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Kieran Wardale




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PostPosted: Mon 08 Apr, 2013 8:53 pm    Post subject: Coat of plates/Brigandine vs Chainmail         Reply with quote

I know they where both user at around the same time and often used together, but also saw a lot of used as a standalone/w gambeson. Which one offered more protection? I would think that the cost of plates would because the plates would absorb a lot of the force of melee weapons and stop arrows, but if a blade or arrow got in between the plates then it would be nothing but leather. On the other hand the mail with a gambeson has been known to stop arrows, but the impact from spears, hammers, and the like, if stopped, could result in broken ribs.
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Mon 08 Apr, 2013 9:47 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The question can't be answered. You can have mail with all kinds of link diameters and wire thicknesses. Some were proof against the heaviest bows. You can have brigandine made from plates of all thicknesses. Mail is more flexible and so more susceptible to blunt trauma. But that flexibility means that it will cover more of the body (armpits, etc) than a brigandine. Some brigandines were proofed against firearms while shrapnel can fly everywhere if mail is shot.
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Brian Robson





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PostPosted: Tue 09 Apr, 2013 2:17 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I agree with Dan on this. On average, I'd say that a strike on the brig would generally do less damage to you than a strike against mail, but (again on average) the mail would give a lot more coverage. I think coverage is the more important of t the two.
(although I don't think a spear thrust against mail over gambeson would break any bones)
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Johan Gemvik




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PostPosted: Tue 09 Apr, 2013 3:05 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

To be most effective both would be used in combination.
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Kieran Wardale




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PostPosted: Tue 09 Apr, 2013 4:09 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Oh man, I didn't realize how complicated the question was. I guess it was like asking ar vs ak I'm never gonna get an easy/ unbiased answer. Oh well thanks anyway guys Happy
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Julian Behle




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PostPosted: Wed 10 Apr, 2013 6:56 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The question is so difficult because we were not present at the time and are only slowly becoming aware of the many different reasons for the shift from maille to plate. Weaponry, tactics, metallurgy, society and many other aspects did change. You may get to a conclusion on your own, if you are willing to read several threads on the site or some books about the topic. Make use of the search function. Nevertheless you will not get any definite answer because we simply do not know all details about armour of the period. We can guess from what we know if we put many ressources together, which might contracict in certain aspects as well, and come to a conclusion out of working with ressources and experience of modern reproduction.

As stated before, in a short answer: both types of armour had their advantages. Plate increased because it offered (in avarage) better protection against missile weapons. Maille stayed because it covered the body much more complete and was flexible. the compositional armour evolved. But take quality of material into consideration. It is far more complicated. Take a look at the long threads, you are not the first one to answer this central question.
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A Casalucci





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PostPosted: Wed 10 Apr, 2013 9:00 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Just to support Julian Behle's answer. There is the account of the battle of Benevento (1266, Italy). I can't translate and post the original text, but this is a part of the summary (it isn't very accurate - but gives the idea) on wikipedia (yeah, it's wikipedia, but about this passage is right:

"At first, the German mercenaries seemed unstoppable; all blows rebounded from their armor plates, and Charles was forced to commit his second battle. The Germans continued to advance, but then the French discovered that the new plate armor did not protect the armpits when the arm was lifted to strike. The Germans were swiftly broken."

A.
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Luka Borscak




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PostPosted: Wed 10 Apr, 2013 10:06 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

A Casalucci wrote:
Just to support Julian Behle's answer. There is the account of the battle of Benevento (1266, Italy). I can't translate and post the original text, but this is a part of the summary (it isn't very accurate - but gives the idea) on wikipedia (yeah, it's wikipedia, but about this passage is right:

"At first, the German mercenaries seemed unstoppable; all blows rebounded from their armor plates, and Charles was forced to commit his second battle. The Germans continued to advance, but then the French discovered that the new plate armor did not protect the armpits when the arm was lifted to strike. The Germans were swiftly broken."

A.


The big question is did the Germans wore mail under their coats of plates?
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A Casalucci





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PostPosted: Wed 10 Apr, 2013 10:24 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Luka Borscak wrote:
The big question is did the Germans wore mail under their coats of plates?


According to the text SEEMS, they didn't. IF (no promises) I have time later I'll post Oakeshott's considerations on the transition of armor from mail to plate he makes in "The Archaeology of Weapons: Arms and Armour from Prehistory to the Age of Chivalry" (or someone else could)
Sadly I have no time to translate the account of battle of benevento in english.
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Wed 10 Apr, 2013 2:48 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

We don't need a translation of the whole battle - just the few passages in which armour is mentioned.
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Jojo Zerach





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PostPosted: Thu 11 Apr, 2013 1:40 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Julian Behle wrote:
The question is so difficult because we were not present at the time and are only slowly becoming aware of the many different reasons for the shift from maille to plate. Weaponry, tactics, metallurgy, society and many other aspects did change. You may get to a conclusion on your own, if you are willing to read several threads on the site or some books about the topic. Make use of the search function. Nevertheless you will not get any definite answer because we simply do not know all details about armour of the period. We can guess from what we know if we put many ressources together, which might contracict in certain aspects as well, and come to a conclusion out of working with ressources and experience of modern reproduction.

As stated before, in a short answer: both types of armour had their advantages. Plate increased because it offered (in avarage) better protection against missile weapons. Maille stayed because it covered the body much more complete and was flexible. the compositional armour evolved. But take quality of material into consideration. It is far more complicated. Take a look at the long threads, you are not the first one to answer this central question.

