Indian Elephant Armour 1600

An elephant mannequin wearing mail and plate armour lined with black fabric and red fabric threaded through it.

Indian Elephant Armour 1600, Non-Commercial Licence (and Crown Copyright Licence) Royal Armouries – Non-Commercial Licence

Image Licence

  • Intro
    Museum's Description
    Teacher notes
    • Not only is this the only near-complete surviving elephant armour in the world, it is also in the Guinness Book of Records for being the largest. Entire villages were enlisted in the time consuming work of making the plates for the armour!

      War Elephants didn’t just carry soldiers in battles; they were also used as weapons themselves. This armour originally included tusk swords with fierce wavy blades which would piece the strong armour of their enemies. Ouch!

      There is an eye witness account from an English traveller in 1660 who claimed he saw Mughal Indian war elephants mounted with large guns, sort of like modern day tanks! The Mughal Army were well known for their use of war elephants, they weren't however the only ones who used them. The use of elephants in war spread out across South-East Asia as well as West into Europe and they were still used as late as the Second World War.

      Things to think about:

      • How do you think the soldiers made the elephants fight?
      • Do you think it is okay to use animals in warfare?
      • Can you think of any other animals that are used in warfare?
      If you like the idea of armour for animals, check out this horse armour on Show Me.
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