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Forum Index > Off-topic Talk > Removing helms and visors for melee Reply to topic
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Steven H




Location: Boston
Joined: 10 May 2006

Posts: 545

PostPosted: Sun 30 Mar, 2008 12:08 pm    Post subject: Removing helms and visors for melee         Reply with quote

Hello,

I know I've seen references to removing helms and visors in melee for better visibility etc. But I can't find any of the references now.

Any help would be appreciated; thanks.

-Steven

Kunstbruder - Boston area Historical Combat Study
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Doug Lester




Location: Decatur, IL
Joined: 12 Dec 2007

Posts: 167

PostPosted: Sun 30 Mar, 2008 4:22 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'm not sure that I have the thrust of your question, whether it has to do with re-enactament or if it is of an historical nature. In the grand melee', the visor can be pushed up out of the way. If close foot action was anticipated the visor could be removed from the helmet ahead of time or a helmet without a visor could be chosen. Suits of full plate did come with various ellements that could be mixed and matched for various contingentsies. Any man-at-arms would try to avoid going bear headed if at all possible, but if he would suddenly find himself in need of more visibility than his helmet could give him, he would probably just remove it as quickly as possible and throw it on the ground. I understand that some helmets were attached to the breast or back plate with a short piece of chain but that seems to me like a liability in close combat as it would give an opponent something to grab hold of but the upside would be to make the helmet more quickly retrievable if head protection again became more important that a good field of vision. Some helmets, such as the Great Helm, were worn with a metal arming cap underneath which would give some protection with the helmet removed.
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Steven H




Location: Boston
Joined: 10 May 2006

Posts: 545

PostPosted: Sun 30 Mar, 2008 7:51 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ah. I'm looking for historical accounts from battles, duels etc.

Thanks.
Steven

Kunstbruder - Boston area Historical Combat Study
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Jared Smith




Location: Tennessee
Joined: 10 Feb 2005
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PostPosted: Sun 30 Mar, 2008 8:26 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

This is probably earlier than what you had in mind, but in some of my texts on tournament in the era of William Marshall, there was a treatise of arms (Ralph Niger, who knew Henry the Young King from court, wrote a moral treatise in 1187 that described complete coverage of the body (arms, legs, and head) with mail.) This supposedly mentions preference by some to wear arming cap or more open helm in open battle versus more complete helm. (I know its early for Great Helms, but they were around, minted on coin , depicted in paintings attributed to within less than 10 years of this date, the seal of Thomas des Walery, absolutely required to explain multiple claims of helms being bent onto head during battle'/ tournament etc., at that time.) In the same era, (early 13th century) Henry de Laon described the helm as a troublesome and suffocating piece of equipment, expressing the opinion that the best knights wore open nasal helms. I would have to go through a stack of books to find exact page number, etc. if you really want it badly enough, but there is no more detail in the actual texts than what I have already stated.
Absence of evidence is not necessarily evidence of absence!
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Jean Thibodeau




Location: Montreal,Quebec,Canada
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PostPosted: Sun 30 Mar, 2008 8:50 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I have a cervelière that works very well with a coif either over or under the cervelière.

The rigid cervelière gives some of the protection of a nasal helm and the only failling is that a heavy blow that could put a serious dent in a helm might push the side of the steel wall of the cervelière into the skull of the wearer: The taller helms leave some space between the skull while the close fitting cervelière only has room for a thin layer of padding.

One advantage compared to wearing my nasal spangenhelm is that the low center of gravity of the cervelière make that type of head protection feel less " tippy " in that one doesn' feel the weight of the helm unbalancing the head as much. ( Neck strain ).

I would say that the level of protection is just a tiny bit less with a cervelière compared to a taller conical helm, an alternative kettlehat or the great helm.

If the spangenhelm has no nasal the difference in protection would be minimal.

As you probably know, these cervelières became taller and evolved into the bascinet that started as a helm under the great helm and later replaced the great helm, except for jousting, as the main type when one added a visor.

You can easily give up your freedom. You have to fight hard to get it back!
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