So, one of my characters is this mysterious guy, called the Unarmed Knight. Basically, for some reason, he doesn't use any weapon, besides his body, in combat. Some say it's because of pacifism, his dragon aidee knows it's really because Unarmed Knight is a cheapskate who once stormed out of an armory saying "I ain't givin' you three fidy, get your own goddamn money!"

The armor is your standard 15th-century plate armor with one main deviation:

The armor is worn over a full-body kevlar suit, going up to the chin, that's filled with magnetorheological fluid and can quickly harden when needed. It's basically a non-newtonian fluid on demand.

Unarmed Knight is actually quite adept at CQC, (he only trained in that, since he was 7, well, that and cardio) and just like with modern fighting styles, uses whatever fits, though I'm not sure which situation would require blasting Shingeki no Kyojin at max volume while charging a pike wall. (bonus point if you answer that)

Would this knight be any good in an actual pitched battle? Let's be hardcore and and place him in the Battle of Agincourt... on the French side.

The dragon aidee isn't participating in the battle, she's tasked with streaming the events on youtube.

Note: His helmet is an italian-style sallet.

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    $\begingroup$ At Agincourt? WIth the French? he'll get stuck in the mud. I expect he'll die of some unpleasant gastrointestinal upset after that. $\endgroup$ – Starfish Prime Dec 10 '19 at 16:38
  • $\begingroup$ @StarfishPrime C'mon, it can't be THAT bad, and he's walking everywhere by default. $\endgroup$ – Mephistopheles Dec 10 '19 at 16:42
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    $\begingroup$ I'm not sure I understand the limits of what your full body kevlar suit would be able to stop, or if it has gaps in the armor, does it cover the head as well? $\endgroup$ – BKlassen Dec 10 '19 at 16:55
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    $\begingroup$ We can see a lot of "knights" like that in fiction (particularly in animation), but realistically this knight has to be superhuman to be any effective. $\endgroup$ – Alexander Dec 10 '19 at 17:23
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    $\begingroup$ armor costs many many times what a weapon would, a wooden club would cost way less than the person you are paying just to polish your armor. $\endgroup$ – John Dec 10 '19 at 18:54

Assuming he doesn't drown in the mud, and successfully traverses the killing field by avoiding the rain of bodkin point arrows and comes face to face with other knights, men at arms, and archers I think this is what happens:

Archers: He is very successful at injuring the lightly armored archers individual, but then twenty or thirty mob him, knock him to the ground and stab him to death using their daggers through the joints under his arms, eye slits, and groin. He might survive though if his timing is good and the french cavalry that penetrated the rear lines of the English save his butt.

Footmen/Men at Arms: In one on one combat, he is effective at blocking attacks, grabbing their arms and breaking them, or breaking their legs by kicking them in the knees. He can punch and kick them, but their chain mail (or similar armor) makes his attacks only painful and not lethal. He can wrestle them, get their helms and gorgets off, and strangle them. Until, twenty or thirty mob him and pound his plate armor into the thin sheet using their flails, maces, mattocks and other mass weapons.

Armored Knights: He is adept at avoiding their attacks, but not a hundred percent. Every time they hit him, he has to decide between blocking the attack from their heavy weapons designed to defeat his heavy mail and taking the hit and hoping his armor protects him. If he blocks the attack he risks injury to his arms and legs. If he takes the hit, he risks the integrity of his armor. He can't injure any of the knights since his hands and feet don't have enough mass to cause injury when he kicks them or punches them.
He can wrestle them like the men at arms and footmen, but once two or three confront him together -- or one when he is one ground having wrestled another knight to death -- then he is going to get hurt very quickly as their war hammers, battle axes, and broad sword crunch his armor and then his body.

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    $\begingroup$ so in short just because he has some special armor doesn't mean he can still expect to be effective without a weapon $\endgroup$ – BKlassen Dec 10 '19 at 17:13
  • $\begingroup$ Is there anything the harden-wherever-and-whenever-needed suit would help? $\endgroup$ – Mephistopheles Dec 10 '19 at 17:21
  • $\begingroup$ I was imagining that concussion would have been the likely finishing move on him, probably some time before the suit had been pounded flat. +1 for the good old stab-em-in-the-eyeslits though. $\endgroup$ – Starfish Prime Dec 10 '19 at 17:27
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    $\begingroup$ @Mephistopheles the suit would primarily help the ENGLISH by making your Unarmed Knight incapable of injuring anybody. All the martial arts skill in the world won't help you against an enemy that just stays six feet away from you, and can do it all day long because you're carrying a hundred pounds of steel, kevlar, and non-Newtonian fluid, and they aren't. Your knight would spend the entire battle running around in a twenty foot bubble of empty space created by people not bothering to fight with him. $\endgroup$ – Morris The Cat Dec 10 '19 at 18:21
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    $\begingroup$ footmen were usually armed with polearms he is not grabbing them, they are going to knock him over from an distance and kill him. $\endgroup$ – John Dec 10 '19 at 18:58

The big problem at Agincourt was exhaustion, aggravated by heat. Your knight has a much bigger problem than his colleagues; as everyone who has worn Kevlar knows, it's damned hot. He has it much worse because not only does he have to wear a lot more Kevlar than a modern soldier - head to toe including limbs instead of just torso - he is wearing it inside already-hot plate mail. The shear-thickening liquid layer will add yet more weight and insulation.

