Types of Shields
Large Round Wooden Shield’s were used in Battle by the Vikings; they were also used as stretchers to carry the wounded off the battlefield. A shield was generally 32-36 inches across and was held in the center on the back and the hand was protected by an iron boss. The shield boss is a domed circle about 6 inches across mounted on the front of the shield.
The Bouche shield is a shield that is to be used with a lance, normally while jousting. There is a ridge in the middle of the shield which deflects weapons away. The Boucher shield also has a groove on the top of the front plate where the knight can rest his lance.
The Buckler shield is small in size and made of iron/metal. It has a round shape and is lightweight, ideal for use in hand-to-hand combat, although too small to block much of the body. Due to its size, the Bucker shield could be hung from the soldier’s belt.
The Heater shield is a medium sized wooden or metal shield, and was mainly used by knights on horseback. The Heater shield was not as long as the Kite shield, which made it perfect for the cavalry. It was very common for this shield to have coats of arms or heraldry emblazed on the front of them, to show who the holder was or who he fought for.
The Kite shield, also known as the tapering shield, is much larger than the Heater shield, but very similar in detail. It was fairly narrow, but long, and could cover a soldier from neck to ankle. The shield formed a classic kite shape, and was made from either wood or metal. However, unlike a kite, the shield’s top edge was rounded off, more often than not, rather than being pointed. The Kite shield is featured on the Bayeux tapestry
The Pavise shield, also known as the Wall shield, is a large rectangular shield similar to the Mantlet. This shield was made from wood or metal and could protect the holder’s entire body. These were very useful for archers, as it would come with a Pavise-bearer, whose job was to hold the shield for the archers. The Pavise shield was used from the 14th century. Like the Kite shield, Pavise shields could have heraldry on the front of them.
The Targe shield, also known as the Target shield, is medium-to-large in size and round, much like a larger version of the Buckler shield. It was common for the Targe shield to have studded nails punched into the front of it in a decorative pattern. This shield is traditionally linked to the Scottish highlanders, as they defended themselves from attack, and was first used around the 15th century.