Tuesday, 13 February 2018

1853 Italian Cavalry Sabre Exercise

Today I present the scans of the Italian military sabre exercise Istruzione pel maneggio della sciabola approvata dal Ministero della Guerra ("Instruction for the handling of the sabre, approved by the Ministry of War"), released in 1853 in Turin, which was then in the Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia. Since certain parts of the scans are difficult to read, I have also provided a transcription.

Original scans: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1yfhzFIki-4d_6_lVP9ClQ9jsm4TK8vfE/view?usp=sharing

Transcription: https://docs.google.com/document/d/18rTjogNB3QL-Gx_ageXgyfZd5omeF8ydE7zx36BXW44/edit?usp=sharing

This short manual instructs cavalrymen in basic positions on foot (e.g. attention, flank left, etc.) and sabre exercises performed as if on horseback. Although it does not contain the Radaellian method, it is most likely the system that Radaelli was instructed to use during his volunteer military service in 1859. It therefore serves as a good insight into what Radaelli was responding to when he was developing his own cavalry system in the 1860s.

Here is a short list of some of the notable features of the sabre system detailed in this manual:
  • The basic guard position is similar to Radaelli's parry of 5th.
  • The "semicircle" parries seen in the 1873 cavalry regulations are also taught here.
  • Cuts are numbered 1 to 6, identical to the English cuts.
  • Thrusts are done with accompanying body movement.
  • The molinelli exercises are performed entirely with the wrist and are not done on horseback.
Special thanks to Biblioteca Benincasa Ancona for providing the scans.

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