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Thread: Langes Messer

  1. #1
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    Default Langes Messer

    Got a new toy.

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    This is the Gottfried Langesmesser from Landsknecht Emporium. I havenít had much time to practice with it yet but so far I like it. The point of balance is just over 4 inches from the hilt, and the light, narrow blade makes it quite nimble. Itís a very different feel from the katana I am most used to...they have thick blades and usually no distal taper, making them quite blade heavy...they are good in the cut but have relatively ponderous handling.

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    The scabbard is nice, wood covered with rustic looking leather. The belt is flimsy and nothing to write home about, but itís functional. It is not as easy or quick to draw as the katana.

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    Messer is German for knife...langesmesser means long knife. It is definitely that! The major difference from a sword (specifically the Falchion, which have the same blade styles) is the hilt construction. Swords tend to have a rat tail hilt ending in a pommel, messers have a full tang with slab sided hilts like most knives. (I am simplyfying but thatís the major difference.). For those interested you can check out a good description of sword typologies here, and a diagram of single edge blade typology for the messer/falchion here.

    Itís intended to be a one handed sword, but the hilt is just long enough to get my two hands on it.

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    The messer has an interesting guard construction. Unlike most swords, the quillions slide down from the tip of the blade, and are fixed in place by the nagel (nail) that is peened in place through the blade. The nagel also acts as an additional guard for the hand. Iím holding in my left since I canít take left handed pics, but the nagel is there to protect the sword hand, and is peened flat on the left side for more comfortable carry.
    Brent Yamamoto
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  2. #2
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    The blade is 26 3/4”. The reverse edge is sharp for the last 12”.
    And it is SHARP. Much sharper than any production sword I have ever handled. This thing slices paper very cleanly.
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    Compared to a modern Paul Chen katana and an mid 1800s British sabre. I think it’s a interesting comparison...three single edge blades (though two with partially sharp reverse edges), each intended as cut and thrust blades, each used in the context both of war and civilian (ish) self-protection. The katana is the longest overall but has a relatively short, heavy and stiff blade, very forgiving in the cut. The saber with the longest blade and shortest handle, easily the most nimble both with the cut and thrust, though perhaps weaker in the cut than either the katana or messer. The messer I expect will perform somewhere between the two. The straight blade is a bit easier for thrusting but is not nearly as stiff as the other two and I would expect some flexing depending on the target. I expect it will slice very well with its thin and smooth blade profile, but again expect some flex depending on the target and so probably a bit weaker in the cut as compared to the katana. I find the differences and similarities in design, construction, and tactics/intent of use to be fascinating, but I am kind of a nerd for those things. Ultimately the important thing is to get out and use the damn things. I have many martial arts discussions that usually end up with me summarizing with “shut up and sweat!”...meaning just get out there and train and hit stuff. For these I would say shit up and cut!
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    Very difficult to see the base of the blades clearly in this pic. The katana at right has a relatively thick blade, with no distal taper (it’s as thick at the end as at the base), making it stiff, blade heavy and thus has a very authoritative feel when cutting (at the expense of slower handling).

    The messer in the middle has the thinnest base and thinnest blade overall. It has some distal taper but is harder to see. If you tap the sword, the whole thing vibrates and I have not yet figured out its center of percussion (COP, the spot where the blade vibrates least and is the strongest point for connecting on the cut).

    The sabre on the right has the thickest base by far, and the most obvious distal taper. It has an obvious COP, where the fuller ends, and IMO is the best designed of the three. All weapon designs are compromises to one degree or other. Something optimized for the cut will not be optimized for the thrust and vice versa. A heavy, robust blade will not be as nimble as a light one, for good or ill. And size always matters, though bigger/longer is not an asset depending on context. IMO the pinnacle of sword development was the Victorian period sabre...a compromise between cut and thrust, a balance of robust sword design while retaining enough agility for a duel, equally suited to the battlefield of its time as well as self protection for the gentleman warrior.

    I think the messer was something of a proto sabre, a simpler design from an older age. Not as fancy as knightly swords of the period but reasonable enough to be carried by the common man. You could say it was the Glock of its age.
    Brent Yamamoto
    Suarez International Tier 1 Staff Instructor

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  3. #3
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    And after all those words... I could summarize by simply saying it’s a big f***ing Bowie knife.

    Crocodile Dundee is envious.
    Brent Yamamoto
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  4. #4
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    That is a true work of art.

    Beautiful!

    John
    "Play stupid games, win stupid prizes" Alan Temby
    "Give a man a mask and he will tell you the truth"- Oscar Wilde.

  5. #5
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    Very cool. This past winter I decided to learn about swords and such. After learning a bunch I concluded that I liked the messer the most. It also erased all the katana mystique too lol.
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  6. #6
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    That thing is awesome.
    ===========================
    Quantum materiae materietur marmota monax si marmota monax materiam possit materiari?

  7. #7
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    Michael "Tinker" Pearce is out your way and both makes very good swards and has written books (The Medieval Sword in the Modern World) them. He is a great guy and discusses COP center of percussion and other factors.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dorkface View Post
    Very cool. This past winter I decided to learn about swords and such. After learning a bunch I concluded that I liked the messer the most. It also erased all the katana mystique too lol.
    Swords are like cars, some are better at certain things...and often the more one performance trait is emphasized, the more other traits suffer.

    Katana are cool but it is just another sword. It’s not even the best cutter IMO. The cool thing about the katana is that it’s forgiving to the beginning swordsman. Its characteristics make it easier to align the edge than a lot of swords.
    Brent Yamamoto
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brent Yamamoto View Post
    Swords are like cars, some are better at certain things...and often the more one performance trait is emphasized, the more other traits suffer.

    Katana are cool but it is just another sword. It’s not even the best cutter IMO. The cool thing about the katana is that it’s forgiving to the beginning swordsman. Its characteristics make it easier to align the edge than a lot of swords.
    Agreed. Its a single edge blade benefit.
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  10. #10
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    I'm surprised to hear you say the Katana is not the best cutting sword.

    As the the Messer, awesome! I bought a Cold Steel Gross Messer and I'm pretty disappointed in it. It's not sharp, very heavy(I'm not weak), and the hilt rattles. After playing with it, I'm of the opinion (not worth much really) that a sword needs to be nimble enough to be used one handed. Mine isn't IMO.

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