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Castles & knights

Medieval soldiers and weapons

FootsoldiersFootsoldiers Footsoldiers were a mixture of ordinary men, pressed into service as part of their rent to their lord, and mercenaries, who fought for money. They wore quilted tunics, helmets and chainmail, to protect them while fighting. Their weapons included axes, glaives, slingshots and maces. Castle guards were armed either with a halberd, a long pole with a blade fixed to the end of it, or a bow.

Mounted men-at-armsMounted men-at-arms

Mounted men-at-arms

Mounted men-at-arms were ranked below knights. They fought on horseback and used lances, bows, swords and maces. Knights invested in expensive metal armour to protect themselves—and sometimes their horses. The poorer men-at-arms could only afford chainmail and helmets for protection.


Footsoldiers' weaponsFootsoldiers' weaponsA glaive was used for stabbing and slashing. It was a useful against mounted men-at-arms. Swords did the same job when fighting in close combat. A mace was heavy enough to smash helmets and body armour. With sharp, well-balanced blades and long shafts, axes were particularly effective weapons against armour.

Captured longbowmen had their fingers lopped off so they could no longer fire their bows. A "V" sign was a taunt to the enemy that a bowmen still had his firing fingers.

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