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John Gaspard Le Marchant

(1766—1812) army officer


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(1766–1812). Although he never held high command, Le Marchant had a lasting influence on the British army. A Channel Islander, he was commissioned into the cavalry and took serious interest in tactics, arguing that charges succeeded because of physical impulsion, not because of damage done by swords. He argued that cavalry swords should be designed for slashing, and the heavily curved 1796 pattern Light Cavalry sword owed much to him. He also became convinced that the education and training of officers should be taken more seriously, and was the founding father of the Royal Military College Sandhurst. He was lieutenant-governor of the college in 1801–12 before going to Spain, where he was killed leading the decisive charge at Salamanca.

From The Oxford Companion to Military History in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Military History.


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