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Justin Pasternak




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PostPosted: Tue 02 Jan, 2007 10:11 am    Post subject: Fire Fighter Tool: The Pike Pole         Reply with quote

I know that the pike pole is used as a tool to remove sheetrock from walls and ceilings to look for hidden fires. I wanted to know if this was ever used as a weapon in europe? The indian ankus looked like the tool as it was (their were were also long shafted ones that were up to five feet in length) used on foot to help control elephants and also as a weapon, the japanese hoko had similiar shape to the pike pole? To me the bill (polearm) looked liked the pike pole, could it have evolved and became simpilfied (without the extra hooks and cutting edges) to be used as a tool instead of a weapon?
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Richard Fay




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PostPosted: Tue 02 Jan, 2007 11:16 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hello all!

Justin,

If your asking if some sort of pike or spear with side hooks was used in Medieval and/or Renaissance Europe, then it appears that the answer is yes. There are a couple images from Medieval Costume, Armour, and Weapons by Eduard Wagner, Zoroslava Drobna, and Jan Durdik that show hooked spears. They are both from illuminations in the King Wenceslas Bible, Bohemia, late 14th-early 15th century. One is a spear with two hooks, and the other is a boar pike with one hook. Here's a link to the images of those spears (amongst other weapons) from an on-line version of the book:

http://kazi.webz.cz/wagner/images/wag05-26.jpg

There's also a German or Swiss military fork of the early 16th century that has two vertical tines and two hooks (with a shallow bend) sticking out horizontally from between the upright tines. This is pictured in a drawing in the Diagram book Weapons: And International Encyclopedia From 5000 BC to 2000 AD. The same or a similar military fork is also shown in a photo alongside an array of other pole arms in Courtlandt Canby's A History of Weaponry (a source with an an awfully outdated text, but it has lovely photos of pole arms). The same photo in Canby's book also shows what is termed in the caption a "sackbut". The caption claims that this is a word derived from the French "saquer", pull, and "bouter", to thrust. It has a vertical spike and a small horizontal hook. (By the way, sackbut is normally used for a musical instrument that is often used by Early Music ensembles. I have not run across it's use as a weapon name in any other work.)

In Arms & Armour of the Crusading Era 1050-1350: Western Europe and the Crusader States, David Nicolle mentions the use of peculiarly hooked spears by two supposed Italians in the "Races of Mankind", a carved relief of circa 1120 in the Church of La Madeleine, Vezelay, France. He states that they may represent militarised boat-hooks, or may represent exaggerated versions of actual infantry weapons used both for thrusting and pulling horsemen from their saddles.

In another Nicolle book, the Osprey title Italian Militiaman 1260-1392, there is an image from a Piedmontese manuscript of the 14th century that shows a couple different hooked or lugged spears in the background. One has a pair of lugs that only curve slightly downward, while another has much more sharply-curved hooks or lugs.

I hope this helped to answer your question.

Stay safe!

"I'm going to do what the warriors of old did! I'm going to recite poetry!"
Prince Andrew of Armar


Last edited by Richard Fay on Tue 02 Jan, 2007 1:26 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Richard Fay




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PostPosted: Tue 02 Jan, 2007 12:02 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hello again!

I've posted the photo from Courtlandt Canby's A History of Weaponry, since the supposed "sackbut" is rather hard to describe. Note the military fork in the middle of the photo below. See how the side-spikes are hook-like. They could be used to hook a man out of his saddle, or pull him to the ground. Note the strange weapon all the way to the right. It has an upright spike and a hook on the opposite side. Canby calls it a "sackbut". What would the name be for this unusual pole arm?

I hope this helped!



 Attachment: 30.66 KB
Pole arms from A History of Weaponry.JPG
Pole arms from A History of Weaponry by Courtlandt Canby.

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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Tue 02 Jan, 2007 12:25 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Richard Fay wrote:
Hello again!

I've posted the photo from Courtlandt Canby's A History of Weaponry, since the supposed "sackbut" is rather hard to describe. Note the military fork in the middle of the photo below. See how the side-spikes are hook-like. They could be used to hook a man out of his saddle, or pull him to the ground. Note the strange weapon all the way to the right. It has an upright spike and a hook on the opposite side. Canby calls it a "sackbut". What would the name be for this unusual pole arm?

I hope this helped!


The military fork with the hooks might also be used in moving " fascines " ( Bundles of woven sticks used as field fortifications. ) Tool used to move them in place or used in an assault to create a breach in this type of defence.

Weapons use being also a use. ( Read this somewhere but can't remember where on when ! So, it needs to be taken with a grain of salt or fact checked. )

The unusual one with one bent arm looks like some sort of fork musket rest with some weapons application in lieu of the later bayonet ?

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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Tue 02 Jan, 2007 1:09 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The weapon at far right is interesting, and I'd agreethat it's a musketeer multi-tool (and like multitools throughout history, probably a jack of all trades, master of none). It looks like the kind of thing a soldier could easily have created from a military fork. It actually makes good sense to equip musketeers in this fashion. Since the alternative is to "club musket," I'd much rather have one of these when the cavalry break through the pikemen.The nodus between head and socket suggests to me that it's a later weapon--late 16th or 17th c.
-Sean

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Richard Fay




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PostPosted: Tue 02 Jan, 2007 1:23 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jean Thibodeau wrote:

The military fork with the hooks might also be used in moving " fascines " ( Bundles of woven sticks used as field fortifications. ) Tool used to move them in place or used in an assault to create a breach in this type of defence.

