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Old 24th June 2018, 03:24 PM   #1
Jens Nordlunde
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Default A very special 'tulwar'

In his book Tirri shows the attached 'tulwar'. These are very rare and were used by a man on horse to stab someone laying on the ground. The idea was that the very slim, but stiff blade, should be able to penetrate a mail shirt, or maybe even plates. Tirri writes that these hilts were introdiced under Aurengzeb.

The only other one I have seen was, many years ago, in The Army Museum(?) in Istanbul, but the hilt was, of course, different.
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Old 24th June 2018, 06:13 PM   #2
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The good thing about Tirri's book is that its a great collectors handbook, and shows examples of a wide spectrum of weapons that typically come up in sales etc. This is one of the anomalies in that book, and I cannot say I have ever seen another.

It does seem that in some limited degree there were rapier blades mounted in early European contact in Mahratta context with Hindu basket hilts, but whether they were for court wear or actual use is not clear.

The estoc was a long sword made for thrusting alone and used in various European armies in medieval to renaissance periods. Its cross section was ribbed as seen on armor piercing katars etc. and these were usually mounted on the saddle under the horsemans leg,
This is shown in Rembrandts "The Polish Rider", while the rider wears a sabre at the side as regularly known.


The Ottoman's are known to have had such a thrusting sword which I believe was called a 'mec' and are illustrated in Yucel's book on Islamic swords.


Indian swordsmanship is often hard to describe or relate to when they are adopting the weapon forms of other groups or cultures, but that this is a thrusting sword in any manner is clear. Intriguing example!
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Old 24th June 2018, 08:42 PM   #3
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In Germany they are called 'Panzer stecher' as far as I am informed, so they must have been knnown in Germany as well. They are, however, rare.
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Old 25th June 2018, 03:49 AM   #4
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Jens, I do believe this type of weapon would be exceptionally rare, by virtue of the fact that not many men have 20" wrists.
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Old 25th June 2018, 09:43 AM   #5
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Yes, Tirri doesn't give dimensions but, looks like a very large and heavy weapon.
I wonder why he gives Aurangzeb reference only to the the hilt style and not to the whole sword ... providing we can call it a sword.
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Old 25th June 2018, 11:03 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jens Nordlunde
In Germany they are called 'Panzer stecher' as far as I am informed, so they must have been knnown in Germany as well. They are, however, rare.


Hello Jens,

yes "Panzerstecher (eng. armor piercer)" or (Estoc, Bohrschwert eng.: bore sword) is correct. The lower dull part of he blade is intended to be grabed with the free left hand to bring more power to the thrust with both hands.
In Germany or generelly Europe many techniques were known with the Estoc in both hands to give a better lever or more momentum behind the thrust.


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Old 25th June 2018, 01:21 PM   #7
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If I remember correctly, the length of the 'blade' is about the same length as a firangi blade, maybe a bit longer.
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Old 25th June 2018, 01:46 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fernando
Yes, Tirri doesn't give dimensions but, looks like a very large and heavy weapon.
I wonder why he gives Aurangzeb reference only to the the hilt style and not to the whole sword ... providing we can call it a sword.



Question: some Indian maces have tulwar handles but they are not called tulwar, right?
Do you think that your weapon is a tulwar - a sword - or a spear?
It looks like a spear to me...

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Old 25th June 2018, 01:59 PM   #9
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Thank you Roland:-).

Tirri calls it a 'Trusting Tulwar'. Which I find is wrong, that is why I wrote 'tulwar', as I did, as I did not know what it was called in English - I only knew the German name.
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Old 25th June 2018, 03:12 PM   #10
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Interesting....

Many authors assert that stabbing with swords was not a part of fencing techniques used in India. This one seems to contradict their statements. One possible explanation might be an idea borrowed from the Turks?

But then, I have a typical Pulwar-like sword with strongly reinforced point: a "stabber" if I ever saw one.
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Old 25th June 2018, 05:01 PM   #11
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I think avoiding the name game is advisable, as has been noted, these type blades (i.e. stabbing, thrusting, armor piercing etc.) have been known in various countries and cultures. As with blades of all kinds, they are typically mounted with localized styles of hilts, which has little effect on the character of the weapon overall.

As noted by Jens, the term 'panzer steicher' (loosely armor piercing in German) is used descriptively there, while in France it is an 'estoc'; in Poland a 'koncerz' and in English often termed a 'tuck'. These were as noted, usually secondary weapons carried under the saddle and used as required.

