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PhilB

Cavalry chainmail epaulettes

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PhilB

I`ve usually seen the chainmail epaulettes on cavalrymen as an affectation. They possibly are now, but I was surprised to read that they were an invention of the early 19th century to protect a mounted man against a sword cut (a standard cut - the passing cut at the shoulder) which would incapacitate him. Can anyone confirm? Phil B

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harribobs
I`ve usually seen the chainmail epaulettes on cavalrymen as an affectation. They possibly are now, but I was surprised to read that they were an invention of the early 19th century to protect a mounted man against a sword cut (a standard cut - the passing cut at the shoulder) which would incapacitate him. Can anyone confirm? Phil B

Richard Holmes certainly says it in 'Sahib'

excellent book btw

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PhilB

I actually read it in Mallinson`s "The Sabre`s Edge" which is fictional, though the author is a cavalryman.

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Guest

I cannot quote any further sources to confirm it, but I believe it is right.

Apart from the purely decorative, like the choice of colours and the cut of clothing, few uniform features were arrived at by chance and most had a practical origin.

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PhilB

Can anyone shed light on the thinking behind the pelisse - the braided jacket draped over one shoulder by cavalrymen? It always seemed a rather impractical way to wear it! Phil B

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Graham Stewart

Phil,

Only Hussars wear the pelisse and as far as I'm aware they were a feature of French Napoleonic cavalry adopted from Hungary if I remember rightly. The same can be said for the tunics and peculiar head dress of Lancer Regiments which were again a feature of Napoleons Armies and came originally from Poland if my memory is correct.

Graham.

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squirrel

Reckon it would be worn that way to keep the sword arm free and could be put on properly to protect from the cold out of action.

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PhilB

So would a left hander wear the pelisse on the right shoulder? One wonders why carry it at all though, as it wouldn`t keep you warm slung on one shoulder? Phil B

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squirrel

I shouldn't think that anyone would have been allowed to use a sword left handed. Left handers are invariably taught to use their weapons right handed the same as everyone else.

All the tack and kit was made for right handed use.

The pellise, which started out as a practical warm overgarment, like so many military uniform bits and pieces became an adornment and a "fashion" item.

Just look at the copying of Hussar uniform by other units; horse artillery and Rifle Regiment Officers for instance.

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Ian Deare
On 23/01/2006 at 11:39, harribobs said:

Richard Holmes certainly says it in 'Sahib'

excellent book btw

They are actually residual burnishing tools for cleaning, and polishing armour plate.

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