Military Review

5 of the most formidable two-handed swords of the Middle Ages

50
Around the two-handed swords of the Middle Ages, thanks to the efforts of mass culture, the most incredible rumors always hover. Some give weapon pounds weight, others - incredible dimensions, and others even say that swords of this size could not exist as a military weapon. Popular Mechanics decided to dot the i's and tell you about the most popular types of two-handed swords.


Claymore



Claymore (claymore, Claymore, Claymore, from the Gallic claidheamh-mòr - “the big sword”) is a two-handed sword that has become very popular among the Scottish Highlanders since the end of the 14th century. Being the main weapon of the infantry, claymore was actively used in clashes between tribes or border battles with the British.

Claymore - the smallest among all his fellows. This, however, does not mean that the weapon is small: the average blade length is 105 − 110 cm, and with the handle the sword reached 150 cm. Its distinctive feature was a characteristic bend of the crosshairs - down towards the tip of the blade. This design made it possible to effectively capture and literally pull out from the hands of the enemy any long weapon. In addition, the decoration of the horns of the bow - breaking through in the form of a stylized four-leaf clover - became a distinctive sign by which everyone could easily recognize the weapon.
In terms of size and efficiency, claymore was perhaps the best option among all the two-handed swords. He was not specialized, and therefore quite effectively used in any combat situation.

Zweihander



Zweihander (German Zweihänder or Bidenhänder / Bihänder, “the two-handed sword”) is a weapon of a special division of landsknechts who consist of double salaries (doppelsoldnerov). If the claymore is the most modest sword, then the Zweihander was indeed impressive in size and in rare cases reached two meters in length, including the handle. In addition, he was notable for a double guard, where special “boar tusks” separated the uncut part of the blade (ricasso) from the sharpened blade.



Such a sword was a weapon of very narrow application. The technique of warfare was quite dangerous: the owner of the Zweihander acted in the first rows, pushing aside with a lever (or even completely cutting) the shaft of enemy peaks and spears. To possess this monster required not only remarkable strength and courage, but also considerable skill of the fencer, so mercenaries received double salary not for their beautiful eyes. The technique of fighting with two-handed swords is not very similar to the usual blade fencing: such a sword is much easier to compare with the beard. Of course, Zweihander did not have a scabbard - he was carried on his shoulder like a paddle or spear.

Flamberg

Flamberg ("flaming sword") - is a natural evolution of the usual straight sword. The curvature of the blade made it possible to increase the striking ability of the weapon, but in the case of large swords, the blade was too massive, fragile and still could not penetrate the quality armor. In addition, the Western European school of fencing involves the use of the sword mainly as a piercing weapon, and therefore, the curved blades for it were not suitable.

By the XIV-XVI centuries, the achievement of metallurgy led to the fact that the cutting sword became completely useless on the battlefield - it simply could not penetrate the hardened steel armor with one or two strikes, which played a critical role in mass battles. Gunsmiths began to actively seek a way out of this situation, until they finally came to the concept of a wave blade, which has a number of successive antiphase bends. Such swords were difficult to manufacture and were expensive, but the effectiveness of the sword was indisputable. Due to a significant reduction in the area of ​​the striking surface, upon contact with the target, the destructive effect increased many times. In addition, the blade acted on the saw principle, cutting through the affected surface.

Flamberg wounds did not heal for a very long time. Some commanders sentenced prisoners of swordsmen to death solely for carrying such weapons. The Catholic Church also cursed such swords and branded them as inhumane weapons.

Espadone

Espadon (fr. Espadon from the Spanish. Espada - the sword) is a classic type of two-handed sword with a tetrahedral cross-section of the blade. Its length reached the 1,8 meter, and the guard consisted of two massive arches. The center of gravity of the weapon was often shifted to the tip — this increased the penetrating ability of the sword.

In battle, such weapons were used by unique warriors, who usually did not have any other specialization. Their task was, waving huge blades, to destroy the enemy’s combat system, to overturn the first rows of the enemy and to pave the way for the rest of the army. Sometimes these swords were used in battle with the cavalry — because of the size and weight of the blade, the weapon made it very effective to chop the legs of horses and cut through the armor of heavy infantry.

