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Quinn W.




Location: Bellingham, WA
Joined: 02 May 2009

Posts: 197

PostPosted: Mon 04 May, 2009 4:12 pm    Post subject: How to Wear Armor?         Reply with quote

This is almost an embarrassing thing to ask seeing as I'm a history major with a concentration on medieval Europe and have been involved in reenactment for several years now, but I have an extremely basic question that seems like it can be answered much better from fellow reenactors than what independent modern and historical sources I have examined.
How do you wear armor?
Don't get me wrong, I've had plenty of time to experiment, and can wear my armor in such a way that it's not hugely encumbering, but it's been just that: experimentation. And oddly enough, it has been near impossible to find actual primary or secondary sources or articles on the subject. I have gathered a decent bit of information from pictures and illustrations, but that only shows the most outside layers.
Could anybody give just a really basic how-to on securing armor in such a way as to provide the most possible mobility?
Should I lace each piece to an article of clothing or a gambeson, to the piece(s) adjacent to it, simply held in place by the thickness of the padding beneath it, or do I just tighten the straps to the point of cutting off circulation? (Okay, probably not that last one.)
Or maybe just a step by step on how you (and your friends/squires) put on your armor before combat?
Anyhow, it seems like a very simple question to ask, but I've been astonished on the lack of information that is readily available on it. Maybe it was just assumed that someone would show you in person and that's why they didn't bother putting ti in manuscripts?
Thanks a lot. I've got it figured out well enough to fight, but I find myself having to adjust various pieces more often than I probably should, so this could put me well on my way to being able to use it comfortably for more extended periods.

"Some say that the age of chivalry is past, that the spirit of romance is dead. The age of chivalry is never past, so long as there is a wrong left unredressed on earth"
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George Hill




Location: Atlanta Ga
Joined: 16 May 2005

Posts: 614

PostPosted: Mon 04 May, 2009 5:50 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

"How a man shall be armed" wasn't helpful I take it?

Have you read much on Harnessfecten?

To abandon your shield is the basest of crimes. - --Tacitus on Germania
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James Head





Joined: 09 Mar 2008

Posts: 127

PostPosted: Mon 04 May, 2009 5:55 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Just a quick reply.

Check out this link to Revival Clothing's page for their Arming Cotte.

http://www.revivalclothing.com/index.asp?Page...1&HS=1

There are little thumbnails at the bottom of the page showing a suit of Plate being tied to the various parts of the Arming Cotte and leggings.
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Christopher VaughnStrever




Location: San Antonio, TX
Joined: 13 Jun 2008
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Posts: 382

PostPosted: Mon 04 May, 2009 6:10 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I cannpt explain by historical text nor historical accuracy to answer your question. I can explain how I suit up. I have increased my mobility from medium range to a large range of movement.

All the words indicating to "you" and "your" I am speaking in terms of my own personal experiance. I am not telling you what to do. I am simply trying to explain how I have come to my knowledge.

1. Gambeson
Your Gambeson is the most important article of your outfit. This piece has to fit perfect. The gambeson holds all of your armour in place. When a properly fitted gambeson is on and armour is secured to the gambeson, your armour will not need to be adjusted after initially suitting up. I made my first gambeson and after that I had increased the size of my chain maile. When I put the two items on there was a large reduction in how high I could raise my arms. I thought this was normal and gave no thought to it. However my arms felt like they were getting too weak. After months of this problem, I discovered the problem. The gambeson I had made hand long shoulders (no sleeves) Since my leggings (I'll discuss wearing legging armour further down) were pulling down on the gambeson and the weight of the chain maile on the gambeson was also present; the too perfect fit was occuring where as The perfect fit was actually restricting movement. I cut the long shoulders off and re-sew'd the shorter shoulders. That fixed 80% of the problem with the gambeson. I am still having a minimal resistance when I lift my arms. This is due to the fact that the shoulders need not roll along your shoulder (upper chest to upper back) snuggly. There needs to be a tad bit extra so that when the gambeson is worn alone it does not rest on your shoulders completly. I am in the process of making a much refined gambeson with the much needed improvements to fully allow freedom of movement.

