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Sword Exercise of Cavalry - Le Marchant - 1796

PostPosted: 18 Nov 2010 14:24
by admin ... rchant.pdf

It is with great pleasure that I present this copy of Le Marchant's Rules and Regulations for the Sword Exercise of Cavalry, of 1796. Other copies of this have been available online previously, but this is a new copy graciously given to me by Will Mathieson, made from his original of the book. Many thanks therefore to Will for making this available to us.
I have added to the front of the PDF a short prologue which I hope will add a little context to the manual and be of interest to readers.

Re: Sword Exercise of Cavalry - Le Marchant - 1796

PostPosted: 18 Nov 2010 17:13
by admin
As always with PDF hyperlinks, it is best to right-click 'save target as' in order to download them.

Re: Sword Exercise of Cavalry - Le Marchant - 1796

PostPosted: 01 Feb 2014 13:21
by Mearcstapa
Being now in the possession of:
1 x Cold Steel 1796 (second-hand)
1 x Paget pattern Indian Cavalry Sword (never sharpened - probably due to slight warp in blade)
1 x Naval & Military Press print of this regulation exercise

... I have begun pressganging my fellow Officer-Cadets to act as foils for me while I work out the mechanics of the techniques contained therein.

I have experienced some difficulty in understanding Part I, Section IV (page 6) - The CUT and GUARD against INFANTRY. Here, he claims that:

A perfon on horfeback is elevated fo much above thofe acting on foot, that is is neceffary for him to bend his elbow, in order to take a fweep to give his cut with effect: and this may be fecurely done, as the fword-arm is not expofed in the conteft.

I had earlier tested his assertion on page 2 that:
... in bending the elbow, the fword-arm is expofed; a circumftance of which the opponent will ever be ready to take his advantage, as a cut in that quarter may be made with the greateft fecurity; and if it be well directed, the the moft fatal effect , as it at once decides the isffue of the conteft.

... and found it to be correct, as will be obvious to everyone here with a modicum of experience in fencing.

However, in my mock-up of a cavalry/infantry interaction effected by standing on a table whilst encouraging my compatriots (ever enthusiastic about the opportunity to hit me...) to see if they could touch any part of my arm with the edge of the blunt old Indian sword whilst I executed a slow-time Cut 2 against them with an initially bent elbow.

What I found was that Le Marchant's claim of security held true if the infantryman was on my off-side (i.e. left), but that if on my near side (right) then it was not only possible but quite easy for them to hit almost any part of my arm between wrist and shoulder as I simultaneously brought the blade down and straightened my elbow.

We agreed that if the motion was carried out a) at full speed and b) when mounted on a horse moving towards the infantryman then Le Marchant's claim about the safety of the bent elbow would be more likely to hold water, but as it was we could not be sure.

Has anyone else tried this, and if so what were your findings?