Straight swords vs. curved swords

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NVGdude
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Re: Straight swords vs. curved swords

Post by NVGdude » Fri Sep 27, 2013 11:20 pm

D5CAV wrote:
NVGdude wrote:
D5CAV wrote: Anyone have any ideas why curved sabers lasted until the end of sword fighting?
It's called a "cavalry saber" because it was used by dudes on horses.

The curved blade is much better for a slashing attack while horseback:
1) A cutting attack is easier to do than a stabbing attack while on a horse.
2) Stabbing your sword into somebody while riding on a ton of galloping horseflesh is also a good way to loose your stabbing implement.
Well, we've already established that straight swords were also used by "dudes on horses", including one that I own.

Honestly, I have no experience with either slashing or stabbing from horseback. I'll go out on a limb here and guess that you don't either, so I figure your comments are pure speculation, and not fact as stated.
If I had to kill someone from the back of my horse I'd just shoot him. Then again, the bastard is 17 hands high.

Having spent way too much of my misspent youth doing renaissance reenactments I know the following:
On foot, I'd rather have a straight bladed sword, preferably a Scottish backsword of the type used by the Border Rievers.

On horse a slightly curved saber is preferred.

A military pick or warhammer would be even better.

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D5CAV
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Re: Straight swords vs. curved swords

Post by D5CAV » Sun Sep 29, 2013 7:45 am

For those of you who still care about the arcane history of swords, I found a few more interesting references.

First, a copy of Patton's Saber Exercise Manual: http://www.thortrains.net/downloads/saberexercise.pdf

Yes, it really does look suicidal, and it makes polo look like a kid's game. Even if I was limited to cap and ball revolvers, I think my horse would be fine carrying four or six, and I'd forget about any sword, whether straight or curved.

Second, a critique of Patton's Saber Exercises by a modern master of fencing: http://www.classicalfencing.com/articles/Patton.php

I hate to say this about our Patron Saint of the Armor School, but I tend to agree with Alvarez.

Finally, some other equally uninformed opinions on the Patton 1913 Saber as in our discussion: http://www.swordforum.com/forums/showth ... his-manual

Which includes a more informed, first-hand vignette from the Battle of Talavera in 1809. It seems both the point and the edge were equally fatal (both combatants). However, as with firearms, a fatal shot through the heart does not necessarily end the fight, while a fatal CNS hit (through the brain), decisively ends the fight.
For sure, the argument of point vs. edge could only be proven at the price of blood. And sometimes, the results were all but clear, as the following account bears out:

At the Battle of Talavera, in 1809, "I saw [Harry Wilson] engaged hand-to-hand with a French dragoon; I saw him (...) give and receive more than one pass, with equal skill and courage. Just then a French officer delivered a thrust at poor Harry Wilson's body and delivered it effectually.

I firmly believe that Wilson died on the instant; yet, though he felt the sword in its progress, he, with characteristic self-command, kept his eye still on the enemy in his front, and raising himself in his stirrups let fall on the Frenchman's helmet such a blow, that the brass and skull parted before it, and I saw the man's head was cloven asunder to the chin.

It was the most tremendous blow I ever saw struck; and both he who gave, and his opponent who received it, dropped dead together. The brass helmet was afterwards examined by an order from an officer, who, as well as myself, was astonished at the exploit; and the cut was found to be as clean as if the sword had gone through a turnip, not so much as a dent being on either side of it."
From
The Secret History of the Sword by Amberger

Gotta hand it to Harry Wilson, though. He was still in the fight after a sword thrust through his heart.
None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.” Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

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D5CAV
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Re: Straight swords vs. curved swords

Post by D5CAV » Sun Sep 29, 2013 8:16 am

Getting away from 19th century swords, here's a match between two 15th century swords - katana and longsword. Again, point vs. edge.

I'm amazed they're not wearing masks! Even wood swords can take out an eye.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cFGPCTMp2cw

Notice that the first touch by the katana at 1:05 is with the point, while the second touch by the longsword at 1:42 is with the edge. The match ends in a draw at 2:00 when the clock runs out.
None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.” Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

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D5CAV
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Re: Straight swords vs. curved swords

Post by D5CAV » Mon Sep 30, 2013 7:29 am

Good piece on the origin of sabers. As in the prior article, sabers originated with turko-tartar swords from Persia, Mongolia and Turkey, which spread by conquest into China and into Europe. They first found popularity with the Hussars in Hungaria (descendents of Mongols) and were especially popular in Poland.

http://www.swordforum.com/forums/conten ... ing-Art%29

These authors describe the small-sword, thrusting style of fencing to be German-style. The authors claim the word "Fencing" is derived from the German "Fechten", which means to fight.

I had read in other accounts that the sport of fencing originated in France, and that the English word "Fencing" was derived from the middle french "Defens", which means to defend.
None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.” Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

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D5CAV
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Re: Straight swords vs. curved swords

Post by D5CAV » Wed Oct 02, 2013 5:19 am

Some of the fakes look pretty close to the originals. How to tell a "modern made" sword: http://www.swordforum.com/forums/showth ... ier-swords
None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.” Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Rich Jordan
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Re: Straight swords vs. curved swords

Post by Rich Jordan » Thu Oct 03, 2013 2:20 am

Just an aside; Woot.com has a Cold Steel sale going on with three swords available here

One katana, one French officer's saber, and one 'Grosse Messer'

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Netpackrat
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Re: Straight swords vs. curved swords

Post by Netpackrat » Thu Oct 03, 2013 2:34 am

Rich Jordan wrote:Just an aside; Woot.com has a Cold Steel sale going on with three swords available here

One katana, one French officer's saber, and one 'Grosse Messer'
Shipping Note: Shipping to Alaska and Hawaii is not available for this item.
Pricks.
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Yogimus
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Re: Straight swords vs. curved swords

Post by Yogimus » Thu Oct 03, 2013 2:35 am

Ugh I hate the katana. Such an over-rated piece of metal.

Rich Jordan
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Re: Straight swords vs. curved swords

Post by Rich Jordan » Fri Oct 04, 2013 5:29 am

I like my (non-katana) sword; Austrian Masterpiece hand forged by Johann Schmidberger; 37" blade (straight), 49" overall. Its beautiful. Heavy though, and I need to get it tightened up (the pommel and grip have loosened up a bit).

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D5CAV
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Re: Straight swords vs. curved swords

Post by D5CAV » Fri Oct 04, 2013 7:49 am

Rich Jordan wrote:I like my (non-katana) sword; Austrian Masterpiece hand forged by Johann Schmidberger; 37" blade (straight), 49" overall. Its beautiful. Heavy though, and I need to get it tightened up (the pommel and grip have loosened up a bit).
I'm jealous! That's one of the few "replica" swords that commands a higher price than many originals.

I think you could get more for that sword than my original M1889 Uhlanen saber. Certainly way more than I paid for mine and probably more than the imaginary price the guy on ebay wants for his.

Most swords stopped being hand forged about 1850. I'm sure that my M1889 is a machine-made sword. Not only did Schmidberger hand forge his swords, but he was one of the few to master the lost art of sword making, so his are "real" swords. They feel quick and balanced like the ones in museums.

This thread on Johann Schmidberger dated 2002 says he's still alive, but I haven't heard anyone able to buy his swords in the last 10 years. http://www.swordforum.com/forums/showth ... r-question

IIRC, the "Austrian Masterpiece" was modeled on the German/Austrian Langschwert, and was either a two handed sword or a hand-and-a-half.

Can you post pics?
None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.” Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

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