Me wearing a poorly made cuirass, I felt like I had a
knight’s ransom taken from me for this lump of metal!
Ever wanted to be a walking talking sword-proof tank? Plate harnesses are the best answer to such a knight’s conundrum. Most people have a rough idea what plate armour is, but there is so much people don’t understand.
Plate armour is extremely tough and cannot be sliced or stabbed through with weapons like swords. Blunt weapons like maces and warhammers are the best for knocking out knights underneath the armour ready to be executed on the ground or more likely captured and ransomed, but this is still wildly preferable to shattered bones or severed extremities. The main problem with plate armour was actually the severe expenditure of the armour itself or even the types of soldiers who would already own such excellent defences.
Believe it or not, authentic plate armour allows for great manoeuvrability, working alongside the bones of the human body, having large rigid plates along areas that don’t move like the forearms, chest and skull, whilst allowing pivoting and free movement along areas like the neck and shoulders. Around areas that need movement, it uses overlapping collapsible lames of steel or single covering plates like ‘couters’ on the elbows for example, these enable a wide range of movement without losing protection.
Contrary to common belief, even bows and early firearms were not able to destroy cuirasses and helmets, instead fatalities would occur from exposed areas such as hitting the face when the visor was lifted. Certain plates would be lighter and weaker such as on the hands, whereas more vital targets like the skull would be protected with the thickest and strongest plates to the point of near-invulnerability.