Mar 31, 2014

Weapons & Warriors: The Horseman's Pick of the Europeans

Art by TL Jeffcoat
The cavalry of Europe had a variety of weapons in their arsenal. One of the craziest and yet effective against the heavy plated knights was the Horseman’s Pick. The design evolved from a version of the war hammer. The balance for the head was sharpened and stretched to create a long spike that was sometimes curved.

All of the weight of the Horseman’s Pick was concentrated in the head of the weapon. The thin light wooden or steal shaft allowed the wielder to swing the weapon and let the momentum of the spiked head do its damage. This was an easy weapon to generate a lot of force with, but the weight of the weapon required the warrior to pull back before a swing. Any Knight that could see the Horseman pull back would have a couple seconds to prepare for the attack, making it a slow and difficult to hit with weapon.

The Horseman’s Pick only served one real purpose on the battlefield was to dismount a heavily armored warrior on horseback. The spike was strong enough that with the right amount of force it could punch right through a steel plate. The unfortunate side effect was that it often became lodged in the new hole. The horseman would have to turn to other weapons in that situation, but the damage would be devastating to the wounded knight who would struggle to protect himself with a bulky weapon imbedded in his armor. He would either have to focus on pulling the spike out or try to fight on with the dangling shaft bouncing around and the spike widening the wound. It would take a lot of adrenaline to ignore that much discomfort.

This war hammer type tool was a smaller version of the maul. The Maul was the same in design but had a longer shaft and heavier hammer piece. The Horseman’s Pick only weighed about four pounds and was two feet in length (about 0.61 meters). This made it easier to handle on horseback, while the maul would be more serviceable to a warrior on foot.

Flipping the hammer side forward made the Horseman's Pick an effective war hammer as well, and was most often used in this manner to avoid the messing imbedding of the spike until it was necessary to pull someone off a horse.

I hope you enjoyed this edition of Weapons and Warriors, click here to view the entire catalog of weapons and cultures. Thank you.

No comments:

Post a Comment