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10 Types of Medieval Armor

1) Gambeson:

The gambeson is a full body jacket armor made out of quilted linen or wool, stuffed with cloth or horsehair and was the most cheap and easy to make armor, allowing any peasant equipped with it to become a decently armored soldier on the battlefield. Offering a decent defense against slash attacks, near immunity to bludgeoning its weak point were thrust attacks and piercing. As mail armor became more dominantly used, as well as plate later on, the gambeson essentially became what was worn beneath those two to provide even more defense for the soldier, and prevented injuries inflicted upon the skin by being a buffer zone between the body and armor, yet it was highly hated to be worn as it was insulatory and uncomfortable during any season apart from winter.

2) Boiled leather:

Boiled leather, or the type of armor depicted in any fantasy setting as being the choice of preference for anyone for a light defense, was used as another alternative for being cheap and easy to make. Highly resistant to any type of attack, be it slashing, thrusting, bludgeoning or piercing, its main weakness was it wore out quickly after a certain number of attacks. Awkward to be worn, it was typically accompanied with any sort of metal attached to it for better defense alongside being glued to provide even more ways to avoiding injury, it fell out of use once mail and plater armor became the staple of armies.

3) Shell armor:

Perhaps the most odd-looking and rarely used armor, made mostly in South East Asia alongside some depictions and evidence found of its usage all over the world, but mostly cultures that are on islands, this type of armor was made of shells either from tortoises, turtles, sea slug homes or even clams. Although highly bizarre and awkward to look at, it offered its wearer immense protection against thrusting, slashing and piercing attacks, but similarly to the later plate armor, its weakness was bludgeoning attacks.

4) Scale armor:

Made out of the combination of a variety of materials the likes of bronze, iron, rawhide, leather, boiled leather, seeds, horn, pangolin scales even bones arranged in a scale like formation resembling the skin of a snake, this type of armor had its defense against attacks dependent out of what it was made out of. Uncommon in usage, it would be replaced by armors that became more looked into during their processes as they were made.

5) Lamellar armor:

Deriving its name by the small platelets that were punched and laced together usually in horizontal rows, lamellar armor gave decent protection, and was a substitute for mail armor in Asia. Made with bronze, iron and rawhide leather as well as having been made out of more bizarre and unorthodox materials the likes of bones, shells, stone even horns to an extent, it was effective at a variety of attacks, depending on what it was made out of. It usually competed with laminar armor, but both were equal in the protection they provided for their user.

6) Laminar armor:

The staple armor for most types of soldiers in Japans Shogunate Era, laminar armor was interchangeably used alongside lamellar armor only surpassing it later by the material it was made later on. Hundreds or thousands of individual iron scales were laced or riveted together, providing a defense much similar to the lamellar armor against attacks, but as with both cases, it depended on what it was made out of. Lamellar and laminar armor were later replaced by plated mail armor.

7) Plated mail armor:

Before mail armor became the most widely used type of armor during the High Middle Ages, plated mail armor was its ancestor. Made out of chainmail having embedded plates on the torso made out of iron, it provided desirable defense against all types of attacks, but had a weakness in thrust attacks. It is called a type of transition armor, as it was used only for a brief amount of time before being replaced by a superior type of armor.

8) Mail armor:

Coifs, greaves, chainmail or any type of body armor that was made purely out of iron is called mail armor. Used during the High Middle ages, this armor allowed the Templars to conquer the Holy Land, as the Muslims had no way of piercing it due to poorer quality iron available to them. Offering all around decent protection, it shined greatly against arrows and bolts, and forced both to adapt in order to compete against it. Depicted in tapestries, written about in scrolls and books alongside having it chiseled and represented in marble statues, the mail armor is the most well-known type of armor in the world.

9) Brigandine armor:

Brigandine armor, is what surpassed regular iron made mail armor, as it was made out of heavy cloth, canvas or leather armor having small oblong steel plates riveted on the fabric. As it was made out of a better type of metal, it shined greatly against thrusting, slashing and piercing attacks, but had a weakness to each of them, as certain corners of the armor were left unprotected, allowing any skilled fighter to use them to his advantage. Becoming the first expensive type of armor, it was sadly one of the transitory types as well, having seen use only in a brief period of time.

10) Plate armor:

A knight wearing plated armor is the most well depicted image describing the Late Middle Ages of the world. Highly expensive to make, it offered basically full immunity to thrusting, stabbing and piercing attacks, yet its weakness came in the form of the adoption of maces to bludgeon the wearers of this type of armor, alongside the use of gunpowder firearms, it was the last type of armor to be made out of metal in history.

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