A Resource for Historic Arms and Armour Collectors
Angus Trim AT1433 Type XVIa Warsword
A hands-on review by Bill Grandy
Warfare in the 14th century is famous for the rise of armor that was reinforced with plate. As time went on, this armor became more and more protective, eventually leading to full harnesses that covered the entire body. It was the development of this heavy protection that led to the evolution of swords that tapered to assist the weapon to thrust into the exposed areas of plate armor.
Despite the rise of plate, the typical soldier was not heavily armored, and thus the sword still needed to be efficient cutters. Sword makers strived to find a balance between both the cut and thrust.
Angus "Gus" Trim, famed maker of high performance modern swords, has created the AT1433 based off of the Ewart Oakeshott Type XVIa design. It is decidedly a sword of war, meant to capture the essence of a 14th century weapon intended for the battlefield.
Measurements and Specifications:
Replica created by Angus Trim Swords of The Pacific Northwest.
This is a sword that screams "chopper". As a person who has a preference towards "finesse" blades, I still have to admit a certain primal satisfaction when cutting with this monster. While the tapered point could certainly deal with some of the narrow openings of plate armor, hefting this sword will immediately tell you that it is made for powerful chopping blows. This does not mean that the sword is overweight. It is a reasonably hefty sword due to its slightly forward balance, but in this sense, the word "hefty" is a positive one. There is a devastating blade presence that would be frightening to attempt to stop and could likely crush a person underneath mail and padding. Despite the assertion that it is a heavy blade, it is not so heavy as to impede the user from recovering into guard and defending.
Despite the wideness of the blade, the cross-section becomes thinner as it gets closer to the tip, which makes for an effective cutter. At the same time, the last portion after the fuller ends is of a stiff diamond cross-section, aiding a solid thrust. A large wheel pommel balances its powerful broad blade. Some practitioners prefer to grip the pommel when making cuts, but the pommel of this sword is far too large for that kind of use. Even though it is large, it is not at all obtrusive, and there are many examples of swords with large pommels such as this, so it is not at all out of place.
I would not choose this sword for the purpose of an unarmored duel where I would need to rely much more on speed than power. That is not to say this is at all a slow and brutish sword, simply that it is not the best suited sword for that scenario. On the other hand, on the battlefield is where this type of weapon would shine. In a situation where group tactics will determine the outcome, different warriors needed different tools to work together. This sword would fit in for heavy-handed strikes to open up polearm formations and for fighting against a variety of armor types, from padded jacks to mail to coat of plates.
Fit and Finish
The steel components of this sword have a brushed satin finish that is overall pleasing, even if showing evidence of machining. As Angus Trim plainly admits, his swords are intended for performance over good looks. Still, it is an attractive sword. The black leather over cord grip is very well executed, and gives a strong historical appeal to a modern-made piece. It feels very comfortable in the hands. The hilt is held together by Angus Trim's trademark pommel nut, which allows the grip to be tightened should it ever come loose.
This offering from Angus "Gus" Trim is a powerful cutting sword that would have proven its worth on the field of war where armor was in its transition. While slightly slower on the recovery than some other lighter swords, it makes up for that with sheer power and terrible blows. While the modern market tends to have a preference for lighter blades, it cannot be overlooked that heavier swords such as this one were used on the medieval battlefield, and when one holds this piece and gets a feeling for just how destructive it is, it is understandable why.
About the Author
Bill Grandy is an instructor of Historical European Swordsmanship and sport fencing at the Virginia Academy of Fencing. He has held a strong passion (obsession?) for swords and swordsmanship for as long as he can remember. He admits that this passion comes from a youth spent playing Dungeons and Dragons, but he'll only admit that if there are no girls around.
Photographer: Bill Grandy