Zvjagincev M.I. (2024). Rekonstrukcija sistemy vladenija palashom francuzskih kirasir i dragun, 1803-1815 gg. [Reconstructing the system of sword wielding by French cuirassiers and dragoons, 1803-1815]. Istoricheskoe oruzhievedenie [Weapons History Journal], № 13, pp. 267 — 371.
Abstract: The article attempts to reconstruct the sword wielding system of French heavy and line Cavalry (XI/XIII pattern) which actually established in 1803-1815. The necessity and importance of this reconstruction is explained by the following fact: it was only in 1829 when the first official regulations which specified the training of cavalrymen in detail, including the wielding of long-bladed cold arms, appeared in France.
The system discussed in the article has not been formulated or described separately. However, it can be reconstructed relying on the draft manual “A New System of Swordsmanship in the Cavalry” (1818) by the British Cavalry officer Charles Edward Radclyffe. The manual can be referred to because the system it describes appears to be a borrowing of the sword wielding system (XI/XIII pattern) established during the Napoleonic Wars, which is also justified in the article. Descriptions of cavalrymen of the Napoleonic period were also used during the study.
Reconstructing the system of sword wielding (XI/XIII pattern) confirms the thesis about priority use of thrusts. Among revealed characteristics are offensive and aggressive nature of the system, predominant use of active thrusts, wide use of thrusts in quarte position, and original combination of thrusts and parries in a one-tempo action called “counter thrust”. The latter technique is central to understanding the system and accounts for the rarity of mentioning separate parries in memoirs of French cavalrymen. The secondary importance of cuts was determined by blade configuration, specific balance of the thrusting weapon and its considerable mass.
Keywords: French Сavalry swordsmanship, French Cavalry swords, cuirassiers, dragoons.