Painting masterpieces in thread.


The Landsknecht use pike, pole arms, Zweihander (two-handed swords) and the newly developed musket with a few old arquebus.  Our “over the top” clothing was rumored to be first worn when an army of Landsknecht had to tear apart the tents of their vanquished after a particularly fierce battle.  The “puff and slash” style has now been copied throughout Europe.

The History

The Weapons


The History

Historically, Landsknechte existed in the late 1400's and into the early 1500's and were founded by Emperor Maximilian I. They were modeled on the halberdiers and pikemen of the Swiss Confederation. This new mobile infantry became the main body of mercenary armies throughout Europe. The Landsknechte provided impenetrable defense using pike, arquebus, and mobile artillery.

Landsknechte fought for food, money, beer and religion. They would not fight for enemies of the Empire. Those who did were hunted down and killed.  Part of the Landsknechte pay was picking spoils after the battle. The Landsknechte traveled with their wives and girlfriends, who gathered clothing, weapons, jewelry and basic supplies after a battle - sometimes just a few yards away from the fighting.

In the late 16th century, these bands were no longer known as Landsknecht (Servant of the land/country) and became Kaiser Lichte Fußknecht (Imperial Foot Soldiers). With the name change came a more structured uniform.

Check out our links page for more on Landsknechte history.

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The Weapons 

Calivers & Musketeers 

Kampfrau, Sutler, Baggage Train

Doppelsoldner

Officers & Spießträger (Pikeman)

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Doppelsoldner

Bill

Glaive

Halberd

Zweihander 

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Bill

Also called a Brown Bill or a Black Bill. A polearm with a wide cutting blade, with or without spikes and hooks in various locations, derived from the common agricultural tool. The billhook became the mainstay of English infantry forces during the High Middle Ages, and remained such for centuries. This fearsome weapon was capable of killing both armoured opponents and horses, an important factor when facing cavalry forces. Billhooks came in a large variety of shapes and dimensions.

Zweihander 

Flamberge - An unusual waved-bladed rapier popular with officers and upper classes during the 1600s. It was considered to look both fashionable and deadly as well as erroneously believed to inflict a more deadly wound. When parrying with the flamberge, the opponent's sword was slowed slightly as it passed along the length. It also created a disconcerting vibration in the other blade. The term flamberge was also used later to describe a dish-hilted rapier with a normal straight blade. Certain wave or flame-bladed two-handed swords have also come to be known by collectors as "flamberges", although this is inaccurate. Such swords are more appropriately known as "flammards" or "flambards".

Two-handed sword - a specialized type of great sword that became popular in the 16th century. The size and weight of the weapon, made it unsuited for close formation fighting, and its use was reserved for banner defense, guarding breeches in siege warfare, and forming skirmish lines. The grip was very long in proportion to the blade, and the overall sword could be 5 1/2’ - 6’ long. 

Two-handed Swords are really a classification of sword applied to Renaissance, rather than Medieval, weapons. They are the specialized forms of the later 1500-1600's, known in German as "Doppelhander" ("both-hander") or in English as "slaughterswords" (named after the German "Schlachterschwerter" -- battle swords), or in Italian as "lo spadone". In Germany and England they seem to have enjoyed a vogue for use in single-combat, but their precise military role is still in debate. True two-handed swords have compound-hilts with side-rings and enlarged cross-guards of up to 12 inches. Most have small, pointed lugs or flanges protruding from their blades 4-8 inches below their guard. The lugs provide greater defense, and can allow another blade to be momentarily trapped or bound up. They can also be used to strike with. Although collectors have come to call certain wave or flame-bladed two-handed swords "flamberges", these swords of the early-to-mid 1500's and are more appropriately known as "flammards" or "flambards" (the German" Flammenschwert").

Glaive

A broad-bladed, single-edged polearm. Essentially an 18” butcher-knife on a 6 - 7’ pole.

Halberd

A weapon that emerged along with the glaive and gisarme, and for the same purpose - to better combat heavy armor. The halberd had a broad, short axe blade on a 5 - 6’ long haft, with a spear point at the top, often a back-spike and occasionally, a butt-spike.

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Officers & Spießträger (Pikeman)

Axe

Katzbalger 

Mace

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Axe

One of the first tools developed by humans, and nearly from its origins a common weapon. A variety of forms, single and double-handed were in use throughout the Medieval and Renaissance periods.

Katzbalger 

The Landsknechte unique form of sidearm was the Katzbalger (possibly Cat Fighter). Designed for the in close hand to hand combat of a melee, these weapons were shorter than other broadswords but very quick in action. The unique hilt consisted of a figure eight shaped guard. The grip and pommel were of a unique style as well but are very comfortable and well suited for the style of combat. The sword blade sometimes had two parallel fullers approximately 1/3 of the way down the blade. 

Mace

Another of the human race’s oldest weapons, directly traceable back to the stone-topped club. The Medieval mace was an armor-fighting weapon, developing from a steel ball on a wooden handle, to an elaborately flanged, all steel, war club. Maces also have been symbols of power or rulership, from ancient times.

Pike

A long infantry spear used in formation. The pike grew to lengths of 18 feet or more, and really was only affective when used in massed numbers.

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Calivers & Musketeers 

Harquebus

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Harquebus

Also Arquebus. A heavy portable matchlock gun invented during the 15th century. Also called hackbut. During the early to mid 15th century appeared a simple matchlock device called a serpentine which was essentially a "S" shaped piece of metal with a central pivot attached to the side of the gun. By pulling on the bottom half of the pivot you lowered the upper half, which held a burning slow match (hemp or cotton rope soaked in saltpetre) into a flash pan containing a priming charge to fire the gun. The firearm that utilized this device was known as the arquebus. 

The benefits of the arquebus were that you could now use both hands to hold the gun and take a rudimentary aim by placing the gun's stock against your chest or shoulder and looking down the barrel. As a result of this the inaccurate handgonnes of the time started to be discarded in favor of the arquebus, a weapon that was more powerful and faster loading than the crossbow. However, it would not be until the battle of Pavia, Italy in 1525 that the arquebus's full potential would be realized. During the battle 3000 arquebusiers protected by pikemen dealt a devastating defeat to the French by killing over 8000 of their armored cavalrymen and thus ending the knights domination over Europe's battlefields. 

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Kampfrau, Sutler, Baggage Train

Quarterstaff or Shortstaff 

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Quarterstaff or Shortstaff 

A long, stout pole, carried for personal defense, and sport.

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Last modified: Tuesday May 08, 2012 12:01:32 PM.