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"Gascon men at arms - English or French style armour?" Topic


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Comments or corrections?

John Holt Ripley12 Dec 2021 12:47 p.m. PST

Hi there
Looking over the medievalsoldier.org pages, I saw that some Gascon and Navarre troops were at the battle of Agincourt (or possibly just Harfleur)
What I'm struggling to find is whether those troops would have followed the English style white armour, or whether they would have followed the neighbouring French style?
Does anyone know or have any pointers to help me?

Many thanks
John

Personal logo timurilank Supporting Member of TMP12 Dec 2021 10:54 p.m. PST

The simple answer is – both.
Gascony, technically part of the duchy of Aquitaine, was through marriage part of the English realm. The frontier with France would constantly change over the three centuries, through skirmishes and sieges, leaving the victor with an assortment of arms and armour.

Ian Heath, Armies of the Middle Ages, volume one, covers the Gascon contingents as being lightly armed with spear and shield or crossbow. There were Gascons present at Agincourt, though no number is mentioned.

Griefbringer13 Dec 2021 12:00 p.m. PST

My understanding is that the armour of English and French men-at-arms at the time was rather similar in style. The biggest difference might be that the French generally tended to wear surcoats (or other decorative clothing) over the armour for their upper body, while English generally tended not to.

For gaming purposes, if I were to include a small Gascon contingent in an English army of the period, I would prefer for it to be visually slightly distinct from the rest of the force.

Atheling13 Dec 2021 11:13 p.m. PST

Griefbringer

My understanding is that the armour of English and French men-at-arms at the time was rather similar in style. The biggest difference might be that the French generally tended to wear surcoats (or other decorative clothing) over the armour for their upper body, while English generally tended not to.

Agreed with one caveat, although not different in a cosmetic manner, the armours of the mounted "French" troops would have weighed more, would have been more cumbersome with the Mounted Men at Arms (those who could afford it that is). As I say, cosmetically.

Regional styles still existed, you just have to take the "German" Gothic style and compare that to the "Italian" Milanese styles to see just how much armours could vary.It's worth adding that both "German" Gothic styles could be made in Italy [or pick a country with an armour industry] and "Italian" Milanese styles in Germany [or, yet again, pick a country with an armour industry]

Even the English would wear heavier armour when mounted. See Armour of the English Knight, 1400-1450, Tobias Capwell for details.

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Griefbringer14 Dec 2021 11:33 a.m. PST

Regional styles still existed, you just have to take the "German" Gothic style and compare that to the "Italian" Milanese styles to see just how much armours could vary.

That's a very valid example for the later half of the 15th century, but perhaps less relevant for the 1415 setting that the original poster was asking about.

That said, there were also some distinctive features in German armour of the earlier part of 15th century, such as the bulging angular breastplate (that I do not recall having seen done in figures), but these differ from the later Gothic features.

In any case, if protective or decorative clothing (e.g. surcoat or jupon) is worn on top of the armour, it tends to disguise many of the possible differences in design – though leg armour and helmet at least would remain unobscured.

John Holt Ripley14 Dec 2021 2:19 p.m. PST

Thanks for these replies, yes, I think it's a good point to say that they could have had either, and the idea behind adding the Gascon troops is exactly to get some visual interest, so it's not just a sea of plate armour and St George crosses. So I'm happy to add a little more flare to these units with some brightly coloured jupons and so on. I've been wanting to get Toby Capwell's book for a while, and I'm hoping Santa might find a copy this year.
Thanks again for all the thoughts here, I'm excited to be getting some alternative troop types added in

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