Windlass Steelcrafts Battle Ready
Bec de Corbin - 600969

Bec de Corbin

Overall Length: 56 3/8''
Length of Top Spike: 8 1/2''
Length of Crow's Beak Pick: 7 3/4''

No Longer Available
5 lb 10.5 oz

The sword is the de-facto weapon associated with the Knight and Chivalry and it gets the lion’s share of representative glory in the literature and media concerning Knights that spans the medieval era itself unto our contemporary depictions. But when the time came for the push-and-shove of the melee scrum, the Knight often opted for a less Chivalrous implement of war - The Poleaxe.

It was a practical weapon for the realities of the late Medieval Era; By this time a revolution in armor had occurred - whilst chainmail had been the primary armor dating back to antiquity, it had been largely supplanted by a newer array of plate armors. Though only the wealthiest could afford a head-to-toe harness of custom-fitted armor, it had become common for professional soldiers and well-equipped city militias to have breastplates or brigandine, often supplemented by plate for the limbs. Even simple jack-chains presented an effective counter to cutting attacks.

Though swords evolved into forms with accompanying techniques able to puncture weak-points in armor, it was still a weapon requiring finesse. By the late medieval era the balance of power on the battlefield was shifting to polearm-equipped infantry who fought in dense formations that presented a hedgehog array of steel to a foe - a daunting prospect for the mounted knight and other mounted men-at-arms. Circumstances sometimes called for knights to fight on foot and the poleaxe was eminently suited to the close-in chaos of mass melee. Its potential combinations of hammer, axe, pick, hook and spike gave its wielder multiple ‘’weapons’’ with multiple avenues for attack. He not only had the literal tool for any job, but in skilled hands he could be unpredictable. Not just for the attack, the strong haft, often protected by langets, could be used for excellent defense in a manner similar to quarterstaff fighting. As it was common for swords to suffer damage or even break in battle, the poleaxe provided a substantially more sturdy alternative.

The poleaxe was not just a mass melee weapon however; as many knights specialized in its use, it was inevitable that the poleaxe would become a weapon for dueling trial-by-combats and a weapon for tournament competition. It is a weapon with which a man can put down a well armored foe with a minimal amount of strikes. Though it is brutish in appearance, an array of techniques seen in manuscripts such as Talhoffer’s ‘’Fectbuch’’ belie a martial art with much of the potential finesse normally ascribed to the longsword.

This style of poleaxe is deemed the ‘’Bec de Corbin’’ - the ‘’Crow’s Beak’’ poleaxe. A cursory glance at its intimidating pick explains why. The Bec de Corbin is a literal can-opener with a pick and spike intended to puncture into the toughest of armors. Its stout hammer-head serves to batter a foe within his armor, dashing him to the ground, dazed and hapless for a finishing strike. Sometimes a straight thrust for reach, or to fight within exceptionally close combat is called for, and the Bec de Corbin does not disappoint with its long, top spike. Additionally it has a pair of side spikes, able to strike a foe from the side if necessary. A stout steel rondel protects the hand and its accompanying steel langets greatly enhance its defensive durability.

This Bec de Corbin has a head, langets and rondel of high carbon steel stoutly secured and riveted to a squared wooden haft.

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