Niels Just Rasmussen
|Posted: Thu 20 Apr, 2017 10:17 am Post subject: Exclusive cutting: Danish saber manuals from 1800's?
|I'm asking this question, since while reading the memoirs of Rasmus Nielsen (Bolteskov) of the 6th Dragon Regiment 3rd Eskadron in the Second Slesvig War 1864 where I found something quite surprising.
The Danish saber was apparently taught very differently from how Germans used it.
Rasmus Nielsen tells us that the Danish Dragoons exclusively used cutting, while the German Hussars used both cuts and thrusts.
Source (page 51, bottom): http://pageflip.dk/clients/c_1/u_7/Bonden_1810792/
Cutting to the head was the prevalent Danish tactics against German cavalry already from 1848 (First Slesvig War) as the German Hussar headgear didn't protect so well against powerful saber cuts (as for instance the headgear the Danish dragoons wore).
Danish dragoons were selected from the biggest and strongest recruits, so they were able to wield the M1843 saber with huge power.
Training started on foot to get the skills and then afterwards moved to practicing on horseback. They trained these cuts several hours each day both on foot and on horse for achieving maximum skill and power with their primary weapon.
Their carbine was only their secondary weapon and rarely used and we only have one instance of them fighting on foot using carbines, which clearly shocked the men when the order came.
The Danish dragoons rode on slower, but steady and powerful Jutland horses that could carry the big men (one Danish officer rode into combat weighing 124 kg), while the German Hussars rode faster, but more feisty full-bloods!
Rasmus Nielsen fought in close combat against Hussars from the 8th Hussar Regiment (1st Westphalian) in a skirmish lasting 17-18 minutes (!) of 4 danish dragoons against 12 (increased later to 15) german hussars at Thorsted 22nd April 1864.
So I had always thought that Danish sword training was more and less the same as the German one, but it is clearly not the case!
So had anyone knowledge of any written Danish manuals on cavalry saber, or was the know-how taught directly from officers to recruits?
How was it in Sweden at this time? Does this Danish dragoon style resembled anything else in Europe?