Battle axes, development history, varieties, structure and design features.

Battle axes are a type of chopping strike weapon. Axes consist of a shock part – a piece of iron and a handle – an ax. Battle axes appeared in the early Stone Age, initially as a tool. Subsequently, small stone, and then metal hatchets began to be used as weapons.. 

Battle axes, development history, varieties, structure and design features.

In ancient times, battle axes were not widely used. But in the early Middle Ages, the battle ax became an extremely popular melee weapon. Thanks to its outstanding chopping properties, an ax could effectively hit the main type of defense of that time – chain mail. With the advent of solid plate armor, battle axes gradually faded into the background, and subsequently turned into a ceremonial weapon.

Ax structure diagram.

Battle axes, development history, varieties, structure and design features.

Varieties of Battle Axes.

All axes can be divided into three groups. The first group includes working axes – tools for rubricers and other household needs. For military purposes, working axes were rarely used, due to their large mass and size..

The second group includes battle axes designed specifically for battle. For economic purposes, such weapons were also used only in exceptional cases. Finally, the third group consists of axes of a universal type, if necessary used both as a household tool and as a weapon.

Battle axes, in turn, can be divided into two main groups. The first group – small hatchets designed for one-handed combat. These are usually hatchets of horsemen, although such weapons were also popular among infantrymen.

The second group – large battle axes, with an ax with a length of more than 1 meter, designed for two-handed combat. Such axes were intended solely for walking formation. As a rule, they were armed with the most experienced and strongest warriors. Separate mention deserves battle axes on the handle longer than 1.5 meters, which can be attributed more likely to pole arms.

Design features of battle axes.

The battle ax as a weapon has a number of design features that leave a certain imprint on the battle technique. The main feature of the battle ax is the center of gravity, shifted to the shock part, due to which the blow of the ax is stronger than the blow of the sword, but slower. In addition, udartopor requires a fairly wide swing, that is, the presence of free space, which in conditions of infantry formation is not always acceptable.

It is also believed that ax production is simpler, which means cheaper to manufacture a sword. As a result, it is believed that the battle ax was the weapon of ordinary fighters, while noble warriors preferred the sword. However, in practice, preference for a particular type of weapon was given not only for material reasons, but also taking into account military tactics and the individual preferences of a warrior.

Based on the book Small Encyclopedia of Cold Steel.
Pavel Yugrinov.

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