Weapon Report

Brendan Adams                                                                                                                                                      April 27, 2006         


 In medieval times people used weapons for many reasons. One was to hunt for food and another was to battle for their land. Weapons back then were made from anything they had laying around such as wood, scrap metal, or iron. These weapons were light, or heavy. Most of them were heavy weapons.

        The war hammer is an ancient weapon of war and it is also the favorite weapon of the Norse god, Thor. The design is like a work hammer. It consists of a handle and a head. The war hammer delivered a great deal of force to a target. The impact alone could do damage without even penetrating armor. Long-handled war hammers were meant for fighting horse riders, short war hammers were used from horse back and in close-quarter combat. 

The crossbow was a hand held weapon and very powerful. A crossbow contains a string which is held in place by a nut when the bolt is loaded and the crossbow is engaged. The stock is placed against the shoulder for stability and accuracy. A crossbow is mounted on a stock similar to a rifle stock and has a mechanism to wind and shoot its bolts. A crossbow bolt could easily pierce the chain mail of a knight from 1200 feet away.  Crossbowmen could only fire two bolts a minute so sometimes they would work in pairs with one person loading and one firing.

The halberd is similar to a war-hammer the only difference is the war hammer has flat edges and the halberd has a spike and a blade at the edges. Halberds were the primary weapons of the early Swiss armies in the 14th century. The halberd is still a ceremonial weapon of the Swiss Guard. A halberd is a two-handed pole weapon that came to us during the 14th and the 15th centuries. A halberd consists of an axe blade topped with a spike mounted on a long shaft. It often has a hook or thorn on the back of the axe blade for grappling mounted combatants. The axe blade was used for cutting into unarmed opponents. The halberd was very cheap and versatile in battle. Its length allowed it to deflect spears and pikes, and its point allowed it to keep sword wielding opponents at a distance. The hook was used to bring armored opponents to the ground.

The sword was one of the most common weapons of the medieval times. Mostly every body knows what a sword is what it does and the basic parts of a sword. But not every body knows the terminology for the parts. The cutting part is the blade in single-edged swords; the non-cutting edge is the back. The blade may have grooves. The purpose of these groves is to make the sword lighter while also retaining its strength. The hilt is the handle of the sword and it consists of the guard, the grip, and the pommel. The scabbard is the case that the sword is kept in when not in use. The tang is the part of the blade extending from the top of the blade through the hilt and the grip. The sword is held together by a nut screwed into the tang above the pommel. The center of percussion is the part of the blade that can deliver the strongest blow with the least vibration. This is the same as the sweet spot on a baseball bat.

The bow was another very common weapon in medieval times. Although the bow is looked at like a weapon it may have started as a musical instrument and only later used to shoot arrows. The bow is used as a musical instrument in some cultures to day. The bow is a weapon that shoots arrows powered by the elasticity of the bow and the string. A large number of different bow designs have been used in different cultures and time periods. Common designs include the English long bow (solid wood) and the bone-wood-hide composite used in the Middle East , India , and Mongolia . The artillery version of a bow is the ballista.

Medieval weapons are very interesting and I wish I could meet a person that knows more about these weapons. Also I want to see masters at battle and use one myself. Certainly my favorite medieval weapon is the sword.



Wikipedia, “Halberd”, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halberd.

Wikipedia, “War hammer”, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/War_hammer.

Deutsch, Kevin.  “Mr. Deutsch’s Virtual Textbook.”  http://kevin.lps.org/middle_ages/castles/weapons/longbow.html.

Deutsch, Kevin.  “Mr. Deutsch’s Virtual Textbook.”  http://kevin.lps.org/middle_ages/castles/weapons/crossbow.html

Wikipedia, “Crossbow”, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crossbow.

Wikipedia, “Sword”, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sword.