During the Medieval period between the 5th and 15th century army units would wear different types of Medieval Armor depending on their role, but mostly the armor consisted of Mail or Chain mail and much later Full plate.
Interlocking iron rings which would have been welded shut made up parts of the early stage medieval armor. Gradually small plates or discs of iron were added into the armor design in order to protect vulnerable areas of the soldier wearing it.
Medieval Armour continued to advance and became more and more sophisticated which led to the introduction of hardened leather which was either welded together or sewn with strong iron pieces.
Armour upgrades reached full plate near the end of the medieval period as techniques improved armor smiths started using a lot of different materials to make the armor in order to make it impenetrable but much lighter, materials such as bones and hard leather were used increasingly during this period.
Medieval chain mail offered Medieval soldiers Knights excellent protection that was more flexible and much cheaper than medieval plate armour. Most medieval chainmail was made using the 4 to 1 links method. Read more about the Chainmail Armor >>
The hauberk was usually constructed with a huge quantity of metal rings that were intertwined together into a shirt-like fashion. The intertwining of the hoops also gave the hauberk its flexibility. Read more about the Hauberk >>
The Holy Roman Empire was a very advanced military society that had a thriving armour production industry, Holy Roman Soldiers wore Gothic and Maximilian plate armour Read more about the Holy Roman Armour >>
Lamellar Armour is a very distinctive armour that was worn in medieval times, it look similar to scale armour but had a different construction and had many advantages Read more about the Lamellar Armour >>
Plate armour was introduced to counter the increasingly advanced weaponry of the medieval period, plate armour was added to chain mail and then full plate armour was worn by medieval knights later in the medieval period. Read more about the Plate Armour >>
Scale Armour dates back to ancient times and was a very effective type of armour, Scale armour was also sometimes worn in medieval times by medieval soldiers such as the Mamluks Read more about the Scale Armour >>
King Henry VIII was well known for wearing different types of elaborate armour such as Alamin Rivet, Greenwich or Maximilian armour that was imported or made in England Read more about the Tudor Armour >>
Mail and Chain-Mail Armour
The most practical form of medieval armor used in the early medieval ages was the mail and chain-mail armor. The mail armor consisted of small metal rings linked together in a pattern to form a mesh.
When mail armour first appeared it was expensive to make and very time consuming and usually after a battle the dead soldiers had their bodies looted only for their mail armor.
This type of armor was flexible but expensive to make, although it was commonly used throughout most of the medieval times and still finds uses today in the 21st century.
During the start of the medieval period soldiers usually did not have much head protection as they usually only wore a Mail Coif and a Hauberk. The Coif and the Hauberk were made from this chain-mail and the interlocking loops of metal were woven into some type of suitable fabric.
That is why Blacksmiths developed new and improved ways of making armor as new technologies emerged for making armour such as iron smelting. This allowed Blacksmiths to make more flexible armor designs as the metals could be forged into new complete shapes which led to the first forms of medieval splint armor appearing.
This particular type of medieval armor had a major function to protect the limbs of its wearer and consisted of strips of metal which were attached to a fabric or leather backing or covering. These strips were arranged longitudinally and were pierced in order to be easily sewn on to the material.
Splint armor was usually made into greaves and vambraces and rarely appeared as a full set of armor. Splint armor was used throughout the middle ages until the later transitional armor period where it was later used only for cuisses (thighs) and the rerebrace (upper arms) armor.
Medieval Armor from the 14th Century
At around the 14th century chain mail armour became ineffective against more advanced weapons of those times and plate was developed, but mail was still used by some lighter combat soldiers and on cavalry horses.
In the later stages of medieval times, experiments were made with different types of armour and it became more complexed. Full upgraded mail armour started making an appearance and in particular chest armor, favored by archers, called the Brigandine was added into the armory of almost all soldiers.
Types of Medieval Armor
Gorget – would protect the neck
Cuirass – protected the breast area
Plackart – designed to add more armor to the front Faulds – protected the waist and hips
Cowter – protected elbows
Spaulders and Pauldrons – protected shoulders and everything in that area
Vambraces – used to protect the arms
Gauntlets – protected the hands
Poleyn – protected knees – later attached to the Chausses and Tasset to protect the upper leg area
Greaves – protected the lower area of the leg
Cuisse – protected the sides of the legs
Sabaton – covered the foot.
Parts which did not have plate protecting them were usually covered by mail called Gousset and an additional padded cloth called Doublet or Double doublet was worn under a harness.
Full Plate Medieval Armor
It is believed that the first forms of plate armor were developed in the Middle East which were then adopted by other countries in the medieval world.
In the very late stages of the medieval times armor became very complexed and it was designed to protect every part of the body. Items that were introduced and made the most impact were full plate armor and helmets in different shapes and sizes – a Brigandine was introduced to add leather armor before the iron and plate was put on it.
During the 14th century new forms of weapons were being developed, like the high powered crossbow which was able to penetrate early chain-mail armor and inflict damage upon multiple enemies and that is why the armor smiths had a difficult job to create a better type of armor.
The main period of armor transition began when the first plates of armor were created. Medieval Armour had come a long way to its almost perfect form of plated mail which was sometimes also called plated chain-mail, splinted mail or even splinted chain-mail.
This form of armor consisted of mail armor which was embedded with plates. The plates of Armour have different variations depending on the country they are used in and usually bore the mark of the country which the soldiers fought.
The first plate armours were used for body protection and composed of relatively large plates worn along with laminar pauldrons (a skirt which was made of very long horizontal plates and re enforced by a large round mirror plate). The later forms were created by plates of iron and steel and encased the wearer completely.
Medieval Armor after the Medieval ages
The full plate suit of armor started to decline as weapons advanced and inventions such as rifles and gunpowder started to be invented. Medieval armour became used only for decorative purposes for jousting and sometimes fashion for Kings.
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