Does a longsword move faster than a one-handed sword?

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Does a longsword move faster than a one-handed sword?

Postby Vino » 03 Mar 2015 09:43

I have always assumed it does due to having more leverage but watching longsword vs sabre, backsword, etc. on YouTube it doesn't seem to me like one-handed swords are really any slower. Am I just misperceiving things or does it actually not move faster?
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Re: Does a longsword move faster than a one-handed sword?

Postby Petter Brodin » 03 Mar 2015 12:16

I don't know if longsword cuts are actually faster (as in, moving at a higher speed), but remember that they normally cover a larger distance. So a one-handed possibly be perceived to be moving faster than a longsword cut because it takes a shorter amount of time to cover a shorter distance.
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Re: Does a longsword move faster than a one-handed sword?

Postby Herbert » 03 Mar 2015 12:19

That depends a lot on the type of longsword and one handed sword and what you mean by "move".

Taken that you are talking about a one handed sword from the same time period - so 14th and 15th century - there are huge differences in the one handed sword and longsword as well. So, to be accurate, we have to compare similar blade shapes and cross sections.

There are some tricks to make a one handed sword very fast in certain instances, in other a longsword is a lot faster. Again: what does "move" mean? A simple Oberhau? A change in direction? Evasion? Depending on the movement the answer from me would be: yes, no, depends.

Sorry for not being able to give a useful answer, but the question is too vague.
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Re: Does a longsword move faster than a one-handed sword?

Postby Glyn » 03 Mar 2015 12:54

That depends on what you mean by faster - acceleration or speed?

It's about leverage, but also about the moment of inertia. If you imagine holding two rods both weighing 1kg but the first 1m long and the second 1.5m long, then the second rod will feel much more sluggish to wave around as the effort needed to initiate movement is greater. Once the two rods are moving, however, the far end of the second rod would be moving faster for the same angle of motion at the centre. Assuming everything else is equal, the shorter rod would feel more agile (easier to start and stop movement) but once moving the longer rod would sweep out a greater arc in the same time.

For real-world swords it's obviously more complex - the taper of the blade, the length of the hilt and the weight of the pommel all alter the distribution of mass and will affect the forces needed to change the rate and direction of motion.

For the short duration of a sword blow I'd expect the shorter sword to be slightly faster in terms of the time taken to go from a stationary position to landing on the target - acceleration being more important than top speed. Of course, faced with a longer sword the attack has to be launched from a closer distance than might otherwise be comfortable - if you include the time taken to close the measure then things are probably in favour of the longer blade. The short blade operates in a faster time than the longer blade, but the foot in a slower time than the hand.

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Re: Does a longsword move faster than a one-handed sword?

Postby Reinier » 06 Mar 2015 09:00

I placed a longsword and a one-handed sword next to each other and gave the start sign a few days ago. So far, it is neck-on-neck but they have not moved far yet. Or at all, really. Expecting not much movement, I have set a short course. I will keep you updated if something changes, but so far I'd say they are equally fast, or, more accurately, equally slow. :twisted:
…en A alſoo liggende kan aen B, ſonder eenigh beletſel, met de zijde van ſijn hooft, op het aengeſicht van B, ſoo veel ſtoten als hy begeert. – Nicolaes Petter, 1674.

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Re: Does a longsword move faster than a one-handed sword?

Postby john47109 » 10 Mar 2015 23:07

longsword or one-handed sword I think the same as they are equally weapon. But it would depend on the person how he manage to handle it.
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Re: Does a longsword move faster than a one-handed sword?

Postby admin » 11 Mar 2015 11:37

Petter Brodin wrote:I don't know if longsword cuts are actually faster (as in, moving at a higher speed), but remember that they normally cover a larger distance.


Hi Petter - in what sense do you mean? I don't think I understand.
If both weapons have blades of the same length, then they cover the exact same distance in travelling from a guard to hitting the opponent. The tip of an arming sword with a 34 inch blade starting in Ochs and finishing in Langort, covers the same distance as a 34 inch-bladed longsword doing the same. The hands also travel the same distance.

In regards to the OP - the answer is 'it depends', I think. Some blade actions move faster than others and it depends whether you are measuring time to advance into hitting distance (time of the person's feet to move), time of the arm/s to extend (time of the person's arms), time of the hilt of the weapon to move from one position to another, time for the centre of percussion to perform a cut, time of the point to perform a thrust, or time of the tip of the sword to traverse a certain distance in the air.....
A thrust with any weapon is basically the same speed - the speed of the person's arms to extend. Like a punch. The tip cannot thrust faster than the person's hands can move. In performing a cut it depends on what type of cut you are doing - draw cut, push cut, short chop, big moulinette...

I think the simple answer that I would give is this: Longswords and one-handed swords cut and thrust at about the same speed, however, longswords are generally able to redouble/repeat cuts quicker, due to greater leverage. However, I would also say that a one-handed sword generally has a longer reach than a longsword, if their blades are the same length (due to one arm being able to extend further from the body than two arms). So it balances out somewhat.
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Re: Does a longsword move faster than a one-handed sword?

Postby Petter Brodin » 12 Mar 2015 11:20

admin wrote:
Petter Brodin wrote:I don't know if longsword cuts are actually faster (as in, moving at a higher speed), but remember that they normally cover a larger distance.


Hi Petter - in what sense do you mean? I don't think I understand.
If both weapons have blades of the same length, then they cover the exact same distance in travelling from a guard to hitting the opponent. The tip of an arming sword with a 34 inch blade starting in Ochs and finishing in Langort, covers the same distance as a 34 inch-bladed longsword doing the same. The hands also travel the same distance.

I assumed that the one-handed sword in question would be shorter than the longsword. If it's not, your're of course correct.
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