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Old 17th October 2021, 07:21 PM   #61
Jim McDougall
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Originally Posted by corrado26 View Post
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....
corrado26
When I first noticed the 'notches' in the drawings of Austrian swords in the Wagner book, I thought at first the same thing, must be damage.
But then as I looked at the other drawings (about 6 if I recall), they all had the same notch....then in reading the text, I found that Wagner had surmised these 'notches' were for aggravating wounds.

I checked the references for the source weapons Wagner had used, and wrote to the museums noted to acquire actual photos of the subject weapons.
In each case, the photos revealed that the notches were indeed there.

In the case you have posted here, the blade has TWO very shallow notches. These clearly would serve no utility purpose, and why two?
It can be seen they are deliberately placed.
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Old 17th October 2021, 07:24 PM   #62
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My example of this type saber has the Hungarian arms but is not marked as to maker, and does have the same notch.
I personally do not think these notches have a utilitarian purpose, but perhaps something more symbolic. In the time researching these notches, there have been no satisfactory explanations to this curious feature on many Austrian swords.

Wagner states it was to worsen wounds, however, despite sounding viable, the truth of the matter is from what I found, this may cause the weapon to become lodged, thus disarming the user. Also, how would this apply to such a notch on the blade back of a saber? a cutting weapon.
Maybe the notch was a perceived advantage when used in a falso dritto or a montante sotto mano? The second cut if would tend to gut or emasculate an unarmored opponent. At the top of the stroke it could get to the face and eyes of an overextended opponent. With shorter blades it has been taught when the edge is just above eye level and move your blade down your opponent again. I don't know if these sabers have that kind of agility. The notches on cane cutters were used to bring an object to you. Either way it would appear to me to have created a natural place for the point to snap.

Last edited by Interested Party; 17th October 2021 at 07:33 PM. Reason: clarification
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Old 17th October 2021, 07:39 PM   #63
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JT88,
In your original post you noted LeMarchant and his creation of the British light cavalry saber in 1796. Indeed he did model his proposals for the first 'regulation' cavalry swords in 1796, both for light and heavy cavalry.

The famed 'disc hilt' sword for heavy cavalry was designed nearly exactly from the M1769 Austrian pallasche, and the light cavalry sabers were primarily after Austrian examples as well. Le Marchant had been posted with Austrian cavalry in Flanders and had very much admired their dexterity and effect with their swords.
His keen awareness of the needs for more efficient and standardized swords for the cavalry are well described in his biography "Scientific Soldier" by Thoumaine.

John Morgan wrote brilliant articles on these in "Classic Arms and Militaria" about 20 years ago, and I recall corresponding with him as at that time I was researching both British disc hilts as well as these notched blades.

I recall that then, I had hoped that material on LeMarchant would bring out perhaps some comments or observations on these notched blades. However, even reaching one of his descendants in England brought no notice of this curious feature.
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Old 17th October 2021, 07:46 PM   #64
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Maybe the notch was a perceived advantage when used in a falso dritto or a montante sotto mano? The second cut if would tend to gut or emasculate an unarmored opponent. At the top of the stroke it could get to the face and eyes of an overextended opponent. With shorter blades it has been taught when the edge is just above eye level and move your blade down your opponent again. I don't know if these sabers have that kind of agility. The notches on cane cutters were used to bring an object to you. Either way it would appear to me to have created a natural place for the point to snap.

Very well placed notes, and actually I did contact several 'Masters of Arms' to ask for their opinions on this 'notching'. They honestly had no idea what useful purpose these would serve (I think I still have the letters but its been nearly 20 years).
The note on the potential for weakening the point seems reasonable as well.
This would be the case regardless of what the intended use was.
The idea of holding a cooking pot over a fire seems unlikely as well, as the blade could be damaged by the heat as previously noted.
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Old 17th October 2021, 08:17 PM   #65
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JT88,
In your original post you noted LeMarchant and his creation of the British light cavalry saber in 1796. Indeed he did model his proposals for the first 'regulation' cavalry swords in 1796, both for light and heavy cavalry.

The famed 'disc hilt' sword for heavy cavalry was designed nearly exactly from the M1769 Austrian pallasche, and the light cavalry sabers were primarily after Austrian examples as well. Le Marchant had been posted with Austrian cavalry in Flanders and had very much admired their dexterity and effect with their swords.
.
I'm aware of LeMarchant's background and his Austrian inspiration for the 1796's working with various British smiths.