They were on occasion quite long, in Poland as long as 62" blades, ranging to more manageable 36" in other cases, seldom ever weighing over 4 lbs. The section on these blades for thrusting was triangular, squared, or a flattened hexagon and some rhomboid....and I would imagine the variations were in accord with intended manner of use......however in no cases were these made for cutting and edges were not sharpened.

I would point out here that in many cases these were much akin to the zweihander in their uses, one being that of hunting. The so called parry hooks on these swords blades were actually to prevent the advance of a wounded animal up the blade rather than parry in combat.

Many of these estocs similarly had two hand hilts, so might have been used in many ways depending on circumstances.

In the hunt, it would seem feasible that a weapon such as this with notable length might be used to 'spear' an animal such as boar etc. though it would be challenging despite the reach with a hilt of the 'tulwar' form. These were not designed in what I have understood on swordsmanship in their use, as intended for thrusting but only slashing cuts. Though it would seem that if properly held with finger around guard it might be possible.
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Old 25th June 2018, 05:20 PM   #12
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Red face Guessing

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kubur
Question: some Indian maces have tulwar handles but they are not called tulwar, right?
Do you think that your weapon is a tulwar - a sword - or a spear?
It looks like a spear to me...

For me, i would refer to the blade as the name giver and would call it an Estoc with a Talwar hilt ... while regarding the different spells of Estoc (tock, tuck, tucke ) .
In Norman's page 22-23 we can read how Sir John Smithe deals with this weapon typology.
«tocks very conveniently worne after the Hongarian and Turkie manner under their thighs which tocks are long narrow stiffe swords onlie for the thrust»
Whether the hilt type varies among countries/cultures and blade differs in profile and cross section (almost a rod some times ?) is another business. So happens with their purpose to perforate mail or only bodies, i guess.
The name Mec is apparently modern Turkish, pairing with European Panzerstecher or Hegyestor.
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Old 25th June 2018, 09:01 PM   #13
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Hi
For me estoc is not a weapon.
It's a way of striking an opponant.
But even the rapiers used for the estoc have sharp edges.
Is it possible to have close ups of the Indian mysterious weapon?
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Old 25th June 2018, 09:08 PM   #14
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Kubur, you can see that the picture I have shown is from the book, and this is not too good, so to make a blow up would not help.
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Old 26th June 2018, 10:37 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kubur
...For me estoc is not a weapon...

I would understand that some forms of estocs are not swords but, they are certainly weapons.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kubur
...It's a way of striking an opponant...

There could be a question of terminology depending in the various languages but, "estoc" would be the weapon, a strike (blow) with it, would be an "estocada".

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kubur
...But even the rapiers used for the estoc have sharp edges...

Perhaps not all had or needed sharp edges; it is a question of going back in time, when the true rapier was a long, narrow, rigid, nearly edgeless single-hand thrusting blade with a thick, tapering cross-section and very narrow and sharp point.
And if you go further back in time, prior to rapiers, you would find that, there were special Medieval thrusting swords, called estocs or tucks which were used since the 1300s. They were large, heavy, stiff, two-handed blades specifically designed to puncture or beat on plate armor. They were not handled like rapiers but are directly related to the use of Medieval swords held by the blade (what was called at the “half-sword”). Yet, it is conceivable that the idea for a rapier could have developed from an estoc or tuck.
They had many names in different countries and were essentially just sharp metal rods with square or triangular cross-sections and typically two large, round hand guards.
(Part of the above, courtesy of Arma Association)
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Old 26th June 2018, 12:25 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fernando
They had many names in different countries and were essentially just sharp metal rods with square or triangular cross-sections and typically two large, round hand guards.
(Part of the above, courtesy of Arma Association)


Of course, you are perfectly right.
My only problem here is that I'm not sure that the weapon presented above is a sword. To me it's a spear with an handle...
I'm not sure that it was used with two hands, the forte has a twisted part and it's not very user friendly...
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Old 26th June 2018, 12:41 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fernando
And if you go further back in time, prior to rapiers, you would find that, there were special Medieval thrusting swords, called estocs or tucks which were used since the 1300s. They were large, heavy, stiff, two-handed blades specifically designed to puncture or beat on plate armor.


Hi Fernando,

your explanation is almost perfectly right. But with a long Estoc or "Panzerstecher" it is nearly impossible to puncture a hardened quality iron plate armor. Even a 1000 pound crossbow from a distance of 10-15 meters, hardly manage it, to cut deeper than one inch into a hardened iron plate armor.

So the Estoc or Panzerstecher is designed to find the gaps and holes in the enemys armor. The armpits are never fully protected for example. So it was a most important technique, to find the gaps in the armor around the armpits.

