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Old 8th December 2019, 11:11 PM   #10
ariel's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Ann Arbor, MI
Posts: 5,178

You are partially correct: the role of bladed weapons shrank markedly with the introduction of firearms.
But short-bladed weapons suffered the biggest blow. Swords/ sabers were still used on the battlefield for a long while, although more and more as rank weapons. But Cossack cavalry units were still active as recently as WW2.

Military tactics shifted from close quarter melee to artillery bombardment. Perhaps, the only regulation short-bladed weapon left in international arsenals were bayonets. Of the ethnic “knives” the only truly survived one that comes to mind is Kukri. The more primitive societies kept them longer, the ones striving to modernity got rid of them earlier. Thus, to put a defined date of the “Judgement Day” for short-bladed weapons ( 1857? 1865? etc)is naive to put it mildly, but 19- early 20 century is a a good approximation if we speak of the world-wide military history.

Katar was a quintessential melee weapon, and in Greater India it likely went the way of Dodo together with bichwa, khanjarli and Bagh-nakh. All of them continued their existence as exotic souvenirs often marked and sold as antiques.

And you are likely correct: by the end of the 19 century more than 90% of the weapons we are discussing here ceased to exist as battlefield implements. They were so rare and unneeded for regular use, that the most widely used “weapon” during WWI trench melees was... a shovel.

Last edited by ariel; 8th December 2019 at 11:24 PM.
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