I'm trying to find more information on Pottenstein, the resources are nil. The 1765 production start date doesn't make sense with the 1749 blade posted on the first page.

I have a feeling Steiner's uncle Melchior began sword production prior to the listed 1780 date, he was born in 1730 and was "a respected merchant and industrialist." That timeline would jive with 1749 marked Pottenstein blade.

As for the trim of silver vs brass uniforms, I can find nothing that distinguishes this sword as it seems uniquely silver vice the usual brass. Hopefully corrado knows more.
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Old 17th October 2021, 09:50 PM   #66
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Hi Jim, Thank you so much for posting photos of your interesting pandour sword! In fact it’s the first time I see what it really looks like, as I had only seen Wagner’s drawing of it before. It’s a very interesting sword for what was an interesting corps to say the least. It’s amazing that it also has the curious notch. I noticed that your blade appears to have a second fuller near the back towards the tip, which is also unusual.

The Habsburg empire was a ”Hausmacht” or a dynastic power consisting of a number of separate countries united by their common crowned head which was the Kaiser: By the Grace of God Emperor of Austria, King of Hungary and Bohemia, Dalmatia, Croatia, Slavonia, Galicia, Lodomeria and Illyria; King of Jerusalem, etc. So the Kaiser was Emperor of Austria as well as king of all these other lands in a personal capacity. When he was removed from the throne after WWI (he never formally abdicated) the empire naturally disintegrated. There was an institution which was the Imperial and Royal Army (kaiserlich und königlich) which operated in the whole empire, and then there were national armies like the Royal Hungarian Home Guard (Honved) which existed in parallel. Famous corps like the hussars and pandours originated from the Hungarian lands (pre WWI borders) where they resisted Ottoman expansion into Europe. So they often used local Hungarian insignia rather than the Imperial Austro (-Hungarian) ones on their uniforms, arms, flags etc. The imperial army probably looked down at them as not much better than brigands, but they impressed the rest of Europe when Austria used them in the 30 year war and onwards. The Holy Roman Empire was just a loose confederation of many German states, of which Austria was one.

Hungary was almost annihilated in the Ottoman wars and much of its territory devastated and occupied. So it’s not strange that there wasn’t much manufacturing going on in those war torn lands. I have read that there was some production of blades in what is now Slovakia (part of Hungary pre-WWI) which has mountains and iron ore. But as you mention, much was imported.

In terms of the notch on the blade I wouldn’t be surprised if its function was indeed what Wagner stated. The war against the Ottomans was desperate and quite cruel. Many of the soldiers stationed along the frontline in what was termed the Military Frontier were either defending their homes and families there, or were displaced refugees from lands already occupied by the Ottomans. So weapons were often designed to inflict as much physical harm as possible which is reflected in their dimensions and designs. There may have been certain bravado involved as well of course. As an example I would mention Corrado’s Pottenstein sabre which I noticed has an extremely wide blade (almost exaggerated) which I know was popular amongst the Slavic troops in the Military Frontier (located in pre-WWI borders Hungary) and probably local Hungarian troops as well. It positively looks like a meat cleaver! With regards to Austro-Hungarian silver sabres they do appear from time to time in auctions and seem to have had some sort of ceremonial function as they are obviously decorated at an expense greater than what was normal.
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Old 17th October 2021, 11:54 PM   #67
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Thank you Victrix!!!
As I noted, the profound complexity of all these principalities, duchies, etc. is so hard to grasp, at least for me. You have done a great job of condensing some of it for my limited comprehension!!

As you note, these irregular troops, known loosely as 'Pandurs' were known and feared for their ruthless character and indeed atrocities. Von Trenck himself was known for this type of reputation and much if not most of his life he was in trouble, even condemned to death for what amounts to war crimes etc.
He in fact was imprisoned and his units disbanded. He died in prison in 1749, and his mummified remains are in the Capuchin monastery in Brno.

Part of the intended demeanor of these forces was a fearsome 'oriental' look, scalp locks, drooping mustaches like mongols, cossacks etc. and exotic clothing along with fearsome looking weapons.
Many of these swords had dramatically profiled blades, large, dramatic curves, etc.

