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Reje K.





Joined: 12 Mar 2014

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PostPosted: Fri 04 Apr, 2014 1:12 pm    Post subject: Armor on soldiers who focused on non-firearm ranged weapons.         Reply with quote

I'm looking into archers and any other soldiers on the battlefield who focused on non-firearm ranged weapons who fought on foot wearing armor (especially metal armor) on their chests and heads (think of an English archer wearing plate armor on his or her chest), if not anywhere else on their bodies. Especially archers on the British Isles in the 1300s to 1400s. Does anybody know of anywhere that has info with examples of any soldiers who focused on non-firearm ranged weapons who wore armor on the battlefield covering their torsos and heads, if not anywhere else on their bodies?

I've seen it so many times where archers and other soldiers on the battlefield who focused on non-firearm ranged weapons are shown with no metal armor on their chests. So what, was it too expensive to see to it that groups of say, English archers would fight in plate armor covering their chests?
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Edward Lee




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PostPosted: Fri 04 Apr, 2014 5:29 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

On the osprey books of Medieval Armies and German Army from 1300s-1500s it shows archers wearing maille and scale armor.
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Lloyd Winter




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PostPosted: Fri 04 Apr, 2014 7:11 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

There are lots of pictorial sources for archers in all kinds of armour from what appears to just clothes to padded armour to mail and plate. Your best art sources will probably be French and not English. When I see guys with longbows in French art from the 14th & 15th centuries i usually assume they are supposed to be English. I'd recommend you go through manuscript miniatures and see what they have. Here's a quick search I did

http://manuscriptminiatures.com/search/?year=...anuscript=
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Benjamin H. Abbott




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PostPosted: Fri 04 Apr, 2014 9:25 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

English archers in the 15th century typically wore jacks - a form of quilted fabric armor that may or may not include metal elements - and sallets. The appear to have sometimes worn breastplates and other pieces of plate harness. One 16th-century English military manuals assigns archers light armors or none. Writing in the 1590s, Sir John Smythe recommended eyelet-holed doublets or jacks of mail along with light morions. In the 1540s Fourquevaux recommended mail shirts, sleeves, and open headpieces for infantry crossbowers.
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Ryan S.





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PostPosted: Fri 04 Apr, 2014 10:49 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I think shields like pavise were much more efficient ways to stop arrows, their major disadvantage being that they aren't very mobile. A problem that ideally, an archer wouldn't face.
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Mart Shearer




Location: Jackson, MS, USA
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PostPosted: Sat 05 Apr, 2014 6:27 am    Post subject: Re: Armor on soldiers who focused on non-firearm ranged weap         Reply with quote

Reje K. wrote:
I've seen it so many times where archers and other soldiers on the battlefield who focused on non-firearm ranged weapons are shown with no metal armor on their chests. So what, was it too expensive to see to it that groups of say, English archers would fight in plate armor covering their chests?


Manuscript miniatures are nice, but there are also written records to draw from. Crossbows are more expensive than bows, and are more frequently seen with armor. Militia and garrison troops are more likely to have armor than some fellow drawn up in array. Thom Richardson documents armor for archers being distributed from the Royal Armoury, often for use on ships.

Roll A.
A View of Arms in the City of Norwich for the Leet of Conesford, 1355
(27 July 1355)

The array is led by a Constable, William Skie, and an Alter-Constable, John de Causton, who are both "fully armed" (plene armat'). This includes arming doublet, pair of plates, bascinet with aventail, mail pisan, bracers for the arms, and plate gauntlets. The Alter-Constable also carries a bow (j sagitt') which may reflect his role in leading the archers.

There are 11 other fully armed men (2 marked as deceased!) all armed in the same mode. Two are listed as carrying bows: Thomas Cole, Baliff of Norwich, and John de Boyland.

The come the men (Vintenars-leaders of 20) with "half" armor (dimid' armat').
Thomas de Hornyng has an arming doublet, pair of plates, bascinet with aventail, and plate gauntlets. Notably lacking are the bracers for the arms as well as the secondary neck defense of the pisan. 18 other men are armed in the same fashion.

Then come the archers (Sagitarr'), 6 men, of which two have been noted in a later hand to have some armor (armatus).

