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On the German Wikipedia page about warhammers it says their weight reached from 3 to 14 Kg! Having done some really heavy sports in my past, I was truly surprised by this last number! I searched extensively. First of all I found one more reference to the same number on Mittelalter Wikia. There they claim the so called Luzerner Hämmer (hammers of Lucern) had a long haft and weighed 14 Kg.

I also tried some more general searches. The Bec de Corbin reproduction here weighs 3.75 lbs. This article about pole axes lists examples up to 7 pounds 11 ounces (which is just below 3.5Kg). This reproduction weighs just 2 pounds 4 ounces.

  • As I understood, hammer-like weapons were mostly decorative, except the simpler (lighter and easier to wield) clubs (as side weapons, for use after you lose your pointy stick aka spear). You don't get far on a battlefield with a bulky hammer when your opponent can hack, bash, or pierce you three times before you're able to swing. Plus, you can't really parry with a bulky hammer. – Denis de Bernardy Jan 22 '18 at 6:49
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    @DenisdeBernardy Warhammers were mostly used in late middle ages. Armors became so resistant that sword and axes were far less effective than before. So indeed a knight with a warhammer was likely to be far more effective against others knights. – xrorox Jan 22 '18 at 12:41
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    @DenisdeBernardy My last comment was speaking of nobles. Medieval levies, typically did not employ swords. Swords were expensive, and you need more training. So they commonly used, axes, clubs, maces, ect ... – xrorox Jan 22 '18 at 12:51
  • @xrorox: That was kind of my point exactly. Normal infantry would use trustworthy clubs. Also an actual war hammer looks more like a spiked club than the huge mauls they depict in fantasy RPGs. Another thing with swords was that they'd sometimes shatter due to imperfections, and you'd never know if yours would stay intact in battle until it might be too late. Hence, better use the tried and tested family sword. – Denis de Bernardy Jan 22 '18 at 13:17
  • @DenisdeBernardy that’s my intuition as well. But lighter bludgeoning weapons are not that rare in paintings. I recall both Janissaries with maces in battle, as well as nobility with Bec de Corbin like equipment outside battle. I hope to get some kind of estimate on where the regime of fantasy/representation/impracticality begins. – Ludi Jan 22 '18 at 13:38
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The Highland Games Hammer Throw event for men uses either a 16 or 22 lb (7.2 or 10 kg) metal ball at the end of a 4 foot shaft, and is thrown with the feet in a fixed position (unlike the better known Olympic Hammer Throw, where the thrower can spin). This event is the direct predecessor for the Olympic Hammer Throw and seems likely to have evolved from the Medieval weapon of the same name.

It seems unlikely to me that a hammer significantly heavier than the 10 kg hammer used in the heavyweight version of this event was ever more than a decorative or experimental weapon.

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The 14 kg version probably was polearm length, had a solid metal long handle making up most of its weight to retain usable balance.

Probably meant to be swung against a mounted opponent or against the poor steeds legs.

Probably used in organized combat, wouldnt be too useful once the lines broke down. Probably get dropped or perhaps heaved out into enemy territory at that point in favor of a smaller weapon!!

Some of the information contained in this post requires additional references. Please edit to add citations to reliable sources that support the assertions made here. Unsourced material may be disputed or deleted.

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    You don't seem all that certain of the facts... – Steve Bird Jun 7 at 4:58

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