I still think that the notch was for perhaps that type of implication, to instill fear in accord with thier brutal reputation. In actual practicality, the notch would have been a hindrance. In most writing I have read on the serrated edges on blades, it is noted that this is the case.
The dreaded sawtooth bayonets of WWI for example:
Allied troops thought these were to worsen wounds, and were horrified at the thought of this.......any soldier found with one of this was dispatched on sight.

Psychological effect in warfare is key, and this kind of lore travels fast.
Imagine the tales of these wild forces, who deliberately 'hooked' their blades to eviscerate their victims.

It seems to fall neatly in place with the dreaded 'image' of the terrifying Pandurs. That reputation prevailed..........and into the next century, blades were adorned in hubris with the image of the Pandur. Sort of like exaggerated Bowie knives with 'Remember the Alamo'.
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Old 19th October 2021, 09:41 PM   #68
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Jim, I think you hit the nail on the head regarding the Pandours and the curious notch on the sword. Franziskus Freiherr von der Trenck must have been a remarkable man. I read what purports to be his auto-biography (some argue it’s a forgery) which is a highly entertaining and in some parts little sad story: Memoirs of the Life of the illustrious Francis Baron Trenck, Sometime Lord of the lBed- Chamber to her Majesty the Queen of Hungary and Bohemia. And Colonel of a Body of Pandours, and Sclavonian Hussars. Containing A compleat Account of his several Campaigns in Muscovy, Silesia, Austria, Bavaria and other Parts of the Empire, Together with Divers entertaining Anecdotes relating to his secret History. Written by himself, and done from the original German into English. London: printed for W. Owen, 1747. There are persistent rumours he had an affair with the Austrian empress which may at some time have turned sour and allowed his enemies to conspire to have him imprisoned. In addition, this report may also be of some interest: http://www.etd.ceu.edu/2015/balic_juraj.pdf.
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Old 19th October 2021, 10:34 PM   #69
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Thank you Victrix!
I just ordered a biography of von Trenck, and curious to see what it entails. This guy sounds quite self promoting and clearly was pretty ruthless, he was pretty much always in trouble but his 'bravery' led to his favor with superior officers.

Regarding the swords, that illustration you posted reflects the 'clipped point' which came into use in it seems a bit less dramatic profile on German swords of 18th c. I often wondered if these were artistic license in many of the period illustrations, but in "Schwert Degen Sabel" by Gerrhard Seifert (1962) in panels of blade types shows this exact tip as a 'PANDOUR POINT'.
Here we see the association which reflects the 'fearsome' demeanor of the Pandour weapons, which clearly were intended to present psychological threat to people they came in contact with.

This type effect was of course used by pirates in their maritime versions of these depredations, as well as Cossacks, Vikings, Mongols and other groups to present fearsome appearance before even any action.

There is a possibility he was imprisoned as a result of numbers of things, and may have used the 'laison' reason in a sense of hubris. It seems he was imprisoned numbers of times for his rather sociopathic behavior, so the true reason may be in accord with that issue.
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Old 26th October 2021, 12:17 AM   #70
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from my understanding these notches or "claws" are indeed primarilily intended to assist in collecting items from the ground, cloaks, coats, banners.. haversacks ect..

and then seocndary by some that it will produce a worse wound or a greater chance of a deep wound by an accidential swipe with the back of the blade. (for example you thrust overhand but miss and the person passes to the back of your sword sliding against the back edge and spine. some of these weapons have little back edge and would cause little or no harm..

and thirdly to make a bigger wound when withdrawn in a thrust.. (some notched swords look to be styles that can hardly thrust and some notches are not very sharp at all)

i think they serve all three functions and in soem cases one or two of the three.

but i suspect picking items from the ground is the main function,

these also i imagine were ground off swords by armourers and so we see it less often.

pickign items up with you sword is not an unushal activity and you can see footage fo cossacks doing it too.. a lil rough seciton would make it much easier.. poeple could and maybe did carry a stick or a hook as well but.... your a skilled horseman.. dashing and brave not a guy with a stick with a hook in it rummaging for loot...

