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The Probert Encyclopaedia of Warfare

HALBERD

Picture of Halberd

The halberd or halbert was a medieval staff weapon of predominantly cutting character, but it was possible to use it for thrusting also. The halberd originated in Switzerland where they were used to great effect during the liberation campaign. The basic design of a halberd is of a rectangular shaped axe with a straight cutting edge, elongated into a spike and fastened to a pole or staff about six feet long. Later, around 1400, a rear spike started to appear in the design. It was much used in the English army in the 16th century, and gave its name to troops called halberdiers, to whom was confided the defence of the colours, and other special duties. The halberd disappeared from use after 1600 as the musket became increasingly used and was then used only on ceremonial occasions.
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