Questions about Spadroon

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Questions about Spadroon

Postby MEversbergII » 13 Apr 2015 14:25

I've got a few questions about the spadroon. I know it's a weapon Matt doesn't care for, but I think they're pretty neat looking. There doesn't appear to be a terribly large amount of info on ye olde wikipedia (which we [I?]should improve!) either.

What I know:
* Two generalized patterns of the "spadroon" - shell guarded one that looks similar to the smallsword, and the "five ball" one. The former is associated with the Army (especially via the 1796 Infantry Officer's Sword), and the latter mostly with the Royal Navy.

* Officially regulated pattern of the Spadroon in 1796 formulates the Infantry Officer's Sword of the era, creating the archetype. Sword design has some flaws. The same design also laid down a version for NCO's, and perhaps musicians as well.

* Some versions of the 1796 were given better blades and were not bad.

* At least one knock-off (?) version exists - the US Pattern 1840 NCO's Sword

What I'd like to know:
* Just how long have "spadroons" been around? Smallswords were quite old by 1796; did it really take about a hundred years to have a militarized version?

* Does the document(s) that set up the 1796 still exist? Is it transliterated somewhere?

* Why did the 1796 version have all those flaws? Was it a problem in manufacturing convention, or does the document specifically state to create it flexible AND back-weighted?

* How did it have flaws for so long? Swordmakers know what they're doing - the first couple coming out of any given facility would have to be tested for sure (they have approval marks on swords from that era); I cannot fathom that nobody caught lackluster performance.

Probably more questions but I can't think of them right now.

Thanks!

M.
When I was a fighting-man, the kettle-drums they beat,
The people scattered gold-dust before my horses feet;
But now I am a great king, the people hound my track
With poison in my wine-cup, and daggers at my back.

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Re: Questions about Spadroon

Postby Jonathan » 14 Apr 2015 02:32

1. The 1796 Infantry Officer's Sword was based on an earlier Prussian pattern, the Model 1735. Looking through Swords and Blades of the American Revolution, I would say that the spadroon--or spadroon-like swords--were around in England since at least the 1740s, maybe a bit earlier. In my opinion, the spadroon, in form at least, is more like a light backsword blade than a militarized small sword blade, but I am not a fencer and have not studied the use of the spadroon.

2. The first infantry officer's sword pattern was the Pattern 1786 Infantry Officer's Sword. This pattern only regulated the blade, not the hilt. The blade was essentially the same as the P1796 Infantry Officer's Sword blade, but there was a lot of variation in hilts, from 5-ball hilts and stirrup hilts, to those which are nearly identical to the P1796 spadroon. The 1796 spadroon was introduced in a General Order dated 4 May 1796 and issued by the Adjutant-General;

The sword to have a brass guard, pommel and shell, gilt with gold; with grip, or handle, of silver twisted wire. The blade to be straight and to be made to cut and thrust; to be one inch at least broad at the shoulder and 32 inches in length, conformably to former orders given out in April of 1786.


3 & 4. I don't think that the lackluster performance of the P1796 was due to manufacturing flaws. I think it was just a bad design and that the Army was, as was often the case, slow to make changes. There are quite a few non-regulation infantry sabers in the style of P1796 LC swords from the Napoleonic period, quite possibly because officers wanted fighting swords in addition to the handsome but ineffective P1796 spadroon. Just a guess, though. There were some heavier P1796 spadroons made, some of which used the same blade as the P1798 Highland Officer's broadsword blade.

Books to get if you are interested in further reading:

Swords and Blades of the American Revolution by George C. Neumann
Swords of the British Army, The Regulation Patterns 1788-1914 by Brian Robson

If you still have your yahoo email address I can send you a good and concise article by David Critchley on infantry swords from 1775-1815. Let me know.

Jonathan
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Re: Questions about Spadroon

Postby Thearos » 15 Apr 2015 01:50

Some elements that might be useful:

Girard, Traité des Armes (1740) discusses the "espadonneur" as one of the opponents a smallswordsman might have to face.

I would join (but do not know how to resize) a photograph of a spadroon from the Nat Museum of Scotland, dated to 1716: wide(ish) blade, bilobate guard, and bars.

