The mandatory step for some enthusiasts in buhurt who wish to support their team without necessarily being able to wear armor. This role of “logistician”, of “small hand” of the medieval association is nevertheless an extremely important role which allows the fighters to concentrate mainly on the hard fights they have to lead rather than on trying to tie their various straps for 20 minutes without much success.
Fighter: this is the real world and not Skyrim, it’s extremely difficult to repair armor when you’re wearing it yourself… hence the importance of squires who can fix in an instant an armor defect that could have prevented you from fighting with your brothers in arms for a round, a match or even a day…
In this article, I offer you a short guide for beginner squires. You will find tips to help your team and avoid your fighters a bitter defeat by an armor defect!
1 – The equipment 2 – In which order are the pieces of armor put themselves 3 – Replacing a strap 4 – Replacing a rivet 5 – The checklist 6 – Friendly advices
1 – The equipment
To have around for a day of tournaments:
- A hammer. It is preferable to have a hammer with a flat head and a spherical head.
- A multi-socket pliers
- Water to hydrate your fighters.
Always carry it with you at all times:
- A cookie cutter
- Anything that cuts (knife, pliers, scissors)
- Leather straps (a good package) or cord (not plastic).
- Sterile compresses or bandages (small cuts are not uncommon and do not prevent you from returning to fight, but they can bleed a lot and/or get infected in leather and steel equipment that smells like tetanus and staphylococcus. (For more details, see the article “How to be a good medic” on this blog).
The supplement that makes the squire’s life much easier:
- Tool belt
- Leather sewing needle
- Poissed flax yarn
- A small anvil
Getting a fighter to remove and then hand over his helmet just for a sip of water is not a profitable maneuver between rounds. A tip, always have a few straws on you to hydrate your fighters through the helmet!
2 – In what order do you put the pieces of armor?
Well, it depends on the armor. Most of the time, your fighter will be able to give you precise instructions : “attach the arm before putting the spalier” etc… Each armor is different and the best placed to explain you the most practical order to put on his armor is generally none other than its owner, or that the fighter who fights most often with…
In any case, it is better to know the armor of the fighter you are taking care of, in order to equip it quickly, to adjust it as well as possible, not to forget anything and, if broken, to diagnose and repair it quickly.
Each armor is different, so the best advice I can give you is to take a moment with your fighter to make a plan of his armor, and at the same time, inspect the different parts:
-Piece A: (left spalier for example) Is it fixed? mobile? articulated? heavy? how is it held? how many rivets are there? How and in what condition are the straps? Does it have any weak points?
-Part B: (helmet…) etc…
The checklist we’ll come back to later.
3 – Replacing a strap
There are two types of strap repair. On the one hand, the repair “à l’arrache” between 2 rounds which must be both solid but quickly done, and on the other hand, the complete replacement of the strap once the tumult of the fights is over.
At the snatch:
Depending on how the strap is torn, whether the buckle is still in place. The main idea is to connect the two ends with a leather strap or a simple cord. The cord should be placed in such a way that it does not shear the remaining leather and immediately cause a weave defect.
Clean replacement :
The straps hold mainly with one or more rivets. Both the rivets and the webbing will have to be replaced.
4 – Replacing a rivet
There are two steps:
Step one: Remove the previous rivet without damaging the armor piece.
In my experience, the best way to do that is with pliers and pin punches. When the rivet is too strong and needs to be replaced quickly, you can use a grinder, but be careful not to cut the armor piece with it and on the other hand, not to set fire to the fabric if the armor piece has some (seeing your brigandine start to burn is not a very pleasant experience).
This first situation occurs especially when it is a strap that needs to be replaced and it is held by rivets, or on a flat brigandine whose support fabric has torn.
The second situation is the simplest. The rivet is already gone, you just have to put another one back in.
Rivets, very much used by our friends the Slavic blacksmiths, are quite simply slate points cut and cleanly caulked. Slate nails have the advantage of being affordable and have a wide enough head so they have a good grip, especially on straps or other pieces of leather or fabric.
How do I flatten a rivet?
5 – Checklist
A checklist for every tack you take care of. As soon as you know well the armor and the fighter you are going to take care of, don’t hesitate to prepare this little checklist with him. It will take 5 minutes and will avoid unfortunate omissions.
This checklist is mainly used to make sure you don’t forget anything before your fighter(s) enter the competition (it happens to forget an anti-tear strap, or a strap that holds the bottom of the armor).
6 – Friendly advices
Here are a few tips I would give to the teams who are starting out or looking to improve the organisation of their squires.
1 – Take care of your squires. I have seen teams that really treat their squires as less than nothing… A squire in a bad mood or a tired squire is an inefficient squire. Treat your squire well and you’ll get it back a hundredfold!
2 – A squire for 3 fighters maximum, no more than that, otherwise it’s unmanageable…
3 – Squires must take care of the armor they know best and divide the fighters according to that.
4 – Get organized before the tournament : “which squire takes care of whom ?” “which squire carries the water ?” “Which squire is in charge of complex repairs (rivets…)?”
5 – Buy a tool belt ! You can find it in a DIY store and it doesn’t cost much. Otherwise the top of the top it’s a MOLLE first price belt (about 20-30 euros). It’s modular, you can hang any accessories and pockets you want on it. You can hang pliers and tools directly in the loops.
6 – Avoid the Paracorde for makeshift repairs, it’s an incredible mess…