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Old 13th January 2021, 06:44 PM   #1
Multumesc
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Default Sword briquet

I have this sword.According to the signals, it seems to be a FRENCH MODEL 1790.I find it interesting that,the blade is not sharp along its entire length, .It is only half sharp,to the tip of the sword.What is the explanation .Or were some swords distributed to the soldiers, unsharpened??Were some swords made that way? Thanks.
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Old 13th January 2021, 06:48 PM   #2
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Old 13th January 2021, 08:53 PM   #3
David R
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Sharpening a sword is like loading a gun, it is only done in a western army when ordered by the command, it's a court marshal offence ( usually) to do so without permission As for where a blade is sharpened, because of differences in martial techniques, Western swords tend to be sharpened in the foible, and Eastern along the full length.
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Old 13th January 2021, 09:12 PM   #4
M ELEY
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Very nice briquet. As discussed before with these types, many were infantry swords, but some definitely were for sea service. It is an interesting side note that many boarding cutlasses did NOT have a sharpened blade except at the extreme tip. The reason for this is that in the close quarters of a ship, a favorite tactic was to strike for an opponent's head with the 'dull' end, knocking them senseless, splitting their scalp open and taking the fight out of them. This was such a common tactic that the Americans came up with a leather padded boarding helmet to cushion the noggin. Maritime reports of battle injuries from tactics such as this show many head injuries, concussions, fractured skulls, etc. A full slash on a crowded deck was often impossible, but an overhead bashing was more practical. Does your sword have any stamps on it, perhaps of a tiny anchor?
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Old 13th January 2021, 09:33 PM   #5
Jim McDougall
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As David has noted, one of the biggest problems with military swords was the fact that they were often, if not typically, inadequately sharpened. In India, it is noted that the British cavalry had been dissatisfied with the cutting power or lack thereof of their sabers. They were dismayed at the horrifying cuts of the native warriors swords, only to discover that their swords carried blades from now obsolete M1796 sabers, but honed razor sharp and well oiled, kept in wood scabbards.

In the American Civil War, the cavalry was inadequately trained with the M1840 heavy dragoon saber (why it was called the 'old wristbreaker' ) and the inclination for sharpening was as noted, only as per ordered. Discipline among ranks was not exactly impressive, and men were inclined to worry more about guns than swords.
Literature I have read on sword injuries in the Civil War indicate few, hardly any, sword cut injuries, and those reported were 'blunt force trauma'.

As Mark well indicates, the use of a sword pommel or upper blade as a blunt weapon is more than common in close quarters melee, which would often be the case on ship decks.
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Old 15th January 2021, 12:59 PM   #6
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After some reports along two centuries, the main use infantry troops gave to these swords was to chop wood for preparing their meals as there were not central kitchens. For wood, it is probably best a not too sharp edge.
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Old 15th January 2021, 06:24 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M ELEY
Very nice briquet. As discussed before with these types, many were infantry swords, but some definitely were for sea service. It is an interesting side note that many boarding cutlasses did NOT have a sharpened blade except at the extreme tip. The reason for this is that in the close quarters of a ship, a favourite tactic was to strike for an opponent's head with the 'dull' end, knocking them senseless, splitting their scalp open and taking the fight out of them. This was such a common tactic that the Americans came up with a leather padded boarding helmet to cushion the noggin. Maritime reports of battle injuries from tactics such as this show many head injuries, concussions, fractured skulls, etc. A full slash on a crowded deck was often impossible, but an overhead bashing was more practical. Does your sword have any stamps on it, perhaps of a tiny anchor?


it's quite common for the forte to be unsharpened, thus better for parrying an opponent without notching your blade, the foible would be sharp, especially the 'sweet spot'. Thrusting swords might even only have the first 6 inches or so sharp, as that's more than enough to kill.
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