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Eric Allen




Location: Texas
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PostPosted: Sun 05 Feb, 2006 9:53 am    Post subject: The Modern Sword         Reply with quote

This seems to be the best place to bring up this discussion.

The other day, I was purusing various medieval-related sites while in my office at the University. My office-mate, a nice guy, but not a sword-nut, asked me a question that I actually found quite interesting:
I'm paraphrasing, but it went pretty much like this:

If someone were to make a sword today intended for use in today's world (we'll give him the caveat that someone might find themselves in a situation today where a sword would be desirable for self-defence or whatever), with access to all the metallurgy and knowledge we have today, what sort of metal would it be made out of? What would it look like? (i.e., would it be more rapier-like or more "broadsword"-like).

On the spot, I told him that it would probably still be made from steel, but as to the design, it would be left to personal taste.

Out of curiosity, what do y'all think?
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Michal Plezia
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PostPosted: Sun 05 Feb, 2006 10:50 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well I think fantasy-designs are not good-modern sword should look like medieval -they were perfect tool-prepared for heavy use.Maybe only diference will be material-titanium or stainless steel,kydex grip... Razz
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Polish Guild of Knifemakers

The sword is a weapon for killing, the art of the sword is the art of killing. No matter what fancy words you use or what titles you put to
it that is the only truth.
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Ken Jay




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PostPosted: Sun 05 Feb, 2006 11:55 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Actually, I think you see such "modern" swords offered by ATrim, Albion, and A&A. The materials are all modern from steel to heat treating. You could change handle materials from wood and leather to micarta or other synthetics, change guards from iron/steel to titanium or what-ever. The form will follow the function. To dispatch a foe a Smallsword may work as well as an Type XIII.
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Wolfgang Armbruster





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PostPosted: Sun 05 Feb, 2006 11:56 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

That's an interesting question and I think you'll find similar threads over at swordforums.com.
Well, here's my idea of a "modern" sword.It's fun to think about it *g*

I assume that you want to carry this sword with you in everyday life as well as in a combat situation together with your assault-rifle and all the other equipement. In everyday life you don't want to scare the poo out of your fellow colleagues and the sword mustn't hinder you when in combat. I think that rules out a "big" sword like a longsword or overly long Rapiers. You may want to cut with it and you want to thrust with it.

The best solution would be a shorter sword, very good in close combat fighting ( = in houses, bars, etc.)
OK, what designs did man came up with in his rather short existence on this planet.
The Gladius, , the seax/sax, the Messer, the Baselard-sword are the first designs that come to my mind.
A Messer is not very good at thrusting, so my choice would be a sword with a Gladius- or Baselard-like blade.
These blades are not too short, broad enough to cut you in pieces and very pointy. They are light and fast as well. You can also use them like a dagger.

The crossguard should not be too big, maybe we don't even need one. (If we deicide to use one, a knuckle guard would be good)
But I'd strongly suggest that the sword should feature a parrying plate like a little clamshell or a nagel like on a Messer.

just my 2 cents Big Grin
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Henrik Bjoern Boegh




Location: Aust Agder, Norway
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PostPosted: Sun 05 Feb, 2006 1:12 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi all!

An interesting discussion.
I think it would also be up to the enviroment you're fighting in. And perhaps what the local people are using.
For instance in the Phillipines there are still a lot of people who train with swords ( KALI etc.). The machete has been used by modern troops in jungle enviroments and I don't doubt it could well be used as an effective weapon...

I'd also believe that if one were to equip modern soldiers with swords the should feature hilts that could withstand rust etc. And the scabbard would be made of nylon or plastic.

But personally I think I'd chose a short slightly curved hanger with a half basket on it Big Grin Of course I'd prefer to accompany it with a good dagger which could be used to parry with.

Cheers,
Henrik
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Michal Plezia
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PostPosted: Sun 05 Feb, 2006 1:20 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hm I think about effectivnes of modern armour...soft(kevlar) with steel or ceramic reinforcments-sword can't penetrate it.And projects of the equipmment for next 20 years is a reneissance of full armour...If it can survive a bullet -it can survive a thrust of the blade
www.elchon.com

Polish Guild of Knifemakers

The sword is a weapon for killing, the art of the sword is the art of killing. No matter what fancy words you use or what titles you put to
it that is the only truth.
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Michael A White




Location: Missouri, USA
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PostPosted: Sun 05 Feb, 2006 2:41 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I agree the day of the sword is gone. Well at least for the combat use.

The US Marines still issue sword for it's Officers, and NCO, but they are not weapons.

The large (6 to 8 inch blades) knife still has a usefull role.

