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Garrett Hazen




Location: California
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PostPosted: Mon 22 Jan, 2007 8:26 pm    Post subject: Big warhammers / mauls?         Reply with quote

I can not find any history of a big warhammer, or a maul, more like. I guess i am just hooked on fantasy, or were they ever made? I am thinking of something sort of like a sledge hammer, but more like a medieval weapon.

I would appriciate to here your thoughts on the subject

Learn to obey before you command--Solon of Athens
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Jean Henri Chandler




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PostPosted: Mon 22 Jan, 2007 9:18 pm    Post subject: Re: Big warhammers / mauls?         Reply with quote

Garrett Hazen wrote:
I can not find any history of a big warhammer, or a maul, more like. I guess i am just hooked on fantasy, or were they ever made? I am thinking of something sort of like a sledge hammer, but more like a medieval weapon.

I would appriciate to here your thoughts on the subject


I don't think you are going to find a weapon like that outside of dungeons and dragons.

When you look at historical examples of weapons which are adapted from tools, such as hammers and axes, contrary to the fantasy portrayals the business ends of these things are smaller and lighter than on equivalent farm tools. Thats partly because it doesn't require as much energy to hack off an arm as it does to chop down an oak tree, nor to cave in a head as it does to smash stone. (Real people don't have hundreds of "hit points" where they can absorb blow after blow unharmed...)

Even more important, weapons with ten pound striking heads are awfully clumsy to wield. By the time you swung an iron maul at someone they would have killed you five times over with any number of normal military weapons.

One constant you will run into over and over and over again is that military weapons tend to handle well and weigh a lot less than you might think, most swords for example are in the ballpark of 2-4 lbs, 4 lbs being unusually heavy in fact.

J

System D'Armes Historical European fencing in New Orleans

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George Hill




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PostPosted: Mon 22 Jan, 2007 11:13 pm    Post subject: Re: Big warhammers / mauls?         Reply with quote

Jean Henri Chandler wrote:

I don't think you are going to find a weapon like that outside of dungeons and dragons.


As much as I hate to say it, as I'm sure it will only fuel the fires of twenty pound weapons.... Oakeshott did reference a Knight who used a huge maul.

Still, it was most likely just one individual who had taken too many waster blows to his helmet.

To abandon your shield is the basest of crimes. - --Tacitus on Germania
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Tue 23 Jan, 2007 1:26 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

What is Oakeshott's definition of "huge"? A 5-pound hammer would be huge compared to typical weapons.
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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Tue 23 Jan, 2007 6:07 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

You can try here for more info:

http://www.myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t=5500

Happy

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Lafayette C Curtis




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PostPosted: Tue 23 Jan, 2007 7:28 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'd also say no, since what little amateur research I've personally done seems to indicate that hammers designed specifically for war have, if anything, narrower heads than tool hammers. They're generally meant to be armor-piercing (or at least armor-bashing) weapons, and that means the design would have to minimize the striking area to maximize the effect of the force delivered at that point. So a large-headed war hammer would defeat the purpose of carrying a warhammer in the first place.

The closest we can get to one would be the English longbowmen's mallets, but in this case they were not dedicated weapons but rather tools forced to take on the function of weaponry.
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Jean Henri Chandler




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PostPosted: Tue 23 Jan, 2007 9:08 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Lafayette C Curtis wrote:
I'd also say no, since what little amateur research I've personally done seems to indicate that hammers designed specifically for war have, if anything, narrower heads than tool hammers. They're generally meant to be armor-piercing (or at least armor-bashing) weapons, and that means the design would have to minimize the striking area to maximize the effect of the force delivered at that point. So a large-headed war hammer would defeat the purpose of carrying a warhammer in the first place.

The closest we can get to one would be the English longbowmen's mallets, but in this case they were not dedicated weapons but rather tools forced to take on the function of weaponry.


