Pole weapons

Moderator: Moderators

User avatar
Sir Thomas Hylton
Posts: 291
Joined: Tue May 26, 2009 10:40 am
Location: NR Burton upon Trent
Contact:

Pole weapons

Postby Sir Thomas Hylton » Sat Jun 06, 2009 2:12 pm

What sorts/designs, of pole weapons were common amoungst the 15thC lines. Just curious.

I'm sure everyone as usual will have a different idea/opinion, but opinions welcome as usual.

Paul / aka Thomas of Hylton



User avatar
gregory23b
Absolute Wizard
Posts: 2923
Joined: Sun Jul 17, 2005 9:46 pm
Location: Gyppeswyk, Suffolk

Postby gregory23b » Sat Jun 06, 2009 3:18 pm

Common, erm:

bills
glaives
langue de bouef
spears are mentioned


trouble is that some of the terms are flexible.

But common to whom? 'professional' knight or bloke without a bow? if the former then a poll axe perhaps, if the latter then a bill.

Very hard to say.


middle english dictionary

Isabela on G23b "...somehow more approachable in real life"

http://medievalcolours.blogspot.com

"I know my place." Alice the Huswyf

User avatar
Spurious
Posts: 14
Joined: Sun May 13, 2007 7:53 pm
Location: Basingstoke

Postby Spurious » Sat Jun 06, 2009 3:57 pm

Remembering what I've read in Hafted weapons in medieval and renaissance Europe (as best I can that is); for England primarily Bills, with the occasional spear, probably the long&wide bladed partizan (frequently with no wings) is also known to be owned from wills.

For around Switzerland and the Holy Roman Empire, halberd designs are prominent throughout the century, later combined with long-spears. The rectangular bladed design joined to the shaft by eyelets appears to have lasted through the start of the century and beyond. Spears with a hook at the base of the blade also appear.

Italy seems to have lent towards their own form of bill for the most part.

Glaives appear to be uncommon, and I think mainly favoured in France, where they do turn up that is. I think I also remember mention of then as part of a prince's guards weapon in one of the Italian states.

The simpler weapons of the gotendag type, essentially a large somewhat baseball-bat shaped club with a sharp iron spike on the top, often with the head re-enforced with a band of iron and more spikes (screwed in apparently) appear thought the century as a peasant weapon. Types with a ball-shaped head often referred to as a morgenstern also appear. Threshing flails, re-enforced with iron bands and spikes made an impression on warfare via their use by the Hussites.


A lot of the designs tend to move around too between warring nations and from imports, but locally made favorites still being the most common.



User avatar
gregory23b
Absolute Wizard
Posts: 2923
Joined: Sun Jul 17, 2005 9:46 pm
Location: Gyppeswyk, Suffolk

Postby gregory23b » Sat Jun 06, 2009 5:05 pm

Glaives are mentioned in the Pastons in relation to riotous assembly, but only as part of a general set of arms.

(1452) Paston 2.268: xlti of the same felechep come rydyng..jakked, and salettyd, with bowys and arwys, byllys, gleves.

The Middle English dictionary has quite a few mentions patly relating to foreign activities, partly historical and partly English.

(1450) Complaint in War.AM 4 180: The other abouesaid persons came..as it had be in land of werr, with force and armes, that is to say, with jakkes, salettes, bowes, arrowes, glaybes, gissarnes, longdebibes, and other armour defensif.

(1472-3) RParl. 6.54a: Servauntes unto Thomas Trethewe..arraied in maner of werre, with Bowes and Arrowes, Swerdes and Bokelers, Gleyves and Billes, and other ablementes of werre.

