Nursery Rhymes

Flail

Middle Ages - Lords and Ladies

Description of Flail
The weapons used during the Middle Ages include the Flail. The description of the Flail which provides basic facts and information about the weapon is as follows:

  • Flail - The Medieval flails were used as armor-fighting weapons. The flail developed from a
    steel ball on a wooden handle, to an elaborately spiked steel war club

  • Both Knights on horseback and foot soldiers used flails
  • The Knights version of this weapon was generally smaller and lighter
  • The flail is a weapon used during the Middle Ages initially made of a spiked metal ball attached to a handle with a hinge or a chain
  • The Flail weapon was mounted on a short shaft
  • Multiple chains and balls were later attached to the shaft making the weapon even more formidable
  • The chain allowed the weapon to build up momentum before striking the enemy
  • The flail was highly effective as an offensive weapon but difficult to use in defence
  • A variation of the flail is a weapon called a chain mace leading to some confusion between these two Medieval weapons
  • Used as a versatile, close contact weapon
  • A blow could apply tremendous force
  • The weapon struck with force and momentum could apply significant injury to a knight in armor
  • The weapon was primarily used for bludgeoning an opponent and the hammer was particularly effective against opponents wearing plate armor and reducing the effectiveness of the shield
  • Type or group of weapons - Bludgeoning Weapon

Warfare during the Middle Ages, or Medieval era called for a variety of weapon expertise. Knights and men-at-arms ( foot soldiers, or archers ) used different types of weapons. The Flail was predominantly used by Knights and Foot Soldiers. The weapons used were dictated according to status and position. The weapons, armor and horse of the Knight were extremely expensive - the fighting power of just one knight was worth 10 ordinary soldiers.

Flail Training
Skill in the use of Medieval weapons and understanding the strategy of Medieval Warfare was necessary and a played a vital part in Medieval life. The training required by Knights and Foot Soldiers
to use the Flail :

  • Training method - The training method practised in the use of the flail was based on strength and accuracy in hitting, or 'bashing' the target using momentum to increase the force
  • A "hit" was scored in Medieval weapons training by making light contact with a defined target area. A blunted or wooden weapon was used when practising with an opponent
Middle Ages Weapons
Middle Ages Index

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