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Old 10th June 2021, 07:58 PM   #1
Norman McCormick
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Default 18thC Spontoons

Hi,
A couple of 18thC spontoons or I should say a spontoon and a halberd minus the axe type head although according to https://collections.royalarmouries.o...ect-33648.html a sergeants halberd minus the head is classed as a spontoon. The 'halberd' spontoon is 7ft 5 1/2 inches and the regular spontoon is 7ft 4 1/2 inches. You can see the slot where the head would have been and secured with a screw fitting on the spear head. The one that is a dedicated spontoon has a more substantial and robust socket as you can see from the photographs. These tend not to be that thick on the ground and many seem to have had bits lopped off the shaft for various reasons so I was quite glad to obtain these two intact albeit minus the axe head.
The removable spear point has Roman numerals filed into the edge I would think to match an axe head stored or carried separately. I have attached a picture of a P1796 L.C. sabre which has the blade and scabbard filed similarly to aid matching of components.
Regards,
Norman.
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Old 11th June 2021, 12:11 PM   #2
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Hi,
Some illustrations regarding defence against a half pike, halberd, spontoon etc.,
The sword used appears to be a small sword of some description.
Regards,
Norman.
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Old 11th June 2021, 12:18 PM   #3
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Hi,
An account of a spontoon being used in action albeit a later type with the crossbar. https://collections.royalarmouries.o...ative-591.html

Regards,
Norman.
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Old 12th June 2021, 03:33 AM   #4
M ELEY
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Angry

Thank you for posting these, Norman! You are a lucky guy to have uch great examples! I've wanted to add a spontoon to my own collection, but sticking with the pirate/nautical theme, I couldn't do it- As far as the etched numerals, can we assume these are rack numbers? Troop numbers? I think these pole weapons would be quite effective if brought into a combat situation! I know sergeants used them for troop maneuvers and sign of rank, but isn't it tru that they were also common among camp 'guards' and sentries?
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Old 12th June 2021, 02:24 PM   #5
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Hi Mark,
I have not come across any references to camp guards using spontoons/pikes but I see no reason so suppose that they weren't used it that situation. As far as naval connections are concerned I came across this thread http://www.swordforum.com/vb4/showth...ants-1792-1830 where Glen mentioned spontoons being used by Royal Marines although the kind he references are a later type utilising a cross guard.

Glen if you are about could you elaborate on the sources for spontoons used by the Royal Marines.

My Regards,
Norman.

P.S. Here's an interesting article on spontoons/halberds etc. https://warfarehistorynetwork.com/20...and-spontoons/

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Old 12th June 2021, 09:15 PM   #6
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As far as the etched numerals, can we assume these are rack numbers? Troop numbers?

Those were assembly marks, or "Reassembly identifying marks" (RIMs), and were common on products that included hand fitted components - such as firearms, locks, etc.
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Old 13th June 2021, 06:24 AM   #7
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I agree that in the standard sense, the spontoon was a regimental symbol and not used in combat, but there are always exceptions when it comes to pole-arms. I believe the Swiss Guard still incorporate a spontoon, but again, I understand strictly for pageantry. Below, however, is a clear indication that they could be effectively used as a weapon-


"Although ornamental, spontoons nonetheless were deadly weapons. Numerous accounts mention their use at the Battle of Culloden in 1745. Captain Lord Robert Kerr of Barrell’s Regiment (4th Foot) speared a charging highlander with his spontoon before he was cut down and slain moments later."

"Lewis and Clark may have been the last American military officers to get any real use out of the spontoon. Watchmen and policemen in some cities carried smaller versions of spontoons until about 1860, but by the time of the War of 1812, they had essentially disappeared from military life."

Here's the article with some great reference information-

https://warfarehistorynetwork.com/20...and-spontoons/
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Old 16th June 2021, 02:50 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M ELEY View Post
Below, however, is a clear indication that they could be effectively used as a weapon-
"Although ornamental, spontoons nonetheless were deadly weapons. Numerous accounts mention their use at the Battle of Culloden in 1745. Captain Lord Robert Kerr of Barrell’s Regiment (4th Foot) speared a charging highlander with his spontoon before he was cut down and slain moments later."
Hi Mark,
I can verify that these two spontoons have sharp and useable points particularly the one made solely as a spontoon. As you can see the socket on that one is pretty substantial as are the shafts which are both 1 1/3 inches in diameter.
My Regards,
Norman.
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Old 18th June 2021, 02:55 AM   #9
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Hi Mark,
I can verify that these two spontoons have sharp and useable points particularly the one made solely as a spontoon. As you can see the socket on that one is pretty substantial as are the shafts which are both 1 1/3 inches in diameter.
My Regards,
Norman.
I'm sure they do, Norman, and I wouldn't want to be on the receiving end of either of them!
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Old 18th June 2021, 02:57 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by adrian View Post
As far as the etched numerals, can we assume these are rack numbers? Troop numbers?

Those were assembly marks, or "Reassembly identifying marks" (RIMs), and were common on products that included hand fitted components - such as firearms, locks, etc.
Forgot to thank you for this information, Adrian. That makes sense that they would be 'parts' numbers. I guess I'm always looking for 'rack numbers' being I collect maritime items and such markings could often be where an item was stored/located on the ship.
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