Shashka(redirected from Cossack saber)
a Caucasian or Russian saber. Consisting of a blade and a hilt, the shashka is carried in a scabbard on a shoulder belt. Unlike other sabers, the shashka is worn with its back edge forward.
The shashka first appeared among the mountain peoples of the Caucasus. It was adopted by a Nizhny Novgorod dragoon regiment of the Russian regular army in 1834. By 1881, it was used throughout the army, although only with field uniform in guards units. The blade of the Caucasian shashka is slightly curved—its rise measures up to 30 mm—with the cutting edge on the convex side and with double edges along portions of the foible and the forte. The blade has longitudinal hollows, is 700 to 900 mm long and up to 40 mm wide, and often is engraved.
The Russian shashki introduced in, for example, 1834 and 1841, differed from the Caucasian shashki in hilt and scabbard. The Russian shashka of 1881 had six variants: three soldiers’ versions (for dragoons, cossacks, and artillerymen), two officers’ versions (for regular-army officers and cossack officers), and a version that combined the cossack saber and the dragoon scabbard. At one time standard Red Army issue, the Russian shashka of 1881 was replaced by the 1927 cavalry shashka.
A shashka for generals was authorized in 1940. By the mid-1950’s, however, shashki were worn only as part of the full-dress uniform.