Horses vs shieldwalls—what actually happens?

I’ve ridden horses. Horses are smart. When they said horses wouldn’t charge a line of men who stood firm, I believed them. And then I went on a holiday to New Zealand and got to ride one of the horses that was in Lord of the Rings. And there they told me the horses had … Continue reading Horses vs shieldwalls—what actually happens?

Spear and shield—some thoughts

I had the opportunity a while back to experiment with combining spear and shield both in single duels and in larger skirmishes. I wouldn’t say I’ve solved it definitively but I think I’ve got a few points worth adding to the discussion. Let’s start with one-on-one duels. This is where I think the biggest disagreement … Continue reading Spear and shield—some thoughts

How to fight multiple opponents

Get a longer weapon. That’s for starters. I’ll explain more in a second but, seriously, if you could pick one thing before going into a fight like this, that’d be it. If you’re fighting solo against more than one opponent, you need every little trick and twist to get the odds even slightly back in … Continue reading How to fight multiple opponents

The limits of HEMA—Archery in group combat

When you think of reconstructing medieval combat, the first thing you think of is probably going to be sword fighting. Either that or jousting. If you take a bit longer to think about it, you'll probably get to massed battles with spears and shields and that kind of thing. We look to HEMA clubs and … Continue reading The limits of HEMA—Archery in group combat

Why axes are underrated

You can't expect to wield supreme executive power just 'cause some watery tart threw an axe at you! It doesn't quite have the same ring, does it? Axes seem like the older, less understood cousins of the sword that don't get talked about much. Sure they might have a movie appearance once in a while … Continue reading Why axes are underrated

Longsword vs shield—who would win?

You've heard it on so many documentaries, "when he swings his big, heavy sword at me, I'll just stick my shield in the way, block it and hit him with my own sword and he will be dead." That basically never happens. Using a sword in two hands against someone with a shield and some … Continue reading Longsword vs shield—who would win?

Viking shields—how did they fight with them?

It doesn't matter if you're watching the last few episodes of Vikings in Australia or counting down the days for series 2 of The Last Kingdom in Britain, there's one thing I bet is niggling away at the back of your mind: how did they really fight with those shields? Now for something like this … Continue reading Viking shields—how did they fight with them?