lamellar any easier than Western plate.

Neither Highlanders nor Doppelsöldner were what I’d call “Knights”. And I think you mean Zweihänder there, most großes Messer were single-handed sabre-like swords.

And why not give the Samurai an Ōdachi then, see how the French plate holds up.?

The samurai will commit suicide because he can’t get the hang of using a querty board computer.

What if both of them were mounted?

Just mounted, not going to be a difference to outcome, knight takes it. Mounted, with polearm, I’d say lance beats yari. Also remember that the knight would be on a warhorse that would absolutely trample the Japanese equivalent.

But full traditional set, I’d say yumi definitely beats the big fat nothing a knight has as his ranged weapon.

I’d also take a poleax over naginata in foot combat, BTW.

What about mongol archer vs samurai, both mounted.

I’d give it to the samurai, the better armour would make the difference. But close - both use similar bows (but the yumi is much longer, not sure if there’s a range difference), similar levels of training, similar horses from what I can tell.

What if it wasn’t single combat but a small group, say an arban of mongols vs similar amount of samurai. So you could take into consideration cavalry tactics, the likes of which the mongols excelled.

**Generic Knight vs Generic Samurai **

Although their armor is a component on the field, I’m going to interpret things a little differently and suggest the Samurai will win.

Both warriors are trained to use their weapons to block, but it seems to me that the key is in their respective strategies of when. The European knight will take a blow on the shield or let his armor protect him, but it’s important to understand that the impact of the weapon on the armor or shield does not go by unnoticed. Those hits are transmitted to the body just like a swing that’s blocked still transfers energy into the hands and arms. My fellow fighters here will undoubtedly agree that receiving attacks is as exhausting (if not more) as dishing them out. Meanwhile, the Japanese combatant is trained to use his armor as a tertiary defense: Avoid the attack if you can, block if you must, and take a glancing blow if your avoidance fails.

So the two men would be hacking and slashing at each other, the westerner boldly receiving attacks on the hands, arm, and armor and the easterner cleverly avoiding what he can, blocking what he must, and receiving partial damage from what still manages to find him. There’s argument above on whether or not the Japanese armor is lighter or less cumbersome. All in all, though, I imagine the samurai would wear the knight down and the latter would eventually call a halt to yield honorably.

Specific French Knight versus Specific Samurai

Well, now, if you’re pitting representative icons from each milieu against each other, then I think we’re looking at a hardware advantage. For the Japanese, the commonly acknowledged epitome of samurai skill was Miyamoto Musashi. My apologies, but the only French icon I can think of for the Europeans is Sir Lancelot of Arthurian legend. [Joan of Arc may be a better choice, but I personally know less about her history/legend, to the point that I’m not even sure if she was a knight/warrior per se.] Recast this in a separate response if you wish, but I’ll have to go with those two because it’s the best I can do without so much more research that this thread will be a zombie by the time I can respond.

Musashi was a late-comer in the Japanese feudal era, and was more of a duelist than a field soldier. As such, legends tend to suggest he did his fighting sans armor so that he and his opponent were testing their weapon skills rather than their armor toughness. (This is easier to do as a duelist because you’re not worried about some new recruit sneaking in a cheap shot from the side while you’re staring down your main opponent.) Lancelot, of course, was the ultimate in knightly combative skill and chivalry whom none could best without an enchanted sword.

I imagine Lancelot riding to the dueling grounds and finding Musashi there in the middle, kneeling in seiza before a low table. Musashi would invite the challenger to sit and enjoy a cup of tea before battle, then demonstrate his calmness and etiquette at sa-do. After tea, while cleaining up and moving the tea implements aside, Musashi would casually* observe, “You are wearing armor, while I have none.”

Being the honorable epitome of chivalry, Arthur’s best friend would graciously remove his metal skin in order to even the playing field. The two champions would then face each other and draw swords.

But Musashi was legendary in the Ni-To style of swordsmanship: He used the Katana in his right hand and the Wakizashi in the left. Lancelot is a master-at-arms, but was known to use one at a time. The sword-and-maine gauche schools wouldn’t arise until Western metallurgy made European swords stronger, lighter, and smaller (e.g. spadroons, rapiers, sabers, cutlasses, etcetera). This would put Lancelot at an arms-and-technical disadvantage, facing two swords to his one. Furthermore, even if Musashi were to drop the Wakizashi, Lancelot’s habitual reliance on knightly armor to absorb incoming blows would turn into a fatal liability.
European versus Japanese Armies

This is getting long; I think it should be taken to another thread for debate about that one.

Better see if you’re holding
The Wrong Edge of the Blade
…–Steve Perry (Journey)
Edge of the Blade

*Of course it’s not a casual observation. Just like arriving early and offering tea, it’s part of the overall strategy.

What on Earth makes you think the French knight is just going to stand there and let blows rain down on him? Knightly training includes both blocking with the sword and stepping to avoid blows. And there’s the reach thing to consider.

And seriously? Lancelot? That’s the best you can come up with?

What if it was a french knight and a samurai vs Mike Ditka?

And the knight believes he has life eternal at the side of his lord Jesus Christ. An opponent who does not fear death, fears nothing.

What about the fear of god.

I love it when an opponent doesn’t mind dying. That way, everyone wins!

The Japanese Samurai warrior, easily, for the same reasons why the Japsnese Zero dominated the early WWII air war with a 12:1 kill ratio: speed, maneuverability and quickness.

No contest.

Sure. That’s why a HumVee with a machine gun will beat an M-1 tank - speed, maneuverability and quickness.

Wouldn’t speed and quickness be the same thing.

And you can justify why you think the samurai is faster, more manoeuvrable and quicker than the knight, right?

We should also note that the Knight also has another weapon on his side, his armour - it was extensively used not just to parry blows, but also to deliver them. A good old knee plate to the unmentionables or a cuff protector smack to other parts is going to smart.

Plate armour also allows you to seize and trap your opponents weapons.