Did swords improve after the Civil War?

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major bill

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By the Civil War swords had been used as military weapons for centuries. Swords were developed for the changing needs of the military. By the Civil War the sword had possibly reached the point that a Civil War style sword could be used up to World War One or beyond.

This does not mean the US military did not develop new swords, I am just not sure the new swords were all that more modern than Civil War era swords.

This is a later model US Army sword.
20190607_110236.jpg
 

Glen_C

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The snippet you show was an experimental saber, as was the m1911. Culminating with the m1913 "Patton" with one more speculated after that.

"This is a later model US Army sword."

Leaving it at that with a teaser shot, I imagine your hope is that others will expand upon the subject. IMO, there are multiple developmental subjects on US swords alone that go far beyond the scope of this forum.

Cheers
GC
 

major bill

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I was not sure what the sword in the photo in post 1 was as it did not have a tag with information. I see images of swords used in World War Ond and Two, but I am not sure they are significantly better than Civil War swords or not. Are we looking at inproved weight or strength? Maybe improved balance?
 
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major bill

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The got the sword in post 1 out of a storage drawer when I got a tour of the basement artifact storage area at the US Infantry Museum. I was more interested is some of the other weapons , but did take a photograph of the sword.
 

zburkett

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The realities include that with modern technology it is still not possible to make/buy a blade that cuts better than the blade a Samurai could have bought in the 16th Century. After the self contained cartridge was perfected the sword as a weapon was obsolete. Before the end of the 19th Century the sword was primarily a symbol of rank. Therefore the question is what is an improvement? They are more corrosion free now. Some are a lot fancier, etc. If you want a sword for use then you have to ask where are you going? If you are going into the jungle you probably want something more like a machete. If you are going into the woods something that resembles an ax. Trench warfare, it is hard to beat a good entrenching shovel.
 
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Glen_C

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I was not sure what the sword in the photo in post 1 was as it did not have a tag with information. I see images of swords used in World War Ond and Two, but I am not sure they are significantly better than Civil War swords or not. Are we looking at inproved weight or strength? Maybe improved balance?
The photo shows a tag string. Having found it in a storage drawer, one might it expect to have been accessioned. One might study improvements in metallurgy and sword development in the US and elsewhere. Again, multiple subjects and most well beyond the scope of an ACW discussion group.

Having had off topic remarks removed in the past because of a timeline makes me, for one, hesitant to even offer more. Look up US m1906 cavalry and Bessemer. Those would be two to learn about. Add the m1917 cutlass and then the cutlass service timelines, as well the US Horse Marines. None of them topics of this board's overall scope.

Did development and quality of swords advance after the ACW? Yes.

Cheers
GC
 
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redbob

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While the materials used in manufacturing swords after the Civil War improved, their value as weapons did not; just the opposite.
 

James N.

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I was not sure what the sword in the photo in post 1 was as it did not have a tag with information. I see images of swords used in World War Ond and Two, but I am not sure they are significantly better than Civil War swords or not. Are we looking at inproved weight or strength? Maybe improved balance?
When Georgie Patton patented "his" eponymous saber which was in turn named for him when it was officially adopted, there was push-back from impecunious legislators and their newspaper backers with stories appearing that said things like U.S. Army to Get Old French Swords. The deliberately misleading impression was that "our" cavalry was to be armed with cast-off French sabers that were surplus antiques dating back to the Napoleonic Wars! In reality, Patton had studied and compared various European saber styles - including French, whose design admittedly hadn't changed very much for a century - before recommending "his" which in fact was a close copy of the regulation British saber. The main dispute at the time was whether a long, straight blade (like on the Patton) or a slightly shorter curved blade (like on the M.1860 and its close copy the M.1906) was the most practical, and the "new" Patton style won out.
 
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major bill

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The Civil War allowed the Army to test weapons. It would seem that ny the end of the Civil War the US Army would know how well swords and sabers performed and what improvements might need to be made to sabers and swords.

I am not sure that the US Army was disappointed with swords and sabers during the War. Perhaps a bit disappointing with the older artillery swords. But things like musicians swords were not really intended for heavy use in combat.
 

johan_steele

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In short the answer is yes swords improved in a dramatic fashion as by 1880 almost all made in the US were of stamped steel and were largely made by machine creating a more consistent product. Swords were still an issue item in WW1 as were lances. The Russians still had horse cav with Swords as late as WW2.
 

James N.

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The Civil War allowed the Army to test weapons. It would seem that ny the end of the Civil War the US Army would know how well swords and sabers performed and what improvements might need to be made to sabers and swords.

I am not sure that the US Army was disappointed with swords and sabers during the War. Perhaps a bit disappointing with the older artillery swords. But things like musicians swords were not really intended for heavy use in combat.
It might seem so, but that fails to take into account factors like pork-barrel political patronage! My favorite relevant turn-of-the-century example involves the venerable Ames Manufacturing Company of Chicopee, Mass., long-time producer of swords and sabers for the U.S. Government. By 1900 it was obvious that sabers were no longer necessary for the cavalry, yet Massachusetts politicians were able to get for their constituents at Ames a contract for the M.1906 saber, which was NOTHING but a M.1860 with a blackened STEEL semi-basket hilt instead of the 1860's brass hilt; in all other respects (other than moving the lower scabbard ring a couple of inches) they were IDENTICAL in appearance. (It's easily arguable that when the M.1913 Patton was adopted it was equally unnecessary.) Ironically, though Ames profited from the contract, they were unable to fulfill it, because they had sold off all their sword-making machinery in the 1880's to the so-called Henderson Ames Mfg. Co. of Kalamazoo, Michigan, which subsequently used it to manufacture fraternal swords. Ames' "solution" was to subcontract the blades from a company in Solingen, Germany! Upon delivery they were all stamped U.S. over the Ordnance Dept. flaming bomb on one side and A. S. C. and 1906 on the other. Incidentally, when the new swords arrived at the regiments to which they had been assigned, M.1860's remaining in service were painted black over their brass hilts in order so they would match the newcomers.
 
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