Shield strapping
I am trying to track down images of shield strapping in the mid 14thC through to the 1430's on the most common "heater" shaped shields.

I have a vague memory of seeing images which show strapping that appeared to be in a square shape that would have allowed the shield to be held either as we most often see it (flat top edge uppermost) or alternatively with the arm vertically down the axis which would have seen the point at the base pointed towards the opponent.

Does anyone know of the images I speak of? If so, do you have a link? I have tried various search terms in these forums and I have been scouring all my sources for several days now and it is doing my head in! :)

There are a very few oval or even tear drop shaped shields depicted in northern Italian manuscripts and frescoes, but these are very uncommon and seem to be restricted to a small geographical region. The small pavise style shields seem restricted to the Hussites in the early 1400's and become a little more common in later decades, but still seem to be an eastern Europe style which perhaps encroached into the eastern Germanic regions at best.

Later the ecranche shape takes over, but although you occasionally see foot combatants using them, they appear to be most commonly seen for the joust.

I am asking this because I am part of the UK team doing full contact at the IMCF championships and I am wanting to avoid the small "punching shields" that seem to have taken over Battle of the Nations in recent years. There seems to be little to no documentation for these.

Thanks in advance.
I don't know if this will completely help you but "Der Mittelalterliche Reiterschild" by Jan Kohlmorgen is a very detailed book on shield studies. It's in German but it's fully illustrated and can be found online. I'm not too sure about myArmoury's policies on linking , but if you look at

there's a link to the book online and it's worth looking at.

Thanks for that Frank. My wife is German so I will look into it.
Hi Martin, right now i am writing the shield chapter for the new edition of the kitguide for the german national team. the strapping is actually kind of difficult, as you had written already. mostly i am referring to german sources right now. while the classical triangular shild strapping seem to remain as it was before. the strapping of the "tarsche" seems to follow a non linear development, as far as i would the beginning of my research i assumed that the upright holding of the shild would be the initial form and slowly move to a downward grip where the shild is just attached to the body over a long strap and a short on the arms with the hand not even covered by the shield and free to hold the bridles in a "saddle-near" position, but evidence shows, that both kind of grips start as early as mid 14th century. just that in the early downward grips the hand seems to stay covered (so the later free position may be a co-development with the improved gauntledforms in germany in thd early 15th- (i would give the word at this point to till lodemann ;) ) most common seems to be with the "tartsche" the horizontal grip

Hi Martin, I buy the book, you borrow and translate...?

Sound like a deal? Keep wanting to buy that.....
My impression from reading Jan Kolmogens book (I do read some German, but even if you do not (yet ;) ), buy it anyway. The pictures alone are worth the price) is that the strapping placement is done very much tailored to the exact preference of the wearer, and that showed significant variation. I think for the heaters, this has to do with mounted use. I have been doing some horseback riding with shield, and if the shield is not positioned very exactly, you run the risk of obstructing both yourself and the poor horse.

I'm not sure if there are less variance in hand shields for dismounted use, one could easily assume that the position and strapping of our shield will be a matter of making it fit your stature, armour and fighting style? So if we where to find enought depictions and examples, they would vary to the same degree as the earlier heaters?
Hi Martin.

I think what you're looking for are Hungarian 15th C., not German 14th.

I can't remember seeing 14th C. with that strap arrangement. But I think Google will give you just what you need with "15th century Hungarian Shields".

Good luck! :)

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