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A German Dragon, by way of Solingen, Tientsin and Canberra

From the collection of The Australian War Memorial comes this great German-made sword used by the Qi Army in the twilight of Imperial China:

Imperial German Model 1889 sword and scabbard. The grip is brown bakelite held to the tang by two steel rivets and has an oval steel pommel. The blade is a single edge, pipe back with a double edge spear point. The ricasso is stamped with E&F. HORSTER SOLINGEN and there is a leather washer where the blade meets the guard. The steel scabbard is plain with two fixed rings on a band at 50 mm and 150 mm from the throat which is held to the body by two screws. Attached to the lower ring is a chain that is connected to a broken brown leather hanger strap with a brass buckle in the center.

Founded in 1850, Hörster E. & F. Co., Solingen, made military edged weapons through WWII.

The hilt has a half basket steel guard with a Chinese dragon as the cartouche badge.

This sword was brought back from China by a member of the Victorian Naval Contingent in 1900.

Group portrait of Australian Naval Brigade who served in the Boxer Rebellion, 1900-1901

The Doughboy knuckle-sandwich

Via the U.S. Army Ordnance Training and Heritage Center:

This Model 1918 Mark I trench knife was made in France by Au Lion in 1918 for use by US troops during World War I. The US also produced these knives during the war, but having a French contract allowed for expedited distribution to US troops already overseas. The knife has a 6.75” doubled edged steel blade and a bronze handle with cast spikes on each of the knuckles, and a distinctive 4-sided nut on the end. Stamped in the handle: U.S.1918. On the opposite side, engraved in the ricasso: [Au Lion logo] / AU LION. The Model 1918 Mark I knives were also distributed during World War II, though often modified, for example removing the knuckles.

Civilian cold steel

Picked this up in my travels. Made by the Russian JSC Kalashnikov Concern (Izhmash) it is classified as the “HO-8 Household Knife.”

Based on the Udmurt “purt” style traditional blade (Izhevsk is at the center of the Udmurt population base), the handle is birch wood wrapped with leather strips with brass accents. The thick (3.5mm) single-edge blade is razor sharp (but soft) stainless with the classic industrial “arrow” stamp of the Izhmash factory and it has a decorative leather sheath. Overall length is just under 10-inches with a 5-inch blade.

The certificate is to accommodate Russian weapon laws as they pertain to post-Soviet knife laws in the country.

Since 1997, blades considered to be “military” or “hunting” styles, which are deemed “civilian cold steel” are tightly regulated and since 2016 have to be registered. As this is a “household” knife that fails to meet those tests due to blade strength, shape or size, it can be bought and sold over the counter– though not necessarily carried everywhere.

It would be interesting to see what the Rockwell hardness of this blade is. I would imagine somewhere in the 55 range as it feels akin to 420 stainless.

Joubert’s Welsh trench sword

Thomas Scott-Ellis, 8th Lord Howard de Walden, was a polymath who had ridden with the 10th Hussars in the Boer War and was always ready for a fight.

From the National Trust

Tommy’s enormous range of interests included: documenting heraldry as a medieval historian, editing Burke’s Peerage, competing in the 1908 Olympics at speed boat racing (the only time this has ever been an Olympic event), horse racing, sailing, hawking, golfing, flying, model-boating, writing libretti for operas (with music by his friend Joseph Holbrooke) and writing both pageants and pantomimes for his six children and their friends – he did the lot!

When the Great War came, Lord Walden became involved with the 9th Batt., Royal Welsh Fusiliers, and as can be expected, began searching for a blade that set his Welshmen apart.

That’s where antiques dealer, arms collector and scholar Felix Joubert of Chelsea came in. The so-called Welsh sword was a trench dagger that Joubert said was based on the traditional “Welsh cleddyd” (or cledd), but this has been ruled out as just so much window dressing to appeal to Lord Walden.

Welsh Knife with scabbard (WEA 785) The ‘Welsh Knife’ was designed in 1916 by the sculptor and armourer Felix Joubert and patented by him, as a ‘new or improved trench knife’. It was allegedly based on an ancient Welsh weapon, although the existence of such a distinctly Welsh mediæval sword has since been disproved. An unknown, but limited, number of Welsh Knives were manufactured by the Wilkinson Sword Company, Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/30001257

The pommel is heavy and pointed, the hand guard folds flat against the blade for sheathing and the ricasso is inscribed “Dros Urddas Cymru”, Welsh for “For the honour of Wales”

The blade was some 17.6-inches long, leading to a two-foot long, 36-ounce weapon.

Joubert’s Welsh sword trench knife, patent drawing. Note the folding mechanism

He patented the blade in 1916 (GB108741) and it was produced by both Wilkinson (who apparently made 200) and locally in France by firm(s) unknown. Originally only for use by bombers (grenadiers), trench-pirates and machine gun crew, it was later issued to most officers and ranks of 9th RWF.

They were reportedly “used with great effect in a raid at Messines Ridge, 5 June 1917.”

From the Royal Armories

As noted by the Royal Armories, “The ‘Welsh knife’ inspired the design of the Smatchet fighting knife of The Second World War by the renowned hand-to-hand combat expert and innovator, Lieutenant-Colonel William E. Fairbairn.”

Behold, the famous Fairbairn Smatchet…or is it a Welsh cleddyd?

