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Saturday, May 10, 2008


The French estoc or English "tuck" was a variation of the longsword focused intensely on fighting against chain mail or plate armour.[1] It was long, straight and stiff, with a diamond or triangular cross-section. An estoc had no cutting edge, just a point. Examples from Poland are more than 1.57 m (62 inches) long, with a blade of 1.32 m (52 in.); however, others showed a more manageable 1.17 m (46 in.), with a 0.91 m blade (36 in.). The size seems to have been made-to-order. The blade's cross-section was nearly an equilateral triangle or square, with relatively obtuse angles (~60+ degrees). This geometry left hardly any cutting capability as a sharpened edge could simply not be ground, but allowed the weapon to become lengthy, stiff, and very acutely pointed.[2] Early on, the estoc was hung from the saddle when on horseback and simply hung from the belt when the soldier took to the ground. As the weapon developed, however, infantrymen using it began to wear it in a scabbard.[3] Most varieties of estoc provided a long grip like that of a great sword, though others mimicked the bihänder in providing a long ricasso with a secondary guard of parrierhaken. As on the two-hander, this extended grip gave the wielder the advantage of extra leverage with which to more accurately and powerfully thrust the long weapon. Some other forms provided finger rings, curved quillions, or other forms of a compound hilt.[1] Few, however, developed anything close to a full baskethilt.

As armor improved, so did the methods of attacking the armor. It was quickly realized that cutting weapons were losing their effectiveness, so crushing weapons such as maces and axes were utilized. But thrusting weapons that could split the rings of mail, or find the joints and crevices of plate, were employed. Long tapered swords could also be used as a lance once the lance was splintered. Thus was the estoc developed. Estoc is French, meaning thrust or point. Tuck is the English version of the word. Many consider the Tuck a forerunner of the Rapier, but more likely it is a merging of the civilian sword, the Espada Ropera with the effective, and lighter tuck, that produced the rapier. But the tuck was an effective weapon. The long, straight blade was very rigid and could be thrust with one hand, or the second hand could be used to grip the blade to deliver an even more powerful thrust.

While there is nothing to stop an Estoc being one-handed most were two-handed, being used half-sword or two hands on the grip.

[edit] References

  1. ^ a b Tarassuk, Leonid & Blair, Claude. The Complete Encyclopedia of Arms & Weapons. Simon and Schuster, 1982. Page 491.
  2. ^ Clements, John. Sword Forms
  3. ^ Stone, G. C. A Glossary of the Construction, Decoration, and Use of Arms and Armour. Jack Brussel, 1961. Page 223.

[edit] See also

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