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Old 30th September 2008, 09:26 PM   #6
Jim McDougall
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Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Route 66
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Thank you Chevalier for the extra detail on the wording in the book, which makes a great deal of sense. It seems that the British and American weapons were probably relatively heavier, especially in the polearms, as I have not seen the Spanish 'tomahawks' to guage. The British polearms were typically spontoons and some halberds I believe, which of course would not have been traded, and I dont believe either British or Americans used lances here in those times.

As has been discussed, the Spanish Colonial use of the lance was in many if not most cases a primary weapon, rather than a secondary or ancillary weapon. Its manner of use was probably much in the way used by the American Indians of southern plains, as a shorter spear or stabbing weapon. I would imagine the shafts of the Spanish lances must have been shorter than the typical lances of Europe, which were around 8 feet long or so. These were tremendously awkward in the melee, and used as a primary weapon in shock action, with movement to secondary weapons after contact. The Spaniards kept stabbing with them, in one instance narrating the Battle of San Pascual, it notes that one American dragoon was stabbed sixteen times by lance before falling.

In the Brinckerhoff & Chamberlain reference, there is no mention of tomahawks among the weapons described, which of course does not mean they did not exist in these Spanish Colonial regions, but it seems as comprehensive as the book is that they should be mentioned if of any significance. There are of course halberds and spontoons shown, and Taylor (op.cit.) notes that early 'tomahawks' were often comprised of heads of these weapons among tribes in Iroquois regions as the familiar pipe tomahawk developed. I found no specific mention of tomahawks in the Simmons and Turley reference, though one spontoon is shown and the head is more like a very large lance head, ornate, and probably from regions to the south.

You're right on the Comanches, it is truly amazing what amazing distances they travelled in thier raiding. The intensity of thier raids for horses seems to be often the key subject on them in regions all over Texas, which in my own travels across the state has come up many times. One small city has its town square and virtually the entire town history focused on a monumental Comanche horse raid there in about the 1870's if I recall.

Thank you bringing up this topic....you always bring in good ones!!!
It was great revisiting old notes and remembering how fascinating the weapons of New Spain really were!!!
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