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"Did Cossacks wear any armor." Topic

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Irish Marine Supporting Member of TMP18 Sep 2019 9:59 a.m. PST

Hello: The freaking bug got my post so I'll try again. Did Cossacks wear armor during the 1500's to the 1600's.

Daniel S18 Sep 2019 10:39 a.m. PST

Which kind of Cossacks are you asking about? There were a lot of different groups who may have shared a name but were very different in other ways.

Old Peculiar18 Sep 2019 11:03 a.m. PST

A very broad question so very broad answer, yes some did, in the broadest sense, lol.

14Bore18 Sep 2019 11:37 a.m. PST

Though a Cossacks I have tried to investigate for my Napoleonic early periods they seem to have some according to pictures but suspect it was booty captured so some have it some don't.

Irish Marine Supporting Member of TMP18 Sep 2019 12:02 p.m. PST

Cossacks who fought the Poles and the Ottomans in 1500' and 1600's.

Ostroc18 Sep 2019 12:09 p.m. PST

Yul Brynner said not

Personal logo Nashville Supporting Member of TMP18 Sep 2019 1:02 p.m. PST


Ten Fingered Jack18 Sep 2019 1:34 p.m. PST

Yermak drowned in the Irtysh river weighed down by his armor.

Glengarry518 Sep 2019 5:12 p.m. PST

A plate in Men At Arms 427 "Armies of Ivan the Terrible Russian Troops 1505-1700's", depicts a cossack in chainmail and vambraces in the early 17th century. In the description it says "Many Cossack cavalry wore mail armour well into the 17th century" that indicates it was worn in the years before. it would make sense as while it would not stop a bullet it would likely stop an arrow which many Turkish troops would've be armed with.

oldnorthstate18 Sep 2019 5:54 p.m. PST

The original "pancerni" which wore chain mail and were armored were recruited from the Cossacks. These "registered Cossacks" defected at various points during the 1648 rebellion, so it would not be inappropriate to include these armored figures either sprinkled among non armored figures or as separate units…I would also assume many Cossack cavalry wore captured armor.

The bigger issue is the proportion of cavalry to infantry during this period…the answer is that most Cossack armies were largely infantry, not the Hollywood version of the Cossack typified by Yul Brynner.

Henry Martini18 Sep 2019 6:27 p.m. PST

While Ukrainian Cossack armies of the 16th and 17th centuries were infantry-heavy, Don Cossack hosts contained a high proportion of cavalry.

As regards Cossack armour, have a look at Siberia Miniatures' 28mm range. Yermak and his men were certainly well armoured.

Prince Alberts Revenge18 Sep 2019 8:31 p.m. PST

The images I've seen of Yermak and other cossacks fighting Tatars often show chain mail and vambraces and helmets.

Cuprum218 Sep 2019 10:00 p.m. PST

It all depends on the enemy the Cossacks were dealing with.
In the period that interests you, the process of abandoning the armor took place, since with the massive use of firearms, the shortcomings of heavy armor began to exceed its advantages.
If the Cossacks dealt with the eastern troops, the main type of battle of which was an attack with the help of bows, then the use of armor made significant sense. If hostilities were fought against a European or Europeanized enemy, armor was used much less frequently.
It should be borne in mind that there was no regulation for the Cossacks, and everyone used what he considered necessary.
The Cossacks were a kind of universal soldier. They could act as cavalry and as infantry. But still they preferred to fight on foot. A lot and skillfully used firearms. In addition, the Cossacks were well versed in ship craft and often preferred to go camping in large boats. These were river hikes or naval raiding coastal operations (simply robberies))). Here they are an analogue of sea pirates.
Ermak's campaign took place in those areas where firearms were hardly used. Therefore, armor was a necessary attribute for his troops.

Jcfrog Supporting Member of TMP18 Sep 2019 11:43 p.m. PST

Early ones were on foot, linked to rivers. And poor. Hardly much armor on a small boat. Not sound.

Then they loot everything. i suppose that when fighting Poles some might like captured mail. But body flexibility, agility, vodka and faith always be their trust!

On early pictures of them on expeditions in Urals and Siberia some do carry mail armor.

Cuprum219 Sep 2019 4:15 a.m. PST

Ermak's campaign was prepared by fabulously wealthy Ural merchants – the Stroganov brothers. They supplied Yermak's detachment with the most modern weapons of the time, including, for example, the Spanish arquebuses. Among the archaeological finds of this period in Siberia, there are a number of European armor. But this is not a typical situation – the Cossacks have always been quite poor. In addition, they had a cult of non-possessiveness. Only weapons were supposed to have quality and expensive whenever possible.

Kadrinazi26 Sep 2019 11:53 a.m. PST

@oldnorthstate – registered Cossacks had nothing do to with pancerni, their 'pułks' (regiments) were composed of infantry, with very small banner (equivalent of company) of Polish cossack cavalry (that may have chainmail) attached to HQ as some sort of bodyguard. Those small banners, like in fact almost whole regular Polish 'quarter' army was destroyed in first phase of 1648 uprising, when infantry Cossacks joined rebellion.

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