Home Forums Horse and Musket General Horse and Musket Crimean War 2nd rank lancers: swords or spears? Reply To: Crimean War 2nd rank lancers: swords or spears?


Hi there, that’s an interesting question – having a quick flick through my copy of Mark Adkin’s “The Charge” (excellent book, BTW…) he mentions regarding the lance that “it was not uncommon for men to discard their lances just prior to hand to hand fighting and resort to their swords” – this sourced from the account of Private J W Wightman ‘one of the six hundred’ written May 1892….

Certainly, Adkin is at pains to describe the shortcomings or at least practical difficulties in using the lance, but also makes the point that Cardigan chose specifically to align the lancers with the centre of his objective, being the best to “smash through the battery” – my take would be that all lancers, lining up in regimental formation would be equipped with their enigmatic weapon, or suffer short shrift from the RSM! – turning out without ones accoutrements would be anathema in those hide-bound times, where Cardigan could censure Captain Nolan for his alleged use of a brown bottle in the Regimental Mess, remember!

Pictorial depictions also always have all lancers with the lance, although of course that could be Artistic License…… I think the lance as primary weapon would be carried by all troopers in the ranks, but following the shock of impact, might have been swiftly dropped and the sword brought into use…..