Warfare is one of the most iconic aspects of the medieval era. Although there’s a common misconception that people were constantly at war with each other during medieval times, there were certainly a lot of innovations in weapon technology and warfare strategies during this time. Just like now, the number of weapons available at any given time was immense and war leaders didn’t just rely on just one weapon to get the job done.
Think of it like golf (only a lot more violent). You wouldn’t use a driver to hit from the rough, so why would you use a rapier to penetrate plate armor? It’s a silly question, but blacksmiths weren’t just cranking out swords by the thousands, they actually had a strategy to produce specific weapons depending on the needs of the armies. Another thing to take into consideration is that the medieval era spanned a thousand years. Technology that was in use during the early middle ages may have had no use in later middle ages. Ultimately, when we talk about “powerful” weapons, we’re talking about weapons that did their job the best, not necessarily which ones were the most devastating to the enemy.
The spear was one of the most economical weapons of medieval times. It could be mass-produced with less resources than most weapons of the time and was much easier to produce and use. Spears were most useful in the early middle ages when most foot soldiers didn’t have armor and were most likely using a similar type of weapon to their enemy.
In the early middle ages, swords were not a commonly used weapon amongst most soldiers. They were difficult to produce and required a lot of resources that most people weren’t wealthy enough for. Instead, they were seen as somewhat of a status symbol until later in the middle ages, with advancements in metallurgy, many soldiers were able to get their hands on a sword. They then became a popular weapon of choice due to how versatile and reliable they were.
Lances were great weapons for shock tactics. Although most people typically think of a lance as the weapon used for the sport of jousting, these weapons were also used in warfare to break down enemy formations. They were only used by cavalry because they were heavy and needed a lot of force to be effective. This was one of the few weapons that could kill fully-armored infantry with a single blow. However, the cavalryman had to make it count because once the charge was complete, the lance was rather useless and they needed to get out of the way to let the normal foot soldiers come in and finish the job.
Crossbows were very effective weapons during most of the middle ages due to them being as powerful as bows but much easier to use. Although many people owned bows in medieval Europe, they weren’t as common in warfare because they required a lot of strength and years worth of training to use properly and to be effective with them.
Halberds are a good example of a weapon that wasn’t always effective but had its uses. This pole weapon was preferred by many foot soldiers around the 14th and 15th centuries who wanted an effective way to deal with cavalry. This weapon has several blades on the tip including a hook, ax, and spike. An effective halberdier would know how to use each part of the weapon and adapt his combat style accordingly.
These are just a few of the many effective weapons in use during the middle ages. Although there were hundreds of weapons in use, many common soldiers and weapons makers had preferences as to which weapons were most effective. It also depended greatly on the time that the weapon was being produced and what enemy they were fighting. Since the middle ages spanned a thousand years, there were some major developments in weapons and the use of gunpowder became more common. If you would like to experience using some of these weapons and train with them just like a medieval soldier would have. Contact Baer Swords today and learn about our medieval combat training.