Yeah exactly. I know wooden tent -stake mallets were used as you say by longbowmen to subdue french knights in a couple of famous occasions, and I'll even buy the possibility of a large-ish war hammer head of say 3 or maybe 4 pounds being used by some freakishly strong, "Championship Wrestling" type knight, but I would be truly amazed to find out that anything like a modern sledge-hammer was ever used as a serious weapon in combat, let alone the kind of ridiculous oversized hammers you routinely see in fantasy illustrations and in video games and films.

If I had to choose a weapon for my opponent in a duel I'd much rather they had a 9 pound hammer than say, a staff. It would be pretty simple to cut a hand off or run them through before they even got a hammer into full swing.. the only thing to worry about would be if they threw it at you.

As mr Curtiss said, the heads on six foot pole hammers are usually smaller and lighter looking than the head on a lot of modern framing hammers. They aren't even in the ballpark of a maul.

Jean

System D'Armes Historical European fencing in New Orleans

Essays on Hroarr

Introducing the Codex Guide to the Medieval Baltic


Last edited by Jean Henri Chandler on Tue 23 Jan, 2007 3:58 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Bryce Felperin




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PostPosted: Tue 23 Jan, 2007 11:12 am    Post subject: Re: Big warhammers / mauls?         Reply with quote

George Hill wrote:
Jean Henri Chandler wrote:

I don't think you are going to find a weapon like that outside of dungeons and dragons.


As much as I hate to say it, as I'm sure it will only fuel the fires of twenty pound weapons.... Oakeshott did reference a Knight who used a huge maul.

Still, it was most likely just one individual who had taken too many waster blows to his helmet.


Well I can't commit directly since I'm of school that lighter is better, but I met a guy at a faire who used an 8-pound sword as his weapon in the "tournaments" at the faire. He seemed to be of the opinion that it was right for him. He was a pretty buff guy at that. ;-) He did do a fight for several minutes moving that sword pretty fast.

So I'm pretty convinced that some people are abberations of evolution or exceptions to the rule and can perhaps wield monster weapons efficiently. I'm not one of them though...for me three pounds is heavy enough for an afternoon's demos! Happy
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Jean Henri Chandler




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PostPosted: Tue 23 Jan, 2007 1:14 pm    Post subject: Re: Big warhammers / mauls?         Reply with quote

Bryce Felperin wrote:


Well I can't commit directly since I'm of school that lighter is better, but I met a guy at a faire who used an 8-pound sword as his weapon in the "tournaments" at the faire. He seemed to be of the opinion that it was right for him. He was a pretty buff guy at that. ;-) He did do a fight for several minutes moving that sword pretty fast.


Lol! I wonder what kind of 'tournament' that was with what kind of rules and restrictions. I would love to fight someone who had an 8 pound weapon. It would be a short fight.

J

System D'Armes Historical European fencing in New Orleans

Essays on Hroarr

Introducing the Codex Guide to the Medieval Baltic
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Benjamin H. Abbott




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PostPosted: Tue 23 Jan, 2007 3:36 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
The closest we can get to one would be the English longbowmen's mallets, but in this case they were not dedicated weapons but rather tools forced to take on the function of weaponry.


Well, I don't agree with that, but we've already debated the subject in another thread. At least later on, I believe they were dedicated weapons.

I've been reading the Diary of Buonaccorso Pitti lately, which was written in 15th-century Italy. The author mentioned 3,000 lead-tipped cudgels or mallets being stored for war. Those mallets, at least, were clearly considered weapons.
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Bryce Felperin




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PostPosted: Tue 23 Jan, 2007 3:52 pm    Post subject: Re: Big warhammers / mauls?         Reply with quote

Jean Henri Chandler wrote:
Bryce Felperin wrote:


Well I can't commit directly since I'm of school that lighter is better, but I met a guy at a faire who used an 8-pound sword as his weapon in the "tournaments" at the faire. He seemed to be of the opinion that it was right for him. He was a pretty buff guy at that. ;-) He did do a fight for several minutes moving that sword pretty fast.


Lol! I wonder what kind of 'tournament' that was with what kind of rules and restrictions. I would love to fight someone who had an 8 pound weapon. It would be a short fight.

