History UsefulNotes / Swords

3rd May '17 11:30:28 PM Dravencour
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* A sword designed for chopping such as the Egyptian Khopesh, the Iberian Falcata, the Falchion or the [[KukrisAreKool Kukris]] used by the Gurkhas, will typically be single-edged and have most of the weight and mass toward the top third of the blade. They sometimes curve ''forwards'', but not always. Much like an axe, a chopping sword is designed for cleaving: it has a edge designed to deliver the vector of force behind a blow directly into the surface, which will either buckle or split apart if it yields. Against unprotected flesh will usually result in very nasty wounds that can easily dismember limbs, making such blades ideal for executions by beheading. As is the case with a regular axe, swords with chopping blades may often be employed or even intentionally designed as tools for purposes like chopping wood or hacking through brush.

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* A sword designed for chopping such as the Egyptian Khopesh, the Iberian Falcata, the Falchion or the [[KukrisAreKool Kukris]] used by the Gurkhas, will typically be single-edged and have most of the weight and mass toward the top third of the blade. They sometimes curve ''forwards'', but not always. Much like an axe, a chopping sword is designed for cleaving: it has a edge designed to deliver the vector of force behind a blow directly into the surface, which will either buckle or split apart if it yields. Against unprotected flesh will usually result in very nasty wounds that can easily dismember limbs, making such blades ideal for executions by beheading. As is the case with a regular axe, swords with chopping blades may often be employed or even intentionally designed as tools for purposes like chopping wood or hacking through brush.
brush. Machetes are the most common example of this in the modern era.
15th Apr '17 11:49:48 PM Alceister
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* The spadroon is a weapon that attempts to combine the cutting capacity of the broadsword of its era with the convenience of the smallsword. In theory the concept of a broadsword or backsword blade on a smallsword hilt is not particularly bad, but in practice the spadroon was considered a spectacularly mediocre weapon. This was because most models tried to make the sword as light as possible, resulting in a blade to flexible to thrust properly and too narrow to cut to any significant effect. The 1796 Pattern British Infantry Officer's Sword, for example, was often refered to as "the perfect encumbrance". Even so, the concept was still solid, and in the nineteenth century it evolved into many excellent models of officer's swords. Only this time, a narrow blade very similar to that of a short rapier was coupled with a very light and simple sabre-like hilt. The French Model 1882 Infantry Officer's Sword is a perfect example.

to:

* The spadroon is a weapon that attempts to combine the cutting capacity of the broadsword of its era with the convenience of the smallsword. In theory the concept of a broadsword or backsword blade on a smallsword hilt is not particularly bad, but in practice the spadroon was considered a spectacularly mediocre weapon. This was because most models tried to make the sword as light as possible, resulting in a blade to flexible to thrust properly and too narrow to cut to any significant effect. The 1796 Pattern British Infantry Officer's Sword, for example, was often refered referred to as "the perfect encumbrance". Even so, the concept was still solid, and in the nineteenth century it evolved into many excellent models of officer's swords. Only this time, a narrow blade very similar to that of a short rapier was coupled with a very light and simple sabre-like hilt. The French Model 1882 Infantry Officer's Sword is a perfect example.
29th Mar '17 9:46:51 PM TheBigBopper
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* Based on katar punch-daggers, the pata was essentially a straight sword and handguard grafted directly onto a gauntlet, completely enclosing the hand. It was primarily used by Maratha infantrymen, who would often [[DualWielding Dual Wield]] one in each hand or another weapon in the off-hand. Although the design offers very good protection and makes it very difficult to disarm the wielder, the lack of flexibility makes the pata awkward to use. Then of course, there's the glaringly obvious problem with having to take the gauntlets off before you could use your hands for anything else, a factor which makes it wholly unsuitable for use on horseback.

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* Based on katar punch-daggers, the pata was essentially a straight sword and handguard grafted directly onto a gauntlet, completely enclosing the hand.hand and wrist. It was primarily used by Maratha infantrymen, who would often [[DualWielding Dual Wield]] one in each hand or another weapon in the off-hand. Although the gauntlet design offers very good protection and makes it very difficult to disarm the wielder, the lack of flexibility way it locks the wrist in one position makes the pata awkward to use. Then of course, there's the glaringly obvious problem with having to take the gauntlets off before you could use your hands for anything else, a factor which makes it wholly unsuitable for use on horseback.



