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Christopher VaughnStrever




Location: San Antonio, TX
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PostPosted: Fri 07 Aug, 2009 12:24 pm    Post subject: The point of a sword         Reply with quote

I have yet to become a student of learning to fight properly with a sword. So my knowledge on the subject is rather quite limited. I have also been looking up old threads on ways to effectivly to kill/wound a knight in a full suit of armour. That is not the discussion I would like this thread to be about.

This is the general conclussion i have found on the other threads... The effective way for a fully armoured knight to utilize a sword to kill another fully armoured knight would be to thrust the sword through the plates and/or thrust the sword into a voider of maile and break the rings open and stab the person.

The question I pose now is... Of course not every thrust will hit its intended target. So how much damage would the tip of a sword incur from missing the target? To hone in on the question, would we be talking about a single battle? or two, three battles? With half-swording being common for added accuracy, wouldn't the point of the sword have to be kept up to penetrate the padding (Gambeson, Arming Jacket/vest) under the armor. Since armor was designed to cause blows to glance off of the armor, would the tip of a sword really be worn down at all? How much abuse can the tip of a sword take until repairs are need?

And then this brings us to the next point (No pun intended) This would make great since to have a war hammer and/or mace just in case your sword were damaged or some of the sort.

Experience and learning from such defines maturity, not a number of age
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Felix R.




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PostPosted: Fri 07 Aug, 2009 1:11 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Actually I didnīt try my Albion Fiore (The best "antiarmour" sword in my collection) against composite armour until now. I once scrached the concrete flod and the tip lost about 5mm in length )on my new sword Eek!( but I managed to rework it quite easily.

For the actual "kill", please consider that not only the sword but the whole armoured opponent is the weapon. There are so many ways to cause the other guy harm despite the sword. So maybe after throwing him to the ground using halfswording techniquese "Fioresque", you can finish him of with you basilardo or an armoured elbow in the face.


Last edited by Felix R. on Fri 07 Aug, 2009 1:36 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Vincent Le Chevalier




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PostPosted: Fri 07 Aug, 2009 1:30 pm    Post subject: Re: The point of a sword         Reply with quote

Christopher VaughnStrever wrote:
And then this brings us to the next point (No pun intended) This would make great since to have a war hammer and/or mace just in case your sword were damaged or some of the sort.

Actually it might have been the other way around, have a sword in case your war hammer or mace gets damaged Happy I don't know how much damage halfswording causes to the tip of the sword, but I think we should not overestimate the probably of getting down to this during a battle. The sword was not the antiarmour weapon of choice in a battle, even though it can be used as one, in my opinion.

By the way, do we have any pictorial evidence of halfswording during battles?

--
Vincent
Ensis Sub Caelo
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Samuel Bena




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PostPosted: Fri 07 Aug, 2009 3:29 pm    Post subject: Re: The point of a sword         Reply with quote

Vincent Le Chevalier wrote:

By the way, do we have any pictorial evidence of halfswording during battles?


There are bits and pieces here and there but im guessing not much. One example is on ARMA website http://www.thearma.org/arttalk/at61.htm
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Maurizio D'Angelo




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PostPosted: Fri 07 Aug, 2009 7:10 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

One with the crown on the head, was certainly crazy. Eek!
I read somewhere that after a certain period (1500) were hardened armor ...
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Jim Mearkle




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PostPosted: Fri 07 Aug, 2009 8:02 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I suspect more often than not, a thrust to plate armor would glance off without doing a lot of damage to either one. It would take a near-perpendicular hit or a thrust to one of the few concave areas to avoid skipping off.
Jim
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Justin King
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PostPosted: Sat 08 Aug, 2009 6:54 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It would depend a lot on the shape and hardness of the blade, which upon the evidence would vary a great deal. With a very acute point or a softer blade this would obviously be more of an issue.
My guess is that historical users would have taken a pragmatic approach, if the tip was damaged too easily they would have had it reduced to a more functional geometry during resharpening. In any event a typical wear/sharpening pattern would be that as the tip became more worn and was re-sharpened the geometry would gradually become more obtuse, creating a more robust tip.
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J.D. Crawford




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PostPosted: Sat 08 Aug, 2009 7:15 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Although period art shows men in full plate armor fighting with swords, I believe those images are romanticized. I can accurately thrust at something the size of a quarter when it is standing still, but once it starts moving its a different ball game. IMHO, in battle conditions, it would really take a lucky thrust to hit the right spot and do damage. It would be more effective for fully armored knights and men-at-arms to use hammers / maces / axes as their main arms against each other and then use swords as a back-up, e.g., when the lines broke and it came time to mop up the lightly armored archers and back-up infantry in the remaining chaos, or to defend themselves against civilians armored with pole arms and the like.

To make a modern day analogy, tanks use their main guns against other tanks, but they use machine guns against infantry. History has shown that tanks without machine guns (like the German Ferdinand / Elefant in WW2) were vulnerable to infantry.

That's not claim that people didn't try doing this - otherwise there would not have been type XVII swords. However I think this was a failed experiment in the face of plate armor development, i.e., pretty soon Knights were back to cut-and-thrust weapons, likely for the reasons cited above.

That's just an opinion based on zero practical experience, I'm happy to be proven wrong.
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Justin King
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PostPosted: Sat 08 Aug, 2009 7:41 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

J.D. Crawford wrote:
Although period art shows men in full plate armor fighting with swords, I believe those images are romanticized. I can accurately thrust at something the size of a quarter when it is standing still, but once it starts moving its a different ball game. IMHO, in battle conditions, it would really take a lucky thrust to hit the right spot and do damage. It would be more effective for fully armored knights and men-at-arms to use hammers / maces / axes as their main arms against each other and then use swords as a back-up, e.g., when the lines broke and it came time to mop up the lightly armored archers and back-up infantry in the remaining chaos, or to defend themselves against civilians armored with pole arms and the like.

To make a modern day analogy, tanks use their main guns against other tanks, but they use machine guns against infantry. History has shown that tanks without machine guns (like the German Ferdinand / Elefant in WW2) were vulnerable to infantry.

That's not claim that people didn't try doing this - otherwise there would not have been type XVII swords. However I think this was a failed experiment in the face of plate armor development, i.e., pretty soon Knights were back to cut-and-thrust weapons, likely for the reasons cited above.

That's just an opinion based on zero practical experience, I'm happy to be proven wrong.


I agree in the main. Personally I think that two armored opponents facing each other with swords would be something that might be seen in a tournament or duel more often than on a battlefield, although even during a battle, if two knights engagaed each other individually, capture and ransom of the loser may be preferable to both parties, than a lethal engagement.
I think that in the case that both were intent on killing the other, and had closed to sword/half-swording distance, one or both would likely draw a dagger and try to grapple and immobilize their opponent, while finding a joint to worm the dagger into. Having both hands on your weapon, or having a longer weapon which your opponent can get past the tip of, is a disadvantage at this point, IMO.
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Maurizio D'Angelo




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PostPosted: Sun 09 Aug, 2009 5:09 am    Post subject: Re: The point of a sword         Reply with quote

Vincent Le Chevalier wrote:

By the way, do we have any pictorial evidence of halfswording during battles?



hi Vincent,
I found this photo on my book.
I apologize for the poor quality of light.
Maurizio



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