Authored By Staff Writer (Updated: 4/8/2013): The halberd was characterized by the pointed top of its axe-head and seemingly decorative axe head design. They were primary pole-weapons of the Swiss armies beginning in the 14th century and measured up to 6 feet in height depending on the length of the wooden shaft. Halberds proved to be easy to produce en mass and were therefore the centerpiece of many a Swissman right down to the lowly peasants classes. Infantrymen wielding the halberd were known as "halberdiers" and the halberd itself was also known as the "halbert" or the "Swiss voulge".
In battle, halberds proved their worth as being a weapon for all occasions. Not only could they be used as chopping weapons but their pointed axe heads made them effective - albeit rudimentary - pikes against cavalry charges. The axe head, with enough force applied, could easily chop a horses head in battle let alone a man's. The backside of the axe blade could also double as a tool to bring down cavalry men by wrestling the horse to the ground. By the 16th century, the arrival of the musket brought the pike into the forefront of the combat lines and gradually decreased the use of the halberd altogether.