the mongols, kalmyks ect had hooks and spikes on their spears for this function, as well as pulling tents down and dehorsing poeple for capture..
id imsgine thier loot sacks were filled with shiny things and gooddies with these hooks, id much rather a hook on a spear. but if you have a sword a nice little gooddie hook would be handy,


i think the hooks at the back of the blade as a weapon seems misguided, almost like a meme.. one person said its good so all did it. which is pretty common in military realms.
as remember there is much better things for this.. the yelman on the original mongol and turkic swords is exactly that, a broad blade to alow a deep destructive wound on the thrust an advantagis unintentional cut with the back of the blade in an overhand thrust, later it becomes decorative in more curved blades.
one would have been wiser to order a blade like that. but as they were limited to these issued blades with blades that didnt have these properties they modified them with barbs to cause some harm, if you were stuck with it it would indeed make a bit of tearing on the way out.

as to the blade catching, its not likely.. it will just pull free as if nothing happened. the notches are small and would just tear the target, would woundnt notice any difference.
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Old 26th October 2021, 05:15 AM   #71
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Ausjulius, you have put some deep thought into this and I appreciate your perspectives. However, I began studying this curious phenomenon back in the 90s, and reached the museums holding the swords Wagner (1967) depicted in his drawings. I wanted to confirm that these notches did exist in the actual sword blades, which they did.

In my communications with all of the officials contacted, none had any adequate idea on the notches, in fact seemed surprised there was any attention to the feature in the first place.
The only responses did somewhat echo Wagner's surmising these were to worsen wounds etc.

In various conversations with masters of arms in various regions, none of course had any thoughts on the case which was outside the bounds of regular fencing.

The only cases I found, as I have mentioned in my previous posts, these ONLY occurred on numerous example of Austrian swords, and this was by no means a usual or common practice of notching. The only exception I found was the suggestion of a couple of French hussar sabers having this. It should be noted that French hussars often closely followed Hungarian/Austrian in the 18th c.

So if these notches were such a prescribed practice for utility, worsening wounds or such pragmatic purposes.......why not on ANY other swords of ANY other countries?

Hooks, barbs etc. may be common on axes, polearms but NOT the kind of thing you would see on a standard combat side arm like a sword.

The notches are too shallow to effectively hold things picked up from the ground, unless perhaps to snag an item of clothing or material.
Why would a horseman compromise his blade for such nonsense?

The 'yelman' was NEVER intended for thrusting or any such purpose with the blade. The Poles called this feature colloquially 'the feather' , and its purpose was to add weight and momentum to the slashing cut. This has been made clear to me by sources who were Polish military history authorities, and the same purpose seems logically applied to other blades with this feature.

Sword 'catching' features are typically presumed as pragmatic explanation as in actual combat, such a 'catch' would seem almost surprising and coincidental.

In the thrust, which in combat was nearly always fatal, why would a wound need to be worsened, and with the potential of the blade becoming lodged in the victim?

These are just the views I have come up with in the years I've studied this, but I really appreciate input and exchange of ideas. Typically interest in this has been nominal at best, so thank you.
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Old 29th October 2021, 02:45 PM   #72
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Found some information on Pottenstein for y'all!

Source: https://www.blankwaffenforum.de/inde...&threadID=4120

"Pottenstein in the Triestingtal in Lower Austria

so a Pottensteiner blade , originated around / or. before 1780 Empress MT in

particularwanted topromote Austria as a closer location through its own production facilities for weapons (blanks and firearms) and supported corresponding initiatives. This resulted in several companies, of which Pottenstein was one of them. The saber blade factory in Pottenstein an der Triesting offered when it was relocatedfrom Sollenau in 1764/65 (founded there by Adam von Metzberg in 1754 ) under its new owner


Melchior Steiner from the new location ideal conditions:
relatively convenient proximity to Vienna , the flowing water of the Triesting, which does not freeze in winter and plenty of wood available for production.
In 1766 28 workers were already employed in the Pottensteiner saber blade factory , the annual production amounted to 12,000 blades ( also for pallasche and hussar sabers) , which became known far beyond the Austrian hereditary lands under the term "Pottensteiner" --- and probably still are . 1769
The company expanded and not far from the old factory was given another property assigned by the Merkenstein rulers , where an even newer blade factory was built. In 1786 Steiner's nephew, Melchior Ritter von Steiner, took over the business. In 1800 there were about 50 workers , only then did the slow decline come : in
1811 (great inflationary period in Austria, Napoleon) only 7 workers left , in 1814 (Napoleonic period) almost shutdown.
After Melchior von Steiner's death in 1837 , the plant was finally liquidated in 1841and converted into a cotton mill.
I ask for your support in resolving my questions about the saber - thank you!"
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