5 most formidable two-handed swords of the Middle Ages

Claymore

Claymore (claymore, claymore, claymore, from the Gallic claidheamh-mòr - "big sword") is a two-handed sword, which has become widespread among Scottish highlanders since the end of the XIV century. Being the main weapon of the infantry, Claymore was actively used in clashes between tribes or border battles with the British. Claymore is the smallest of all his brothers. This, however, does not mean that the weapon is small: the average length of the blade is 105-110 cm, and together with the hilt the sword reached 150 cm. Its distinctive feature was the characteristic bending of the crosses of the crosses - down, towards the tip of the blade. This design made it possible to effectively capture and literally pull out any long weapons from the hands of the enemy. 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 easily recognized weapons. In terms of size and efficiency, claymore was perhaps the best option among all two-handed swords. He was not specialized, and therefore quite effectively used in any combat situation.

Zweichander

Zweihänder (German: Zweihänder or Bidenhänder / Bihänder, “two-handed sword”) is a weapon of a special division of Landsknechts, consisting of double pay (doppelsoldner). If claymore is the most modest sword, then the zweikhander was really impressive in size and, in rare cases, reached two meters in length, including the hilt. In addition, he was notable for a double guard, where special “boar fangs” separated the unsharpened part of the blade (ricasso) from the sharpened part.

Such a sword was a weapon of very narrow use. The battle technique was quite dangerous: the owner of the zweihander stood in the forefront, pushing aside with a lever (or even completely cutting) the shaft of enemy peaks and spears. To possess this monster, not only remarkable strength and courage were required, but also considerable skill of the fencer, so the mercenaries did not receive double salaries 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 a berdysh. Of course, the zweikhander had no scabbard - it was worn on the shoulder like an oar or spear.

Flamberg

Flumberg (the “flaming sword”) is a natural evolution of the ordinary straight sword. The curvature of the blade allowed to increase the striking ability of the weapon, however, in the case of large swords, the blade came out too massive, fragile and still could not penetrate high-quality armor. In addition, the Western European fencing school suggests using the sword mainly as a stabbing weapon, and therefore, curved blades were not suitable for it. By the fourteenth and sixteenth centuries / bm9icg ===> the achievements of metallurgy led to the fact that the chopping sword became completely useless on the battlefield — it simply could not penetrate hardened steel armor from one or two blows, which played a critical role in massive battles. The 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 series of successive antiphase bends. Such swords were difficult to manufacture and were expensive, but the effectiveness of the sword was undeniable. Due to a significant reduction in the area of ​​the damaging surface, upon contact with the target, the destructive effect was greatly enhanced. In addition, the blade acted on the principle of a saw, dissecting the affected surface. The wounds inflicted by Flamberg did not heal for a very long time. Some generals sentenced captured swordsmen to death solely for carrying such weapons. The Catholic Church also cursed such swords and branded them as inhumane weapons.

Espadon

Espadon (French espadon from Spanish: espada - sword) is a classic type of two-handed sword with a tetrahedral cross section of the blade. Its length reached 1.8 meters, and the guard consisted of two massive arches. The center of gravity of the weapon often shifted to the tip - this increased the penetration ability of the sword. In battle, such weapons were used by unique warriors, who usually had no other specialization. Their task was to, waving huge blades, ruin the enemy battle formation, overturn the first rows of the enemy and pave the way for the rest of the army. Sometimes these swords were used in the battle with the cavalry - due to the size and mass of the blade, the weapon allowed very efficiently cutting horses' legs and dissecting heavy infantry armor. Most often, the weight of military weapons ranged from 3 to 5 kg, and heavier specimens were award or ceremonial. Sometimes weighted replicas of combat blades were used for training purposes.

Estock

Estock (French estoc) is a two-handed piercing weapon designed to pierce knightly armor. A long (up to 1.3 meters) tetrahedral blade usually had a stiffener. If the previous swords were used as a means of countermeasures against cavalry, then the Estonian on the contrary was the weapon of the rider. Riders wore it on the right side of the saddle, so that in case of loss of peaks have an additional means of self-defense. In an equestrian battle, the sword was held with one hand, and the blow was delivered due to the speed and mass of the horse. In a walking skirmish, the warrior took him in two hands, compensating for the lack of mass with his own strength. Some samples of the XVI century have a complex guard, like a sword, but most often there was no need for it.

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