Most often, the weight of military weapons ranged from 3 to 5 kg, while heavier specimens were award or ceremonial. Sometimes weighted replicas of combat blades were used for training purposes.

Estok



Estoc (fr. Estoc) is a two-handed piercing weapon designed for penetrating knight’s armor. The long (up to 1,3 meter) tetrahedral blade usually had a stiffener. If the previous swords were used as a means of countermeasures against cavalry, then the estka, on the contrary, was the rider's weapon. The riders wore it on the right side of the saddle so that in case of loss the peaks have an additional means of self-defense. In equestrian combat, the sword was held with one hand, and the blow was struck due to the speed and weight of the horse. In a foot skirmish, the warrior took him in two hands, compensating for the lack of mass with his own power. Some samples of the XVI century have a complex guard, like a sword, but most often there was no need for it.
Author:
Originator:
http://www.popmech.ru/weapon/245992-5-samykh-groznykh-dvuruchnykh-mechey-srednevekovya/
50 comments
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  1. igordok
    igordok 23 July 2016 08: 02
    +23
    Unfortunately there are no images of Flumberg and Espadon.
    Flumber in the museum

    But Espadon could not decide. I am not a connoisseur of XO and according to the article I did not understand how it differs from others. I would be grateful for the clarifications and images.
    1. Igor39
      Igor39 23 July 2016 08: 38
      +3
      Here is everything.http: //coollib.com/b/297985/read
    2. svp67
      svp67 23 July 2016 08: 48
      +19
      Quote: igordok
      Unfortunately there are no images of Flumberg and Espadon.

      Flamberg


      But Espadon could not decide.
      This is the most classic sword that is easiest to imagine ...


      1. igordok
        igordok 23 July 2016 09: 23
        +3
        Quote: svp67
        This is the most classic sword that is easiest to imagine ...

        Perhaps that is why I could not decide. Thank.
        1. pimen
          pimen 23 July 2016 10: 53
          0
          interestingly, flamberg probably had an advantage in fencing itself, if, at least in half the attacks, it would throw the enemy’s blade harder
    3. Zulu_S
      Zulu_S 23 July 2016 14: 56
      +1
      Flamberg is also in the Armory in the Moscow Kremlin.
      1. Bashibuzuk
        Bashibuzuk 23 July 2016 15: 45
        +9
        Flamberg had no particular differences from other varieties.
        Except for two - ...
        firstly the price is higher.
        secondly - it was easier to extract it when stuck.
        A pair of jerks back and forth, as a rule, release the blade.
        Everything else, including cutting abilities, is a myth. And untested speculation.
        ...
        And from the pictures - you can be stunned.
        Very high quality.
    4. Blackgrifon
      Blackgrifon 23 July 2016 17: 53
      0
      Quote: igordok
      But Espadon could not decide.

      If memory serves, it was also called a bastard and bastard and could be used as a two-handed or one-handed weapon. Who understands - correct
      1. Verdun
        Verdun 23 July 2016 20: 56
        -1
        [
        Quote: Blackgrifon

        If memory serves, it was also called a bastard and bastard and could be used as a two-handed or one-handed weapon. Who understands - correct

        The classic side sword (bastard) is wider than the espadone and is designed more for chopping strikes. Espadon is already more and more intended for stabbing. In general, not all espadons were two-handed. The handle of some has a length of one and a half fists. At the same time, the first two-handed swords were really very heavy, but gradually their weight began to decline. The flamberge blade has become thinner and lighter. Espadon has become even easier.
        1. gladcu2
          gladcu2 29 November 2016 03: 38
          0
          Verdun

