1796 LC swords with additional side bars

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Richard
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1796 LC swords with additional side bars

Post by Richard » Mon Feb 18, 2019 1:30 pm

A starter topic for our new forum:

As the 1796 light cavalry sword (sabre) began to be more heavily used in actual combat during the British involvement in the Peninsular campaigns of 1808-1814, so the sword became subject to a number of refinements designed to make it more effective as a fighting weapon. One such refinement was the additional of side bars to the hilt in order to give more protection to the hand. An example of one such sword which was owned by Major (later Lt. Col. ) James Bridger of the 12th Light Dragoons and which dates from c. 1814 is given below. The cross-guard has a loop attached on the outer side (difficult to see in the photo) from which two side bars then extend up to the pommel. It is almost a certainty that Bridger purchased this sword after his return from the Peninsula in 1814 and thus most likely to be the sword he carried at Waterloo in 1815 when he took command of the 12LD after Lt. Col. Sir Frederick Ponsonby was wounded (and presumed killed).

This particular sword of course has another common refinement or variation from the standard pattern in that it also has a pipe-back blade but that is another story ....

Richard
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Richard
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Re: 1796 LC swords with additional side bars

Post by Richard » Mon Feb 18, 2019 1:38 pm

Here is another example of a variant 1796 LC officer's sword with additional side bars which is in the collections of the National Army Museum (I cannot recall where I obtained these photos so I hope I'm not stepping on anyone's toes or breaching any copyright).

However, this particular sword is remarkable (and possibly unique?) in that the additional side bars are detachable - the side bars attach by a type of screw fixing at the pommel and there is a pin and hole type arrangement at the base where it sits on the crossguard.
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Gordon K. Byrne
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Re: 1796 LC swords with additional side bars

Post by Gordon K. Byrne » Mon Feb 18, 2019 8:34 pm

This particular sword has a quill-pointed blade marked Prosser, and was originally owned by an officer of the 3rd Bombay Light Cavalry.

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Re: 1796 LC swords with additional side bars

Post by Richard » Tue Feb 19, 2019 1:29 pm

Thank you Gordon. It seems that officers in the armies of India were always developing new ideas to improve weapons and make them more effective which I suppose is a consequence of being in situations where such weapons were constantly in use and your life could depend on their effectiveness.
Richard

JordanPL
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Re: 1796 LC swords with additional side bars

Post by JordanPL » Tue Feb 19, 2019 4:13 pm

That may have been me Richard 😀

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Richard
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Re: 1796 LC swords with additional side bars

Post by Richard » Tue Feb 19, 2019 4:26 pm

JordanPL wrote:
Tue Feb 19, 2019 4:13 pm
That may have been me Richard 😀
Well in that case, thank you Jordan and I hope you do not mind me posting. It is a fabulous sword.

Richard

JordanPL
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Re: 1796 LC swords with additional side bars

Post by JordanPL » Tue Feb 19, 2019 6:20 pm

Not at all Richard.
Last edited by JordanPL on Thu Feb 21, 2019 6:52 am, edited 3 times in total.

Bryce
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Re: 1796 LC swords with additional side bars

Post by Bryce » Tue Feb 19, 2019 10:34 pm

Unusual reversed "comma-shaped" ears on the back piece as well. I have seen another example with these same ears, but no removeable side bars.

Cheers,

Bryce

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Richard
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Re: 1796 LC swords with additional side bars

Post by Richard » Wed Feb 20, 2019 9:54 am

It wasn't only the 1796 LC sword that was varied by the addition of side bars to the guard - here is a 1788 pattern LC officer's sword with blade by Runkel and hilt/scabbard by Richard Johnston.
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Will
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Re: 1796 LC swords with additional side bars

Post by Will » Thu Feb 21, 2019 5:54 pm

Was there any change in hand protection that made the bars viable?

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