Plate Armour
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Basic Information

Plate armour is, unsurprisingly, armour made from metal plate - discrete, rigid elements cast, forged or cut from metal. Individual pieces can be replicated in boiled leather or even wood, but this entry applies primarily to metal.

Plate armour begins with the earliest industrial use of metals, reaches its achme in the Full plate armour of the late middle ages and early renaissance and lived on into the twentieth century as munition plate. The terminology of plate may yet be revived for power armour and might occasionally be used by those than understand it for modern harnesses such as riot armour.

The following elements of plate armour are generally accepted to have existed:

  • Helmet
  • Gorget (neck protection)
  • Breastplate/backplate or
  • Cuirass
  • Plackart - a seperate belly plate.
  • Faulds or tassets/culet, "skirts" of articulated plate depending from the breastplate or cuirass.
  • Pauldron or spaulder protecting the shoulder.
  • Besagew or roundel protecting the joint between pauldron and breastplate.
  • Bracer or vambrace - sometimes divided into upper and lower canons or vambrace and rerebrace - protecting the arm.
  • Gardbrace - a type of over-pauldron, sometimes fitted as an alternative to the besagew.
  • Cowter - a piece of plate protecting the outside of the elbow, sometimes called a cop.
  • Gauntlet - an armoured glove, frequently not made of plate.
  • Cuisse - covering the upper leg.
  • Greave or schynbald - covering the lower leg.
  • Poleyn - essentially an armoured kneepad, sometimes called a knee-cop.
  • Sabaton or solleret - a plate armoured shoe.

…although not all of them will necessarily appear in any given suit. Note that these are primarily anglo-french names for them (as befits an English speaking wiki) - other cultures will tend to have more or less the same pieces under different names.

Pieces of plate armour may be - and traditionally were - worn over pretty much any kind of flexible armour and even fully articulated suits filled gaps between plates with patches of mail and/or soft leather.


1. full source reference

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