Chain Mail Cutters
by John Harris
(Roswell, Ga, USA)
QUESTION: First off, I love your site. You give a lot of background info on a ton of swords I've pondered over at one time or another, and have really helped me come to some conclusions about which I'd like to buy.
I guess my question is have you had any experience with swords cutting through chain mail? On your medieval sword page I noticed the article by Hank Reinhardt expressing his opinions about Gen2, and how effective their swords are. I also made a note of how he tested a sword or two of theirs on chain mail covered meat and was surprised to find that it actually cut straight through.
I'm not the biggest medieval sword fan, and was wondering if you could recommend any other swords that could have the potential to cleave chain mail? I would assume that the Tenchi would easily cut through a mere chain mail shirt if it could plant itself so deep into a hardened woodblock, but seeing as your the one who handled it, I'm interested in what you think about the sword's capabilities.
ANSWER:Actually, a lot of swords can cut chain mail on a good hit. Chain mail would have stopped the limb from being severed outright, and would have worked perfectly on a glancing blow (that would otherwise have you bleeding all over the place) - but it was hardly impenetrable.
The problem with Katana and chainmail is - historically they never encountered it (a Katana was designed to be used on an unarmored opponent) and were a specialized weapon designed for maximum cutting ability on human flesh and bone. As such, due to their blade profile, chainmail wreaks havok on a Katana. Even the mighty 9260 blades are damaged as you can see in Martin 'Oz" Austwicks Test to Destruction of a Cheness Shura.
So while it buries itself deeply into a woodblock, and would easily cut off an arm or leg, chainmail will cause a Katana some problems...
Hope this helps and puts things in perspective.