Khukuri : The
Gurkha's national weapon
Gurkha is worthy of notice, if only for the remarkable weapon which
they use in preference to any other. It is called the
"Kukri" and is of a very peculiar shape. As may be seen by
reference to the drawings both the blade and hilt are curved. The
blade is very thick at the back measuring a little more than a quarter
of a inch in thickness. From the back it is thinned off gradually to
the edge, which has curve of its own, quite different to that of the
back, so the blade is widest as well as thickest in the middle, and
tapers at one end towards the hilt and the other towards the point.
The steel of which the blade is formed is of admirable temper, as is
shown by the fact that specimens which had not been cleaned for thirty
years, but have been hung upon walls among other weapons, are scarcely
touched with rust, and for the greater part of their surface are
burnished like mirrors.
| The point of the Kukri is as sharp as a
needle, so that the weapon answers equally for cutting or stabbing. In
consequence of the great thickness of the metal, the blade is
exceedingly heavy. It may be imagined that a blow from such a weapon
as this must be a very terrible one. The very weight of the blade
would drive it half through a mans arm if it were only allowed to fall
from a little height.
the Gurkhas have a mode of striking which resembles the
"drawing" cut off the broad sword, and which urges the
sharp edge through flesh and bone alike.
make a complete set every Kukri must come with two small knives at the back. The
two smaller knives used are of very similar form, but apparently of inferior
metal. These are kept in little case attached to the side of the Kukri sheath,
just as is the case with the knives attached to a Highlander’s dirk.
the hands of an experienced wielder this knife is about as formidable a weapon
as can be conceived. Like all really good weapons, it's efficiency depends much
more upon the skill that the strength of the wielder and thus it happens that
the little Gurkha a mere boy in point of stature, will cut to pieces of gigantic
adversary who does not understand his mode of onset. The Gurkha generally
strikes upwards with the Kukri, possibly in order to avoid wounding himself
should his blow fail, and possibly because an upward cut is just the one that
can be least guarded against.
we were engaged in the many wars in India, the Gurkha proved themselves our most
formidable enemies, as since they have proved themselves most invaluable allies.
Brave as lions, active as monkeys, and fierce as tigers, the lithe wiry little
men came leaping over the ground to attack moving so quickly, and keeping so far
apart from each other, the musketry was no use against them. When they came near
the soldiers, they suddenly crouched to the ground, dive under the bayonets,
struck upwards at the men with their Kukris, ripping them open with a single
blow, and then, after having done all the mischief in their power, darting off
as rapidly as they had come. Until our men learned this mode of attack they were
greatly discomfited by their little opponents, who got under their weapons,
cutting or slashing with knives as sharp as razors, and often escaping unhurt
from the midst of bayonets. They would also dash under the bellies of the
officers’ horses, rip them open with one blow of the Kukri, and aim another at
the leg of the officer as he and his horse fell together.
“Travels in India and Nepal” by the Rev Wood, 1896)
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