Info Favorites Register Log in
myArmoury.com Discussion Forums

Forum index Memberlist Usergroups Spotlight Topics Search
Forum Index > Historical Arms Talk > Type X and Type XIIIb comparison Reply to topic
This is a standard topic  
Author Message
Bryan Heff




Location: Philadelphia
Joined: 04 Mar 2012
Likes: 8 pages

Posts: 358

PostPosted: Sat 10 Aug, 2013 4:42 am    Post subject: Type X and Type XIIIb comparison         Reply with quote

I was struck by the overall similarity according to Oakeshott's typology these 2 blade types have in terms of the blade and its main function, cutting.

Type X
Blade length - 31-33 inches
Fuller - Nearly full blade length
Cross section - Lenticular

Type XIIIb
Blade length - 30-31 inches
Fuller - 5/8 of blade length
Cross section - Lenticular

Both types also are blades with minimal profile taper and often times spatulate tips.

The most obvious difference is the length and width of the fullers, the X having a very pronounced wide fuller nearly the whole length and the XIIIb's being thinner and closer to half the length of the blade.

Both are cutting style blades. So if we eliminate hilt furniture and focus on the blade itself, why the difference in fuller design? Why not just go back to making Type X blades in the 13th and 14th centuries when the type XIIIb was popular. Does the lack of fuller on the second half of a type XIIIb blade make it a superior design, a better cutter perhaps? Does it help with weight distribution? Is it not related to performance but something else entirely?

Any thoughts?
View user's profile Send private message
J.D. Crawford




Location: Toronto
Joined: 25 Dec 2006

Spotlight topics: 1
Posts: 1,597

PostPosted: Sat 10 Aug, 2013 8:29 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I think you can draw a direct functional lineage from the typical Viking sword, to X, to XIIIb, to some XIX swords.

One can regard the XIIIb as a beefed up version of the X. The lack of fuller toward the tip (and sometimes very wide blade) places more mass for a given blade thickness at the point of contact. Meaning, for a given velocity, more impact and/or a deeper cut.

One presumes this was an adaptation to face tougher armor.

-JD
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Daniel Wallace




Location: Pennsylvania USA
Joined: 07 Aug 2011

Posts: 580

PostPosted: Sat 10 Aug, 2013 9:15 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

superior design, i don't think so. design depends on intended use of the sword.

i'll describe this the best way that i can. even though a fuller is added to a blade to remove its overall weight - or just to aid in balance there is a trade off. thinking in terms of mass, your removing material, and removing a bit of strength in the blade depending on how deep the fuller is cut and how wide. although a fuller is a better way to keep some strength in the blade rather than cutting right through it making a void. the more fuller, the less ridged the blade.

i don't think we notices it as much in swords because of other factors in geometry (profile and distal taper) to illustrate better, take a flat stock of steel. without profile and distal taper cut a fuller into one half of it, and you'll be able to bend the fullered half of the stock back on itself easier than the rest of the stock.

so - a Lenticular blade without a fuller should be more ridge than a fullered one overall, but cutting the fuller into one trades some of that rigidity for balance.

now a lenticular blade, I've heard discussions here that they are the most ridge of blade style, and that diamond cross section is even better. but again, in terms of mass, there is more mass in a lenticular structure rather than diamond. so what i see in the type XIII blade is a blade that has a decent thrusting tip, maybe a little bit better than the type X (not to say that it cannot but i'd think the blade would have a little more flex than the latter). but was that its over all intent when XIII was designed, the blade looks to favor a cut more than thrust. it may also be probable, that even though your cutting the fuller into 5/8th of the blade, due to profile and distal taper the mass of the 5/8 fullered section of blade may match (or be close to) the same mass of the rest of the blade. so the fuller may just be changing balance point. change in balance then changes the factors in which it was intended to be used.


this is my technical opinion on the matter, backed up by a few little experiments built in my shop. I'm sure others will chime in with some piratical handling experiences that can give you other discussions on the topic. Happy
View user's profile Send private message
Bryan Heff




Location: Philadelphia
Joined: 04 Mar 2012
Likes: 8 pages

Posts: 358

PostPosted: Sat 10 Aug, 2013 10:07 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

"Superior design" in my original post I suppose should read something more along the lines of "superior design for that period and the defenses it had to face"....

So perhaps that's the answer? Is a non fullered second half of a blade make for a heavier cutter against better protected opponents as J. D. pointed out?
View user's profile Send private message
Roger Hooper




Location: Northern California
Joined: 18 Aug 2003
Likes: 1 page

Spotlight topics: 4
Posts: 3,900

PostPosted: Sat 10 Aug, 2013 10:40 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It might be useful to compare the typical (if there is such a thing) distal taper of X's and XIIIb's. They have similar profile taper, but I wonder if there is a difference in their blade thickness strategy, or with other aspects of blade geometry.

By the way, I remember Peter Johnsson once saying something like, - Type XIII's are like executioner's swords modified for use on the battlefield. - The main difference between XIII's and XIIIb's is the grip length. My apologies, Peter if I memory-mangled what you said.


