Boarding Axes & Tomahawks
Boarding Axes, with a two or three-foot
handle and a combination of sharp blade
and blunt hammer side, were used to cut
the ropes of boarding hooks, bring downs
masts and rigging, and generally tear
through anything that stood in the way
of the loot, like doors, hatches or
locks. They could at times help steady
the weight of a boarder if needed for
climbing from a smaller boat to a larger
vessel (a portable handle).
The boarding axe however, had other
very important duties. It was used in
fire fighting to chisel out hot cannon
balls that could ignite ships' timbers.
The broad blade end was used to cut
through downed rigging and as a hook to
drag the rigging and debris out of the way.
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