Nursery Rhymes

Halberd

Middle Ages - Lords and Ladies

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

  • Halberd - A pike fitted with an axe head. This weapon had a broad, short axe blade on a 6 foot pole with a spear point at the top with a back spike

  • This lethal weapon of the Middle Ages always had a hook or thorn on the back side of the axe blade for grappling enemies on horseback
  • Definition - The word 'halberd' is derived from the German words halm ( meaning staff), and barte (meaning axe).
  • Used as a versatile weapon against knights on horseback. The weapon was constantly developed and refined to include metal rims over the shaft making it more effective against swords. The pole increased in length to become more effective against pikes
  • Halberds were used for close contact and medium distance fighting - the length of the poles determining the weapon type
  • The weapon struck with force could apply significant injury to a knight in armor
  • The hook or thorn was used for grappling the target's armor or the reins of a warhorse
  • The weapon was used as a grappling or cutting weapon and capable of cutting off the limbs of an enemy in one stroke
  • Halberds were particularly effective against knights wearing plate armor and for reducing the effectiveness of the shield
  • The axe head could apply significant injury to a knight in armor, or a knights horse. Horse armor was developed to counteract such injuries but the sheer force applied from a long pole was extremely effective against horses. The Medieval horse, called a Destrier was the favored horses of knights in the Middle Ages
  • Soldiers who used halberds were also armed with a dagger and a sword to enable them to battle enemies who had been unhorsed. This weapon was far too unwieldy to use in close combat
  • Type or group of weapons - Polearm - A group of pole-mounted weapons. Were all variations of poles measuring between 4 and 14 feet long with different 'heads' - spikes, hammers, spears, axe etc

Halberd 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 a Foot Soldier, or infantry to use the Halberd :

  • Training method - The training methods practised in the use of the Halberd were directed towards fighting armored knights on horseback
  • Soldiers were trained in various manoeuvres to Strike, Swing, Cleave and Takedown their enemies by effective use of the hook or thorn
  • Training method - The training method practised in the use of the halberd was based on strength, agility and accuracy in hitting the target
  • A "hit" was scored in Medieval weapons training by making light contact with a defined target area
Middle Ages Weapons
Middle Ages Index

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