Normans were descendants of Vikings who settled in northern France during the 10th century. They then absorbed various cultural aspects from different regions of Europe such as France, Italy, Sicily and England.
Over time, Normans devised their unique form of military warfare which made use of specific weapons and tactics, essentially a mixture of their original martial abilities and a result of their exposure to different cultures.
Among the key weapons used by the Normans in major battles were spears and swords, with the spears being used for long-ranged attacks and swords used in the hand-to-hand combat. The Normans also used a number of other weapons on the battlefield.
The Norman Spear was one of the most common weapons used among both by the cavalry and the infantry of a Norman army. The spear that was used typically comprised of a long wooden haft which culminated in an iron head.
Typically, the Normans wielded this spear in an aggressive stance. It was held above the head and wielded so as to stab the opponent and pierce his armour with a forceful thrust.
Such use of the spear had the additional advantage that whenever the need arose, the Normans could also throw their spear against an opponent at a considerable distance. The Norman infantry would throw a barrage of spears at the enemy frontlines when charging at them.
The spear used by the Norman cavalry was slightly longer in comparison and was often couched under the arm when charging at the enemy. When wielded by a charging Norman cavalrymen, such a spear could shatter an enemy’s shield and armour by its sheer force and was considered a lethal weapon.
Norman Bow and Arrow
Archers formed a vital part of a Norman military force. When Normans decisively defeated the Anglo-Saxon force at the Battle of Hastings in 1066, archers were a formidable part of the army which made their victory possible. Norman archers were usually equipped with a long bow, slightly shorter than the later acclaimed longbow.
The main task performed by the Norman archery was to inflict damage on an enemy at distance and sometimes, to keep the enemy from engaging in close combat. The Norman bow was most commonly used by the infantry but occasionally, the cavalry would also use it when pursuing defeated enemies.
The Sword was the most important Norman weapon in close combat. It was mostly wielded by the Norman nobility which formed the cavalry of a Norman army. Swords were generally familial possessions and were handed down from one generation to other among the Norman nobles.
The make of a Norman sword was such that it was double-edged and ran for the length of nearly a yard or slightly longer. The Norman mounted warrior would typically wield this sword in a downward stroke against an enemy, attempting to pierce through the armour with the forceful, sharp stroke.
Typically, the Norman sword served entirely to cut through an enemy warrior’s armour or shield, and the thrusting stroke was occasioned only when finishing off an already vanquished opponent. Norman Weapons were various long spears for foot soldiers and the Cavalry, for Close Combat the Normans used a double-Edged Sword.