Introduction to Mounted Combat
The Horse: Selection and Training
The Rider: Technique and Tack
Saddle, Lance and Stirrup
This term applies to those weapons designed to deliver the most damage
by virtue of their shape and weight. Some include cutting edges, some do
not. The simplest form of mass weapon is the club or cudgel. The wooden
sword or club was also used in tournaments as a "weapon of courtesy"
instead of sharpened steel swords.
Practice Flail, Horseman's Axe, Flanged Mace
The modern trooper of course has a wide
variety of night sticks or billy clubs available to him. Most are made of
stout hickory, and are particularly useful for crowd or riot control. They
are strong and well balanced. A somewhat more humane baton in use by
troopers in Europe is made of a PVC section, wound with cord and mounted
with a leather or rubber hand guard. This is strong, lightweight, slightly
flexible and less concussive in use.
Maces are simply clubs with flanges attached to the head. They may be
simple or ornate, made of wood or metal. The multi-flanged metal head is
designed to tear as well as crush upon impact.
The War-hammer combines the crushing power of the mace with the
penetrating power of a sharp spike. One of the most famous examples of this
weapon is that of Jan Zizka, who wielded a war-hammer shaped like a fist
holding a dagger.
The horseman's axe is smaller and lighter than the foot soldiers, and
the shaft is usually shorter as well. One form has a small sharp axe head
edge with a trailing back spike. This gives the rider a choice of cutting
or penetrating power. Others have two heads or blades curved to increase
cutting surface on the pass.
Variations on the horseman's axe
The flail is the most difficult weapon to use on horseback. It
consists of a handle and a head, linked together by a chain or tether. The
head may be wooden, metal or in the case of practice weapons, rubber. In
addition to the forward momentum of the horse, the direction of rotation
for the head must be taken into account. The flail was developed to wrap
around an opponent's shield. The chain accelerates the speed of impact
while preventing the transmission of the shock to the combatant's hands. The major drawback to the flail, is the uncontrolled rebound of the head,
which could strike the horse or rider.
Closeup view of practice flail. Head is made of hard rubber.
AREA OF ENGAGEMENT:
The area of engagement for most of the mass weapons is similar to that
of the sword. The flail, because of its rebound, should really only be used
in an area from Nine o'clock overhead around to about five-thirty.
Blind side area for mass weapons is the same as that for the sword,
just behind the rider's left shoulder.
Back to Mounted Combat: Weapons
What's New? The Master's Bookshelf FAQ Glossary Links
© A.A. Crown 1999–2010
About This Site
IFV Inc is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt not-for-profit educational corporation.
Located in Ithaca, NY, the heart of the beautiful Finger Lakes region.
This file was last modified Sunday, Mar 26 2006, 17:15:14 EST