1797 Pattern Boarding Pike
When the hulls of sailing warships intentionally or accidentally crashed together in early 19th century battles, some of the men listed as “boarders” on the quarter bill, armed with boarding pikes, attempted to force their way onto the enemy’s decks. Alternately, pikes were also used defensively to repel enemy boarders.
This leaf-headed boarding pike, intended to be used in a thrusting motion, was most likely the standard U.S. Navy issue during the War of 1812. Unlike other pole arms of the time, naval boarding pikes were made with no cross guard or ferrules, as these would get caught in the rigging or nets of a vessel. Standard naval boarding pikes typically ranged anywhere from eight to 12 feet in length.