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Old 20th April 2017, 04:48 AM   #31
Jim McDougall
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Actually it is interesting to revisit this very old research, and try to find old notes.
I think here it is important to note a caveat to researchers. One thing I think many of us at this for a very long time (usually more years than we care to admit), it is not always the case that because something is written in a book, it is always correct. Most authors note this fact in the introductions, and readily accept that new evidence may render some of their comments and findings to be incorrect.

I have always had the highest respect for those with the courage and tenacity to publish, and have maintained the highest regard for the works of many now venerable authors of key references we all often use and cite as resources. Over the years however, we have often found cases of mistakes and other long held ideas now disproven.
In one case, while researching a topic and checking a reference in an article by a well known author, I asked about a particular observation which I needed to verify to support a theory. Apparently the statement was made by him as an assumption from an unsubstantiated source, which he openly admitted, and for which I admired his honesty. Though discouraged, it reinforced the importance of rechecking and cross checking material and sources.

Now turning to Wagner's reference ("Cut and Thrust Weapons", 1967, p.339) I found the quote in notes (I do not have the book at the moment).....
"...the tooth, cut in the back edge, helped the 'old hewers' to aggravate the wound when thrusting, especially when cutting with the back edge of the broadsword, where there was no room to put much strength into the cut".

This entry seems presumed, the suggestion to the tooth (notch) in aggravating the thrust wound as I have noted seems dangerous in that the blade would become snagged in that wound. However, the note about cutting with the back edge of the blade suggests a back stroke as might be used in the close quarters of melee, which may be what Wagner means by 'no room for strength to the cut'.
This seems to make some degree of sense, as these kinds of wounds, not necessarily debilitating may have been in the sense of the 'stramazone', a slashing across the face to cause distracting bleeding, used in dueling with rapiers.

I found that the references to the 'old hewers; referred to the "War of the Spanish Succession" (1701-14), where the Austrian army still was using many of the older swords from the Thirty Years War as well as forms from continuous war with Turkey. There seem to have a wide scope of forms, but clearly reaching the end of their working lives. These forces in 1701 were indeed led by Eugene of Savoy (d.1736).

In Wagner, there are actually five exemplars illustrated with the notch feature:
Plate 2, p.372, a cavalry broadsword of beginning of 18th c. Prince Eugene inscription.
Plate 3, an Austrian cuirassier broadsword early 18th c.
Plate 7, an Austrian heavy cavalry broadsword in use until c.1740
Plate 35, a Pandour officers sabre c.1747, Hungarian
Plate 39, an Austrian hussar sergeants sabre 1768

All of these are notched at back of blade near tip.

I recall having thought at one time that these notched had to do with the notorious Pandour units, however it seems only that one officers sabre had the notch. There are no other examples throughout the book which have any such notch, only these Austrian examples, which seem anomalies.

I have never (since research began c. 1994) found sound reference to other notched blades other than unsubstantiated comments from other collectors and dealers who had seen them on French examples in cases. I have seen a British sabre of c.1780 with this exact notch but have not the details to support . It would seem the other instances mentioned regarding the Prussian cases are similarly surmised.

In original research in the 90s, I wanted to confirm that the examples in Wagner actually had the notch and this was not artists license, so I contacted the museums he cited for the originals. While they sent me photos of the original swords, when asked, the officials typically claimed they 'had no idea what the notches were for'. This seemed surprising as these were primarily Czech museums, where Wagner had been a curator.
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Old 20th April 2017, 06:49 AM   #32
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These notches are at no way limited to Austian swords. There are Prussian cuirassier swords M 1732 with such a notch as well as Saxon cavalry swords M 1764. The foto shows the the tip of the Prussian sword.
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Old 20th April 2017, 02:38 PM   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by corrado26
These notches are at no way limited to Austian swords. There are Prussian cuirassier swords M 1732 with such a notch as well as Saxon cavalry swords M 1764. The foto shows the the tip of the Prussian sword.
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Many thanks for posting this picture Corrado26! Any chance of seeing the whole sword including the tip?
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Old 20th April 2017, 04:48 PM   #34
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I hope the detail from Wagner might respond to your earlier question Victrix.
I agree, it would be great to see the photo of the sword with the tip.
That was why I wrote the those museums and got photos of the swords emphasizing the notched tip.

