This guard appears to be Ochs or Ox. Shown below are Meyer, Solothurner, and two from Mair.
According to Talhoffer’s caption, this guard is used to throw a Plunging Cut or Sturtzhauw. Meyer describes the Sturtzhauw as,
Although this cut is a High Cut, and so considered because there is not much difference between the two, yet this is called the Plunge Cut because in cutting through, it always plunges over above, so that the point comes against the opponent’s face in the Ox; and it is most used in the Approach or Onset.
At first glance I assumed that this cut comes from vom Tag and is turned over so that it becomes a short-edge cut. In theory one could use it that way, but it feels awkward. I’ll need to try it with opposition in order to understand the mechanics.
Another possibility that has been suggested to me is that it is used for deflecting a cut. This makes a lot more sense to me. I imagine the play looks something like this:
- At wide measure, the active begins a high cut from vom Tag.
- The patient also throws a high cut. But rather than bind, which is the usual response, he instead turns the cut to strike against the flat of the active’s blade.
- With the active’s blade knocked wide, the patient can immediately follow with an unopposed thrust.
In my mind this has just gone from an awkward trick to an elegant technique for stealing the initiative.