Edged and bladed weapons

Bladed and edged weapons[1] are types of melee weapons used throughout history for combat, hunting and in ceremonies. Bladed weapons include swords, knives and, in more recent times, bayonets. Edged weapons are used to hack and slash but, depending on the weapon, to also thrust and stab. Not all swords, knives and bayonets have blades, but points – intended for thrusting rather than slashing. Other dedicated edged weapons include battleaxes and poleaxes.[2]

Many edged tools, especially agricultural tools such as axes and scythes, have been used as improvised weapons by peasantry, militia, or irregular forces – particularly as an expedient for defence.

Edged weapons and blades are associated with the premodern age but continue to be used in modern armies. Combat knives, machetes and bayonets are used for close combat or stealth operations and are issued as a secondary or sidearm.[3] Modern bayonets are often intended to be used in a dual role as a combat knife.[4] Improvised and dedicated edged weapons were extensively used in trench warfare of the First World War. Entrenching tools and shovels were modified to take an edge and used as weapons.[5][6]

See also


  1. An edge tool is defined as a tool with a cutting edge. A blade is the flat cutting part of a sword, knife, etc. It is also a synonym for a sword. The Macquarie Dictionary (1st ed), Macquarie Library, Sydney, 1981.
  2. Spear heads, arrow heads and some thrown weapons may have sharpened edges but are not generally considered edged weapons.
  3. Peterson, Harold L., Daggers and Fighting Knives of the Western World, Courier Dover Publications, ISBN 0-486-41743-3, ISBN 978-0-486-41743-1 (2001), p. 80: "Right at the outset trench knives were introduced by both sides during World War I, so that the common soldier was once again equipped with a knife designed primarily for combat."
  4. Brayley, Martin, Bayonets: An Illustrated History, Iola, WI: Krause Publications, ISBN 0-87349-870-4, ISBN 978-0-87349-870-8 (2004), pp. 9-10, 83-85
  5. Beith, Ian H. (Capt.), Modern Battle Tactics: Address Delivered April 9, 1917, National Service (June 1917), pp. 325, 328
  6. Ian Drury (1995). German Stormtrooper 1914–18. Osprey Publishing. p. 61. ISBN 978-1-85532-372-8.
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