Thread: why sabre ?
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Old 24th March 2005, 07:06 PM   #4
ariel's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Ann Arbor, MI
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The second one is also correct: a single vertical hit of a curved blade combines both hit and a backward draw of a straight one. Thus, the penetration is deeper. Richard Burton (not Liz Taylor's husband!) dedicated several pages of elementary geometry and physics to it in his "The book of the Sword".
The third one.... The main advantage of the thrust is it's speed: the distance is shorter (see Burton again) and pinpointing is more precise. Neither are relevant or even possible while riding a horse.
The thrust is indeed more fatal: there is a vital organ everywhere at the torso at 2.5 inches depth. If you stick your sword in and it is jerked out of your grip by the movement of the horse, you become effectively disarmed and vulnerable or even are thrown out of the saddle. Importantly, there are two main objectives of any swordfight: 1. to stay alive; b. to disable (not necessarily kill outright) the opponent. Scott Rodell beautifully stressed this basic fencing wisdom in Timonium. The undesirability of thrusts was very much stressed in the rounded tips and flexibility of Pata and Qattara, the quintessential straight cavalry swords.
As to the kind of sabers used most recently, by definition a saber is a curved blade. A straight single-edged is a palash, a straight double-edged is a sword (where do Krises, parang latoks and recurved blades fit into this classification, Buddha only knows!). Well, during WWI, the military with the strongest (or, at least, the biggest!) cavalry was Russian and they used only curved (shashkas, 1891 pattern, and the like) blades; during WWII, the Poles were still attacking German tanks with their 1921 pattern (also curved).
This issue comes all the way to the Mongols who practically invented cavalry, proper cavalry equipment and modern military tactics.
Get a book by Michael Prawdin " The Mongol Empire" and enjoy...
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