2. Padded leggings
Again I made my own. On the rear of them I have attached chain maille. Now that weight is greatly increased. I found great trouble holding them up with a belt. With my new gambeson I will actually secure my padded leggings to my gambeson. I have tried this with my current gambeson and found this to fully increase moblility and discomfort.

3. Greaves
These I have are two piece greaves. When I put them on they simply fall to my foot and they rest low. I don't have to mess with them any further.

4. Leggings
I secure these to two points each onto my gambeson. When I tie them onto the gambeson I have to bend my knee constantly to ensure they are at the right height. The lower strap that goes around the back of my knee right there at the joint, this strap I fit snugg. Not tight however not loose. The second strap is secured slightly loose. And the third hihest strap I secure loosely. The reason for the second and third straps not to be tight is fore the reason when I kneel down and stand up and my leg moves; is so that the armour itself does not remain stiff to my leg in the sense that the straps slide up and down the back of my leg as the front of the armour articulates as it should.

5. Chain maile
Sits on top of the gambeson of course

6. Gorget
Sits ontop of the maile

7. Pauldrons
Secured to the Gorget so that you feel comforable and free range of movement.

I dont have a breast plate yet but hopefully soon i'll get it. The armour you wear should not be encoumbering in the sense that it restrict's movement. If you want a picture by picture explanation, let me know. and the next time I suit up ill take pictures for you. Also the order that I listed each piece is the order in which I get suited up. The breast and backplate should be put on after the gorget and then the pauldrons after the B&B. The B&B also helps to secure the gorget in place so that the gorget does not move side to side much. I use a scarf to secure my gorget at the moment. I can't think of much else at the moment so ask if you have further wuestions. Hope this helps.. look towards the bottom of the pagehttp://www.myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t...;start=308

Experience and learning from such defines maturity, not a number of age
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Artis Aboltins




PostPosted: Tue 05 May, 2009 1:13 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

In case you have not had a chance to read the "How a man shall be Armed..." here is a link to the on-line version of it:

http://www.chronique.com/Library/Armour/armyd1.htm

p.s. Cristopher, I belive it has been said many times over that "chainmail", "chain maile" and similar terms are not really correct - just "mail" or "maile" is perfectly enough.
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Ben van Koert




Location: Veenendaal, the Netherlands
Joined: 23 May 2007
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PostPosted: Tue 05 May, 2009 3:59 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Unfortunately, in general most reproduction armour or approximation thereof, lacks the fit which original armour provided for it's intended user.

In terms we use nowadays, a gambeson is a thick padded garment worn under maille. Under full plate armour you're supposed to wear a *close fitting* relatively *thin* garment known as an arming doublet and regular hosen.
Full plate armour was for the upper class, who could afford to have armour made to fit. When your armour is close fitting it distributes the force of impacts over your body and gives you very little trouble. So called 'Armour bites' are caused by ill fitting or badly made armour.


These are the steps I take to put on my armour:
0. Putting on my hosen, arming doublet and shoes.
(And he shall have no shirt upon him! Wink )

0.5 Put on the sabatons (I don't have any)

1. Putting on the greaves.
Well made greaves are suspended on their own by fully encasing your calves. They're closed by a locking pin.

2. Putting on the cuisses (with attached and articulated poleyns and demi greaves)
The cuisses (upper legs) are pointed to the arming doublet, and the strap of the demi greave passes through a loop in the greaves. There's a pin in front of the greaves which passes through a hole in the demi-greaves. This rests some of the weight of the cuisses on the greaves, when standing. The I close the rest of the straps.

