Tuesday, 18 November 2014

3 Famous Legendary British Military Swords

The British Military swords are the one which were extensively used by the British Army and now they are owned by other people to have them as decorative pieces of item be it in museums or in their homes. The few military swords which I will be talking here will include Cavalry swords, Infantry swords and Military kukris.

Cavalry Swords

The Cavalry swords,  also known as Sabre or saber saw its importance as military in the 19th century, particularly in Napoleonic Wars to fight against enemies but later started diminishing as a weapon. Earlier the design of cavalry was heavy and tends to be longer than the regular ones. Many Cavalry officers used cavalry swords, but very few infantry officers used them as swords.

The cavalry sword is divided into two (according to size):-

      1)      Heavy Cavalry Sword- 1796 Pattern
      2)      Light Cavalry Saber Sword-1860 Pattern

The above two are very famous patterns of cavalry swords from the British Army, available at stores for the purchase. The beautiful engravings on the swords make them more attractive along with other additional sword accessories.

The design of Cavalry is categorized as follows:-
      1)      Troopers Pattern
      2)      Household Cavalry Swords
      3)      Officers Pattern

The 1796 Pattern Heavy Cavalry Sword was extensively used by the British heavy cavalry through most of the period of the revolutionary and Napoleonic wars. The world of such swords existed in between 1796-1821. This kind of sword you can say is the copy of the Australian Pallasch sword pattern of the 1769 heavy cavalry sword.

The 1860 Pattern Light Cavalry Sword was used by US cavalry from the American Civil War till the end of the Indian wars. These swords are 41 inches long by 35 inches by 1 in blade and weighted around 2 lb or 3 lb with scabbard. It had brass guard, leather grip and steel scabbard like its ancestor, but still it was smaller, compact and easy to handle than M1840.

During the civil war there were no light and heavy cavalry swords in US army, but they use Dragoons, Mounted Riflemen and Cavalry with orange, green or yellow piping. In 19861 these mounted regiments were renamed as cavalry and were given yellow piping as their unique token.

The 1908 Troopers Pattern Cavalry Sword was the last sword service provided to the British Army. This sword is the most effective cavalry sword in terms of designing.  The 1908 sword was completely for thrusting. The blade had a thick T like cross part (much narrower than the traditional blades) with sharp “spear point” and the blade length is approx 35inches. The important thing to note is these swords were issued by the army.

The 1912 Pattern Officers Sword was privately owned by the officers themselves. Till 1912 officers used to carry their hilted or three bar hilted cut-and-thrust swords. The three bar hilt was diminished for light cavalry in 1896 so that heavy cavalry saber was adopted but due to rise in army regulations it was also stated that with the introduction of the new officer’s sword there is no need for its replacement till his existing one was no longer serviceable. So the three-bar hilted sword continued well into the 20th century.
This is actually a version of 1908 trooper’s sword. Today these swords are carried by the Dragoon, Hussar, Light dragoons and Lancer regiments.

Household Cavalry Swords come with varying types of swords with standard blade similar to that of officer’s pattern in brass with brass scabbard (for life guards) or iron scabbard (for horse guards). The household cavalry swords employed the standard trooper’s pattern sword on active services. The scabbards (it is a kind of sheath like covering for the blade of a sword or dagger made of either leather or metal) usually do not have suspension rings instead fitted with a button or slide for use with a ‘frog’( it is a kind of baldric or belt kind of attachment.
The trooper’s sword and officer’s sword were a cutting weapon with heavy blades and were renowned as completely unfit for delicate swordsmanship. Mostly the cavalry troopers used the blades like bludgeons and the guards as Knuckle dusters.

Infantry Swords

The gothic hilted swords were carried out by officers and NCOs and primarily known as British Infantry Swords although these were further patterns of other officers like surgeons and staff officers. 

The infantry swords come with a variety of patterns like:-

1822 Pattern Infantry Officer’s sword is 32.5 inches (826mm) inch long with slightly curved blade known as the “pipe-back” or “quill-back” design. The blade is flat, un-fullered, and single edged with a nearly straight rod running along the back of the blade.

1845 Pattern Infantry Officer’s sword was replaced by Wilkinson’s design. This sword was slightly curved cut-and-thrust blade of the same length of the previous pattern, however the new blade featured a single, wide fuller and a flat back, rather than the pipe back.

1892 Pattern Infantry Officers Sword replaced cut and thrust blade by a straight thrusting blade with a thick, filleted, dumbbell section and a sharp spear point. A stronger sword, unburdened by the design compromises of a requirement to cut well, this was a much better fighting sword to have.

Military Gurkha Kukris

These Military Gurkha Kukris were the harbinger of existing patterns, slightly shorter and lighter than them. It was introduced in the mid 1960's when The Gurkhas were being issued with the British SLR (Self Loading Rifle) and the Stirling Sub Machine Gun. The Kukris come with the scabbard and the frog for fastening. The small Karola and the Chakmak are also accommodated in the scabbard. These knives are similar to machete and can be used as both a tool and as a weapon.  These were originated in Nepal with an inward curved edge of the blade and still it is the most native tool for Nepalese people.

These can be used as:-
·         Weaponry Tool- Effective in both chopping and slashing. It can also be used a sword and since the blade is towards the opponent, the user needs no angle while hitting.
·         Training Tool- Kukris can also be termed with respect to sales training methodology.
·         Utility Tool- Kukris can be a multipurpose tool and commonly used in agriculture and in other household implementations and practical uses.

These swords are antique and are inspired from the British Army and are best suited for decorative purposes in museums or homes. 

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