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An extract from Armies of the Middle Ages, Volume 2
by Ian Heath


‘Murderous rustics’ the Teutonic Knights called them, a description doubtless prompted by both their fierceness in battle and their use of a vicious range of berdische axes and other lethal polearms which, wielded two-handed in battle, proved particularly effective against crowded horsemen. Maces and clubs were also popular, and for secondary armament this figure has a sabre. Shields were largely dispensed with since both hands were needed in action, though those armed only with mace or sword often still carried them. His armour comprises a short mail corselet under a leather kaftan, plus mail gauntlets with plate cuffs. The felt cap is one of a variety of similar types of headwear popular in Poland during this period, 138a showing an alternative reminiscent of Balkan styles. General clothing colours worn by the Polish lower-classes were the same as elsewhere in Europe, ie, principally many shades of brown, green, grey, blue and dark red. If the pictorial sources are to be relied on, reds and blues predominated amongst the upper classes. All of the Poles depicted above are dressed and armed in native Polish styles. However, it should be noted that Polish mss. and paintings also show soldiers dressed and equipped identically to their German and Western European counterparts.

List of Extracts from Armies of the Middle Ages, Volume 2 by Ian Heath

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