Sabre

The sabre or saber (see spelling differences) is a kind of backsword that usually has a curved, single-edged blade and a rather large hand guard, covering the knuckles of the hand as well as the thumb and forefinger. Although sabres are typically thought of as curved-bladed slashing weapons, those used by the world's heavy cavalry often had straight and even double-edged blades more suitable for thrusting. The length of sabres varied, and most were carried in a scabbard hanging from a shoulder belt known as a baldric or from a waist-mounted sword belt, usually with slings of differing lengths to permit the scabbard to hang below the rider's waist level. Exceptions not intended for personal carry include the Patton saber adopted by the United States Army in 1913 and always mounted to the cavalryman's saddle. The English word sabre derives from the French sabre which is akin to the Hungarian szablya, Polish szabla, and Russian (sablya). Owing to contamination with Hungarian verb szab, which means "to cut" (cognate with the English "stab"), the term is believed to originate from the Kipchak Turkic selebe.[1] [edit]Origins of the weapon Medieval (12th century) Eastern European szabla blade. Sabre-like curved backswords have been in use in Europe since the medieval period (falchion, paramerion), or indeed since antiquity (makhaira), but the introduction of the sabre proper in Western Europe, along with the term sabre itself, dates to the 17th century, via influence of the Eastern European szabla type. The weapon gained widespread use in the early 19th century, inspired by the Mameluke sword, a type of Middle Eastern scimitar. The original type of Szabla or Polish sabre was used as a cavalry weapon, probably inspired by Hungarian or wider Turco-Mongol warfare. The Karabela was a type of szabla popular in the late 17th century, worn by the Polish, Lithuanian, and Ukrainian nobility class, the Szlachta. While designed as a cavalry weapon, it also came to replace various types of

traight-bladed swords used by infantry.[2] The Swiss sabre originates as a regular sword with a single-edged blade in the early 16th century, but by the 17th century begins to exhibit specialized hilt types. [edit]Use The briquet, typical infantry sabre of the Napoleonic Wars. French Navy sabre of the 19th Century, "boarding sabre". Lieutenant Colonel Teofilo Marxuach's M1902 Officer's Sabre and Scabbard at the National Historic Trust site at Castillo San Cristobal in San Juan, Puerto Rico The sabre saw extensive military use in the early 19th century, particularly in the Napoleonic Wars, during which Napoleon used heavy cavalry charges to great effect against his enemies. Shorter versions of the sabre were also used as sidearms by dismounted units, although these were gradually replaced by fascine knives and sword bayonets as the century went on. The sabre faded as a weapon by mid-century, as longer-range rifles made cavalry charges obsolete, even suicidal. In the American Civil War, the sabre was used infrequently as a weapon, but saw notable deployment in the Battle of Brandy Station and at East Cavalry Field at the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863. Many cavalrymenparticularly on the Confederate sideeventually abandoned the long, heavy weapons in favour of revolvers and carbines. Although there was extensive debate over the effectiveness of weapons such as the sabre and lance, the sabre remained the standard weapon of cavalry for mounted action in most armies until World War I. Thereafter it was gradually relegated to the status of a ceremonial weapon, and most horse cavalry was replaced by armoured cavalry from 1930 on. In the PolishLithuanian Commonwealth (1618th century) a specific type of sabre-like melee weapon, the szabla, was used. The Don Cossacks used the shashka, (originating from Circassian "sashho" - big knife) and sablja (from Circassian "sa" - knife and "blja" - snake), which also saw military and police use in the Russian Empire and early Soviet Union.