Different armour evolution pathways

Oct 2011
487
Croatia
When we look at armour evolution in Western and Eastern Europe, they do have significant differences. In Western Europe, we see mail armour which gets gradually supplemented, and then replaced, by various plate additions: predominantly plate armour, although there are also coat of plates etc. In Eastern Europe - including Ottoman Empire well into 16th century - predominant form of armour is mail and then lamellar, and so it is in China.

So why does that happen? Is it because mail and lamellar are easier to produce en masse and deploy for professional militaries, especially when firearms do not force you to deploy plate armour (e.g. Almain Rivet)?
 

caldrail

Ad Honorem
Feb 2012
5,325
Remember that armour evolution is in parallel with the weapons designed to defeat it, subject to social status, wealth, and fashion, and dropped when it becomes too restrictive.
 

sparky

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
5,257
Sydney
western armor is a weird subject , heavy cavalry kept chest armor up to the late 19th century
 

Frank81

Ad Honorem
Feb 2010
5,140
Canary Islands-Spain
When we look at armour evolution in Western and Eastern Europe, they do have significant differences. In Western Europe, we see mail armour which gets gradually supplemented, and then replaced, by various plate additions: predominantly plate armour, although there are also coat of plates etc. In Eastern Europe - including Ottoman Empire well into 16th century - predominant form of armour is mail and then lamellar, and so it is in China.

So why does that happen? Is it because mail and lamellar are easier to produce en masse and deploy for professional militaries, especially when firearms do not force you to deploy plate armour (e.g. Almain Rivet)?
In the East (?), lamellar came first to mail

The reason is, probably, the heavy use of archery. The more eastern, the more heavy use of archery
 

janusdviveidis

Ad Honorem
Mar 2014
2,006
Lithuania
In big part of Eastern Europe, Russia, Lithuanian Grand Duchy mail and variety of scale armors were used at the same time, no obvious transition period.
 

Dan Howard

Ad Honorem
Aug 2014
4,950
Australia
Mail never gets supplanted. It actually gets more common after plate was developed. Mail was the most common type of metal armour in both Eastern and Western Europe and in the Middle East. The main difference between eastern and western Europe, is the former had a greater reliance on hide armour and they used lamellar instead of munitions plate.
 
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Dan Howard

Ad Honorem
Aug 2014
4,950
Australia
In the East (?), lamellar came first to mail

The reason is, probably, the heavy use of archery. The more eastern, the more heavy use of archery
Mail was used before lamellar in Eastern Europe, not the other way around. Mail is just as good as lamellar at resisting arrows. Mail weighs less than lamellar. Mail is more comfortable and more flexible than lamellar. The only reason lamellar was used is because it was cheaper to produce. This role was performed by munitions plate in western Europe.
 
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Frank81

Ad Honorem
Feb 2010
5,140
Canary Islands-Spain
Mail was used before lamellar in Eastern Europe, not the other way around. Mail is just as good as lamellar at resisting arrows. Mail weighs less than lamellar. Mail is more comfortable and more flexible than lamellar. The only reason lamellar was used is because it was cheaper to produce. This role was performed by munitions plate in western Europe.

Sorry, I read wrongly. I though East (Eurasia). Of course, in Eastern Europe mail predate lamellar
 

Chlodio

Forum Staff
Aug 2016
4,630
Dispargum
Did Western Europe have a more advanced system of feudal chivalry than Eastern Europe? Might Western European knights have preferred plate armor more as a fashion statement than for practical reasons?
 

Dan Howard

Ad Honorem
Aug 2014
4,950
Australia
Custom-fitted and properly articulated plate harness is the best armour ever invented. Anyone who could have afforded it would have worn it. What wasn't so desirable was munitions plate. It seems that it was the least desirable out of all the available types of armour and only worn by those who couldn't afford anything better.