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Pike (weapon)

A pike is a pole weapon once used extensively by infantry and foot-soldiers principally as a counter-measure against cavalry assaults. Pikes were extremely long weapons, and could exceed six metres in length.

The steel tip was fairly long compared to the shaft, making the weapon most unwieldy in close combat. This meant that pikemen were often equipped with a sword for close encounters.

In operation on the battlefield, pikes were often used in large square "hedgehog" formations, defending attached musketeers. Large pike formations were in use during the 17th century, but were eventually rendered obsolete by long range firearms such as rifles.

The landsknechts were pikemen of renown during the 15th to the 17th centuries, mercenaries of the European Renaissance. They were most skillful in their handling of the long pike.