Blog » French Mle AN XI and Mle 1816 Cuirassiers' Swords

French Mle AN XI and Mle 1816 Cuirassiers' Swords

Posted: 18/08/21 (10:21am)

The model 1816 Cuirassier (Heavy Cavalry) trooper’s sword at first glance is very similar to the previous Mle AN XI Napoleonic period Cuirassier’s sword.

On closer inspection they are actually quite different. The Mle 1816 is the culmination of the evolution of the French heavy cavalry sword that began in 1802.

The main differences are in the grip, slight changes to the four-bar guard, pommel cap and the longer blade with rounded spine. That said, many Model 1816 swords utilised the earlier AN XI blade which was approximately 45mm shorter and has a flat spine.

As a picture is said to be worth a thousand words, here are some photos of the Mle 1816 and AN XI swords showing the differences and similarities.

French Mle 1816 on left. French mle AN XI on right.



French Mle AN XI Cuirassiers' sword.

Mle 1816.
French Mle 1816 Cuirassiers' sword

Mle 1816
French Mle 1816 with a 998mm spear point blade

AN XI with a 965mm hatchet point blade

From 1814 onwards AN XI had their hatchet points re-ground to a spear point resulting in a 955mm blade.

Mle 1816 Spine
Mle 1816 rounded spine. This example made at Klingenthal in February 1820.

AN XI Spine
AN XI flat spine. This example made at Klingenthal in 1814

So at first glance, two very similar swords. On inspection however, really rather different.