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Vincent F.




Location: Kansas City
Joined: 04 Apr 2015

Posts: 8

PostPosted: Sat 04 Apr, 2015 5:28 am    Post subject: thin and thick swords         Reply with quote

hi everybody, i'm new.

i'm interested in armory and stuff from the middle-age.

i've always been curious about one thing: what are the functional differences between thick swords that was used during '500 and '600 (also '700) like rapier and side-swords and larger and shorter swords that were used during the 1000-1500 period?

why sword's design changed so much during the time? it was linked to the changes that happened during the renaissance's years in the battles?

and in a 1 vs 1 fight, who is the most advantaged fighters, the one with the rapier or the side-sword or the one with a larger one, like the arming sword?

if i made some mistake correct me, thanks
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Pedro Paulo Gaião




Location: Rio de Janeiro, Brasil
Joined: 14 Mar 2015

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PostPosted: Sat 04 Apr, 2015 7:48 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
why sword's design changed so much during the time? it was linked to the changes that happened during the renaissance's years in the battles?


It was a gradual process. As time passed, Mail became more frequently in knights and some men-at-arms, making the need for better pointed sword or used with two hands to deliver more strong cuts. With the development of the plates it was just more stimulated, with the development of blades that are more resistant to thrust stress or had guard and ricasso functionality
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Vincent F.




Location: Kansas City
Joined: 04 Apr 2015

Posts: 8

PostPosted: Sat 04 Apr, 2015 7:57 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

so, in synthesis, the oldest type of sword are more effective against men in chainmail and swords like spada da lato and rapier are more effective against knight with plates?
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Pedro Paulo Gaião




Location: Rio de Janeiro, Brasil
Joined: 14 Mar 2015

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PostPosted: Sat 04 Apr, 2015 8:06 am    Post subject: "         Reply with quote

Quote:
so, in synthesis, the oldest type of sword are more effective against men in chainmail and swords like spada da lato and rapier are more effective against knight with plates?


That's depends, how "oldest" are the swords? To counter mail, I think the "old" best blade would be:

- War Sword or Greatsword like Type XIIa and XIIIa. The nice thing about type XIIa this that it has a good cutting and a good thrusting

- An thursting of an Arming Sword like type XII of a strong cutting of Type XI


Also, I don't think that rapier would do any harm to plates. Tucks and rapiers were very good at mail armour. But, for any plated knight, I would went with a half-swording lang schwert or just a simple pole weapon


Last edited by Pedro Paulo Gaião on Sat 04 Apr, 2015 8:15 am; edited 1 time in total
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Luka Borscak




Location: Croatia
Joined: 11 Jun 2007
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PostPosted: Sat 04 Apr, 2015 8:19 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sideswords and rapiers aren't meant to be used against armoured people, they are swords for fighting lightly armoured or unarmoured people. Against plate no sword is really effective.
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Vincent F.




Location: Kansas City
Joined: 04 Apr 2015

Posts: 8

PostPosted: Sat 04 Apr, 2015 9:04 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

so if rapier and that kind of small sword was for civilian use, during XVI and XVII centuries, what was the kind of sword used in war by knight and infantry?

i'm especially interested in the kind of swords used by soldiers during 1500
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Hector A.





Joined: 22 Dec 2013

Posts: 140

PostPosted: Sat 04 Apr, 2015 9:04 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Luka Borscak wrote:
Sideswords and rapiers aren't meant to be used against armoured people, they are swords for fighting lightly armoured or unarmoured people. Against plate no sword is really effective.


sword that come at around at over 1500g's with 8mm thickness are effective against plate, and the heavier and thicker from that point on the better.
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Bryan Heff




Location: Philadelphia
Joined: 04 Mar 2012
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PostPosted: Sat 04 Apr, 2015 9:48 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hector

When you say "effective against plate"...can you expound on that a bit more? Denting the plate? Piecing the plate? Finding the spots between the plate and stabbing through?

Thanks

The church is near but the roads are icy. The tavern is far but I will walk carefully. - Russian Proverb
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Roger Hooper




Location: Northern California
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PostPosted: Sat 04 Apr, 2015 10:02 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

You can't cut through plate - you have thrust through various holes, creases and chinks in the armor. For this, the best swords are the dedicated thrusters, like XV's and XVII's. But better than swords would be -

A mace or hammer to immobilize and crush joints in the armor
And a rondel dagger to finish off your opponent.
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Matthew Amt




Location: Laurel, MD, USA
Joined: 17 Sep 2003

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PostPosted: Sat 04 Apr, 2015 6:15 pm    Post subject: Re: "         Reply with quote

Pedro Paulo Gaião wrote:
Tucks and rapiers were very good at mail armour.


