Zweihänder Two handed Great Sword - Functional Re-enactment Combat Sword c.1475 - c.1575

Make Your Own Medieval


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The Zweihänder is a large two-handed sword developed for the use of infantry during the late 15th century and early decades of the 16th century, particularly during the Italian Wars between 1494 - 1559.

Great swords represent the final stage in the trend of increasing longsword length that started in the late 14th century. The Zweihänder is most often associated with German or Swiss Landsknechte mercenary Doppelsöldner Soldiers who received double pay for wielding two-handers in the front ranks. 

It is believed that the tactical use of two-handed swordsmen was as a type of shock troop utilised for fighting among pike formations where they could knock aside opposing halberds and pikes and open breaches into opposing ranks. The Zweihänder was also used by soldiers protecting regiment standards (banners) and guarding officers commanders on the battle field.

By the second half of the 16th century, great swords started to fall out of favour due to developments in black powder and increasing pike length, but they continued to see ceremonial use well into the 17th century.

Similar swords can be found in the Skokloster Castle and the Royal Armoury museum collection Stockholm Sweden.

Made from high carbon EN45 steel and tempered to a hardness 52-55, this is a functional re-enactment combat sword. The tang is one piece, unwelded and peened over at the pommel. The hilt features two side rings on the quillon block. The sword measures 149cm with a blade length of 110cm. The hilt is 39cm is width, the blade is 5cm wide at the hilt and the handle including the pommel measures 37cm. The approximate weight of the sword is 2.7kg.

This sword is most appropriate for re-enactment personas between 1475 and 1575.
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