Discussion in 'Beginners Corner' started by wolfteethclub, Dec 11, 2020.
Why don't you see reinforcing on these weapons poles like with the European ones? Example
I tried to edit the op but couldn't. Anyways I thought some I've seen have'nt had the reinforced shafts (like the modern reproductions) but I could be wrong and i'm seeing the metal neck pieces now on some historcial examples that also attach to the head that seem to serve as the reinforced area. Thanks!
maybe its the nature of there use, some of the european ones were 20fy ir more long.
the basic mo was you and your matrs with poles with a point, desended on another closly pack group wiyh long pole with a spike on them, the ones with the longest pole tended to win, so the poles got longer and longer and would need more reinforcement
they were not in anyway used as a fast agile weapon, where the lengh and weight would be a,severe hindrence. and if they were someone with a long one would stab you anyway
In addition to what Jobo wrote, there are two other good reasons Asian pole arms are not reinforced as in European models and both have to do with metal.
1. The big, heavy, European metal shields required a reinforced pole type weapon to prevent them breaking .
2. Metal weapons were too expensive for the common people as either conscripts or civilians and, at times, prohibited.
My guess is that there were different strategies used and definitely different would. Maybe battle axes weren't widely used in the Asian armies.
Thats not nessasily "re enforcement". Id argue the four make it a re enforcmeent, if two were present before and it was a imrpoved design. You need to mount diffrent heads etc diffrent ways, in the same way a full tang knife is generally stronger than half, the longer down (within reason) a head on a pole arm is mounted the stronger the heads attachement is. Id consider the two strips of metal nesssiary to make it a functonal weapon, the 4 probbly are nesssiariy in the instance of that weapon anyway. But thats not a "re enforcement" per say.
I have seen some asian weapons with that attaching system anyway, it all depends on what material and quality of material anything is. Its closer to the asian world probbly didnt use pole weapons as much or to the samee lengths as europe did. So the above method, that and asia used bamboo a lot for polearms in some parts. I think Bamboo is the cheap and easy to find asian wood, like say ash would be for europe.
that and a lot of asian weapon modern repros arent made the same they were historically, you can find a lot more european "battle ready" replicas than Asian. Like the sheer quantity of wall hanger junk katana sets out there.
Addendum: Its technically re enforcing the wood to make it a functional weapon, i just dont want that to be viewed as the weapon somehow was improved by the addition of a needed part. If that makes sense, and some people think through it diffrently. I may have done just that in thinking the usage of re enforce was used in a way it wasnt. But i have seen some european pole arms with 2 of those strips of metal, some with 4. That and i think they exist to protect the wood more from metal weapon impacts. Spears also commonly had metal pieces on the bottom, and so did a lot of polearms for that matter in europe.
Addendum 2: It seems to be a asian trend to have longer tangs for their polearms /they dont use as many true polearms that use external re enforcements as europe. I had a look around some japnese weapons and filipino ones and of them tends to be internally longer tangs. (largely down to just using big knives/longer swords more so than pole arms proper)
I recall a polearm skallgrim got from the TFW store and the wood broke quite easily in testing, no idea if it was a poor replica, or apt replica and they decided to improve the design for the modern market (it was like $200 so not good to have the wood break that easily each time) But if the wood breaking either didnt happpen that often or was cheaper by a long shot than the metal re enforcements they wouldnt re enforce it with metal, or even consider it.
If you look at the Nagamaki picture:
The "tang" is longer. (well i think it used the same blade as the katana actually, just cut to size so not really comprable to a pole axe of europe)
And i just found this Japanese weapon which had external re enforcement.
That one is apparntly called a tsukubō. That would be a pole arm proper. No idea what they are used for.
I was researching this as i was writing it so apologies if this came out sloppy, i had to literally delete and re write the above segment as i found the above weapon. The only two things i looked up was Japanese and Filipino weapons, so no idea what the others did, and then i just skimmed some filipino ones and did more japanese weapon look up. Seems to be they mostly just used blades as opposed to proper true pole arms, or at least stacked largely for blades. Spears normally have a "tang" as well if i recall, no real proper external re enforcement visable unless they were pinned. But then spears dont tend to be used for cutting so dont really need it as much as a long axe would.
