Archived Discussion

This is discussion archived from a time before the current discussion method was installed.

Riff: Article ended with just "then the proper response is to either join them". I took a guess at what the author was going for before getting unexpectedly cut off. Hope you're okay, whoever you are, and the anvil or whatever that fell on your head didn't do too much damage. ;)

Krid: The anvil has a name, and it's "Sleep Deprivation". So are it's countless siblings and cousins. Yea, you finished the thought I think I was having when I was distracted by some awkward wording elsewhere. The writing here is not my best, sadly.

Krid: On a completely unrelated note, I think this might actually apply to giant robots. You see, giant robots are humanoid and walk around completely naked, so in a fight between a giant robot and a tank you have a giant naked person thing with metal skin versus a tiny person in lots of armor, making the fight completely one-sided. Mechs which appear to be 'wearing' more 'clothing' would then be at a disadvantage in fights.

Scrounge: Valid to a point, Krid, but if a giant robot straps on extra armor, it generally IS a power-up, and it generally DOES give them more power, so no. Aditionally, giant mecha who are piloted from the inside (rather than remote-controled or sentient varieties) are, essentially, GIANT suits of armor. That said, a robot who appears to be wearing a hat, skirt, or the like does generally paint a bull's-eye on itself. The only exception I can think of is a Transformer named Nightbeat, who had a thing for the hat and trenchcoat stereotypical Film Noir detective, which matched his personality vey well. Even then, though, he tended only to wear those on comic book covers.

Krid: True enough on the power ups, but those are generally plot elements and therefore exempt from standard rules. Actually, they might be better classed as as a form change, so the giant robot would still be naked. Also, remember that Magic or Phlebotinum armor isn't actually armor, it's a magic or technological artifact. Claiming an exemption for plot devices would also work.

Scrounge: Okay, so what about giant bugs? Like robots, their skin is their armor. Unlike robots, this doesn't generally seem to help them much, even if they're giant humanoid bugs. Not that we get many of those, but still.

Krid: I don't think so. Most of the giant bugs I've seen have been covered by Strong Flesh, Weak Steel (The heavies for the Zerg in StarCraft and the bugs in Star Ship Troopers for example) and/or have used swarm tactics. Since swarm tactics result in a Redshirt Army that may or may not have been fast-tracked through the Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy, that introduces mitigating factors to the mix. __________________________

___________________________ Narvi: Removing this here bit:"To be fair though, the Expanded Universe explains via Ret Con that stormtrooper armor is meant to be all but imperious to obsolete projectile weapons (though it seems to have no effect against small rocks casually tossed by Ewoks) and resistant to glancing blaster shots. While this makes it seem like it was useful, it didn't stop one race from resisting Imperial control, however. The Dresselians simply used armor-piercing explosive-tipped rounds for their firearms, which punched through the white armor rather nicely." ...because I remember the movie, and those rocks weren't exactly small. And they were thrown by tree-climbing chimpanzee-esque creatures.

Some anonymous too-lazy to register contributor: Adding a note at the end of the intro about not calling armor useless when it wasn't designed to block what it's being hit with... For instance stormtrooper armor, even without reading expanded universe stuff you can reasonably figure out that it's not been designed to block direct hits from military-grade weapons. Not going to bother editing the Star Wars entry on this page since I can't figure a way to not come off sounding like a geek.

Even if armour is 100% effective against penetrative damage, the kinetic energy of the hit still has to go somewhere. It's entirely possible for armour that will protect you against a laser hit will still let you get seriously winded/hurt by a rock. In classical times, slingers were the preferred missile troops against heavy cavalry, because although the rocks had no chance of getting through the armour the shock of impact would often be enough to knock the rider from his horse, thus rendering him hor de combat. I grant you, this example has limited value when applied to Imperial Stormtroopers, who are infantry anyway and should just be able to pick themselves up and reach for their weapon again.

Tyrfing: I added some things for Vision of Escaflowne because there was nothing there... except for the name ... spelt incorrectly. Hope they're alright.

Roland: Incidentally, well-armed and prosperous mercenaries also could afford plate armor in lesser forms such as banded mail in Earth's history, so the Berserk entry isn't entirely correct.
Fire Walk: I've arranged these into order, not sure if they're all in the right place. Also, someone needs to clear up the Star Wars, Neon Genesis Evangelion and Vision of Escaflowne Natter, before I clear it up. With a chainsaw, prejudice and a hoover.

Cutting as natter:
  • Watch closely during the opening battle in Episode IV. You will occasionally see white flashes from the stormtroopers' armor. These are blaster bolts being absorbed or deflected.
  • To be fair though, the Expanded Universe explains via Retcon that stormtrooper armor is meant to be all but impervious to obsolete projectile weapons (though it doesn't really help when you get knocked out by rocks thrown by Ewoks) and resistant to glancing blaster shots. While this makes it seem like it was useful, it didn't stop one race from resisting Imperial control, however. The Dresselians simply used armor-piercing explosive-tipped rounds for their firearms, which punched through the white armor rather nicely. Of course, if you're going to go to the point of armor-piercing explosive-tipped rounds, why they simply didn't just use blasters was unexplained.
    • Actually, the Dresselians were a technologically "backward" species, having developed only projectile weapons themselves. The Bothans, who decided to support them, decided to limit their help to projectile weapons (albeit effective ones) in order to hide their involvement.

Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann is somewhat of an anomaly on this. Kamina dies while wearing nothing but a cape and pants, but he is in a giant robot...

Kendra Kirai: Isn't this whole article something of a Truth in Television? Plate armor wasn't that good against arrows until they developed better plate armor (using crystalization..heating, rapidly cooling, then heating again, if I recall...made plate armor all but impervious to arrows and edged weapons) and even afterwards, the wearer was still subject to the kinetic force..bludgeoning weapons turned him to mush with minimal damage to the armor, the armor was very heavy, very hard to move in, and required quite a bit of help getting it on.

In the case of modern body armor, bullets still contain quite a lot of kinetic energy..even if a bullet is stopped by a bulletproof vest, it'll leave a rather large bruise...and the wearer will often still need medical attention. Multiple hits from a large-caliber weapon, even if the vest stops all of the bullets, can cause severe internal bleeding, and it makes it harder for the wearer to move around. Often, more body armor just means you're a bigger, slower target.

This exact thing extends to vehicles and Humongous Mecha. With the advent of nuclear weapons, and bigger, armor piercing weapons, armies, navies, and air forces, have shifted from "more armor" to "more speed / maneuverability". It's cheaper, the vehicle is more nimble and thus can avoid more attacks, and get more attacks off against the enemy, and no amount of armor is going to protect against a nuke (or, if the Nuclear Taboo is in effect, other sufficiently powerful explosions/attacks). Contrary to what some believe, it is possible to dodge bullets..if you have a good idea of where the bullet is coming from and where the gun is pointing, and have good reflexes...and aren't weighed down by a hundred pounds of armor that restricts you to 40% of your normal arcs of motion.

Gattsuru: Only in real outside cases on the human scales. Your average bullet is going to move between 800 ft/s (.45 ACP pistol) and 3500 ft/s (.223 rifle) on a typical battlefield. Even with really good reflexes, say 90 milliseconds, you're talking 70-315 feet before a very fast person can react. Most gunfire takes place on vastly shorter ranges, and at high ranges like those fitting this criteria, detecting the actual gunshot becomes much harder. On the other hand, not wearing a hundred pounds of armor does make it easier to get away from where people are pointing those guns, which is what you might be referring to and is much simpler a matter — then the reaction time issues apply to both sides.

Do note that the above is only accurate for human scales. As you look at larger scale weapons, ranges and mass increases without a corresponding increase in velocity. In a theoretical Humongous Mecha universe you may well have encounters on the half-mile range necessary for mach 2+ weapons to be readily detected and avoided... if your mecha can move that fast. That tactic is already used for vehicles and similar components in the Real World, although primarily as a desperation technique when dealing with artillery.

FluffyHitman: I believe the idea with dodging bullets isn't to dodge the bullet, but to move out of the way before the person reacting to your movement can pull the trigger. A good, if slightly different example, is in the Tom Cruise film Collateral (we don't appear to have an entry for that one yet), in the briefcase scene. For those that don't know what that was, from first movement to end of threat, Tom Cruise's character pushes a guy's gun away from his face, draws, and fires five shots into two enemies. Within two seconds by Youtube's clock. It took about a third of a second for him to go from hands up to having the guy pointing the gun almost 90 degrees away from Cruise.

Of course, I think that having your gun within six inches of someone's hand when you are pointing it at them might be a trope. I believe that general idea is how you are taught to disarm someone with a gun in martial arts classes, I never got that far.

Yamchak:The speed and reaction time necessary to let you dodge bullets would also exclude the need for you to dodge them. Somebody that super humanly fast would just shoot all his opponents in the head before they had a chance to even fire off a shot. Think Kanoe from Bio Mega
Capn Con: Revised the Berserk entry and removed the natter.

Peteman: How did wearing armour make things worse in the old Star Wars game? Are we talking the old WEG version? Never played it myself.

Can we eliminate all the Aversions? There are a lot.

I removed all this natter from the Real Life section and put in a brief overview:

