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Thread: Light cavalry frock sword

  1. #1
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    Light cavalry frock sword

    I recently ran into this mention in Major Charles James' Military dictionary of 1810 of "frock swords" which appears to be the period name of dress swords in the Napoleonic era. But more interestingly, James mentions something that I feel has completely gone under the radar so far, that is frock swords for light cavalry officers. The Dress swords of the heavy cavalry are well known, but James mentions that the light dragoons also carry them when dismounted, and that they are lighter versions of the 1796 with leather scabbards instead of iron.

    This got me wondering if a lot of what we now consider to be pre 1803 flank officer sabres are not actually light cavalry officers dress swords, as well as a lot of mameluke sabres. The details are not clear, and I would be curious to see if any other mentions of it could be found in period regulations.

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  2. #2
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    Interesting reading Max, looking forward to more opinions on this!

  3. #3
    Don't know how accurate it is but this Charles Hamilton Smith print shows a flank officer with a pre 1803 sword.
    Attached Images Attached Images  

  4. #4
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    Max geat that you pointed this out, many will rethink what they have. Part of the issue with naming swords as fighting swords is their value tends to be more than dress swords and dealers for a long time want the extra $.
    To really pin it down one would preferably find one of these frock swords with blade etching relating to cavalry or have identifiable personal markings.
    There must be portraits showing these swords being worn (to some degree).

  5. #5
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    Just to be clear, I am not saying that all of the pre 1803 flank officers are frock swords, there are definetely some that show clear association with grenadier or rifle regiments, but rather to consider that some of the longer ones with leather scabbards might be dress swords.

  6. #6
    Could this be a likely candidate not regimentally marked but has a leather scabbard and 30" blade ?.
    https://bid.antonycribb.com/m/lot-de...alog/4/lot/630

  7. #7
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    I think that would fit the description.

  8. #8
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    Sep 2019
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    G'day Max,
    Thanks for posting this. Is there any mention of the mameluke hilted sabres that we know light cavalry officers often wore on dress occasions?
    The reality is that a 1796 style sabre in any sort of scabbard could have been worn by an officer of just about any branch of the military. Unless we can identify the owner or it is marked to a particular regiment it is impossible to be sure.
    Cheers,
    Bryce

  9. #9
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    Hello Bryce,

    This is all he says. Same construction, lighter, and with a leather scabbard. The rest of what he says about other patterns I think is fairly well known, other than perhaps what is said of the 1803 sabre. According to him, the hilt style is called the GR hilt or the Guards hilt, as their flank officers would have been the first to wear it.

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