I'd be very leery about saying that *any* sword was good against mail. It seems fair to say that the thrusting weapons from the age of plate would be more effective against mail (in the gaps at the joints, for example) than against the plate itself, but the impression I've gotten is that swords were generally not designed (nor expected) to go *through* armor.

Vincent, by "'500 and '600" do you mean 1500s and 1600s, 16th and 17th centuries? I was just confused, because it looked to me like you were referring to 6th and 7th centuries, but then you mentioned rapiers...

Matthew
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Hector A.





Joined: 22 Dec 2013

Posts: 140

PostPosted: Sat 04 Apr, 2015 9:18 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Bryan Heff wrote:
Hector

When you say "effective against plate"...can you expound on that a bit more? Denting the plate? Piecing the plate? Finding the spots between the plate and stabbing through?

Thanks


Outright piercing plate wont happen unless its thin soft iron met with a very rigid blade.

When I say effective against plate i mean capable of denting and stunning the opponent within it, but also wrestling him into submission and thrusting with deadly intent at gaps.

Thickness of the blade gives us two fundamental characteristics that allow all of the above points: stiffness and mass.

Some of the most advanced armors did not have gaps to speak of, rather having extremely thin articulation to protect what once where gaps, where they better than mail undershirts? No idea, but i can almost certainly say that the end result was more comfortable and probably more mobile.

Henry the VIII's armor is an example of this:



Against such an armor a very stiff blade would be needed to attack the articulation and pierce threw. Articulations that are extremely thin ( look at the back of the knee for reference ).

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Vincent F.




Location: Kansas City
Joined: 04 Apr 2015

Posts: 8

PostPosted: Sun 05 Apr, 2015 12:52 am    Post subject: Re: "         Reply with quote

Matthew Amt wrote:
Pedro Paulo Gaião wrote:
Tucks and rapiers were very good at mail armour.


I'd be very leery about saying that *any* sword was good against mail. It seems fair to say that the thrusting weapons from the age of plate would be more effective against mail (in the gaps at the joints, for example) than against the plate itself, but the impression I've gotten is that swords were generally not designed (nor expected) to go *through* armor.

Vincent, by "'500 and '600" do you mean 1500s and 1600s, 16th and 17th centuries? I was just confused, because it looked to me like you were referring to 6th and 7th centuries, but then you mentioned rapiers...

Matthew


obviously, why do you think that i was referring to VI and VII century?
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Vincent F.




Location: Kansas City
Joined: 04 Apr 2015

Posts: 8

PostPosted: Sun 05 Apr, 2015 1:43 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

i propose again my question

Vincent F. wrote:
so if rapier and that kind of small sword was for civilian use, during XVI and XVII centuries, what was the kind of sword used in war by knight and infantry?

i'm especially interested in the kind of swords used by soldiers during 1500


i know that in germany, the landsknechte, used great sword like zweihander and smaller one like the katzbalger but i'm interested especially in the swords used by the italian army (like milan's army, venice's army, florence's army and so on).

edit: excuse me for the double post
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Ralph Grinly





Joined: 19 Jan 2011

Posts: 322

PostPosted: Sun 05 Apr, 2015 5:05 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The armour of Henry V111 shown above is not a typical armour..it's the "Top of the Line, Roll's Royce of armours. It was built to protect a King, and is not what one would normally expect to encounter on a battlefield. So..trying to match it to the penetrating ability of particular sword types is not a realistic exercise. You can have endless arguments for/against any weapon vs armour discussion. But...you have to remember this - all through History the dance between offense and defence is just that - a dance. Improvements in weapons are then matched by improvements in armour and vice versa. If something extra special comes along, then tactics may change. The best one can hope for is to consider the average - what is the average warrior, in average conditions, likely to achieve with the average weapon of the period against the average armour ?. One can always claim that weapon that weapon A can/can't damage armour B..and this may be proved in static, laboratory tests. But you can't be certain that such tests are a reflection of real life..
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Mark Millman





Joined: 10 Feb 2005

Posts: 232

PostPosted: Sun 05 Apr, 2015 7:33 am    Post subject: Re: "         Reply with quote

Dear Vincent,

On Sunday 5 April 2015, you wrote:
Matthew Amt wrote:
Vincent, by "'500 and '600" do you mean 1500s and 1600s, 16th and 17th centuries? I was just confused, because it looked to me like you were referring to 6th and 7th centuries, but then you mentioned rapiers...

Matthew

obviously, why do you think that i was referring to VI and VII century?