Many of the French knights never made it through the quarter-mile of mud. Your man does not need to carry a sword or lance, but he's still at a huge disadvantage.

Assuming he makes it across and does not just collapse, the weight an cumbersomeness of his multi-levelled ensemble will ensure that the poor exhausted knight is ineffective at fighting. He's going to have a real problem getting past the row of stakes the English archers placed in front of them.

The archers apparently beat the French knights because they were more agile and lightly-armed, that will apply double for your knight.

Good news, it may be very difficult to kill him on the day. Bad news, he may end up wishing they would.

  • $\begingroup$ So, what if he 1. Sits down with his back to the archers 2. Takes out his favorite manga 3. Begins reading it ? $\endgroup$ – Mephistopheles Dec 10 '19 at 18:12
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    $\begingroup$ @Mephistopheles if anyone did that in a battle I think the real problem they would have would be getting executed for abandoning their post. Thought I doubt anyone would even bothering to attack them at that point. They are unarmed and slow and totally useless looking and basically sitting around being lazy. Only someone there purely out of blood lust and wanting to rampantly kill for no reason would bother to go after him - which is probably not going to be anyone in any normal army. $\endgroup$ – user64742 Dec 11 '19 at 2:23
  • $\begingroup$ @TheGreatDuck I mean, why bother engaging Henry 5.0 in a terrain that favoured him, especially when you cannot be hurt by arrows. Just stand there and and spoil the manga for them. $\endgroup$ – Mephistopheles Dec 11 '19 at 4:44
  • $\begingroup$ @Mephistopheles I know I meant that they probably wouldn't attack you anyway. Much of warfare in that time was more about taking prisoners than outright annihilation of the enemy. If you aren't fighting, they're going to ignore you. $\endgroup$ – user64742 Dec 11 '19 at 5:51
  • $\begingroup$ @Mephistopheles because the english was actually cornered, and thanks to the lucky weather turn the field into muddy field, the knight was understimating the english because they are outnumber them, and breaking rank/order due to their pride getting shot by peasant also the highest command king charles VI was not arrive yet. $\endgroup$ – Li Jun Dec 11 '19 at 14:38

Hand to hand combat can and did work back in the medieval era but would your man survive that battle on foot? No, they got stuck in the mud, exhausted and killed so he's not surviving that tactic either. The man needs to disarm others and kill them with the obtained weapon or otherwise knock them out and in hand to sword combat he's at the disadvantage all the time. Why doesn't your cheap Knight just wait for a battle then pick amongst the bodies if he's looking for free? It seems like his own lord/lordess isn't supplying him with his needs so how did he get that armor its not free and its not free to maintain either he has to either spend money, maintain or make it himself, or steal it. To be a Knight one has to be skilled in sword tactics as well as useful hand to hand tactics both of these require regular training if he doesn't want the sword there are other occupations that are cheaper for him to enter.


The armor would be successful. The lack of weapons would be annoying.

The armor (assuming all required hand waving to make him agile and resistant to incoming damage), would definitely help him with his first kill (getting close enough to do damage with his hands).

So now we have our hero standing over a fully-armed corpse.

Either he could go on punching/judo-choking enemies to death, or he could grab the sword/knife/club/spear off the dead body, and continue killing at a much faster pace.

Is he "successful"?

He needs to be careful not to stand out, because in an old-school battle with a few thousand together (basically a concert with weapons), armor won't block shots/arrows to the face, or simply being pinned down by a group of guys.

He's not really stronger than anyone, just less likely to fall from an average blow. On 1v1 combat that's enough to make a difference, but in a crowd he is probably not going to swing a whole battle (unless perhaps he targets the enemy's best fighters).



The unarmed knight is not going to fight armed knights. He is obviously a knight, and other knights won't fight him when they see he is not armed. His job is going to be dealing with the non-nobility; because of their lower station they are not valuable prisoners and so it is ok to slaughter these en masse. And OK to do it in ways that are not particularly sporting, like teaming up.

To slaughter the non-nobility he will likely join with a party of like individuals and use a team approach, grabbing and dispatching individuals they encounter in the fracas. Unarmed knight will be more about the grabbing and one of his associates the dispatching although occasionally it works the other way. Unarmed knight favors a head butt in these situations, because of his sweet helmet.

If his noble associates find themselves taking on their equals one on one and so become unavailable the Unarmed Knight might recruit some infantry men to continue the project.

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    $\begingroup$ Except the French knights chose to ignore the archers and footmen and converged on the dismounted English knights in the centre. The archers and footmen swarmed out from behind the stakes and took out the French knights with essentially rugby tackles and smashing them in the head with heavy wooden mallets (used to pund in the stakes), before finishing them off with knife thrusts through joints and eye slits. Chivalry chose to ignore non chivalry, until they were swarmed. $\endgroup$ – Thucydides Dec 10 '19 at 20:01

Successful in defeating anyone? No.

Weapons in this time period tended to be very pointy to pierce through sockets in plate armor, or blunt weapons to use to pound force through said armor. Fists are not particularly good for either.

Any martial art that this knight could do would be hindered by having to move around in his heavy armor. It would be further hindered by all the opponents also weighing a ton in their own armor. With real humans levels of strength, not much is happening with this set up.

This should not be surprising. If this was somehow viable historically, then there would have been fencing books about it. Our ancestors were pretty smart.


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