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Chain Mail

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Early Medieval Chainmaile

A form of body armour that's been around almost as long as the squaddie (ok, since 500bc lets say).

It consists of small metal rings linked together in a pattern to form a mesh. This mesh is pretty decent at stopping edged weapons but a sharp pointed weapon (spear, arrow or sword point) can penetrate the mesh by bursting a/the ring(s) apart and gaining penetration (rather like bum love).

The chain mail needs to be backed by padding to absorb the impact of weapons as the mail only prevents the cutting impact. Mail on its own is useless against crushing weapons like a mace (lump of metal on a handle - not the tear gas).

During World War I, mail was trialled for bullet proof vests, but resulted in the rings fragmenting and causing more damage. There was also a mail fringe to be attached to helmets of trench occupying soldiers (designed by a British Captain). It protected the face but proved unpopular with soldiers in spite of being able to stop three-ounce shrapnel rounds fired from a distance of 100 yards. WW1 Tank crews did however wear chain mail face fringes/masks to protect them from spauling.

The British police use mail gloves for dealing with knife-armed knutters.