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Gurkhas

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Eric the Underwriter
416877.  Fri Oct 03, 2008 3:53 am Reply with quote

HerrBen wrote:
Izzardesque wrote:
Is that the one Sharpe swings about before bedding the women?


We'd all be speaking French if it wasn't for that lad.



Don't forget Harper and the lads ;)


Mike can you recommend any books on swords in general? Not fully my thing but like to read up on all the info. Sign of authority and all that.

 
Izzardesque
416882.  Fri Oct 03, 2008 4:00 am Reply with quote

HerrBen wrote:
Izzardesque wrote:
Is that the one Sharpe swings about before bedding the women?


We'd all be speaking French if it wasn't for that lad.


That was Eric the Underwriter that said that.

And reddy, I'd already stated the curve was to add heaviness and weight to the cutting motion. Mike said it better tho!

I love swords (and to a lesser extent other hand weapons) and have done most of my life. Both for the technical side (the ancient arms race!) and for the sheer artistry that went into them. The cultural history of them is interesting too.

 
Arcane
416889.  Fri Oct 03, 2008 4:05 am Reply with quote

Sorry Izz! I'd also wanted to clear up whether the sword being bent was ALSO a factor, as had been discussed with the Thracian sword in Gladiator.

 
Starfish13
416921.  Fri Oct 03, 2008 4:35 am Reply with quote

Nigelblt wrote:
Tony Hart, of Vision On fame, was an officer in the 1st Gurkha Rifles.


I always thought Tony Hart was a marine commando officer. It was that cravat he wore that made him look like a kindly old garndad, but in reality he could kill you in a million different ways.

 
Arcane
416923.  Fri Oct 03, 2008 4:37 am Reply with quote

Starfish13 wrote:
It was that cravat he wore that made him look like a kindly old garndad.


Wot's a garndad? Is that someone who says "Garn" (go on) a lot?! ;-D

 
Starfish13
416924.  Fri Oct 03, 2008 4:37 am Reply with quote

A grandad from Lancashire?

 
Arcane
416944.  Fri Oct 03, 2008 4:58 am Reply with quote

Ha!!!!!!!

(I did have one!)

 
Sadurian Mike
417283.  Fri Oct 03, 2008 1:19 pm Reply with quote

Eric the Underwriter wrote:
Mike can you recommend any books on swords in general? Not fully my thing but like to read up on all the info. Sign of authority and all that.

I don't own it myself, but Richard Burton's "The Book of the Sword" is seen as an authoritative history. Given that the man was an historian and fencer, his opinions and conclusions are pretty reliable.

To be honest, recommending a book about swords is like recommending a car; everyone has their own idea about what is most important.

 
Sadurian Mike
417287.  Fri Oct 03, 2008 1:29 pm Reply with quote

reddygirl wrote:
Wow Mike, that flammard is gorgeous! (bet that doesn't get said very often). Why is the blade wavy? I know you said for ceremonial purposes, but I've never seen a sword with a wavy blade....

During the Renaissance (the time period of the flammard), warfare was dominated by large pike-blocks of pikemen pressed closely together and presenting an impenetratable wall of pikes. When two such blocks clashed, the result was a slogging match where both sides suffered. To try to break the deadlock, the greatsword-armed soldiers would advance in front of the pikes and attempt to hack a way through the wall of enemy pikes (often just the weapons as reaching the soldiers was rather difficult), thus creating a weak spot for their own pikes to exploit. Needless to say, this job was seen as an elite and highly dangerous one, with the swordsmen attracting more money but also being the prime target of the enemy as they advanced. German mercenaries using the greatsword in this way, for example, were known as "Doppelsoldners" because they received double pay (an althernative explanation, mostly superceded, is that they were so-called because they used double-handed swords).

The flammard is believed to have the waves in an attempt to facilitate hooking aside the pikes, the undulations making the blade able to "catch" a pike shaft as the sword was swung. Another theory is that the weapon was only ever used ceremonially, with the waves being purely decorative.

Other wave-, or flame-bladed, swords and knives were made. The sidesword (a transitional sword falling between a rapier and "longsword"*), rapier and others were made in wave-bladed forms because parrying a thrust from such a weapon would cause the opponent's parrying weapon to vibrate uncomfortably and possibly lead to loss of control.


Flame-bladed sidesword/rapier.

The SE Asian "Kris" is another famous wave-bladed weapon, although this is almost certainly shaped as it is for ceremonial reasons (the blade is traditionally thought to house a spirit and is used extensively in religious ceremony).


