Cossack sword art – Shashka

What is shashka?
The Shashka (Adyghe: (Сашьхъуэ),Russian: (Шашка))
is a special kind of sabre; a very sharp, single-edged, single-handed, and guardless sword.


In appearance, the shashka was midway between a full sabre and a straight sword. It had a slightly curved blade, and could be effective for both slashing and thrusting. The blade was either hollowed or fullered. There was no guard, but a large, curved pommel.

The absence of the guard is inherited from the original Caucasian construction, in which the shashka is nearly completely hidden in the scabbard, together with the hilt. The hilt is slightly curved down, thus providing an additional leverage for pulling the shashka and for additional force by wrist action.

The hilt was frequently highly decorated. It was carried in a wooden scabbard that enclosed part of the hilt. It was worn with the cutting edge to the rear, opposite to the sabre.

The blade of the sabre was generally double or triple-fullered, and due to its greater width than that of the European sabre, and its unique styles of tempering, it was much stronger too, able to deal damage to light body armor.

The shashka originated among the mountain tribes of the Caucasus in the 12th or 13th century. There are two styles of shashka: the Caucasian shashka and the Cossack shashka.
The word shashka came from the Adyghe word Adyghe: ( Шашькуэ) “Shashkwa” means “long knife”.

It gradually replaced the sabre in all cavalry units except hussars.
In the Russian Army, this type of saber was first officially introduced in 1838. In 1882, when the cavalry was reorganized, the regular dragoons were armed with the shashka. Several forms of shashka were carried by Soviet cavalry into the Second World War.

Length of sheath: 1 020 mm
Length of blade: 866 mm
Weight: 1330 grams

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