Spears

Medieval steel spear
Basic spear was a very useful weapon during all the middle ages, because its production was cheap and handling was simple. Anyone could arm themselves with them from infantry soldiers to peasants. In the majority of cases, spears were of little use, but with experience and training, the large line of spearmen could be very effective. Pole weapons evolved during the medieval period, gradually reaching a point in which formations of infantry trained for their management were extremely effective. More advanced variants had a spearhead with one or more weapons below. This additional weapon could be a large knife, axe, hammer or a pike.

Spears evolved as a response to the cavalry and brought with them the revival of an ancient Greek phalanx-like formation. The horses did not dare to charge against a disciplined troops armed with long extended spears. A dense formation of long raised spears also provided some protection against the arrows.

Infantrymen first learned to sit behind wooden stakes nailed into the ground to overthrow the cavalry. They later learned to deploy spears, pikes and other long range weapons. This gave the power of movement to the formation and allowed the anti-cavalry strikes. In a skirmish, weapons added to the end of the spears were used as to bring down the riders of their mounts by pulling them or pushing them, and to cause injury to the rider or the horse. Although the men who wore armor were not defenseless once taken down, but they were temporarily at a disadvantage until they managed to get up.

Halberd

Medieval-Halberd

The Halberd is one of the most effective and well designed weapons of the Medieval era.  It is a fabulous weapon for displaying your colors or herald.  It is so versatile that it has been retained as a ceremonial weapon for the Swiss Honor Guard.

Its history is very short if compared to swords and armor.  What is this strange weapon and what is its value?

The Halberd consists of an axe blade with a peak opposite it and it is sometimes another axe blade.  There is also a long spike or blade on the end and it is mounted on a long shaft. The early forms were simple and heavy (early 13th century) but gradually became lighter and more elaborate.  The shafts had long straps on them to prevent their being cut.

It was used with great success as infantry weapon from the late Middle Ages to the seventeenth century. The use of this weapon in infantry battles, which resulted in victories troops facing heavy cavalry, amended the composition of armies and returned to give a vital importance to the infantry.

It was carried by sergeants in the British army until the end of the 18th century.  The Swiss valued it so highly that they used in instead of the pike in their 15th century armies. Its use rapidly spread all over Europe.