The officers and soldiers of the British army that rode horses during war were known as cavalry. Their swords were long and sharp blades used both for one to one battle and disabling the enemy with one striking blow. The Cavalry Swords used by the soldiers in the era of the British army gave both a professional trained look to the army and the added benefit of the latest innovative weaponry and design for their swords. Confederate officers are the officers that had to carry the expense of their horse on their own and in case of the loss of a horse, they were degraded to infantry soldiers; the swords carried by both cavalry officers and confederate officers are similar with very minor variations in the design of the sword.
The cavalry sword used by the soldiers is singled edged and sharpened on the convex edge only that enables the wielder to strike through with great offense. The sword has a large hand guard with a short handle allowing for comfort and also protection of the fingers and especially the knuckles. The blade is slightly curved which allows the sword to flow through quickly. The design of the cavalry sword is that of the saber, initially a slashing weapon but altered to be used in warfare effectively. The sword is equipped two handed by its wielder but strong soldiers can use the sword with one hand.
There existed two types of cavalry swords in the history of the British Army (and eventually, American cavalry as well). The first type was the initial former design of the sword that was used in 1796 with great effect by the Napoleon army and its cavalry. Those swords were heavier and a more curved blade was used to strike with brute force to slay the enemy. However, that design was not as innovative as the one that succeeded it. In 1908, the cavalry sword was redesigned to be lighter, and therefore quicker along with the lessened curve which enabled the wielder to slash the opponent with decisive blows in a matter of seconds. This design was considered the most effective cavalry sword in history. The handles of the swords in 1908 were smaller and the hand grip larger, this allowed for strong grip of the sword and one handed wielding. This design was used for various purposes as well . Cavalry swords are now used as a sign of authority and in Britain for knighting an individual. The swords are also used by guards for performing practiced ceremonies.
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The cavalry swords originate from the saber, a sword that is curved with a single edge long blade and a rather short handle. A sword equipped with a scabbard and that gave the wielder a professional as well as the fancy look which is eventually why the saber went on to be used as a fencing weapon and as a sign of authority and respect rather than a weapon itself. The design of the cavalry sword somewhat takes inspiration from the single edged scimitar used in the Middle East as well that could penetrate through human flesh and bone in seconds.
Around the world, the cavalry swords were considered as the most popular military swords used in the major wars in the past and even in the world wars as well. The British cavalry swords were also being used in the famous battles like Waterloo and the charge of the Light Brigade. Many of these military swords also posted their presence at the Napoleonic period, Crimean, Boer and First World War as well.
The 1796 Pattern British Heavy Cavalry Swords were one among the swords used by the British heavy Cavalry. These are generally given to Lifeguards, Royal Horse Guards, Dragoon Guard and Dragoons, King's German Legion Dragoons, through most of the period of the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. It played an especially notable role, in the hands of British cavalrymen, at the battles of Salamanca and Waterloo. The pattern was adopted by Sweden and was used by some Portuguese cavalry.
The 1908 (including the 1912 pattern) pattern Cavalry sword is considered as the last service sword provided to the cavalry force of the British Army. You can say that that was the last introduction or occurrence of the most effective and ironic cavalry swords. After that the swords finally become obsolete as military weapons. The 1908 cavalry sword was purely optimized for thrusting. The length of the blade is just over 35 inches (890 mm). Once, King Edward VII described the sword as “hideous ”, when the pattern was submitted to him for approval.
Until 1912, officers only carry their hilted or three-bar hilted cut-and-thrust swords. In 1912, there was an introduction to an officer’s pattern sword which mirrored that carried by the men. The 1912 Pattern cavalry officer's sword is of the same basic form as the 1908 trooper's version, but in a more decorative form. There were some minor modifications to the 1908 pattern sword to transform it completely into a new sword. The blades were plain for the officers, the grip was same, but the rubber grip was replaced by On the front of the bowl guard, the 1912 sword had an engraved floral pattern, mimicking the honeysuckle pattern which had been common on officer's swords throughout the 19th Century.
This U S 1960 heavy cavalry swords or light saber was used in the US cavalry. These are also being used in the civil wars in America, Indian wars and some of these were also used in the Spanish American Wars. You would have seen that these heavy cavalry sword’s length runs around 35 to 41 inches and weight around 3 to 10 oz. The M1860 Sabre received its name to distinguish it from the larger and heavier Model 1840 Heavy Cavalry Sabre that it replaced. Like its predecessor, it had a brass guard, leather-wrapped grip and steel scabbard, but unlike the M1840 it was smaller and easier to handle. Now a days, these cavalry swords are used as presentation swords and ceremonial swords on some auspicious occassions like National Day, Military ceremonies and as awards for some military personnel.