By the way, the Tulwar here is a battlefield sword, as a hunting sword it needs a stopper, as on boar spears, ~25cm away from the point. Otherwise it would be a deadly exercisze to catch a boar with this sword. It will probably run completely through the blade, even when the heart is punctured, and hurt or kill the hunter.

The Tular is either a weapon for the battlefield or maybe has been used for the finishing stroke (coup de grâce) for badly hurted enemys and/or own soldiers after the battle.


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Old 26th June 2018, 01:44 PM   #18
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Red face Isn't this what they call the arms race ?

Roland, i confess i could not sustain this discussion in skilled terms but i believe that, in certain circumstances and time stage longbows and crossbows were capable of piercing armour plate, providing they had an appropriate arrowhead and managed a direct hit; this is why breastplate central quills were implemented in the XVI century, to deflect the arrow impact, so as flutes in other susceptible armour parts.
I guess you would also have to ponder on the steel thickness and its temper; early plate 16 to 18 gauge (1.6 - 1.3 m/m) soft iron used in field armour was not properly the 5 m/m thick plate apparatus used by Ned Kelly in 1880.
On the other hand, i fail to see the similarity between the need for a stopper in a hunting sword and this tulwar hilted estoc, or other of the kind. A man with his chest armour punctured doesn't have the strength to run through the blade like a wounded boar; but i might be wrong, though.



.

Last edited by fernando : 26th June 2018 at 01:56 PM.
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Old 26th June 2018, 02:08 PM   #19
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Ok just to be more clear
I also think that this weapon was for the Maratha...
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Old 26th June 2018, 02:31 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fernando
Roland, i confess i could not sustain this discussion in skilled terms but i believe that, in certain circumstances and time stage longbows and crossbows were capable of piercing armour plate, providing they had an appropriate arrowhead and managed a direct hit; this is why breastplate central quills were implemented in the XVI century, to deflect the arrow impact, so as flutes in other susceptible armour parts.
I guess you would also have to ponder on the steel thickness and its temper; early plate 16 to 18 gauge (1.6 - 1.3 m/m) soft iron used in field armour was not properly the 5 m/m thick plate apparatus used by Ned Kelly in 1880.
On the other hand, i fail to see the similarity between the need for a stopper in a hunting sword and this tulwar hilted estoc, or other of the kind. A man with his chest armour punctured doesn't have the strength to run through the blade like a wounded boar; but i might be wrong, though.

.


Hi Fernando,

I only claimed that a crossbow is too weak to penetrate plate armor efficiently, because i saw that on Youtube a few weeks ago:

350 lb only dents: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XMT6hjwY8NQ
1200 lb a little bit of a puncture but the bolt wont stuck in: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Byc887HmUdc

The bolt is too slow with ~200fps for more effectiveness.

Plate armor for the battlefield was between 1.5 and 3mm thick and hardened.

As far as i know long bows are unable to deeply penetrate every kind of armor exept the weakest ones.

I have read in another comment that this Tulwar could be a hunting sword and this was just my poorly placed answer to that.


Best wishes,
Roland
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Old 26th June 2018, 03:14 PM   #21
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Roland, i was following considerations from allegedly knowledge people, based more on historical records than on current tests, whatever difference that makes. However plate as thick as 3 m/m would have been used for jousting & tournament armour. But then again, i couldn't resist a skilled confrontation with my jazz talk ... and surely your approaches are not poorer than mine .
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Old 26th June 2018, 05:06 PM   #22
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I’m not sure estocs were designed to penetrate plate armour but they look like they could be used to stab any vulnerable gaps in the armour. Estocs were more likely designed specifically to penetrate chain mail. The sharp narrow tip would enter a chink in the mail and then the momentum from the charging rider would force the tapering blade through the ring and expand this until it burst and enabling the blade to penetrate deeper. I believe sometimes the estoc would be held against the side when charging, in which case it would be used a bit like a lance. The tulwar above looks like that although the tip doesn’t look very sharp.

Estocs were used well into the 18thC in E.Europe because the Ottomans continued to use chainmail until quite late, probably because they and the Persians continued to use bow and arrow. Chainmail protects against arrows but not bullets I believe. So the Hungarian and Polish hussars would carry an estoc strapped to the side of the saddle in addition to their sabre personal side arm, as Jim showed above (and see attached picture).

