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Author Topic: Blade Lore  (Read 2963 times)

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Offline Captain MalteseTopic starter

Re: Blade Lore
« Reply #100 on: June 12, 2018, 10:27:22 AM »
Well, there was always this guy - who not only carried a broadsword, but also a longbow and bagpipes.


And used all three at one point or another.

Ah, Mad Jack. One of history's amusing anachronims. We might never see his like again, and that would be a pity.

Offline Captain MalteseTopic starter

Re: Blade Lore
« Reply #101 on: June 13, 2018, 07:15:09 AM »
The cavalry sword, aka the saber, is fundamentally different from the infantry sword. Yet at first superficial  glance they might seem fairly similar.

Cavalry is as old as the first day a human managed to climb on top of a horse and hang on. The advantages against a man on foot are so many and so obvious. But owning a horse of war with all its gear and need for training has always been an expensive thing, and so history knows cavalry as the playground of young nobles capable of paying for they own toys. Ancient Greece, Ancient Rome and most other older cultures have not differed from this and the vast majorities of their armies marched on their own two feet. This pattern hardly ever changed up to the Napoleonic wars. One important exception were the horse people above all horse people, the Mongols. In a world of large distances and good breeding grounds for horses, this near Asian people put their entire armies on horseback regardless of what weapons they were fielding; each man had a lance, a sword and a bow and was expected to master them all from horseback. Although their empire eventually fractured and ended after conquering much of the known world, their military tactics and tools strongly affected the centuries to come.



This is a Hungarian saber. Hungary is important in cavalry history; they were once a part of the old empire and the rather flat country is eminently suited for cavalry warfare and horse breeding. Their hussars, light cavalry, had become very popular in Europe by the start of the Napoleonic wars and all major countries had some of them. While the rest of the world got off their horses and got down to killing by bullet, Eastern Europe stayed in the saddle and kept large cavalry formations. As late as World War Two the cossack's lance and saber were still the source of nightmares for spread out infantry on the Eastern Front.

Meanwhile the heavy cavalry concept had had centuries to get established, and was already dividing into various disciplines. Lancers were essentially the knight, heavily armored but working in formations, and created for doing massive damage against infantry. Polish lancers with their huge wing structures may have been one of the most impressive sights on a battlefield ever. Their armor was and their horses were however not impervious to musket and cannon fire, just like their predecessors the knight, and as bullets became deadlier the knights were doomed to become obsolete. A lighter variation, the light lancers who had little if any armor but much greater speed, hung around to at least the end of the Napoleonic wars.

Both lancers and hussars have something else but the horse and aristocracy in common. The speed and the nimbleness of their riding greatly favors the light, small body over the big strong one, ironically not unlike modern day pilots.

A more modern form of cavalry was the dragoon. These were essentially meant to be infantry on horseback, still capable of engaging the enemy with their sabers on horseback but also equipped with muskets that made them capable of holding their own on the ground. The ground role would favor a bigger and stronger trooper than the lithe hussar, and a slower one. This meant that a dragoon sword would be heavier and stronger too.

In addition to branching out into various specializations, there was also something else happening. By the late 18th century the wars had gotten so large, and the empires so wide, that merely offering young nobles a chance to win glory on horseback was no longer enough to fill the ranks. Regiments were finally being set up from enlisted commoners, both in England and France. These tended not to have the same horseback combat training as the nobles even though they were good riders otherwise and saw less war, but the concept was definitely explored.

All the above is just information you need to see that there were need for different types of cavalry swords. They all differ from the infantry sword in being very much a chopping and slashing weapon; the long curved blade with its heavy tip and frequently also curved grip is ideal for a downward and sideways strike. The lighter cavalry would however favor a light blade for lightning movement while the slower dragoon needed to make every strike a lethal one.