Body armour is getting too good. I have seen a SAMPI plate stop 7.62 X 54 Russian ( About the US 30-06 in power), and 7.62 X 30 ( About the US 30-30), and once I saw a helmet turn a 8mm mauser round fire out of a WW2 k98 mauser rifle (That round cost a Marine an eye, but without that helmet he would have no head.)

Swords are an art form now, leave them at home, take your hunting knife to combat you can cut open your food rations with it.
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Edward Hitchens




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PostPosted: Sun 05 Feb, 2006 5:19 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I think the design and function of the sword would be just as it was during Medieval times with some slight variations (i.e. the use of CNC machines and what not). Why change something that has a millenium's worth of proven effectiveness? I think a 'modern' emphasis concerning design would be a compact weapon; something that could be concealed. In terms of 21st century weapons, size apparently doesn't matter. Just my .02 worth.

Well, the second half of the Super Bowl is getting ready to start. Cool halftime show. Gotta love the Rolling Stones. Razz

"The whole art of government consists in the art of being honest." Thomas Jefferson
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Sun 05 Feb, 2006 8:02 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The quick and boring answer is that a sword is probably not needed and that a large combat knife, maybe a bowie type would be the best. An other possibility is a small war axe with a sharp back spike like a bec the corbin: This should be good for all sorts of tool use as well as some armour piercing capability.

I'm not sure, but modern body armour is designed for stopping relatively blunt bullets but is not as effective as one would imagine against a really sharp or pointy blade. Ceramic or metal plates in heavy duty body armour might be effective but the lighter stuff intended for protection against handguns might not be.

Personally I can see a well designed short sword as useful in extreme close combat were nose to nose bad breath fighting might happen. At 3 feet distance I almost would rather have a blade than a gun in hand if caught by surprise.

The suggestions about sword types given so far seem about right to me: Gladius,Falchion, Small hanger, Large bowie or Seax, a large Scottish type Dirk.

Oh, lots of special training to make carrying the sword worth it and probably for small specialized entry teams and not for general issue.

I wonder though about the psychological value of troops against a large hostile crowd pulling out in unison their swords when lethal force is justified: Would probably have the politically correct press go ballistic but would probably have some effect on the crowd the same way horses are still intimidating when charging into a crowd.

Hummmmmm: Think how well Roman legionnaires would do against a rioting mob. Eek! Lots of dead rioteers though. Razz Laughing Out Loud

You can easily give up your freedom. You have to fight hard to get it back!
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Elling Polden




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PostPosted: Mon 06 Feb, 2006 1:53 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Personally, I'd go with a Katzbalger style backup sword, about 50 cm blade, wire hilt...
And, oh, a built in electroshock feature, like in stun batons or cattleprods. :P

warhammer head on a spring loaded baton, anyone?

or the larger, 90cm stun baton that turns into a 2,5 m stun polearm?

"this [fight] looks curious, almost like a game. See, they are looking around them before they fall, to find a dry spot to fall on, or they are falling on their shields. Can you see blood on their cloths and weapons? No. This must be trickery."
-Reidar Sendeman, from King Sverre's Saga, 1201
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Martin Wallgren




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PostPosted: Mon 06 Feb, 2006 2:09 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Or a Khorn(y) chainsword straight out of 40k maybe. (starting to get visions of a skull throne with a god dreanshed in blood, quoting Norwegian Rockers turbonegro, Dernshed in blood aaaaagaaaiiiin!!!)

Sorry! Didn´t get that mush sleep tonight!

Just look at all filmswords, aren´t they modern fantasys of swords?

Swordsman, Archer and Dad
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Elling Polden




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PostPosted: Mon 06 Feb, 2006 2:39 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Nah... Chainswords are overrated... they don't cut quickly, make noice, and are useless against armour...
And having to cord stard your sword can be quite embarrassing in a ambush Razz

"this [fight] looks curious, almost like a game. See, they are looking around them before they fall, to find a dry spot to fall on, or they are falling on their shields. Can you see blood on their cloths and weapons? No. This must be trickery."
-Reidar Sendeman, from King Sverre's Saga, 1201
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Wolfgang Armbruster





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PostPosted: Mon 06 Feb, 2006 4:34 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Are you ready?, are you ready for some darkness?!? *sings along* Big Grin
Turbonegro kick butt Big Grin

The electroshock idea isn't bad. They once tested it on Jonny Knoxville in Jackass......very effective Laughing Out Loud
Maybe we should use a poisoned blade, too.

Another idea: a single-edged blade would be good for halfswording.
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Elling Polden




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PostPosted: Mon 06 Feb, 2006 8:55 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Wolfgang Armbruster wrote:

Another idea: a single-edged blade would be good for halfswording.


You wouldn't really need to halfsword a lot, fighting unarmoured opponents with a fairly short blade...

