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George Hill




Location: Atlanta Ga
Joined: 16 May 2005

Posts: 614

PostPosted: Sat 02 May, 2009 6:33 pm    Post subject: Halberd shapes... ?         Reply with quote

Hello everyone.

I've been thinking a bit lately about Halberds. Middle period ones, not the early ones or the late ones, and I was thinking about how sometimes the top spike is inline with the shaft, and sometimes it's quite a bit offset.

Putting it inline with the shaft seems normal enough, does anyone know why they would offset it instead? That is as in this replica by AA, http://www.arms-n-armor.com/custom927.html but I've seen some examples online where the offset is even more dramatic.

The other thing I was wondering on is the slope of the blade. Sometims you see them canted like in the above example. Does anyone think this would have much advantage over straight, or was it just fashion?

Here's another example of an offest topspike from Lutel
http://www.lutel.cz/image.php?id=20021&s=...=20021.jpg

BTW, does anyone know of many other people making Halberds these days?

To abandon your shield is the basest of crimes. - --Tacitus on Germania
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Joe Fults




Location: Midwest
Joined: 02 Sep 2003

Posts: 3,544

PostPosted: Sat 02 May, 2009 7:07 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Windlass plops some out from time to time that are not really all that great.

Arma Bohemia from CZK does them from time to time.

Albion has produced some (custom?).

A number of places out of the UK specifically and Europe in general (I assume because there is a robust re-enactment market). By-the-sword imports models from several sources (not sure who the sources always are but most likely CZK).

The A&A reproduction that you referenced hangs on the wall in my home office. I can tell you its made the way it is because the offset and slant were a common trait in a mix of photos of historical pieces (from the myArmoury photo galleries) that we referenced during the planning phase of the project. Unfortunately I can't tell you if any of the features serve a special purpose. I think the slope of the blade helps focus force cutting but that is speculation based on my play only.

"Our life is what our thoughts make it"
-Marcus Aurelius

"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable."
-John F. Kennedy
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Joe Fults




Location: Midwest
Joined: 02 Sep 2003

Posts: 3,544

PostPosted: Sat 02 May, 2009 7:08 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Perhaps one of the guys over at A&A has better insight and will stumble on this thread?
"Our life is what our thoughts make it"
-Marcus Aurelius

"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable."
-John F. Kennedy
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Jean Thibodeau




Location: Montreal,Quebec,Canada
Joined: 15 Mar 2004
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PostPosted: Sat 02 May, 2009 10:51 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Joe Fults wrote:
Windlass plops some out from time to time that are not really all that great.

Arma Bohemia from CZK does them from time to time.

Albion has produced some (custom?).

A number of places out of the UK specifically and Europe in general (I assume because there is a robust re-enactment market). By-the-sword imports models from several sources (not sure who the sources always are but most likely CZK).

The A&A reproduction that you referenced hangs on the wall in my home office. I can tell you its made the way it is because the offset and slant were a common trait in a mix of photos of historical pieces (from the myArmoury photo galleries) that we referenced during the planning phase of the project. Unfortunately I can't tell you if any of the features serve a special purpose. I think the slope of the blade helps focus force cutting but that is speculation based on my play only.


The slope probably causes some slicing action and would also cause a concentration of force to begin the cut with the top
" horn " of the axe part ? ( best guess ).

Also have you noticed that a guillotine blade is also slanted this way and not only chops but slices the neck of the
" user/victim/condemned ". Eek! Laughing Out Loud

You can easily give up your freedom. You have to fight hard to get it back!
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Timo Nieminen




Location: Brisbane, Australia
Joined: 08 May 2009
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Posts: 1,504

PostPosted: Fri 08 May, 2009 8:07 pm    Post subject: Re: Halberd shapes... ?         Reply with quote

George Hill wrote:
Hello everyone.

I've been thinking a bit lately about Halberds. Middle period ones, not the early ones or the late ones, and I was thinking about how sometimes the top spike is inline with the shaft, and sometimes it's quite a bit offset.

Putting it inline with the shaft seems normal enough, does anyone know why they would offset it instead? That is as in this replica by AA, http://www.arms-n-armor.com/custom927.html but I've seen some examples online where the offset is even more dramatic.


It could be done in order to keep the centre-of-mass of the halberd between the point and the grip. The front blade being heavier than the back spike will bring the balance forward of the shaft. Moving the point forwards by the amount in those photos could be just about right to keep the centre of mass right behind the point.

Alas, with only an unmounted GDFB halberd head at hand, I can't check this very well. The GBFB head is also strange, since the point is forward of the socket, but the langets are angled backward so that the point will be in line with the shaft.