The tip was a different issue, and was the source of much discussion in the various armies. The above is a M1796 British Light Cavalry Officer sword. Those military leaders who held lancers in favor like the utterly deadliness of a stab propelled by all the weight and speed of a horse. A lance is made for this and it truly is lethal. A sword's stab delivered in the same manner isn't far behind. But on the battlefield, an infantry soldier rarely stands alone and that stab could easily get caught in the enemy corpse, unhanding the rider of his primary weapon and putting him at the mercy of the fallen enemy's irate comrades. Far better to slash as it is less likely to leave the rider without a weapon. However, a rider can as easily be unhorsed, leaving the trooper on the ground facing enemies with swords and bayonets - and that is where a stab is very useful. Over time the various models merged into a fits-all-needs-somewhat combination as the relevance waned.



As with the infantry sword, the last hurrahs of the saber - Eastern Europe excepted - were the Crimean War and the American Civil War. US Light Cavalry sabers above  They were also the last hurrahs of cavalry in general. After this they have been retained for ceremonial use by many armies but as a weapon they are thoroughly obsolete.



There are many very elegant saber models; they were the domain of the noble and rich after all. Possible the last cavalry saber to have been issued to a major power is the M1913 which was designed by General Patton. Fittingly it looks a lot more like an infantry sword than a saber.

Offline Captain MalteseTopic starter

Re: Blade Lore
« Reply #102 on: June 14, 2018, 10:43:37 AM »


Just a little nibble today. Some of my fellow Elliquiyers are old enough to remember when folding knifes of every type and size required a finger nail to open. The locks were pretty solid too. Some times so much force would be required that it was wiser to go look for a coin or a spoon to open the knife with instead.



These days another lock type seems to be predominantly in use. In stead of a finger nail groove in the middle section of the blade there is now a stud really close to the hinge. And the locking spring seem to be considerably weaker.

The difference means that you no longer need two hands to open a folding blade, or close it. And the speed of opening it is considerably faster.

Offline Captain MalteseTopic starter

Re: Blade Lore
« Reply #103 on: June 15, 2018, 11:45:01 AM »
Another little bit of modern feature on folding knives. Remember the definition of feature? If the customers like it it was never a bug.



Folding knife clips was probably not seen before the 1980 or 1990s. It functions much like a pen clip except few of us would consider carrying a folder in a chest pocket. Instead it is supposed to be clipped to a pants pocket so we can grab it in a hurry. Which works while you are standing, but the odds of it slipping out of your pocket when you sit down increase a lot.



And in my opinion these clip things are ugly as fuck. It absolutely ruins the sleek lines. And while you normally can dismount this 'feature' with the right tool the grip will already have been built for it so the absence become obvious in turn.




Offline Captain MalteseTopic starter

Re: Blade Lore
« Reply #104 on: June 16, 2018, 07:34:11 AM »
One of the more specialized knife blade shapes is the knife preferred for filleting fish. Fish meat is juicy and tender and a rough, not-too-sharp knife can easily squish it. A boat fisher, or a cook, will have one of these. For the fisher who walks from lake to lake it is a question of carrying the extra weight and volume in addition to an all round knife, because the filleting knife is useless for everything else.



Fishing knives are among those blades where a saw tooth back can justified. Bones in bigger fish, especially the neck, can be tough to cut with a delicate blade alone.


Offline Oniya

Re: Blade Lore
« Reply #105 on: June 16, 2018, 11:37:46 AM »
And here I thought the back of a fishing blade was supposed to be a scaler.



Offline Captain MalteseTopic starter

Re: Blade Lore
« Reply #106 on: June 16, 2018, 12:26:30 PM »
must... not... make... joke... about... goldfish... Damn.

Offline Oniya

Re: Blade Lore
« Reply #107 on: June 16, 2018, 01:07:09 PM »
I was going to say something about 'if it's smaller than that, you should throw it back...'  I was looking for a good picture of the nubby sawteeth.

Offline Captain MalteseTopic starter

Re: Blade Lore
« Reply #108 on: June 16, 2018, 01:28:58 PM »
I was going to say something about 'if it's smaller than that, you should throw it back...'  I was looking for a good picture of the nubby sawteeth.

Like this?


