The Ultimate Guide to the Different Types of Polearms

A polearm is a type of close combat weapon that consists of a long shaft or pole with a blade or striking element attached to the end. Polearms were historically used by infantry and cavalry units, offering reach, versatility, and the ability to strike from a distance. Here are some common types of polearms:

1. Spear

The spear is one of the oldest and most basic types of polearms. It features a long shaft with a pointed blade or spearhead at the end. Spears were widely used throughout history by various civilizations and were effective for thrusting attacks, offering extended reach and piercing power.

2. Halberd

The halberd is a versatile polearm that emerged during the medieval period. It typically has a long shaft with a spearhead at the top, a blade or axe-like element on one side, and a hook or spike on the opposite side. The halberd was used by infantry to deliver thrusts, cuts, and hooks, making it effective against armored opponents.

3. Glaive

The glaive is a polearm with a single-edged, curved blade on the end of a long shaft. It was popular in medieval Europe and offered a combination of cutting and slashing power. The curved blade of the glaive allowed for more efficient strikes and increased cutting surface area.

4. Billhook

The billhook, also known as a bill or bill-guisarme, is a polearm with a hooked blade and a pointed tip. It originated in Europe and was widely used by infantry during the medieval and Renaissance periods. The billhook was effective for cutting, slashing, and hooking actions, making it versatile against various types of opponents.

5. Partisan

The partisan is a polearm with a long, flat blade at the end of the shaft. The blade typically has two or more points, resembling a spearhead with additional edges. The partisan was primarily used during the Renaissance era and offered both thrusting and cutting capabilities.

6. Pike

The pike is a long polearm characterized by its long shaft and narrow, pointed blade. It was widely used in formations by infantry during the medieval and Renaissance periods, particularly by units like pikemen. Pikes were effective for thrusting attacks and provided a defensive barrier against cavalry charges.

These are just a few examples of the many types of polearms that have been used throughout history. Polearms varied in design and purpose based on the era, geographical region, and specific military tactics. Their effectiveness relied on the skill and coordination of the wielder, as well as the strategic use of formations and tactics on the battlefield.