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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, this type of medieval armor was the most cheap and easy to make.

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It allowed any peasant equipped with it to become a decently armored soldier on the battlefield.

Offering a decent defense against slash attacks, nearing immunity to bludgeoning its weak point were thrust attacks and piercing.

As mail armor became more dominantly used, the gambeson essentially became what was worn beneath to provide further protection and prevented injuries by acting as a buffer zone between the body and armor.

It was highly uncomfortable to wear during the warmer seasons as it was highly insulatory.

Medieval Armor

2) Boiled leather:

Boiled leather (or the type of armor depicted in any fantasy setting) was the choice of preference for soilders requiring a light defense.

This type of medieval armor was another alternative as it is cheap and easy to make.

Highly resistant to any type of attack, be it slashing, thrusting, bludgeoning or piercing.

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However, the 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.

It fell out of use once mail and plater armor became the staple of armies.

3) Shell armor:

This was perhaps the most odd-looking and rarely used medieval armor.

Made mostly in South East Asia, 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.

However, similarly to the later plate armor, its weakness was bludgeoning attacks.

4) Scale armor:

Scale armor had its defense against attacks dependent out of what it was made out of.

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It could be made from a combination of a variety of materials such as; bronze, iron, rawhide, leather, boiled leather, seeds, horn, pangolin scales and even bones arranged in a scale like formation resembling the skin of a snake.

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, it was effective at a variety of attacks, depending on what it was made out of.

It was also made out of more bizarre and unorthodox materials the likes of bones, shells, stone even horns to an extent.

It usually competed with laminar armor.

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 was laminar armor.

It 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.

With both cases, the quality of the armor was dependent on its materials.

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. 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.

Depicted in tapestries, 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.

It was made out of heavy cloth, canvas or leather armor and had 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,

However, the armor had a weakness as certain corners of the uniform 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 full immunity to thrusting, stabbing and piercing attacks.

Its weakness came form 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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