74 3/4" total length with 52' double edged blade, expanding very slightly toward the point. A pair of blade catchers below the guard serves as a secondary guard when the sword was gripped below the cross guard. Landsknechts, as the name implies, were foot soldiers, mercenaries skilled in hand-to-hand combat earning great recognition and respect for their skills in the late 15th and early 16th centuries. In the second half of the 16th century, the Reformation polarized Europe with old territorial and political disputes resurfacing. Wars broke out throughout France and the Netherlands and Landsknechts were employed to reinforce less skilled local armies. The two hand sword was used by soldiers of exceptional stature to cleave openings in infantry ranks which broke the formation, initiating the melee in which individuals fought hand-to-hand, the specialty of the Landsknechts. Many South German arsenals included two hand swords in their stores. Notable examples are Graz and Zurich where those swords remain today.