Polearm vs Sword and Shield

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Polearm vs Sword and Shield

Postby Vino » 19 Dec 2014 14:45

I know that polearms generally have the advantage against swords, but I've also heard it said a lot that a shield makes it much easier to fight a polearm with a sword. So I'm just wondering how much easier? Who has the advantage in an unarmoured fight between a man with a polearm and a man with a sword and a shield? (Assuming they're equal in terms of skill and physique).

By the way, I'm thinking of larger shields like a kiteshield or a round shield, not a buckler.
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Re: Polearm vs Sword and Shield

Postby Monzambano » 19 Dec 2014 23:37

Apologies, but I find your set-up artificial - is this a salle competition, or battle?

If it's battle, I'd say you're either stupid or really lucky, depends on which side you're on.

If it's a structured competition, there will be ground rules to regulate the encounter, and it will depend on those.
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Re: Polearm vs Sword and Shield

Postby SteelCat » 20 Dec 2014 00:34

I guess a polearm wielder rarely came alone. Nor did the person armed with sword and shield, as both are weapon sets for war and war is fought by armies, not by individual guys duelling.
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Re: Polearm vs Sword and Shield

Postby Vino » 20 Dec 2014 11:01

I realize it's not exactly a plausible situation, but I still wonder who would have the advantage.

Let's just assume for the sake of argument they fought in an open space, say a large hall or field, with no rules or restrictions.
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Re: Polearm vs Sword and Shield

Postby Vasilly » 20 Dec 2014 12:14

I'd say a sword+shield set would have the advantage. Since a spear in close quarters, as pretty much any polearm, becomes quite unwiedly, despite what many polearm lovers say.
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Re: Polearm vs Sword and Shield

Postby Phil C » 20 Dec 2014 12:19

Only HEMA context I can think of these circumstances being discussed is here-
http://www.hroarr.com/contenders-ready- ... ue-france/
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http://www.blackboarswordsmanship.co.uk/
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Re: Polearm vs Sword and Shield

Postby Monzambano » 20 Dec 2014 17:07

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Re: Polearm vs Sword and Shield

Postby clubinglex » 30 Mar 2015 12:22

what shield is about ? buckler or scutum / Mycenaean tower shield x) ?
Really big shield help you to close distance without being stab in the face or legs.
Perhaps big viking shield give an equal odd vs polearms.
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Re: Polearm vs Sword and Shield

Postby Herbert » 08 Apr 2015 13:05

Depends on…
… type of pole arm
… type of shield
… type of sword
… type of encounter
… time period
… type of armor worn

I doubt that anybody can give a useful answer with so many open questions.

Basically these things usually boil down to who's the better fighter.
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Re: Polearm vs Sword and Shield

Postby swordflasher » 10 Apr 2015 23:26

Interesting question, Vino. I'm sure it was a very common scenario on a battlefield.

I'm not sure what you have in mind for a polearm. Equal fighters, Spear vs sword and buckler, I'd say the spear has the advantage. The spearsman only needs to swivel on the spot while the swordsman runs round and tries to travel up the spear, at which the spearsman just moves back and perhaps reverses the spear.

I've no idea if a larger shield would equalise things a bit as I've never tried this with one, but I think I'd be happier with the manouverability of a buckler.

With a polearm that is longer or heavier/ less manouverable than a spear, I think I'd rather be the swordsman.

I seem to remember a story about a doughty Englishman with a quarterstaff defeating a dozen sword-wielding Spaniards, or somesuch...
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