The weapon of choice for English foot soldiers, the bill was a sort of cross between a spear and a halberd. It was used for defense against cavalry, consisting of a broad, hook-shaped blade, as well as a short pike at the back and another at the summit, and it was attached to a long haft. The bill could be used effectively to hook a mounted man off of his horse or to outreach a swordsman, yet it was maneuverable enough to cut a way into a pike block. The bill was extensively used by English foot soldiers until almost the end of the 16th century.
Related term(s): Spear; Halberd; Haft; Infantry; Glaive; War Scythe
Last modified: 10.07.05
Contributor(s): Alan Chanter
Source information: Wilhelm, Thomas. A Military Dictionary and Gazetteer. Philadelphia: L.R. Hamersly & Co., 1881. 60.