Medieval Suit of Armour: The Danger It Posed to Soldiers

Staying alive in the Middle Ages was extremely hard, and a suit of armour is a clear indication of that. It was designed to protect soldiers from sharp things in battle, and it was not cheap. Still, wearing a suit of armour came with lots of risks, most of which are not recorded in history.

Here are some of the reasons why the suit of amour was a danger to soldiers.

Heat Stroke

Decent armour could protect a soldier from slashes and blows, but it didn’t stand a chance against the scorching summer sun. Most suits had padding underneath the metal, which made the situation even worse. Now add that to the non-stop action in a battlefield, and you’ll see how heatstroke was easily the number one killer of suited soldiers.


The average weight of a mediaeval suit of amour was 25kg. But there were heavier suits with over 30 kgs. If the soldier fell, face down into a river and nobody was around to help them, they’d a have a hard time getting up. An excellent example of this would be Fredrick Barbarossa’s story. He died of drowning when they were marching to the Third Crusade.

Falling Off a Horse

Falling off a horse without armour can result in broken bones. Add 25 kg to the mix, and the situation gets pretty dangerous. The inner padding was supposed to break the impact between the body and the metal sheet, but a hard fall still claimed several lives on the battlefield.

Blade Injuries

The suit of armour was not foolproof. The eyes were always vulnerable to injury. A small splinter could get into the tiny slot causing serious injury and even death. Also, the joints on these suits were made of flexible material. For example, opponents would use longer swords to slash ankles of suited soldiers, bringing them down easily.