Weapons use being also a use. ( Read this somewhere but can't remember where on when ! So, it needs to be taken with a grain of salt or fact checked. )

The unusual one with one bent arm looks like some sort of fork musket rest with some weapons application in lieu of the later bayonet ?

Jean,

You're absolutely right about the possible application of the hooks on the military fork. I just read about these things a few minutes ago, looking for more information about "pike-hook" type weapons. Here's what Claude Blair says about the military fork in European and American Arms:
Claude Blair wrote:

Fork. Like the flail, the agricultural fork required no modification to turn it into a useful weapon and it was being used for this purpose at least as early as the twelfth century. By the fifteenth century specifically military forks were being made. Surviving examples of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries usually have two long tines, though three do occur, and can be distinguished from agricultural forks by the fact that they are equipped with one or two downcurved hooks. These last could be used for moving gabions and fascines or in scaling walls in siege operations.
Military forks had gone out of general use by the early eighteenth century except in one French unit, the Regiment Dauphin. From 1691 until 1815 the serjeants of the regiment and its successors carried forks, instead of halberds, in commemoration of an event involving the capture of forks from the Austrians at the Siege of Mons.

There is a bit more about the use of military forks in The Complete Encyclopedia of Arms & Weapons, edited by Leonid Tarassuk and Claude Blair:
Tarassuk & Blair wrote:

Basically, it (the fork) was one of the agricultural tools adapted and transformed for use in combat. Such weapons appeared in large numbers during the Crusades, but they were also used in later periods during the peasant uprisings and revolts from the 15th to the 19th centuries. For military use, the prongs, which were curved in the agricultural version (e.g. the pitchfork) were straightened and sometimes fitted with spurs, which gave the weapon a dual function; it could either deliver a thrust or be used for pulling, to unseat a mounted enemy. Military forks were also used for scaling ramparts and other fortifications, for hoisting up baskets and faggots, and for setting up ladders.

In the Tarassuk/Blair collaboration, they mention many uses for the hook on a military fork. I think a soldier equipped with one of these weapons would have put it to various uses. It could work to pull down fascines, scale fortifications, and pull enemy horsemen down from their mounts. A truly versatile tool!

George Cameron Stone's A Glossary of the Construction, Decoration, and Use of Arms and Armor in All Countries and in All Times shows an interesting array of military forks under the entry of that name. Some are a cross between a fork and a halberd. Others have a pike-type head sticking up between the two tines.

That weapon shown in Canby's book is different; perhaps it's an odd "one-tined" military fork. I think it might be a bit long for a musket rest, although I can see where you might suggest that. I didn't show the whole photo, in an attempt to show the head in more detail. Unfortunately, Canby doesn't show the whole shaft, but what is shown in the book is longer than what I showed. The author didn't state whether or not the photos were to scale, but if they were, and the butt ends were all lined up, the "sackbut" (to use Canby's term) is taller than the halberd it is next to. It's actually the tallest weapon in that plate. I think it would be too tall for a musket rest.

I hope this all made sense, and was of interest!

Stay safe!

"I'm going to do what the warriors of old did! I'm going to recite poetry!"
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Richard Fay




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PostPosted: Tue 02 Jan, 2007 1:38 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hello again!

Just in case it will help the discussion about the weird weapon Canby calls a "sackbut", I've included the photo without cropping its width (I just turned it, and cropped out some of the other pole arms). I wish I knew the full length, or even had a full-length photo, but Canby didn't even give a date for this thing.

Modified or abberant military fork, perhaps?



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Sackbut from Canby's A History of Weaponry.JPG
Ploe arms, including "sackbut", from Canby's A History of Weaponry.

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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Tue 02 Jan, 2007 1:51 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Overall length is one of the more elusive polearm stats because so many of these weapons have been rehafted. Contemporary art can help, but it often shows wildly varying lengths. The halberd shown beside this fork might originally have been used at an overall length of anywhere from between 5.5 and 9 feet. One would expect forks to be consistently long, but who knows....
-Sean

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Richard Fay




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PostPosted: Tue 02 Jan, 2007 3:27 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hello again!

Here's a link to a photo in the albums to a spear with side wings or lugs that are rather hook-like. It looks similar to the double-hooked spear in the Wagner work:

http://www.myArmoury.com/albums/photo/2006.html

And a spear spike with one curved, hook-like "lug" (the weapon second from the left). I think this one bears a slight passing resemblance to Canbys strange "sackbut" (obviously there are certain differences in the details of form):

http://www.myArmoury.com/albums/photo/2025.html

And here's a link to a website with a page about the military fork. It includes a copy of the photo from Stone's glossary that I mentioned earlier:

http://pweb.netcom.com/~brlevine/milfork.htm

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Gordon Frye




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PostPosted: Wed 03 Jan, 2007 9:34 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The odd musket-rest-come-pikestave could well be a member of the elusive "Swedish Feather" clan. Or maybe something else entirely, depending upon it's length. But if the stave itself is under 5', then I'd vote for a type of Swedish Feather.

