How useful were swords in warfare?
Were they side arms which were used only in case of emergency, or were there any situations were swords were more useful than other weapons?
You hold one end, you either chop with the other end or poke it in someone.
They're really useful in pursuit, but not really for the charge or grind.
Outdated by rapid fire muskets in modern drill ("Prussian" drill) armies.
>How useful were swords in warfare?
Depends on the era. Spears and Bows always trumped the Sword. Then again, some empires and cultures used it more effectively than others. It wasn't always just a side arm.
There where short periods and particular forms of warfare where swords had prominence but over all polearms were far more important as melee weapons. Of course as a side arm the sword was very very prominent
it highly depends on the situation. no army ever consisted in only one kind of weapon. most armies had a base of lancers/spears/pikemen wich charged side by side against the enemy, those kinds of weapons are cheap to make and easy to train, swords require much more training and were much more expensive so it's use wasn't as massive as other weapons. swords, however, make good pike formation breakers in good hands, and were used efectively in warfare to break holes is these pike formations and then slaughter the enemy.
as i said, these pike formations ended up breaking in a point so having an army capable of keeping the fight (or rearrange the formation), even when the formation was broken, was very useful. and swords are very good out-of-formation weapons of use.
in close quarters (like city streets or castle insides), long spears tend to be more a complication than anything, so swords become a much wiser choice, but then again, these are expensive so axes were also very common due to it's price.
that's considering only warfare. small groups or single sellswrods would make more profit from them, as the price is for only one (or a small amount of) sword, it would only need one (or a small amount of) trained warrior and pike tactics aren't profitable enough in small numbers.
in more modern warfare swords were still used. the cavalary found sabers very useful for chargeing and flanking and wasn't until the WWI when cavalary charge stopped being a thing. even in the WWI, trench skirmishes could end clashing with an enemy skirmish during night and useing fireweapons wasn´t a good idea as it would attract machinegun and artillery fire from both sides to the place, killing everyone. sword as you imagine weren't something common there but useing knives and bayonet as swords was much more common.
>Can be produce en masse
>Training with the weapon itself, not in tandem with unit formations, can be relatively simple
>Effective against cavalry
>Greatest strength when used in dense static defense formations
>Requires skilled artisans to produce
>Level of skill required to use effectively largely dependent on the type of sword and martial style.
>Performs best in "heroic-style" combat of individual warriors facing one another. (See Celts and Knights)
Obviously this is a very simplified look at weapons with a history as long as metallurgy, but still an adequate overview. An obvious exception to these points would be post-Polybian reform Roman legionaries.
Basically OP, your question is too vague to give a "correct" answer since the time period can drastically change all the factors you would need to look at.
The idea of a sword as a weapon is a modern concept.
they were never ever used in warfare. even the romans used spears as their primary weapon.
Hastati, the frontlike soldier, literally means spearman.
and its a misnomer, probably carried over from an earlier panoply
>The idea of a sword as a weapon is a modern concept
Surely you mean a weapon of war? and even then your not strictly correct
desu senpai sometimes i just type random shit on /his/, because people will get thrown into a hissy fit. I try to use vernacular of someone who is arguing a point just to rile people up.
more useful then some say, and less useful then some say.
in ancient times, swords were often used as a battlefield weapon. the most famous example are the roman legions, of course, but they were also used by the Gauls, Iberians and Dacians, to name a few. They were never as popular as spears, but no one can say they werent effective.
Later on, starting in the early viking era and going for all of the middle ages, Armoour became more and more effective, and the use of a sword was limited. People began to use other weapons as their main battlefield weapon, but they kept wearing sword as sidearms. Of course, there were a few exceptions, like the greatsword/sword-of-wr, it's scottish cousin the claymore, and bastard swords.
Ironically, the return of pike fromations and the emergensce of guns increased the usage of swords again. after all,it is very difficult to bulletproof armour, so most normal troopss only had a breastplate and helmet, dumping most other armour. this meant that the sword became a viable melee weapon again, both for infantry and cavalry. After that, only the arrival of repeating rifles and the eventual end of cavalry really saw the end of swords on the battlefield.
Probably as good as having a metal bar to bash things with, combined with the capacities of a large knife.
So pretty useful even nowadays law enforcement and militaries have uses for a knife or a big metal bar.
