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Old 22nd October 2017, 08:48 AM   #1
Kubur
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Default Very strange sword

Hi,

I don't know where to put this sword in Ethno or European...
What is this and from where?
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Old 22nd October 2017, 10:06 AM   #2
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Combined sword/golf club?
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Old 22nd October 2017, 10:17 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kubur
Hi,

I don't know where to put this sword in Ethno or European...
What is this and from where?



That is the oddest sword I have seen in 50 years of collecting ! It is hard to even conceive a technique by which it would be used .... I wonder if Matt Easton of Schola Gladiatoria has encountered such a weapon ?
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Old 22nd October 2017, 11:23 AM   #4
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You can find some information here on this rather strange sword: http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...ight=sock+sword
I hope that this will be of some help.

Best,
Robert
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Old 22nd October 2017, 12:01 PM   #5
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Very interesting article ... I cannot go with the idea that it was used by the Spanish for hamstringing French horses ..... why go to all that trouble to design something so elaborate and requiring so much skill and daring to use ( with probably little hope of success ) when you can blast a cavalry charge with grape shot or canister from a safe distance ?
To me this looks more like a fashion statement sword ... an extreme expression of the taste for mameluke swords following Napoleon's invasion of Egypt , worn by the military equivalent of a Macoroni .
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Old 22nd October 2017, 04:05 PM   #6
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I like it. That sudden jag could dome someone efficiently with a mace like blow. And the way it changes the angle of the business part of the blade in downward draw cutting looks to be more ideal for an effective cut. Seems like one could even bring the point to bear and turn it out of a piercing without as much danger of it wrenching one's arm. Yeah it's odd looking. But it looks like it would be very effective in use from horse back on lower targets.

The only problem is if one gets taken off their horse and is forced to fight with it on foot. then I could see some issues. Potential lack of reach advantage. the angle of the cutting edge no longer being ideal when at level with an opponent. Inability to thrust effectively from on foot.

Likely why we don't see nothing but these from it's inception onward. Because it's a little too specialized for the real dynamics of the battlefield. Still a very interesting sword.
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Old 23rd October 2017, 02:46 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thinreadline
Very interesting article ... I cannot go with the idea that it was used by the Spanish for hamstringing French horses ..... why go to all that trouble to design something so elaborate and requiring so much skill and daring to use ( with probably little hope of success ) when you can blast a cavalry charge with grape shot or canister from a safe distance ?
To me this looks more like a fashion statement sword ... an extreme expression of the taste for mameluke swords following Napoleon's invasion of Egypt , worn by the military equivalent of a Macoroni .



I very much agree with this. As the link posted shows, one of these in more austere character, was discussed some years ago. These cannot have been a widely known form, and actually I do not believe they were weapons at all (not saying they might not have been called on for same, just as many implements and tools were).
It is my impression these were perhaps for foraging of fodder for horses.
The notion of characterizing this item as a sword was quite likely a sort of tongue in cheek gimmick perhaps, but could have well served as a kind of scythe to gather fodder.

Ideas like 'for hamstringing of horses' falls into the category of camp folklore much like the later idea of sawtooth bayonets intended to cause hideous wounding (they were saws for utility use).

Interesting to see one of these in what appears officers level dress, as it would seem these would have been for duties delegated to support forces rank and file.
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Old 23rd October 2017, 03:53 AM   #8
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Though not officers quality, here is a photo of todays version of this piece. Photo compliments of local hardware store add.

Best,
Robert
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Old 23rd October 2017, 01:13 PM   #9
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Most of the time collectors compare only widely known forms.
To progress and to improve our knowledge we have to accept things that we don't know, including new shapes and new swords.
Trying to understand and to explain the function and meaning of this sword will be really useful.
To me it's a sword and not a tool (what a luxuous scabbard for a tool)...

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Old 23rd October 2017, 03:17 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kubur
Most of the time collectors compare only widely known forms.
To progress and to improve our knowledge we have to accept things that we don't know, including new shapes and new swords.
Trying to understand and to explain the function and meaning of this sword will be really useful.
To me it's a sword and not a tool (what a luxuous scabbard for a tool)...



As a real sword, it must be awful in combat. It is extremely front-heavy, which is a major disadvantage in combat, makes the sword slow and uncomfortable to swing. It needs a lot of power for correct movements from one ward to another (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ward_(fencing)). I think it is a parade-sword or something with a religious background.