(1453) Proc.Privy C. 6.129: Ayther of the seid parties shuld do that bataill with certen weppens..with gleyve, short sword, dagger & with axe, instede of longe sword <<< interesting

But do we default those weapons as bills etc? for example

a1500 Parton.(1) (Add 35288) 4142: He happed to take hys bylle, The whyche some men do a gleyue calle.


middle english dictionary

Isabela on G23b "...somehow more approachable in real life"

http://medievalcolours.blogspot.com

"I know my place." Alice the Huswyf

User avatar
Sir Thomas Hylton
Posts: 291
Joined: Tue May 26, 2009 10:40 am
Location: NR Burton upon Trent
Contact:

Postby Sir Thomas Hylton » Sat Jun 06, 2009 5:27 pm

When you mention Mention Bill. I assume you mean Billhook.

Must admit its the Billhook or the Poleaxe I would favour for a pole weapon. Yet it is the glaive most readilly available online that seems to be found. But just doesn't seem right to me.



Marcus Woodhouse
Absolute Wizard
Posts: 3337
Joined: Sat Feb 18, 2006 8:35 pm

Postby Marcus Woodhouse » Sat Jun 06, 2009 6:28 pm

Glaives are very clean to fight with, there is no snagging or catching up on stuff. They are popular throughout Europe, not just in France (though as France is a bloody big country that was becoming a world power that isn't a big surprise) lots of French polaxes look very much like big old chopping axes to me, without the little beaks and top spikes that are evident in Italian, Germanic and English designs, but that may be the artists way of making it easier to see who is fighting who.
The bill is used just about everywhere as well, though it does not seem as popular in Eastern and Northern nations where the bardiche takes itsplace and that of the poleaxe (at least in art, there is not much I've seen to show it was popular post 14th and pre15th century).
Italian bills were longer slimer and apparently not as good at breaking armour, according to the French. I find this starnge given that Italian armour was so good and normally this would cause an arms race effect with the infantry trying to find a weapon to defeat it.
Bills come in all kinds of shapes and sizes from ones that are purely argricultural to ones that have been clearly thought through in offering optimum killing potential. In that they are almost identical to the halbred, which was at first only an Italian and southern Germanic weapon and then became popular throughout Europe in the late 15th century.
There are various kinds of polearm that look like a spear, the partizan developed, allegedly as a result of people being told not to bring spears into towns and fighting with them, and became increasingly weird as the 15th century went on, they make bloody fast and useful toys and I will be using mine much more.
A poleaxe is a weapon of class, so if you are trying to portray someone who is of means, or who wants everyone to think they have wonger, its one to go with. You do have to get much closer to the action with one though and be a lot more careful with it as well. So bear that in mind.
At the other end of the status level you could always employ a maul.


OSTENDE MIHI PECUNIAM!

User avatar
gregory23b
Absolute Wizard
Posts: 2923
Joined: Sun Jul 17, 2005 9:46 pm
Location: Gyppeswyk, Suffolk

Postby gregory23b » Sat Jun 06, 2009 7:06 pm

"Yet it is the glaive most readilly available online "

Why are you in such a hurry to get it all at once? seems you may end up making more compromises than you really need and then potentially regretting it if the kit is not up to scratch.

Andy Kirkham and others could make a bill to order, you may just have to wait a bit, but it would be well worth it.

A lot of kit online at the lower budget end is crap to be honest and a waste of cash IMHO. Mind, I am a man who possess very little harness because I can't afford the nice stuff I like and wont waste my cash on the very poor imitations out there. I only have an Emrys archer's sallet and a Hedgecock Flemish 'export' type sallet and a Vickers hanger. The rest is group loan kit << happy bunny.


middle english dictionary

Isabela on G23b "...somehow more approachable in real life"

http://medievalcolours.blogspot.com

"I know my place." Alice the Huswyf

Nigel
Post Knight
Posts: 1671
Joined: Thu Aug 11, 2005 7:45 am
Location: Pontefract
Contact:

Postby Nigel » Sat Jun 06, 2009 7:34 pm

better to buy less good stuff than a lot of crap


There’s a country in Europe where they treat their ex soldiers with pride no waits for medical treatment after injuries received during service, no amensia from the government. Cant for the life of me recall where it is but I know exactly where it is not.

