Are Military Swords Still Used in the Military?

The sword was a weapon developed as early as 5000 BC but is not a common weapon in modern society. It is still used in some regions of the world, where it is often carried by police and military members. The military saber is an edged weapon intended for two-handed use and may be double-edged, or with a single sharp edge and a blunt edge. 

Military Swords designed for one-handed use were in use at least since the sixth century BC. Most swords nowadays are not hand-forged, but instead are made from sheet metal or folded sheet metal with differentially hardened edges which can then be welded together to form a single solid blade with a hilt.

The heads of these weapons vary from simple spikes to more complex shapes such as the leaf shape used by Vikings, the crossguard found on medieval knightly sword designs, and the later arming sword designs that became standard military patterns for Western Europe after about 1200 AD. Many ancient real swords were made using patterns welded onto sheets of steel. 

Purpose of Military Swords

The purpose of this sword is to inflict as much damage on a combatant as possible before the blade is too blunt or the handle too heavy. A sword can be used for close-combat fighting, such as against members of the armed forces, or in long-range combat. It has been used in many cavalry charges and mounted infantry battles. 

Military swords are also used in historical reenactment, where they were often used this way up to the mid-20th century. It has been widely debated whether the use of swords declined because firearms were more accurate and effective than swords from horseback, or if firearms were not yet developed when swords were still common.

This sword has been employed in combat since pre-history. They were one of the most commonly used weapons until the early modern period when they began to be supplanted by pistols and rifles. The first use of these full tang swords in the war was by Assyrian cavalry in the 9th century BC, but the first evidence for them is from nearer the 6th century BC somewhere in Ancient Greece, before which point the most common weapon was the spear.

Military swords also have served various purposes throughout history, such as fighting animals (from lions to polar bears), capturing prisoners, ritualized training, execution, and as weapons for hand-to-hand combat. 

Uses of Military Swords

Military swords, known as the heavy cavalry sword or side arm sword, were used by mounted-infantry soldiers. They were also carried by officers on horseback for self-defense and could be used in melee combat. If you are looking for a new collectible to add to your antique military wardrobe, then this is the article for you! Here are five major uses of these swords:

  • Honor the Dead

The body of a fallen soldier is treated with extreme reverence and respect. In order to ensure that the body is treated properly, it is often carried home by a commander or officer's personal escort. The soldier was almost always accompanied by a close friend and comrade, who also carried his sword. 

Many of these swords are of fine quality repousse and are inlaid with gold, silver, or brass designs. They were made to commemorate the dead soldier, hold his personal effects, or be used in combat.

  • Equestrian Combat

Finding oneself at the mercy of an enemy on horseback was very dangerous for infantry soldiers during the early years of war. The ranks of the infantry had a difficult time withstanding an attack from mounted soldiers. However, there were methods to defend against cavalry attacks. One was to use long spears that could be used to impale the enemy rider as he charged toward you. 

Another method was to use two-handed swords that not only could be used in close combat but also had a long reach and could be used as a spear if necessary. Several of these swords were discovered at the Waterloo battlefield and they are very large, measuring up to four feet long! These weapons would have been effective against mounted soldiers since they had such a long reach.

  • Close Combat

Combat with close-range weapons was not uncommon during the 19th century. Swords were used more often than other types of melee weapons because they were easily accessible and of shorter length. 

These short swords could be carried in a scabbard at the waist or in one's boot and were often used as a last resort against attackers. Soldiers would use their swords to parry incoming blows from gunfire or an enemy blade and then step forward to deliver a fatal blow!

  • Self-Defense

Although rarely used, military swords could be quite effective self defense weapons since their length gives them a long reach. A sword was used by most infantry troopers because they knew the penalty they would receive if they lost their weapons. 

Many officers and commanders carried swords as a symbol of their rank and would only draw them in self-defense. These swords were often used in duels between officers – this was an accepted practice during the mid-1800s.

  • Recruiting Soldiers

During peacetime, armies did not always have to recruit soldiers and members of the armed forces could be more likely to enlist if they had the motive. The primary motivation for soldiers to join up was simple: money! If a soldier could become better off by joining the military, he would have no problem making a career decision to do so.

Use of Swords in the Military Today

The question of whether swords are still used in the military is a complicated one. The short answer to this question is yes, swords are still used in the military and it's not just for ceremonies and decoration. Military Swords have been an integral part of many cultures and civilizations for thousands of years with some countries continuing to use them now.

In China, the last known swordsmen from the imperial court served as palace guards up until 1912 when they were banned by Republican revolutionaries. Japan has a lot of experience with sword fighting due to their samurai history and at the end of World War II, 50% of Japan's infantry were issued traditional swords which would be carried on their person but not actually be used during combat. 

The US has produced the occasional sword fighter such as the WWI and WWII veterans but military swords usually don't make an appearance after that. Which countries still use swords? Here is a list of some of the most famous and notable current sword users:

  • China: 

The Chinese Imperial Guard is known as "The Immortal Guards." They are elite officers in the Chinese military who have served since the Ming Dynasty. Their swords are part of their uniforms and they carry them with them at all times. The guards aren't used for combat; instead, they serve as protectors for important events and ceremonies.

  • The Japanese: 

There are still a few people in Japan who use anime swords for fighting and the art of Iaido which is the controlled practice of drawing the sword, cutting, and then re-sheathing it. Iaido is seen as a way to use swords in a non-violent way while still keeping the skills sharp. In Japanese culture, it's believed that a man shouldn't have his sword taken away from him because it's such an important part of their life.

  • Korea: 

Swords were not used as commonly in Korea but some soldiers were issued swords during WWII. These swords would be brought along during training but would normally not be carried during combat.

Military Swords - The Symbol of Power and Rank

The military sword was a symbol of rank, with officers only carrying swords while enlisted men carried spears and other forms of weaponry. The design of the sword depended on its intended use. 

For example, there were light cavalry swords that weighed less than two pounds and had a straight blade between 24" to 32", making them ideal for slashing. These blades were designed for slashing versus thrusting, which was the main method of attack in the military saber. Military swords were predominantly used among British and European armies. 

However, the Japanese sword was used by their Samurai warriors for defense purposes. The samurai were a very highly valued military force in Japan during the 17th to 18th centuries. The Katana, the most recognizable of all samurai swords, is an example of ancient Japanese military weaponry that is still in use today.