is inspired by the many examples of smaller zweihander swords (zweihander
= two-hander) carried by the Swiss Mercenaries and Landesknecht
from the Austrian Tyrol, from the mid-15th to early-16th centuries. It
is believed that the large, two-handed swords were primarily used to break
through ranks of pikemen and against charges of heavy cavalry.
The Old Swiss Confederacy was the precursor of modern-day Switzerland.
The Eidgenossenschaft of the Swiss, as the confederacy was called,
began as an alliance between the communities of the valleys in the central
Alps to facilitate the management of common interests, such as free trade
and to ensure the peace along the important trade routes through the mountains.
In the late Middle Ages, this region belonged to the Holy Roman Empire,
and because of its strategic importance the Hohenstaufen emperors
had granted it reichsfrei status in the early 13th century. As
reichsfrei regions, the cantons (or regions) of Uri, Schwyz,
and Unterwalden were under the direct authority of the emperor,
without any intermediate liege lords, and thus were largely autonomous.
In the Burgundy Wars, the Swiss soldiers had gained a reputation of near
invincibility, and their mercenary services became increasingly sought
after by the great European political powers of the time. Shortly after
the Burgundy Wars, individual cantons concluded mercenary contracts, or
"capitulations," with many parties, including the Pope — the papal Swiss
Guard was founded in 1505 and became operational the next year. More contracts
were made with France, the Duchy of Savoy, Austria, and still others.
Swiss mercenaries would play an initially important, but later minor role
on European battlefields until well into the 18th century.
The legendary supremacy of the Swiss mercenaries in foot combat finally
came to an end at the battle of Bicocca in 1522. Under the leadership
of Georg von Frundsberg, a contingent of Landsknechte decimated
over 3,000 Swiss mercenaries, employing the newly-developed arquebus.
"They went back to their mountain homes diminished in numbers
but much more in audacity, for it is certain that the loss they received
humbled them to the degree that for several years afterwards they did
not show their accustomed vigor" -- Guicciardini
Further evidence of their decline would be seen at the battle of Pavia
(Feb. 24, 1525), where the Swiss mercenaries, hired by Francis I, broke
and ran from the field.
16th C. woodcut after David de Neckar
of a German Landesknecht
Tyrolean Landesknecht Sword
The Tyrolean's blade design post-dates Oakeshott's typology range,
whcih stops at the tapering multiple-fullered blades of Type XXII. Similar
to the Type XX, XXI and XXII blades, the Tyrolean blade is long,
double-edged and has two fullers, but has a very gradual profile taper
and the fullers extend further down the blade.
The sword was designed for broad, sweeping cutting blows (such as clearing
a line of pikes) and then for thrusting by using a "half-swording"
technique (gripping the hilt in one hand and the blade in the other) in
close-quarter fighting. Landesknecht and Swiss Mercenaries are
often depicted in period woodcuts as carrying a shorter sword (often a
katzbalger) as a sidearm in addition to the zweihander,
presumably for use in close-quarter combat.
It is not clear from our current research if the leather covering on the
ricasso was left in place durng combat to facilitate half-swording,
or if it was simply a protective cover to guard the shoulder while the
sword was carried between battles. We have decided to call it a demi-scabbard, and ours is constructed with a thin wooden core wrapped with leather. The demi-scabbard is removable.
That Sword Contest Winner
Winner: Eric Meulemans
"Named simply for the region from whence so many Landesknechten were
A Limited Edition Hand Crafted Collectible Sword
is offered in a limited edition of only 1,000 collectible swords
Overall length: 55" (139.7 cm)
Blade length: 41" (104 cm)
Blade width: 2.1875” (5.56 cm)
CoB: 4.5" (11.43 cm)
CoP: 25" (63.5 cm)
Weight: 5lb 7 oz. (2.47 kg)
Weight (w/o demi-scabbard): 5lb 5oz. (2.41 kg)
You can customize your sword's
grip color -- see the standard grip colors here
The Tyrolean... $1,650
before this limited edition collectible sword runs out!