Interesting to note that in some ways the technology moved from large grouped individuals with short stabbing swords and shields down to the more recent larger Knightly swords which it seems to be more about the individual in armour. I remember a note somewhere about the Germans having greatsword units in armies but I don't know how successful they were against Pike.
If you want to get a little more scholarly in this examination, I'll point you towards Ewart Oakeshott's Typology of Medieval Swords.Oakeshott was (he's dead now) THE expert in Medieval sword designs, and I highly recommend that anyone with an interest in the design and use of the Medieval sword pick up his books, especially The Sword in the Age of Chivlary. He also has a book, The Archaeology of Weapons that is a more generic view of weaponry, but still excellent. I've read both, and I feel they are required reading for anyone who is serious about medieval military history and technology.
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