EAA Research Consultant
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Route 66
Shayde, that was a very astute observation, and I know I hadn't thought of it.
While obvious an incredibly disparate chronological gap, it is of course well known that many relatively modern sword forms were made in an atavistic
spirit. It seems there have been some recalling the blade form of the khopesh, and I recall even the 'Black Sea yataghan' was at one point noted to be a modern descendant of these. Actually more to that form was an ancient Sumerian sword.
* below is image of the khopesh found in the tomb of Tutankhamen
Moving to some instances which refer to the attacking of the reins of the horse:
"...several of our officers had chain reins made for their regimental bridles, because in the last action the enemy had cut some of the bridles of the 3rd Light Dragoons with their SWORDS, by which the riders became powerless having lost all command of their horses. "
"Journal of a Cavalry Officer Including the Memorable
Sikh Campaign of 1845-46"
Willam Wellington Humbly (1854)
"...the 'Lochaber axe' had a broad blade, and often possessed a hook at the back, or an implement for cutting the reins of a mounted man, and this was the cause of the introduction, in some cases of reins of metal. "
"Weapons: A Brief Disclosure on Hand
Weapons other than Firearms"
B.E. Sargeaunt (1908)
In the first account, clearly the Sikhs were using their swords for this type of action, and as far as I know these were usually tulwars. It was noted by Capt.Lewis Nolan, who is best known for his place in the famed "Charge of the Light Brigade", that the Indian warriors feared for their remarkable swordsmanship in battle, often used old British cavalry blades (M1796) in their swords. He was a writer on military tactics and particularly on the cavalry horse. I do nor believe he ever mentioned 'hamstringing' of these mounts.
In any case, it does seem that disabling primarily the rider by removing his control of the horse was a paramount concept, and one wonders if there was really a compassionate side of mounted combatants which precluded harm to these horses. Obviously many horses were killed in battle, but in most cases it was as collateral casualties from gunfire or explosives or cannon fire.