Morgenstern: the terrible star of the Middle Ages
Morgenstern (German: Morgenstern, “morning star”) is a special type of strike weapon, the combat part of which (“beat”) was a metal ball with pointed spikes protruding from different angles. This form gave him a certain resemblance to a star, for which the Morganstern got its nickname.
It is considered that the term "mornstern" first appeared in Switzerland. First of all, it meant a mace with a spike top, but there was also a kettenmorgenstern (“chain morsenstern”) - a kind of Kysten with a similar bil.
Making a moronstern was a very simple matter. In the event that the shock part was made of iron, the spikes were simply welded. If bronze or cast iron were used as the base material, then the steel spikes tails produced a slightly larger diameter than the mounting hole. When such a spike was inserted into the top with the maximum heat, after equalizing the temperature the metal “grabbed” the steel and very reliably held the spikes. The cheapest option was simply to drive the iron spikes into the club, entirely carved out of wood, but this did not ensure the proper strength of the structure, and the tree quickly cracked.
Eerie weapons look spectacular, but usually spikes are more decoration than real help in the battle. Transportation of any weapon with spikes is troublesome: you can’t sew scabbards and covers under it, it constantly clings to clothes and prevents you from walking, and if you do not carelessly swing them in combat, then in tight formation the risk of injuring your comrades sharply increases. However, Morgenstern received a well-deserved vocation as a great tool against heavily armed infantry and cavalry. Faceted spikes perfectly pierced the chain mail, and the rider with such a mace could break through with plate armor.
The second significant plus is the simplicity of the design. Kettenmorgenstern is a common threshing flail, which (if you remove the studded dummy) could easily be used in peacetime. Unlike a two-handed sword, requiring long and hard training, it was a very easy-to-use weapon. Every peasant knew how to deal with the flail and baton, which made the Morganstern quite popular. But, of course, the simplicity of the design carried certain disadvantages.
First, the battle tactics of a studded mace or flail was very primitive. It was a rude inertial weapon, which in the ranks allowed only vertical blows in the hope that the enemy who did not expect the blow would open up and get a head injury — no helmet would save the blow at the right angle.
Paul Hector Mayr, author of the famous fencing book, illustrated several ways of effective fencing on flail, but they are more suitable for sparring than for a real combat situation.
The second minus is a blind zone: as with any weapon with a long shaft, the mortar allowed to strike only with a tip, and when the enemy cut the distance, the weapon turned out to be useless.
The end of the era of the moronstern came about the same time as the armor disappeared, namely with the advent of the first more or less effective firearms. However, a cudgel with nails, the budget version of a moronstern, is still the favorite weapon of street gangs.
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