Point in-line with the shaft would be stronger, but as long as the weapon can survive being used to cut with the blade, I can't see this making any practical difference. Keeping the centre of mass being the point might reduce the chance of the point sliding when thrusting into armour.
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Ken Nelson




Location: central Wisconsin, USA
Joined: 01 Apr 2007
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PostPosted: Sat 09 May, 2009 7:31 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Greetings,

Just my 2 cents, but I was looking at the heads from a different perspective.

Quote:
've been thinking a bit lately about Halberds. Middle period ones, not the early ones or the late ones, and I was thinking about how sometimes the top spike is inline with the shaft, and sometimes it's quite a bit offset.

Putting it inline with the shaft seems normal enough, does anyone know why they would offset it instead? That is as in this replica by AA, http://www.arms-n-armor.com/custom927.html but I've seen some examples online where the offset is even more dramatic.


I think that the offset may have been put there for expediency. It is simpler for a smith to assemble the head and socket that way. A socket can be welded, with tabs on each side(not difficult especially when working with wrought iron) and then the back spike would be forged and welded, and so would the main head. this way the main head could be made quickly in one piece. if you were to put it inline with the socket you would have to either make three pieces to weld on, or make the head and split it to take the shaft, and then weld two sides on for the socket.

I may be off on this, but when I am in my shop, I look at trying to make forge welds as simple and quick as possible, as it is the most difficult part of a forged piece, and the one where the most can go wrong. A common method of making axes is to make the socket and weld the blade to the tabs, I think it would also be fair to make a halbard this way.

Ken Nelson
Iron Wolf Forge

"Live and learn, or you don't live long" L. Long
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Timo Nieminen




Location: Brisbane, Australia
Joined: 08 May 2009
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Posts: 1,504

PostPosted: Sat 09 May, 2009 2:50 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ken Nelson wrote:
Greetings,

Just my 2 cents, but I was looking at the heads from a different perspective.

Quote:
've been thinking a bit lately about Halberds. Middle period ones, not the early ones or the late ones, and I was thinking about how sometimes the top spike is inline with the shaft, and sometimes it's quite a bit offset.

Putting it inline with the shaft seems normal enough, does anyone know why they would offset it instead? That is as in this replica by AA, http://www.arms-n-armor.com/custom927.html but I've seen some examples online where the offset is even more dramatic.


I think that the offset may have been put there for expediency. It is simpler for a smith to assemble the head and socket that way.


I think that may have been one of the 2 most important reasons, and sometimes the sole reason.

For early halberds, with, e.g., a couple of rings to attach the head, where else would you put the point? (Well, you could put it at the front of the blade, but then you have a Hungarian axe and not a halberd.) The same, for a long socket. Oakeshott, European weapons and armour (p. 46) has a nice "evolutionary sequence" of these, and then shorter-socket types. All very sensible (but there are many exceptions on the very next page, including with point behind the shaft).

Also many examples of the socket angled w.r.t. the langets, which looks like it was done to bring the point in-line, keeping the socket off-line for ease of construction (iirc, the GDFB head still looks a bit funny, but it's the angle of the thrusting spike - I should measure and compare with pics).

A question: the posted examples have a long attachment where the back-spike is joined to the socket. This looks common (but far from universal) in historical examples. Presumably for strength. How important do you think this would be for hitting with the spike? Looks like it might make a big difference if pushing or hooking with it. Is it mostly insurance against defects in the weld making a narrow attachment fail? Any thoughts on this?

I think that the other most important reason would have been fashion. Cost being a big factor in the compromise between these reasons. As long as the weapon doesn't break, the effects on fighting efficiency would have been minor (for both point and blade - we see points forward, in-line, and even behind, and straight blades, convex and concave curved blades, and angled blades). But people will make design tweaks for even tiny expected gains in fighting efficiency (perhaps this is just fashion entering the picture, again).
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Chad Arnow
myArmoury Team


myArmoury Team

PostPosted: Sat 09 May, 2009 7:54 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It seems to be a function of the halberd's evolution. Early halberds simply had an elongated point to the axe blade. The halberd head was mounted to the shaft with two eye sockets. As they developed a few things happened (in no particular order): the eyes merged and became a socket; the elongated point became more defined as a spear/spike point and became more separate from the cutting edge. This meant the spike was usually in "front" of the socket, though not always--some were behind the socket and some were in line with it. The Waldman polearm book notes that generally, the later a halberd, the closer the spike is to being centered over the socket. There are always exceptions.
Happy

ChadA

http://chadarnow.com/
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