cavalry sabre rigging

This is for Discussions about Napoleonic History only.
User avatar
waldo pepper
Villein
Villein
Posts: 41
Joined: Sat Jun 12, 2004 5:12 pm
Location: USA

cavalry sabre rigging

Postby waldo pepper » Tue Sep 13, 2005 4:57 am

Cav sabres were rigged to hanger straps that were 1.5 to 2 feet below the belt. This makes the sabre so low that its very difficult to draw.

Does anyone know what was the reason for such lengthy hanger straps?

wp

User avatar
JK
Gentleman
Gentleman
Posts: 273
Joined: Tue Jun 07, 2005 9:06 am
Location: Worcestershire, U.K.

Postby JK » Tue Sep 13, 2005 10:45 am

This is a guess.

When you are astride a horse you will find your sabre hangs in the right place for drawing it when mounted.

JK.

User avatar
Arman
Baronet
Baronet
Posts: 2778
Joined: Thu Jul 15, 2004 7:47 am
Location: Greece

Postby Arman » Tue Sep 13, 2005 11:29 am

Usually it's westerners tha have such desing. In Eastern cavalry sabre is closer to the belt.

User avatar
Lady Meg
Honourary Lord
Honourary Lord
Posts: 7466
Joined: Wed May 26, 2004 4:57 pm
Location: Kissimmee, Florida
Contact:

Postby Lady Meg » Tue Sep 13, 2005 7:19 pm

This may just be me, but would they not position their hangers where ever they pleased in order to find the faster draw time for each individual? They may have been issued that way, but they could surely be raised or lowered whatever the case may be.

Perhaps they were lowered for horsemen because the hilt of the weapon would sit uncomfortably on their lower torso? JK's idea holds water with me too.

Where did you find this information? I've seen recreations of cavalry units with their sabers hanging directly parellel with the riders legs. The saber is lower down on the body, but I do not believe that it would have caused any delay that would be of any concern.

Devoirs The Empress
"Act well your part, there all the honour lies." -Pope

"England Expects That Every Man Will Do His DUTY" - Nelson via Mr. Pasco at Trafalgar 1805

User avatar
Arman
Baronet
Baronet
Posts: 2778
Joined: Thu Jul 15, 2004 7:47 am
Location: Greece

Postby Arman » Tue Sep 13, 2005 7:34 pm

The Answers is very simple. The longer saber the lower it have to be fixed, so that distance from the sheath to the raised arm is more than length of weapon otherwise it would be imposible to pull it out :-)
Easterners used short and curved sabbers that was easy to pull out even if it's fixed on the belt, because length between belt and raised arm is more than length of the saber.
Europeans used almost 1m long swords that's very hard to pull if it's fixed on the belt. So if was fixed bellow the belt on the long straps. Cavalry men could pull it with one hand wholding holding sheath with another. Long straps were providing enought freedom for the way how this sword could be pulled out, as well as distance to do it.
Last edited by Arman on Tue Sep 13, 2005 7:38 pm, edited 2 times in total.

User avatar
Lady Meg
Honourary Lord
Honourary Lord
Posts: 7466
Joined: Wed May 26, 2004 4:57 pm
Location: Kissimmee, Florida
Contact:

Postby Lady Meg » Tue Sep 13, 2005 7:36 pm

Too true Arman, very simple answer. Thank you. :)

Devoirs The Empress
"Act well your part, there all the honour lies." -Pope



"England Expects That Every Man Will Do His DUTY" - Nelson via Mr. Pasco at Trafalgar 1805

User avatar
Tayside
Villein
Villein
Posts: 21
Joined: Fri Aug 05, 2005 1:22 pm
Location: Fyn, Denmark
Contact:

Postby Tayside » Tue Sep 13, 2005 8:41 pm

As I have done service in the DK Guard Husars, I can only give Arman right.
When we did Guard service we mountet on horses and the saber was low?ert to make it possible to draw it. :)
H.Sanderhus, 1st/FJR. (www.milsim.dk)

"Cause I went home on a Friday night, as drunk as drunk could beee. I saw a head upon the bed, where my own head should be, so I,..." ect ect. :D

User avatar
waldo pepper
Villein
Villein
Posts: 41
Joined: Sat Jun 12, 2004 5:12 pm
Location: USA

Postby waldo pepper » Wed Sep 14, 2005 2:18 am

Thanks guys. I knew there must be a practical answer.

To answer Meg's question: I have an American Civ War repro sabre belt with hangers of the length I mentioned. On foot the sabre is difficult to draw because its so low. Hence my question.

On a related note, cav carbines were shortened versions of inf muskets so they could be reloaded on horseback.

Thanks,

wp

User avatar
Arman
Baronet
Baronet
Posts: 2778
Joined: Thu Jul 15, 2004 7:47 am
Location: Greece

Postby Arman » Wed Sep 14, 2005 11:08 am

waldo pepper wrote:To answer Meg's question: I have an American Civ War repro sabre belt with hangers of the length I mentioned. On foot the sabre is difficult to draw because its so low. Hence my question.
wp

European style cavalry pools swords far before charge, so it wasn't big proble, they didn't need to hold composite bow in one hand and pull the sword with another.

User avatar
Miles Gloriosus
Gentleman
Gentleman
Posts: 164
Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 10:32 pm
Location: Upper Canada

Postby Miles Gloriosus » Wed Sep 28, 2005 6:51 pm

waldo pepper wrote:To answer Meg's question: I have an American Civ War repro sabre belt with hangers of the length I mentioned. On foot the sabre is difficult to draw because its so low. Hence my question.

wp


There *should* be a small hook or latch to hitch up the sword while walking on foot. This is to say I have such a hook on my 20th c. Sam Browne belt......your repor migh A) be missing this little detail because the makers skimped or B) It is an accurate reflection of hastily-made issue kit purchased from the lowest bidder by a paniky government.

I recall an anecdote from Ken Burn's Civil War series concerning the profits to be made selling stuff (sometimes inferior stuff) to the armies in the Civil War. A soldier had bougt some shoes from a sutler, after they fell apart after a day's marching the soldier confronted te sutler who told him the shoes where "intended for te cavalry!" :lol:

Note how the sergeant's scabbard clears the ground. In other examples, the sword when hooked up ends up being hung "backwards" with the edge facing to te rear.
Weapons Cause Fear

User avatar
Miles Gloriosus
Gentleman
Gentleman
Posts: 164
Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 10:32 pm
Location: Upper Canada

Postby Miles Gloriosus » Wed Sep 28, 2005 7:03 pm

While we're on the topic of sword hangings, I always wondered why portraits of French courtiers in the rein of Louis XIV always wore their smallswords so low. Often the hilt rests just at the tips of the fingers when the arm lies flat along the side. While it is not so low as to drag on the floor (this may also be due to the shortness of the smallsword) it's still requires one sink donw low by bending the knees to reach the hilt (I've tried it) as the correct fighting position is with well bent knees this didn't seem like a problem but it failed to explain why they where hung so low.

While reading this post I got a "EUREKA" moment. The sword is perfectly slung for RIDING! The status-conscious French aristocracy took great pains to display the symbols of their rank. The sword (even in an atrophied form) is a noble priviledge and an indicator of the origins of the the Second Estate. So is being MOUNTED, this is just as inportant a link to the origins of noble privilege. This man is saying he can both ride and fight as befitting his rank.

Just to be clear, a smallsword was never used on horseback in a cavalry mode it's purpose is mostly symbolic. It is still an effective weapon but one intended for a narrow range of use.
Weapons Cause Fear


Return to “The Napoleonic Library”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest