Norseman Spear vs maille armor

In today's blog we highlight our Norseman Spear and demonstrate its thrusting ability against riveted maille armor. Whether you call it mail, maille, or chainmail, this type of armor was one of the most important defensive technologies of the Viking period, and remained an important component of armors right up through the 17th century. Maile is very effective at preventing cuts and thrusts, and many weapons had design features to enhance their effectiveness.Norseman Spear from the viking period in steel
Our Norseman Spear is an exceptional example of a 10th century combat spear that would certainly have encountered maille armor. It's sharp point and rigid cross-section are optimized for thrusting, and potentially even able to be forced through the rings of the armor. Spears like this one were one of the primary weapons of the Viking warrior, and existed without substantial alteration for at least 800 years. They were most likely used in hand to hand personal combat as weapons. They do throw well but many spears designed for throwing would be done with lighter heads and hafts. This spear has the heft to deliver solid blows and its rigidity would allow substantial thrusts to the target.

Norseman viking spear edge view by Arms & Armor Inc.

Side view of Norseman Spear

Spears like this were adapted to the life of a viking which could be could be harsh and dangerous at any moment. The sagas admonish a smart man to have their spear with in reach at all times. This is the style of weapon our spear is based on. It would be carried on a daily basis as well as in war.

Vikings with spears in boats detail of picture from The Morgan Library & Museum

Detail of image from The Morgan Library & Museum showing norse warriors with spears invading.

Our video demonstrates the effectiveness of our spear coming up against maile in hand to hand combat and should be used only as a data point in the larger discussion and study of Nordic combat of the Viking period. Some of our previous endeavors and support of research in this area can be seen in this post about the research done by Hurstwic on spear use. Our desire is to increase knowledge and understanding of the combat arts of the past. Also, check out our previous posts testing the effectiveness of cloth armor and plate armor against swords and other weapons.

Some of the spears our replica is based on.

You can see the similarity to some of the spears our piece is based on.

So if you are looking for a solid Viking Spear or an Italian Spearman's weapon of the 15th Century this would be a great choice to add to your collection.

divider swords

Nathan Clough, Ph.D. is Vice President of Arms and Armor and a member of the governing board of The Oakeshott Institute. He is a historical martial artist and a former university professor of cultural geography.  He has given presentations on historical arms at events including Longpoint and Combatcon, and presented scholarly papers at, among others, The International Congress on Medieval Studies.

Craig Johnson is the Production Manager of Arms and Armor and Secretary of The Oakeshott Institute. He has taught and published on the history of arms, armor and western martial arts for over 30 years. He has lectured at several schools and Universities, WMAW, HEMAC, 4W, and ICMS at Kalamazoo. His experiences include iron smelting, jousting, theatrical combat instruction and choreography, historical research, European martial arts and crafting weapons and armor since 1985

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