What Weapon Would You Use?
As the title suggest, this Playbuzz quiz asks, “HEMA Quiz: What Melee Weapon Would You Use On A Medieval/Renaissance Battlefield?”
This post is sparse from my side, but the output from the quiz is informative, so I’ll leave this in. I would have expected the longbow as my answer, as I preferred ranged, but it’s melee only, so I got a two-handed sword. See how you fight!
Congratulations, you got the Two Hand Sword! This sword is similar to the Longsword (the most popular weapon in HEMA today) but is larger. Two Hand Swords range from 4 lbs. to 8 lbs. in weight and often have blades from 40″ long to 50″ long. From pommel to tip, they are supposed to reach from the ground to at least the shoulder – occasionally up to the head! Most Two Hand Swords are optimized for cutting rather than thrusting, though many thrusting oriented examples exist that were designed for armored combat between knights.
Two Hand Swords, contrary to popular misconception, are extremely fast. The tip on the blade moves far faster than any other sword due to their length and momentum. Yet due to their terrifying speed, they aren’t very nimble. They have so much momentum that they cannot easily change directions from one way to the opposite way like smaller swords can. Thus, you must flow in smooth, circular motions from one cut to other similar cuts. The only thing difficult is a complete reversal of motion. Cuts from these swords are powerful enough to power through the parries of lesser weapons and knock armored opponents clean off their feet.
Two Hand Swords are ideally suited for fighting multiple opponents because you can easily beat aside their weapons, power through their parries, and whirl the blade around you with precise footwork to simultaneously fight off many opponents. Two Hand Swords are also very well suited for clearing a room, guarding territory, and beating pikes aside. They may be able to cut pikes in half, though the more common tactic was to beat them aside and lunge. Two Hand Swords also boast excellent hand protection and the ability to easily grip the blunt ricasso of the sword with one hand and use it like a short spear.
Other names for the Two-Hand Sword include the Montante, Spadone, Slachterschwerter (Slaughter Sword), and Zweihander.
Like the Spear, Halberd, and Pollaxe, the Two Hand Sword is among the most dominant melee weapons every invented, however it still has some weaknesses. It is not as long as spears or long pole-arms, plus it’s high momentum makes it harder to reverse direction. This makes them more vulnerable to feinting, deception, and clever use of distance. This is why many masters focus on thrusting with the Two-Hand sword in one-on-one fights. Two-Hand Swords also are more expensive and take more time to learn than pole-arms.
The Two-Hand Swords were taught by such masters as Achille Marozzo, Domingo Luis Godinho, Figueiredo, George Silver, and Joachim Meyer.