Cheers!

Gordon

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Danny Grigg





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PostPosted: Thu 04 Jan, 2007 12:06 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

There's a few illustrations of Sackbuts / Sacquebuttes at the following website:

http://medieval.mrugala.net/Armes/Glossaire%20des%20armes.htm

Hope this helps

Danny
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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Thu 04 Jan, 2007 6:59 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Danny Grigg wrote:
There's a few illustrations of Sackbuts / Sacquebuttes at the following website:

http://medieval.mrugala.net/Armes/Glossaire%20des%20armes.htm

Hope this helps

Danny


Interesting. "Sackbut" is the name of the precursor to the modern trombone. From Wikipedia (bolding is my addition):

Quote:
The Sackbut (var. Sacbutt; Sackbutt; Sagbutt), a brass instrument from the Renaissance and Baroque Eras, is an ancestor of the modern trombone. The name is derived from the Middle French sacquer and bouter ("push" and "pull") and the term survives in numerous English spelling variations including sacbut, sagbut, shagbolt and shakbusshe. In France, the instrument was called sacqueboute; in Germany, Posaune, and in Italy, trombone. The term sackbut is used to differentiate the historic instrument from its modern counterpart. Increasing interest in authentic performance in recent years has brought many trombonists to the sackbut.


Perhaps the "push" of the pole and the "pull" of the hook give this weapon a similar name...

Happy

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Richard Fay




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PostPosted: Thu 04 Jan, 2007 10:08 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hello all!
Chad Arnow wrote:

Perhaps the "push" of the pole and the "pull" of the hook give this weapon a similar name...

That's similar to what Courtlandt Canby claimed in the caption to the photo in A History of Weaponry:
Courtlandt Canby wrote:

A sackbut, a word derived from the French saquer, pull, bouter, to thrust.


Stay safe!

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Richard Fay




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PostPosted: Fri 05 Jan, 2007 3:35 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hello all!

I was actually curious about the "Swedish Feather" mentioned by Gordon Frye. He's right, it is rather elusive, but in case anyone else wanted more information, this is what I found at this web site:

http://www.miniaturewargames.com/musketry.htm

This is from "Smoothbore Musketry" by Larry Irons:
Larry Irons wrote:

In the 16th and 17th centuries, musketeers sometimes adopted defensive weapons to protect themselves from cavalry. The most portable weapon was the Swedish feather (a.k.a. swine feather). The Swedish feather was a pointed stake and musket rest combination. The stake was planted pointing toward the enemy to act as a defensive obstacle. Gustavus Adolphus's Swedish army used Swedish feathers against the Polish Army, which had a high percentage of cavalry. During the Thirty Years' War, the Swedes did not use Swedish feathers to any great degree, probably because the terrain offered better cover against cavalry and there was less cavalry in Germany than Poland.


And the following from this web site:

http://c.cater.users.btopenworld.com/HTMLFile...ls_13.html

Quote:

This information was taken from Transactions Historical Society, III. 109. And can be viewed at the Chester library. In a list of the charges made by the armourers, gun-makers, pike-makers, and bandolier-makers, of June 1649, there is enumerated the following: "For a musket rest, Xd" Ten Pennies This represents in today's money a grand sum of just over 4p, not a lot for the job lot but an average weekly wage would have been about 50p (Ten Shillings) for a skilled worker. "Swine's Feather", or "prod". -- A projecting spike between the forks of the musket rest. This was known at the time as "sweyn's feyther," or swines feather. It consisted of a spike or prod, sometimes of such length as to lie along the whole length of the rest, and sometimes shorts, like a dagger. In the latter case it was inserted in the hollow of the shaft, coming out on touching a spring.


And, finally, the following from this site:

http://www.northernwars.com/DanInf.html

Quote:

In 1675 musketeers were uniformly equipped with matchlocks, but following the Battle of Lund in December 1676 flintlocks began to be introduced. The main problem with matchlocks was the glowing fuse which was difficult to handle in all weather conditions. In an attempt to solve this problem muskets with a doublelock (match and wheelock and match and flintlock) were introduced, but the matchlock continued to be the dominant infantry firearm throughout the war. Normally 12 or more charges were carried hanging from a bandolier. Flintlocks were gradually introduced and the cartridge bandolier was replaced by a cartridge box. Musketeers were also armed with a straight infantry sword. Initially, musketeers in a few units, for example Plöns Regiment, were also armed with so-called svinefjer (Schwein Feder)or swine feather (a heavy, short spear used for hunting wild boars). This was useful in close combat and trench warfare, and which could also be used in the construction of "Spanish Riders" or chevaux de frise. In October 1678 Christian 5 decreed that pikes should be abandoned, and instead infantry should be armed with muskets and svinefjer. The extent to which this was implemented before the end of the war is unknown.


I can't swear to the accuracy of the information, but I found it interesting.

Stay safe!

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