From Randall Storey's thesis, we see these costs. In the London Array of 1316, Crossbowmen with aketon, hauberk, basinet, gorget, crossbow, and quarrels are equipped at a cost of 25s 9d. This seems quite comparable with the cost of half-armed infantry or hobelars in the Array of 1322 with aketon, haubergeon, basinet with aventail, steel gauntlets, lance, sword, and knife at 29s 10d. Storey lists the average price for a bow in his survey at 9p, and "one foot" crossbows at 25p. Arrows and quarrels seem similarly priced at about 5 per penny.

Richardson notes that archers were sometimes issued with "corsets of plate" which are distinguished in the inventories from the more common pairs of plate. Perhaps the archer's versions had larger cut-outs around the arm for greater mobility or were diminished in some other way.

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Lafayette C Curtis




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PostPosted: Sat 19 Apr, 2014 6:27 am    Post subject: Re: Armor on soldiers who focused on non-firearm ranged weap         Reply with quote

Reje K. wrote:
I've seen it so many times where archers and other soldiers on the battlefield who focused on non-firearm ranged weapons are shown with no metal armor on their chests. So what, was it too expensive to see to it that groups of say, English archers would fight in plate armor covering their chests?


I'm not sure where this conclusion came from; while unarmoured archers were quite common in artwork, partially armoured archers weren't exactly rare either by the 14th and 15th centuries. Like in this miniature from the late 14th century:

http://www.british-library.uk/catalogues/illu...llID=42543

And this one in the Holkham Bible, where the archers may seem unarmoured at first but a closer examination hints at some sort of armour (probably mail) underneath their outermost tunics:

http://posner.library.cmu.edu/Posner/books/pa...;file=0150

(It's worth noting that the outermost padded/quilted garment often concealed some sort of metallic defence underneath throughout the 14th century. Could be mail, could be coat-of-plates, could even be a breastplate. So it's not always a good idea to assume that an archer -- especially one in a battlefield scene as opposed to a noble or hunter in civilian gear -- was not wearing any metal body armour at all.)
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Mart Shearer




Location: Jackson, MS, USA
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PostPosted: Sat 19 Apr, 2014 1:21 pm    Post subject: Re: Armor on soldiers who focused on non-firearm ranged weap         Reply with quote

Lafayette C Curtis wrote:
And this one in the Holkham Bible, where the archers may seem unarmoured at first but a closer examination hints at some sort of armour (probably mail) underneath their outermost tunics:

http://posner.library.cmu.edu/Posner/books/pa...;file=0150

(It's worth noting that the outermost padded/quilted garment often concealed some sort of metallic defence underneath throughout the 14th century. Could be mail, could be coat-of-plates, could even be a breastplate. So it's not always a good idea to assume that an archer -- especially one in a battlefield scene as opposed to a noble or hunter in civilian gear -- was not wearing any metal body armour at all.)


A better view of that folio, 40r, is available here (with zoom):
http://www.bl.uk/manuscripts/Viewer.aspx?ref=add_ms_47682_f040r

The archer to the left has a bascinet with mail aventail, while the one to the right has a bascinet worn over an padded coif or with a padded aventail. The one on the left wears hose, while the right hand figure has mail chausses. Both show evidence of aketons beneath their tunics. Given their social strata and the decade, it seems unlikely that these conceal metal armor IMO.



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Lafayette C Curtis




Location: Indonesia
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PostPosted: Mon 28 Apr, 2014 12:40 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Oh well. I suppose I didn't look closely enough at that one. Anyway, I still think archers and crossbowmen with metal armour weren't exactly that rare, and especially not in the 14th and 15th centuries. The Mac Bible already had some mail-clad crossbowmen in the 13th century after all:

www.medievaltymes.com/courtyard/images/maciej...&b.gif

http://www.medievaltymes.com/courtyard/images...&b.gif
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William P




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PostPosted: Mon 28 Apr, 2014 1:29 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I know that inn middle byzantine armies around the 10th century, some archers were encouraged to be armoured with the byzantine kavadion, plus a very thick felt cap at the behest of themilitary manuals of the day. of course its not sure at all how widespread they were ACTUALLY used maybe archers abandoned their use or shortened them because of how cumbersome they can be, but it gives ideas on the established view on what soldiers should have
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