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Bill Duncan




Location: Macon Georgia
Joined: 09 Dec 2003
Reading list: 3 books

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PostPosted: Tue 15 Nov, 2005 6:19 am    Post subject: Fighting with mass weapons         Reply with quote

I have posted this at SFI and FireStryker as well so if it sounds familiar it is.
would like to put together a text on mace, hammer, and axe fighting. The work that I have done using some of the single-handed sword techniques from Tahoffer and Fiore as well as just some of the top of my head since I am working by my self with a pell I donít get a lot of feedback on what I have been doing whether it is right or wrong.
One thing I have been thinking is the fact that if weapons have a piercing back spike a longer bladed weapon such as a rondel dagger or some kind of long thin bladed dagger must have been used on armored opponents. Now before yall flame me the time period I have been looking in to has been the 15th century and unlike the century that followed from what I have seen the back spikes were not that long, if someone has info to the contrary please let me know. And since armor and arming coats would be a bit hard to get through with just a small back spike the longer blade would be needed.
One thing I have thought was that since there would be no edge damage done to the shaft what some of us call hard blocking would do fine and may help damage or destroy an opponent sword.
One problem I have come up with is the fact that most mass weapons are heavy and hard to stop and would on a miss strike leave you open to a counter strike what I have come up with is bringing it back around for a similar strike that either may hit or at least block and incoming counter strike.
A lot of this is subjective and may not lead anywhere but it has been fun to work on.
Does anyone have any ideas?
Another question I have is were to find a correct axe for this time period? Lutel makes a few are their any others? I have mainly MRL stuff because quite simply the price and it is close. Thanks for the help.
Dunc

May you live as long as you want but never want for as long as you live
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Gavin Kisebach




Location: Lacey, Wa US
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PostPosted: Wed 16 Nov, 2005 1:15 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I wouldn't worry to much about getting flamed around here, it just isn't cricket.

What kind of text, a book? A report, a fettbuch, an essay?

If you're going to go into any depth, I'd say step one would be to find as many sparring partners as possible, a pell isn't going to cut it. Might I also humbly suggest that you limit the number of impliments discussed, as "mass weapons" is a huge topic area. Start with maces, get a feel for how you plan to structure the thing, then add more weapons one at a time. Again, this is dependent on the size of the volume you'd like to create.

Good luck on your project. Big Grin

There are only two kinds of scholars; those who love ideas and those who hate them. ~ Emile Chartier
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Bill Duncan




Location: Macon Georgia
Joined: 09 Dec 2003
Reading list: 3 books

Posts: 74

PostPosted: Wed 16 Nov, 2005 8:40 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hey Gavin
Well it may seem a bit on the bold side (at least to me) but I would like to one day have this as a book mainly because to me this is one of the most over looked aspects of WMA. The weapons that I stated are the ones that were (IMHO) most used on the field. As you said, the structure will go like this. First will be information on the weapon and its parts then what would be the optimum size and weight for the type of fighting it would be used for (i.e., mounted or on foot) then on to the guards then strikes and counter strikes.
As far as using sparring partners, as soon as I find a few I plan to get some help.
Thank you for the kind words will keep yall updated.
Dunc

May you live as long as you want but never want for as long as you live
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Felix Wang




Location: Fresno, CA
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PostPosted: Wed 16 Nov, 2005 11:31 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Bill,

One bizarre suggestion, if I may. There may not have been much written about mass weapons in the West, but have you considered Central European sources? I know that the mace was a very popular weapon among the Polish nobility, up into the 17th century, so there may be something from that country. Also, Hungary made use of a type of axe (fokos?) up into the 20th century, so I understand. Russ Mitchell has mentioned something about it; and there may be Hungarian source material for its use. You might try and get a hold of him.
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Bill Duncan




Location: Macon Georgia
Joined: 09 Dec 2003
Reading list: 3 books

Posts: 74

PostPosted: Wed 16 Nov, 2005 12:39 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Felix
Thanks man I will definatly look in to this. Big Grin

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Sean Flynt
myArmoury Team


myArmoury Team

Location: Birmingham, Alabama
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PostPosted: Wed 16 Nov, 2005 2:18 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

You should invest in a copy of Waldman's new book. It's not perfect, but it's the best source I know of for hafted weapons.

http://www.myArmoury.com/books/item.php?ASIN=9004144099


I'd also suggest reading Le Jeu De La Hache and Sidney Anglo's commentary on this French axe manual:

http://www.thearma.org/spotlight/lejeudelahache.htm

-Sean

"Everywhere I have searched for peace and nowhere found it, except in a corner with a book"- Thomas a Kempis (d. 1471)
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Bill Duncan




