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Lafayette C Curtis




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PostPosted: Fri 15 Feb, 2008 5:07 am    Post subject: Battlefield utility (if any) of the sword-and-dagger style?         Reply with quote

How much evidence (if any) do we have of the sword-and-dagger style being used on the battlefield? The only instance I can recall off the top of my head is Smythe's injuction that pikemen should be able to draw and fight with their swords and daggers simultaneously, but this evidence is basically theoretical in nature and I don't know whether this suggestion was ever really put to practice in a massed combat situation.

Can anybody help me with this? At the moment I'm leaning towards the conclusion that sword-and-dagger is simply not a battlefield swordsmanship style, but I'd be glad if anybody can prove me wrong.
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Max Maydanik




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PostPosted: Fri 15 Feb, 2008 9:42 am    Post subject: Re: Battlefield utility (if any) of the sword-and-dagger sty         Reply with quote

Unfortunately I cannot give you any specific references but I heard from many sources that rondel was a typical part of the weapon's collection a knight would carry into a battle.
When you close in with your opponent in the grapple distance, you cannot use your sword very effectively because there is no space to perform a proper thrust or a cut. Sure, you can pommel them in the face or go for the disarm or simply break the distance, but rondel gives you an option to decisively finish a battle right there.

Arms&Armor website says about rondel: "The side arm of the knights who fought the battles of Crecy, Poitiers, and Agincourt. " Now I believe, the rondel that they pictured there is a civilian version. The military rondel had a heavier triangle blade and did not have any sharp edges - it was only a trusting weapon that had a good chance of penetrating riveted chain mail.

- What do you prefer: a reconstruction of historical fencing or a real swordfight?
- Historical reconstruction of course. In the real swordfight, they just look at each other, mumble something and then ..a deathblow.
And in a historical reconstruction you have to think, plan your strategy and count points.
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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Fri 15 Feb, 2008 10:38 am    Post subject: Re: Battlefield utility (if any) of the sword-and-dagger sty         Reply with quote

Max Maydanik wrote:
Unfortunately I cannot give you any specific references but I heard from many sources that rondel was a typical part of the weapon's collection a knight would carry into a battle.
When you close in with your opponent in the grapple distance, you cannot use your sword very effectively because there is no space to perform a proper thrust or a cut. Sure, you can pommel them in the face or go for the disarm or simply break the distance, but rondel gives you an option to decisively finish a battle right there.

Arms&Armor website says about rondel: "The side arm of the knights who fought the battles of Crecy, Poitiers, and Agincourt. " Now I believe, the rondel that they pictured there is a civilian version. The military rondel had a heavier triangle blade and did not have any sharp edges - it was only a trusting weapon that had a good chance of penetrating riveted chain mail.


A dagger of some kind seems to have been common with knights, but it was not always a rondel dagger. Ballock daggers, quillon daggers, baselards, and other forms were known as well. Many daggers of war had an edge (sometimes two). Edgeless blades seem to have been less common. A typical single-edged blade is triangular in section.

The blade just need to be stiff enough for thrusting. Arms & Armor's rondel dagger would be very appropriate on the battlefield. The A&A rondel dagger's blade is about a quarter of an inch thick at the base. Our reviewer thrust it repeatedly into a wood plank with no damage.

Military rondels (and military daggers in general) could indeed be sharp; in fact, one could make a strong case that sharp bladed military daggers were more common than edgeless ones.

Of course, this says nothing of their usage. Happy Most people seem to think they were relegated to dispatching people or to pretty desperate circumstances.

Happy

ChadA

http://chadarnow.com/


Last edited by Chad Arnow on Fri 15 Feb, 2008 12:01 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Benjamin H. Abbott




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PostPosted: Fri 15 Feb, 2008 10:47 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I doubt Smythe's instructions came from nowhere. We know various pikemen carried both swords and dagger. Are we sure they didn't use them together?

Another example is Francisco Pizarro fighting with sword and dagger at the Battle of Cajamarca. Of course, that was more of a massacre than a battle.
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Max von Bargen




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PostPosted: Fri 15 Feb, 2008 2:20 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I would think that daggers would be used for extremely close-in fighting, as in, when it's too close to use a sword (such as two men in plate armour that are grappling, for instance). They would therefore be an essential piece of military equipment, but I have no evidence to support or deny the theory of using daggers and swords simultaneously save my own experiments.

I have tried using a medieval-style sword with a dagger, and the dagger's reach is tiny compared to that of a sword. It would seem mainly useful for parrying, as indeed daggers sometimes were when dueling with rapiers. If you're going to be in a battlefield situation and need something to parry with, why not just use a shield?
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Bill Tsafa




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PostPosted: Sat 16 Feb, 2008 12:23 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It is my gut feeling that the sword/dagger combination would be a backup in the event that the shield strapping or shield broke. I suspect shields broke more then any other weapon. Getting a replacement shield in the battle might be hard. My first instinct would be to look around on the ground for a shield or a second sword since I can fight with either hand. But even if a person has not trained two-sword they can still block cuts with it. Essentially they would be using it as shield. If their are no swords to be found, then pulling a dagger would be the only option left. I still think it might be better to block with the sword, which has more mass, and stab the face with the dagger. I say face, because I don't think a dagger will even go through leather, so you need an unarmored area. Sorry, I have no historical basis for this. Its just what I would do if my shield broke.

In a civilian conflict with rapiers, daggers are great parry weapon. You use it as a windshield wiper parrying away from your body and you can thrust with it if you get in close.

No athlete/youth can fight tenaciously who has never received any blows: he must see his blood flow and hear his teeth crack... then he will be ready for battle.
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Benjamin H. Abbott




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PostPosted: Sun 17 Feb, 2008 4:32 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
It would seem mainly useful for parrying, as indeed daggers sometimes were when dueling with rapiers.


Smythe wanted pikemen to use their daggers to stab underneath their foes' armor and strike flesh.
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