Was Heavy Armor A Hindrance To Medieval European Battlers?

Was Heavy Armor A Hindrance To Medieval European Battlers?

Watching a movie set in medieval times isn’t enough to realise just how damn heavy those suits of steel actually are. Weighing between 30 – 50kg, you’d think they would impact and impede the wearer’s actions. Or did they?

An article submitted to The Royal Society speculates on how the “medieval soldiers’ locomotor energetics and biomechanics” were hindered, detailing that:

“We found that the net cost of locomotion (Cmet) during armoured walking and running is much more energetically expensive than unloaded locomotion. Cmet for locomotion in armour was 2.1–2.3 times higher for walking, and 1.9 times higher for running when compared with Cmet for unloaded locomotion at the same speed.”

It’s a bit of a no-brainer that donning such heavy armour would require more energy, but the experts do note that “the energetic cost of locomotion in armour was also much higher than equivalent trunk loading. This additional cost is mostly explained by the increased energy required to swing the limbs and impaired breathing.”

So what to do with this knowledge, other than bear it in mind at your Medieval Europe Gathering 2011 “conference”? According to The Royal Society, it could have “potential implications in understanding the outcomes of past European military battles.” And future ones, I imagine. [The Royal Society via @mocost]

Image Credit: Islespunkfan