The turning point of the 15th and 16th centuries brought along the largest single-edged weapon with a knifelike construction; the Kriegsmesser “war knife”. Most antique Kriegsmessers are below the 1300mm overall size, however some illustrations show larger examples as well. Most of the originals have blades with various degrees of curvature, while some are completely straight, occasionally with elongated false edges. With the Ruggers and Bauernwehrs being analogous to daggers and proper Messers to arming swords, it’s clear that these huge knives were created to compete with European longswords (Wittenweller equates them the same way).
This specific model of the war knife from Landsknecht Emporium is based on the portrait of Fritz Rürenschlundt by Jörg Breu the Elder. This newer, revised model has even more curvature with a pronounced profile taper than the original version of the Falke. This results in a more slender look even while in the scabbard, and a much closer depiction of the original artwork. Additionally, we have flattened the cross-sectio which lowers both the overall weight of the piece (allowing for comfortable one-handed use), as well as the resistance during passing through a cutting medium.
The blade is ground completely by hand from 6mm thick 6150 steel (51crv4 by European standard) to an almost completely flat triangle cross-section and is sharp on its entire length, it lacks, however, a false edge. After the grinding, it’s sanded by hand to achieve a clean sheen. The edge has been hand-honed to a keen edge.
The wooden grip length allows two-handed use, although as mentioned, this Kriegsmesser is light enough to be used in just one hand, which is another feature that makes it stand out. We could argue that it’s even closer in handling to sabers than to the larger Kriegsmessers. The grip construction has a hidden and pinned tang, in a similar fashion to several Eastern European sabers from the late 16th century.
This improved version of the Falke from Landsknecht has a slimmer grip in comparison to the previous model, allowing for a more comfortable grip. Additionally, the whole hardwood surface of the grip is covered with tight black leather, which has been burnished before sealing shut on the side to increase the comfort while still allowing for a bit of extra traction. The butt of the grip has been covered with a separate thin piece of leather with skived edges to eliminate the seam.
The crossguard and Nagel are both hand-ground. The former has delicate yet crisp filework at the ends of the arms, while the wide Nagel is heavily fullered and scalloped. The nagel is peened through the crossguard to give it a solid fitting and construction.
Included with the Falke Kriegsmesser is a dedicated handcrafted scabbard which comes with a pair of beautiful byknives – Together, they make for an eye- catching set.
The wooden core of the scabbard follows the blade as closely as the curvature would allow. Its core is bound with linen and wrapped in vegetable tanned leather. The mouth of the scabbard is made from a separate piece of leather with the overlapping seams, skived down to almost nothing for a seamless transition. The inside long seam on the scabbard is sewn shut.
The two cherry-gripped byknives have integrated subsheath slots on the scabbard which fit the knives tightly. Both knives are fully sharpened and exhibit a similar flat triangular cross-section as the Falke itself. The bolsters are made from thin sheets of brass with some light chiseled decoration done by hand. They are tilted up towards the edge side as seen on multiple originals, as this angle help lead the hilt into the subsheath without the user having to force it through a noticeable perpendicular step.The knotwork leather suspension with the belt is also a part of the scabbard, and is based on the illustration by Jörg Breu the Elder.