Archers armour breast plates

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Tod
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Archers armour breast plates

Postby Tod » Mon Jul 21, 2008 9:37 am

Fox and I were talking about archers armour at the week end. A lot of the pictures I have show a variety of stuff (sorry for the lack of correct terms):
Leg armour varying from just knees to full leg.
Arms chains
Back and breast
Helmets

What interested us was the breast plates. I've not seen any one in re-enactment wearing one who was also using a bow. Has any one any experience? Fox thought it would be difficult to draw, but then we both have manly figures :wink:
A book I was recently reading (some thing like WOTR a soldiers perspective) indicated that there was a lot of second hand armour around and being sold off by skint former soldiers. Would that mean that in the early battles there would be archers with back and breast that they owned, and later it would be second hand? Is there any evidence of this?



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Postby gregory23b » Mon Jul 21, 2008 10:16 am

I used to use a breastplate, and mail shirt and shot with them, although I shot a weak battle bow.

You can do it, it depends on how your breastplate protrudes, you adjust your stance to accommodate it, in my case I had to lean into it a bit more.

First shows the BP but with bill

Next pic, same day, different weapon, but BP mostly hidden save for the odd reflecting bit under bow hand.
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Postby Fox » Mon Jul 21, 2008 10:25 am

My point was you would not be able to draw a bow, [especially in the Steve Stratton unfolding style] if you were wearing my curass; it's just the wrong shape.

That leads me to think that to arch in a breastplate it needs to have a particular shape that isn't common to all armour.
In particular looking at suits of armour they often have strength through shape that would make archery impractical.



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Postby gregory23b » Mon Jul 21, 2008 10:33 am

"That leads me to think that to arch in a breastplate it needs to have a particular shape that isn't common to all armour. "

Or more like, armour varied for purpose, though a BP might not be especially for an archer any more than a brigandine was, they often have the same profiles. Different styles may or may not suit archery would be where I would come from, rather than say a type of bp especially for archers.

My old BP was too bulbous really and were it more like Mike Perry's would have been more comfy.

There is the martyrdom of st ursula pic which shows a man in a BP and faulds shooting, not saying that if offers any proof, but he is otherwise wearing kit that matches other sources.


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Postby Fox » Mon Jul 21, 2008 10:45 am

gregory23b wrote:Different styles may or may not suit archery..

Yes, that's exactly what I was saying.

I think Tod's thought was wondering about the process of choosing armour for archery; given that we've established only some styles will be appropriate.



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Postby gregory23b » Mon Jul 21, 2008 10:59 am

"I think Tod's thought was wondering about the process of choosing armour for archery;"

Any guesses? ;-)

We know that armour was issued as well as supposedly owned, one has to assume a certain practicability of basic armour forms* for archery as a default, if archery was the default 'supposed to be only troop type'.


*brigs, jacks and the odd BP.

Maybe Tod, just find a BP you can wear and can shoot in.

FWIW, I found a BP to offer great forward protection, but in our 'battles', a jack would serve better, you get arm and back protection and fewer void areas. Or as in the Ursula pic, a combination.


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Postby Tod » Mon Jul 21, 2008 11:51 am

I've got a copy of the Ursula pic I think.(person tied to a tree with lots of arrows in them?).
I've got a nice jack. If I could find and afford a decent BP then it would add to my telling the MOP's about being an archer, who they were, what they wore etc.



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Postby gregory23b » Mon Jul 21, 2008 11:53 am

This one.

But note the girlish draw, must be a Flem ;-)
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Postby Tod » Mon Jul 21, 2008 12:55 pm

I must be doing some thing right :D I know that pic as well. Must be JF due to lack of manly girth.



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Postby bournio » Mon Jul 21, 2008 4:20 pm

the draw looks really strange... but maybe it is forced to be like that due to the helm and the breast? I dunno... maybe i'm just used to the straight back, elbow making a slightly vertical arc draw, if that makes sense?


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Postby gregory23b » Mon Jul 21, 2008 9:14 pm

The rounded draw or leaning into the bow is ok, some do that, the what looks like it will only go the nose is what makes me laugh, but portraying somethign moving in a static medium is hard.


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Postby Man from Coventry » Mon Jul 28, 2008 12:42 pm

I've shot using a Milanese breast plate with fauld for the last 15 years, I don't have a problem with the breastplate certainly not for re-enactment shooting with blunts. I'm not as slim as I was either and wear a thick jack underneath the breastplate too.

However I tend only to draw to the nose, because my helmet (Coventry Sallet) doesn't permit drawing to the ear (string hits visor). What is more of a restriction is arm armour, I wear a thickly padded jack sleeve as I like to mix it as a combat archer after the shooting, and even with cutting a hole in the inner arm at the elbow this does reduce the flexibility of your arm noticeably. However what is most difficult, tiring and uncomfortably is bending down to pick up arrows on the ground, which is far easier with just a jack.

