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Carl Goff




Location: Florida
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PostPosted: Fri 03 Sep, 2010 11:00 am    Post subject: Suits of plate -- how long does it take to put them on?         Reply with quote

I'm working on a fantasy novel, and there's a scene where most of the characters have to get into their armor in a hurry with minimal warning. I'm trying to figure out if they'd have enough time to put everything on, or if they'd have to skimp on some of the equipment.

They're essentially wearing late 15th/early 16th century plate, and if I'm recalling correctly, the components of that would be:

Padded jack, helm, gorget, breast-and-back, pauldrons, pieces for the upper arm (I can't recall the name), mail gussets or tassets (that bit that covers the armpit), elbow cops, vambraces, finger gauntlets, thigh plates, knee cops, and greaves. (No sabatons, for plot reasons.)

So, some questions:

Those of you who own similar suits -- how long do you usually spend putting them on? How quickly do you think you could possibly put your suit on? How long does each individual piece take to put on? Do you need help for some of the straps?

Thanks in advance for any answers, and if I've made any mistakes in the composition of the armor, please feel free to correct me. Versimilitude is important to me.

Oh, East of sands and sunlit gulf, your blood is thin, your gods are few;
You could not break the Northern wolf and now the wolf has turned on you.
The fires that light the coasts of Spain fling shadows on the Eastern strand.
Master, your slave has come again with torch and axe in his right hand!
-Robert E. Howard
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Michael B.
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PostPosted: Fri 03 Sep, 2010 11:48 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

If I'm starting from scratch, I definitely need help putting my stuff on. it takes about 15 minutes to get fully suited up for me. 20/25 is a leisurely pace. In an emergency situation, with stuff on stand by and a crack squire or two, I could imagine 5 minutes. Since this is for a story, are they anticipating an attack? Because then they could already have components on, and be ready much faster.
I can get most of my leg components on, and my gorget, everything else I need help with.

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Michael Bergstrom
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Michal Plezia
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PostPosted: Fri 03 Sep, 2010 12:02 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

For me it is also circa15 minutes, if I have an experienced person to help.
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Scott Hrouda




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PostPosted: Fri 03 Sep, 2010 12:15 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

20 minutes if I reveled a little too long the previous night. Wink
15 minutes is my average pace.
10 minutes if everything is laid out neatly on a table and I have help.

...and that, my liege, is how we know the Earth to be banana shaped. - Sir Bedevere
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Peter Lyon
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PostPosted: Fri 03 Sep, 2010 1:33 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

20 minutes for me to get everything sitting right and comfortable and not overheat. My armour is late 14th century so more separate components than later harness where larger sections can be put on at a time.
With help and the arms and pauldrons left pointed on to my arming doublet, it could be done in under 10 minutes. Still no good in case of surprise attacks. Definitely need help to strap breast and back together, and put on arms and pauldrons (but this could be avoided by leaving them attached to the arming doublet).

Still hammering away
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Craig Shackleton




Location: Ottawa, Canada
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PostPosted: Fri 03 Sep, 2010 2:45 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'm generally in agreement with the folks above. I have a few extra points though too.

Depending how the harness is worn, you may need to put on the foundation clothing first. I wear an arming jacket that takes almost five minutes to lace up on its own. That said, if I'm expecting to wear armour later, I'll put it on early. My voiders are also attached to it (that's the mail in the armpits) though, so once it is on, so are they, and I will wear that for extended periods of time.

If I had to put on armour fast, I would just throw on a gorget and breast plate. My old pike harness, consisted of a breast and back with tassets and a a gorget. One of my friends had one with an almain collar instead of a gorget. I could put mine on without assistance in less than a minute. He needed an extra twenty or thirty seconds to do up the straps on the shoulder pieces.

My current rig is early 15th century, and is strapped a little differently. It would probably take me closer to two minutes to get the breast and back on, and I really can't buckle the front fauld to the back by myself. Also, if I put it on quickly, chances are that it will hang a little funny, which makes things more awkward and tiring.

I can also put on my arms myself pretty quickly, under a minute for each, but they wouldn't be properly pointed at the top without help. Still, I have worn them that way before I had a proper arming coat, and they aren't too awkward. They just get heavy faster. Gauntlets are easy, they go on just like gloves. I have spaulders as well, which I really can't put on by myself. They probably take as long to put on as the rest of my arms.

My legs take longer to do, but I don't need help to put them on. If I were rushing, I would probably forego them entirely. Normally I would put them on first, because they are harder to get on after the breast and back. I'd put on the breast and back first because that would be most important protection.

Hope that helps.

Ottawa Swordplay
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Martin Wallgren




Location: Bjästa, Sweden
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PostPosted: Fri 03 Sep, 2010 3:17 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

There is alot of art depicting warriors having their legarmour on. I have made an experiment once and it is possible to sleep with the couisse (legarmour) on though it was uncomfortable I managed to get enough sleep to get me through the day after. I used to it I belive you could sleep with your cuisse on for extended periods of time on campaine or simillar. Legramour has also served me the best in fightingtests. Gives me one less target to defend and give me an easier time to protect the upper targets.

So you might have your guys already in legarmour, and have them just put on gauntlets and helmet for a fight.

Swordsman, Archer and Dad
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James Arlen Gillaspie
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PostPosted: Fri 03 Sep, 2010 8:40 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Carl, a 'jack' is body armour in its own right, and not a foundation garment for armour. 'Arming doublet' would be better.
Wink

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Lafayette C Curtis




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PostPosted: Sun 05 Sep, 2010 11:10 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

On the other hand, we also have many historical accounts of men-at-arms (even, in one instance, a king) going out in nothing more than their arming garments (and perhaps a helmet) to meet a surprise attack. Most of these incidents happened in the course of sieges, so it was quite logical that the participants (both defenders and besiegers) would have kept on their padded/quilted undergarments on for most of the day so that they'd always be partially prepared for this kind of eventuality.
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Ushio Kawana




Location: Japan
Joined: 17 Aug 2008

Posts: 146

PostPosted: Mon 06 Sep, 2010 12:18 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Happy

Knights of the Battle of Pavia... The French heavy armoured knights were called gendarmes.
gendarme: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gendarme_(historical)



Quote:
Osprey Campaign 044: Pavia 1525 The Climax of The Italian Wars

p69
The French lances of gendarmes and supporting cavalry had prepared themselves and their mounts, and were ready to take part in the battle (authorities at the Royal Armouries of the Tower of London estimate that to be dressed in armour would take approximately 30 minutes).

p75
Arms and armour scholars in the Tower of London estimate that even supposing the gendarmes slept fully dressed, the process of donning armour and readying for battle would have taken at least half an hour.


Thanks Happy

I'm interested in Medieval Arms and Armor.
But... My English is very poor ><;
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Carl Goff




Location: Florida
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Reading list: 1 book

Posts: 196

PostPosted: Sat 11 Sep, 2010 1:56 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Many thanks for your help, everyone.

James and Martin, I particularly appreciate the information on proper terminology and definition.

Oh, East of sands and sunlit gulf, your blood is thin, your gods are few;
You could not break the Northern wolf and now the wolf has turned on you.
The fires that light the coasts of Spain fling shadows on the Eastern strand.
Master, your slave has come again with torch and axe in his right hand!
-Robert E. Howard
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