Optimal polearm lengths?

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Optimal polearm lengths?

Postby Vino » 17 Sep 2015 19:38

This is something I've been confused about for some time. Silver seemed to consider 8-9 feet optimal for (unarmoured) single combat and 5-6 feet optimal for battles, but it doesn't seem to be uncommon for short polearms to be used in single combat and vice versa so I'm not sure what to make of that.

I've also frequently heard it said that short polearms were preferred for armoured fighting and long polearms for unarmoured fighting, yet treatises show pollaxes and short spears being used for unarmoured single combat as well.

So basically I'm wondering what the ideal lengths are for single combat, in and out of armour, and for battle (assuming there is any consensus regarding this).
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Re: Optimal polearm lengths?

Postby KeithFarrell » 20 Sep 2015 08:39

In our book the Encased in Steel Anthology I, Alex Bourdas has written an article about the lengths of staffs, which may be of interest to you.
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Re: Optimal polearm lengths?

Postby Sean M » 27 Sep 2015 10:34

Vino wrote:I've also frequently heard it said that short polearms were preferred for armoured fighting and long polearms for unarmoured fighting, yet treatises show pollaxes and short spears being used for unarmoured single combat as well.

Unfortunately, illustrators do not always show armoured fencers in the sections which are designed for armoured combat. A good example is Morgan M. 343, where the players at spada in arme are dressed in doublets and hosen. One possible explanation is that drawing armour took longer; another is that people did not always bother arming before practicing techniques which were better in armour. So we really need to read sources other than manuals if we want to understand violence in the 15th century.
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