(click for larger picture)
Contemporary woodcut illustrating the Kriegsmesser in use around
1500 AD

The Knecht (Mark II)
Limited Edition German War Sword

The great combat knife has had a long tradition in Europe. Beginning in the Seax and single-edged Germanic swords of the Iron Age, a weapon with a big cutting blade mounted as a knife was celebrating a popularity as a functional and no-nonsense sidearm of warriors and civilians alike through the ages.

In German speaking areas, the Falchion did not reach the same popularity as elsewhere in Eruope. Instead the big war-knife saw a development of its own.

These come in many forms and sizes, some more intended for stabbing, others for cutting and yet other types that combined cutting and thrusting capability. We know them today by different names: Rugger (a long, stiff and pointy variant, primarily meant for stabbing), Hauswher (peasant knife; an intimidating weapon of defence), Grossemesser /Messer (litterally: big knife/knife, a single handed weapon with a wide cutting blade with the dimensions os a short sword, popular among commoners, nobles, civilians and soldiers alike) and Kriegsmesser (war-knife of hand-and-a-half or even two-hand size. A weapon for the professional soldier that also saw use among civilians).

The Knecht is inspired by the great warknives of the late 15th and early 16th C. These were wielded by professional soldiers, but saw also popularity among civilian when they needed to carry a more awe-inspiring sidearm. We often see these weapons in art and fencing manuals from areas of German influence.

It is by first glance a somewhat crude and brutal looking weapon. There is more here than meets the eye, however.

The blade is certainly brutally efficient in cutting, but the simple design has also a subtlety that is easily overlooked. The dynamic balance and heft of the weapon arrives almost exclusively from the distribution of mass in the blade and tang, resutling in a surprising quick handling characteristics.

The cross section is a lean and slim triangle allowing a stiff spine and an acute angle of the main bevel. Such a blade is very effective in the cut. Along two thirds of the blade there is a narrow but deep fuller that removes dead weight while allowing a good stiffness from the thick spine. The outer third of the blade is thin and crisp resulting in a blade that is surprisingly responsive and quick in the recovery.

We can see from presentations in art that the Kreigsmesser was put to use in much the same advanced fighting techniques as was the longsword. These techniques were in no way crude or simple: the moves described require quick and expertly balanced weapons of offence and defence.

The hilt of the Knecht is constructed with two grip-slabs that are secured with tubular rivets. The pommel cap shows a ”fuller” or hollow-grind that continues the length of the grip to the guard. Secured by a rivet through the guard is a lug on the outside of the hilt that protects the knuckles of the hand. This is an important feature as the blade is used in binding and winding techniques that otherwise easily might result in damage of the forward hand.

The hilt components are investment cast in mild steel from original waxes carved by Peter Johnsson, based on Peter's first-hand examination and documentation of period originals of this type.

The blade is made from a highly defined blade blank hand-ground from high-carbon steel to a fine satin finish, heat-treated by hand for maximum flexibility and to take a fine edge. These swords are sold sharp, unless otherwise requested by the customer.

This model, the Knecht Mark II, represents a redesign by Peter Johnsson. The original Knecht model had a smaller lug and an exposed tang. To make the sword more visually appealing and easier to construct, the new Mark II model has a larger, flared lug and an enclosed tang.

A Limited Edition Hand Crafted Collectible Sword
This sword is offered in a limited edition of only 100 collectible swords worldwide.

The Knecht is available in either right or left-hand versions. Please be sure to specify when ordering.

Overall length: 44.5" (113 cm)
Blade length: 33.5" (85 cm)
Blade width at base: 1.75" (4.45 cm)
CoG: 4.5" (11.4 cm)
CoP: 21.375" (54.3 cm)
Weight: 3 lbs .5 oz (1.38 kg)

The Knecht Mark II (Kriegsmesser)... $1,760 SOLD OUT
now before this limited edition collectible sword runs out!

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Sword design/specifications ©2003/2007 Peter Johnsson.
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