The British sword I mentioned has only in the description that the tip was notched, and apparently deliberately, not from damage. However this reference was in my notes and the source not cited (I cant believe I did that!) so useless for supportive evidence. I just know I saw it, and the sword was entirely out of East European context c. 1780.

There must be some account or reference in the military history corpus of these Austrian and Prussian cavalry in which this curious anomaly is noted. Occasionally such dimension and detail is noted in mention of the troopers field notching their blades perhaps.
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Old 20th April 2017, 09:04 PM   #35
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Yes, thank you very much Jim for raising the issue of notches on blades to my attention. If I come across information regarding this I will share it with you. We might not necessarily be able to solve the conundrum, but at least we'll be able to view the evidence and draw our own conclusions.
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Old 21st April 2017, 05:14 PM   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Victrix
Many thanks for posting this picture Corrado26! Any chance of seeing the whole sword including the tip?



I'll try to get such fotos -be patient please
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Old 21st April 2017, 05:54 PM   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Victrix
Yes, thank you very much Jim for raising the issue of notches on blades to my attention. If I come across information regarding this I will share it with you. We might not necessarily be able to solve the conundrum, but at least we'll be able to view the evidence and draw our own conclusions.



We have come a long way here Victrix! (remember this one has been 'on my books' for over 20 years! but honestly I have not lost sleep over it)
Even if we do not solve this, it is good to have the data at hand compiled for review, and we can at least find reasonable plausibility for the matter.
I very much appreciate discussing this with you and Corrado!
Lets stay at it !
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Old 21st April 2017, 08:03 PM   #38
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Found Anton Dolleczek's book Monographie der k.u.k. österr.-ung. blanken und Handfeuer-Waffen (1970) today by chance and looked at the swords from early 18thC. None of them have notches. Maybe these notches were not as common as Wagner's book seems to suggest (unintentionally), and added as a feature by some individual troopers at the time?
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Old 21st April 2017, 10:05 PM   #39
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Great find!!! This is an extremely hard to find reference (at least it was), but I have seen these plates before. Indeed this is a typology of these arms, but the notches not shown. Remember that it is my impression these were a field addition, not a regulation feature.
The examples depicted in Wagner were certainly anomalies, remember only five of all shown have these, and these were all weapons which had been in service collected in the museums noted. I thought perhaps these might have been artistic license, so I wrote to the museums cited by Wagner as I mentioned earlier. In each case, photographs of the actual weapons depicted in the drawings indeed had the notch! However, none of the officials had given this any notice, and had no idea what these were for.

Nice job in finding this reference!!! I always wanted one of those Austrian disc hilt M1769 since working on a history of the British M1796.
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Old 22nd April 2017, 06:24 AM   #40
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Here come two fotos of a Prussian husar sabre with a very faint notch at the back of its blade - maybe it is nothing else than a light damage....
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Old 22nd April 2017, 01:37 PM   #41
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Here are the fotos of a Prussian dragoon sword 1732 with a notch at the tip of its blade. Remarkable is the Prussian eagle mark on the blade what proofss that this blade is no Austrian lute but made and accepted in Prussia.
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Old 22nd April 2017, 03:44 PM   #42
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Beautifully done Corrado!!! You have done exactly what I was trying to do with letters to East European museums back in 1996, but the results then were pretty dismal. ....here you have shown that the Prussians indeed DID apply the notch.
Those double notches are like others seen, and are definitely NOT damage, they are deliberately placed.
Thank you so much!!!
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Old 22nd April 2017, 04:50 PM   #43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by corrado26
Here are the fotos of a Prussian dragoon sword 1732 with a notch at the tip of its blade. Remarkable is the Prussian eagle mark on the blade what proofss that this blade is no Austrian lute but made and accepted in Prussia.
corrado26


