Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
- For other uses, see Sabre (disambiguation).
The sabre (or saber) is a European backsword with a distinct curvature and a rather large hand guard, covering the knuckles of the hand as well as the thumb and forefinger. The length of sabres varied, but they were always made to be worn in a scabbard hanging from the waist.
The origins of the sabre are somewhat unclear, and it may come from designs such as the falchion or the scimitar (shamshir) used in the middle ages by such Central Asian cavalry as the Turks, Tatars and Mongols. Originally, the sabre was used as a cavalry weapon that gradually came to replace the various straight bladed cutting sword types on the battlefield. As time went on, sabres became insignia of rank in many armies, and dress use of sabres continues to this day in some armed services around the world.
The saber saw heavy military use in the 1800s, particularly in the Napoleonic Wars, where Napoleon used heavy cavalry charges to great effect against his enemies. The saber faded as a weapon in the mid 19th century, as longer range rifles made cavalry charges obselete, even suicidal. The American Civil War saw little to no use of the saber as a weapon. Most cavalrymen abandoned the long, heavy weapons in favor of revolvers and carbines.
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