Thread: why sabre ?
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Old 27th March 2005, 10:00 PM   #27
Jim McDougall
EAA Research Consultant
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Thank you for the added material on the use of the kindjhal, especially in duelling which would emphasize the recognition of such codes. It seems the kindjhal occurs in a wide range of sizes and most carry the mail piercing point which of course suggests this is a thrusting weapon. It seems the slashing moves were restricted largely to duelling if I understand correctly.

"I know how to use a dagger-
I was born in the Caucusus."
-Alexander Pushkin

* Pushkin was killed in his passion for duelling.

While the discussion of cut vs. thrust in the sword remains clearly a subjective issue, it seems that the recognition of honor and codes is very much philosophical and would likely be overlooked in the heat of combat for obvious reasons. I recalled notes from many years ago in a narrative on the Crimean War where " trooper complained as he was having a severe head wound dressed, that in combat with a Russian he had just given him a 'cut five' (body cut) when the 'damned fool' had never guarded at all, but hit him on the head!". Clearly the Russian opponent had no regard whatsoever for the proper following of the British sword exercises

I think one of the best books for understanding the psychological and philosophical elements of battle would be John Keegans "Face of Battle" (1976) where many of these issues are dealt with most interestingly.

I think that the intensity of combat with sheer volume and variables in violent flux would all but negate any concept of controlled conduct in such respects, and human nature would prevail. A degree of decor would return as the intensity subsided, such as is noted after the charge at Balaklava and scattered survivors moved about, several wounded British survivors were approached by Cossack lancers, who simply halfheartedly poked at them, then rode away.

I really appreciate your adding the perspective on this. Thank you.
Best regards,
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