This February, there are five Weapon titles vying for your vote! Have a read of the descriptions and have your say!
Weapons of the Medieval Knight
Whether fighting on horseback or on foot, the medieval man-at-arms employed a wide variety of formidable close-combat weaponry, from axes, hammers and maces to swords, daggers and lances. His choice of weapons was informed not only by the circumstances of battle, but also by the traditions of his homeland and his personal preferences. This study assesses the origins, effectiveness and legacy of a host of close-quarter weapons used by such troops in the context of medieval warfare, from pitched battles to siege operations.
Weapons of the Ninja
Separating the legends from the reality, this study investigates the weapons and equipment traditionally associated with the ninja, Japan’s secret agents and undercover warriors. A wide variety of objects, ranging from samurai edged weapons to agricultural tools, could be adopted, adapted and employed by the ninja, while specialized weapons such as blow pipes and throwing weapons were developed for their use. Also assessed are other elements of equipment used by the ninja, such as caltrops, torches, bombs and booby traps.
Early Military Rifles
During the 18th century both Austria and Prussia fielded light troops armed with rifled firearms, while conflicts in North America involved the deadly long rifle and the innovative Ferguson breech-loader. These highly accurate weapons were slow to load, meaning that the majority of the infantry retained the smoothbore flintlock musket. Rifle-armed specialists fought for several nations during the Napoleonic Wars, but it was the decades after 1815 that saw the appearance of successful rifled percussion firearms and the Minié ball, paving the way for the widespread issue of rifled weapons.
Weapons of the Civil War Cavalryman
During the American Civil War, the mounted soldiers fighting on both sides carried a wide array of weapons, from sabres and lances to carbines, revolvers and other firearms. The sheer variety of weaponry carried reflected the mounted soldiers’ various roles in different theatres of operation, but also the availability – or otherwise – of weapons, notably on the Confederate side. This study assesses the effectiveness of the various weapons equipping the Civil War cavalryman and the consequent decisions made concerning the armament of the US cavalry after 1865.
Sniping Rifles of World War I
In August 1914, only Germany fielded snipers equipped with scoped rifles, but as the initial clashes gave way to trench warfare other combatants – notably Britain and France, later joined by the United States – also employed sharpshooters on the battlefield. German and Austrian snipers were also active on other fronts, as were Italian snipers in the Alps. This study investigates the firearms adapted for sniping by the various combatants, along with the scopes and other accessories employed by snipers during World War I, and the evolution of sniping doctrine and practice.