ARMOR GUIDE

       

       

The armour worn by the knights and sergreants is dictated by the timeframe one is portraying.  From the beginning of the First Crusade, riveted  maile (commonly misnamed chain mail) was worn.   Maile chause (leg coverings) are worn over padded chause.  A knee length hauberk is worn over a padded gambeson or aketon.  This had mail mitens and a mail coif fitted to it which almost completely encased the knight in armor. A padded coif was worn under the maile coif.  A helm or helmet topped the head.  A wooden shield covered in rawhide or canvass was carried. A surcoat of wool or linen in the colors of your order is worn over the mail hauberk. 

  

      As weapons improved,  armour adapted to compensate. The shape of the shields, helmets, and body armour grew and evolved just as it does to this day.  Your kit will be dependant on the years that you represent.   

Braies (medieval underwear) and chausses (hose) of wool or linen were worn by everyone. This would be everyday dress. Each chausse is suspended to the braies by lacing it to eyelets made into the braies.

Padded chausses are worn over the wool chausses, and provide an extra layer of protection to absorb some blunt force, and pad the mail chausse against the body. These are made of heavy quilted material that will withstand the chaffing of the metal armor.

While there is much speculation how the mail chausses were suspended, it is general consensus that some type of belt, girdle or perhaps even suspenders were worn to handle the weight. Here, Brother Robert is using an arming belt. Notice the eyes and laces.

Adjusting the arming belt.  This is key to dispersing the weight of the leg armor.

The padded chausses are laced to the braies. They can be laced to the belt. It is personal preference. 

The mail chausses are put on and laced to the belt. Each chausse weighs about 6 pounds. Twelve pounds of leg armor!

A close up of the lacing process.  Notice the flat rings of the mail. This made for lighter weight, yet still stron armor.  This worked well until the invention of the German Can Opener, or more correctly, the Falchion.

Next, garters are tied at the calf. This helps to dissipate some of the weight to the lower leg.  This will also prevent saggin around the ankles due to the great weight.

The heavy leather belt easily carries the weight, and distributes it evenly to the waist. The garters (not yet tied in this photo) will remove nearly half of the weight from the belt.    Notice the ankle sag without them.

The aketon or gambeson is laid out with the arming cap or padded coif. Just like the padded chausses, this is vital for the protection of the warrior. This will be worn under the mail hauberk. Again, it is made of heavy quilted material, and will be approximately one half inch thick.

The aketon and arming cap in place, ready to put on the mail hauberk.

This is where a squire is certainly nice to have. This is possible by one’s self, but it is difficult, and one quickly learns how to do “The Chain Mail Shuffle”.   While there is some historical documentation of the hauberk having back laces or straps and buckles, this definitely required the aid of a squire.  The slip over hauberk can be donned without aid.

A squire will make short work of this step in the arming process. The hauberk would historically have mail mittens made onto it, with slits in the palms that allow the hand to put through when required; such as eating or drinking between battles etc. The hauberk weighs about 35 pounds.

Brother Robert fully encased in mail armor. You will notice that the hauberk has an integral mail coif. This was normal from the eleventh through the middle of the thirteenth century. When plate armor arrived on the scene, the coif was detached from the hauberk and worn separately. At this point, elbow and leg garters would be added. Hanging from his coif, you can see the ventail. This is the flap that folded over the lower face, and laced to the top of the coif. This would only be laced up for battle. 

Scale armor to be worn over his hauberk. Historically, this was somewhat rare.  Robert wears it when he fights with rebated steel.  Weight: aproximately 12 pounds.  It was considered "poor Man's Armor" as it was not nearly as expensive as mail.

That is a lot of weight. Warriors trained for years to be able to fight with the heavy armor.  After the tunic is put on, the worrior will raise his hands high ofer his head. This will pull up on the hauberk. At this time, the squire would gird the mans waist with a heavy belt.  This captures the weight of the lower half of the hauberk, further distributing the load to the waist and hips. This greatly reduces the load on the soulders.

A Templar Sergeant, armed and ready for battle. With armor, weapons, helm and shield, this man is carrying about 65 pounds of extra weight! In comparison, a modern equipped soldier carries about 80 pounds of gear.

Interesting video about basic armor maintenance