Broadsword

Medieval Broadsword description

The Broadsword was a typical medieval sword that was used in many battles during the early medieval period and was still popular in later medieval times. This double edged sword was made for cutting rather than stabbing, with proper skills and power this weapon was capable of cutting off the limbs and head of its victim. It did have some disadvantages as it was quite difficult to master and took some skill to use.

Types of Broadsword

The term Broadsword was never used in history to describe just one type of sword, it was really a description for a group of swords which enabled historians to put a number of swords with similar characteristics under the same category of Broadswords. In this grouping of medieval swords The Claymore, Basket-hilted and Sabre sword were also considered to be Broadsword weapons.

“Since the earliest of medieval times Broadswords were used in different types of battles on different types of terrain. A fully trained knight using this type of sword and wearing the proper armour on horseback would be the equivalent to around 10 -15 ordinary soldiers”.

History of the Broadsword

The Broadsword was used from early in the medieval period from around the 6th until the 16th century, these medieval weapons kept their original design as a double edged sword that was used for cutting and slashing throughout the period. Special editions of the Broadsword were then introduced after the 14th century with the first being introduced as the Claymore sword, followed by the Basket-hilted sword and then finally the Sabre sword which made an appearance after the medieval period in the 19th century.

Who used the Broadsword

Since its introduction in around the 6th century the Broadsword became the favoured weapon of choice for medieval knights. With proper dedication and extensive training they were able to dominate the battlefield using their parrying and attacking skills, whilst being protected from attack with their sturdy Armour.

Since the Broadsword was a melee weapon which was 30 to 45 inches (76cm to 114cm) long it was primarily used in very close combat as it was a light medieval sword that was easy to control with just one hand.

Medieval Broadsword Dimensions

The Broadsword has a double edged blade with 2-3 inches (5 to 7.5 cm) width at the base, which then tapers to a point. Depending on the users desire the sword ranged from 30 to 45 inches (76 to 114cm) in length with an average weight of 3 to 5 pounds (1 to 2 kg). The main purpose of this weapon was to cut and slash an enemy soldier. The Knights and soldiers carrying it when properly trained were able to cut off limbs and even heads with a single swipe.

How was the Broadsword used in battle

Depending on the battle and current equipment being used the Broadsword could be used with one or two hands. The most effective way of using a Broadsword was with one hand, accompanied with a shield as has been recorded throughout history.

The knights which used the longest version of the sword were very well trained usually from an early age and wore appropriate armour that allowed suitable protection and flexibility, on horseback they were able to take on 5 – 10 soldiers at the same time without any difficulty.

Types of Broadsword

The Claymore sword – was a version of the broadsword used during the 15th to 17th century in Scotland by the Highlanders.

The Basket-hilt Broadsword – is a version of the blade which offers a protective basket on the hilt of the sword in order to protect the hand carrying it.

The Sabre sword – appeared in the mid modern period of medieval times and had many different variations, such as the double edge, one edge, curved and straight sword, however they shared the same pointed and very sharp tip.

Advantages of a Broadsword

The Broadsword was considered to be a very agile and lightweight weapon which made slashing and cutting quite easy with the proper training.

Depending on its length it could serve different purposes and soldiers usually preferred the 45 inch (114cm) version because of the range of fighting it allowed, nothing but the two handed long sword could reach it in the melee range of combat and this gave the fighter an advantage as the weapon was light and agile.

Disadvantages of the Broadsword

Due to it being light, the user had to hold a shield in order to successfully block attacks from the enemy. Also, its light form was unable to do any type of serious damage versus heavier armored targets in some confrontations, it usually required a certain thrust or momentum (from a horse) to actually do slashing damage.

Training to use a Broadsword was very difficult and time consuming and only the most determined of Knights mastered it and this was very hard work and took some considerable time. The training was hard but if you were prepared to put in the effort you could become a well respected member of medieval society and would be well rewarded for you unique set of skills, as one skilled Broadsword master could take on and defeat 5 to 10 opponents at the same time.

Broadsword facts

  • The Broadsword was a category for swords which were of a particular design.
  • Broadswords were the favourite weapons used in battle by Knights
  • Used correctly the Broadsword could de-decapitate an enemy with just one swipe
  • It was one of the lightest and readily produced weapons during the medieval era
  • Three special variations were introduced which made the average Broadsword more deadly
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