Halfsword and el.shock would be a VERY bad combo Wink

Elling, who lives in Bergen, where punk rock boys go out with punk rock girls....or themselves, and do homsexual activities...

"this [fight] looks curious, almost like a game. See, they are looking around them before they fall, to find a dry spot to fall on, or they are falling on their shields. Can you see blood on their cloths and weapons? No. This must be trickery."
-Reidar Sendeman, from King Sverre's Saga, 1201
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Einar Drønnesund





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PostPosted: Fri 10 Feb, 2006 11:57 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

There are some makers who make swords with a very modern look, without beeing overly fantasyish. I thik the best example (and the only one I can think of) is Rob Criswell.


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Douglas Peters




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PostPosted: Sat 11 Feb, 2006 5:29 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'm not sure if it's true, but I remember hearing somewhere that some U.S. special forces use tomahawks. I guess that would really be more utility though. I also remember reading somewhere that out of a little more than 100 engagements, some Ghurkas have had to use their khukuris quite a few times. I'll have to look for that again, I think it may have been a link from Himalayan Imports.

So I think something like a relatively short but thick messer/falchion might be useful for both utility and silently taking someone out. I can't really see any sword going through a rifle plate, but as far as I know there are a lot of gaps. A messer with a point should go be able to thrust through a gap, but then I'm just an armchair... Well armchair-something.
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Greyson Brown




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PostPosted: Sat 11 Feb, 2006 5:59 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I have seen some "Ranger Tomahawks" in various advertisements, but I think those were intended to refer to the original Roger's Rangers from the colonial era when using such things as weapons was still somewhat viable (though undoubtedly not ideal). I am not aware of modern special forces using tomahawks or swords or things of that nature, but then I don't have much contact with such folk. Regular forces have been known to do some strange things, so who knows?

-Grey

"So long as I can keep the path of honor I am well content."
-Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The White Company
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Sat 11 Feb, 2006 10:03 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Greyson;

I think there is a picture in the current Soldier of Fortune that shows an American soldier walking towards a burned out car with a modern Tomahawk in his hand by his leg as he is walking forward.

I was just browsing through the magazine at a local magazine shop here so I don't have the article in front of me, but I think the caption mentioned using the hawk for various things including opening up vehicles to get inside and other tool use.

As a weapon I would think the opportunity would only occur if surprised ( Bad thing ) at close range or if some sort of very close quarter combat. Well, swords would fit the same tactical niche while being less useful as tools.

Oh, I have a Boker COMBAT SMATCHET limited edition of 1200 of the WWII Appegate / Fairbairn design: 10" long by 2 7/8" at it's widest at mid blade, 2" blade at the guard. The curved double edge blade make a good chopper and the curve should make draw cuts like a short sabre blade.

In a pinch the wide blade would make usable entrenching tool in sand or in snow / ice ( Not much demand for that last in Iraq. Eek! ) I would do the job of a short sword though pretty well and the 440C blade take a hair popping sharp edge.

I also have a nice Chris Reeves project 1 early production 9" blade version of his integral constructed knife, spear point combat / utility knife machined out of a single block of steel including the hollow handle. Well, this would be another option I would take with me if I actually needed to carry a blade in a dangerous place. ( Or, a cheap expendable blade I wouldn't worry loosing or damaging and could easily replace: A Buck or a Cold Steel product rather than an expensive custom piece. )

You can easily give up your freedom. You have to fight hard to get it back!
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Jan Downs




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PostPosted: Tue 14 Feb, 2006 12:40 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

What about the Peter LaGana vietnam tomahawk? There are actually several manufactueres out there making tomahawks for close combat: Cold Steel, Ranger Knives, K5 Tactical, etc. They are very effective close combat weapons.

As to swords for modern close encounters, I'm thinking a gladius would be pretty close to ideal. Paired with a buckler of some sort, you'd be pretty good to go in a street encounter.
But then again, I am partial to short swords.

for God's sake strike true, man!
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Elonas Kvietkus




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PostPosted: Wed 15 Feb, 2006 5:29 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hmm... Worried Modern sword is realy a nice question to think about.
As I'm not a pro in material terms so I think I'll leave this to others to discus the points of steel, titanium or whatever.

Still in all this considering technology, well why not to think about some beta versions of StarWars light-sword? Happy
I gues now some NASA gizmo specialists are able to construct something close to these jedi toys.

As for the looks. See that Ninja 3000.

Looks freakin' modern to me.


But if we stay cool and calm and talk seriously I think a modern swords should be:
a) light, strong and beautifully designed
(with an option to change handle quickly in the morning to suit the colour of Your shirt);
b) foldable blade
(so ladies could cary these too);
c) cell phone, MP3 player, camera and all other "survival tools" should be stuffed into handle or scabbard)
(notice that well hidden USB 2.0 on the pomel) Wink
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