          Slasher is a long sword. (Well, almost.) A. Dum mentions that D'artagnan was armed with his grandfather's espadon, which caused a lot of ridicule among the city public.
          1. drsob
            drsob 17 March 2021 11: 48
            0
            Espadron. They are different. Espadron and Espadron.
  2. parusnik
    parusnik 23 July 2016 08: 13
    +7
    Thanks to the author, dispelled the rumors inspired by popular culture ..
  3. Cat
    Cat 23 July 2016 08: 37
    +3
    We look forward to continuing !!!
  4. erased
    erased 23 July 2016 08: 44
    +2
    Good review. There are several programs in the West about edged weapons, its application is shown there. For lovers of antiquity, the very thing.
    1. gladcu2
      gladcu2 29 November 2016 03: 41
      0
      erased

      There are many videos on YouTube where fighters with a sword show the technique of using various piercing and cutting weapons. The truth is mostly in English. But the meaning is clear.
  5. tiaman.76
    tiaman.76 23 July 2016 08: 48
    +2
    thanks to the author for the article .. it seems like two tame ones that had to be skillfully fektovat.Not just stab or cut namely fektovat with both hands
    1. Chiropractor
      Chiropractor 23 July 2016 09: 29
      +6
      Why would you? oar - it is oar laughing

      A more diverse technique (skillfully fencing!) - At a bastard and a half. A grip with one hand, two, a grip on the top of the handle - and with each grip its own technique of striking, its own punches ...
      1. The comment was deleted.
  6. Knizhnik
    Knizhnik 23 July 2016 09: 30
    +13
    Zweihander bully I just really liked the character, could not resist.

    Could a respected author make a publication about Russian-Turkic swords?
    Or at least a reference ...
    1. ICT
      ICT 23 July 2016 18: 43
      +2
      Quote: Knizhnik
      I just really liked the character,
      1. Knizhnik
        Knizhnik 24 July 2016 09: 56
        +1
        Is this Rutger Hauer from Flesh and Blood?
        1. ICT
          ICT 24 July 2016 10: 23
          0
          Yes, that's how it is
    2. Unclean
      Unclean 23 July 2016 21: 51
      +2
      Quote: Knizhnik
      Zweihander bully I just really liked the character, could not resist.

      Could a respected author make a publication about Russian-Turkic swords?
      Or at least a reference ...

      I hope this character is going to crack down on House-2? It is just wonderful.
  7. igordok
    igordok 23 July 2016 09: 43
    0
    Quote: Kotischa
    We look forward to continuing !!!

    Quote: Knizhnik
    Could a respected author make a publication about Russian-Turkic swords?

    Hardly, unfortunately. As far as I understand, a reprint from Popular Mechanics.
    Popular Mechanics decided to dot all the i and tell you about the most popular types of two-handed swords.
  8. Seraphimamur
    Seraphimamur 23 July 2016 11: 01
    +2
    Article plus, very informative!
  9. Mountain shooter
    Mountain shooter 23 July 2016 12: 33
    +3
    The video was impressive. It was hard to resist such a sword. Especially, the pork carcass ALONG. Or a cow skull.
  10. Cap.nemo58rus
    Cap.nemo58rus 23 July 2016 14: 35
    +1
    Quote: svp67
    Quote: igordok
    Unfortunately there are no images of Flumberg and Espadon.

    Flamberg


    But Espadon could not decide.
    This is the most classic sword that is easiest to imagine ...



