A Brief History of Swords in Military Use

Posted by Bryan on 6/20/2012 to Military Sword History
Swords were the choice military weapon for thousands of years. That's a remarkable tenure for anything, let alone a weapon. They were each designed differently, and to carry out specific damage. Some were made for thrusting the sword into the enemy, while others were designed to cut.

Perhaps, one of the most recognizable sabers ever used by a military was the katana. These were employed by the even more famous samurai nobility military of Japan dating back to the 12th century. The sword itself has a subtle curve, and was carried in a sash around the waistline of the samurai for quick deployment. Here, they could draw this sword, and cut in to the enemy with a single motion.

A much heavier type of sword was used by the Roman military throughout the first millennium. The spatha was a longer sword that was straight, and unlike the katana it had dual cutting sides. This saber was great for slashing and cutting through the armor of the enemy. Gladiators would also use this sword in the arena during those times.

Even after the introduction of fire powered weaponry, sabers were still the choice weapon for up close combat. Faulty triggers, and slow loading times on guns, made them less reliable when the enemy was closing in fast. One of the more infamous military swords was the Calvary saber. It's been used in more than one war fought on American soil. It was designed with only one blade. The other side was loaded with weight to cut through the enemy with ease. It had a guard to protect the knuckles during combat, that was also used to deliver a smashing punch. This saber had a brutal reputation, and veered by some to be the most complete military sword to ever see a battlefield.

Today, military swords are still wildly popular, but more from a symbolic point. The Marine Corps still carry a rich tradition of the weapon, and reward them to officers that have earned particular ranks. Military men across the globe still use them for a spectacle wedding ceremony, or other grand events. While their practicality may have changed over the years, the legacy of these once formidable weapons will continue throughout time.