Roland
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Old 23rd October 2017, 03:17 PM   #11
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I have to agree with Kubur. This seems to be more than a tool to me. And not only is it a fancy scabbard for a tool, it has two rings to enable it to be carried as a sword as do the scabbards of other examples of this same weapon that we have seen. Obviously it has some specialized purpose given it's bizarre shape, but this wouldn't be the first odd sword form we have discussed on this forum, would it? I'm not convinced that this sword was meant for hamstringing horses. It seems a two-handed sword would be more useful for that task. But we have seen enough of these swords to know they are not simply a fanciful aberration. I agree that trying to understand it's purpose will be much more useful to this forum than simply writing off what we don't yet fully understand as simply being a tool.
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Old 23rd October 2017, 10:38 PM   #12
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Here it's all the information that I got... very little...
1809
Spain, 1st Empire, sword used by Spanish light cavalry to cut the horse's shanks of French heavy cavalry, unit dissolved just after Waterloo...
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Old 23rd October 2017, 11:12 PM   #13
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Still wondering if not for hamstringing, perhaps for cutting the saddle strap to unhorse your opponent? Or snagging his clothes/knocking him from the saddle. Hey, it would allow the Spanish to try and capture the horse during the fray.

And speaking of weapons/tools with an odd purpose (to show that sleeve catchers and saddle straps cutters aren't impossible)-

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tsukub%C5%8D
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Old 24th October 2017, 03:42 AM   #14
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Really interesting discussion, and picking up where we left off some seven years ago. There is no doubt that there is an unfortunate truth in the deliberate disabling of a horseman by attacking his mount. One I found some years ago involved striking at the reins or bridle, thus the rider lost control of his horse.
I also recall a painting by Meissonier of a Napoleonic French officer on rearing horse looking to the rear with his sword raised, and it was referred to as 'rear guard', thus defending his horse being attacked (hind legs?).
I do not have that material presently, but thought it pertinent.

However, it is hard to imagine a sword designed specifically for such a distasteful action, yet virtually useless and awkward in NORMAL cavalry combat. Was this perhaps a special cadre of the unit with just this purpose?
Or was this weapon carried for such use, then the rider switched to the normal sabre for action otherwise engaged in the melee?

In 9 years, we have seen only two of these curious 'weapons', and the only reference we have as to their use is a specious display tag on one of them. One is rather austere in character, while the other is more elaborately mounted as if for an officer.

Even the action of disabling horses in battle is seldom addressed as a specific tactic, let alone given a specifically designed tool/weapon for this purpose. I am most curious about the interesting reference noted on the Spanish 1st Empire instance. Perhaps that might provide clues or a cited reference.

As has been noted, actions such as disabling horses, whether reins, bridle, hamstringing, cinch or whatever....these were achieved using the conventional weapons, not specially designed ones which would be awkward in the rest of the action.

On the other hand, tools cannot be discounted in combative use as many forms have been used as weapons, particularly polearms such as bill hooks and others such as machetes and implements like knives.

Interesting questions here, and looking forward to seeing if we can discover more.

* Fascinating entry on those Samurai police 'tools' Mark!!!!!
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Old 24th October 2017, 05:06 AM   #15
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I'm surprised no one has mentioned the passing similarity to the kopesh Although there are obviously a few millennium between the age of the kopesh's common use and the time of this example's manufacture, it seems such a weapon as pictured here could have been wielded in similar ways. Seems it would have been formidable against an armored foe, even of the bipedal type.
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Old 25th October 2017, 08:17 PM   #16
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Shayde, that was a very astute observation, and I know I hadn't thought of it.
While obvious an incredibly disparate chronological gap, it is of course well known that many relatively modern sword forms were made in an atavistic
spirit. It seems there have been some recalling the blade form of the khopesh, and I recall even the 'Black Sea yataghan' was at one point noted to be a modern descendant of these. Actually more to that form was an ancient Sumerian sword.