3. Putting on the maille skirt and maille standard.

4. Now I put on the main body defense, in my case a brigandine.

5. Next are my couters, which are pointed to my arming doublet and strapped to the arm. (normally I'd put on my vambraces first, but they're not finished yet)

6. Now the spaulders, again, pointed to the arming doublet, and strapped to the arm..

7. Bevor, strapped around my neck.

8. Sallet, put on my head and strapped.

9. Gauntlets. Put on like gloves. The outer shell is riveted to leather, which in turn is stitched to a pair of gloves.

Ready to go!
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Chad Arnow
myArmoury Team


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PostPosted: Tue 05 May, 2009 6:42 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ben van Koert wrote:
Unfortunately, in general most reproduction armour or approximation thereof, lacks the fit which original armour provided for it's intended user.

Full plate armour was for the upper class, who could afford to have armour made to fit.



There is plenty of surviving munitions armour which would have been generically sized. Not all men at arms could afford custom fit items and many generically sized harnesses and pieces were exported from Italy and Germany to elsewhere in Europe. Those were not custom sized. Not all men at arms were upper class. Some were lower upper class and upper middle class.

I'm sure many people tried to massage these more generic armours upon receipt to get a closer fit, but I think the idea that all harnesses were custom fit is not true.

Happy

ChadA

http://chadarnow.com/
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Steven H




Location: Boston
Joined: 10 May 2006

Posts: 545

PostPosted: Tue 05 May, 2009 6:47 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

www.armourarchive.org can provide you with a wealth of information on this topic.

Cheers,
Steven

Kunstbruder - Boston area Historical Combat Study
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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Tue 05 May, 2009 10:54 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

This is probably the gold standard for modern reproduction:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/12591757@N03/page2/

Notice that Capwell's arming photos are in reverse order. Start at bottom right of the page and work your way back up to see the proper sequence. Note the fit, attachment and range of motion.

-Sean

"Everywhere I have searched for peace and nowhere found it, except in a corner with a book"- Thomas a Kempis (d. 1471)
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Quinn W.




Location: Bellingham, WA
Joined: 02 May 2009

Posts: 197

PostPosted: Tue 05 May, 2009 12:35 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Looks like I might have missed a few primary sources after all.
Thanks a lot for the resources and all of your personal experience. It's been extremely helpful.

"Some say that the age of chivalry is past, that the spirit of romance is dead. The age of chivalry is never past, so long as there is a wrong left unredressed on earth"
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Ben van Koert




Location: Veenendaal, the Netherlands
Joined: 23 May 2007
Reading list: 14 books

Posts: 120

PostPosted: Tue 05 May, 2009 1:16 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Chad Arnow wrote:
Ben van Koert wrote:
Unfortunately, in general most reproduction armour or approximation thereof, lacks the fit which original armour provided for it's intended user.

Full plate armour was for the upper class, who could afford to have armour made to fit.



There is plenty of surviving munitions armour which would have been generically sized. Not all men at arms could afford custom fit items and many generically sized harnesses and pieces were exported from Italy and Germany to elsewhere in Europe. Those were not custom sized. Not all men at arms were upper class. Some were lower upper class and upper middle class.

I'm sure many people tried to massage these more generic armours upon receipt to get a closer fit, but I think the idea that all harnesses were custom fit is not true.


The term 'Munition Armour' is much later, however it's true there was a lot of trade in stock armour, but even these parts were most probably chosen to fit as good as possible, with minor alterations to make it fit even better. An armoury didn't make '1 size, fits few' production armour. However, they did produce a lot of armour for the generic market, in different sizes.

Full plate was a luxury, most lower and middle class didn't fight in so much armour. Most city regulations tell the minimum of arms it's inhabitants should possess in case of emergency. Most of the times, breastplates, jacks and iron hats are mentioned. Full plate is for the elite, who could afford it.
In my experience, most problems with armour arise from an ill fit or bad construction.

Later on you see more crude generic armour like the almain rivet style.

