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Old 11-25-2018, 12:30 AM
 
5,576 posts, read 5,773,437 times
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Did ancient and medievel armies ever attach whetstones to their shields or armour?

With the purpose being, they can sharpen their blades during shield wall combat?

If so, then battle axes, and warhammers really offer no advantage over short swords unless as a specialty weapon meant to attack special kinds of enemy troops. Especially in the shield wall which must have been the standard infantry formation.

Percussion weapons depend on power and volume. But you can only swing so much before you get tired yourself. And if you use two hands you have no shield. You cannot defend. Now short swords depend on their sharpness. If it dulls, and you have a whetstone readily available like on the shield, you can literally sharpen your blade right in the heat of battle. Plus you can sheath your short sword, and rest.
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Old 11-25-2018, 12:37 AM
 
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While I have never heard of it being a common practice, I suppose that some would have one with them. However, sharpening your weapon is not something that is going to be done in the middle of battle.


What do you mean by "Plus you can sheath your short sword, and rest."? What does that have to do with carrying a whetstone? Or are you talking about using it with a shield wall?
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Old 11-25-2018, 12:42 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hawk55732 View Post
While I have never heard of it being a common practice, I suppose that some would have one with them. However, sharpening your weapon is not something that is going to be done in the middle of battle.


What do you mean by "Plus you can sheath your short sword, and rest."? What does that have to do with carrying a whetstone? Or are you talking about using it with a shield wall?
If you are in the shield wall, you can back off, let your teammate fill in and sharpen your weapon from behind shield wall. If you need to push with two hands you can sheath your sword. Or if you are trying an enemy spear as it is thrusted through holes in wall, you can sheath your sword and have a free hand now.
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Old 11-26-2018, 07:12 AM
 
11,621 posts, read 17,643,250 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NJ Brazen_3133 View Post
Did ancient and medievel armies ever attach whetstones to their shields or armour?

With the purpose being, they can sharpen their blades during shield wall combat?

If so, then battle axes, and warhammers really offer no advantage over short swords unless as a specialty weapon meant to attack special kinds of enemy troops. Especially in the shield wall which must have been the standard infantry formation.

Percussion weapons depend on power and volume. But you can only swing so much before you get tired yourself. And if you use two hands you have no shield. You cannot defend. Now short swords depend on their sharpness. If it dulls, and you have a whetstone readily available like on the shield, you can literally sharpen your blade right in the heat of battle. Plus you can sheath your short sword, and rest.
I'm having a tough time making sense of this - sharpen your blade in combat? I think they would be kinda too busy to do that.
But if I understand that method of combat - shield walls were mainly a shoving match with piercing weapons like spears were employed. When a shield wall broke for one side or the other, then slashing weapons and hammers and axes were used...but combat would end really quickly for the side with the broken wall as there line would totally collapse, they would be slaughtered quickly or (more likely) flee the field. It's not like in the movies were this combat would last for hours. They would scream and yell at each other and maneuver for hours perhaps, but once engaged it would be over in minutes.
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Old 11-27-2018, 02:53 PM
 
Location: Vienna, Austria
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I consider axes, war hammers and swords broke hard armor and not cut it. Therefore sharpening wasn't significant. It meant only against armor based on cloth and leather that was pierced with sword always.
Moreover I heard from a blogger they didn't sharpen weapon in the Middle Ages as we do with our instruments.
I can suppose that ancient steel contained much non-metallic impurities, it wasn't pure. So it was hard and not plastic. Therefore the swords often broke and needn't sharpening after they had been forged.
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Old 11-28-2018, 05:05 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Dd714 View Post
I'm having a tough time making sense of this - sharpen your blade in combat? I think they would be kinda too busy to do that.
But if I understand that method of combat - shield walls were mainly a shoving match with piercing weapons like spears were employed. When a shield wall broke for one side or the other, then slashing weapons and hammers and axes were used...but combat would end really quickly for the side with the broken wall as there line would totally collapse, they would be slaughtered quickly or (more likely) flee the field. It's not like in the movies were this combat would last for hours. They would scream and yell at each other and maneuver for hours perhaps, but once engaged it would be over in minutes.
If you are the guy holding the shield, you cannot use the spear. It is simply too heavy, and unwieldy for one handed action. You will fatigue too fast, and you are limited with angles.

A broken wall would not be so bad because everyone behind should have shields of their own, and should be able to reform.
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Old 11-28-2018, 05:07 PM
 
5,576 posts, read 5,773,437 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by good_deal_maker View Post
I consider axes, war hammers and swords broke hard armor and not cut it. Therefore sharpening wasn't significant. It meant only against armor based on cloth and leather that was pierced with sword always.
Moreover I heard from a blogger they didn't sharpen weapon in the Middle Ages as we do with our instruments.
I can suppose that ancient steel contained much non-metallic impurities, it wasn't pure. So it was hard and not plastic. Therefore the swords often broke and needn't sharpening after they had been forged.
Full body plate armour was not that common. It was expensive. Plus all the material to make one guys full plates means other have less to work with.
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Old 11-29-2018, 12:46 AM
 
104 posts, read 44,379 times
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You're more likely to break a sword than have it go so dull that you need to sharpen it mid-combat.

A sword does not need a fine edge like a chef's knife nor does it need to cut with the precision of a chef's knife. An edge sharp enough to cut flesh is not really sharp at all. Look at those eversharp blades you never sharpen but can still cut meat. They probably sharpened blades periodically but likely not during combat.
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Old 11-29-2018, 10:56 AM
 
Location: San Diego CA
3,967 posts, read 2,970,569 times
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Well. I just watched Vikings on television last night. No one was sharpening their weapons during battle. Looks like their armament was used more to bludgeon than cut. Historically accurate? Subject to discussion.
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Old 11-29-2018, 08:17 PM
 
11,621 posts, read 17,643,250 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NJ Brazen_3133 View Post
If you are the guy holding the shield, you cannot use the spear. It is simply too heavy, and unwieldy for one handed action. You will fatigue too fast, and you are limited with angles.

A broken wall would not be so bad because everyone behind should have shields of their own, and should be able to reform.
Nope. The shield wall varied through history but one concept was the front rank would hold the shield and the rear rank would yield a long spear and try to poke through the enemies shield. Or the front rank would manage both a shield and shorter spear or sword and swing at openings, the person to your left would protect your unprotected left side with his shield.
In both cases, once the front rank collapsed the entire section of the line collapsed and the line would be "rolled up" as those adjacent would still be at the front and not the reformed line.

Quote:
Originally Posted by msgsing View Post
Well. I just watched Vikings on television last night. No one was sharpening their weapons during battle. Looks like their armament was used more to bludgeon than cut. Historically accurate? Subject to discussion.
The netflix series "The Last Kingdom" has some good shield wall battle recreations. Dramatically embellished of course.
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