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Landsknecht (also called Lansquinet) were German mercenaries at the beginning of the 16th century. Their main combat weapons were halberds, swords and pikes. Landsknecht wore armor that was called Lansquinet armor. The are famous for using giant, over 6 foot swords called landsknecht flamberge.

The term flamberge is derived from the terms flambard or flammard which both mean "flame blade" which refers to a normal cutting sword blade that had been forged with wave-shaped edges. The flame, or wave-shaped swords are most commonly found among the two-handed swords called in German "zweihander". The word "flammenschwert" means in German "flame sword". These two-handed swords featured en extremely long blade and long handle that was protected by also long ricasso. The ricasso was protected by flukes on each side of the blade. Such swords were used by Landsknechts in the 16^th century. Such swords were extremely effective against attacks of the pikemen as swords with wave-shaped blades had better ability to cut off the tip of a pike. Waved blade offered more cutting surface compared with swords with straight blades. Another effect of a flame-shaped blade was creation of unpleasant vibrations that were transferred into attacker's weapon and slower contact between weapons as flame-blade added more friction. The "flame blade" was also used in some rapiers.

History of Arms and Armor | Arms and Armor Glossary


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