Does anyone have any sources on military equipment in 18th century? France if possible.
I need to know if soldiers commonly had a saw apart from the field surgeon
Alternately if it was possible to perform an impromptu amputation with a cavalry sabre
Tl;dr: No and hell no.
French troops during the Ancien Regime did not have saws in their standard kit. French engineering troops did not really mingle with other corps before the Napoleonic era, so outside of a siege situation they would be hard to find for help.
The best way to come by a saw would be to ask one of the two to ten grenadier sapeurs of your infantry or dragoon company, a temporary position that came with extra pay, extra duties and extra gear, including a sawback short sword. Note that this would be absolute dogshit as an amputation tool but hey it’s technically a saw.
A cavalry saber would probably work well enough to cut through flesh in that context, that’s what it was designed for after all, but I have a hard time imagining it’d do anything but break the bone in the best of cases.
Also I feel like I need to expand on this, cause as a fishmonger I have just the barest idea of what it takes to cut through bone: you don’t want to amputate a living human’s limb with a wood saw.
When amputating, you don’t cut have to cut through bone, you can pick a joint and work away at it. It can be done with a wood saw or anything really in theory but you have to keep in mind the longer and less clean the cut the more dangerous it is.
The real question would be why would someone do that? Without the proper tools and training it is incredibly risky and not helpful in most immediate situations.
Also a field knife sharpened to perfection would be better then a saber, you need the small blade so you can work it between bone.
What if the wound is above the knee ? It’s not like you can just yank the leg out of the hip socket :U
A saw on the spine of a sword is likely to be thick and not something you’d want to use in a medical setting if at all avoidable. My British P1856 Pioneer Sword has a sawback blade, and it is 3/8″ (~9.5 mm) thick–no thank you.
Okay I have used Swiss engineer blades to cut wood.
I is bot as messy as a chainsaw, but it is brutal.
If your are looking to use one of these on people, it is because you are sadist, not a surgeon.