Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The soldier of the late middle ages and what he wore in the battle

The medieval soldier as we know him from movies and illustrated books doesn’t ,all the time, matches the reality. The armored knight was, indeed, a fact of the crusades and other wars of early middle ages. But by the late 14th century the knight, which usually was a nobble, found something else to do then go to war. He, then, hired somebody else to do the job. So, most of the former peasants that before were forced to fight for their master were now paid to do so. As they didn’t have much money to pay for a heavy iron outfit, which,anyway, was very inconvenient in the combat, he made himself a light weight suit with matching accessories.

The soldier on the late middle ages wore a quilted jack made from multilayered canvas.
The head was covered with a sallet helmet. This helmet had, in the back, a peak to protect the neck and in the front a visor that was lowered only in the battles to protect the face and the eyes.

He wore sheepskin mitten and over it he wore mitten gauntlet made out of iron to protect the hands and wrists, though these things limited the movement. The jacket had also metal reinforcements on the elbows and along the arms. The rich knights were still wearing a light protecting armor over the jack. The common soldier wore leather boots that usually only lasted about three months because the long marches on foot that a medieval warrior had to endure. (He would walk at least 10 km or 6 miles a day.)

As part of his load, a medieval soldier had weapons and gears.

The most used weapon was a pole known as glaive. A glaive is a long pole made out of two parts: a long wood stick and a long metal knife, connected at the end of the stick. A soldier flighted most of his battles with this pole that he used tfor stabbing, poking or knocking the enemies aside, at arm length. If they got to close, then the soldier used his sword.

The sword was usually used in a hand-to-hand fighting. The soldier would work the sword with his right hand while on his left he would keep a buckler used to deflect bows and hit an opponent in the face!

He also had a plethora of knives, from the military dagger to eating knives.
The medieval soldier also carried with him his wooden bowls for eating along with some wooden silverware. Then he had a small purse or belt bags where he kept some personal belongings and probably some money.

Because a soldier from late middle ages was always on the go his luggage was as light as it could be. There was no room for stacking food or other items. He usually eat on the road, mostly by stealing from the households he sacked. If he stole some other goods those were given to the commander. He drank a lot of wine and beer as it was cleaner then the water.
Though he was a brave man and fought many battles year round.