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Sam Arwas




Location: Australia
Joined: 02 Dec 2015

Posts: 79

PostPosted: Sat 14 Jan, 2017 7:21 pm    Post subject: Can you make a sword that's good at everything?         Reply with quote

I saw a video on YouTube by Snapjelly where he says it's impossible to make a sword that excels in every aspect however you can make a sword that is bad at everything. He uses the 1796 spadroon (absolutely not to be confused with the fearsome 1796 light cavalry sabre) as his example because of it's ineffective cutting ability, ineffective thrust and lack of hand protection. If those are the only qualities a sword needs I can think of several types that have a good cut, good thrust and good hand protection.

The other two factors I can think of are balance and reach. I don't think there is an "ideal" balance for a sword but generally speaking if it's intended use is for thrusting only then it's better for it to balance closer to the hand. If it's also for cutting then it should be as far out as it can while keeping it controlable, but controlable is subjective.

The only real wildcard I see here is reach. If there was such thing as a perfect blade length then all sword would have it.
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Ben Joy




Location: Missouri
Joined: 21 May 2010
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PostPosted: Sat 14 Jan, 2017 8:45 pm    Post subject: Re: Can you make a sword that's good at everything?         Reply with quote

Sam Arwas wrote:
I saw a video on YouTube by Snapjelly where he says it's impossible to make a sword that excels in every aspect however you can make a sword that is bad at everything. He uses the 1796 spadroon (absolutely not to be confused with the fearsome 1796 light cavalry sabre) as his example because of it's ineffective cutting ability, ineffective thrust and lack of hand protection. If those are the only qualities a sword needs I can think of several types that have a good cut, good thrust and good hand protection.

The other two factors I can think of are balance and reach. I don't think there is an "ideal" balance for a sword but generally speaking if it's intended use is for thrusting only then it's better for it to balance closer to the hand. If it's also for cutting then it should be as far out as it can while keeping it controlable, but controlable is subjective.

The only real wildcard I see here is reach. If there was such thing as a perfect blade length then all sword would have it.

I think you already answered your own question in that it's not possible. Various swords serve various purposes; and the same goes for any weapon, really. Focusing on swords, whether it's a cutting sword, thrusting sword, anti-cavalry sword, a civilian or out-on-the-town "riding" sword, a hunting sword, a theatrical stage-combat sword, or anything else . . . they're designed to excel in their specific purpose or fit certain demands.

Even a well balanced "all purpose" sword isn't going to excel at everything. It might be decent for just about any situation, but something purpose built will do a better job at its specific task; and if the "all purpose" sword is up against a specialist weapon in its ideal use (for example, "all-purpose" sword vs. a cavalry rider with a long-reaching cavalry sabre), then you've technically got a terrible weapon for the task at hand.

Then again, the concept of an "all purpose" or "well balanced" sword might mean different things to different people; and that opens up a whole other can of worms.

"Men take only their needs into consideration, never their abilities." -Napoleon Bonaparte
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Nathan Robinson
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PostPosted: Sun 15 Jan, 2017 2:39 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Nothing can be made that excels at everything. Nothing in the world.
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Mark Moore




Location: East backwoods-assed Texas
Joined: 01 Oct 2003
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PostPosted: Sun 15 Jan, 2017 3:31 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It's my own personal opinion, but for me, a good bastard sword is kind of the 'Jack of all trades' of the sword world. You have reach, cut and thrust ability, good balance, one or two-handed use, and with the proper hilt--decent hand protection. I won't site any SPECIFIC sword. All of these factors would depend on the point of view and experience of the person wielding it. What's good for me may not be as good for you. Everybody will have their own personal best. But, yes, no sword can do it all perfectly. On a side note: Boy, am I glad to see a little life here in the forums! NOBODY was online yesterday. Very few posts. I thought for a minute there might have been a zombie apocalypse or something! Laughing Out Loud Then again, maybe I just don't have anything better to do. WTF?! Laughing Out Loud ............McM
''Life is like a box of chocolates...'' --- F. Gump
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Glen A Cleeton




Location: Nipmuc USA
Joined: 21 Aug 2003

Posts: 1,810

PostPosted: Sun 15 Jan, 2017 4:28 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ah, the much maligned and misunderstood spadroon. Check out his video at 4:30 when he described it as being used a lot during the War of the Roses Wink The fellow seems to have some neat swords and lots of time for video blogging but it is unfortunate that so many are turning to videos for information.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8xoO-2csqRc&t=112s

Cheers

GC
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Matthew Amt




Location: Laurel, MD, USA
Joined: 17 Sep 2003

Posts: 1,278

PostPosted: Sun 15 Jan, 2017 8:00 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mark Moore wrote:
It's my own personal opinion, but for me, a good bastard sword is kind of the 'Jack of all trades' of the sword world.


Pfft. Try handing one to a Roman legionary or Greek hoplite. Heck, even an 18th century sailor on a boarding party would rather have a cutlass.

If "reach" is such a big issue, you need to get closer. Or get a pike! Nyah nyah...

Quote:
But, yes, no sword can do it all perfectly.


Bingo.

Quote:
I thought for a minute there might have been a zombie apocalypse or something!


We will eat your brain.

