EAA Research Consultant
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Route 66
Thank you Ibrahiim,
It really is interesting to see how 'tent pegging' was used to increase skills with these weapons. While it seems that all manner of study of martial arts, fencing and exercise with swords is readily acceptable in discussions on those and various other edged weapons...the lance was apparently so disdained that it is deemed a reprehensible topic.
Yet lancer regiments were typically regarded in elite status, and the British cavalry after Waterloo chose to fashion select cavalry units to lancers, in honor and admiration of the Polish lancers in those campaigns. The red and white pennons on British lances were chosen in commemoration of the Polish national colors, also on their lances.
I recently watched the wonderful 1930s classic movie "Lives of a Bengal Lancer" with Gary Cooper starring. It is situated in the Northwest Frontier about a British lancers unit, and shows the elite status of these units and the pride they took in their skills with the lance. There were some great scenes of this tent pegging exercise. It is notable that these units were actually still in service in India at the time this movie was made.
British cavalrymen also hunted with lances after wild pigs, and these were somewhat shorter with heavy lead bulbs at the base.
It is interesting to note these kinds of variations which reveal the actual use intended, and how to identify which units might have carried the lances discussed. Sometimes the history associated with weapons may not be entirely P.C. however it remains just what it is, history.