This trope in general has fairly modern roots. Historically, defensive technologies kept up with offensive until the 20th century, when modern firearms outstripped any defensive measure that could be brought to bear.
  • World War I helmets, such as the Brodie helmet and the Stahlhelm, could protect you from shrapnel if you were lucky. They had almost no chance of stopping a bullet.
    • Even modern day helmets are no exception, as demonstrated on a Discovery Channel show, where they blew a hole clean through the US Army's current standard in head protection, using a World War II rifle from a moderate distance. It seems anything you can reasonably carry on your head simply won't be thick enough to resist the direct impact of a high powered round.
      • A World War II rifle, be it either the US Garand or any of the bolt-action rifles used, use more powerful rounds than modern assault rifles, because the recoil would make fully automatic fire impossible. And having a helmet that will only stop shrapnel from killing you is better than no helmet at all, which won't stop anything from killing you.
  • The best grade of protection for ballistic vests is type IV, which, from That Other Wiki: "Conditioned armor protects against 10.8 g (166 gr) .30-06 Springfield M2 armor piercing (AP) bullets at a velocity of 878 m/s 9.1 m/s (2880 ft/s 30 ft/s). It also provides at least single hit protection against the threats mentioned in Types I, IIA, II, IIIA, and III." Therefore, all armour types are useless against a rifle firing an armour-piercing round bigger than the M2 armour-piercing .30-06 caliber round (and they exist). Even if they didn't pierce your vest, most rifle rounds would probably cause internal wounds or broken ribs, or a bruise at least.
    • Generally above level III(A) you're looking at added protection coming from ceramic inserts that take one hit and shatter. If you've got what it takes to schelp them around, you can get plates that will keep out 7.62AP ... but not, generally .50cal stuff and above.
    • It's worth mentioning that it might be considered to be better to not wear body armor against a gun that can pierce it with its armor-piercing rounds - armor-piercing rounds as designed to keep form while shooting. This allows to penetrate ballistic vests. Against people without armor, however, the bullet is liable to just pass through the target, with minimal damage inflicted by the round's kinetic force. A shot that stays in a person has all of the shot's energy dumped onto their body, causing a more severe wound where it actually hit, through an injury inflicted by a bullet passing through a person is nothing to scoff at.
    • There is a version of an armour called Dragon Skin that the maker gives an unofficial type V rating - and let's say, should I be in a warzone, it's what I'd want to be wearing. If you search on Youtube, you can easily find videos of it being subjected to entire magazines of armour piercing rounds, and even high velocity grenade shrapnel - successfully.
      • The issue Dragon Skin has always had is that after a while, the plates delaminate, and all clump around the bottom of the vest. So your kidneys are doing great, but the rest of your chest is awfully vulnerable. And Pinnacle Armor (the makers) giving themselves a class V rating is like having a car company give themselves a six star rating on the crash tests, it doesn't have a real definition and it could be done in the most ideal situations.
      • But an even more advanced type is on the drawing boards: hydroflex. It's kevlar reinforced with nanoparticles that cause a section of it to harden temporarily when hit by bullets or shrapnel. The result: sheets of kevlar that are thin and light enough to make bulletproof uniforms!
    • Just to mention, there have be numbers of reports of soldiers who have been shot several times not even realizing it because of their armor. So, I would have to go with Armor Is Useful here.
  • To take things up a level, an RPG-7 armor piercing rocket will penetrate 500mm of steel. 500mm of armor would be far too heavy to be viable as body armor. Not to mention that getting hit by a rocket launcher period is generally enough to kill people by just the kinetic force.
    • You don't shoot individual people with RP Gs. You shoot tanks with them. Tanks with the equivalent of 960mm worth of steel armour.
      • ...meanwhile, Taliban and Iraqis insurgents don't seem to be so "proper". They use RPGs to take out entire fire-teams and even helicopters (by activating the grenades failsafe charge that makes it explode after a given time even if it doesn't hit a target, creating an airburst).
      • However, weapons like the RPG-7 are relatively unwieldy, difficult to use in cramped spaces, travel about six times as slowly as a bullet, require reloading after each shot and the bulk of the grenades limits the number that can be carried to a very few, making them highly impractical anti-infantry weapons, to say the least.
      • Also, shooting RP Gs at infantry is relatively ineffective because most of the ammunition in circulation for them is HEAT - directional shaped charge rounds with limited area effect. You have to be a damned good shot (or lucky) to hit a human target with a IAT. The usual source of infantry casualties to RPG fire comes from hitting the wall of a building that they're using as cover - the blast penetrates the wall and propagates into the room that the men are in, causing blast and flash burn injuries which are not normally fatal unless those injured are right behind the point of impact - see above for luck and good shooting.
  • And to go Beyond the Impossible from the above - Nuke 'em!
  • The Russians would also like to point out that body armor is useless with the SR-1, capable of a very reliable rate of penetration of over thirty layers of Kevlar, and about 3mm of titanium.
  • Most modern warships are not heavily armoured. It was realised that all the armour in the world would not protect you against a nuke and that the money would be better be spent on SAM systems. In the Falklands War, one hit was enough to sink a number of British ships.

I removed this section:

  • The Iliad, the Odyssey, the Aeneid, and many other Greek and Roman stories and myths. The Iliad in particular is filled with the best armor man can make and seven-bulls'-hide shields being punched through with a spear to kill the bearer. Of course, that could be because the spear-thrower is just that Bad Ass; consider the warriors easily hefting and throwing rocks which "would take two of today's men to lift", or Odysseus owning a bow that no normal man could string or pull.

because, as I recall, armor and shields deflect a number of attacks throughout these stories. The armor of a fallen soldier is also highly prized. Achilles's armor is a major plot point.