Influenced by the effective tactics of the Swiss “Reislaufer” in the late 15th Century,
Maximilian I created the Landsknechte in imitation and recruited Reislaufer to train them.
They were highly trained and gained a reputation as fierce fighters available for hire to the
highest bidder. One chronicler wrote that the devil refused to let Landsknects into hell
because he was so afraid of them. The primary battle formation of the time was to use the
pike square to ward off cavalry, but if a pike square could be broken, it was easy prey for
knights on horseback. The Landsknechts used the “Doppelsoldner” (literally double
soldier), which were large men who received double pay for carrying the two handed
“Zweihander” sword to cut off the ends of the pikes. The sword offered here is the type of
two handed sword used by the Landsknecht Doppelsoldner during the early 16th C. Like
the “Katzbalgar” short sword (an example of which is offered elsewhere on this site), it
features the large S-shape guard, unique to Landsknecht swords. This example with
rectangular-section guard with expanded finials and simple fluted decoration. The wood
bottleneck grip is wrapped with cord and leather, likely the original, and capped with a large
ovoid pommel. Broad double-edged 35″ blade of hexagonal section with a pair of fullers
extending about a third of its length, inscribed with the Passau wolf mark inlaid with brass.
Blade is lightly pitted, showing lamination and signs of repeated sharpening. This sword,
just obtained from an old German collection, is only the second sword of this type we have
offered in over 24 years of business. Weighing only a little over 4 pounds, it is light weight
and very well-balanced, made purely for fighting. Totally original with all parts remaining
tight, the sword has been cleaned at some point, as is typical of German collections. Very
rare and desirable sword. Overall length 45″.