The below historical video was recently posted by the Forsvaret, the Royal Danish armed forces. Filmed 1 August 1951, it covers the visit to the country of then five-star Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, who just four months prior had been named the first Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR).
The occasion of the visit was for Ike to stress how important Denmark was to the new NATO alliance, expressed through the handover of surplus Republic F-84 Thunderjets to the rebuilding Danish Air Force, which would soon be bolstered by 240 new F-84Gs over the next four years– a huge upgrade from their previous force of 40~ WWII surplus RAF Spitfires handed over in 1948.
An especially interesting part of the video for me– which incidentally is about 60 percent in English– is the Danish Army honor guard for the occasion.
Outfitted in British-pattern wool uniforms and American M1 helmets, M1 Garand rifles (adopted as the M/50 GarandGevær) and canvas-holstered Swiss-made SIG P210 pistols (adopted as the M/49), they are very exotic in a sense. Danish by way of Portsmouth, Neuhausen, and Springfield.
The Danes would continue to use the Garand as their primary infantry arm until 1975 when it was replaced by the German-made HK G3, adopted as the Gevær M/75.
Garands would continue to soldier on with the Danish as a second-line and Home Guard rifle through the 1990s, when it would finally be replaced by Colt Canada C7 (M16A2) rifles and C8 (M4A1) carbines, which would be adopted as the Gevær M/95 and Karabin M/96, respectively. As such, the Danes would be the last Western European NATO member to field John Garand’s vaunted 30.06.
The Sig P210, derived from Charles Petter’s Modèle 1935A pistol in 1937 and improved on a number of points, is perhaps the nicest single-stack military-issue combat handgun to come out of the 20th Century (unless you are a well-tuned 1911 purist). The Swiss military and police adopted them for generations as did the West German GSG-9 anti-terror teams and Monaco’s ancient Company of Carabiniers. The gun has a downright cult following and surplus Swiss-made 210s go for big money (like $2K) while Sig Sauer-USA in New Hampshire has begun low rate commerical production (at $1,700) to fill the niche.
However, it looks like there could be a big cache of vintage 1950s-era P210s coming on the surplus market as Denmark, who bought some 20,000 of these sweet 9mms, had recently signed a $3 million contract for new Sig XCarry P320s.
Tentatively announced in Denmark a few months ago and confirmed by Sig this week, the X-Carry will replace all of the handguns in the Danish military and serve with the country’s Army, Navy, Air Force, and Special Operations Command.
The gun was tested in a month-long competition against the Glock 17 Gen 5, Beretta APX, and Canik TP 9 SF to replace the classic but obsolete Forsvarets M/49 “Neuhausen” pistol, the Danish designation for the Sig P210 adopted after World War II.
The P320 was the unanimous choice after evaluators ran the handgun through grueling field tests followed by accuracy, drop and safety tests. When compared against the legacy Sig, the X-Carry has more than double the magazine capacity (17 or 21 vs. 8) and the capability to use suppressors, tactical lights, lasers and red dot sights. In Danish service, the X-Carry will mount XRAY 3 night-sights, use an enhanced grip with deep trigger guard undercut, flat trigger and extended removable mag well.