Kris


*It should be mentioned that the term "broadsword" and "longsword" when referring to single-handed swords are Victorian inventions. To be historically accurate, the sword used by a medieval man-at-arms would be called an arming sword. The terms have, however, entered the language and are now used so often that they have become inextricably associated with a certain type of medieval weapon. "Longsword" more accurately refers to a sword that was capable of being wielded with one or two hands (colloquially known as the "bastard sword").

reddygirl wrote:
And you should start up a thread on swords if it hasn't been done so already!

I'll leave that to someone else. I only tend to visit here on the rare occasions that Jan points me towards something that might interest me, and when someone posts on the very few threads I am watching.

 
Flash
417368.  Fri Oct 03, 2008 6:10 pm Reply with quote

Mike - do you remember which battalion you used to visit for your curry lunches back in the '70s, or which lines they were in? Maybe we met.

 
Sadurian Mike
417371.  Fri Oct 03, 2008 6:43 pm Reply with quote

Flash wrote:
Mike - do you remember which battalion you used to visit for your curry lunches back in the '70s, or which lines they were in? Maybe we met.

It was the Officers' Mess at the Bowen Road BMH (British Military Hospital) on Kowloon that we had those lunches; dad was in the RAMC.

I'm afraid that I have no idea of which battalion (or even which Ghurka regiment) on tour at the time provided the guys that did the catering, but as they worked at the BMH Officers' Mess I doubt they were straight from TDBG. We were in Hong Kong from late '76 to '78 based on Kowloon, and Google tells me that the 1st Battalions of the 2nd, 6th, 7th and 10th Gurkha Rifles all served in Hong Kong during that time.

I have happy memories of Hong Kong mainly because the United Services Recreation Club (the USRC) had three wonderful pools and snack bars at which we could get ice cream, drinks or hot dogs simply by scribbling down our dad's Mess number. Happy days. Heaven knows what his Mess bill was each month!

 
Flash
417373.  Fri Oct 03, 2008 6:53 pm Reply with quote

Oh, OK. Only 2GR had a 1st Battalion at that time, actually; 6GR, 7GR and 10GR had all amalgamated by then. I was in 6GR, but I don't think I ever went to the BMH (for lunch, anyway) so I guess our paths wouldn't have crossed.

 
Sadurian Mike
417374.  Fri Oct 03, 2008 7:04 pm Reply with quote

Flash wrote:
Oh, OK. Only 2GR had a 1st Battalion at that time, actually; 6GR, 7GR and 10GR had all amalgamated by then. I was in 6GR, but I don't think I ever went to the BMH (for lunch, anyway) so I guess our paths wouldn't have crossed.

We trod the same streets, though, and sharing the unique experience of landing on Kai Tak.

I also came across the Ghurkas when I was going out with a girl from Brecon. The guys there were newly raised and still in training at Sennybridge, but their smart appearance and self-discipline really contrasted with the local "yoofs". They came into town on mountain bikes ridden as if they were flying formation in fast jets, and always made a beeline for the local camping/hiking shop.

The local girls sadly treated them rather disdainfully (not that the Ghurkas were probably interested in our gobby pasty-white females anyway); they used to say that if they couldn't pick up a squaddie they'd pick up a local, but if they couldn't pick up a local they'd pick up a Ghurka. I think most of it was all talk, however; aside from the Ghurkas not really hanging round the pubs in the first place, I knew of several girls who had been out with them. Most said the same thing, that the guys had impeccable manners and didn't even try for a snog. With Brecon girls (at least, Brecon girls of a certain type) this was not only a revelation but a disappointing end to an evening.

 
Sadurian Mike
417375.  Fri Oct 03, 2008 7:15 pm Reply with quote

Izzardesque wrote:
Me too - when I get some cash, its something I'd like to collect.

Buying genuine antique swords is, as you suggest, going to be hideously expensive. If you are not too fussy you might want to look at some of the modern replicas being made. Moving swiftly along from the more Fantasy-style weapons that are produced, a lot of companies make very accurate-looking weapons.

I have to say that I am sorely tempted myself, but having somewhere to display such ironmongery is a major sticking point.

My Armoury, a sight showing all manner of reproductions and true antiques.
Albion Europe. Despite the name, this company is based in Sweden.
Medieval-arms. A UK-based company.

 
Arcane
417384.  Fri Oct 03, 2008 7:43 pm Reply with quote

Thanks again for all that interesting info Mike and I appreciate that time you took to do that - I love the crafting that goes into the swords as well, the Kris is especially lovely. Did you put any of the flammard information in the F series thread? It makes very interesting reading.

 

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