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Katzbalger
Katzbalger.jpg
Type Arming sword
Place of origin Holy Roman Empire
Service history
In service 15th – 17th century
Used by Landsknechte and others
Wars Italian Wars
Specifications
Weight 1–2 kg
Length 70–75 cm

Blade type Straight, fullered
Hilt type S-shaped guard

A Katzbalger is a short Renaissance arming sword, notable for its sturdy build and a distinctive s-shaped or figure-8 shaped guard. Measuring 70–75 cm long and weighing 1–2 kg, it was the signature blade of the Landsknecht. The Katzbalger Sword was designed with a large figure eight guard that protects the hand if the opposing sword should slide down the blade.[1]

Overview

There are several different explanations about the origin of the name "Katzbalger": one is that it comes from the custom of carrying a sword without a scabbard, held only by a cat's skin (German word Katze means "cat", while Balg means the skin (fur) of an animal. Katzbalger means a piece made of a cat’s skin).

Another theory is that the word derives from balgen (brawling), and refers to intense, close-quarter combat like fights between feral cats. The most common translation is "cat-gutter", with an allusion to cat fight.

A katzbalger would often be used by pikemen, archers, and crossbowmen as a last resort if the enemy were to draw too close for bows or pikes to be effective.

See also

References


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