Location: Macon Georgia
Joined: 09 Dec 2003
Reading list: 3 books

Posts: 74

PostPosted: Sun 20 Nov, 2005 11:39 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hey Sean.
Well both the article and the book are great but what I am after is stuff about the smaller weapons not necessarily the large poll-axe style weapons.
I am a BIG 15th century fan, the XVIII and XVIIb is my favorite swords but I also like the falchion style swords of the time. The armor of the 15th was (IMHO) the pinnacle of form and function but I also love a brigandine and a kettle helm for its ease of motion. And I doubt that anyone could find more versatile weapons than the hafted weapons of this time but for me if I have to get up close to someone thatís literally a walking human tank I want a can opener and the axe and war hammers of this period are that.
I have looked for any kind of text on fighting with these style weapons and so far have only found this at SFI and it is quite good but I hope to do more.
here is what was at SFI
http://forums.swordforum.com/showthread.php?threadid=40839

Dunc

May you live as long as you want but never want for as long as you live
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Felix Wang




Location: Fresno, CA
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PostPosted: Sun 20 Nov, 2005 5:09 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Bill,

You have encountered one of the vast unexplored areas of historical martial arts. There was a considerable literature from the Middle East, in particular the Mamluks, on both warfare and military training exercises. Getting to this material has proven to be quite difficult. I think there may be a few folks working on this (maybe some of the SESH in Singapore), and there have been a few exceedingly hard-to-locate translated documents. The furusiyahs may not be quite as important as the Holy Grail, but they are almost as hard to pin down.
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Bill Duncan




Location: Macon Georgia
Joined: 09 Dec 2003
Reading list: 3 books

Posts: 74

PostPosted: Sun 20 Nov, 2005 5:41 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Felix Wang wrote:


The furusiyahs may not be quite as important as the Holy Grail, but they are almost as hard to pin down.


Amen Brother Amen Wink
My big hope is doing part of this little bit of insanity then (hope of hope) find out the theoriesí turn out right.
I was talking a while back with a friend in Texas about swords and the different fighting styles and he said "Yeah but it's like any form of martial arts, There are only so many ways to throw a punch." and the same can be said for this.
So far I have not tried to find sparing partners but when I do I don't think it will be easy, I mean think about it who wants a six-foot nut swinging a hammer, mace, flail, or an axe at their head?
Dunc

May you live as long as you want but never want for as long as you live
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Christopher Blakey




Location: Singapore
Joined: 06 Dec 2004

Posts: 5

PostPosted: Tue 20 Dec, 2005 8:00 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Felix Wang wrote:
Bill,

You have encountered one of the vast unexplored areas of historical martial arts. There was a considerable literature from the Middle East, in particular the Mamluks, on both warfare and military training exercises. Getting to this material has proven to be quite difficult. I think there may be a few folks working on this (maybe some of the SESH in Singapore), and there have been a few exceedingly hard-to-locate translated documents. The furusiyahs may not be quite as important as the Holy Grail, but they are almost as hard to pin down.


Yeah Felix, it seems to be proving harder and harder.

I had an excellent lead with a certain Doctor in Baku who has control of mountains of manuscripts. Unfortunately, most of them are still uncatagorised and as such he's not willing to go through them unless I send them a grant of a couple of thousand per month. Sad My wife would never go for that so the contact dried up.

I'd still like to know if anyone else comes across middle or near east manuscripts though. Happy

And Bill, Sydney Anglo's book on renaissance arts is a good roundup of known texts. I think that the bulk of what is yet to find is either in far flung depositories or in private collections. It's sometimes handy to keep an eye on online rare books sites as well although the prices will get you depressed. Wink
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Wolfgang Armbruster





Joined: 03 Apr 2005

Posts: 322

PostPosted: Tue 20 Dec, 2005 9:46 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I can't help you with fighting techniques and stuff, but the kind of long thin bladed dagger you're talking about is probably a Panzerstecher (armor-piercer)

Here's the link: ttp://www.hermann-historica-ohg.de/auktion/hhm46.pl?f=NR&c=25997&t=temartic_1_GB&db=kat46_1_D.txt

Unfortunately there's no English text available, but here's some info:
around 1540, asymmetrical triangular blade, overall length: 39,5 cm.



Good luck with your project Happy
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Elling Polden




Location: Bergen, Norway
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PostPosted: Tue 20 Dec, 2005 9:47 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I have a few theories of my own when it comes to these weapons;

First, they can be divided into two types; "AntiPersonel" and "AntiTank".