Hope's new method mentions the "shearing-sword" or spadroon as a very good weapon (in fact the idea of having bars or a baskethilt on a spadroon seems to him a good idea, too)
Last edited by Thearos on 15 Apr 2015 09:24, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Questions about Spadroon

Postby MEversbergII » 15 Apr 2015 03:04

Johnathan, have we crossed paths before? I haven't used my Yahoo address in -years- now. It's a gmail account, now, and I'd like to take a look at what you've got. Thanks for the other leads as well!

Thearos, that image isn't displaying, unfortunately. I do recall Hope having something good to say about the spadroon, though.

M.
When I was a fighting-man, the kettle-drums they beat,
The people scattered gold-dust before my horses feet;
But now I am a great king, the people hound my track
With poison in my wine-cup, and daggers at my back.

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Re: Questions about Spadroon

Postby Jonathan » 15 Apr 2015 03:18

MEversbergII wrote:Johnathan, have we crossed paths before? I haven't used my Yahoo address in -years- now. It's a gmail account, now, and I'd like to take a look at what you've got. Thanks for the other leads as well!


Yes, on either SFI or myArmoury. I emailed an article to you on the British P1908 and P1912. Is your email address the same but @gmail.com?
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Re: Questions about Spadroon

Postby MEversbergII » 15 Apr 2015 16:16

Ah yes! Was probably myArmoury if I'd a guess; some years now! That was a pretty good article, I recall; may need to dig it up again. Yes, the address is the same, but at gmail now.

M.
When I was a fighting-man, the kettle-drums they beat,
The people scattered gold-dust before my horses feet;
But now I am a great king, the people hound my track
With poison in my wine-cup, and daggers at my back.

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Re: Questions about Spadroon

Postby Jonathan » 15 Apr 2015 17:20

I just emailed the article.
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Re: Questions about Spadroon

Postby MattS » 20 Jun 2016 09:34

A few months ago now I picked up a 1786 pattern spadroon for my collection. It’s a little bit beefier than the standard pattern (which is why I bought it) and that actually makes it handle a lot like an 1845(54) pattern infantry sabre. I thought it looked nice when I saw it, but when I picked it up and swooshed it about a bit I knew it was coming home with me!

The vital statistics are as follows:
Blade type: straight with a single central fuller
Blade length: 79.5cm
Blade width: 29mm
Blade thickness: 9mm
Point of balance: 100mm from the guard
Overall weight: 700g
Sharpened: yes

I don’t have a deflection gauge for swords (although I am now thinking I need one) so I can’t give a scientific stat of how flexible it is. However I can say that it’s very comparable to the flexibility of my Pilin 1827(45) British rifle officer’s sabre and my Thurkle 1845(54) British infantry officer’s sabre, both of which are of similar lengths and thicknesses.

Its original owner must have favoured giving point, because the tip’s been ground quite, well, pointy.

The inner shell of the guard has been deliberately removed, this was most likely done to make it more comfortable to wear.

The grip is a reeded form of marine ivory, both of which probably indicate that this was originally a naval officer’s side arm. As there are no markings anywhere on the blade or hilt, I have no way to substantiate that though.

I only have the one photo on my phone:
20160424-1786Spadroon.jpg
20160424-1786Spadroon.jpg (93.56 KiB) Viewed 1682 times
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Re: Questions about Spadroon

Postby OK » 20 Jun 2016 21:57

Kewl

I have a variety of straight pokies. Somehow I have avoided counterguards like this and the 1796 dress 1796 heavy cavalry but MDL on Ebay has be second guessing me because of some pretty good deal. I tend to stick with simpler guards. My first was a slotted hilt.

Cheers

GC

A file of some spadroons
https://drive.google.com/folderview?id= ... sp=sharing


some of my stuff
11227761_876289345759168_4431020069062382460_n.jpg
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Re: Questions about Spadroon

Postby MEversbergII » 21 Jun 2016 14:57

I'll eventually get my hands on one of these!

M.
When I was a fighting-man, the kettle-drums they beat,
The people scattered gold-dust before my horses feet;
But now I am a great king, the people hound my track
With poison in my wine-cup, and daggers at my back.

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