Flanged Mace

German-Flanged-Mace

The use of maces in battle was quite common during the Middle Ages, as the weapon was quite inexpensive to produce. Many of the maces on display in museums today are highly decorated for this reason. Though a mace is just a type of club, the image of the spiked mace is what comes to mind for most people.

A deadly effective spiked mace is the flanged mace. The metal flanges, protruding edges of metal, allowed the wielder to pierce through even the thickest metal armor. In 12th century Kievan Russia the Pernach was developed. It featured six flanges and became popular across Europe for its ability to pierce plate armor and chainmail.

The Bow

 

medieval-bows

The bows used in the Middle Ages were of several types: short-range bows, compound bows and long-range bows. Short-range bows measuring between 1 and 1.20 meters in size, and were fairly simple to manufacture and handle. They were the type of bow used most frequently. They had a medium-range, accuracy and strength, and required a good experience and a perfect training so that their use would be effective.

Composite bows were originating in Asia. They were formed by sheets of wood tied together. The sheets turned them into powerful bows, but required greater strength and training. This relatively short bow was the favorite weapon of archers riders, mainly from the Mongols and other Asian people who were specialists in horse riding. A variant of the composite had outwardly curved ends (which was achieved by heating it to steam and curving the blades during the manufacturing process). This curved bow was more powerful and required a high degree of strength and dexterity.

Long-range bows originated in Wales, and from there went to England. Almost two meters long, manufactured from a single piece of wood. Long-range bow arrows were up to a meter long. The wide-tipped arrows could penetrate the leather armor, causing lacerations, and were used to combat infantry. Also, there were arrows of narrow tip that penetrated the Mesh or Dickies and fired against the armored warriors.

To shoot long bow successfully, it was necessary to have enough training and practice. Men skilled in this type of weapon could shoot six well-directed arrows per minute. This kind of bow could reach targets at long-range and was quite powerful. Numerous contingent of experienced archers were a devastating force in many of the battlefields of the Middle Ages. They could fire both individual arrows and a rain of arrows towards a particular area.

 

Ranged Weapons

ArcherIn the battles of the Middle Ages, ranged weapons and projectiles of all types played an important role. They were used as weapons of attack against individual targets on the battlefield and during sieges. In some cases they were used as weapons against a certain given area on the field.

The firing of arrows and projectiles allowed to cause casualties from a distance. The archers were used as light troops to deplete the forces and to decrease the morale of the army enemy, causing losses before the start of the battle. If they could weaken or affect the enemy forces, your chances of winning the battle increased.

Weapons and equipment of the Cavalry

Medieval-Mongols-Cavalry

Since the appearance of the Cavalry, approximately in 1000BC, troops on horseback hadplayed several key roles in the battles. They acted as Scouts, Fighters, shock troops in skirmishes and rear guard force. They also served to pursue enemy army during its retreat. The cavalry was divided into different categories, depending on their equipment and their training. Some of these categories were better prepared than others to perform certain tasks.

The light cavalry wore virtually no armor and served better for exploration missions and as a rearguard. The heavy cavalry used armor and was more suited as a shock against the enemy force. All types of cavalry were excellent for the pursuit of the enemy.

The Knights of the middle ages fell under the category of heavy cavalry, and chivalry, and emphasized its role as a shock force against the opponent. From the 13th century, the term “weapons man” began to be used to describe armored warriors who fought on foot or on horseback. The new term applied both to Knights as Squires, gentlemen and professional soldiers.

The main advantages that had the Knights during the battle consisted of intimidation, power, speed and height. As the Middle Ages progressed, knights equipment was perfected in order to develop these advantages.

Butterfly Sword

Steel-Butterfly-Sword

Prior to World War II, the butterfly sword was not well-known outside of China. The deadly swords feature a single-edged blade that is as long as a human forearm. This length allowed for concealment inside loose sleeves or boots. Typically, butterfly swords are wielded in pairs.

Butterfly swords, also known as butterfly knives, were only sharpened from the midpoint to the tip. This way, the dull part of the battle knives could be used to knock an opponent unconscious without being fatal. Another interesting fact is that butterfly swords were often kept in the same scabbard. This gave the illusion of a single weapon until the wielder was ready to attack.

Spanish Rapiers

spanish-rapier
Spanish rapiers date back to 15th century Toledo. Spanish masters mixed hard and soft steel to give rapier swords strength and flexibility. These swords were narrow, long, and had a slight edge.

A rapier sword was used almost exclusively as a thrusting weapon. At first, the swords were used on the offensive, but eventually became a self-defense tool. It was primarily used by civilians for protection and for duels. In the 16th century, other European nations developed their own rapiers, such as the German Rappier which was used in sport fencing. Use of the rapier for civilian combat dropped off after the 17th century.

What is a Main Gauche?

Parrying-Dagger
Also referred to as a parrying dagger, main gauche swords were used in juxtaposition with traditional rapiers during the late Middle Ages. The main gauche, which is French for left hand, was used to deflect incoming attacks while the rapier was utilized for offense. If the opportunity presented itself, the main gauche could also be used for offense, of course.

This combination of weaponry was particularly popular with the Schools of Fence in Renaissance Europe. As the sport of fencing evolved, the use of the offhand weapon fell out of style. Although the main gauche isn’t used in contemporary fencing, it still is a prized item for historical collectors.

Longsword

Steel-long-sword

The longsword is a European sword used during the medieval and Renaissance eras. Longswords are also sometimes called bastard swords, greatswords or hand-and-a-half swords. In addition to its length, its most important characteristic was your way to wield it. These weapons were used exclusively to two hands, and since its handle was “to hand and a half”, few of its forms could be made to use them with one hand.

The longsword was developed because plate armor replaced chainmail, so a longer and heavier sword was needed to penetrate the armor. This sword is used for striking, cutting and thrusting. This sword was not used as often in medieval combat, as the lighter swords were much easier to handle. These types of swords were heavily used back in the 13th-14th century, whereas using ending would be around 17th century.

The longest of these swords was the zweihander whose length was up to 6 feet. This sword was used by the landsknechts who came from the Holy Roman Empire or an area that is now modern-day Germany. These swords were also used to break up infantry formations by attacking pikes and halberds.

Deadly Scimitar

Scimitar
When the crusaders battled against their Arab opponents, they came face to face with the deadly scimitar. The scimitar is a backsword with a curved blade that originated in the Middle East. It was used by warriors on horseback because it was lightweight in comparison to other swords, making it easy to wield while also holding the reins of a horse.

Soldiers of the Khurasan region of Persia are the first known users of the scimitar during the 9th century. During the crusades, a special crusader shield was designed specifically to protect the wearer against the deadly scimitar. Today, the weapon still holds significance. For instance, it can be seen on the coat of arms of Saudi Arabia.

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.