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62

SHORT ANSWER Most battles were short and thus the shield did not have to be held for long in combat. Also, Spartans who survived the training which began in early childhood were extremely tough both physically and mentally. Lastly, most historians of ancient Greek warfare have estimated that the shield used in classical times weighed between 13.5 lbs / 6.12 ...


51

Lars' answer has addressed the fact that the shields (know as a hoplon) often didn't need to be held for long; I'd like to address the actual mechanics. Image showing the shield held close in to the body, with straps and left shoulder taking most of the weight - photo by Grant Mitchell [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia ...


47

I would dispute your claim that Roman armour was superior. Roman armour mostly consisted of a mail shirt of varying length and quality, not dissimilar to that of the germanic tribes that overran the empire. There were heavier, full-body suits, especially used by their cataphract cavalry, made from scale and lamellar, even covering the horses. However, that ...


45

It's important to note that concrete information on how shields were used is scant, so a large part of any discussion on this subject is speculation and logic. That said, kite shields had an obvious advantage in extending protection to the lower half of the body. This was especially relevant to the cavalry, and particularly so in a period when leg armour ...


42

Looking at this slightly backwards, you could ask what are the factors that have enabled the supply of body armor to the modern infantry soldier? Modern ballistic materials, such as kevlar, are comparatively lightweight and flexible, so armor can be manufactured in a small range of sizes and self-tailored (with straps, velcro, elastic, etc) to fit and so ...


33

Roman Empire did not fall suddenly. This was a slow process which lasted centuries. And there is no sharp edge between antiquity and dark ages. The period of decline was much longer than a normal service life of any arms. And there is no sharp distinction between the forces of the Empire and "Dark age forces". Many barbarians who destroyed the empire were ...


33

Quality of steel was not sufficient enough to be practicable for body armor and helmets Historically speaking, use of armor, shields and helmets declined with advance of firearms. During the Napoleonic era, they were almost completely abandoned, except in heavy cavalry units that used them to protect themselves from cold weapons (swords, sabres, spears ...) ...


21

The emergence of late medieval full plate armour wasn't really prompted by any specific discovery or advancement in metallurgical tech. Partial plate armour, in principle, can be traced all the way back to Classical Antiquity, such as the Greek muscle cuirass later Roman lorica segmentata. Rather, the most critical development was the appearance of larger ...


20

Well, the Metropolitan Museum gives us a definitive answer of "it depends", mostly because in practice armour was not done by a single armourer in a single stretch. If, however, we turn to modern reconstrution for an estimate, we get get something of an idea on how long would just the manufacture take. Preamble The time of manufacture will vary wildly. The ...


16

With all due respect to Dr McAdam, I don't think that is correct. To give just one example, we have depictions of Anglo Saxon cavalry wearing helmets on Pictish stones like the one in the churchyard at Aberlemno Parish Church: Image source Wikimedia This particular stone is often referred to as Aberlemno II, and the battle scene depicted is generally ...


12

The main reasons are Cost-Efficiency points. Just consider how expensive is a full covering and well made helmet, and how much they are blocking the view. However this kind of helmet is blocking way less vision, I would say, judging by the position of eyes, not much of the vision will be disturbed. Just close one of your eyes and you can see your nose, ...


12

The low silhouette of the StuG III (7 feet high vs 9 feet) made it ideal for ambush tactics. Against the Americans it's likely going to be on the defense and well hidden. It will probably get one or two aimed shots off at an advancing Sherman before the M4 can return fire. The StuG III's 75 mm KwK 40 L/48 gun could penetrate the M4A1's front armor at 1000 ...


12

There is extensive documentary and archeological evidence for Celtic chain mail; one Classical writer (Varro) even specifically named the Celts as the inventors of chain mail. You can take a look at this (PDF) article, for example, which includes quotations from Classical authors, contemporary depictions from archeological relics of Celtic warriors wearing ...


12

Well maintained armor can last for a very long time. But within limits, due to normal wear and tear. I can't give you any particular length, but you can safely assume anything from 30 up to maybe 70 years. Why? Because recruits sometimes bought second hand armor from retiring evocati, of inherited it from their father if he had served in the legions. The ...


11

Like you wrote in your question, there was a period of time when bullets and shrapnel would pierce right through armor, so there was little point in putting bulky armor on. In addition, armor was expensive, and not easy to put on and use. This required training. By contrast, the introduction of firearms made it so that, rather than extensively train a unit ...


