Swords.

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by Bladensburg, Jan 6, 2006.

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  1. Poking about on the web after reading of the demise of Wilkinson I got this site: WKC Solingen from an ARRSE link, selling cutlery. It seems to mainly specialise in American and continental types with only RN and infantry pattern British swords being offered.

    On the "Care" page though it says the following:
    Now while American swords might be purely ceremonial - indeed, many of them look like kids' toys - I was under the impression that British swords were made to the last pattern designed for a given troop-type and should therefore be capable of functioning in that role whether made last year or a century ago. In fact a collector once told me that was why he liked to collect British swords of all periods, they were designed for fighting not "poncing about with".

    So then, my question is: Are modern swords still specified in such a way that if the Great Unwashed came rampaging down the road you could set about them with your sword having paused only to put a bit of an edge on it?
     
  2. Knives Act 1997. Basically, you can't advertise them for the purpose they were originally designed:
    http://www.opsi.gov.uk/acts/acts1997/1997021.htm
     
  3. If they literally say the blades cannot withstand much stress, then they are just that: A display piece.


    However, a proper weapon would be advertised as "For Display Purposes Only", as a legal disclaimer.
     
  4. Bit obscure, but does anyone know what a WWII era Dutch Naval Officers Sword quality would be i.e. ceremonial or fully capable? I only ask because my grandad had one captured off a German Officer.
     
  5. That was my point, I always thought that it was British tradition for troops to parade with the "most current" and fully functional version of whatever weapon types are appropriate thus the footguards and Queens Colour Sqn RAF carry SA80s rather than the equivalent of the tarted up nickle-plated Garands that US "display" troops carry. Therefore one would expect officers swords to be fully usable examples of whatever the current pattern is.
     
  6. current swords are display pieces having played with them in our armory and they have a blunt edge and are weighted at the handle rather than the blade for comfort to be held in the vertical position for ceremonial purposes.

    However as a point of interest the last infantry combat sword made by wilkinson sword, which they believed to be the ultimate weapon of it's type hit the market just as the sword became totally ineffectual as an infantry weapon and just made you a target for snipers.
     
  7. From what I have read about Wilkinson, all their military sword blades were still being tested on their old machine for blade strength and durability, even if they didn't advertise that anymore.

    I don't know about WKC but this in a way suggest that their blades are in fact 'capable', they are probably just meeting requirements of the law cited above

    They probably are not each 'tested' in any way though.

    Also, someone commented on current swords "in our armory and they have a blunt edge". I believe all swords in the past were kept with a blunt edge, and only 'sharpened' for campaigns or war.
     
  8. In his 'Memoirs' FM Montgomery relates that, in 1914, officers' swords were 'made sharp for war' on the third day of mobilisation.

    He goes on to describe how he first went into action carrying his sword but, as his training in its use had been limited to learning to salute with it, he captured his first prisoner by kicking him in the crutch.
     
  9. All UK military swords are still of the official (then) War Office pattern and specification - they are/were designed and tested to be used as combat weapons.

    One of the sad things about the closure of the Wilkinson sword department is that, in future, swords will become simply cheaply-made display items, and their part in sustaining military tradition will fade away. Currently, troops in ceremonial are wearing traditional combat uniform and carrying traditional (real) combat weapons - in the future they will be in effect wearing a "costume", like an American marching band...
     
  10. Plenty of the real deal out there on the market from the old "don't like it up'em" days for those wishing to prepare for the hoards of the great unwashed. All official pattern swords too (of their respective eras), don't know how good it would look with the rest of your kit though :lol:

    Heavy cavalry sabres are the way to go:
    [​IMG]
     
  11. Seems to be a strain for procurement to get regular warlike stores to right place in right quantity by right time. Will not be improved if we have to add swords, curved, old-fashioned ceremonial to the list. Next thing will be chastity-belts for the ladies as last used at time of Crusades. (OMG - I've used 'that' word!!)
     
  12. AlienFTM

    AlienFTM LE Book Reviewer

    About 1979 my RSM invited me and one other to attend the Queen's official birthday parade at Munchenstrapback (or Rheindahlen - who cared? It was a long way behind the Cold War FLOT we normally occupied. There was a lot of WRACs and the NAAFI bar was "The Marlborough Club). Upon arrival (on the Monday before the event on the Friday to give us time to learn sabre drill and meet a few WRACs) we discovered that every cavalry regiment in BAOR had been similarly tasked. We were to march on and stand there looking cool (on a hot sunny day wearing 1923 Adam Ant kit? Yeah right) while a Black Watch contingent marched up down down to the strains of their pipes and drums, interspersed with occasional roars. (Black Bear is a rather good regimental march.)

    When, a couple of years later, I decided to marry, I decided I wasn't going to marry in Ordure Kit and we didn't have No 1s issued, so I asked my mate the RSM if I and my best man might borrow a couple of sets of PTU for a wedding with a difference. I think secretly the RSM was quite chuffed and gave his blessing.

    Trouble was we had trouble getting hold of two matching sabres. RSM got on the blower to the QM a sister cavalry regiment the other side of Sennelager Training Area and we were loaned two matching ceremonial sabres and scabbards. Needless to say, upon return to camp we promptly checked how well cavalry sabres handled in combat. But we stopped very quickly when we realised how poorly a ceremonial sabre stood up to contact with another ceremonial sabre. We polished them up and put them away. During the ceremony, we didn't draw the sabre. Not really the time or place: they were purely eye candy anyway.

    So I can state from personal experience that ceremonial sabres are not good for fighting with.

    I have to add that best man and I returned from BAOR to the UK in my Capri, laden with kit, sabres, George Boots, etc, but because he was deploying to BATUS a couple of days after the wedding, he returned immediately on foot. And because the owning regiment didn't want the sabres out of their possession for the three weeks I was out of the country, best man returned them.

    We'd had no problems with Customs on the way home because nobody asked. But WALKING through customs carrying two sabres, best man got stopped by the Spanish Inquisition. Sorry, John. And sorry about the state of the sabres, too.
     
  13. You mean you played at fencing/swashbuckling with them? Swords are meant for cut and thrust against the human body. A sword, even made for war, will dent/scratch when struck hard against another sword.