curved sword question

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by growler, Nov 15, 2004.

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  1. On last night's Antiques Roadshow one bloke had a curved sword and the expert said it was used by troops on the flanks eg grenadiers and light infantry! Why curved? Slashing?
  2. Dashing and Hussar like; Inf Light Coys liked to resemble light cavalwy, including dress such as pellises and frogging...

    So therefore they carried the same sword as light cav, a curvy one.

  3. All Infantry officers carried sabres, ie. curved blades for exactly the reason specified above, and also that a straight-bladed Heavy Cavalry blade would have been too long and awkward for an officer on foot to handle.

    Light cavalry carried sabres as they were ideal weapons for pursuits (pretty much the only occassion in which cavalry would attack disciplined infantry), as a curved blade, when slashed, will create a much longer wound than a straight blade. The standard pursuit tactic was to overtake the target (easy enough on horseback) and then slash backwards into the face.
  4. so, is there any significant difference between a sabre and a curved sword
  5. May not fully answer the question, but it seems a curved sword can be a sabre, but all sabres are not curved! 8O
  6. I believe the difference is due to the hilt and hand protection. A sabre has a full hand guard, and a curved sword (like a General Officer's Mameluke version) has no had guard.
  7. certainly muddied the waters there for me!! Thanks
  8. The chap on the Antiqies Roadshow was almost certainly talking about an 1803 pattern sabre.

    This sabre was introduced to fill an important need amongst British officers who duties took them away from the safety of regular Infantry line formations. Skirmishing with the enemy as light infantry or riflemen was a very dangerous venture, and these extended formations were vulnerable to being overrun by timely movements of enemy cavalry or concerted pushes by enemy infantry.

    The 52nd (Light Infantry) initially introduced its own pattern of sabre (of steel hardware) only months before the army pattern came out in 1803. The 52nd slowly adopted the army pattern as new officers joined the regiment and the gilt scabbard fittings of the above officer documents this.

    While the regular pattern 1796 Infantry straight had some cut and thrust functionality to it, it was completely inadequate for the Grenadier, Light Infantry and Rifle officers of the British Army. In the late 1790s unofficial curved bladed Infantry sabres started popping up in regiments. These sabres came in many shapes and sizes and in 1803 the army officials took steps to standardize this sabre.

    In addition, this pattern was taken up (with a white ivory grip) by many mounted regimental field officers (majors and colonels), again because of its usefulness in combat. Even some General officers adopted it instead of the 1796 staff pattern.

    This pattern of sword even made its way into the Royal Navy. It is suggested that the flank companies of the Royal Marines adopted this pattern with the white grip. However there is evidence that some Royal Navy officers chose it as well. This may have been simply an issue of commercial availability and the degree of independence of selecting their fighting sword, despite the Admiralty's efforts in 1805 to standardize the sword.

    Even with standardization there were a number of variations in the 1803 pattern. In studying originals, the blade's shape, ornamentation, and functionality vary greatly. Some blades have the same effective curve of a light cavalry sabre, without engraving, and well fullered. While other blades are curved to the point of uselessness, and constructed flat, and well etched, blued and gilted.



    The 1796 pattern looked like this

  9. He was, but it had a grenade in the hilt, which meant something or other about being held by grenadiers. Wasn't paying that much attention. The Scottish sword was also quite interesting, had a German blade.
  10. Nope, and I can see why. :)

    Why do RSMs carry swords?
  11. Who's going to tell them they can't 8O