The Bigger the Sword the Bigger the Damage!

Here we will compare large swords that are found in Europe and the largest ones ever to be used on the battlefield. Throughout history, there are many weird swords that were found and some of them are enormous and one question would pop in mind, were they used by giants? Sadly no, but these swords were used in ceremonies. A huge 2-meter axe was found in the Minoan civilization for ceremonial purposes. Various swords have been found to be up to 2 meters for ceremonial use, such as the Japanese sword displayed in the thumbnail image. But there are rare cases where people wanted to use over 2-meter swords and if they did how effective were they?

In the middle and late medieval period the claymore was the largest sword, it was around 5 feet 150 cm. The Scottish rebellion had an interesting view regarding this sword, it was really long. Hitting with the sword in slow motion the sword moved (wiggled), it was made to be flexible, this was very useful because the weight was reduced but sometimes the sword could bend from the pressure and this sword wasn’t much intended for advanced armor. So with time a new more advanced sword was invented and here came Zweihänder.

What is Zweihänder?

This sword has German origin and it was developed around the early XVI century. This was very late medieval period and the battlefield style developed a lot. It is a two-handed sword that took some strength and some skill to master.

The interesting fact here is that this sword is one of the final developments of strength, starting from this period things started to turn around to a more technological advancement and strength was left aside. As you can see from the images there are two types of this sword. The swords length is around 6 feet or 180 cm at the maximum and it has a very basic guard. Parierhaken is the piece that is added to each side of the blade for advance damage, guard and hold specifications.

Use in History

Through history, this sword has seen some battles and was specialized with some units. It was very used with the German and Swiss mercenaries known as Landsknecht. This was a band of famous mercenaries that roamed Europe and had quite a reputation.

The sword was so big that it had to be carried in your hand unto your soldier because of its unbalanced weight and height. As for the weight, it was around 2 kg or 4 pounds at average.

Used in battle tactics this sword was very useful against pikemen and polearm users. This sword could be swung to break the enemies long weapons and engage when needed. It was very good because it was safe to engage a formation of pikes when they didn’t have pikes because you broke them all with your big ass sword.

A hit with this sword could drop a horse with a knight on it from a safe distance and could cause damage to armored units. But is this the biggest sword in history? Even though I talked a lot about this sword sadly it isn’t the largest sword to be used in a battlefield.

What Was the Largest Sword?

We must go far east at around 16th century Asia. At the period of the Ming dynasty, there were a lot of interesting pirates. The pirates roamed the easy side of China and were unique. They wielded some serious swords that were around 2 meters in length. There is an exact writing of the source how they say that the swords were 2 meters and with a single blow could cut a human in half. These swords were advanced Ōdachi swords and very really large in size.

These swords were seriously big and the problem was that they didn’t use every part of the sword and here came a slight problem. Other lighter and more useful weapons were invented such as the pole axe, etc.


Oakeshott, Ewart (November 2000). European Weapons and Armour: From the Renaissance to the Industrial Revolution

Mol, Serge (2003). Classical Weaponry of Japan: Special Weapons and Tactics of the Martial Arts