I have repeated several points in here as well, largely down to finding out things as i went. All in all, this is effectively what the others wrote, just with pictures and more rambly.
I don’t know if we see it or not, I’ve not researched historical specimens of Asian polearms; I am familiar with modern reproductions and recreations.
Keep in mind, Asia is huge, with many different nations and many different cultures. Climate in Asia ranges from hot, humid, tropical regions to cold, dry deserts, to windswept grasslands. These climates mandate different clothing, ranging from very light and loose and minimal, to heavy layered winter garb. Any weapon design will reflect these climate and regional realities. So an “Asian” polearm could mean many different things, depending on where it came from.
In a hot region where clothing is minimal, a less robust weapon would work just fine, while it would fall short in a region where heavy clothing is routine. Materials resources would also be an issue, affecting what kind of wood is available as well as availability and quality metal for the head of the weapon as well as reinforcement pieces. Local metallurgical skills would also have had an effect.
Example: From what I have seen, Japanese spears (yari ?) are made with a tang that is set into the end of the shaft. That kind of setting would require, in my opinion, some kind of reinforcement on the shaft so that lateral pressure on the blade would not cause the shaft to splinter and split. I am not trained in Japanese spear methods and am not familiar with their proper construction, so cannot comment further.
In contrast, my experience with Chinese spears is that the spearhead is socketed and fits over the end of the shaft. The spears that I have assembled myself, I have fixed in place with some epoxy and a small screw driven through the sidewall of the socket and into the shaft beneath. This design does not need additional reinforcement. Spearheads can be made longer or shorter, and the socket can also be made longer or shorter in proportion, to ensure a robust connection to the shaft.
I do want to comment for a moment on something that @Rat said, that spears aren’t for cutting. This is not true. A spear has a sharp point for thrusting, but also several inches of double-sided blade edge. Essentially, they can be like a dagger on a pole. Thrusting techniques are frequently coupled with cutting techniques within Chinese spear methods. Some spearheads are designed with an extra-long head, to emphasize the cutting edge and techniques that would be matched to that spearhead design. So don’t make the assumption that a spear is limited to thrusting and stabbing. It is a far more versatile weapon than that. In Chinese martial culture, the spear is known as the “king of weapons” because it is so effective. Often, when a kung fu system has weapons material with two-person drills and/or two-person forms that match a weapon against another, the weapon is matched against the spear, because the spear is the weapon to beat.
Keep in mind, there are logical reasons for the spear to hold this position. First, compared to other weapons, a spear is quick and economical to build, with the addition of a sharp metal spearhead elevating its effectiveness significantly above an all-wood staff. Compared to forging a good sword, which includes forging a blade, building a robust hilt for the blade, and building a robust scabbard for the sword, forging and attaching a spearhead to a wood shaft is quick and easy and cheap. I am speaking from experience here, as I have built numerous hilts and scabbards, as well as staffs and attached spearheads. I don’t do the forging, so I have not built any sword blades or spearheads. But I can speak to the time and work that goes into these other components, and I have the benefit of using modern power tools and equipment to boot. It is a reasonable and rather obvious assumption that forging a three-foot sword blade will be much more laborious and time-consuming than a one-foot or even a two-foot spearhead. In addition to the simple size difference, I believe a sword blade requires significantly more refinement in shaping and heat treating, while a spearhead could still be highly functional in a more crude form that can be manufactured much more quickly. That is why armies were mostly armed with the spear, and fewer individuals, mostly the elites and the wealthy and the officers, carried swords. Spears were meant for common soldiers so their refinement was less important, their materials were easier to come by, and the entire manufacturing process was faster and easier and cheaper because of this. As a weapon of the common soldier, it’s widespread use would also lend itself to the development of a wide range of technique and methods which, circling back to my earlier comment, makes it the weapon to beat.