User avatar
Fox
Absolute Wizard
Posts: 2652
Joined: Wed Jul 27, 2005 12:27 pm
Location: Cheshire

Postby Fox » Sun Jun 07, 2009 7:41 am

Nigel wrote:better to buy less good stuff than a lot of crap


Strongly agree.
Last year I had a newbie buy 3 crap swords, none of which were any good for much outside training. For the money he could have bought one really good one, but more importantly the cost of any one of them would have bought him a perfectly adequare pole arm that he really needed.

Regardless of group, I hear the mantra repeated to new starters "Don't buy anything without talking to us"; how often it is ignored. :roll:



User avatar
hamster
Posts: 239
Joined: Tue Jul 29, 2008 9:05 am
Location: surfing

Postby hamster » Sun Jun 07, 2009 8:49 am

:D fox i thought it was a man thing

"Regardless of group, I hear the mantra repeated to new starters "Don't buy anything without talking to us"; how often it is ignored. :roll: "

sharp stabby things ohhhh can do allsorts with that
in colins case he could and a few things out of the ordinary too
:?



User avatar
Sir Thomas Hylton
Posts: 291
Joined: Tue May 26, 2009 10:40 am
Location: NR Burton upon Trent
Contact:

Postby Sir Thomas Hylton » Sun Jun 07, 2009 10:20 am

Fox wrote:
Regardless of group, I hear the mantra repeated to new starters "Don't buy anything without talking to us"; how often it is ignored. :roll:


Hence why I'm askin' :lol: :wink: :roll: 8) :D :D :D

To expand on the subject any pictures examples of what everyone uses in the line.



Marcus Woodhouse
Absolute Wizard
Posts: 3337
Joined: Sat Feb 18, 2006 8:35 pm

Postby Marcus Woodhouse » Sun Jun 07, 2009 10:59 am

There are few groups that lack a spare polearm or two in their stock. I would hope you would not just go onto a battle and start swinging away without someone showing how to do it in a way that minimises the risk of you hurting yourself or someone else anyway.
(Says the man who is itching to fight again now his broken ribs have healed).


OSTENDE MIHI PECUNIAM!

User avatar
Sir Thomas Hylton
Posts: 291
Joined: Tue May 26, 2009 10:40 am
Location: NR Burton upon Trent
Contact:

Postby Sir Thomas Hylton » Sun Jun 07, 2009 6:40 pm

Don't worry Marcus I wouldn't use a single type of weapon I wasn't familiar with in an event. Especially after what I've learnt today in Training & what I know I have yet to learn & to practice, practice, practice...practice, to get it second nature, to be safe for myself & others.

Was a great day, the martial art of it is not simple. But interesting as to what is & isn't second nature to begin with. I actually did better than I expected. but sobering that some moves do need a lot of repetion & work to get down. Some things dead easy & natural, but a lot the reverse. It make you err more on the side of caution than some might expect.

btw I'm talking about the sword here... but expect the same caution needed with learning polearm manouvres too



Marcus Woodhouse
Absolute Wizard
Posts: 3337
Joined: Sat Feb 18, 2006 8:35 pm

Postby Marcus Woodhouse » Sun Jun 07, 2009 7:50 pm

Enjoy the WMA aspect for what it is, bear in mind that outside of a staged, rehearsed fight or as part of a display, a WMA is exactly that, a martial art that will hurt someone badly because that is what it is meant to do.
Although it is useful to have a familiarity with some of the moves in order to defend yourself against the unexpected, hopefully accidental, incidents that might happen in a re-enactment battle, WMA have b**ger all connection with what happens.
For instance there is nothing in Talhoffen about pulling a blow so you only hit an opponent lightly.
The way a polearm or sword is used in a re-enactment has little to do with the way it would have been employed for real. (A bit like the way guns work differently in real life to the way they are shown on films.)


OSTENDE MIHI PECUNIAM!

