Javelin

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Thrown spears were favoured by skirmishers and were widely used in the early medieval period, even by wealthy warriors. Welsh/Brythonic warriors are strongly encouraged to use javelins.

A skirmisher hurls a javelin at the enemy unit

The Javelin

In practice the only difference between a fairly short spear and a javelin was if and when you chose to throw it. However, the Society’s combat rules considers them as different weapons and they are treated differently depending upon whether they have metal or rubber heads. Metal headed javelins may be thrown only as display (not combat) weapons, aimed at shields but not combatants. In addition, these javelins may be used as combat weapons in melee just like short spears. Rubber headed javelins (combat javelins) may not be used as a spear in melee but can be thrown in combat to score a valid hit.

Javelins may not be more than 5’6” in length. They often have a blade tanged into the wooden shaft rather than a separate spearhead.

Illustration of the parts of a javelin

For the latest information and published rules on Missile combat, consult the The Missiles Officer's Training Handbook 1.2 or see the pages on Missile Combat

Metal Javelin Technical Specifications and Official Rules

Logo.gif Metal-headed (display only) Javelins

  • Minimum length 4' (1.22 m)
  • Maximum length 5'6” (1.67 m) for metal headed javelins
  • Minimum shaft diameter 1/2” (13 mm) for 75% or more of its length
  • Maximum shaft diameter 1” (25 mm)
  • Minimum blade (head) length 2” (51 mm)
  • Maximum blade (head) length 4” (102 mm)
Notes on Metal-headed Javelin Specifications

The diameter of the shaft must lie within these dimensions for 75% or more of its length.

The length of the head is the length of the blade and does not include the tang.

The head can be of a tanged or socketed construction.

Blades may be made from mild steel and may be hard edge welded.

The minimum edge thickness of the blade must be 3mm rounded to an 180° arc.

The point of the head must be rounded to a diameter of not less than 24.5mm.

Logo.gif Restrictions and Notes on Use of Metal Javelins

  • Display Javelin (Metal) Assessment is required
Missile Use
  • Eye contact must be made and acknowledgement to receive from target prior to throwing.
  • The only permitted target is the target’s shield.
  • The javelin must not be thrown if the audience are close to the target or if there are bodies lying in the probable landing zone of the javelin.
  • May not be used against cavalry.
Melee Use
  • May be used as a short spear by any warrior who has passed Battlefield Safety (Short Spear) Assessment.

Rubber Javelin Technical Specifications and Official Rules

Logo.gif Rubber-headed (combat) Javelins

  • Minimum length 4' (1.22 m)
  • Maximum length 4'6” (1.37 m) for rubber headed javelins
  • Minimum shaft diameter 3/4” (18 mm) for 75% or more of its length
  • Maximum shaft diameter 4/5” (20 mm)
  • Head only of approved manufacture and dimensions

Logo.gif Restrictions and Notes on Use of Rubber Javelins

  • Combat Javelin (Rubber) Assessment OR Display Javelin (Rubber) Assessment is required
Missile Use for Display Javelineers
  • May ONLY throw the approved combat safe (rubber) javelins and may NOT throw metal headed javelins.
  • Will be under the command of a javelin commander (e.g. an experienced Javelineer, other missile user or hersir). They must be prepared to follow the orders given on the field and work as part of a unit.
  • Must only throw the javelin they walk onto the field with. They must not pick up and throw any javelins from the battlefield.
  • May only throw the javelin during the missile phase of the battle and may not engage in any unscripted free fighting with the Javelin.
  • Rubber javelins may not be used in melee combat.
  • The javelin must not be thrown if the audience are close to the target, or if there are bodies lying in the probable landing zone of the javelin.
  • May not be used against cavalry.
Missile Use for Combat Javelineers
  • May use the rubber javelins as described above and, in addition to this, the rubber javelins may be used in free fights to score a hit on opponents, just as arrows and bolts. No eye contact required.
  • May pick up any type of javelin on the battlefield if safe to do so, and re-use these in combat.