Please be aware that in the U.S., it's not customary to use the abbreviated forms, as it is in Italy, and many readers may not be familiar with that practice. And with some typefaces the leading apostrophes that indicate the omission of the first digit 1 can be hard to see. In fact I also initially thought as Matthew did; but when I realized that you could not have been talking about the late ancient and early medieval eras but about the late Middle Ages and the Renaissance I went back and double-checked what you'd written. Even then, I'd only learned about the custom of writing '300, '400, and so forth in the past year, although I have long known (as most English-speakers will) that the centuries' names are spelled out as trecento, quattrocento, etc.

I hope that this proves helpful.

Best,

Mark Millman
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Matthew Amt




Location: Laurel, MD, USA
Joined: 17 Sep 2003

Posts: 1,306

PostPosted: Sun 05 Apr, 2015 7:40 am    Post subject: Re: "         Reply with quote

Vincent F. wrote:
Matthew Amt wrote:
... Vincent, by "'500 and '600" do you mean 1500s and 1600s, 16th and 17th centuries? I was just confused, because it looked to me like you were referring to 6th and 7th centuries, but then you mentioned rapiers...

Matthew


obviously, why do you think that i was referring to VI and VII century?


I'd just never seen a date after 1000 written in that way, '500 or '600, with an apostrophe instead of a 1. Well, I guess it's like "back in the '60s" meaning the 1960s, but that didn't occur to me at first. My interests run across 5000 years, and I see a lot of discussions comparing weapons of various eras, so anything the least bit ambiguous can really confuse things, sometimes!

Matthew
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Roger Hooper




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PostPosted: Sun 05 Apr, 2015 8:04 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Go to This Thread to see pictures of some campaign, battlefield swords used in the 17th century (mostly from 1640 on)
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Vincent F.




Location: Kansas City
Joined: 04 Apr 2015

Posts: 8

PostPosted: Sun 05 Apr, 2015 12:08 pm    Post subject: Re: "         Reply with quote

Matthew Amt wrote:
Vincent F. wrote:
Matthew Amt wrote:
... Vincent, by "'500 and '600" do you mean 1500s and 1600s, 16th and 17th centuries? I was just confused, because it looked to me like you were referring to 6th and 7th centuries, but then you mentioned rapiers...

Matthew


obviously, why do you think that i was referring to VI and VII century?


I'd just never seen a date after 1000 written in that way, '500 or '600, with an apostrophe instead of a 1. Well, I guess it's like "back in the '60s" meaning the 1960s, but that didn't occur to me at first. My interests run across 5000 years, and I see a lot of discussions comparing weapons of various eras, so anything the least bit ambiguous can really confuse things, sometimes!

Matthew


my fault, in my country we write centuries also in this way (with the ' taking the place of the 1), so XVI become '500, XV '400 and so on.

now i understand the reason for the misunderstanding, i tought that this way of writing centuries was common in all the western countries.
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Michael Parker




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PostPosted: Sun 05 Apr, 2015 4:53 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Just as a point of procedure, I think we should try to use the words "thick" and "thin" to refer to the distal thickness of the blade, meaning how thick it would be along the ridge if it were a diamond cross section. "Wide" and "narrow" could refer to the profile, that is how broad the blade is from edge to edge.
"This is a sharp medicine, but it is a physician for all diseases and miseries."
-Sir Walter Raleigh, upon being allowed to see the ax that would behead him, 29 October 1618
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J. Nicolaysen




Location: Wyoming
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PostPosted: Sun 05 Apr, 2015 5:02 pm    Post subject: Re: "         Reply with quote

Vincent F. wrote:
Matthew Amt wrote:
Vincent F. wrote:
Matthew Amt wrote:
... Vincent, by "'500 and '600" do you mean 1500s and 1600s, 16th and 17th centuries? I was just confused, because it looked to me like you were referring to 6th and 7th centuries, but then you mentioned rapiers...

Matthew


obviously, why do you think that i was referring to VI and VII century?


I'd just never seen a date after 1000 written in that way, '500 or '600, with an apostrophe instead of a 1. Well, I guess it's like "back in the '60s" meaning the 1960s, but that didn't occur to me at first. My interests run across 5000 years, and I see a lot of discussions comparing weapons of various eras, so anything the least bit ambiguous can really confuse things, sometimes!

Matthew


my fault, in my country we write centuries also in this way (with the ' taking the place of the 1), so XVI become '500, XV '400 and so on.

now i understand the reason for the misunderstanding, i tought that this way of writing centuries was common in all the western countries.


Yeah that confused me too. Nice to know!
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