Now, back to other polearms. What I see with modern Chinese replicas makes me skeptical of their assembly. There has been a trend in Chinese martial arts, pushed by the Chinese government, toward modern performance wushu. This is an artistic cultural method that is more akin to a gymnastics floor routine inspired by martial arts, but is largely removed from legitimate martial application. Weapons used in modern Wushu are little more than stage props, made of very light weight materials that would not stand up to any use as a legitimate weapon. Their construction is poor and definitely not robust. This is often what we see (with some exceptions) in the Chinese martial arts community. So perhaps we don’t even know how these weapons were constructed historically. How the blade of a Guan Do, for example, was attached to the shaft on a historical combat-worthy specimen, may not be clear to the lay-person. A combat-worthy Guan Do blade is wide and heavy (I do not buy into the mythology that General Guan, who supposedly invented the weapon, carried one with a blade weighing something like 70 pounds; that is absolutely ridiculous and would be entirely unusable by even the strongest soldier). But a combat-worthy Guan Do might have a blade weighing three or five pounds or more, which is plenty heavy enough to require a VERY robust attachment to the shaft to prevent it from separating during use.
I am sure some research into the matter would reveal some answers, but my point is, if we are looking at products sold by the common retailers as examples, we may be mislead.
Hope this gives some food for thought.
I dont think i made a statement that they were only used for thrusting? I am well aware there are many diffrent types of spear out there, with diffrent edges and designs. But they are all principly thrusting weapons, their cutting is largely oppertune draw cutting, and for enlargring wounds. I had the Yari and generic european spear in mind when writing. Any statement i made on only for thrusting, would be with the latter point in mind, they are principly for thrusting across the board. (excluding throwing spears)
There could be a issue as to what cut means, cut can be applied to a more chopping motion and also to a draw cut motion. You would chop with a pole axe so chopping would apply better, and you would draw cut with a spear with a edge largely. (im sure you can chop with some spears, and you can certainly draw cut with some designs of pole axe, or pole arm, not in the same way with all of them how ever)
As for the king of weapons assesment, that is largely for the reasons you have expalined, not down to its versality as a wepaon. (polearms are more versatile spears usually, and a lot retain a spear point and just add more weapons to it, like the weapon the OP posted, its got a spear point, birds beak and what i am going to presume is a (broken) hammer of some description on it) Its just a cheap weapon to make, easy to teach people to use and generally beats specilist and more expensive weapons in that area, you can teach and equip a lot more people with spears cheaper than you can longswords and quicker. Then armour etc made a sole thrusting/draw cutting point insufficent for battle field fighting so thats the advent of some polearms. As long as the head is good, you just replace the pole, and its normally the pole that breaks, and if its a polearm with mutiple weapons and only one weapon on the head breaks, you still have 1 or 2 fall backs. Maybe 3 if you count using the butt spike if it has one.
I think that answered your points concisely and accurately? The spear is universally a cheap and simple weapon, it dominated many peoples warfare for a long peroid of time, from just a pointed stick to refined polearms.
Addendum: i have no idea how Chinese spears look or the general evolution of them when writing the above, i largely only know european pole arms, and some Japanese ones. I am presuming they look like the standard run of the mill spear maybe a more cutting head like the scandinavian ones. I dont think China used chain mail as much as other countries? but then i could jsut be conflating a sterotype as i know the metalgury in Japan/Korea came from somewhre. (china i think)
This was the comment I was responding to.
I can only speak from my experience with Chinese spear. The weapon is very versatile and cutting technique is much used in Chinese spear technique.
In addition, it is an easier and faster weapon to learn when compared to some others, like Chinese sword. But it is also TREMENDOUSLY effective. It gives good reach but is still quick and agile with fast directional changes and such. It isn’t just that it was common and widely used. It is very difficult to defend against, with other weapons. If someone had equal skill with a sword or a Guan Do or a war hammer etc., compared to my skill with a spear, I am confident that I would win, assuming the combat took place in an area where I was able to use the spear as it is intended. Meaning: if we were in close quarters without room to maneuver, then a shorter weapon like a sword would have the advantage. So yes, variables do matter.
I spent a fair part of my youth crawling around museums and armories in Europe. So I'm pretty comfortable saying the above is pretty much pure tripe. Most spears are socketed, and have no tang. Further, although primarily a thrusting weapon, they were absolutely used for cutting as well.