Yes well done Corrado26, you have just proved that the notches on blades are not limited to Austro-Hungarian swords but was a practice elsewhere too. Quod Erat Demonstrandum. Now we can quote you on that. Interestingly, the notched blade practice seems to have occurred mostly at the beginning of the 18thC.
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Old 22nd April 2017, 05:34 PM   #44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McDougall
Great find!!! This is an extremely hard to find reference (at least it was), but I have seen these plates before. Indeed this is a typology of these arms, but the notches not shown. Remember that it is my impression these were a field addition, not a regulation feature.
The examples depicted in Wagner were certainly anomalies, remember only five of all shown have these, and these were all weapons which had been in service collected in the museums noted. I thought perhaps these might have been artistic license, so I wrote to the museums cited by Wagner as I mentioned earlier. In each case, photographs of the actual weapons depicted in the drawings indeed had the notch! However, none of the officials had given this any notice, and had no idea what these were for.

Nice job in finding this reference!!! I always wanted one of those Austrian disc hilt M1769 since working on a history of the British M1796.


Yes Jim, Dolleczek's book in German was mostly text with some plates with illustrations at the back (also including Austro-Hungarian firearms and equipment). I'm surprised that there is not more literature dedicated to Austro-Hungarian sabres pre-1815, as these are very interesting and varied swords in themselves. I have struggled to find a copy of Hussar Weapons of the 15-17thC (2010) by Tibor S Kovacs which I understand is no longer available even in Budapest. The Austrian M1769 sabre is nice, but I personally wouldn't mind having an Austrian panzerstecher in my collection.
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Old 23rd April 2017, 04:58 PM   #45
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Hi guys,
Was it already mentioned here that this kind of blade notch also appears in French swords, as in a Hussard model 1756 (per Jean Bink), for one... and also in a 1796 British Cavalry sword (per Jeff Demetrick) ... and in a Hussard P1808 (as in Wilkinson - Latham) as well ?.
Looks like this was an 'international' fashion, with ones copying others, regardless of the sword style, whether with one or two notches, with no precise dimensions, surely an intervention of individual iniative. Would it be hard to admit that, as most (all?) current sword enthusiasts keep wondering what these notches were for, also some period owners had these cuts done without knowing their purpose, other than one showing the tough owner's look fashion ... like in other cases that history tells us, you know, notches in revolvers butts ... and not only ?


.
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Old 23rd April 2017, 05:55 PM   #46
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fernando
Hi guys,
Was it already mentioned here that this kind of blade notch also appears in French swords, as in a Hussard model 1756 (per Jean Bink), for one... and also in a 1796 British Cavalry sword (per Jeff Demetrick) ... and in a Hussard P1808 (as in Wilkinson - Latham) as well ?.
Looks like this was an 'international' fashion, with ones copying others, regardless of the sword style, whether with one or two notches, with no precise dimensions, surely an intervention of individual iniative. Would it be hard to admit that, as most (all?) current sword enthusiasts keep wondering what these notches were for, also some period owners had these cuts done without knowing their purpose, other than one showing the tough owner's look fashion ... like in other cases that history tells us, you know, notches in revolvers butts ... and not only ?


Thank you, Fernando. That seems to expand the time period for these sword notches to include all of the 18thC! I saw some hunting knives with notches used for gutting game. I hope the troopers didn't use the notches on their blades to gut their opponents! It appears unlikely, as the grip would have been different and I can only see those notches on modern hunting knives...

But perhaps you are right in that it could have been some kind of show of bravado.
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Old 23rd April 2017, 07:11 PM   #47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Victrix
Yes Jim, Dolleczek's book in German was mostly text with some plates with illustrations at the back (also including Austro-Hungarian firearms and equipment). I'm surprised that there is not more literature dedicated to Austro-Hungarian sabres pre-1815, as these are very interesting and varied swords in themselves. I have struggled to find a copy of Hussar Weapons of the 15-17thC (2010) by Tibor S Kovacs which I understand is no longer available even in Budapest. The Austrian M1769 sabre is nice, but I personally wouldn't mind having an Austrian panzerstecher in my collection.


Austrian M1769 sword, and not sabre, I mean obviously!
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