Mystery French 1883 Cavalry Pallasch? Part II: Conclusion. Jan 12, 2019 21:45:16 GMT
Post by Uhlan on Jan 12, 2019 21:45:16 GMT
The ministerial notice of 22 August 1882.
Top to bottom: fig.2: M1854/ transformé 1882. Cuirassiers 95 cm. M1854 Cuirassiers with 100 cm blade cut back to 95 cm. fig.3: M1854/transformé 1882. Dragoons 92.5 cm. M1854 Dragoons with 97.5 cm blade cut back to 92.5 cm. fig.5: M1882 Cuirassiers 95 cm. fig.6: M1882 Dragoons 92.5 cm. fig.7: M1882 Light Cavalry 87 cm.
The production of the M1854 stopped when the new 1882 models were introduced.
The M1854 Transformed 1882 were never commissioned. There must have been a powerful lobby at work. Revenge for the Bancal debacle?
Due to the delayed delivery of the regulation M1882 LC - HC pattern, Command thought it wise to have spare first generation M1822 LC sabres with the regulation 92.5 cm long and curved blade reworked and straightened to make a 87.5 cm long new pallasch blade.
M1822-83 Light Cavalry pallasch.
This proved to be a disastrous idea, as the stresses inflicted on the now about 60 years old blades were a bit too much for many of them.
3000 old blades did however survive the torture inflicted upon them and every once in a while one of those hardy
,, Spartans '' pops up in the market place.
The M1882 - 83 HC pallasch which is the topic of this post is one of those. I think.
I just bought this sword. I hope to have it here by the end of week. We will have to make do with the sellers pictures and some pictures I collected today. Later on, after I worked on it, I will come back to this post with better pictures of a much improved (I hope) pallasch.
Let me begin with the statement that I think that this sword is not some Franken job, hammered together on a stormy winter night in the year after the Great Plague of 09, in the crypt of an abandoned village church by drooling, scratching and giggling picturesque country folk.
I have to concur with the seller that the peen is a professional job and also that no filing has been done on the dome of the pommel cap, so often in evidence, in order to accommodate tang work and the hammering of a new peen.
That is one of the things that make this sword interesting. Another reason is that this pallasch has an iron hilt, in the style of the iconic Napoleonic Cavalry pallasch with the teardrops, or its decendant the M1816 Cuirassier pallasch.
The only French sword with an iron hilt to come close is the ,, Sabre de Gendarmerie d' Armée AN IX ''.
(See l'Hoste: page 437, image 896. and assorted images)
The iron hilted Gendarmerie d'Armée pallasch however has a three bar hilt and the way these bars meet and join the knuckle bow is very different from how the two bars meet and join the knuckle bow on this M1882 - 1883.
Sabre de Gendarmerie d'Armée.
Sabre de Gendarmerie d'Armée'.
The Prussian HC pallasch is the only one with a two bar hilt, but it is made from bronze.
The Dutch iron hilted HC M1813 No1. Again no match.
The Dutch HC M1813 No2. MMMMM....no.
Looking at the configuration shown here it is immediately clear that there is no space for a third bar and furthermore, even had a third bar been present, it would have been impossible to remove all trace of it.
So, it looks like this hilt was designed this way, on purpose, as a two bar lookalike of a Cavalerie de Ligne M1816 hilt, tear drops and all. The pommel cap is also taken from an M1816, as its backstrap bulge is slightly longer than the one we see on the M1822.
The guard plate has some marks. One that could be a Versailles mark and an undecipherable poinçon of some sort, plus the numbers 2 4. with 24. under those.
The rest of the sword is unmarked.
It seems to be an original M1816 scabbard, but it could be an M1854 scabbard as well, including the first generation space of 24 cm between the two ring mounts. No effort has been made to update the scabbard to the new saddle system requirements of the second generation of 15 cm between the rings, a phenomenon one can observe on scabbards from the second half of the 19th century onwards, nor the one ring system of 1882. It seems to be in very good condition.
The seller assured me that all the crud on the blade is basically just old grease and that the blade is in a much better condition than how it looks right now in the pictures. I sure do hope so. I can only show a bit of tip section here. Fortunately we can see the last bit of the narrow secondairy fuller of the old M1822 blade. This is the picture that won me over.
The dimensions are 90.5 cm x 37 mm!! x 12 mm.
Bancal: 98 cm x 30 mm x 11.5 mm.
M1822 LC: 92 cm x 31 mm x 10 mm.
Look at the width on this thing!
Neither the Bancal nor the LC can touch it. So, where does this blade come from?
The Napoleonic sabre blades tend to be even more slender than the Bancal or the LC. (See Dave Kelly - French HC sabre in the notes)
The blade length of 90.5 cm does not fit into the reworked M1822 LC/HC story of 1883 either.
Those 3000 blades were shortened to 87.5 cm.
So, what is this?
To those who still must insist the pallasch is just a Franken job, I say that the only real argument a forger has to do his work, is the bottom line. The financial reward must be far greater than all the input in energy, materials, etc put together. Satisfaction of the ego plays a role too, but can get one behind bars. In this case none of the above makes sense.
Secondly, where does an amateur get a two bar iron hilt?
There are none around already in use by armies at that time on regulation pallasch and swords as far as I can see. Not in France, nor anywhere else. In about 1882 one did not have easy access to an international spare parts market and even if the sword was made up say ten years ago, you'd have a hard time locating a Heavy Cavalry two bar iron hilt, even with the help of the internet, as there are none. The costs involved to have just a few of the hilts cast for the sake of a larp are never to be regained again as this is not a faked $10.000 prestige object. Again, there is no financial incentive, nor the prospect of ego soothing attention by the media.
For a Government agency busy with the design of a new Cavalry sword it does make sense and the cost, well, we all know how Government works. No problem there if they really want something.
Thirdly, the width of the blade we have here is an anomaly. A blade with this width does not fit in with the M1822 specifications.
Only an Officer or a civilian could have commissioned an M1822 blade this wide. I do not really think that someone bought this particular private order blade in an antiques shop and straightened it out. Such a job could only have been done at Chatellerault since only there the knowhow and the equipment could be found. That is why Chatellerault and only Chatellerault got the order for the 3000 blades in the first place.
At Chatellerault however there would be an abundance of surplus blades and other parts just for the picking.
All this strengthens the case for this pallasch to be an arsenal job.
Maybe this pallasch was the result of an abandoned project done at Chatellerault? There were powerful lobbies at work, just look at what happened with the M1854 transformé. One such lobby group could have ordered a study into alternatives for the M1882 Cavalry design.