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Lance – Facts and Information


A lance could break due to high force when a lance and a horseman collide.

Lance is a medieval pole weapon or spear specially made to be used by mounted combatant. The lance facilitated the knight to take advantage of his position on horseback, keeping his distance from his enemy while striking a lethal blow.

The Medieval lance was made of wood with a metal tips attached to the end. The medieval lance was 9 to 14 feet long. Lances have more might than swords and a higher hit than battle axes. The lance is used entirely by cavalry.

Types of Lance

There are generally two types of lance; heavy and light. The heavy type of lance is usually between 10 to 12 feet long with 1.5 to 2.0 inches in diameter. The main purpose of heavy lance is to unhorse a rider in a single combat such as jousting.

The light type of lance ranges from 6 to 10 feet long with 1 to 1.5 inches in diameter. It is technically used as a spear and may be used as a projectile from horse back.

Lance History

Historically, The Sarmatian and Parthian were said to have used lance.  Also, long thrusting spear gained popularity among the Hellenistic armies’ agema and line cavalry. Contus, a long thrusting spear, was typically 3 to 4 m long. It was usually grasped with both hands. It was carried by equites contariorum and equites catafractarii, fully armed and armored cataphracts.

The Byzantine troops used lances both over arm and underarm. In jousting tournaments lance usually were designed to be less violent. Lance also used by the British troops during the Second Boer War.

However, decline in lance use were recorded because of its unsuccessful result in The Crimean War.  At the outbreak of World War I, British, French, Russian, Belgian, Turkish, Italian and German armies used lance.  But contrary to the popular belief, it was not carried in the World War 2. United States Cavalry and Canadian North-West Mounted Police used a fine lance as a flagstaff.

Lance Training

Various methods of training were performed in order to achieve the skills in using the lance effectively. The quintain was used for in the lance training. This idea of using quintain was borrowed from the Romans.

Another type of lance practice was called running at the ring. The motive of this training is to enhance the accuracy in striking the target. This consisted of attempting to spear a small target, such as a ring or while riding at a fast gallop.

Medieval Weapons - Facts and Information

Lance is one of the type of weapons that was used by feudal armies during the Middle Ages. All men in The Middle Ages were expected to know how to fight. They were expected to be readily available when called to fight for the king. Their lives were organized and structured to have military training incorporated in their daily lives.

Expertise in the use of medieval weapon such as Lance and understanding the strategy of Middle Age warfare was crucial and played an important part in Medieval Life. Lance training include practicing new moves, accuracy, defending, and managing battles including close contact fights using Lance .

More Medieval Weapons

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