Halbe Stangen (Quarterstaff, lit. half staff):
The staff is a classical weapon of antiquity and has been shown in competitive contexts as far back as ancient Egypt. The staff of Meyer covers a broad syllabus for fighting with a staff of around 6 to 8 feet in length. Use of the staff naturally leads to other pole weapons and indeed all long weapons (perhaps including the two handed swords famed for the mercenary soldiers of the period), and provides valuable training in balance and control that more dangerous polearms require.
In terms of effectiveness, it is worth noting that there were more civilian deaths from fights involving the staff than any other weapon in Medieval England (for example), and so the efficacy of the staff should not be taken lightly.
Helleparte/Lange Spieß (Halberd/Long Pike)
Standard military weapons for civil militias, guard, and battlefield of troops in the 16th century was the halberd and pike. Both were used broadly across Europe and found favour in many armies and mercenary units. The halberd differs somewhat from the earlier pollaxe in that it is intended for use in grouped formations and for civil defence and control.
Meyer’s instructions on these weapons are brief, and clearly intended for purposes of civil defence in times of attack.
This mid 16th century image shows pikemen (off to the right), halberdiers, and soldiers carrying two handed swords; a typical combination in artwork from the period.
Detail of a 16th century German halberd head is shown below.
Zweihander (Two Handed Sword)
There are no extant descriptions for using this weapon based on Meyer, however he does say that the staff is the basis of all long weapons. Between the cut-centric longsword syllabus, and the instructions for using the staff and halberd, we can reconstruct a plausible means of using the zweihander as a combination of the two.
- Oberhut (High/over guard)
- Mittelhut (Middle guard/straight parrying/field)
- Unterhut (Low/under guard)
- Steurhut (Tiller/Rudder guard)
- Nebenhut (Near guard)
- Vom tag (From the day/roof)