The Cavalry sabre is a curved, slashing sword. It was the Close-Range weapon of Napoleon Bonaparte.
Description[edit | edit source]
The sword Napoleon and his officers used was the Mameluke Sword; which evolved from the Turkish Kilij.
The cavalry sabre had a deeply curved, single-edged blade with a deep fuller and a clip point. The handle is hook-shaped with an S-guard. According to the show it was a modified version of an Egyptian tribal sword. The tested saber had a 44 inch (112 cm) long blade.
Stats[edit | edit source]
- Length: 44 inches
- Weight: 2.5 lbs
Uses[edit | edit source]
The calvary sabre was used primarily for slashing, particularly (as its name suggests) from horseback, although it could also be used for thrusting and is still effective for swordsmanship on foot. The sabre used on the show was based upon the sword carried by Napoleon at the Battle of Marengo. Sabers have been used for centuries, but the 1800s design has been based on the many past designs of this weapon. Although metallurgy of sabers decreased as warriors wore less and less armor and mass production in factories produced cheaper steel, sabers were still effective on the battlefield.
The Mameluke Sword originated from the Ottoman Empire and was introduced to Western armies before and during the Napoleonic Wars; used by French, English and American armies.
After the Napoleonic Wars; cavalry in the Western World would eventually shifted to using strait swords instead as horsemen began to prefer stabbing rather than slashing; although a curved saber was still just as effective in combat.
Cavalry and the cavalry saber lost popularity after World War I when machineguns, trench warfare and tanks made cavalry obsolete. Although conflicts such as the Russo-Japanese War proved cavalry lost its importance, traditionalists demanded to continue using cavalry only to end their charges in disastrous failure. The last cavalry sword design was the British Pattern 1908 (along with the 1912 officer variant and the US Patton 1913 variant). This sword was actually a strait sword as fencing became the dominant form of swordfighting at this time. The US Patton was designed by General George Patton; however it saw little action as by the time the US Army joined WWI, it became clear that horsemen could no longer charge into enemy lines without being quickly shot down.
Today, sabers are used for military ceremonies, but these swords aren't designed to kill, instead more of a decorative trophy.
Napoleon's Cavalry[edit | edit source]
 Napoleon considered cavalry to be a deciding factor in the victory of a battle, and was determined to have his cavalry to be professional and elite.
As Napoleon's empire and influence expanded, he acquired foreign cavalry into his army. The Polish Hussars were already famous across Europe for their skill and bravery when Napoleon enlisted them.
The Battle of Somosierra (November 30, 1808) had Napoleon facing Benito de San Juan's four lines of Spanish artillery positioned defensively in the Somosierra Pass Sierra de Guadarrama mountains. Napoleon noticed that the front Spanish artillery was exposed due to being too close to Napoleon's lines, and so ordered the Hussars to attack the cannons despite being bombarded by grapeshot. The Hussars achieved their goal of capturing the front line of Spanish artillery; however the commander of the Hussars, Jan Kozietulski, continued the charge to successfully capture the three other lines of artillery. The Spanish army, now without artillery support, retreated. Napoleon declared the Hussars 'My bravest cavalry!' in response. Benito de San Juan's army was so distraught by this defeat that many Spaniards mutinied and eventually executed Benito on 7 January 1809.