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A spontoon is a pole arm, a type of close combat weapon consisting of a long shaft topped with a fighting implement like an axe, hammer, or blade. This melee weapon extended the user’s effective range and striking power and were common weapons on postclassical battlefields of Asia and Europe. They required little to no training to master and were most effective against armored warriors on horseback – quite literally bringing the highborn knight down to the lowly man-at-arms’ level. The Renaissance saw the peak of pike development but in short order the musket replaced it as the primary weapon of the common foot soldier. In the British army, commissioned officers carried the spontoon as a symbol of their rank and to issue battlefield commands. Sergeants carried a halberd until it was replaced by the sergeant’s pike (or spontoon). During the Napoleonic Wars, it was used by the NCOs to defend the colours of a battalion or regiment from cavalry attack.