A medium sized two-handed axe is an often-overlooked group of weapons in the medieval period. Our Hungarian Axe is an excellent example of this nimble and useful axe. The length is something an opponent can not easily ignore in a fight. The steel head has a sturdy form and is mounted on an ash haft from the top and wedged. The original weapon is almost certainly a pure fighting tool, it's not really designed for multiple axe uses.
The ability to get both hands to the haft with a wide placement allows very effective action in close quarters combat. Whether facing another polearm or a long sword the axe has the characteristics it needs to fight well. The large upper point has excellent thrusting potential. It is a stout blade that will not flex with a thrust and supports a long cutting edge. Another benefit is that the haft length makes for a good trekking staff when on campaign.
The use of these axe is seen throughout the medieval period, but we also see some regions where it was a particular choice of certain professions and became ingrained in the stories and traditions of the culture. The swineherd of medieval Europe are one such. They are oft described as roving robin hood like characters able to kill a wolf with a thrown axe from some distance.
KIlling a pig with a blow from the back of the axe.
Sir Gwain shown with a Sparth Axe.
Our Hungarian Axe is a bit more of a medieval combat weapon than a Shepard's axe, but they are related in a family of weapons used from the lowliest in society to highly decorated knightly weapons and many forms in between. Our axe has the large upper point similar to a Sparth Axe. It does not have a lower point that comes back to an anchor on the haft which is often seen on such axe.
These forms of weapon were particularly popular in the eastern region of Europe from the far north to the Balkans. The western steppe axes were almost certainly influences on these weapons. This carried well into the 17th C with the lighter headed and long hafted axes of this area such as the Valska or Fokos.
Soldiers of the period could use these axes to great affect, as illustrated in this unfortunate knights ending.
The use of the axe is illustrated in some of the period manuals though usually in the context of knightly judicial combat. The use by lower status levels of society is more anecdotal in nature.
The principle foundations of effective personal combat do not change. We are able to build on these with the use of the axe and see that it could hold its own with any of the other weapons a medieval warrior may choose. After working with one of these axe, Christian Tobler, commented that he thought it was a particularly handy piece and dubbed it a "pocket pole axe".