Original European Brass Mounted P-1796 Style Light Cavalry Sabre with Scabbard - Blüchersäbel

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Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. This historic pattern of saber is quite remarkable! Napoleon Bonaparte himself complained about the design, opining that the "hatchet point", the broadening of the blade at the very front end, constituted an "inhumane" weapon because of the horrendous wounds it inflicted. We should point out that the Prussians, under General BLÜCHER adopted the Saber as well and for them it become known as the "BLÜCHERSÄBEL".

Our example is a complete SLEEPER, left uncleaned as we found it, and retains its wood ringed bound leather grip and stirrup brass guard together with its original heavy iron Scabbard. The curved hatchet point blade measures 33" x 1 1/2", with an overall length of 37 1/2". The blade is substantial, and is unmarked, even under the langets. We feel this sword is most likely Prussian in origin due to the width of the blade. Unfortunately without any maker or proof marks, it isn't possible to know.

Condition is quite nice, with the expected wear and damage from use. The leather clad wooden grip is missing a chunk, and is somewhat dried out. The blade shows staining, as does the scabbard, and there are some nicks on the edge, along with some rust spots. The scabbard also has a few dents and other issues, but still retains both hanger rings, and fits the sword beautifully.

A great Napoleonic Era Blüchersäbel, ready to add to the collection!

Overall length: 37 1/2”
Blade length: 33”
Blade Style: Curved Saber with Hatchet Point
Guard dimensions: 5 1/4" width x 5” length
Scabbard Length: 33 3/4" 

The Pattern 1796 Light Cavalry Sabre is a sword that was used primarily by British Light Dragoons and hussars, and King's German Legion light cavalry during the Napoleonic Wars. It was adopted by the Prussians (as the 1811 pattern or "Blücher Säbel") and used by Portuguese and Spanish cavalry.

During the early part of the French Revolutionary Wars, the British Army launched an expeditionary force into Flanders. With the invading army was a young captain of the 2nd Dragoon Guards, serving as a brigade major, John Gaspard Le Marchant. Le Marchant noted the lack of professional skill displayed by the horsemen and the clumsy design of the heavy, over-long swords then in use and decided to do something about it. Among many other things Le Marchant did to improve the cavalry, he designed, in collaboration with the Birmingham sword cutler Henry Osborn, a new sabre. This was adopted by the British Army as the Pattern 1796 Light Cavalry Sabre.

An eastern influence can be detected in the blade form, and Le Marchant is recorded as saying that the "blades of the Turks, Mamalukes, Moors and Hungarians were preferable to any other". The blade profile is similar to some examples of the Indian tulwar, and expert opinion has commented upon this.This similarity prompted some Indian armourers to re-hilt old 1796 pattern blades as tulwars later in the 19th century.

Trooper pattern sabre
The 1796 sabre had a pronounced curve, making the kind of slashing attacks used in cavalry actions decidedly easier. Even cavalrymen trained to use the thrust, as the French were, in the confusion of a melee often reverted to instinctive hacking, which the 1796 accommodated. Its blade, unlike other European sabres of the period, widened near the point. This affected balance, but made slashes far more brutal; its action in the cut has been compared to a modern bacon slicer. It is said that this vicious design prompted unofficial complaints from French officers, but this is unconfirmed. The blade of the light cavalry sabre was from 32.5 to 33 inches (83 to 84 cm) in length and had a single broad fuller on each side. The sabre was lighter and easier to use than its heavy cavalry counterpart, the pattern 1796 Heavy Cavalry Sword, which had a less 'scientific' design. The hilt was of the simple 'stirrup' form with a single iron knucklebow and quillon, so as to be free of unnecessary weight; the intention of this was to make the sabre usable by all cavalrymen, not solely the largest and strongest. In common with the contemporary heavy cavalry sword, the iron backpiece of the grip had ears which were riveted through the tang of the blade to give the hilt and blade a very secure connection. The grip was of ridged wood covered in leather. It was carried in an iron scabbard, with wooden liners, and hung from the waist via sword-belt slings attached to two loose suspension rings.

The blade is remembered today as one of the best of its time and has been described as the finest cutting sword ever manufactured in quantity. Officers of the famous 95th Rifles, other light infantry regiments and the "flank" companies of line regiments adopted swords with an identical hilt to the 1796 light cavalry sabre, but with a lighter and shorter blade. The sabre was also copied by the Prussians; indeed, some Imperial German troops were equipped with almost identical swords into the First World War. The Americans also adopted a pattern which was directly influenced by the British sword.

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