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Luka Borscak




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PostPosted: Sat 25 Aug, 2012 5:59 am    Post subject: Boarding ships and defending decks with two handers?         Reply with quote

I often read how short polearms like half pikes and two handed axes are useful weapons for boarding enemy ships and defending decks. Is there literary or pictorial evidence of using two handers for that job? Would Knights of St. John, Iberian, Italian or German soldiers used on ships use two handers during 16th century especially for fighting against Turks or Berber pirates? How about at Lepanto?
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Daniel Wallace




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PostPosted: Sat 25 Aug, 2012 11:23 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

the memorial has rule XI titled galley gangway. it seems to be composed of horizontal cuts from about shoulder hight so you don't clip someone rowing the boat. two handers seem to be something more of a elite weapon. the cost of one vs a pole arm is probably 3 times as much, so i'd gamble you'd only find someone defending a boat with a two hander that's got a vip on board. but i don't really have evidence to back up that claim, it's an assumption of sorts.
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Craig Johnson
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PostPosted: Sat 25 Aug, 2012 3:38 pm    Post subject: Two Hander on Ship         Reply with quote

Hi Luka

The guys to ask would be the Maritime Combat group they would probably have any info on shorter pikes and boarding hooks and the like.

As for the 16th C material I would say in the case of galleys it would have been a weapon of choice. If I remember clearly, getting into a dodgy area here Eek! , i think the epic painting done of Lepanto shows them being used.

Best
Craig
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Timo Nieminen




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PostPosted: Sat 25 Aug, 2012 5:00 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Half-pikes work well with boarding nets. "Boarding nets" being the anti-boarding netting used to stop boarders getting onto your ship. So one sees half-pikes with slim heads, no projections to catch on the netting. But half-pikes aren't exactly short polearms, just shorter than full-length pikes. So about the length of "normal" polearms. The defensive value is being able to strike through your own nets, while the would-be boarders are still on the other side.
"In addition to being efficient, all pole arms were quite nice to look at." - Cherney Berg, A hideous history of weapons, Collier 1963.
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Neil Melville




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PostPosted: Sun 26 Aug, 2012 6:10 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The Scottish chronicler, Lindsay of Pitscottie, in the reign of James IV (late 15th century- early 16th) describes a couple of occasions when 2-handed swords were used on board ship, though it is not clear whether they are to be used in boarding the enemy ship or in repelling enemy boarders. There is also a good picture of a 2-handed sword being wielded on board ship in a 15th cent. Froissart manuscript illumination of the battle of Sluys. I don't have the refs to hand just now but can find them if you want.
Neil

N Melville
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Kurt Scholz





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PostPosted: Sun 26 Aug, 2012 12:06 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

http://www.myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t=25425
This threat might help you. It is about the montante, the Iberian version of a twohanded sword used by Portuguese professional marines for example to defend the ship, even if unprepared and outnumbered. Scroll to the second post by Vincent C.
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Luka Borscak




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PostPosted: Sun 26 Aug, 2012 5:16 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks guys! Scenes like that with two brother wielding montantes on the deck agains pirates are exactly what I was looking for.
Neil, I would be interested in what troops exactly wielded two handers on boats in that Scottish chronicle, Scottish, English, others?
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Neil Melville




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PostPosted: Tue 28 Aug, 2012 8:34 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Luka, here's the quotation I referred to. Andrew Wood is a Scot, as are his crew presumably. Pitscottie doesn't say whether the English crew wielded 2-handers as well. I hope you can cope with the old Scots vocabulary!
The Scots 16th century chronicler, Robert Lindsay of Pitscottie, in his account of the reign of James IV, describes a naval encounter in the Firth of Forth between Sir Andrew Wood and an English captain called Stephen Bull in 1489: ' Captane Wood exhorted his men to battell ..."sett yourselffis in ordour ...and let your gunes and crosbowis be readie. Bot above all use the fire ballis weill in the topis of the schipes, and let us keip our overloftis with tua handit swordis, and everie guid fellow doe and remember on the weilfair of the realme and his awin honour." In August 1490 a similar encounter occurred between the same two captains, and similar instructions were given (unless this is an alternative description of the same event retailed from a different manuscript):" lat the gounnaris chairge thair artaillze and the crocebowis and make thame redy, with thair lyme pottis and fyre ballis in our toppis and two handit swordis in zour for-rowmes". Whether these two-handed swordsmen in the fo'castle were to prevent the enemy from boarding (like those defending fortifications) or were themselves to board the enemy is not clear, though the first quotation above implies the former.
Good luck,
Neil

