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Thread: Derue cavalry sword for sale - possibly a Trials / Experimental model

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    Derue cavalry sword for sale - possibly a Trials / Experimental model

    Hi, all.

    I've had this item for more than 20 years. It was sold to me by a fairly knowledgeable dealer with whom I did quite a bit of business. He was aware of the Derue models, including the Chilean contract examples. He speculated that this example, which retains its original matt brown patination, was a trials or experimental model.

    Blade length to the buffer pad is 85cm. Back edge width (at buffer pad) is 14mm. Dull finish appears to be original. No maker's/inspector's marks that I can find. Lovely ribbed, horn grip - only a tiny bit of wire wrap remains.

    A Dutch antiques dealer suggested that it was a "Dutch “lange sabel No4”(long sabre) model 1895 made for riding artillery. According to the book the hilt should be Berlin zilver (sic), yours looks like iron…"

    It would appear that perhaps the French were the first to experiment with the thin T-bar thrusting blade, and that the Dutch were interested enough to adopt the style of blade for at least some of their mounted units during the 1890s. A perusal of "Swords of the British Army" seems to indicate that we British, somewhat later on, did look into the T-bar design - page 58 shows a close-up of a "Sword, Cavalry, Experimental Pattern 1904".

    I read the Robson comments on pages 56 and 57 concerning the 18th Hussars less than satisfactory clash, at sword point, with mounted Boers - essentially the same problem faced by lancers: if you don't kill or incapacitate him with the thrust at the charge how are you going to regain the initiative or get out of the encounter alive? Given the very slim nature of this sword's blade I suspect that it was considered insufficiently robust for operational use.
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