J


If you saw the guy, you would not want to fight him! ;-) He did jousting with some foot combat during the tournaments in full harness.
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John Cooksey




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PostPosted: Tue 23 Jan, 2007 3:57 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jean Henri Chandler wrote:
Lafayette C Curtis wrote:
I'd also say no, since what little amateur research I've personally done seems to indicate that hammers designed specifically for war have, if anything, narrower heads than tool hammers. They're generally meant to be armor-piercing (or at least armor-bashing) weapons, and that means the design would have to minimize the striking area to maximize the effect of the force delivered at that point. So a large-headed war hammer would defeat the purpose of carrying a warhammer in the first place.

The closest we can get to one would be the English longbowmen's mallets, but in this case they were not dedicated weapons but rather tools forced to take on the function of weaponry.


Yeah exactly. I know wooden tent -stake mallets were used as you say by longbowmen to subdue french knights in a couple of famous occasions, and I'll even buy the possibility of a large-ish war hammer head of say 3 or maybe 4 pounds being used by some freakishly strong, "double x chromasone" type knight, but I would be truly amazed to find out that anything like a modern sledge-hammer was ever used as a serious weapon in combat, let alone the kind of ridiculous oversized hammers you routinely see in fantasy illustrations and in video games and films.

If I had to choose a weapon for my opponent in a duel I'd much rather they had a 9 pound hammer than say, a staff. It would be pretty simple to cut a hand off or run them through before they even got a hammer into full swing.. the only thing to worry about would be if they threw it at you.

As mr Curtiss said, the heads on six foot pole hammers are usually smaller and lighter looking than the head on a lot of modern framing hammers. They aren't even in the ballpark of a maul.

Jean


So a 3 or 4 lb weapon is suitable for a "gurly-man"??? (double "x'" usually results in too little male hormone for adequate growth and development of the ale physique) :-)

A four-pound hammer really is not all that heavy, once you are used to using it. Of course, the longer the haft, the more difficult it becomes to use effectively with one hand. With a haft sufficient for two-handed use, I cannot imagine why it would be a truly poor weapon in the hands of a strong wielder.
A big two-handed sledge, though, of 8 pounds or more, on the other hand, would be extremely difficult to handle quickly. I have used one a lot, but wouldn't think of it as a weapon. I certainly wouldn't say *someone* couldn't do it, tho. If that theoretical someone *could*, fights would be over fairly quickly. With or without points or narrow striking faces, that heavy head would mash armor quite easily.
So, who knows????

I didn't surrender, but they took my horse and made him surrender.
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Jean Henri Chandler




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PostPosted: Tue 23 Jan, 2007 4:08 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

John Cooksey wrote:


So a 3 or 4 lb weapon is suitable for a "gurly-man"??? (double "x'" usually results in too little male hormone for adequate growth and development of the ale physique) :-)

A four-pound hammer really is not all that heavy, once you are used to using it. Of course, the longer the haft, the more difficult it becomes to use effectively with one hand. With a haft sufficient for two-handed use, I cannot imagine why it would be a truly poor weapon in the hands of a strong wielder.
A big two-handed sledge, though, of 8 pounds or more, on the other hand, would be extremely difficult to handle quickly. I have used one a lot, but wouldn't think of it as a weapon. I certainly wouldn't say *someone* couldn't do it, tho. If that theoretical someone *could*, fights would be over fairly quickly. With or without points or narrow striking faces, that heavy head would mash armor quite easily.
So, who knows????


I think a four pound hammer is on the outside realm of feasability for a real fighting weapon, maybe I'll go up to 5 or 6 pounds for a two handed weapon. Thats just based on my personal experiences.

I was apparently misinformed by what a double X chromosone meant, so I edited that out of my post ... I was told it could be offensive and that's not what I meant. As to the super heavy weapons, well, given my biochemistry gaffe I probably don't sound like much of an authority. I'll just say this, I have had a lot of experience sparring and I personally think that as weight goes up over a certain point, efficiency diminishes exponentially. A full-contact, full-speed fight is very, very fast. If one guy has a realistically balanced weapon within that critical weight range and the other guy has something much heavier, all other things being equal I personally believe the guy with the faster weapon is going to win 8 times out of 10, if they are even moderately experienced.