    And paired with Espadon-Misericordia?
    1. 9lvariag
      9lvariag 24 December 2016 15: 11
      0
      Rather, it is a panerbreaker.
  11. ImPerts
    ImPerts 23 July 2016 15: 20
    +2
    The swords are beautiful, but to wave a one and a half meter thing in the thick of the battle is impossible. There is still a shortage of personal space. For ceremonies and dueling matches it will do, and for public events from piercing and cutting, gladiuses or the like are more practical.
    1. Old shoe
      Old shoe 23 July 2016 16: 54
      +10
      Well, after all, the article is about two-handed swords, and not about the benefits of a particular type of weapon. The author also says that two-handed swords were created for special applications. And if they were not made in single copies, then they played a significant role in the tactics of battles.
    2. Blackgrifon
      Blackgrifon 23 July 2016 17: 57
      +3
      Nevertheless, the gladiuses were removed from the arsenal of the Roman troops BEFORE the collapse of the Empire. Although, I agree, this weapon, which came from Spain, was extremely effective. It is enough to recall what kind of damage to the morale of the Macedonian soldiers caused the appearance of their first comrades who died from gladius.
    3. kirieeleyson
      kirieeleyson 24 July 2016 01: 35
      +1
      I like the Falcata more if you take the derivatives of Spanish swords as a counterweight. For a chopping stroke, it has an ideal shape, the shift of weight to the blade created an incredible balance, the famous fan protection from there.
      1. gladcu2
        gladcu2 26 July 2016 01: 28
        0
        The Falcata is designed to get the enemy who lifted the shield vertically upward. Not bad if the chopper is slightly higher than the opponent. Against the Roman legionnaires. It hits the head well and does not slip out of the hand.
    4. tar9
      tar9 29 July 2016 18: 47
      +2
      In this case, the landsknecht also had such a sword, it was called, it seems, "the cat ripper".
  12. Outsider V.
    Outsider V. 23 July 2016 18: 37
    +1
    There are versions that the Russian word well comes from latin gladius (sword) and related Old Irish claideb (compare with claymore = claidheamh-mòr) and Welsh cleddyf.
  13. SlavaP
    SlavaP 23 July 2016 22: 50
    +1
    And here is what I googled. The author - thank you very much.
  14. 2005 Aleksey
    2005 Aleksey 23 July 2016 22: 50
    +1
    Such swords were used by soldiers in Germany, England, France, Sweden.
  15. romandostalo
    romandostalo 25 July 2016 08: 43
    0
    What about Nodachi (or Nodachi)? Even in the movie "7 Samurai" is present.
    1. psiho117
      psiho117 25 July 2016 11: 47
      +2
      Quote: romandostalo
      But what about nodachi (or nodati)?

      but here a common mistake of amateurs was simply admitted: if the "Middle Ages" - so only exclusively medieval Europe, and the rest of the world is not mentioned.
      Although both China, Japan, and the East had their two-handed swords, no less deadly.

      Well, and smiled: Click bully
      1. kirieeleyson
        kirieeleyson 25 July 2016 13: 12
        0
        do you need a box of matches to understand whether this child is so small or a sword such 170 cm approximately?
        1. soaring
          soaring 30 September 2016 18: 13
          0
          Look at the outlet on the bottom right and estimate about .... wink
  16. psiho117
    psiho117 25 July 2016 15: 29
    0
    maybe even more, their blade length ranged from 120 to 150 cm, plus the handle - 13-14 cm, so that 1,85 m could be.
    1. psiho117
      psiho117 27 July 2016 17: 38
      0
      sealed up, the handle is not 13-14 but 30-40 cm fellow
  17. 2005 Aleksey
    2005 Aleksey 25 July 2016 20: 13
    0
    Quote: psiho117
    maybe even more, their blade length ranged from 120 to 150 cm, plus the handle - 13-14 cm, so that 1,85 m could be.

