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1796 Pattern Heavy British Cavalry Trooper’s Sabre (Sold)

Original, unmodified 1796 P British heavy cavalry trooper's sabre, full provenance, saw direct action against the French in the Napoleonic Wars.

Ce britannique saber presque certainement tué au moins un soldat français (ibérique au cours de la guerre de 1808 à 1813).

1796 Pattern Heavy British Cavalry Trooper’s Sabre1796 Pattern Heavy British Cavalry Trooper’s Sabre / Scabbard

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This is such a rare and valuable sword for two reasons; First, it has the unmodified hatchet point, uncut disk and langets still in place (most, repeat most points were modified on active service sabres just prior to Waterloo 1815); Second, this is one of the very few 1796 Pattern heavy cavalry swords which can be proved to have been actively involved in battle during the Napoleonic Wars.

The sword and scabbard are both marked "3 B 3" (tying them both together as original); 3rd (Heavy Cavalry) Regiment, B Troop, Trooper number 3; a front riding trooper. The British 3rd (Prince of Wales) Dragoon Guards were not light dragoon cavalry, but heavy cavalry Cuirassiers who had their Cuirassier plumes removed from their helmets in order to be reclassified, so the army could pay them less! The 3rd (Prince of Wales) Dragoon Guards saw very active, effective and commended service against Napoleonic French forces in the (Iberian) Peninsular War (AKA Spanish War of Independence), which the British, Portuguese and Spanish allies ultimately won in 1814, a very large factor in Napoleon's temporary abdication.

When Napoleon came out of exile a few months later and amassed a large army to invade what is now Belgium in 1815, the British went back into battle against him in the so called "100 Days War", which culminated in Napoleon's defeat at Waterloo. Critically, most 1796 Pattern British heavy cavalry sabres were modified for the 100 Days War; as this sabre has not been modified and has clear combat damage (the regiment does not have battle honours after the Peninsular War until the Abyssian War of 1867, after this sword pattern was retired), it most likely had been withdrawn from service before the 100 Days War.

This sabre was with Trooper number 3 of B Troop of the 3rd (Prince of Wales) Dragoon Guards in the Peninsula war and suffered combat damage in action there. The blade is bent near the tip and also slightly so near the hilt, although is still fits the scabbard which is not damaged in the same places (it does show stirrup dents), proving the sword was drawn at the time it was damaged. The blade also has several nicks and critically several surface tension fractures, which proves this is not a sword damaged from any fall, but one damaged by striking something (an opponent) with great force. I have no doubt a French soldier (or more) perished at the hands of this sabre.

Having such a regiment marked, battle scared, unmodified 1796 P HC sabre is probably unique. Further photographs available upon request.

 

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