Last edited by Roger Hooper on Sat 10 Aug, 2013 11:31 am; edited 1 time in total
View user's profile Send private message
Josh S





Joined: 15 Oct 2011

Posts: 74

PostPosted: Sat 10 Aug, 2013 10:51 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I figured the shorter fullers on XIII's (and their sub-types) were a way to make the blades' business ends thinner, not more massive. A thinner blade (and consequently, more acute edge) makes for easier cutting. The smoother surface might help in reducing friction, too, though I imagine the actual in-usage difference would be miniscule.
View user's profile Send private message
J.D. Crawford




Location: Toronto
Joined: 25 Dec 2006

Spotlight topics: 1
Posts: 1,597

PostPosted: Sat 10 Aug, 2013 11:48 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Josh S wrote:
I figured the shorter fullers on XIII's (and their sub-types) were a way to make the blades' business ends thinner, not more massive. A thinner blade (and consequently, more acute edge) makes for easier cutting. The smoother surface might help in reducing friction, too, though I imagine the actual in-usage difference would be miniscule.


What I was trying to say before is that the ratio between mass and thickness is important. More mass = more momentum, for a given velocity. Less thickness = more concentrated impact and less drag through the medium (e.g., flesh).

I doubt that its linear. So doubling both mass and thickness, for the same ratio, may not yield the same effect. Especially when velocity is a bigger factor in momentum and will drop as mass increases beyond the users ability to handle the sword.

Stiffness, harmonics, also factors in engergy dissipation.

Need a physicist to chime in here.....?

I suspect the dimensions seen in history were within the optimal range for the various uses of swords of the era.
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Daniel Wallace




Location: Pennsylvania USA
Joined: 07 Aug 2011

Posts: 580

PostPosted: Sat 10 Aug, 2013 4:42 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

J.D. Crawford wrote:

What I was trying to say before is that the ratio between mass and thickness is important. More mass = more momentum, for a given velocity. Less thickness = more concentrated impact and less drag through the medium (e.g., flesh).

I doubt that its linear. So doubling both mass and thickness, for the same ratio, may not yield the same effect. Especially when velocity is a bigger factor in momentum and will drop as mass increases beyond the users ability to handle the sword.

Stiffness, harmonics, also factors in engergy dissipation.

Need a physicist to chime in here.....?



yes i think we need someone good in math on this Laughing Out Loud to go along with it they'll need measurements and weights etc. my head is going around other ideas right now that we could factor in that aren't relevant to the original question, so I'm keeping them to myself for the time being and really going to like seeing how this discussion goes.


So perhaps that's the answer? Is a non fullered second half of a blade make for a heavier cutter against better protected opponents as J. D. pointed out?

my opinion to this is possibly, what i think is more likely is that this blade gives you a better thrusting capability so that you have either option in your attack against armored or unarmored opponents. (again not saying that the other type cannot thrust, it just doesn't look suited for it in comparison).
View user's profile Send private message
Ken Jay




Location: Portland Oregon
Joined: 23 Aug 2003

Posts: 141

PostPosted: Sat 10 Aug, 2013 6:49 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I only have Atrim blades for reference so... I'm not sure there is much of a difference in target effect between the X and XIIIb. Between similar sized blades any soft or minimally armored target should be successfully cut. Why do we assume that padding with maile is vulnerable to the XIIIb if it provided good protection from cutting style blades over the course of many centuries? Is there Any evidence of such maile cutting ability? My guess is that padding and maile provide a serious obstacle to the most determined cut although blunt force trauma is another issue. Perhaps the cutting sword is best used against lesser armored targets? How much of the anatomy can maile protect or how many men on the battlefield were only lightly armored?
View user's profile Send private message
Daniel Wallace




Location: Pennsylvania USA
Joined: 07 Aug 2011

Posts: 580

PostPosted: Sun 11 Aug, 2013 10:19 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ken Jay wrote:
I only have Atrim blades for reference so... I'm not sure there is much of a difference in target effect between the X and XIIIb. Between similar sized blades any soft or minimally armored target should be successfully cut. Why do we assume that padding with maile is vulnerable to the XIIIb if it provided good protection from cutting style blades over the course of many centuries? Is there Any evidence of such maile cutting ability? My guess is that padding and maile provide a serious obstacle to the most determined cut although blunt force trauma is another issue. Perhaps the cutting sword is best used against lesser armored targets? How much of the anatomy can maile protect or how many men on the battlefield were only lightly armored?


these are also very good points as well, to better understand the design of the blade - you have to look at the majority of the equipment you would find on the battlefield during its time of use to better understand what it was meant to defeat. it brings into question what came first the blade or the armor? or was the blade truly meant to defeat armor? and if so how.
View user's profile Send private message
Ken Jay




Location: Portland Oregon
Joined: 23 Aug 2003

Posts: 141

PostPosted: Sun 11 Aug, 2013 1:54 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

We might be trying to judge "effectiveness" of the blade designs by a modern efficiency standards that didn't exist in the Middle Ages. There were no statistical studies compiled and tested as to the various blade type combat effectiveness. Perhaps style/fashion was more important or there was an unsubstantiated belief the XIIIb was more effective. It would be interesting to test the various cutting blade styles to see if there is a significant difference in abilities between them on both soft and maile protected targets. My limited experience with the various Atrims makes me doubt there is a significant difference in combat performance between similar sized blades.
View user's profile Send private message


Display posts from previous:   
Forum Index > Historical Arms Talk > Type X and Type XIIIb comparison
Page 1 of 1 Reply to topic
All times are GMT - 8 Hours

View previous topic :: View next topic
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum
You cannot attach files in this forum
You can download files in this forum






All contents © Copyright 2003-2018 myArmoury.com — All rights reserved
Discussion forums powered by phpBB © The phpBB Group
Switch to the Basic Low-bandwidth Version of the forum