10

A key theme of Athelstan's Grately Codes is dealing with theft and other forms of dishonesty. To the king’s mind, theft constituted the greatest single problem and represented the most significant manifestation of social breakdown across the realm. He legislated repeatedly – even disproportionately – in his law codes for the prevention of thievery ...


10

"Was it ever?" Certainly. The style of armour evolved with swings of a pendulum as can be seen from the earliest bronze age up until now, with conspicuous heights found in the trench warfare of the First World War. The Philippino Moro people used bronze and brass in chain mail fashion. The romans used bronze in their loricas. The Philistines had at least ...


10

It's a common misconception that knights in full armor couldn't get up when they fell down. In real life they could, without much difficulty. Jumping and running was also not a problem. The could mount a horse without assistance, and run short distances. Good armour fits the body well, all over. The weight was evenly distributed. If a knight fell in the ...


9

As the Metropolitan museum's article on armor notes, it took several centuries from the first introduction of gunpowder on the battlefield to the elimination of armor for the infantry man. The decline took the form of a gradual shedding of armor from the arms and legs and then finally from the body. The main reasons for this decline were weight and cost. ...


9

This is not true, certainly for the later period and probably for the earlier period too. Covering the early period (and bearing in mind that it is heroic fiction), we have references in Beowulf to the 'grimhelmas' worn by the warriors of Beowulf's company on arrival at Heorot (line 334) and before the fight with Grendel (line 1245); none of whom were ...


8

After some more research I stand by my earlier comment in general the gun ports had minimal protection, relying on small size and being in the shadow of the gun. There is a large amount of negative evidence for this, for example in his books Warrior to Dreadnought, The Grand Fleet and Nelson to Vanguard D. K. Brown does not mention protection to turret gun ...


8

Body armor was issued to heavy cavalry. They had their horses to help carry it, and they expected to fight with saber and lance. Cuirassiers are named for their armor.


8

Nobody forgot about armor, and it never disappeared entirely, it was simply no longer worthwhile in their particular context. Armor is expensive to produce but it is also heavy, cumbersome, and inhibits the fighting effectiveness of a soldier while not necessarily offering enough in the way of protection to justify the drawbacks. The weight slows the speed ...


7

"Medieval" helmets are a very broad category. You're looking at several hundred years of weapon evolution that gets wrapped up into a single term. In different periods, different people would use a helmet with a nasal. In early medieval times, this would be a significant improvement over a more common simple pot helmet. Not only it protects the nose - the ...


7

The story is from Robert Walser's account (1908) of the Battle of Sempach (1386): Fine noblemen drowned in their hundreds; no, they were drownded in the nearby Lake of Sempach; they were drownded because they were pushed into the water like cats and dogs. They overbalanced and fell over one another in their elegant pointed shoes—it was a real shame.....


7

The advantage of wearing cuirass was obviously protection. As you noted, it could deflect pistol shots, and in theory even muskets at distance. Perhaps the main benefit however, was in fact against other horsemen. Cavalry battles in this period often amounted to individual melee, and like the armour of old, the cuirass offered some defence against enemy ...


7

It's a bit of both: The first attestations of the word mail are in Old French and Anglo-Norman: maille, maile, or male or other variants, which became mailye, maille, maile, male, or meile in Middle English. The modern usage of terms for mail armour is highly contested in popular and, to a lesser degree, academic culture. Medieval sources referred to ...


5

Any hunting depicted in medieval art is likely to be by members of the nobility, regardless of whether they are wearing armor or not. The website of the Metropolitan Museum of Art describes the use of armor for hunting as "rare". Although arms and armor are most commonly associated with warfare, both were used in other contexts, including hunting, ...


5

Why wear it when you can ride it? Just look at all these lumbering hunks of armour on the battlefield: Source Source Over time, people began to realise that riding vehicles with armour served way much better than having each person wear armour as a person can only carry so much armour. Vehicles (or even a massed groups of people) on the other hand, can ...


5

I agree with the answer of Steve Bird, but I want to mention one more aspect of this. Body armor was not suddenly eliminated. It was still widely used in 17th century, and later. Here is the Polish hussar armor of late 17 century, very long time after the introduction of firearms. But body armor was EXPENSIVE. With increase of the size of the armies, and ...


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