Scythes as weapons

By Rob Morgan

I’ve just read an article in The Antiquaries Journal (Volume 99, September 2019, pp. 225-270) by Edward Impey of the Royal Armouries. It’s entitled “A Desperate Weapon: Re-hafted scythes at Sedgemoor in warfare and in the Tower of London.” It deals with agricultural scythes turned into simple but lethal weapons. Sedgemoor, fought in England in July 1685, was  a battle between regular troops of the Crown and rebels. Impey goes into great historical detail and examines, very soundly, the development of the single-edged scythe on a makeshift staff. It was used in medieval warfare, in countless rebellions across Europe, and as late as the mid-1800s in Poland and Russia.

If you game ‘rebellions’ you’ love this article, but….Impey mentions an American military encounter if which I’d never heard.

The “Mormon defence of Fort Linh ( present day Idaho) in 1858.”

Intriguingly, Impey says that scythes were used in that fight, and probably for the last time in American history. Can anyone enlighten me?

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1 Response to Scythes as weapons

  1. james rohrer says:

    Rob, this is interesting. This week I have been working on a scenario involving the Prussian suppression of a Polish nationalist revolt in Posen in 1848. The peasants should maybe have some rehafted scythe weapons. But can I modify a soldier to get that result?

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