Edit: Ps. You're absolutely right in what you've said, but I haven't got the time to elaborate on al the details, as I'm quite busy and worn out from running from one place to another. That may explain my very staccato writing style, right now. I didn't mean to attack anyone.
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Josh Warren




Location: Manhattan, Kansas
Joined: 01 Nov 2006

Posts: 111

PostPosted: Tue 05 May, 2009 5:39 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

A well-fitted harness should allow you to do things like this, even fully-armed:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xm11yAXeegg&am...annel_page

Okay, ignore the Airsoft rifle antics, but cartwheels in full armour are nifty. Big Grin

Non Concedo
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JE Sarge
Industry Professional



PostPosted: Wed 06 May, 2009 12:51 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Here is the order of how I put on a 14th C. transitional harness:

1. Braies, chausses, then boots.
2. Arming doublet.
3. Greaves, then add knee/upper thigh. Lace to doublet.
4. Maille skirt.
5. Gorget.
6. Breastplate.
7. Spaulders, arms (one piece - not seperate). Lace to doublet.
8. Bascient w/aventail.
9. Belt with weapon, pouch, dagger, etc...(if required - not used if demonstrating/sparring)
10. Mount visor on bascinet.
11. Gloves
12. Gauntlets

Good luck in your search for more info! Big Grin

J.E. Sarge
Crusader Monk Sword Scabbards and Customizations
www.crusadermonk.com

"But lack of documentation, especially for such early times, is not to be considered as evidence of non-existance." - Ewart Oakeshott
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Randall Moffett




Location: Northern Utah
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Reading list: 5 books

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PostPosted: Wed 06 May, 2009 2:47 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quinn,

Something that I am not sure has been said is that we are not 100% sure how everything exactly went on. We have some clues here and there but some of it is guesstimates. I think from the info here you should be able to get a good idea of how it could go together though. What time frame are you looking at? This changes things significantly as with earlier periods to the late 14th or early 15th you have full hauberks under the plate.

I tie much of my plate armour onto my mail. Besegews and the likes are great for this at the armpits and roundels at the elbows. I have a riveted suit though so it holds up better than all my butted mail except the 14 gauge one I used for a while. From my experience 16 gauge wire butted will not hold up very long supporting plate tied to it. That said 14 gauge will work for a while but at times the ties slip through the cut or under pressure can just bend open.

Also regarding the textile padded armour. If under full plate you do not need to have the same padding as a stand alone textile armour. You can go middle of the road and get one with lighter padding for under plate but not a protective as a standalone. I have thought of doing this and having a vest-like jupon with some padding to add some more for a late 14th early 15th century harness but it is still in its planning phase.

If I ever get my 1330-1350 harness done I will post pictures up of it and the dressing stages. It still has some things that need be ironed out though.

Josh,

That is a great video.

RPM
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Quinn W.




Location: Bellingham, WA
Joined: 02 May 2009

Posts: 197

PostPosted: Wed 06 May, 2009 1:31 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Randall,

That information was extremely helpful, in that early to mid 14th century is precisely the frame I was going for, creating the problem of not having exposed arming points seeing as I have a mail hauberk that I would wear over the gambeson. Given that the gambeson seems to be the centerpiece to most kits, that was one of the only things that still hadn't been entirely cleared up.
I might look into a riveted hauberk if it's going to end up supporting a little extra weight than it normally might. Otherwise, I'll probably make myself some arming points for my cuisses, since those can fit under the mail without a problem.
If you could possibly get a few basic pictures the next time you arm yourself, that would be fantastically helpful, since your kit seems to have the most similarities to mine, at least concerning the logistics of putting it on.
Anyway, thanks again. Much appreciated.

"Some say that the age of chivalry is past, that the spirit of romance is dead. The age of chivalry is never past, so long as there is a wrong left unredressed on earth"
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Randall Moffett




Location: Northern Utah
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PostPosted: Wed 06 May, 2009 11:59 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Will do. I just dyed my splinted limb armour so need to restrap them. I will try getting it done but have a helmet I need to finish first of my armour projects. I will see what I have around that might perhaps work.

RPM
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Quinn W.




Location: Bellingham, WA
Joined: 02 May 2009

Posts: 197

PostPosted: Tue 04 Aug, 2009 12:22 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thank you. Much appreciated. I look forward to seeing it.
"Some say that the age of chivalry is past, that the spirit of romance is dead. The age of chivalry is never past, so long as there is a wrong left unredressed on earth"
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