Attached is a photo of four of my spears. These are modern recreations in steel, although I do not know what kind of steel. You can easily see the socket on each, with the retaining screw. I believe this is an intuitive design and has been used in Europe as well. I suspect both the socket and the tang designs have each been used in different parts of the world, during different eras and by different cultural groups.
You can see in the picture that the two large spearheads are slightly longer than 13 inches from speartip to the end of the socket. The cutting edges are clear.
The smallest spearhead could be hafted as a throwing javelin, and I may try that someday with other similar items that I have. But I like having a small, very very quick spear in addition to my larger ones.
The two on the right, with the tassels, are hafted on Chinese Waxwood, a fairly tough, but flexible wood. The flexibility can be utilized in some of the Chinese spear techniques. The tassels are common to Chinese spears, I believe the idea is to distract from the tip of the spear as well as to have a stopper for blood running down the shaft and keeping it clear from the grip. Waxwood is common to Chinese spears, at least in the modern era. China is a huge country, and I suspect that, like all things, people used what was available to them. So other kinds of wood likely were used in regions where Waxwood perhaps was not available.
I don’t care much for the tassel so I did not put them on the other two, which are mounted on hickory. That is simply my personal preference.
This is where I'm currently am. If I had a battle ax or an axe blade on a long stick then I would be able to easily damage and destroy long pole arms. If someone was pointing a loag pole arm at me then I would want to be able to destroy what ever weapon that's on the end of it. In order to do so, I would need something with an axe blade such as a helberd or a battle axe. While fighting with a long pole gives me the advantage of reach, it also exposes the end of the pole to attacks and grabs.
The last thing that I would want to do is to have someone chopping away at the end of my polearm or grabbing the end of it and pulling it away from me. This is the protection that I see when I look at those photos. I see something that my enemy's axe won't cut and something that my enemy won't be able to grab. If my uneducated guess is correct then we should see such designs on longer weapons and not shorter weapons which move faster. We should also see it on weapons (tools) that are used to push or move people and other weapons.
2 of the weapons that are in rats pictures look like something that would be used against ladders that may have been used. If that is so then the prongs will help the tool/weapon to get a better grip on the ladder to push it away. Ladders were probably placed at an angle that would make it difficult to push them away from the wall. Not only would a tool like that allow you to lean all of your body weight into it, there is probably enough room where 2 people can grab the long pole and push.
Just some thoughts. But I could be Completely and Totally wrong as I do not know anything about ancient pole arms
I think you’ve made a good observation, and this highlights the point that different tools, techniques, and methods are meant for different situations. What you are pointing to is siege defense. In addition, a company of spearmen in tight formation will use different methods than a lone fellow defending himself on open ground, with a spear. The dimensions of the weapon itself would likely be different, in an ideal world, depending on circumstances.
Ok then, and some are attached through a piece of metal through the shaft, there are many words for these i just slipped up on the norm for spears. edit: and detailed terminology for it
On that note i feel the need to add, when i use spear i do mean spear, a Glaive is not covered when i use spear. (now a Glaive is effectively a sword on a pole, and a form of pole arm)
I dont dispute anything written there.
@JowGaWolf Cant read your post or reply to it currently, will at a later date, just letting you know i will get back to you
I think the weapon preservation point is more macro than micro, like the longer the wood lasts the longer you can keep fighting with it, it would probbly break sooner without it, but it may have been passed around 3 people by the time it does. i dontt hink you can really get the force to chop a pretty thich ash pole by itself in half or something in a fighting situation without it being bait, like if you do that and open yourself up their friend is going to stab you. But the reasons for re enforcing the wood is muilti faceted and you get my overall point.
As for ancient warfare, if i recall for most of it the main powers used the phalanx, so long spears with sheids and dense formations. I dont know much about the peroid other than when the romans expanded they orginally used that method then adopted diffrent ones and fought people who used that method. Not the tribes of Germany etc, but Macedonia etc.
