European Medieval Armour: This was just a steel cap, or helmet with linked chain mail 950 A.D. to 1300 The early middle ages saw the gradual adoption of coats of chain mail, which offered protection from arrows and edged weapons. The chain mail was made of individually forged steel links, which formed a flexible protective coat for the warrior. A steel helmet fitted over the head. Frequently fitted with a nose guard. A medium sized shield was usually carried in the non-weapon bearing hand. This simple combination carried the European combatant through the 3 centuries that included, the Norman Conquest of England, and the several Crusades to the "Holy Land".
A hauberk is a knee-length mail shirt to cover the neck, legs and arms to varying lengths offering overall body protection.that weighed up to 14 kg (31 lbs). It is generally constructed from joined circular or oval shaped metal rings, either riveted, welded or even sewn on leather and simply butted together. In the simplest pattern, each ring is linked through four others. Hauberks were put on over the head, and were split at the front and the back to enable the knights to ride his horse. They were constructed from overlapping metal scales riveted to a garment made of leather or cloth.
Gambesons are quilted under-tunics. Gambesons help diffuse the force of a blow, but their actual number one function was to prevent armour pinching, which could be pretty nasty. Historically, gambesons came in several styles; side lacers, front snappers, pullovers, and they all had sleeves that were only tied or sewn at the top shoulder in order to let the armpits ventilate and for ease of mobility.
Helm A helmet, which may have integral protection for the cheeks, face and back of the neck or have separate pieces that serve the same purpose. Helms may be fitted with separate visors (faceplates) and a Crest - A decorative device on the helm for identification purposes.
Aventail A mail 'curtain' hanging from the lower edge of the back of the helmet to protect the back and sides of the neck. As opposed to a mail Coif, which covers the entire head.
In the twelfth century, Lionheart’s time, plate armour was unknown to most soldiers. It was developed as archery improved – a medieval arms race!
Pauldron - Plate/s that covers the shoulder joint. Sometimes just one large, single plate, sometimes a number of overlapping, articulated plates. In either case the entire unit may still be referred to as a pauldron.
Rerebrace - Gutter or cylinder shaped plate/s that cover the upper arm.
Elbowguard – always tricky these bendy bits!
Vambrace - Gutter or completely cylindrical shaped plate/s that cover the forearm. Vambraces made specifically to protect an archer's arm from the slap of the released bowstring are also called bracers.
Gauntlet - Covers the hand and usually the lower forearm, either a heavy leather glove with a wrist cuff which might also be covered with articulated plates or mail.
Tassets - Plate/s which protect the hips. They can be attached to the breast/backplate either by straps or rivets or may even be attached to a separate belt.
Groinguard – important!
Rumpguard – obvious!
Cuisses - Gutter or cylindrical shaped plate/s protecting the thighs.
Kneeguard - A curved plate or plates that protect the knee joint and also bridges the gap between the upper and lower leg defences.
Hose - An alternative to articulated plate leggings are mail hose. These are basically mail stockings.
Greaves - Gutter or cylindrical plate/s protecting the shins and calves.
Tall Boots - Often, heavy leather boots are worn as an alternate or supplement to Greaves. Depending on their construction they may have little value in stopping blades. However they still serve a protection function, particularly for cavalry, where they can prevent chafing of the rider's leg against the horse's flank and also protect against cuts and scrapes from thistles, branches and other typical hazards encountered when mounted.
Sabatons - Armoured boots with articulated plates that allow walking.
Shield - Technically, a shield is also defensive piece of armour, though it may also be used offensively to literally punch or ram an enemy.
Curiass - The plate defence protecting the whole torso.
This is as good a place as any to note that any armour may potentially be used offensively. A helm can be used to butt a foe in the face, and an armoured fist makes a fairly effective mace.