Varieties of thrusting weapons - the
konchar is the long rapier like one in the middle. Also called akoncher
or konchal, it was a long, straight sword with a very sharp point
and fashioned with three or four sides called golomen yarni in a kind
of diamond, (rhomboid) shape. It was similar to the western rapier. It was
effective for a thrusting penetration of mail. It was a later development from
the ancient mech. It is mentioned in literature first at the Battle of
Kulikovo in 1380, but no doubt was developed earlier. It was more widely used
in the 17th century, until replaced by Peter I with the shpaga.
The palash (heavy cavalry sword) is at the bottom. A very long, straight
sword with a wide blade. Early types were two-edged, but later a single-edged
form was employed. There was a channel down the length of the blade. It
differed from the mech also in that the grip was curved and had no
pommel. But it has a closed guard. It was a later development from the
mech in the 16th and later centuries. Often in the 16th century it was
carried in a scabard attached to the left side of the saddle instead of to the
warrior himself. The weapon is called pallasch in German, palasz
in Polish and pallos in Hungarian, but comes from the Turkish,
pala. Peter I armed his new dragoon regiments with this type of sword.
To obtain sufficient quantities he imported them as well as manufactured them
in Russia. In the 18th and 19th century it was the heavy cavalryman's sword.
The dragoon palash had a curved handguard. The officer model had a
basket hilt. There was also a shorter, naval version. During the reign of
Empress Elizabeth, the curiassier palash reached a length of 96 cm. with
a 84.5 cm. blade that was 4.5 cm. wide. The palash was still in use
during the Crimean War. A derivation of the palash remained in use in
the Russian navy.
The tessak. A later form of mech, see the top weapon in this
illustration, which differed in being single-edged instead of double-edged.
Leonid Tarassuk writes that this sword was introduced from the Czechs. This
weapon was supplied to infantry as their standard hanger in 1741, replacing the
shpaga. In 1817 the sappers and pioneers were armed with a form of
tessak. In the 19th century the tessak was standard for infantry
until 1880, when it was taken from sappers and infantry, remaining only with
the life guard sapper battalion.