Thats purely my opinion. I am also of the opinion that the vast majority of folks "fighting" in ren faire tournaments, with a few notable exceptions, are using both weapons and techniques which are not even in the ball park of the real thing.

And yeah, I'm a pugnacious guy, personally i would love to try anybody with a weapon that heavy, as long as my life wasn't on the line. For that matter I gladly take on all comers at our fencing practice every single Saturday and have for the last 15 years, call me crazy. I like a little variety, it keeps you honest.

J

System D'Armes Historical European fencing in New Orleans

Essays on Hroarr

Introducing the Codex Guide to the Medieval Baltic
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John Cooksey




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PostPosted: Tue 23 Jan, 2007 4:16 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jean Henri Chandler wrote:
John Cooksey wrote:


So a 3 or 4 lb weapon is suitable for a "gurly-man"??? (double "x'" usually results in too little male hormone for adequate growth and development of the ale physique) :-)

A four-pound hammer really is not all that heavy, once you are used to using it. Of course, the longer the haft, the more difficult it becomes to use effectively with one hand. With a haft sufficient for two-handed use, I cannot imagine why it would be a truly poor weapon in the hands of a strong wielder.
A big two-handed sledge, though, of 8 pounds or more, on the other hand, would be extremely difficult to handle quickly. I have used one a lot, but wouldn't think of it as a weapon. I certainly wouldn't say *someone* couldn't do it, tho. If that theoretical someone *could*, fights would be over fairly quickly. With or without points or narrow striking faces, that heavy head would mash armor quite easily.
So, who knows????


I think a four pound hammer is on the outside realm of feasability for a real fighting weapon, maybe I'll go up to 5 or 6 pounds for a two handed weapon. Thats just based on my personal experiences.

I was apparently misinformed by what a double X chromosone meant, so I edited that out of my post ... I was told it could be offensive and that's not what I meant. As to the super heavy weapons, well, given my biochemistry gaffe I probably don't sound like much of an authority. I'll just say this, I have had a lot of experience sparring and I personally think that as weight goes up over a certain point, efficiency diminishes exponentially. A full-contact, full-speed fight is very, very fast. If one guy has a realistically balanced weapon within that critical weight range and the other guy has something much heavier, all other things being equal I personally believe the guy with the faster weapon is going to win 8 times out of 10, if they are even moderately experienced.

Thats purely my opinion. I am also of the opinion that the vast majority of folks "fighting" in ren faire tournaments, with a few notable exceptions, are using both weapons and techniques which are not even in the ball park of the real thing.

And yeah, I'm a pugnacious guy, personally i would love to try anybody with a weapon that heavy, as long as my life wasn't on the line. For that matter I gladly take on all comers at our fencing practice every single Saturday and have for the last 15 years, call me crazy. I like a little variety, it keeps you honest.

J


That's cool.
I would agree with you, weapons can get heavy to the point where they are useless.
I much prefer a 2 pound sword over a 4 pound weapon for single-hand use, for example.
But in a two handed weapon, 4 pounds isn't as heavy as it sounds. (for me)
And I know that there are folks out there who are stronger than me or have better leverage.

Honestly, I worry more about weapon length than weight (up to that magical point you are talking about).
I like short swords over long swords, every time. Short swords, big shields, and average sized spears. :-)

I didn't surrender, but they took my horse and made him surrender.
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Lafayette C Curtis




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PostPosted: Tue 23 Jan, 2007 10:42 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Benjamin H. Abbott wrote:
Well, I don't agree with that, but we've already debated the subject in another thread. At least later on, I believe they were dedicated weapons.

I've been reading the Diary of Buonaccorso Pitti lately, which was written in 15th-century Italy. The author mentioned 3,000 lead-tipped cudgels or mallets being stored for war. Those mallets, at least, were clearly considered weapons.


Interesting. Do we have any pictures, illustrations, or other kinds of graphic representation of those mallets? They might not exactly be the same kinds of mallets used for driving stakes into the ground, although now that we think of it even a crude club would suffice for both working the stakes and fighting the enemy in a pinch...
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Lafayette C Curtis




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PostPosted: Tue 23 Jan, 2007 10:43 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well, I wouldn't mind using a four-pound hammer with a heavy but narrow head in two hands. It would be the perfect armor-bashing weapon, and quite fast in the strike--although, I suspect, it might be a bit sluggish in the recovery. But with such a hammer you'd only need one hit to bash the enemy to pulp!
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Wed 24 Jan, 2007 2:53 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Lafayette C Curtis wrote:
Benjamin H. Abbott wrote:
Well, I don't agree with that, but we've already debated the subject in another thread. At least later on, I believe they were dedicated weapons.

I've been reading the Diary of Buonaccorso Pitti lately, which was written in 15th-century Italy. The author mentioned 3,000 lead-tipped cudgels or mallets being stored for war. Those mallets, at least, were clearly considered weapons.


Interesting. Do we have any pictures, illustrations, or other kinds of graphic representation of those mallets? They might not exactly be the same kinds of mallets used for driving stakes into the ground, although now that we think of it even a crude club would suffice for both working the stakes and fighting the enemy in a pinch...


Agreed. Just because they were stored away for war doesn't mean that their primary purpose was as a weapon. Plenty of non-combat related items get stored away for war.
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Jeff Hughes





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PostPosted: Wed 24 Jan, 2007 9:05 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

[quote="Dan Howard"]
Lafayette C Curtis wrote:
Benjamin H. Abbott wrote:
Well, I don't agree with that, but we've already debated the subject in another thread. At least later on, I believe they were dedicated weapons.

I've been reading the Diary of Buonaccorso Pitti lately, which was written in 15th-century Italy. The author mentioned 3,000 lead-tipped cudgels or mallets being stored for war. Those mallets, at least, were clearly considered weapons.


Interesting. Do we have any pictures, illustrations, or other kinds of graphic representation of those mallets? They might not exactly be the same kinds of mallets used for driving stakes into the ground, although now that we think of it even a crude club would suffice for both working the stakes and fighting the enemy in a pinch...




well i forget where but read about these same items. they had a lead facing on a wooden mual head. normally looking like a shield boss used for breaking down barriers. but this same men would also be used to try to break shield walls. and would have to use them to defend themselves. if i remember the piece it said only 5-7 lbs.
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Jeff Hughes





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PostPosted: Wed 24 Jan, 2007 9:08 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

[quote="Dan Howard"]
Lafayette C Curtis wrote:
Benjamin H. Abbott wrote:
Well, I don't agree with that, but we've already debated the subject in another thread. At least later on, I believe they were dedicated weapons.

I've been reading the Diary of Buonaccorso Pitti lately, which was written in 15th-century Italy. The author mentioned 3,000 lead-tipped cudgels or mallets being stored for war. Those mallets, at least, were clearly considered weapons.


Interesting. Do we have any pictures, illustrations, or other kinds of graphic representation of those mallets? They might not exactly be the same kinds of mallets used for driving stakes into the ground, although now that we think of it even a crude club would suffice for both working the stakes and fighting the enemy in a pinch...




well i forget where but read about these same items. they had a lead facing on a wooden mual head. normally looking like a shield boss used for breaking down barriers. but this same men would also be used to try to break shield walls. and would have to use them to defend themselves. if i remember the piece it said only 5-7 lbs.
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Joseph J. E. Hancock





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PostPosted: Wed 24 Jan, 2007 10:55 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Check out my signature, guys.

http://www.maisters.demon.co.uk/weapons.htm

Unfortunately, I can't find the actual historical reference, but I have used this sig for a while, and I'm sticking with it. Big Grin


P.S - This is my first post on this forum, so hello. Happy

One historical reference describes an English knight, named Billefort, using a maul weighing twenty-five pounds when fighting, in 1315, a combat against French knights.
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