Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: CSA Consulate, Rm. 101, Glos. UK: p.s. - Real Dogs Have Feathering.
The cross piece, or even the 'halberd' blade serve to keep the spear from over penetration. A problem that they had with naval boarding pikes that did not have any, tho some had a rather bulbous swelling of the grip wood behind the head for that purpose. I gather that didn't work too well either. One reason they and 19c lances had fairly short points.
I think it was Tacitus that mentioned about the Roman gladius being taught as a stabbing weapon where they for efficiency were taught not to stab more than three inches into the torso as that was sufficient to kill. Too far and you can get stuck. Of course in wild animals, it's to keep the lil' darlin' from pushing up the shaft to kiss you too severely.
The end of the spontoon/halberd's era, they were relegated militarily to ceremonial guarding of the regimental colours, i guess if anyone got that close, you probably have lost already & should have had a revolver too.