User avatar
Sir Thomas Hylton
Posts: 291
Joined: Tue May 26, 2009 10:40 am
Location: NR Burton upon Trent
Contact:

Postby Sir Thomas Hylton » Sun Jun 07, 2009 8:12 pm

Indeed. Indeed on all of that

Ironically, the things you have to resist & what would have come all too naturally, had you been trying Would have to been able to go for the illigal moves & the soft vernrable areas, that certain blocks actually can set you potentially up for. Very sobbering. very sobbering indeed

And a very good reason to get everything ingrained, familiar & natural for the sake of safety.

Nodding my head profuselly at what you say there Marcus.



User avatar
Felix
Posts: 58
Joined: Sun Nov 12, 2006 1:17 pm

Postby Felix » Sun Jun 07, 2009 8:59 pm

Marcus Woodhouse wrote:Italian bills were longer slimer and apparently not as good at breaking armour, according to the French. I find this starnge given that Italian armour was so good and normally this would cause an arms race effect with the infantry trying to find a weapon to defeat it.


Hi Marcus, your statement is interesting to read, to which time and source are you refering to? It sounds really interesting. As I try to compile an Italian Militia kit and ordere a pair of staff weapons according to findings from 14th crnt Italy. While the spear resembles a langue de boeuf, the Roncone (Bill) already is really specialised and I would no doubt that it might be quite nice in penetrating the transitional armour.
Attachments
HPIM1619.JPG



User avatar
Ben Rodgers
Posts: 64
Joined: Tue Oct 18, 2005 9:36 pm
Contact:

Postby Ben Rodgers » Sun Jun 07, 2009 11:39 pm

gregory23b wrote:
(1450) Complaint in War.AM 4 180: The other abouesaid persons came..as it had be in land of werr, with force and armes, that is to say, with jakkes, salettes, bowes, arrowes, glaybes, gissarnes, longdebibes, and other armour defensif.

(1472-3) RParl. 6.54a: Servauntes unto Thomas Trethewe..arraied in maner of werre, with Bowes and Arrowes, Swerdes and Bokelers, Gleyves and Billes, and other ablementes of werre.

(1453) Proc.Privy C. 6.129: Ayther of the seid parties shuld do that bataill with certen weppens..with gleyve, short sword, dagger & with axe, instede of longe sword <<< interesting



Can you expand on the reference of these as they sound fascinating


The Almighty says this must be a fashionable fight. It's drawn the finest people.

Marcus Woodhouse
Absolute Wizard
Posts: 3337
Joined: Sat Feb 18, 2006 8:35 pm

Postby Marcus Woodhouse » Mon Jun 08, 2009 10:43 am

The comment on italian bills was made by Philippe de Commes in his history of the french invasions so you are talking 1490ish.


OSTENDE MIHI PECUNIAM!

User avatar
Fox
Absolute Wizard
Posts: 2652
Joined: Wed Jul 27, 2005 12:27 pm
Location: Cheshire

Postby Fox » Mon Jun 08, 2009 12:48 pm

Marcus Woodhouse wrote:Enjoy the WMA aspect for what it is...


A great way to improve you balance, timing, distance and footwork, all of which may be reused safely in a re-enactment context.

If I wasn't so fat, old and lazy I could spend more time practicing these on my own and become much better.



Marcus Woodhouse
Absolute Wizard
Posts: 3337
Joined: Sat Feb 18, 2006 8:35 pm

Postby Marcus Woodhouse » Mon Jun 08, 2009 1:02 pm

Just don't start eye gouging, arm breaking, finger chopping, kneecap popping drop 'im on the ground and stamp on his head stuff.


OSTENDE MIHI PECUNIAM!

