There are many types of period helmets/head protection that one can invest in for Medieval/Renaissance/Historical European Martial Arts. In our martial arts organization you still typically see steel armour helmets. Soon enough there will be more and more heavy fencing H.E.M.A. masks involved in our training sessions, but we like the weight and sensory limitations that a period helm places a fighter under to give us a feel for what out forefathers in these martial arts experienced. The helmet we will be looking at is the get Dressed for Battle, Crusader Spangen Helmet.
I’ve recently decided to try out this helmet as a replacement for my great helm that I have been wearing for around eight years, and I’ve decided to write a review on the helmet after having some freestyle matches utilizing it. Firstly, the helmet is comfortable to wear and mounts very well on the head. There is room for an arming cap and coif, and you will need that for this helmet. The helmet have wonderful visibility and the breathability inside of this helmet is also great. That said, the oculars on the helmet’s face mask (it is not a hinged visor helm) are larger enough that I highly recommend wearing protective eye hardware inside of the helmet. I use hard plastic eye protection made for doing yard/garden work (mowing and edging). It is not a guarantee against injury, but an added element to help keep the wearer safer in sparring with rebated swords, etc…
Next, the helmet does not protect the entire side of the head or back of the neck and lower part of the head. It is great for the top and upper sides of the cranium, but that’s it. That is why I stated earlier that a good, padded arming cap and coif are highly recommended with this helmet. Here are the approximate specifications on the helmet in measurements:
From front to back it is 17 1/4″
Front to back including face guard is 23 1/2″
Side to side right at 16″
Circumference is 25 7/8″
Weight is just over 5 lbs.
Price: under $120
The helmet is also made of 14 gage steel, which is plenty strong enough for contact in reenactment. In my organization we do not allow head strikes on real people in sparring for safety’s sake, though naturally we do instruct striking the head in a number of different ways. All in all The helmet gives some decent protection and is very well constructed. It is also a very aesthetically appealing helmet in my opinion. All of this said, it does not give the protection to the wearer that a great helm, or hound skull bascinet for instance provides for the wearer. In the end, this a very nice helmet for light freestyle sparring, for heavy sparring and melee combat, I would suggest a helmet that gives more protection to the head. And I might add that this style helmet is an earlier type of period helmet than the great helm or bascinet so to get it is to give up some of the advantages of helmets came after this type of spangen helmet had seen action for a while. For the heavy fighting, melee, and tournaments where period armour are used, I will still use my great helm, but in training and light sparring this crusader spangen helm is a nice helmet to have.
Posting By: Br. Jefferson Webb