Lukrain's Guide to Boffers

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Making Shields

A - Buckler - The buckler was used for parrying blows instead of blocking them because it was so small. They were mostly circular measuring 4 to 8 inches in diameter. They weren't in wide spread use until the 16th century when heavy armor became impractical due to gun powder. A buckler was actually strapped to the arm with leather buckles (hence the name). This allowed the user to still wield two weapons and still get the benefit of a shield.


B - Targe - The Scottish targe (from the word target) was a round shield that was held in the off hand and used much like a buckler. It was much larger, measuring 18-20 inches in diameter and mostly circular, although it could sometimes be square or other shapes. Like the buckler it wasn't meant to stop a full on attack, but more parry away the blow. It was manuervable enough for a Scottsman to wield a dirk in the shield hand. It was in use from the 13th century all the way up to the 17th century.


C - Round - The standard round shield was used by many different cultures all throughout history. It measured anywhere from 15 to 30 inches and was used for blocking the body from attacks. It was held in the offhand and was sturdy enough to deflect most attacks. Because of its strength, it was quite heavy, so the use of a second weapon was usually out of the question.


D - Kite - The kite shield gets its name from its kite like appreance. It is sometimes called a tear shield, as it also resembles an upside-down tear. It was used in the 11th through 15th centuries chiefly by the Normans. It was shoulder to knee in height, wide at the top and much thinner at the bottom. Because it was so tall it offered great protection to the entire body, and because it got thinner at the bottom it was fairly light compared to more broad shields.


E - Celtic - The typical Celtic design was a rectangle with rounded corners. Although not the best shield design, it was still quite effective.


F - Myceanean - The typical Myceanean (or ancient Greek) design. It can also be reffered to as the figure-8 shield, because it slightly resembles a figure-8. The shield was concave, with the top and bottom further out, and the middle closer to the body. This was used to catch weapons better.


G - Greek - The standard Greek design was a modified round shield known as a pelta. It was usually made from wood covered with animal hide. The extra openings added to the sides were used to set spears in so they wouldn't hinder the attack.


H - Tower - The tower shield was a very broad and very tall shield. It measured shoulder to knee high, and shoulder to shoulder wide. It was mainly used by the Romans who reffered to it as a scutum. It was sometimes raised on the top center. This gave better head protection while not hindering the weilder's sight. The tower shield is very efficient at creating powerful shield walls which the Romans were well known for.


I - Gothic - Like all gothic designs, the gothic shield was the height of its eveloution. The 15th century germanic design was a tall shield, shoulder to knee, very wide near the middle, and smaller at the top and bottom. This not only made the shield lighter than the tower, but also easier to weild a weapon, without sacrificing visibility or protection.


J - Heater - The heater shield was one of the best shield designs made. It is thought to be an updated design of the kite shield and was in use from the 12th to 18th centuries. Like the kite shield, the heater gets smaller near the bottom, but the heater is much shorter. It measured from the shoulder to the waist.


K - Wall - The wall shield, or pavis, was pretty much a wall used by the Europeans. It was a huge shield that covered the entire body. Because the shield was so large it had no place on the battle field and was instead used primarily by archers during seiges of castles. An archer would often have his squire or fellow soldier hold the shield during reloads. (The person was reffered to as the pavisor.) The shield could also be propped up on a pole giving the archer some cover during reloading and aiming.


Outside Links
www.angelfire.com/realm2/alcon/shield.html - Generic Shield. (Belegarth)
www.angelfire.com/realm2/alcon/punchshield.html - Punch Shield. (Belegarth)
www.romanempire.net/romepage/ForumRomanum/MilitaryCampaigns/Dagorhirshield.htm - Scutum. (Dagorhir)

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