User avatar
Sir Thomas Hylton
Posts: 291
Joined: Tue May 26, 2009 10:40 am
Location: NR Burton upon Trent
Contact:

Postby Sir Thomas Hylton » Wed Jun 10, 2009 8:28 am

Nah, I'll leave that to the missus :wink:



User avatar
Colin Middleton
Absolute Wizard
Posts: 2037
Joined: Thu Aug 11, 2005 12:31 pm
Location: Sheffield
Contact:

Postby Colin Middleton » Wed Jun 10, 2009 12:54 pm

Marcus Woodhouse wrote:For instance there is nothing in Talhoffen about pulling a blow so you only hit an opponent lightly.


I disagree. I'm pretty sure that if you read it carefully, you'll find that it says "Hit your opponent as hard as you can, to better kill him in one blow". :wink:


Colin

"May 'Blood, blood, blood' be your motto!"

Image

User avatar
Colin Middleton
Absolute Wizard
Posts: 2037
Joined: Thu Aug 11, 2005 12:31 pm
Location: Sheffield
Contact:

Postby Colin Middleton » Wed Jun 10, 2009 1:04 pm

Interestingly enough Felix, that bill you're showing there looks to me a lot more like the English Bills, than like the Roncone's that I've seen, but they are late 15C to 16thC.

A billhook is an agricultural tool Thomas, the military version is called a bill, but yes they are similar.

As to what to use:

AFAIK, the English common's were using Bills, Spears, Glaives and Pole axes, with only a few other weapons seen. Halberds never seemed to appear. The Knights in England were prefering Pole axes (of many forms) and Awlspeice (sp?) over most of the other weapons.

The French apparently favoured the Glaive, while the Halberd was more popular in central Europe. The Italians had their own version of the bill (called a Roncone) and Eastern Europe were playing with the Bardisch. Obviously, England is my primary area of interest.

Natrually, the shape of these weapons varies over time and many don't appear until the 14th C and are replaced in the 16th C.

I didn't know that the Lang-de-beuf appeared that early.

Given the amount of agreement in the posts above, it shouldn't be hard for your to make a choice. I would support G32b's assertion that you should buy the best that you can. That way you won't be cringing at it later.

Best wishes.


Colin

"May 'Blood, blood, blood' be your motto!"

Image

Marcus Woodhouse
Absolute Wizard
Posts: 3337
Joined: Sat Feb 18, 2006 8:35 pm

Postby Marcus Woodhouse » Wed Jun 10, 2009 4:05 pm

I've had another look at the Italian bill in the Leeds Armouries and at others in pictures like the Rout of San Romaneo and ones that protray Crusaders embarking for Jerusalem and storming the city in the styles and armour of Venetian soldiery of the 1480/90's and their bills look much longer and slimmer than the one Felix shows.
A lot of them are carrying big oval sheilds as well.
Good to see that the Italians had already perfected the use of cannon by 1099, they just kept very quiet about it.


OSTENDE MIHI PECUNIAM!

User avatar
Sir Thomas Hylton
Posts: 291
Joined: Tue May 26, 2009 10:40 am
Location: NR Burton upon Trent
Contact:

Postby Sir Thomas Hylton » Wed Jun 10, 2009 5:00 pm

Marcus Woodhouse wrote:I've had another look at the Italian bill in the Leeds Armouries and at others in pictures like the Rout of San Romaneo and ones that protray Crusaders embarking for Jerusalem and storming the city in the styles and armour of Venetian soldiery of the 1480/90's and their bills look much longer and slimmer than the one Felix shows.
A lot of them are carrying big oval sheilds as well.
Good to see that the Italians had already perfected the use of cannon by 1099, they just kept very quiet about it.


And just imagine if they'd perfected it 33 years earlier & the Normans had found out about it, what a difference that would have made to needlepoint :shock: :shock: :shock: & other things. :?



User avatar
Felix
Posts: 58
Joined: Sun Nov 12, 2006 1:17 pm

Postby Felix » Wed Jun 10, 2009 9:08 pm

Colin Middleton wrote:
Marcus Woodhouse wrote:For instance there is nothing in Talhoffen about pulling a blow so you only hit an opponent lightly.