* Originating from Northern India (although heavily inspired by designs from Central Asia), the talwar is a moderately-curved sword that is primarily designed for slashing attacks but can also be used to stab. Widely considered to be one of the better cavalry swords, the talwar is a well-balanced weapon whose key distinguishing feature is that the blade tends to be ever slightly broader near the tip than the base. There is also a spike attached to the pommel, allowing one to strike at the enemy in close quarters. After the British based the design of their Pattern 1796 light cavalry sabre on the talwar, many other European countries followed in adopting similar blades as well.

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* Originating from Northern India (although heavily inspired by designs from Central Asia), the talwar is a moderately-curved sword that is primarily designed for slashing attacks but can also be used to stab. Widely considered to be one of the better cavalry swords, the talwar is a well-balanced weapon whose key distinguishing feature is that the blade tends to be ever slightly broader near the tip than the base. There is also The hilt usually has a spike attached to the pommel, disc-shaped pommel with a spike-like extension, allowing one to strike at the enemy in close quarters. After the British based the design of their Pattern 1796 light cavalry sabre on the talwar, many other European countries followed in adopting similar blades as well.



* A bit of an odd duck, the khanda is a straight sabre with a broad double-edged blade ending in a rounded or bluntly-pointed tip. Unlike many other double-edged swords, the khanda is purely a chopping weapon: the blade lacks a sufficiently sharp point to thrust with, and has straight edges unsuitable for slashing. Swords of this type also feature two metal extensions on each of edge of the blade to impart stiffness to the blade, which was often made of softer and more flexible metal. While the outermost extension is usually 1/3rd the length of the blade, the innermost extension is usually longer but still ends some ways before the tip so as to expose the second edge.

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* A bit of an odd duck, the khanda is a straight sabre sword with a broad double-edged blade ending in a rounded or bluntly-pointed tip.tip, and the hilt typically has a large knuckle guard. Unlike many other double-edged swords, the khanda is purely a chopping weapon: the blade lacks a sufficiently sharp point to thrust with, and has straight edges unsuitable for slashing. Swords of this type also feature two metal extensions on each of edge of the blade to impart stiffness to the blade, which was often made of softer and more flexible metal. While the outermost extension is usually 1/3rd the length of the blade, the innermost extension is usually longer but still ends some ways before the tip so as to expose the second edge.



For clarity: by Europe, we mean here the area of Western European civilization, from roughly around TheHighMiddleAges onward.

European swordmakers had access to a great amount of high-quality iron, allowing them to create material-intensive swords in abundance. Contrary to popular belief, European swords weren't 30 lb. hunks of steel: a greatsword actually weighs around 5-6 lbs, while an arming sword comes in at around 2.5 lbs. European swords typically possess a blade with a thick base that tapers up to a point; inspecting the sword's distribution of mass or the degree of taper in its profile is generally a good indicator of its intended purpose.

Note that many sources miscategorize European cruciform swords under the name "broadswords." This is a {{retcon}} and will hit the FandomBerserkButton if you use it amongst true enthusiasts. The term "broadsword" is actually a given name referring to a specific ''type'' of sword, just like "machete" or "falchion" is; the sword in particular is a basket-hilted straight-bladed weapon popular amongst the Scots (and later, the English) in the 16th Century. It was called a "broadsword" to differentiate it from the slim-bladed, stabbing-oriented rapier, and historians borrowed it as a catch-all term for ''all'' "broad"-bladed cutting swords, which (at the time) did not have a name as a category.

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For clarity: by Europe, we mean here the area of This list focuses on Western European civilization, Europe from roughly around about TheHighMiddleAges onward.

European swordmakers had access to a great amount of high-quality iron, allowing them to create material-intensive swords in abundance. Contrary to popular belief, European swords weren't 30 lb. hunks of steel: a greatsword actually weighs around 5-6 5-7 lbs, while an arming sword comes in at around 2.5 lbs. European swords typically possess a blade with a thick base that tapers up to a point; inspecting the sword's distribution of mass or the degree of taper in its profile is generally a good indicator of its intended purpose.