I know some people propose the shift from mail to plate happened because changing economic factors in the 14thC made plate cheaper to produce than mail. The problem with this theory is that plate pieces were originally worn over full mail to reinforce it, not replace it. By the mid 14thC you could have basically have full plate over full mail, which is obviously not cheaper to produce.
It seems obvious plate started being used for increased protection, not because it was somehow more economical.
This suggests mail was found lacking in some respects, perhaps with blunt trauma. It's no coincidence that as plate pieces became more common, shields decreased in size and importance.
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Thu 11 Apr, 2013 3:14 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jojo Zerach wrote:
By the mid 14thC you could have basically have full plate over full mail, which is obviously not cheaper to produce..

How can you tell from a sculpture or illustration what is being worn under a cuirass or coat of plates? Why could they not simply be wearing mail voiders rather than an entire haubergeon? Voiders start to be mentioned in texts before this period.

Quote:
It seems obvious plate started being used for increased protection, not because it was somehow more economical.

Of course plate was more economical. There is more than enough evidence to demonstrate this. What is unknown is whether this was the main reason why plate started to supplant mail.

Quote:
It's no coincidence that as plate pieces became more common, shields decreased in size and importance.

Could not the reduced reliance on the shield be related to the increased reliance on two-handed weapons?
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Frederik K.




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PostPosted: Thu 11 Apr, 2013 7:39 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:

How can you tell from a sculpture or illustration what is being worn under a cuirass or coat of plates? Why could they not simply be wearing mail voiders rather than an entire haubergeon? Voiders start to be mentioned in texts before this period.


If we look at italian illustrations of the second half of the 14th century, the fashion of these parts of europe (also austria etc.) to were the mail over the rerebraces is quite obvious. In these cases i would strongly suggest a complete haubergon rather than voiders, although it would still be possible

Quote:
It's no coincidence that as plate pieces became more common, shields decreased in size and importance.

Quote:
Could not the reduced reliance on the shield be related to the increased reliance on two-handed weapons?


But shouldn't we assume that these came to use to penetrate armour better than single-handed weapons and by that the increased abillity of armour to protect the wearer, what would make big shilds obsolete?[/quote]
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Jojo Zerach





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PostPosted: Thu 11 Apr, 2013 10:11 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dan Howard wrote:
Jojo Zerach wrote:
By the mid 14thC you could have basically have full plate over full mail, which is obviously not cheaper to produce..

How can you tell from a sculpture or illustration what is being worn under a cuirass or coat of plates? Why could they not simply be wearing mail voiders rather than an entire haubergeon? Voiders start to be mentioned in texts before this period.

Quote:
It seems obvious plate started being used for increased protection, not because it was somehow more economical.

Of course plate was more economical. There is more than enough evidence to demonstrate this. What is unknown is whether this was the main reason why plate started to supplant mail.

Quote:
It's no coincidence that as plate pieces became more common, shields decreased in size and importance.

Could not the reduced reliance on the shield be related to the increased reliance on two-handed weapons?

Voiders certainly make sense, and I'm glad you brought them up. But at the beginning of the transitional period in particular, it is often easy to see they are wearing more or less full, 13thC style mail under their plate/leather pieces, sometimes complete with the mail mittens.
Moving a little later on, you can still often see what looks like the older style hauberk being worn under the harness.
-http://effigiesandbrasses.com/monuments/edmun...973/large/
Of course we can't see how the entire thing is constructed, but considering how long it is, I think this is most likely still a full hauberk, at least on the torso.
The Miles stapleton brass though, I could easily see as either a short haubergeon, or a reduced mail shirt/vioders and a separate skirt.
-http://effigiesandbrasses.com/monuments/miles.../13/large/
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Thu 11 Apr, 2013 3:05 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Neither of those effigies show us what was worn underneath. Length doesn't tell us anything useful. I recall one knight being called a girl because of the length of his mail skirt.
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Ian S LaSpina




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PostPosted: Thu 11 Apr, 2013 6:10 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

One example from the Pistoia Altar Piece that clearly shows a maille haubergeon beneath a breastplate with fauld on the right panel.


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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Fri 12 Apr, 2013 5:30 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Which still doesn't tell us whether "full plate" was worn over a complete haubergeon.

More breastplates over mail here in this excellent post by Till
http://www.myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t=25666
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Randall Moffett




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PostPosted: Fri 12 Apr, 2013 5:35 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Monstrelet and several people at Agincourt state that full plate harness was worn over a hauberk. They state that it helped wear down the french walking across the field.

RPM
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Fri 12 Apr, 2013 5:37 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks Randall. So how common was the custom and for how long did it persist?
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Randall Moffett




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PostPosted: Fri 12 Apr, 2013 7:20 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dan,

I am not sure 100%. The issue is just how uncommon full layers are given in period accounts. Another from this period is the Bertrand Gueslin's Chronicle from the 1380s or 1390s. It gives the full aketon, hauberk and plate armour, in his case some type of COP I think.

My guess is that the transition is between 1425-1450 but the problem is we just have so little evidence for voiders and mail skirts in use with full plate until the mid or 2nd half of the 15th. It could be much closer to 1450.

I figure though that once the COP and plate limbs comes into being the man-at-arms is more heavily armoured than any other period with likely a heavier aketon, plate and mail.

The more evidence I think mid 15th but I have a few things from the 1430s that may be indicators of voiders and skirts replacing the hauberk or habergeon.

In the Agincourt account it seems to sound like this was the norm. So I can say from when plate came in until Agincourt at least it was fairly common.

RPM
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