16th Century English Weapons Essay Research Paper

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16th Century English Weapons Essay, Research Paper During the 16th century England and much of Europe found itself in turmoil and in a constant state of war. The outbreak of fighting led to the invention and development of new weapons and the growth and change of weapons of old. The development of weapons was a trademark of the time, with a sort of renaissance, or re-birth in the field of weaponry (Miller). The technology was highlighted by the invention of gunpowder by the Chinese which eventually found its way to England (Grolier). However, the use of gunpowder was minimal, because the use of had yet to be perfected. The technological advancement most useful during the period was progression of the metals used in weaponry. The new forms could be found in the production of

swords, arrows, cannons, and armor, as well as varies siege weapons. The three major categories of weapons used during the 16th century were handheld, siege, and missiles. The primary use of handheld weapons is for the obvious is hand to hand combat in close quarters. Handheld weapons were not always the most efficient weapons but played a major role in battle because of their simplicity. An entire army would depend on the use of foot soldiers and simply outnumber their opponent while fighting in the trenches (Grolier). Siege weapons were effective not on battles on an open area, but rather when one army would attack the fortress or castle of the other army. The siege weapons were used to either knock the gate at the entrance of the castle, or other wise gain entry, or to hurl

large objects or arrows over the defensive walls around the perimeter of the castle. Fire was another common tactic used with siege of castles, as well as the use of the newly found gunpowder (Revell, “Missile”). The third type of weapons are missile weapons, which came to be the signature of the time period. The missile weapons were fired or projected from a distance and were found effective due to their range, but accuracy became important and so did the skill involved in warfare. Handheld weapons represented a large portion of the weapons used during 16th Century warfare (Iannuzzo). Most commonly used was the sword. Throughout the middles ages, metals were developed to withstand more abuse and thus became more effective (Iannuzzo). The metals now had to strong enough to

pierce through the newly developed armor of the time (Revell, “Armour”). The use of carbonized iron, which was heated, beaten, and cut the process repeated many times over to form a solid and durable and lighter than previous swords. The double edge sword was far superior in strength and sharpness of the other swords of the time (Grolier). The 16th century also brought forth the use of flamberge sword that had an undulating cutting edge, that was believed to be able to easily pierce the armor, but was too awkward for battle and was eventually abandoned. By this time the Great sword, sometimes over six feet in length, were being deployed. This sword was deadly only because of the pure size of it. The great swords required enormous strength just to hold and even more to be

effective. Eventually the great sword became too awkward to use in battle just as the flamberge. These two inferior swords took a back seat to the smaller and more agile estoc sword. The estoc had a narrow triangular blade that was used to pierce the joints in the armor, rather than slash through it. But the progression in the strength of these swords made it able for the estocs to be strong enough to pierce through entire plates of the armour (Revell, “Armour”). This more effective sword led to a revolution in the art of sword fighting, because now a soldier must be able to beat an opponent with speed and quickness, rather than raw strength. The second type of handheld weapon that made an impact during the 16th century, were maces. The mace was as a secondary weapon that was