Offline Captain MalteseTopic starter

Re: Blade Lore
« Reply #109 on: June 17, 2018, 06:56:07 AM »
In honor of Oniya, this post will cover the classic Swiss Army Knife. One of the most iconic folding knives of all time and perhaps the true father of today's modern multitools.



Folding knives may be as old as the invention of iron. Adding an extra blade would have been more fiddly, and probably seemed a bit pointless - why would you need two blades when you already had one? Never mind three? Various knife makers gave it shot none the less, especially when the new steel types allowed for thinner blades, but nothing really was a market winner. Not until the Swiss Army, known for really independent thinking, offered the market a contract for a pocket knife for its soldiers. They were hardly the first to realize you can't use a long bayonet for making lunch, but someone was being clever. The army wanted a knife, but they also wanted a screwdriver included to be a take-down tool for the soldier's rifle. This was a success, the knife found a place on the civilian market as well as the military, and more functions were added.



The two most famous Swiss brands were Wenger and Victorinox. Eventually Wenger was bought up by Victorinox. There are however a number of anonymous copycat companies that makes cheap versions with the same red plate grips, similar blade configurations and even have a shield mark. The shield mark is never exactly the same though; copycatters may be ubiqutuos but it they are not stupid. The Swiss army may not scare many but who dares challenge an army of Swiss lawyers? Genuine army knives have green plates and carry the shield logo of the Swiss Army, and yes they are still made by Victorinox.



The quality of the genuine Swiss ones has been astounding. I had one of their smallest knives in my pocket when I was in the army 30 years ago and it looks like irt was bough yesterday; no rust, no color fading, it's unmarked by time. The steel in the blades is very thin, sharp, and more like a spring. It will bend a long way sideways before it snaps. Also the other tools are of high quality; the screwdrivers are tools that can see a lot of abuse but still hold up well compared with at least cheap standard tools.

Swiss Army knives have been used everywhere. And I mean everywhere; reportedly including in the Space Shuttle on space flights.



Ah yes. The screwdrivers are an example of the some times bewildering array of tools these knives come with. The inbuilt layering principle allows for adding tools until it gets too heavy to lift.
Can- and bottle openers make sense. But...
- wine cork screw
- magnifying glass
- scissors
- flat screw driver
- philips screw driver
- spoon
- miniature crossbow (how SWISS!)
- awl
- saw (thanks Oniya)
- metering stick (thanks Oniya)
- flashlight
- nail file
- butane lighter
- hoof cleaner
- altimeter
- barometer
- clock (again, how SWISS!)
- USB stick
- and my personal whacky favorite, an actual plastic toothpick.

The list just goes on and on. By this day there must be a hundred different tools available between the main and more obscure manufacturers of similar knives, and I am not even including the next generation of multitools which Leatherman started. Victorinox is still in business and offering both discretely updated classics and newfangled versions. You are not a knife guy unless you have at least one of them.

Offline Oniya

Re: Blade Lore
« Reply #110 on: June 17, 2018, 11:32:12 AM »
Just to be clear, the image I posted is the combination hook-remover (the notch at the end), fish scaler, and inch-ruler.  The metric ruler was on another blade, as I recall (or possibly on the back side).  Also, the little hook-thing at the bottom of the third image above (next to the corkscrew) is great if you've got a dome-tent cover that needs just a little more stretch to get it to the end of the spring-rod.

Offline Captain MalteseTopic starter

Re: Blade Lore
« Reply #111 on: June 17, 2018, 12:00:27 PM »
Just to be clear, the image I posted is the combination hook-remover (the notch at the end), fish scaler, and inch-ruler.  The metric ruler was on another blade, as I recall (or possibly on the back side).  Also, the little hook-thing at the bottom of the third image above (next to the corkscrew) is great if you've got a dome-tent cover that needs just a little more stretch to get it to the end of the spring-rod.

Ah. I will have to track down an instruction booklet. Thank you.