    And maybe more!
  18. Bashibuzuk
    Bashibuzuk 25 July 2016 20: 55
    +1
    Again the same mistake.
    Do not think that everything dug up by the "Tomb Raiders" is good for battle.
    The same armor - white, purple, color, closed, open .... NEVER used in battle.
    And if someone wrote that the Duke of Saxony had ruined the Duke of Saxony in half ... it is akin to what I say now - I killed an opponent with two balls.
    Now understand what I had in mind ... balls like two eggs .... or balls like two bristles?
    ...
    The overwhelming mass of weapons that have reached us .. 99 percent of this equipment is a DECORATION.
    These are rarities.
    This is a 1960 Chevrolet Corvettes. This is Silver Guest of 1959.
    These are SAMPLES.
    Having nothing to do with the erased, rusted swords and chain mail of former warriors.
    Which kept in the halls - FEAR SUCCESSFUL SUCCESS.
    And they went into battle in grandfather's chain mail, patches of latana. For proven suitability.
    Who preferred a frisky horse ... a percheron hung with iron.
    It was possible to put a squire on the percheron. The trick was called military.
    ...
    Why is there such an opinion ... that the warriors of earlier days were worse than today, huh?
    1. ILDM1986
      ILDM1986 25 September 2016 21: 31
      +5
      Well, yes, and written sources, including fencing textbooks, paintings, canvases, sculptures, also in order to brag to each other, and go into battle with the good old Carolingian? To drain the wild loot on something that you will never use - what nonsense, is it really Fomenko's fan again? No, of course especially rich guys had separate sets of armor and weapons for tournaments, for parades and for battle. But most of the small knights had barely one set of money. maximum protection elements could be replaced. And to compare the "grandfather's" chain mail of the 12th century with the plate armor of the 15th century, you have to be a finished di..originally thinking person. The armor has many times better protection against arrows / bolts / bullets / spears, etc. Only in films and books does a cunning unarmored warrior wear out a knight at a run and then cut his throat lying exhausted, in battle this will not pass. Plus, only ignoramuses think that the chain mail did not weigh anything - it weighed not much less than plate armor, but the protection did not give so good, so that rusty grandfather’s chain mail was just for the squire, but the beloved only in armor and the best horse!
      and yes, put more dots - it makes it even better to hide the lack of knowledge and thoughts.
  19. Mushroom
    Mushroom 26 September 2016 18: 35
    0
    Cool! Thank you! still an article !!! - We are waiting with
  20. Ferdinant
    Ferdinant 26 September 2016 19: 47
    0
    Morgenstern is simpler and more reliable
  21. 9lvariag
    9lvariag 24 December 2016 15: 24
    0
    Quote: Ferdinant
    Morgenstern is simpler and more reliable
    Not always. Morgenstern could get stuck in a shell, shield or body. And then catch on an obstacle. :) And then you eject from the saddle, only because the spike is stuck in a shield or chain mail. I personally think that
    this mace subspecies is a symbiosis with a studded flail, used mainly for punitive actions among its vassals or conquered peoples. Yes, these weapons inspired superstitious horror among the peasants. Although it was precisely the weapon of the philistines and peasant sons and daughters. And in comparison, for example: with the Doug had a lower rank among cavalrymen - armor. Although much further, the igrodela and Hollywood decided differently: creating from the clubs with spikes the fiends of hell and the weapons of Satan's henchmen.
  22. 9lvariag
    9lvariag 24 December 2016 15: 30
    0
    Thanks for the photo in the comments. The author should have edited the article and consulted with experts. Well, how can we really if "PM" itself thinks so. In fact, "PM", even the Russian edition is the most illiterate and populist publication in the world. I once read srachi in their articles about bows and comments to articles.
    By the way, the author, but where is the famous Kochar? Although he is a saber, he is also a two-handed and hybrid with a blade, i.e. the principle, like a panzerbreger - just pierce armor!
    Where are the two-handed broadswords?
  23. 9lvariag
    9lvariag 24 December 2016 15: 33
    0
    Quote: Verdun
    [
    Quote: Blackgrifon

    If memory serves, it was also called a bastard and bastard and could be used as a two-handed or one-handed weapon. Who understands - correct

    The classic side sword (bastard) is wider than the espadone and is designed more for chopping strikes. Espadon is already more and more intended for stabbing. In general, not all espadons were two-handed. The handle of some has a length of one and a half fists. At the same time, the first two-handed swords were really very heavy, but gradually their weight began to decline. The flamberge blade has become thinner and lighter. Espadon has become even easier.
    Perhaps you are right. But the Gali and Cimerian swords were originally intended only for chopping blows.
  24. 9lvariag
    9lvariag 24 December 2016 15: 39
    0
    Quote: gladcu2
    Verdun

    Slasher is a long sword. (Well, almost.) A. Dum mentions that D'artagnan was armed with his grandfather's espadon, which caused a lot of ridicule among the city public.
    I think so (well, my IMHO) pompous and refined noblemen of the time of King Louis, could laugh at both the Turkish janissary and the Chinese assassin with "tao" knives and the Russian with a Turkic saber. Yes, and over, the Hungarian hussar, with a kochar. True, it would not be long for them to laugh, for that it would be colorful. The aforementioned personalities at once would have taught the "guardian" fanfarons good manners.