Matthew
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Mark Moore




Location: East backwoods-assed Texas
Joined: 01 Oct 2003
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PostPosted: Sun 15 Jan, 2017 11:14 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Gosh, Matthew...I didn't know you liked pickled brains, or I would have sent them to you a long time ago! Laughing Out Loud ......McM
''Life is like a box of chocolates...'' --- F. Gump
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Ralph Grinly





Joined: 19 Jan 2011

Posts: 315

PostPosted: Fri 20 Jan, 2017 10:11 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I don't think you can ever have a "perfect/all round sword". All swords have to be judged realisticly against the weapons/armours/fighting styles of the times they were in use. One instance..the roman gladius was in use for several hundred years with relatively little modification. For the Roman legionary, it was apparently the perfect weapon for their style of combat. When their style of warfare changed, so did the gladius, it turned into the longer, slashing spatha

At the opposite end of the sword using period, you have the British P1908 Cavalry sword..it was claimed to be the "perfect" cavalry sword..but, in reality, what it was was a relatively heavy, sword hilted short lance..virtually useless for anything apart from thrusting. It never really got a decent combat testing. By the time it was issued, mounted cavalry was for all practical purposes useless on the field of combat. Apart from one or two very minor skirmishes in the early days of WW1, the days of cavalry vs cavalry charges was long gone, and so was the sword as a 'practical' weapon of combat.
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Timo Nieminen




Location: Brisbane, Australia
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PostPosted: Sat 21 Jan, 2017 2:34 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ralph Grinly wrote:
By the time it was issued, mounted cavalry was for all practical purposes useless on the field of combat. Apart from one or two very minor skirmishes in the early days of WW1, the days of cavalry vs cavalry charges was long gone, and so was the sword as a 'practical' weapon of combat.


Cavalry was reasonably successful in WW1. Not so much on the Western Front, except in the periods of mobile warfare early in the war and in 1918 (when it was sometimes very, very useful), but even there, cavalry was sometimes useful during the static phases (but that was unusual). On fronts where forces stayed mobile, cavalry was important. Not for cavalry vs cavalry fighting, but for scouting and mobility. Note that the Eastern Front wasn't a sideshow - about 15 million casualties in the east, vs 13 in the west.

With mechanisation, scouting could be provided by armoured cars and other reconnaissance vehicles (not necessarily armoured - motorbikes were common), and mobility by mechanised infantry and artillery forces (and tanks). Cavalry was vulnerable and expensive, and when their key tasks could be performed by cheaper and/or less vulnerable forces, cavalry disappeared. But that came after WW1.

Australia began WW1 with no cavalry - doctrine for the Australian Light Horse was that they would fight as mounted infantry, and perform the reconnaissance role of cavalry (the idea was that it worked for the Boers, and it would work in Australia for defence against invasion). Since they weren't going to fight mounted, they didn't need swords, and didn't have swords. That worked well for the Light Horse units that went to the Western Front, but those in Palestine found they could usefully fight mounted. Late in the war, half the LH were issued swords, and they'd essentially changed to cavalry. They were successful with the 1908 sword; I haven't read any particular praise or criticism of the 1908 based on that use. Perhaps it was a nice improvement over the bayonets they'd been using before getting swords.

"In addition to being efficient, all pole arms were quite nice to look at." - Cherney Berg, A hideous history of weapons, Collier 1963.
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Ralph Grinly





Joined: 19 Jan 2011

Posts: 315

PostPosted: Sun 22 Jan, 2017 12:12 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I guess I wasn't being too clear. In saying that cavalry was relatively useless..I was refering to the classical idea of the cavalry purists..the massed charges of cavalry vs cavalry. There was, in the mind of the cavalry purists, no "glory" in riding down infantry or merely scouting. "Glory and fame/reputation" was only in meeting and defeating your opposite mounted cavalrymen. As for Australia..we never really had "cavalry"..what we had we Mounted Infantry. The idea was that we rode into battle, then dismounted to fight as infantry..that was the original idea, although we wound up taking on a more cavalry-like function as WW1 progressed
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Timo Nieminen




Location: Brisbane, Australia
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PostPosted: Sun 22 Jan, 2017 2:24 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The function of cavalry was to help win battles. If cavalry vs cavalry action didn't further that aim, then it was wrong.

In Europe, for many hundred of years, the three main jobs of cavalry were to attack enemy missile troops (archers, artillery, musketeers - that's why English archers fought behind field fortifications and/or armoured infantry, pre-bayonet musketeers were protected by pikemen, etc), to force enemy infantry to stay fixed in formation, so that your own missile troops can kill them, and to stop enemy cavalry from doing those things. It's rock-paper-scissors in action, and going off and seeking cavalry vs cavalry action is just scissors vs scissors and often useful. Nadezhda Durova (who fought as a lancer, so she had the experience to know) commented on this - cavalry could be very glorious, dashing about this way and that, but often achieved very little, while the infantry advance was the Real Thing.

The point was just that the 1908 did see action in battle, and was satisfactory for its purpose. Keeping in mind that the cavalry equipped with it also carried the SMLE rifle (and bayonets), it was only going to be used on horseback, so it didn't need to be a good sword for use on foot. AFAIK, apart from comments along the line of the King's "hideous", it produced less criticism than its predecessors (French's comment on the earlier swords, "I think that the present cavalry sword is the very worst that could possibly be used by mounted troops" is more extreme than most, but there was plenty).

"In addition to being efficient, all pole arms were quite nice to look at." - Cherney Berg, A hideous history of weapons, Collier 1963.
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