Note that many sources miscategorize European cruciform swords under the name "broadswords." This is a {{retcon}} an anachronism and will hit the FandomBerserkButton if you use it amongst true enthusiasts. The term "broadsword" is actually a given name referring to a specific ''type'' of sword, just like "machete" or "falchion" is; the sword in particular is a basket-hilted straight-bladed weapon popular amongst the Scots (and later, the English) in the 16th Century. It was called a "broadsword" to differentiate it from the slim-bladed, stabbing-oriented rapier, and historians borrowed it as a catch-all term for ''all'' "broad"-bladed cutting swords, which (at the time) did not have a name as a category.
29th Mar '17 9:28:45 PM TheBigBopper
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* The ''messer'' and it's variants were mostly used in German-speaking lands in the 14th-16th centuries. A similar weapon known as the ''falchion'' was in use across Europe from the 11th-14th centuries. The fundamental difference between a messer and a falchion lies in the grip construction; falchions use a guard/grip/pommel arrangement, like a "real" sword, while messers use flat grip panels either side of a flat, broad tang, more like a common kitchen knife.

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* The ''messer'' and it's its variants were mostly used in German-speaking lands in the 14th-16th centuries. A similar weapon known as the ''falchion'' was in use across Europe from the 11th-14th centuries. The fundamental difference between a messer and a falchion lies in the grip construction; falchions use a guard/grip/pommel arrangement, like a "real" sword, while messers use flat grip panels either side of a flat, broad tang, more like a common kitchen knife.



* The spadroon is a weapon that attempts to combine the cutting capacity of the broadsword of it's era with the convenience of the smallsword. In theory the concept of a broadsword or backsword blade on a smallsword hilt is not particularly bad, but in practice the spadroon was considered a spectacularly mediocre weapon. This was because most models tried to make the sword as light as possible, resulting in a blade to flexible to thrust properly and too narrow to cut to any significant effect. The 1796 Pattern British Infantry Officer's Sword, for example, was often refered to as "the perfect encumbrance". Even so, the concept was still solid, and in the nineteenth century it evolved into many excellent models of officer's swords. Only this time, a narrow blade very similar to that of a short rapier was coupled with a very light and simple sabre-like hilt. The French Model 1882 Infantry Officer's Sword is a perfect example.

to:

* The spadroon is a weapon that attempts to combine the cutting capacity of the broadsword of it's its era with the convenience of the smallsword. In theory the concept of a broadsword or backsword blade on a smallsword hilt is not particularly bad, but in practice the spadroon was considered a spectacularly mediocre weapon. This was because most models tried to make the sword as light as possible, resulting in a blade to flexible to thrust properly and too narrow to cut to any significant effect. The 1796 Pattern British Infantry Officer's Sword, for example, was often refered to as "the perfect encumbrance". Even so, the concept was still solid, and in the nineteenth century it evolved into many excellent models of officer's swords. Only this time, a narrow blade very similar to that of a short rapier was coupled with a very light and simple sabre-like hilt. The French Model 1882 Infantry Officer's Sword is a perfect example.
29th Mar '17 8:59:46 PM Alceister
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* The spadroon is a weapon that attempts to combine the cutting capacity of the broadsword of it's era with the convenience of the smallsword. In theory the concept of a broadsword or backsword blade on a smallsword hilt is not particularly bad, but in practice the spadroon was considered a spectacularly mediocre weapon. This was because most models tried to make the sword as light as possible, resulting in a blade to flexible to thrust properly and too narrow to cut to any significant effect. The 1796 Pattern British Infantry Officer's Sword, for example, was often refereed to as "the perfect encumbrance". Even so, the concept was still solid, and in the nineteenth century it evolved into many excellent models of officer's swords. Only this time, a narrow blade very similar to that of a short rapier was coupled with a very light and simple sabre-like hilt. The French Model 1882 Infantry Officer's Sword is a perfect example.

to:

* The spadroon is a weapon that attempts to combine the cutting capacity of the broadsword of it's era with the convenience of the smallsword. In theory the concept of a broadsword or backsword blade on a smallsword hilt is not particularly bad, but in practice the spadroon was considered a spectacularly mediocre weapon. This was because most models tried to make the sword as light as possible, resulting in a blade to flexible to thrust properly and too narrow to cut to any significant effect. The 1796 Pattern British Infantry Officer's Sword, for example, was often refereed refered to as "the perfect encumbrance". Even so, the concept was still solid, and in the nineteenth century it evolved into many excellent models of officer's swords. Only this time, a narrow blade very similar to that of a short rapier was coupled with a very light and simple sabre-like hilt. The French Model 1882 Infantry Officer's Sword is a perfect example.
12th Mar '17 3:37:56 AM Alceister
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* Unarguably the most famous Japanese weapon by far is [[KatanasAreJustBetter the katana]]. While the word "katana" in Japanese refers to any sword with a curved, single-edged blade, many sword lovers use the term to define the moderately curved, single edged sword with blade-length no less than 60cm. Most Katana exhibit the distinctive long hilt about 1/4 of the overall length, which provides balance when used with a one-handed grip and leverage when used with two, but they are not the only Japanese swords with this feature. The katana is largely associated with samurai, though throughout most of samurai history it was only one of their three primary weapons, the others being the spear and the bow. It wasn't until the 17th century that the katana became so synonymous with the samurai.

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* Unarguably the most famous Japanese weapon by far is [[KatanasAreJustBetter the katana]]. While the word "katana" in Japanese refers to any sword with a curved, single-edged blade, many sword lovers use the term to define the moderately curved, single edged sword with blade-length no less than 60cm. Most Katana katana exhibit the distinctive long hilt about 1/4 of the overall length, which provides balance when used with a one-handed grip and leverage when used with two, but they are not the only Japanese swords with this feature. The katana is largely associated with samurai, though throughout most of samurai history it was only one of their three primary weapons, the others being the spear and the bow. It wasn't until the 17th century that the katana became so synonymous with the samurai.
6th Jan '17 11:43:40 PM TheBigBopper
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From about the 11th century on, Japanese armor was mostly made of lacquered leather sewn together with cord. This lightweight armor offered good protection against arrows but was less effective against swords. Most native Japanese weapons were designed for slashing attacks, a slash being the quickest way to inflict maximum damage on a lightly armored opponent. In the 14th-16th centuries, metal armor (often lacquered) became more and more common. Even ''ashigaru'' (peasant warriors) would wear mass-produced metal armor. However, despite improvements in metallurgy and the influence of European traders, Japanese metal armor was still lighter and weaker than European plate armor. Also, spears, bows, and eventually firearms were the main battlefield weapons of the ''Sengoku Jidai'', with the sword used mainly as a backup weapon. These factors, combined with the peace established after 1600, meant that Japanese swords remained primarily slashing weapons rather than evolving into thrusting weapons as European swords had.

to:

From about the 11th century on, Japanese armor was mostly made of lacquered leather sewn laced together with cord.silk. This lightweight armor offered good protection against arrows but was less effective against swords. Most native Japanese weapons were designed for slashing cutting attacks, a slash cut being the quickest way to inflict maximum damage on a lightly armored opponent. In the 14th-16th centuries, metal armor (often lacquered) became more and more common. Even ''ashigaru'' (peasant warriors) would wear mass-produced metal armor. However, despite improvements in metallurgy and the influence of European traders, Japanese metal armor was still lighter and weaker than European plate armor. Also, spears, bows, and eventually firearms were the main battlefield weapons of the ''Sengoku Jidai'', with the sword used mainly as a backup weapon. These factors, combined with the peace established after 1600, meant that Japanese swords remained primarily slashing cutting weapons rather than evolving into thrusting weapons as European swords had.



* Unarguably the most famous Japanese weapon by far is [[KatanasAreJustBetter the katana]]. While the word "katana" in Japanese refers to any sword with a curved, single-edged blade, many sword lovers use the term to define the moderately curved, single edged sword with blade-length no less than 60cm. Most Katana exhibit the distinctive long hilt, which provides balance when used with a one-handed grip and leverage when used with two, but they are not the only Japanese swords with this feature. The katana is largely associated with samurai, though throughout most of samurai history it was only one of their three primary weapons, the others being the spear and the bow. It wasn't until the 17th century that the katana became so synonymous with the samurai.

to:

* Unarguably the most famous Japanese weapon by far is [[KatanasAreJustBetter the katana]]. While the word "katana" in Japanese refers to any sword with a curved, single-edged blade, many sword lovers use the term to define the moderately curved, single edged sword with blade-length no less than 60cm. Most Katana exhibit the distinctive long hilt, hilt about 1/4 of the overall length, which provides balance when used with a one-handed grip and leverage when used with two, but they are not the only Japanese swords with this feature. The katana is largely associated with samurai, though throughout most of samurai history it was only one of their three primary weapons, the others being the spear and the bow. It wasn't until the 17th century that the katana became so synonymous with the samurai.
6th Jan '17 11:40:24 PM TheBigBopper
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Cutting motions are of limited use against metal armor. To get through to someone who is clad in steel, you'll really need more of a stab, or a thrust; this was true even in the days of maille[[note]]calling it "chain mail" is redundant, as there ''is'' no such thing as non-chain mail. You can have scales ''over'' mail, or plate over mail, or even splinted mail which has integrated plates, but all of these involve chain.[[/note]] and only grew worse as full plate armor was layered over it. Alternatively, one could also cause injury through armour using sheer blunt force trauma, as even a man fully clad in steel was susceptible to being stunned by a steel mace swung directly at their helmeted head.

By the 15th century, full plate armour (made of hardened and spring-tempered steel plates) was commonplace in Western Europe; thus, impetus was placed on the development of weaponry that could defeat a man wearing such pieces of armour without sacrificing versatility. The poleaxe was one such weapon that demonstrates this focus, combining an axe head with both a spear point and a hammerhead on a long wooden shaft. Swords in particular had their points narrowed and their grips lengthened in order to accommodate the use of both hands for a more forceful swing or thrust. As these and other such weapons became more common, tactics that made better use of these weapons were developed and eventually became so effective as to render armour almost useless. This subsequently resulted in the decline of the knightly order, since such tactics favoured the use of massed troops instead of individually talented warriors.

to:

Cutting motions are of limited use against metal armor. To get through to someone who is clad in steel, you'll really need more of a stab, or a thrust; this was true even in the days of maille[[note]]calling it "chain mail" is redundant, as there ''is'' no such thing as non-chain mail. You can have scales ''over'' mail, or plate over mail, or even splinted mail which has integrated plates, but all of these involve chain.[[/note]] and only grew worse as full plate armor was layered over it. Alternatively, one could also cause injury through armour using sheer blunt force trauma, as even a man fully clad in steel was susceptible to being stunned by a steel mace swung directly at their helmeted head.

head. That said, in early periods such as Viking Age Europe you would probably find that most non-elite combatants didn't wear any metal armor besides a helmet, and relied mostly on their shields, meaning that a sword that could cut well was still very useful.

By the 15th century, full plate armour (made of hardened and spring-tempered steel plates) was commonplace in Western Europe; thus, impetus was placed on the development of weaponry that could defeat a man wearing such pieces of armour without sacrificing versatility. The poleaxe pollaxe was one such weapon that demonstrates this focus, combining an axe head with both a spear point and a hammerhead on a long 5-6 foot wooden shaft. Swords in particular had their points narrowed blades made narrower and stiffer and their grips lengthened in order to accommodate the use of both hands for a more forceful swing or thrust. As these and other such weapons became more common, tactics that made better use of these weapons were developed and eventually became so thrust, but the most effective as technique for fighting in armor was "half-swording", or gripping the middle of the blade with the off hand to render armour almost useless. This subsequently resulted guide the point into the gaps in the decline plate. The increasing effectiveness of firearms and pike formations in the knightly order, since such tactics 16th century favoured the use of massed troops instead of individually talented warriors.
warriors, and the fully armored knight wielding the lance was replaced by the three-quarter or half-armored cuirassier armed with a sword and a pair of pistols.
9th Dec '16 1:53:17 AM Morgenthaler
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[[caption-width-right:350:One thing they all can do: kill (and look {{badass}}).]]

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[[caption-width-right:350:One thing they all can do: kill (and look {{badass}}).badass).]]
30th Sep '16 4:14:21 PM aurora369
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Added DiffLines:

'''Flamberge'''
* A flamberge, which means flaming sword, was not a single type of sword, but rather a shape of blade: wavy, curved many times. There could be a small flamberge sidesword, or a large flamberge greatsword. The waves on the blade widened the wound, provided for some saw-like armor cutting properties and made the wounds inflicted by such a sword much harder to treat. This made flamberges very effective, but inhumane; there were numerous bans on these blades, and a soldier taken prisoner with a flamberge was usually executed on spot. Flamberges, however, were expensive to craft; it took a lot of skill to hammer all those waves on a blade, and if you just grind them on, the resulting blade will be very structurally weak.
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