Albion Armorers Soldat Grosse Messer
Original: German, 15th-16th century
History tells us that large cutting knives were found as both military and civilian sidearms all across Europe. In German-speaking areas, these large knives were called grosse messer
, literally translating to "great knife". The Soldat is an example of a classic form shown in historical artwork and such manuals of the fighting arts as the fechtbuch
illustrated by Albrecht Dürer.
At first glance, many might look at a weapon like the Soldat and think of it is as merely a crude chopping weapon or perhaps imagine it as unwieldy and difficult to control. Both assumptions would be wrong. This weapon has subtlety both in its aesthetic details and in its handling characteristics. The design properties have been given a great amount of thought to carefully control the distribution of mass. This care has created a nimble weapon that is easy to control yet one that also delivers devastating power to its target.
The blade has a thin wedge-shaped cross-section with an aggressively acute angle to its main edge bevel. This results in a design that produces very little resistance in the cut. The last third of its length is also sharpened on the false edge. The clipped tip-section is acutely pointed and when combined with the weapon's dynamics, it is easy to create precise slashing cuts with responsive recovery.
The hilt is comprised of beautiful walnut grip slabs secured to the tang with tubular rivets. The pommel cap and cross-guard are both representative of common historical styles. There is a lug, or nagel
, extending from the guard serving the purpose of providing protection to the knuckles. It extends all the way through the cross-guard and is riveted in place.
Created en suite
to the weapon is a set comprised of a by-knife and pricker created by Leo "Tod" Todeschini at Tod's Stuff
. Both accompanying pieces have integral bolsters and are made with riveted walnut grip slabs to compliment the Soldat. The by-knife is 6" long and the pricker is 4 5/8" long.
The whole package is completed with a custom-made scabbard made by Christian Fletcher
. It has a wood core, dark red leather covering, a pocket for the by-knife and pricker, and an ornate chape with a small finial.
Overall length: 29.5"
Weight: 2.1 pounds
Width of guard: 6.5"
Blade: 24.25" long; 1.75" wide at base
Grip and pommel: 4.625" long
Point of Balance (PoB): 4" from guard
Center of Percussion (CoP): ~16" from guard
Maker: Albion Armorers