Friday, 20 December 2013

Military History Photo Friday: A Combination German Halberd Pistol

On my recent trip to Vienna I got to see some great museums. One of my favorites was the collection of Hapsburg arms and armor at the Neue Berg. I'm working on an article about this place, which has one of the greatest collections of medieval arms and armor anywhere.

Here's one interesting item: a combination halberd and double-barreled rifle made in Germany c.1580. You can see it at the top of a case of other early firearms.
Here's a closeup. As you can see it has two wheellocks, firing mechanisms that are wound up and then released by the pull of a trigger. Given the ornamentation on the halberd, I'm thinking this was intended more for show as a curio than as an actual weapon. A lot of these combination weapons have survived from the Middle Ages and Renaissance but I've never read an account of one actually being used. They all tend to be similarly ornamental, which may explain why so many have survived.

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