Our mission is to discover to you the true Secrets of the Sword.
Revealed today: How did cavalry troopers make sure their blades had a perfect edge?
We don’t know when exactly this picture was taken, and what war our gallant hussars are preparing for. But since this British postcard was “Printed in Bavaria,” we feel safe to say it was before 1914, when Bavaria was a backward German state whose Catholic work ethic was deplored by Max Weber in his The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism.
Now, we promised to reveal a secret, not poke fun at our Bavarian countrymen (although there’s enough Saupreiß in us to justify it!) So what about the Secret of the Sharp Blade. How did these guys manage to keep their swords sharp?
Like most secrets—outside the magnificent mysteries laid out in, say, The Lazarus Smile—this one’s a bit on the skimpy side:
To make sure you had a sharp blade at hand when you went into action, you didn’t sharpen your blade until it needed to be sharp. Because nothing ruins a sword as quickly as grinding down an ever-new edge.
This was not just practiced in Britain, but in Germany as well. (Read up that in Swords of Germany 1900-1945 by John R. Angolia (1988).