Spanish cavalry charge during the Second Melillan Campaign, 20 September 1909
The most memorable action of the Spanish cavalry equipped with 1895 cavalry swords is best remembered for the three charges that the 4th Squadron of 21st Regiment of Cazadores, called “Of Alfonso XII”, had made on September 20th 1909 in Taxdirt, place in the Rif, near Melilla, after the Spanish defeat of the Barranco del Lobo, during the war with Morocco.
That day, an infantry brigade which did not participate in the main action was harassed by 1500 “Moors” of the Kabyle of Beni Sychar. One of the battalions of the brigade, namely “Catalonia”, began to retreat under heavy harassment from the Rif, putting him in a difficult situation.
General Tovar commanding the force, chose to send, to help the Spanish battalion, the only force available: a Squadron Cavalry from the Regiment “Alfonso XII”. In front of the 80 riders, stood, the assistant of General Tovar, Lt. Col. José Cavalcanti, who sent three consecutive charges against the 1500 tribesmen, neglecting the numerical difference.
The action of the Spanish cavalry, completely unexpected by the enemy, was a complete success because it allowed the withdrawal of the infantry and forced to yield the Rif entire line.
The third charge involved only 20 riders, because the rest of the unit had fallen, dismantled or pursuing the enemy. Casualties of the “Alfonso XII” squad were 25 men and for the courage shown in battle, both Cavalcanti as the banner of the Regiment received the Laureate Cross of San Fernando, the Spanish highest military decoration.
Photos of the Spanish M1895 Cavalry Sword from www.oldswords.com (Item ID: 122145).