I also attach two pictures from the Imperial Armoury in Vienna. The first shows a knight in armour with what appears to be a huge estoc (?) two-hand sword strapped to the saddle under the leg. The other picture shows some interesting Turkish estocs, as worn by Sipahis, with what appears to be characteristic hilts. A description at the museum explicitly mentions that these swords were designed to penetrate chinks in chainmail.
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Last edited by fernando : 26th June 2018 at 05:57 PM. Reason: Pictures adjustment
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Old 26th June 2018, 05:10 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fernando
Roland, i was following considerations from allegedly knowledge people, based more on historical records than on current tests, whatever difference that makes. However plate as thick as 3 m/m would have been used for jousting & tournament armour. But then again, i couldn't resist a skilled confrontation with my jazz talk ... and surely your approaches are not poorer than mine .



Hi Fernando,

i was looking for old sources and i found one but in German language only (http://www.larpwiki.de/Panzerbrechend). On a modern reproduction plate armor a crossbow with 500 pounds left a dent of 2cm. In medieval this armor would have not reached the mimimum requirement of a medieval plate armor guild. This plate was 2mm thick and unhardened.

Here is a interesting study in English: Peter N. Jones: "The Metallography and Relative Effectiveness of Arrowheads and Armor During the Middle Ages." in "Materials Characterization".

Bow and crossbow against chainmail armor are good to very effective but almost useless against plate armor.


Roland
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Old 26th June 2018, 05:42 PM   #24
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In the Punjab, this would be called a Khirch. Having practised Indian Swordfighting most of my life I can tell you that the bit close to the hilt is most likely used for blocking, a lot like how the Rajputs block, using the flick of the wrist to turn the other’s blade. It is also wrong to call this a tulwar because it’s “vaars”, or strikes, are very different from a tulwar’s.
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Old 26th June 2018, 06:10 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NavdeepBal
In the Punjab, this would be called a Khirch. Having practised Indian Swordfighting most of my life I can tell you that the bit close to the hilt is most likely used for blocking, a lot like how the Rajputs block, using the flick of the wrist to turn the other’s blade. It is also wrong to call this a tulwar because it’s “vaars”, or strikes, are very different from a tulwar’s.

So it would be a Sikh weapon, said (quoting) to be made up of thin, sharp iron rod with a handle at one end, very dangerous. It is used to pierce in the human body...
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Old 26th June 2018, 08:37 PM   #26
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Fernando, I dont remember it to be sharp, the one I saw in Istanbul. Also I think it is of Europeand origin.
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Old 26th June 2018, 09:59 PM   #27
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Roland,

French armored knights at Cressy and Agincourt would glumly disagree with your opinion.....:-)
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Old 26th June 2018, 10:43 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ariel
Roland,

French armored knights at Cressy and Agincourt would glumly disagree with your opinion.....:-)


From what I understand based on modern research the casualties that were a direct result of the longbow in both these battles have been highly exaggerated and somewhat of a myth. The French cavalry could not perform proper charges in these battles, mostly having to do with poor terrain and poor discipline/execution. However, it sounds a lot more heroic and romantic to credit the English longbowmen for the victory, as opposed to ascribe it to a muddy field.

The battle of Hattin and some of the Mongol campaigns provide better examples of battles where the bow and arrow played a more significant role, however in those instances the arrows were being shot at mail and not plate armor. Even lamellar armor, assuming it was made of steel/iron plates, has been proven to effectively stop composite bow arrows at short range, let alone long range.
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Old 27th June 2018, 02:50 AM   #29
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It may have been the knights’ horses which were more vulnerable to arrows. When Richard Lionheart marched along the coast in the Holy Land the knights would make sure they had the Mediterranean Sea on one side and cover by infantry on the other side. Instead of shooting the knights’ horses with their arrows, the native archers would shoot the footsoldiers who acted as a human shield. The footsoldiers wore padded clothing underneath their chainmail hauberks, and were soon trotting along looking like porcupines due to the many arrows attached to their protective clothing. This suggests that chainmail protects against arrows fired by composite bows at least, which is why the users wore them.
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Old 27th June 2018, 06:32 AM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ariel
Roland,

French armored knights at Cressy and Agincourt would glumly disagree with your opinion.....:-)



Ariel,

it is exactly as TVV explained: "However, it sounds a lot more heroic and romantic to credit the English longbowmen for the victory, as opposed to ascribe it to a muddy field."

If we calculate a little bit, we have ~5000 english longbowmen, which were able to shoot 10-12 arrows per minute in fast firing mode. This makes 50000-60000 arrows per minute. A kind of hailstorm of arrows. And it is simply probable, that some of these arrows hit parts of the armor, which are not perfectly protected and especially the horses. As TVV said, without the deep mud and with much more dicipline, the english army would have been destroyed within half an hour.

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