One would believe that a AT weapon would have a longer shaft, to get more leverage. As it turns out, the opposite is the case.
Pre-plate, AP maces and axes are generally long hafted. Some of the medieval fighting axes found in Norway have handles that exceed a meter in length. Similarly, the maces of the era are long, with small metal heads, or studded bats.
These weapons where presumably used to place heavy blows from a distance, designed to power through enemy defences; knocking swords or shields away, to hit the unarmoured fighter behind it. Against such a target any hit might cause damage, or at the very least disorient or stun long enough to make more attacks.
I see them used on the battlefield, during the initial, intermediate range exchange of blows between formations, before the lines get entangled; After that, they are to long and awkward, and would be dropped in favour of a sword or dagger.

The AT versions of the plate era, however, are quite short, with sturdy shafts, sometimes even metal.
I see these used in a substantially different way.
Rather than long range swings, they would be utilized in close combat, the phase Talhofer refers to as "the war".
A fighter with a mace would seek to close, grapple, and place himself in a position where he can hit the opponent's head.
He would then literally hammer him, as quickly as he could, until the opponent stops moving.
Note that this is not the same as being dead.
Back spikes are in deed to short to kill efficiently; This is because they do not need to; Incapacitation will do just nicely.

Plate armour is so efficient that a single blow is unlikely to kill or incapacitate. Thus, the later mass weapons focus on manouverablity and a high attack rate; Gain the advantage, and hammer it home.
Gaining the advantage with a mace can be easier than with a dagger, since the target is bigger.

Similarly, there is a reason a carpentry hammer is the length it is; A longer hammer would mean more kinetic energy generated, but this does not necessarily equal faster driving of nails.

"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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Wolfgang Armbruster





Joined: 03 Apr 2005

Posts: 322

PostPosted: Tue 20 Dec, 2005 10:00 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Elling Polden wrote:
I have a few theories of my own when it comes to these weapons;

First, they can be divided into two types; "AntiPersonel" and "AntiTank".

One would believe that a AT weapon would have a longer shaft, to get more leverage. As it turns out, the opposite is the case.
Pre-plate, AP maces and axes are generally long hafted. Some of the medieval fighting axes found in Norway have handles that exceed a meter in length. Similarly, the maces of the era are long, with small metal heads, or studded bats.
These weapons where presumably used to place heavy blows from a distance, designed to power through enemy defences; knocking swords or shields away, to hit the unarmoured fighter behind it. Against such a target any hit might cause damage, or at the very least disorient or stun long enough to make more attacks.
I see them used on the battlefield, during the initial, intermediate range exchange of blows between formations, before the lines get entangled; After that, they are to long and awkward, and would be dropped in favour of a sword or dagger.

The AT versions of the plate era, however, are quite short, with sturdy shafts, sometimes even metal.
I see these used in a substantially different way.
Rather than long range swings, they would be utilized in close combat, the phase Talhofer refers to as "the war".
A fighter with a mace would seek to close, grapple, and place himself in a position where he can hit the opponent's head.
He would then literally hammer him, as quickly as he could, until the opponent stops moving.
Note that this is not the same as being dead.
Back spikes are in deed to short to kill efficiently; This is because they do not need to; Incapacitation will do just nicely.

Plate armour is so efficient that a single blow is unlikely to kill or incapacitate. Thus, the later mass weapons focus on manouverablity and a high attack rate; Gain the advantage, and hammer it home.
Gaining the advantage with a mace can be easier than with a dagger, since the target is bigger.

Similarly, there is a reason a carpentry hammer is the length it is; A longer hammer would mean more kinetic energy generated, but this does not necessarily equal faster driving of nails.



Sounds like the real thing to me Happy
Even the cavalry-warhammmers I've seen weren't especially long. They would just get in the way with longer shafts.
A shorter wapon also increases accuracy. That's very helpful especially when you're trying to aim for the visor-slit.
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Elling Polden




Location: Bergen, Norway
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PostPosted: Wed 21 Dec, 2005 1:24 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Nah. Forget about the eyeslits. hit him in the head until he stops moving, the open the visor, and hit him in the troath.
Even if you hit the slit, you need 10+ cm of penetration before you actually hit the brain. Posible with a dagger, hard with a backspike.
Hit him in the head until he stops moving, pop the visor, and spike him in the neck. Or do it right away, if there is a opening. No bone, Lots of arteries, wounerable to crushing, good stun potential...

"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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Alex B.





Joined: 25 Jan 2004
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PostPosted: Wed 21 Dec, 2005 6:25 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

If you're interested in mass weapons, check out the 1459 Talhoffer.

Don't let this happen to you: http://img.kb.dk/ha/manus/th290/kamp0164.jpg

Both the 1467 and 1459 Talhoffers show mace and large shield technques, and I'd recommend looking at them after reading Stephen Hand and Paul Wagner's two sword and shield papers in SPADA.
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