Nursery Rhymes

Poleaxe

Middle Ages - Lords and Ladies

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

  • Poleaxe - This weapon consisted of a broad, short axe blade mounted on a wooden shaft, or pole, which was between 4 and 5 feet long

  • The name of this weapon is derived from the word 'pollaxe' from old English word "head axe" - they were originally axes mounted on poles
  • Names of other types of poleaxe - Polearm - Polehammer - Bec de Corbin - Bec de Faucon - Hache
    • A Bec de Corbin was a type of polehammer which used in the 1400's
    • A Bec de Faucon was a polearm with a large hammer head instead of an axe which also featured a spike or curved fluke. The length was between five and seven feet long
    • The hache bore an edged, axe shaped cutting blade on the front side with a small hammer head or curved spike on the back. The hache also featured a long rectangular or diamond cross-sectioned spike at the top of the shaft.  
  • 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 fighting weapon
  • The Poleaxe weapon could be mounted on either a long shaft or a short shaft
  • A blow could apply tremendous force
  • The axe struck with force could apply significant injury to a knight in armor
  • The weapon was used as a grappling or cutting weapon and capable of cutting off the limbs of an enemy in one stroke
  • Soldiers who used the poleaxe 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
  • A Gisarme was a massive, ornate spear-like polearm of the 1600's
  • A Glaive was a broad-bladed, single-edged polearm. This consisted of an 18 butcher-knife on a 6 - 7 feet pole
  • Partisan was similar to the  gisarme but had a broad, sword-like blade ranging from 2 to 3 feet in length. The blade of the partisan was double-edged
Middle Ages Weapons
Middle Ages Index

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