Weapons of War: Cavalry
were very inaccurate weapons and it was only the discipline of a
large number of men firing them shoulder to shoulder - creating
a wide wall of lead - that made it useful at anything over 100 metres.
dozens of types of sabres used by cavalry during the Napoleonic
had two main styles, the 1796 pattern light-cavalry sabre (pictured)
and the straight-bladed 1796 heavy-cavalry sabre, but this did not
stop a whole host of various weapons being used at the whim of the
men who led their regiments.
and poorly balanced, the 1796 patterns were used as hacking weapons
and while they would cause terrible wounds the use of the edge of
the blade rather than the point resulted in fewer killing strokes.
horsemen preferred to use the points of their swords and run the
enemy through so there was a large disparity in casualties between
the two styles. The French suffered more ghastly wounds, while the
British more initial deaths.
main proponents of the lance - a 30-centimetre point on the end
of a 240-centimetre shaft - were the Poles, Austrian Uhlans and
Russian cossacks, whose fighters had used the weapons for centuries.
Bonaparte's famous lancers were excellent for pursuing fleeing infantry,
or trying to break up squares by outreaching bayonets.
cavalry, however, were seemingly not too worried by the longer reach
as once past the razor-sharp blade of the lance the swordsman had