Medieval Weapons

Medieval Weapons. Weaponry in Medieval ages. Types of medieval weapons. Medieval swords and Hand weapons, polearms, ranged weapons and guns, siege weapons in Middle Ages.

Medieval swords – swords of various types were weapon of medieval knights but also by infantry units.
One handed sword-common sword often used with shield, known from early medieval times. These swords probabley evolved from viking swords and they were widely used for example by Norman knights.
Longsword-Sword length was 40-48 inches. The longsword was worn in two hands. Sword typical for high and late middle ages.

Medieval swordsMedieval daggers-daggers were often used as a side arm or backup weapon. Some daggers were used together with sword. Thyis was typical later, during renaissance times.
There were various types of medieval daggers like rondel daggers, stilettos and poignards. Daggers are refered as weapons of mercy. They were used in close combat or as weapons giving the final hit to wounded opponent.

Medieval axes
Some medieval warriors prefered axes. Axe was more common in Frankish, viking and Slavic troops because of lower price. Swords were worn by jarls and chieftains.

Medieval Blunt Weapons
Heavy blunt weapons were often more effective against armor than a sword.
Blunt weapons: morning star, mace, hammer, club, flail.

Medieval weaponsMedieval Polearms
Polearm means a blade of various type attached to a long shaft. Polearms were designed to fight cavalry (knights). Medieval infantry was not a dangerous to heavy cavalry but polearms changed the rules. Formation of units armed by loearms was able to stop cavalry charge.
Polearm could kill the horse of a knight, to stab the mounted knight from a safe distance. Blades with various hooks were able to remove shield or parts of plate armor from knights.
Theŕe were numerous types of polearms by its size and by the shape of its blade: simple spears, winged spears, pikes, halberds, glaives, corseques, fauchards, guisarmes, poleaxes, bardiches and many more.

Lance was used by infantry or it was also weapon of knight. Charge of knights armed by lances was often the decisive for result of battle.

Medieval Knight Lance

Knight charge with lances.

Ranged weapons
Throwing axe-Franks were often arned by axes and by thowing axes. Francisca axes was originally small throwing axes used by Frankish armies.
Throwing spears or javelins were short and light spears designed to as a ranged weapon. Javelins were used for hunting and in medieval battles. Throwing spears were often used by Welshmen, vikings and Anglo-Saxons.
Longbow-6ft log English bow was capable to fire arrows up to 250-350 yards. This bows were a disaster for a French armies in Battle of Crecy and Agincourt. Much numerous French army was repeately destroyed by english longbowmen just from a safe distance. Disadvantage of longbow was training time. It was simply not easy to master this type of bow. Longbowmen were expensive units and it was not possible to substitute them quickly. Longbowment were also defenceless in a close combat. They were sometimes destroyed in a few moments by successful knight charge if left unprotected.
Crossbow-crossbow was a very effective ranged weapon on a shorter distance than a medieval bow. Metal bolts were capable to penetrate any type of the medieval armor including the full plate mail of knights. Mastering a crossbow was much easier and much shorter than in case of lonngow. Disadvantage of crossbow was its slow rate of fire. Crossbow was favourite weapon of Italian mercenary armies and for example of the Hussite insurgents. Crossbow was desribed as an unhonest weapon in medieval times due its ability to kill nobles (knights) easily. It was also banned by pope for a short time.
Medieval guns-gunpower was invented in ancient Chine but it took time to use it in the European military. Gunpowder was used sporadically in battles during 13th and 14th century. First mass use was in Hussite wars (15th century). The first medieval fireams were very unaccurate and rate of fire was very slow. Crossbow was much more accurate weapon than the early fireams.

Medieval weapons-firearms

Medieval weapons-firearms.

Medieval bows and crossbows

Medieval ranged weapons – bow, longbow, crossbows and javelins.

Medieval Siege weapons
Trebuchet-Trebuchets were invented in China. Trebuchets were improved by French armies during medieval times. These powerful and very accurate slings were used even after mass use of cannons. Trebuchets were well suited for attacking castles: they could be set up at a safe distance from archers on the castle walls; they could be moved to sections of the walls that had weakened, and they could throw almost anything over the walls and into the areas of the hold. Trebuchets used torsion moment or a counterweight to throw rocks, balls or a fire bombs. Trebuchets were up to 60 feets high and able to fire its projectiles up to 300 yards.

Ballista-Ballista is a missile weapon that launched a large projectile at a target. Ballista was widely used in ancient Greece and Rome. Ballista gets its power from torion moment. Simplified ballistae were used during medieval ages as a part of castle defence or as a siege weapon. Some ballistae were capable to fire projectiles up to 800 yards.

Onager (mangonel)-originally a Roman weapon reinvented in about 1200AD. Onager was used that held the projectile from a fixed bowl . Onager got its name from a kicking aspect.

Bombard-medieval cannon or a mortar firing stone or metal balls against castle walls. The most powerful bombards were capable to fire balls up to 400 lbs (180 kg).

Petard-medieval petard was a bomb fixed on walls or on a gate. Its purpose was breaching the part of fortification.

Chemical, biological and psychological weapons-medieval warriors were a very inventive psychological warfare, Mongols were masters in intimidiation techniques. Greek fire was used by defenders and attacked during castle siege but also in naval battles. It was common to throw dead animals and even humans over walls of enemy. Poisoning a wells, rivers and ponds was a next common technique to eliminate enemy. Some defenders succesfully used a puppets installed on walls to convince the siege army about a big man power inside a castle. Mass executions of captives was a tactic used to destroy morale of castle defenders.

Siege weapons

Medieval siege weapons-ballista, onager, catapult, siege tower.


Medieval trebuchet

Medieval trebuchet

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