* below is image of the khopesh found in the tomb of Tutankhamen

Moving to some instances which refer to the attacking of the reins of the horse:

"...several of our officers had chain reins made for their regimental bridles, because in the last action the enemy had cut some of the bridles of the 3rd Light Dragoons with their SWORDS, by which the riders became powerless having lost all command of their horses. "
"Journal of a Cavalry Officer Including the Memorable
Sikh Campaign of 1845-46"
Willam Wellington Humbly (1854)

"...the 'Lochaber axe' had a broad blade, and often possessed a hook at the back, or an implement for cutting the reins of a mounted man, and this was the cause of the introduction, in some cases of reins of metal. "
"Weapons: A Brief Disclosure on Hand
Weapons other than Firearms"
B.E. Sargeaunt (1908)

In the first account, clearly the Sikhs were using their swords for this type of action, and as far as I know these were usually tulwars. It was noted by Capt.Lewis Nolan, who is best known for his place in the famed "Charge of the Light Brigade", that the Indian warriors feared for their remarkable swordsmanship in battle, often used old British cavalry blades (M1796) in their swords. He was a writer on military tactics and particularly on the cavalry horse. I do nor believe he ever mentioned 'hamstringing' of these mounts.

In any case, it does seem that disabling primarily the rider by removing his control of the horse was a paramount concept, and one wonders if there was really a compassionate side of mounted combatants which precluded harm to these horses. Obviously many horses were killed in battle, but in most cases it was as collateral casualties from gunfire or explosives or cannon fire.
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Old 25th October 2017, 11:24 PM   #17
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I have to say I think this is a grass cutting device for gathering fodder... However there are a few caveats to drop into the mix.

Count Gleichen (Guards Camel Corps) after the battle of Abu Klea, described the native weapons lying on the battle field thus:

"Arms of all sorts and broken banner-staves were scattered over the field; spears in hundreds, some of enormous length, javelins, knobkerries, hatchets, swords and knives, I even found a Birmingham bill-hook, with the trade-mark on it, in an Arab's hand, sharp as a razor and covered with blood and hair: how it got there I know not, so I confiscated it for the use of our mess."Unquote.

of knives it said ~

Quote" Knives offer the greatest variety in shape, decoration and materials used. They were double-edged and maintained at razor sharpness. The hooked blades were for hamstringing horses and transport animals, and were used with great effect against the 10th and 19th Hussars at El Teb."Unquote.
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Old 26th October 2017, 01:38 AM   #18
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I doubt there was that much sentiment for horses in old times during war when the focus must have been on personal survival. During the Battle of Lutzen in 1632 an Imperial commander Ottavio Piccolomini had no less than five horses killed under him.

With regards to the strange sword, arguably it does not seem to belong in the European theatre of war and I would not rule out that it’s purpose might be to hamstring camels in Africa? Camels are big animals and for a foot soldier the only way to reach the rider physically would be to first take down his mount. Foot soldiers equipped with this weapon would then likely try to repeat the feat on the enemy’s horses?
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Old 26th October 2017, 02:21 AM   #19
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Sure do wish somebody could find at least one more of these, and maybe with some context. While the label on the one example is interesting, some collaboration or mention of such use as described in contemporary literature would be great.
Hope it wont be another 9 years!!!
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Old 26th October 2017, 01:02 PM   #20
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I'm not sure I can see this as a combat weapon, it is just too strange. But I wouldn't be surprised if it had a specific purpose within the military. For example, some form of farrier's instrument, combing the dispatching of injured horses with crude butchery and maybe cutting and raking out hay bales etc.
Just a suggestion
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Old 26th October 2017, 04:31 PM   #21
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I think it might be for cutting hay bales
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Old 26th October 2017, 05:05 PM   #22
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hay bales? fodder? the japanese equivalent: my jingama i could shave with it too.
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Old 26th October 2017, 05:57 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kronckew
hay bales? fodder? the japanese equivalent: my jingama i could shave with it too.


Hmmm... interesting clip on the side Could it be a pirate’s jingama?
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Old 26th October 2017, 06:18 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Victrix
Hmmm... interesting clip on the side Could it be a pirate’s jingama?


no, it was used by mounted samurai, mostly for cutting fodder, it's be shoved into their sash, the clip held it from slipping out. also used as a secondary if they were surprised when using it, essentially a classy kama. (discussed elsewhere here)
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Old 30th October 2017, 09:28 AM   #25
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OK and what is this?
Do you think this shashqa was modified for the same purpose???
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Old 30th October 2017, 11:51 AM   #26
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Drawing it out may now present a bit of a problem:-)
Poor Shashka... who might have had a crazy idea to mutilate her like that? KGB goons? “Midnight Express” jailers?
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