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Old 21st January 2012, 03:33 PM   #12
Jim McDougall
EAA Research Consultant
 
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Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Route 66
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Great pics David! and I actually did have a pith helmet but wasnt wearing it that day in the vette I recall my wife once retorting as I wanted to watch 'Gunga Din' for the zillionth time, "OK, but this time dont wear the helmet, you're scaring the cats!"

I think one of the biggest confusions in lances are the ever present 'pig sticking' or 'tent pegging' lances which were heavily in use during the Raj.
These are typically shorter and have a heavy lead weight as the shoe. The head is different as well. These examples seem far more common and often misperceived as they are very close to the combat lances in appearance, especially those without the weighted shoe. I recall getting a pair of these back then and having no idea what the heck was up with the huge lead ball at the base.

While the lance was used in numerous colonial situations, it seems it was frowned upon in many cases not only from the standpoint of the advent of repeating firearms, but that it was cumbersome and somewhat dangerous in close quarters combat and melee. The longest standing use seems to have been with the native cavalry regiments from India, the fabled 'Bengal Lancers', who continued use well through the 1930s. I have mentioned before my great visit with Brigadier Francis Ingall (author of "Last of the Bengal Lancers") before his passing in 1992, and his great tales of one of the last cavalry charges on the plains in Khyber Agency in the 1930s.

In research on the lance many years ago I learned that at least one cavalry regiment in Pennsylvania was outfitted as a lancer regiment (I think it was Rush's lancers) in the Civil War period. I cannot recall finding these ever being used in combat, and mostly it sounds like a pretty unfortunate outcome with this experimental situation. As poorly trained as cavalry was with the sword, I can imagine how the lance must have fared. I just thought it an interesting note as we review some lance history.

I had a couple of books written by a Polish lancer in WWI, and in WWI the German uhlans used a fully metal lance of over 10 feet long. The Polish lancers in Napoleons service were quite the inspiration for lancer units in Europe. I recall reading these were much feared and despised as death from these lance wounds was particularly gruesome, and when captured the lancers were seldom given quarter and killed on the spot.

Gav, thanks very much for more on your lances, and I still hope to find something somewhere on the color pairing on lance pennons. Trying to recall work I did on this topic (around three decades ago it seems there were of course colors to various countries, I think Germany was black & white, and so on. The blue and yellow for 3rd Bengal Lancers was it seems the single variationin among British cavalry.
In South Africa there were however native regimental contingents much as in India such as Natal Mounted Rifles if I recall correctly, but unsure whether any might have been outfitted as lancers. Perhaps some look into material on the two Boer wars might reveal units which might have that prospective.

Thanks very much guys for sharing these, and the boost down memory lane in my case!

All the best,
Jim
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