Australian 1908 Cavalry Sword. Legendary military sword used by Australian, British and Canadian cavalry. Carbon steel blade, steel scabbard. Sword of British Empire.
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With the introduction of the 1908 Cavalry Sword the Victorian debate about whether a cavalry sword should be a cutting or thrusting sword was effectively over and a near century of ‘’compromise’’ cut-and-thrust sword styles was ended in the British Empire. The model 1908 is clearly a sword intended for thrusting and has been regarded by some experts as the best cavalry sword ever created. It was used by the British, Canadian and Australian militaries. Not all agree with this assertion however and the point may be moot, for the cavalry sword was mere moments from obsolescence at this time.
A lightweight sword, the 1908 has a thick, stiffened T-shaped blade spine. It flexes just enough to avoid breakage in a high-speed thrust, but it remains stiff enough to ensure that the blade drives home. The tip is a ‘’spear-point’’ style - sharp on both ends and tapered to ease the blade into an enemy with frightful ease. While the last third of the sword was sharpened on both sides to allow for cutting, this is largely a token arrangement, as the sword would have been a poor slashing and cutting blade at best.
With its long blade, the 1908 is best used as in the manner of a lance while the horse charges. The only drawback and a point of criticism for the sword is that this manner of fighting has a risk of too deeply embedding the blade into the foe, forcing the cavalryman to drop the sword in the pass or risk breaking his wrist.
The large, bowl-like guard gives excellent protection to the hand without making the sword heavy and the ergonomic, pistol-like grip has a groove for the thumb on the top of the grip to maximize point and direction control of the blade. The weighted pommel helps to balance the blade, keeping it quick and maneuverable.
When the 1908 Cavalry sword was presented to King Edward VII for the monarch’s approval, he initially rejected it because he thought it was ‘’hideous’’ - he would eventually be persuaded of the performance utility of the new sword. It would ultimately matter little, for the warfare of WWI demanded radical changes to cavalry doctrine before making horse-mounted cavalry entirely obsolete. Cavalrymen no longer did charges with blades drawn. Instead they fought as rifle-armed mobile infantry, moving quickly into positions supported with horse-drawn machine guns and artillery. The greatest proof of the forced doctrinal change was that the cavalry was issued entrenching tools. In an era of entrenched machine guns and artillery and fields churned with the tracks of smoke-belching tanks, the flashing steel charge of the cavalry was a bygone, romantic notion.
This replica 1908 Pattern Cavalry Sword has an unsharpened blade of high carbon steel. The blade has manufacture, inspection and issue markings that denote it a replica of a sword that was issued in the Australian Cavalry. The guard and pommel are of steel and the grip is of hard-molded plastic to replicate the original ‘’Bakelite’’ grip which was made from an early plastic - it has a raised diamond pattern for a grip. The scabbard is of steel.
Steel: Tempered EN9 High Carbon Steel.
Overall Length: 42 3/4".
Blade: 35 3/4".
P.O.B.: 5 1/8".
Grip Length: 5 3/4".
Weight: 2 lb 5.1 oz.
British empire military swords.