A weapon much used by the early northern nations, Celtic and Scandinavian, requiring great strength in its use. Some were held with one hand, some with two. The one-handed battleaxe could be wielded equally on horse and foot, but the two-handed was for foot soldiers only. The battleaxe has a long handle and a broader, stronger, and sharper blade than the common axe.
During the Middle Ages and somewhat earlier, it was used to prevent the escalading of a besieged fortress. The poleaxe differed but little from the battleaxe.
Related term(s): Besiege; Fortress; Poleaxe; Brown Bill; Black Bill; Bill
Source information: Wilhelm, Thomas. A Military Dictionary and Gazetteer. Philadelphia: L.R. Hamersly & Co., 1881. 52.
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