I disagree. I'm pretty sure that if you read it carefully, you'll find that it says "Hit your opponent as hard as you can, to better kill him in one blow". :wink:


Isn´t that exactly what Marcus said?! :wink:

The Bill or Roncone, both came from the agricultural tool. The Roncone in Italy leads back to the Latin term for clearing, which is roncare. Maybe the tool was similar in both countries. I have seen several agircultural pieces in Italy that were of course much less refined as a later weapon. The piece I showed is designed after a piece that is from 14th cent Italy as written in Ospreys Italian Militiaman.
And referring to Marcus statemant of the longer an slimmer Italian Roncone, Indeed this seemed to have been the evolution during the 100 years until the late 15th early 16th cent. When you look at the drawings of Halperberds for instance in Wagners book, you will see the same tendency. Earlier versions seem to be more correlated in shape to the agricultural tool they developed from, to become the much more specialised weapons of later centuries.
Just see the picture from Italian Militiaman for reference.
Attachments
HPIM9961.JPG



Marcus Woodhouse
Absolute Wizard
Posts: 3337
Joined: Sat Feb 18, 2006 8:35 pm

Postby Marcus Woodhouse » Wed Jun 10, 2009 9:45 pm

That's right it looks like a different fish to the ones I'm on about.

That looks much more tasty then the later ones. I don't know why they become so elongated and thin.

Any ideas anyone?


OSTENDE MIHI PECUNIAM!

User avatar
narvek
Posts: 456
Joined: Wed Jul 25, 2007 11:55 am
Location: Prague, Czech Rep.
Contact:

Postby narvek » Wed Jun 10, 2009 10:21 pm

Evolution and spread of plate armour? This kind of weapon would be fairly (not totaly) useless against plate armour, but very efective against jacks/maille...


Eurototty reporting in for duty!

User avatar
Colin Middleton
Absolute Wizard
Posts: 2037
Joined: Thu Aug 11, 2005 12:31 pm
Location: Sheffield
Contact:

Postby Colin Middleton » Thu Jun 11, 2009 1:04 pm

Perhaps an early version of the pike concept?

That or evolution of tactics. I seem to recall that the Italians developed warfare to such a hight degree that they were able to fight battles without anybody getting hurt!


Colin

"May 'Blood, blood, blood' be your motto!"

Image

Marcus Woodhouse
Absolute Wizard
Posts: 3337
Joined: Sat Feb 18, 2006 8:35 pm

Postby Marcus Woodhouse » Thu Jun 11, 2009 1:25 pm

Don't believe everything that Maceivelli wrote, bear in mind he was decrying the fact that the Italians could not come to terms in order to drive out the French and was bitter and twisted at being ousted from Florence.
he is often quoted for saying that at one battle in 1442 only two horses and one man were killed and that was when the man fell off his horse. Actually they estimate that about 160 died in the battle out of a force of around 1000, so thats quite high in my opinon.
If italain soldiers and commanders were so bad or cowardly why were they employed by everyone from Warwick (who had an italian master gunner in the 1460's), the Dukes of Burgundy, the Kings of France, Norway and Sweden, the Holy Roman Emperor and the Ottoman Emperor?
Now Italian troops did have a tendency so surrender or flee if they lost their commander, after all once he was dead they had no loyalty to him (though the Pisians and Mantuans often fought to the death, especially if ranged against one another), but that is not unique to them.
The condortiore are remembered for being unable to fend off the Franco-Swiss armies of the late 15th/early 16th centuries but they were up against the best cavalry and infantary in the world and somewhat knackered fromyears of fighting the Turks, the Austrians, the Hungarians, the HRE and each other.
And a Venitian army trounced the HRE in the 1480's wiping out his Swiss contingent in the process.
As for their reputation for switching sides, a conductorie (captain) was almost always loyal to the death to his employer. In 99% of the instances in which they switched sides it was at the behest of their employer.
:evil:


OSTENDE MIHI PECUNIAM!


Return to “1100-1500”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests