Questions about a Lucerne Hammer

I am the proud owner of a replica Lucerne Hammer made by Darren Austin in Australia. He did a great job! It is a copy of an actual item at the Higgins Museum you can see on their website. The accession number is # 1790, and the folks at the Higgins were very helpful with photos and dimensions.

The simplicity of this weapon's design appealed to me more than more fancy Lucerne Hammers. It is very ultilitarian, and I can't help thinking the original must have been used in combat. However, it has occured to me I am ignorant about how this weapon was meant to be used (in comparison to a poleaxe). It simply looks mean! It has a long top spike, a curved rear fluke, two side spikes, and four prongs instead of an axe blade.

Can anyone comment about the primary purpose, or use, of the four prongs? I do not think you could damage armour with them. They seem too fragile for that. So ... was this perhaps a rennaisance weapon when less armour was worn ... if any? The prongs certainly were not meant to be purcussive like a poleaxe's "waffle hammer."

The top spike's purposes seem obvious - parrying and thrusting. I assume the rear fluke was used for dismounting someone off a horse, and grappling moves (like with poleaxes). However, I can only imagine the prongs were slammed into someone for poking holes or snagging their clothes in a way that would allow you to later poke them with the top spike.

I don't mean to sound silly having a weapon whose use I am not totally familiar with. Again, it's simply a cool looking polearm. Also, Lucerne Hammers have a notorious historic reputation. My point is not all of its functions are as immediately obvious to me as a poleaxe's functions (like A&A's knightly poleaxe).

All comments are welcome. Thank you! Happy Holidays!
Hey Dustin,

The Lucerne Hammer is just a pollaxe. The term "Lucerne Hammer" itself was coined in about the 19th century because that particular style (more on that in a bit) seemed really popular around Lucerne. What makes the style unique really is the hammer prongs, as you noticed. Lucerne hammers have four prongs arranged in a square, where a lot of other pronged hammers (e.g. a lot of Italian ones) are arranged in a diamond pattern (see A&A's Burgundian Axe as an example).

As to the prongs looking fragile I have tow thoughts:
1) Don't worry about it. They will hit just as hard as a waffle-pattern head due to physics - the force of the blow is being concentrated into a smaller area, thereby increasing the "felt" impact.
2) Axes like the Lucerne Hammer were used from about the 15th century onwards and were used against heavily armoured opponents (15th century) to more lightly armoured opponents (17th century).

Again, the Lucerne Hammer is just a poleaxe and was used just like other poleaxes.

Iv'e done quite a bit of experimentation (hitting) with a couple of 4-pronged pollaxes I made. The prongs really help prevent glancing blows when striking a rounded steel surface. One of my pollaxes has a very short pyramidal backspike that is less likely to be deflected than the longer fluke on the other one. It seems that the further the point or hammer face is from the socket, the harder it is to hit really hard without glancing off, thus my preference for rather stubby axe-heads.

Page 1 of 1

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 2003-2006 — All rights reserved
Discussion forums powered by phpBB © The phpBB Group
Switch to the Full-featured Version of the forum