All brave in arms, well trained to wield
The heavy halberd, brand, and shield
— Walter Scott, The Lady of the Lake (Canto III)
A halberd is a polearm, consisting of a crescent-shaped axehead, tipped by a spear, and as a weapon can be fairly versatile. The halberd's main advantage over weapons is that it can be used in a great variety of ways — it can stab, as much as it can bludgeon or smash, with equal effect.
Thus, it is not surprising that the enterprising continental European factions have taken up halberdiers as part of their infantry. With their fairly average price and good attack which can deal devastating amounts of splash damage, Halberdiers are highly versatile, being capable of being deployed against a variety of enemy units — melee infantry, unarmoured cavalry, and archers, although you should not expect them to stand up to heavy cavarly or missile cavalry on a flanking manoeuvre. Nevertheless, they also have another advantage — they do not require Centralisation to be created, unlike more mainstream units, such as espadachines or pike guards. Thus for many factions like the Norse and the Serbians, Halberdiers are a vital component of your army in the early stages of the late game. Additionally, Halberdiers cannot stand up well against gunpowder infantry — unlike normal espadachines, they have less armour and walking speed, so they are quite vulnerable. So if you are faced by a mass of Halberdiers, look to your ranged units and heavy cavalry to save the day.
- Sitting Ducks — Although halberdiers have a ferocious attack that makes them dangerous infantry counters, their weak armour and slower walking speed make them fair game for better-equipped cavalry archers and Knights.
- De-Centralisation — Halberdiers do not require Centralisation to be created, and thus can be relied upon by Serbia, which lacks Chivalric Order Knights and Pikemen alike.
The use and popularity of polearms throughout Europe and Asia attests much to the popularity of this weapon: despite being deceptively simple to make, a polearm was highly lethal, especially in the hands of well-trained users. Polearms combined the long reach of spears and shorter weapons, such as warhammers or swords to form a highly versatile anti-personnel weapon. Caesar's naval victory in north-eastern Gaul (present-day Brittany, France) was attributed to the use of billhooks which were used to disable Gaulish ships, granting the Romans north-western Gaul. In Northern Asia and Northern Europe, polearms were often the favourite weapons of various armies, because of their availability and were even used from horseback in China and Japan. It was an unnamed Lorrainian peasant soldier who killed Charles the Bold with a halberd at Nancy in 1477, ending the Burgundian Wars in one stroke.