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A. Spanjer




Location: USA
Joined: 26 Apr 2009

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PostPosted: Thu 13 Oct, 2011 5:59 pm    Post subject: Naval Small Arms in the Early-Mid 17th Century         Reply with quote

Does anyone know what sort of small arms would have been used aboard ships during the Thirty Years War and the English Civil War?

I'm looking for general information and specific examples, especially images.


Thanks to all!

Na sir 's na seachain an cath.
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A. Spanjer




Location: USA
Joined: 26 Apr 2009

Posts: 242

PostPosted: Sun 16 Oct, 2011 12:23 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Okay, I'll try some more specific questions.

Did cutlasses exist during this time, or would other cutting swords like falchions, side swords or other straight bladed swords have been more common? Were rapiers used on board ships?

About firearms, were muskets and pistols used on board ships during this period very much? Would they have been matchlock or would wheel-lock and flintlock have been more common at sea?


Again, thanks for the help!

Na sir 's na seachain an cath.
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Jean Thibodeau




Location: Montreal,Quebec,Canada
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PostPosted: Sun 16 Oct, 2011 7:41 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Not sure to what degree there would have been uniform issue " naval " small arms at this period that would differ significantly from the small arms used on land ?

Not very helpful for you but maybe " Bumping up this Topic " will attract actual knowledge and comments by others ?

As far as Captains, ship's officers or other social elites part of the crew or on board defence force: Swords and pistols might be privately owned and not follow an official pattern.

Unfortunately just based on period movies or T.V. series like the " Horatio Hornblower " the common sailor would not have access to weapons with them being issued just before action to either board or repel boarders from arms lockers and these would include multiple pistols ( no time to reload when boarding, so having more than one pistol would be useful ), boarding axes pikes, naval dirks and cutlasses.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hornblower_(TV_series)

Now that is late 18th early 19th centuries, around 1620 or so ships armament in small arms might vary according to the tastes and temperament of individual captains of ships rather than issue weapons approved by the Admiralty ? ( But just guessing here. Wink Big Grin ).

If I got it all wrong, this might motivate someone to post. Wink Laughing Out Loud

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




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PostPosted: Sun 16 Oct, 2011 8:04 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I think there was little if any standardization in 17th century navies. Most probably used short bladed versions of contemporary military swords like mortuarys and walloons.

You might find something in one of the Osprey type books

There were definitely some 17th century hangers which would have been useful naval weapons. You can see a few photos of these 17th century swords in George Neumann's, Swords and Blades of the American Revolution

It is likely that some of the hangers made at Hounslow ended up on board ships.

Also - look Here - wrong side of the century, but you get the idea.

Or Here

Some of these look a lot like modified hunting swords.
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