N Melville
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Luka Borscak




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PostPosted: Fri 31 Aug, 2012 5:23 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Interesting. Especially that there are more than one two hander on the boat... But, what kind of two handers would Scots use at the end of the 15th century?
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Neil Melville




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PostPosted: Sat 01 Sep, 2012 9:30 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

what kind of two handers would Scots use at the end of the 15th century?

Probably not the well-known Highland 2-handers with angled quillons and 4-foil terminals since our earliest representation (on a gravestone) is dated 1495. So perhaps straight or slightly tapered blade, no parrying lugs, straight plain crossguard, with maybe simple ball terminals, no side rings; ball pommel (or pear-shaped or 'fishtail'), around 150cm overall. But this is all guesswork since no Scottish 2-handers survive from this early. Another possibility is a larger version of the hand-and-a-half Scots sword in Glasgow museum (the 'Greenlaw' sword) with angled quillons and spatulate terminals, similar to many swords depicted on the West Highland gravestones.
Neil

N Melville
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Christian G. Cameron




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PostPosted: Thu 06 Sep, 2012 2:16 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
This rule is called Galley Gangway, and you
do it giving forward a horizontal talho while
standing still, and another putting in the right foot
stopping with the montante in front of the face
with the feet in the same position as at the start of
the rule. Next you will give a horizontal revez
while standing still, and another putting in the
right foot. Then with the left foot forward, you
will ready a thrust on the right shoulder, that you
will have to give moving the right foot along the
gangway, such that you end up facing the other
direction, and you will start the rule in the
opposite direction.


http://www.oakeshott.org/Article.html

Also worth looking at this...
http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=101501...mp;theater
Pardon my emendations from a past argument... Happy

Christian G. Cameron

Qui plus fait, miex vault

www.hippeis.com
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Steve Hick




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PostPosted: Fri 14 Sep, 2012 6:01 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Actually, Diogo Gomes de Figueyerdo has two gangway plays, simple and composed, and Godinho has a few variations on gangway plays in his work, which is in preparation.

We also have a historical incident recorded of some folks fending off a boarding party of Pirates in the Gulf of Siam -- this will accompany the latter item.

Steve

Steve Hick
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Elling Polden




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PostPosted: Sun 16 Sep, 2012 4:40 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Timo Nieminen wrote:
Half-pikes work well with boarding nets. "Boarding nets" being the anti-boarding netting used to stop boarders getting onto your ship. So one sees half-pikes with slim heads, no projections to catch on the netting. But half-pikes aren't exactly short polearms, just shorter than full-length pikes. So about the length of "normal" polearms. The defensive value is being able to strike through your own nets, while the would-be boarders are still on the other side.


It seems to me that by the renaisance, the word "pike" was used to describe any kind of spear., with the "old style" 2.5-3m spear called "Half pikes". The later, 18th century boarding pikes that I've seen are in the 2m range.
Correct me if I'm wrong, I would like to hear if anyone has references to the word "spear" in renaisance.

"this [fight] looks curious, almost like a game. See, they are looking around them before they fall, to find a dry spot to fall on, or they are falling on their shields. Can you see blood on their cloths and weapons? No. This must be trickery."
-Reidar Sendeman, from King Sverre's Saga, 1201
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Timo Nieminen




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PostPosted: Sun 16 Sep, 2012 5:56 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

In English, for naval usage, it's pretty consistent, with half-pike being about 8', 1/4 pike about 4', etc. This is a little short compared to non-naval pikes, maybe, but it seems standard terminology for 19th century onwards. Non-English, and non-naval, I don't know.
"In addition to being efficient, all pole arms were quite nice to look at." - Cherney Berg, A hideous history of weapons, Collier 1963.
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