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FFOULKES C. Armour & Weapons

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Sir John Froissart's Chronicles of England, France, Spain and the Ajoining Countries from the latter part of the reign of Edward II to the coronation of Henry IV in 12 volumes 

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FFOULKES C.
Armour & Weapons
page 42



CHAPTER III THE WEARING OF ARMOUR AND ITS CONSTRUCTIONAL DETAILS BEFORE proceeding to examine the suit of Full Plate, with all its interesting details and differences as exemplified in the various armouries of England and Europe, it will be well to make clear the main principles which governed the manufacture of such armour. We should remember that the whole history of our subject is one long struggle of defensive equipment against offen-sive weapons. This is brought out clearly at the present day in the Navy, where the contest between gun and armour-plating is the dominant factor in naval construction. As the weapons of the Middle Ages became more serviceable, the armour was increased in weight. The Longbow and the Crossbow marked distinct periods in the development of defensive armour ; for so important a factor did these weapons become, especially the latter, that they were used for testing the temper of the metal, large or small weapons being used as occasion demanded. Those writers who are prone to generalize upon such subjects tell us that the invention of gun-powder sounded the knell of defensive armour, but this is by no means accurate, for guns were used in sieges as early as 1382, and, as we shall find farther on in this chapter, the armour of the late sixteenth century was proved by pistol shot. The result of the improvement of firearms was that for many years armour became heavier and thicker till the musket was perfected, and then it .was found that even highly-tempered steel would not resist the impact of a bullet. It is a safe assertion to make that a full suit of plate armour at its finest period—the fifteenth century—is the most perfect work of craftsmanship that exists.


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