During the Chinese warring states, weapons knowns as dagger axes were used and there is a wide body of evidence that those were common at one time -- so so I believe. Is there any record of fighting manual or techniques using those weapons? Has any one in modern times tried to reverse engineer how units of combatants might have used them?
A possible description of the one depicted in your picture (source):
The most popular continued to be the strange dagger-axe. Dagger-axes came in various lengths from 9–18 ft and were now used as thrusting spears with a slashing blade available if needed. The Qin particularly seemed to like the Dagger-axe, creating an eighteen foot long pike version.
This forum has an excellent discussion (and has a larger version of the picture you posted). To pull out some points from that:
... Ji was a very important and versatile weapon of the time, ... combination of ge with a spear.
The rear tang on such late period bronze ge were sharpened to have a reversed stabbing blade, the blade projected down the pole ("hu") was long, even longer than the 'dagger' blade. The # of binding holes was greater than earlier period. The 'dagger' blade also inturned slightly near the tip in the fashion of a true hook.
Such a weapon could puncture and hook and slash. Similar dagger-axes were used in the West Han period for a short time, before being replaced by a very different form of 'ji' which was then used throughout the Han
There's a National geographic documentary with good visuals of how it's used in battle:
I personally consider it one of the most underrated weapons in history.
- It was very useful as a polearm in organized formation combat.
- The 'axe' part allowed it to be used in defense and parrying, but allowed for much more finesse than a heavier halberd-like blade.
- The length of the pole and piercing 'axe' gave it a lot of torque. The pointed tip allowed a lot of force to be applied to a single point, giving it a lot of penetration power. It would have done far better against chainmail than the blade of a halberd.
- Imagine a person with a spear faced against a person with a dagger-axe. The 'axe' part could have been used to deflect the point of the opponent's spear, but the point of the Ge could still be used in offense. But most polearms also follow this design.
- The shorter dagger-axes would be very versatile in one-on-one combat, as was demonstrated in the video.