Zweihander sword use in history


Hello friends,

Sometimes I end up in arguments about the zweihander and other huge swords, and whether they were used or were merely ceremonial. It seems obvious to me that they were used.

If anyone here knows about the historical use of the zweihander, gassenhauer, and other huge swords, such information would be appreciated. Information in English is quite limited.

More specifically:

-How large were the ones that were used
-How widespread was their use
-Any other interesting information

Thanks much! :steirer:


I have not seen much about the use but I can show you some pictures I took in Graz (Austria).
To me they all look usable, and not much decorated. Interesting are also the bare blades that where never mounted.
Have you seen videos from “london longsword academy” (you tube) about Montante, Zweihänder, greatsword use?

Graz 24-28.4.2016 1186.jpgGraz 24-28.4.2016 1185.jpgGraz 24-28.4.2016 1187.jpgGraz 24-28.4.2016 1188.jpgGraz 24-28.4.2016 1191.jpgGraz 24-28.4.2016 1195.jpgGraz 24-28.4.2016 1196.jpgGraz 24-28.4.2016 1199.jpgGraz 24-28.4.2016 1201.jpgGraz 24-28.4.2016 1203.jpgGraz 24-28.4.2016 1204.jpgGraz 24-28.4.2016 1205.jpg


Oh, an a nice one in the Blademuseum in Solingen, Most of the tips, of those big swords remind me of anime sword tips.:



Not sure if you are interessted only in Bidenhänder, meaning the really long ones, or also in others which are used with two hands? In this case I would also mention the executioner swords (Richtschwert), where the usage is documented in many cases.

See for example:

Regards Th.


Thanks for the info, everyone.

I think it's obvious that zweihander swords, the ones so big they were used almost like polearms, were used in the past exactly as described by historical sources.