I haven't done much if any target shooting with the breastplate, partly because shooting with live arrows appears to be less common these days and because I only tend to get fully togged up for the fighting.


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Postby Langley » Thu Aug 14, 2008 5:24 pm

I often shoot a 60lb bow wearing a jack with pauldrons and a placquet and can shoot around 14 a minute with that lot on. (Mostly into the target too). Also can use it for Tewkesbury type range but must admit I tend to wear only the jack and pauldrons with a colours cote over the top for that as less chance of anything actually hitting me. The placquet leaves your shoulders free which is important for pulling a biggish bow. I also wear an archer's sallet. The beavoir was going a bit too far though, tried it once, string caught, had to spin round to avoid breaking own neck or letting bow go and getting it in the face. BUT. Don't rely on the iconography. That is like believing everything you read in the papers. There are plenty of illustrations of soldiers with armour using bows but artists do like to paint what makes a good picture, not necessarily what is in front of them. Things like muster rolls might be better. The minimum kit was often a jack, a pair of gauntlets, a helmet of some sort and a long knife or sword. I assume the gauntlets are for when the arrows run out and you draw the sword or knife and get stuck in. I believe archers were often light infantry and not just artillery.



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Postby gregory23b » Thu Aug 14, 2008 9:32 pm

"Don't rely on the iconography."

;-)


"Things like muster rolls might be better."

At least for an idea of kit being displayed, not necessarily used by the displayer, I cite Ewelme and Bridport, not as muster rolls, but listings, the Bridport has people with a range of disparate items that in some cases they could hope to use at the same time.


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Postby Fillionous » Thu Aug 14, 2008 9:48 pm

I use a padded jack (which hides / flattens my body shape quite well) and a gut plate which because of my build and it's size / shape not only covers my gut but the 'point' comes up nicely between my breasts, thus giving a degree of protection to my breast bone / chest, whilst not rubbing. It is relitivly rounded and smooth - no pointy ridge or fluting. I wear an open faced sallet and sometimes a leather standard. I have chains on my arms and upper leg / knee armour. I carry a pair of gauntlets and my falchion and buckler hooked in my belt to 'swap' on when I skermish. Over it all I have a simple set of colours held with a belt.

With this combination I can draw fully, both for 45 o and flat shooting up to 60lb (I'm a 5'2" 8 stone lady so this is quite meaty and requires a full 'in the bow' kind of draw) Although for re-enactment essp. battles I rarely shoot anything more than a 37 - 40lb bow and often break out my little friendly 32lb one. As someone commented above the biggest problem with heaver armour is the ability to bend to pick arrows off which are flat on the ground and general flexability in the draw arm / elbow for the full draw.

I have found any kind of visor, bevior, or wide rim (like in a kettle helm) can interfear with drawing a bow. Some combinations are worse for 45 o shooting some for flat... ie the rim is more of an issue flat shooting / less when you tip back to 45 o shoot, where as a bevior seems to foul the string on a long draw almost what ever you do.

The picture above I have always asumed to be showing someone sighting up and just starting to draw - rarther than at full draw ready to shoot - mostly due to the angles and the amount of arrow visable infrount of the bow.

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Postby gregory23b » Fri Aug 15, 2008 11:27 am

"rarther than at full draw ready to shoo"

Yep, it looks 'on its way'. crap draw otherwise.


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Postby Colin Middleton » Fri Aug 15, 2008 1:20 pm

I don't think that he's intending to shoot anyone. He's got his arrow loaded, but has barely put any draw on the string so as not to tire himself out. He's 'covering' them to remind them not to do anything rash. From that position, he can draw and loose in a fraction of a second, so no problems.

Naturally that's just my oppinion.


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Postby The Methley Archer » Fri Aug 15, 2008 4:33 pm

[/quote]Colin Middleton Posted: Fri Aug 15, 2008 12:20 pm Post subject:

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I don't think that he's intending to shoot anyone. He's got his arrow loaded, but has barely put any draw on the string so as not to tire himself out. He's 'covering' them to remind them not to do anything rash. From that position, he can draw and loose in a fraction of a second, so no problems.

Naturally that's just my oppinion.
[quote]

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Postby Soggybiker » Fri Oct 10, 2008 1:13 am

[Asking to be shot down] The archer in the picture cannot draw the bow much further due to the brim on his helmet. All the paintings I can recall seeing of archers in armour show a 2 finger draw to the chest. Having shot in a jack and breastplate I found my stance awkward and the bow arm not quite straight to hold the bow around the armour without a brimmed helmet.

I wonder if the '2 finger salute' nonsense came about from archers having just loosed with a two finger draw.




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