>How useful were swords in warfare?
Swords where in use for 6500 years, and they are some of the few weapons that have no dual use as hunting weapons, they are almost exclusively used for killing humans.
To be honest, your question is a bit silly, as long as you do not define the context, the timeframe and geographical location you question can be ansered with a simple "yes".
the swords power lies in the psychological aspect, instinct tells a man to not touch sharp edges, because it makes you bleed and hurts, a sword is one huge sharp edge, that you instinctively want to stay away from. seeing a guy with a huge sharp sword coming at you is probably fucking scary as fuck desu
missing my point, which is that swords strike fear in the enemy, because swords are used to sever limbs and cleave people apart. a spear leaves a hole in a man, hardly visible, a mace knocks him out and disturbs his innard, but a sword actually lops off his arm, definitely a more terrifying prospect.
>Knights using swords as their main weapon
I never said that. The points I made are purely meant to highlight some of the main advantages/disadvantages between spears and swords in general history, since no one time period was specified.
>Son, most knights started a battle with a polearm (spear, lance, pole-axe, halberd etc)
Which either broke or were discarded after the initial charge, at which point they would draw their secondary weapon, i.e their sword(in most cases). This is why I was mentioning knights and their use of swords in "heroic-style" or chivalric combat where spears/lances(excluding halberds or pole arms) wouldn't be as effective because:
a) They are still mounted but too entangled in the enemy line to maneuver freely or
b) They are dismounted
>>Requires skilled artisans to produce
Relative to making spears, yes.
>Depends on the era. Spears and Bows always trumped the Sword.
One event in which a sword would be more useful then a spear or bow is trying to storm the walls via siege ladder. Not only does having a sword let you use both hand during the scaling bit the fighting would likely end up being very close up and in a press.
Mostly, they were side-arms.
There were exceptions.
They were rather expensive and required a bit more technique than most other weapons so they were often associated with some specialized class (European nobility, samurai, etc).
Keep in mind there are many variations on the basic design of a sword. I'm generalizing a lot.
can someone here tell me what the hell this white shit is the guy is wearing?
That's a coat of plates, do you even Mount and Blade?
Swords are very useful on the battlefield as a close-range weapon, but they were invaluable in city-fighting. Spears can be a bit unwieldy indoors or in tight areas. You won't always have time to make a formation, either.
When you crack the wall the people pouring through are probably going to be using swords. They're ideal for that kind of fighting. Especially good semi-short blades like the Gladius.
>Spears can be a bit unwieldy indoors or in tight areas
That depends entirely on how long they are. Spears trump many other weapons in tight corridors because they have good reach and it's a thrusting weapon - you don't always have the luxury of being able to swing a weapon around, especially if you have comrades at your side.
The "LE STATUS SYMBOL" sword among Celts has always been the Longsword.
Not the Kladibbos. Literally a pleb sword.
European ones? Useless. Heavy, dull you could just grab a mace instead. Katana? Extremly. There were multiple instances when they cut through armor and samurai were the most disciplined warriors in history.
THEY WERE FUCKING SHIT
YOU KNOW WHAT SWORDFAGS?
TAKE A SPEAR INSTEAD FAGGOT
OR A FUCKING MACE OR AXE OR HALBERD
FUCK BOWS TOO
GET A CROSSBOW INSTEAD YOU HOMO
AND FUCK HANDGUNS WHICH ARE MODERN EQUIVALENT OF SWORDS WHERE IT COMES TO ROMANTICISATION
GET A SHOTGUN INSTEAD
HURR MUH TRENCH COAT BADASS WITH BERETTA
MUH HEROIC FUCKING FUCKER WITH A GREATSWORD
You're on the right track,
Spears were a versatile weapon that were easy to make and easy to use. They were used on the battlefield a good 80% of the time with a shield. Swords were generally used a secondary weapon if even used at all. Shields however were almost always used.
It should be pointed out that the longer the spear, the less useful it becomes outside of a cohesive formation.
In addition, the more armor is involved the less useful a spear becomes.
It partially explains why the Romans could for example succeed so well using swords. The fact that all their (frontline) infantry had at least some form of body armor, typically mail, in addition to the helmet and massive shield, allowed them to close the gap against longer weapons. In addition, they had their Pila which could seriously disrupt the cohesion of the enemy.