Offline Captain MalteseTopic starter

Re: Blade Lore
« Reply #112 on: June 19, 2018, 07:32:52 AM »
Today, another look at a weird WW2-vintage bayonet. England had a long history with long heavy bayonets up to then; their standard blade from the 19th century Afghanistan wars to 1939 could easily be mistaken for a small sword. But 1939 started a war of naval blockade, a vast expansion of military forces and shortages of steel. The old sword bayonet, considered increasingly obsolete against enemies with casual access to automatic weapons, went out of production and in came possibly the ugliest manufactured bayonet known to man - the pigsticker. Number 4.



This spike, carried in a steel pipe placed in a short web belt frog, could be affixed to the rifle with the same connection and in the same manner as the old bayonet. It was however just a third of the length of the old one, and could not cut at all. It was even meant for the Sten gun, which was a match not made in aesthetic heaven.

The soldiers were unhappy about this new implement too. Couldn't use it as a knife, and so short that if you DID manage to shove it in you'd be shoving the rifle barrel into the clothes of the enemy too. The following version, soon after the war had ended, did away with the entire spike and replaced it with first a blade shaped attachment and later a more conventional bayonet with handle.



Five million pigstickers were made. They are cheaply and easily available on ebay for collectors. But finding any of these spikes in use on period pictures is hard. The one above shows both the pigsticker and the previous sword bayonet. It's not hard to see why the oldtimer was preferred.
« Last Edit: June 19, 2018, 07:34:10 AM by Captain Maltese »

Offline Captain MalteseTopic starter

Re: Blade Lore
« Reply #113 on: June 20, 2018, 06:20:54 AM »
Everything is a weapon. And everything can be made into a weapon. Today's post is somewhere behind fiendishly clever and an impractical gadget. Behold the coin knife.











Several models of this type are readily available on the market. Some of them even have more than one function.

Offline Oniya

Re: Blade Lore
« Reply #114 on: June 20, 2018, 09:49:56 AM »
I think the coin 'multitool' second from the bottom amuses me most.  I'm no coin collector, but seeing 'United States of America' on a coin with a date of '1775'  would make me take a closer look.

Offline Captain MalteseTopic starter

Re: Blade Lore
« Reply #115 on: June 20, 2018, 09:54:34 AM »
I think the coin 'multitool' second from the bottom amuses me most.  I'm no coin collector, but seeing 'United States of America' on a coin with a date of '1775'  would make me take a closer look.

*sniggers* Indeed. I suspect that if the coin looked exactly right it would officially be forgery.

What beats me is why no one simply makes a coin from quality steel and just sharpens the edge on one side. But I may just have not stumbled over a sample of that yet.

Offline Oniya

Re: Blade Lore
« Reply #116 on: June 20, 2018, 10:12:38 AM »
*sniggers* Indeed. I suspect that if the coin looked exactly right it would officially be forgery.

There's 'not quite right' (the '88 half dollar looks like it could have been manufactured out of a real coin - even the Mexican and Australian coins would be passable if you didn't notice the hinge-pins) and there's 'Not even close'.  I really can't resolve the central image on that piece to anything other than a Japanese school-girl outfit.



What beats me is why no one simply makes a coin from quality steel and just sharpens the edge on one side. But I may just have not stumbled over a sample of that yet.

Probably because having that in your pocket would be an invitation to either a sliced pocket or sliced fingers.  There are very few ways to 'sheathe' a circle, and the half-dollar in the bottom picture is likely as close as you'll get. 

Offline Captain MalteseTopic starter

Re: Blade Lore
« Reply #117 on: June 20, 2018, 10:19:51 AM »
Japanese school-girl outfit.

Now I see it too. Strange. But what's up with the Giger-like Alien fetus on top?

Offline Oniya

Re: Blade Lore
« Reply #118 on: June 20, 2018, 11:28:18 AM »
I was passing that off as one of those looped banners, possibly with a motto on it.  Of course, just below it, there appears to be a wool stocking cap on the point of the sword.

