Assume we have a 9 foot tall giant and the weight of the armor matters fairly little. How thick would armor have to be in order to shrug off almost all blows from humans including bolts from heavy crossbows, how much would this armor weigh? The various types of plate armor are acceptable but we are focusing mainly on German Gothic type, and as for the thickness of penetration assume it is at the weakest point and on a flat piece of metal (material is of equivalent quality to other Gothic plate)

EDIT: This giant due to story reasons is about 10 times stronger than a human but is the same proportions as a fit human simply scaled up, the cardiovascular capabilities are scaled up with the strength as well

  • $\begingroup$ Are you ruling out composite materials? $\endgroup$ – L.Dutch - Reinstate Monica Jan 25 '18 at 6:05
  • $\begingroup$ As a general rule if the best blacksmiths then could make it then its acceptable $\endgroup$ – Christopher Void Jan 25 '18 at 6:07
  • $\begingroup$ Are you focusing on protection from ranged weapons? Close range combat weapons, like lance or warhammer can be more damaging than arrows or bolts. $\endgroup$ – Alexander Jan 25 '18 at 21:26
  • $\begingroup$ Yeah but i assumed if it could stop penetration from a high powered bolt then the effect of those weapons would be negligible as well. $\endgroup$ – Christopher Void Jan 25 '18 at 22:03
  • $\begingroup$ No, handheld crossbow is not as bad as knight's lance. But do you want to go as far as having armor protection against ballistae and catapults? $\endgroup$ – Alexander Jan 26 '18 at 1:12

2mm would be enough, but since you have a super strong giant, double that to be on the safe side and he/she would be proof against even armour piercing bolts. Even Hoplite helmets of 2mm bronze were basically arrow proof.

Armour (the ones used in actual battle) are also designed to make it very difficult to achieve a direct hit, flat areas were not included, instead they were designed to deflect arrows rather than stop them head on.

Here is an interesting link showing some tests that were done on armour Tests on armour


There is a series by a Youtuber, Shadiversity, who seems to know his stuff, concerning the best weapons and armour for fantasy creatures. For giants he said that padded armour would be the best. Reason being, it's lighter than metal armour and easier to move in, the strength and size of the giant will allow him to move easily in much thicker padding than a human could, and with about four inches of properly made padded armour, it will be extremely hard to cut through. About the only thing that would get through it would be bolts from a siege engine, and that would pierce metal armour as well.

Sorry I can't get into much more detail, the video focuses more on the weapons a giant would use, and I'm not an armour expert.


Regular, everyday normal one. It was very hard to penetrate armour with bow. You either rained arrows in a lob fashion on your enemy hoping they will hit a soft spot or that the force would unhinge the knight so he would slow down and break the line.

Anyway - because people wondered how arrows and bolt were able to penetrate armour they made some test. Videos in the link provided. http://www.benjaminrose.com/post/can-arrows-penetrate-medieval-armor/

And now for science. 16th century armour weight state that it's around 65.6lbs or 30 kg.
Battle Dress by Frederick Wilkinson tells that maximilian type armour (so the best to deflect anything) in the possession of The Wallace Collection weight 57 lbs or 25,8 kg

Here are data for every piece with size and weight. Royal Collection Trust

Let's assume that regular man in 14th-16th century was 5 foot tall. So to upscale to 9 foot let's assume that $30kg=55 percent$ so $9ft=100percent=55 kg/121lbs$

In this video regular modern soldier wear 95lbs/43kg

So a 10 times stronger than human giant shouldn't have a problem with regular armour made for him. Even if you'd doubled it thickness and weight in the process it wouldn't have any impact on him.

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    $\begingroup$ For a given height $h$, the area needed to be covered by armor will increase in proportion to $h^2$. So a $2$ m tall man needing $30$ kg will mean a $3$ m giant will require about $30*(3/2)^2=68$ kg of armor. Note that the giant's mass will be increasing in proportion to $(3/2)^3$ so the armor mass would actually be a smaller fraction of his own body mass than an ordinary man's equivalent. Also the armor wearing classes were typically the well fed and relatively healthy middle and upper classes, so they were likely typically taller than average for the day. $\endgroup$ – StephenG Jan 25 '18 at 14:57
  • $\begingroup$ Expanding on @StephenG 's comment (more accurate figures): The 16th century armour weight link mentions "Our suit [will fit] average size of a 5’9” man" and that weights 65.6lbs (29.75kg) for a 1.75m tall man. The height is scaled to 9' (2.74m) - a factor of 1.57. The armor's weight is scaled by 1.57^2 to 72.93kg. Assume the 5'9'' man is athletically built so weights around 180lbs (81kg), that'll scale by 1.57^3 to 313.46kg. So for our normal man the armor weights 37% of his weight, but for the giant this is only 23% (a 62% decrease). $\endgroup$ – G0BLiN Jan 25 '18 at 16:05
  • $\begingroup$ All of those calculations boils down to this: a typical man scaled up to the size of the giant will feel the armor as weighting less than half than before, so even if the armor is twice as thick, the encumbrance will be comparable to a normal armor on a normal human. And this is before taking into account OP's statement that the giant is 10 times stronger... $\endgroup$ – G0BLiN Jan 25 '18 at 16:09

Assuming relative strength scales with size a giant's chainmail that's roughly 30% heavier than regular human chainmail would provide excellent protection, it might not stop bodkin arrows fired by a trained longbowman, or a bolt from a large crossbow, or a direct hit from a war pick, but really there's not much that can as these are weapons specifically designed for armour penetration.

However if the giant's strength is equivalent to a 9ft tall human then they may not be able to wear armour at all, strength has more to do with how stocky someone is than how generally large they are, a giant that's essentially just a really tall human might be relatively weak or even have cardiovascular problems.

Edit: To better answer your question a dwarf would actually be better suited for wearing the sort of super thick armour that would make it all but impervious to penetrating weaponry, assuming their physique isn't just shorter than ours but significantly stockier as well, a 9ft tall giant would probably have to be built like an elephant to be anything like this.

  • $\begingroup$ I should have pointed out that this giant due to story reasons is about 10 times stronger than a human but is the same proportions as a fit human simply scaled up, the cardiovascular capabilities are scaled up with the strength as well. Ill edit that in. $\endgroup$ – Christopher Void Jan 25 '18 at 6:46

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