The Welsh trench swords are widely reproduced by Windlass in India as well as others, while the Smatchet is even more common.

Fit for a Kingsman

All photos Chris Eger, except where noted

The folding clasp knife, aka jackknife, aka pocketknife, aka penknife, aka peasant knife, et. al, in military ancillary use dates back to the Roman Legions as early as 200~ AD. Fast forward to the 19th Century and the level of inexpensive standardization that was brought about by the Industrial Revolution, and good folders became available on the cheap. By 1905, the British Army started to standardize the basic issue clasp knife (the Pattern 6353/1905), used for opening tins, working ropes, and other basic non-fighting tasks.

For help in opening and processig stuff like this:

Typically made in Sheffield by a myriad of firms, they were marked with a Broad Arrow acceptance mark on the blade, included a sheepsfoot main and can opener secondary auxiliary blade with a tertiary marlinspike in some cases. By the 1930s, shell and bone handled knives fell by the wayside and scales were commonly made from “chequered black bexoid (plastic).” This was the standard Commonwealth jack used through WWII and Korea, with surplus stocks in wide circulation for decades after.

A vintage multitool, the blade ends could be used as screwdrivers as could the center scale insert and the canopener as a fork when hungry enough.

Here is my British Army WWII era clasp knife. Marked SSP 1943 with a Broad Arrow, it is a hoss at 5.1-ounces and is built like a tank.

The two blades are 2.75-inches long overall and the knife itself, when closed, is 3.75-inches.

The strong shackle on the heel enabled the knife to be used as an ersatz plumb in field construction and in use as a slungshot to throw lines.

army issue clasp knife (WEA 4120) Clasp knife with chequered black bexoid (plastic) grips secured by three rivets. Pivoting at one end of the knife are a“ sheepsfoot” style blade and a tin opener. At one end of the knife is a flat screwdriver head and at the other is a pivoting steel shackle. Tied to the shackle is a buff cord lanyard with a large loop at the opposite end. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/30003938

A more pointed “dagger jackknife” was commonly issued to commando, paratrooper and Marine units as well as the gentlemen of the SOE.

Carried on a lanyard attached to the camouflaged jumpsuit for cutting parachute shrouds lines if required while the blade was to be of sufficient length for stabbing…(Photo by Range Days in France)

In a form of flattery, this 1960s follow-up was made by Bianchi in Italy for the Italian military and is marked, Campobasso. It is lighter than the preceding Anglo-Saxon model, tipping the scales at 3.7-ounces. The two blades are 2.5-inches and the knife itself, closed, is 3.5-inches.

Post-war, the Brits themselves moved to adopt a slimmer version with metal scales. Today they are still made in Sheffield and, taking a key to the marketing behind Swiss Army knifes, Joseph Rodgers/George Wostenholm make “Genuine British Army” knives for the market in various models, with the below being one of the more svelte models, a single blade that weighs just 2.2-ounces.

I quite like it while the other ones see time in the safe.

As for the revolver, of course, it is a .38/200 Enfield No.2, 1943 production, the same date as the Bren gun brass cleaning kit.

The Anderson ‘Patton’ knives of WWII

Via USMC Museum

Via the National Museum of the Marine Corps: In the early days of WWII, supplying the rapidly expanding American military was an extreme challenge. As knives were scarce, an enterprising knife manufacturer in Glendale, CA bought a stock of M1913 Cavalry Sabers to construct them into something usable that he could sell to deploying troops.

Knives of this type were created from surplus M1913 Cavalry sabers by the Anderson Company in California.

The company cut the long straight blade into three pieces, honed a point of the blades, and made a handle out of molded plastic. The owner of this knife personalized with “USMC” burned into one side of the gray plastic handle and “Robert Ames” on the other. GySgt. Robert Ames, serving with the 5th Marine Division, carried this knife on Iwo Jima, where he was wounded by shrapnel on the second day of combat.

Andersons are pretty popular in the militaria collecting community.

Hand-made Anderson fighting knife, made from the ricasso portion of a 1913-1919 dated Springfield Armory and LF&C Patton Saber blade. cut these blades into three separate pieces and re-shaped the points, and then made cast plastic handles. They run upwards of $300 on the collectors market, with twice that paid for nice examples.

You never know what’s in the attic

In 1939, the Shinto Kasuga Taisha shrine in Nara was undergoing renovations and, in a ceiling, was found a rare, 12th Century katana  tachi (thanks, Tom!) which had been dedicated to the shrine. Now, the vintage sword has been re-polished by a master and is going on display. And, it is a very interesting blade:

From Japan Forward

The accompanying Kuro-urushi- yamagane (black lacquered mountain iron) tachi mountings are thought to date from the fourteenth century. The sword is believed to have been dedicated to the shrine sometime during the Nanboku-cho (1336-1392) and early Muromachi (1336-1573) periods.

The blade is unsigned, but as it bears a close resemblance to the famous Doji-giri sword in the Tokyo National Museum by the Ko-Hoki mastersmith Yasutsuna, and it is thought that it could be his work as well. The Doji-giri is known historically as one of the Five Greatest Swords Under Heaven. Motoki Sakai of the Tokyo National Museum said that the sword discovered at Kasuga Taisha “is a very important example of work of the period in excellent condition.”

More here

yokosukasasebojapan.wordpress.com/

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