Offline Captain MalteseTopic starter

Re: Blade Lore
« Reply #119 on: June 20, 2018, 11:33:34 AM »
I was passing that off as one of those looped banners, possibly with a motto on it.  Of course, just below it, there appears to be a wool stocking cap on the point of the sword.

The cap is the French type Marie one, I assume? Maybe I am messing up the name. Symbol of French Revolution?

Offline Oniya

Re: Blade Lore
« Reply #120 on: June 20, 2018, 11:41:46 AM »
Phrygian cap - that makes its inclusion at least rational on a supposed bit of military memorabilia.  And a few Wiki-jumps from that, I find a line-drawing of that coin that actually makes sense (even down to the 'school uniform'):



Quote
The Army Seal was used originally during the American Revolution to authenticate documents. It displayed the designation "War Office", which was synonymous with Headquarters of the Army, and the Roman date MDCCLXXVIII (1778) the first time it was used. It remained unchanged until 1947, when the War Office banner was replaced with "Department of the Army" and the date was changed to 1775, the year in which the Army was established.

Closer look.

Offline Captain MalteseTopic starter

Re: Blade Lore
« Reply #121 on: June 21, 2018, 02:47:12 AM »
Saws are one of the lesser mentioned blade types, unless they are part of a knife or sword. But they are a worthy category in themselves even if they do not classify as weapons (zombie movies excepted).



Today's saw is straddling the outdoors and survival categories. The wire saw is an ingenious little tool that combines a wire - or chain - with sawing teeth. The length of the wire and the size of the teeth decides its potential efficiency but with time and determination you can saw through a branch or a bamboo-sized trunk. Some of them have loops or rings you ca use for a makeshift bow saw. There are also versions with more substantial grips.



The prices for these saws goes from a couple of dollars to, well, a lot more. You probably get what you pay for; even the more expensive of these are unlikely to hold up for long when in actual use; the teeth will wear out or the wire snap. On the bright side they weigh next to nothing and take practically no space.



Here in Norway I have yet to see such a saw in actual use; our trees tend to be full of sap and I imagine these wires will not deal well with that. But I think I have seen a sample in a sports store here and might buy one. If I do I'll write a review of it.

Offline Captain MalteseTopic starter

Re: Blade Lore
« Reply #122 on: June 22, 2018, 10:48:07 AM »
Just as a corollary I am looking at a more practical type of backpacking saw today: the folding saw. I have brought variations of this tool on outdoors trips all my life, but particularly in winter on skiing trips. This is because gathering firewood in three feet high snow tend to involve dead standing trees which, to make an effective fireplace, need to be cut into suitably sized logs. That can be done with an axe but it is more cumbersome when you can't really place the wood on hard ground because it, too, is down there in the snow somewhere.





These are typical versions of what is for sale now; materials and lock varies, and at best the price is reflected in the sawing blade quality. I've gotten the job done with the cheap alternatives, but then again I haven't been building any structures such as cabins or towers.





If you ARE going to actually build something then these more substantial alternatives could be worth considering. Bow saws, even in folder versions, allows for putting more weight on the blade as well as a more stable cut. There is also another advantage; some of these allow for exchanging the blade with another type. Not that I see the point in bringing a spare unless you are wintering over, but this way you can bring a wood saw and a bone saw too at little extra weight cost.
« Last Edit: June 22, 2018, 10:49:27 AM by Captain Maltese »

Offline Captain MalteseTopic starter

Re: Blade Lore
« Reply #123 on: June 23, 2018, 05:59:36 AM »
More obscure stuff: today, finger ring weapons! I'd say blades but there are several main categories; the blade type, the spike type and the knuckle duster. They tend to be banned but it varies between countries. Most of them are concealed by having the edge or spike turn inward until the moment of use.


Bagh Nakh (tiger claw); indian weapon.


"Apache" here refers to the 19th century gangs of criminals.

I'm not happy to call this a classic weapon but these things do have a history.









Offline Oniya

Re: Blade Lore
« Reply #124 on: June 23, 2018, 10:21:37 AM »
I had something like the third from the bottom - best thing for breaking down cardboard boxes.