As for siege defence, the second weapon i showed apparntly means "pushing pole" Or something to that effect. The principle defence for siges was projectiles, the usage of anything you had as ifnantry would be down to thats what you have. Unless you were shoved next to a murde hole to throw things down it. (which is usually anything and everything thats not valuble and is heavy or hot) thats medievil europe anyway, the principle of projectiles for walls was universal, the murder holes maybe not so much.
To expand on that, castles were designed and ideally were designed to maximise the amount of time the enemy spent where you culd shoot or throw things on them. And to also bait them into what seems to be paths of least resistance. I saw one that had a mile long, best desribed funnel, it was two walls and no roof, so when they expectly went into it, they would have to walka mile while cosntantly being shot at and in range of everyone in the fortifications. (i think it was a mile long, but that was pretty much a pinncle this is what you do example if you can do it)
I can also see maybe some validity in a pole to push ladders off, but ladders were braced and all sorts, so difficult to push off, or impossible in some cases.
much of castle defebce and attack is just Hollywood, it just dodnt happen that way .
there are varius reasons for this, one being the castles wete well built to the pont they were inpenatrable, just how long do you thonk these ladders were? have ylou seen the size of some of these castles, the standard ploy to tunbel under the walls so they fell down, rather than try and climb over them
second being stuck in a casle was a really bad idea, unless reibforcements were on the way, those under seige inverably lost, not through attack but by staravation, there no good reason to launch a deterimd attack, when you can just sit and wait, the longest seige on record in the uk was 6 months, most didnt last a couple of weeks before they surrendered, a suprisngly high % of these being in the 1600s when they had gun powder, so not many achers
3, a disticted lack of enemies, dover castle was seiged by the french, who some how manged to loose and carlisle castle 10 times by the Scottish, other than that it was just a couple of civil wars worth
What we often see is the Castle and not the wall that surrounded the castle. It's the wall that surrounds the castle that you would climb. The Castle itself would be towards the center. If you research the average height for castle walls you will see a lot of references that the wall was 30 - 35 feet high. So that's about the height of a wall of a modern 2-story home, here in the US. People have trees that grow taller than their house so it would be feasible to make a ladder that high.
Castles were most likely situated towards the center while walls would span outward. This is why Catapults were made to knock down walls and not to knock down castles unless the castle was within range of the shot. Strategically. There's no point to attack the walls if the castle is in range, just hit the castle. Walls were a barrier between the Castle. The more enemies you can kill at the walls, the fewer you'll have to deal with by the time they got to the actual Castle.
This way even if the enemy gets over the walls, they would still need a large army to take the castle.
Notice how he states in the videos that using ladders were a popular way of attacking the wall. Unfortunately. My scenario for ladder use to attack a wall is only based on Total War. So here are the things that work while trying strategies.
1. multiple ladders all at once would be hard to stop with just arrows. So the more ladders attacking the better.
2. Sending an attack group right behind the ladder so if by chance a ladder carrier gets shot you'll be able to quickly replace that person and carry the ladder. A 30 foot wooden ladder is going to be heavy. I used to use a 10 foot wooden ladder and that was heavy for me. There's no way I would be rushing a wall with just that ladder.
3. You'll probably want to be stealth for as long as possible as well. The closer you can get to the wall without being noticed the better. It would take time for the defensive army to get to your location. So you'll have you crew attacking the walls and preventing the defending soldiers from being able to take up defenses on the wally . That's when you send your other ladders in. Then they are able to climb without little resistance because of the fighting on the wall. From there you'll just flow over the wall, open up the gate and kill whoever you need to while making your way to the Castle.
The Japanese were not able to build walls like in Europe because of earthquakes. But their structures were similar. Main castle surrounded by walls that were further out.
My guess is that not everyone add the best engineer or the biggest Castle. Things don't start big, they get like that over time.
the castle is the whole lot, the keep is the bit in the middle
the castle is wrongly applied to anything with fortifications, there are a lot of manner houses with walls sufficient to keep out vagabond and rioting peasants but in no way sufficient to hold an army at bay.
perhaps if you went and inspected some before commenting on wall height,
a 100 ft is more like it for your medieval castle, thats 100 ft and a moat, meaning you need a 150 ft ladder, in the days when they had to cut wood by hand that a big ask123
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