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Thread: Mathewson´s Sword vs Bayonet

  1. #1

    Mathewson´s Sword vs Bayonet

    Hello everyone,
    We just worked on the Sword vs Bayonet material of Thomas mathewson and this is, what we have done up to now:
    http://www.youtube.com/user/tuerkefe.../0/lDELG8m9HAo

    I would be happy about hearing opinions and advices.

  2. #2
    Looks good Heiko! I've looked at those sequences in Mathewson before. I've always thought to myself..."so where's the rest!" They seemed rather simplistic. It occurs to me that Sir William Hope's methods with the spadroon or backsword would work great against the bayonet. Hope puts a big emphasis on the use of the left hand for deflecting and controlling the opponent's weapon. He would close in with a hanging parry, command the bayonet with the left hand, and do a heavy strike before the opponent could recover. It would work from either side, not just moving to your right.

    Keith

  3. #3
    Thanks Keith.
    Mathewson writes only little about Swords vs Bayonet. there are two more passages, Swordman´s offense and Swordman´s defense, where he describes how the Swordman can take the initiative, if the bayonet-fighter does not close-in and longe. I don´t understand the passage completely at the moment, but it seems, that he wants the swordsman to use "the left hand tp parry the gripe" to take the initiative and thrust the bayonet-man down either. In the Defense part he wrotes about, what to do, when the bayonet-man does not longe, but moves his arms for the thrust. Here he declares, that using Smallsword dfense would be most effective. So sadly within this he does nto write so much particular about other techniques, btu he describes the low inside gaurd as the best defence and why the sword is so dominant to the gun & bayonet. As he wrotes in his time the musket with bayonet seemed to be a bit heavy weapon with not so much variations of thrusts and feints and guards as in late manuals from the 19th century. As he describes the Bayonet charge is a run with force and a single longe to the enemy, so the soldiers have ti pike there way through the enemy lines. I think the simple way Mathewson thought about the Sword vs Bayonet seems to was like "the Bayonet has no chance agaisntz the sword, because it has not such good offense and defense and soldiers don´t learn to fence with it, so an experienced swordman has the advantage". I cannot say, if it was so simple in reality, but it seems, that this was Mathewson´s opinion and so he saw no more need for any other techniques. Defending with the low inside guard, thrust, that´s it.

    Because Mathewson also refers to the Smallsword, like many masters of his time, I think he would guess, that Hope´s Fencing Method could also work against the Bayonet. And of course in Hope´s era the use of gun with bayonet was pretty new and nothing more than simply using it like a Pikeman, so there would be also no difficile fencing method with it.
    Last edited by Heiko G.; 06-18-2011 at 05:50 AM.

  4. The principle Mathewson is using here is actually very simple, but it has to be treated flexibly in application. Heiko has shown it here exactly as described by Mathewson. If you allow the bayonet guy more freedom of action, the swordsman can only succeed by applying Mathewson's tactic as a broader principle rather than a specific technique. This principle is to maintain constant blade contact with the gun so that you can "listen" through the blade. We have also found that the hanging guard tactic works very well on the charge, but not in single combat as the bayonet can deceive it:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VUmOsNoExiw
    "Am fear a thug buaidh air fhein, thug e buaidh air namhaid."

  5. #5
    Hey Chris!

    Good stuff! Towards the end of the video it appears that you naturally came up with the strategy that Sir William Hope would have recommended. He would have said to keep the left hand forward just in front of your right shoulder prepared to aide your defense. He would have advised you to "enclose and command"....to step in, either as you parry a thrust or just after the parry, to grab his weapon with your left hand and then rain down a heavy blow before he can recover. He would not have recommended standing in front of the bayonet man and exchanging blows. He would have had no problem maintaining blade contact on the opponent's weapon to "read" his intention. Hope would have called this "playing at the half-sword", which is the same thing as working from the bind in German Longsword.

    Keith


    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Thompson View Post
    The principle Mathewson is using here is actually very simple, but it has to be treated flexibly in application. Heiko has shown it here exactly as described by Mathewson. If you allow the bayonet guy more freedom of action, the swordsman can only succeed by applying Mathewson's tactic as a broader principle rather than a specific technique. This principle is to maintain constant blade contact with the gun so that you can "listen" through the blade. We have also found that the hanging guard tactic works very well on the charge, but not in single combat as the bayonet can deceive it:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VUmOsNoExiw

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Heiko G. View Post

    Because Mathewson also refers to the Smallsword, like many masters of his time, I think he would guess, that Hope´s Fencing Method could also work against the Bayonet. And of course in Hope´s era the use of gun with bayonet was pretty new and nothing more than simply using it like a Pikeman, so there would be also no difficile fencing method with it.
    Good points Heiko! But keep in mind that the typical Smallsword method of the time would NOT work against the Bayonet. I'm not sure how widespread Hope's method became, but I get the impression that for some reason it was not very well known.

    Keith

  7. #7
    Maybe Masters like Mathewson would trust in the Smallsword-techniques also with the Broadsword, Spadroon etc., because some techniques and principles are basing on it also with the heavy military sword. So how Mathewson advices the use of the Broadsword against the longe with a bayonet, seems similar to me how a smallsword-fecner would face a thrust with the smallsword. I am not an expert for the Smallsword of course, so this is more a feeling and speculation.

    Why do you think Hope´s Method wasn´t so widespread known?

  8. #8
    Hey Heiko!

    Maybe Masters like Mathewson would trust in the Smallsword-techniques also with the Broadsword, Spadroon etc., because some techniques and principles are basing on it also with the heavy military sword. So how Mathewson advices the use of the Broadsword against the longe with a bayonet, seems similar to me how a smallsword-fecner would face a thrust with the smallsword.

    ---Likely what you are seeing is different Masters' adaptation of backsword/broadsword techniques. The "standard" or "common" method of smallsword was the French style. Olympic Foil fencing is a direct descendant of this. So picture a foil fencer trying to defend against a bayonet and you may get an idea of what I mean.

    Why do you think Hope´s Method wasn´t so widespread known?

    ---Because the smallsword and broadsword texts that came after him don't feature much of his method. The smallsword texts are all still pretty much the French method.

    Keith

  9. #9
    Concerning Hope: Okay, I understand, I did not know that.

    Concerning vs Bayonet: I understand what you mean, but what I meant was, that if you take a Smallsword-fencer, who knows how to use a Broadsword also and put him against the Bayonet, he can use the timing etc. of the Smallsword with his Broadsword for counter-thrusting the bayonet-longe, like Mathewson shows it. Of course with Smallsword vs Bayonet, you are right.

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