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M. 1889 Prussian Degan With Weimar Use?

Article about: Name: DSC04696.jpg  Views: 0  Size: 162.0 KB  ID: 1016073 class= thumbnail style= float:CONFIG /> I've posted this sword over in the WWI Imperial German forum but have receive

  1. #1

    Default M. 1889 Prussian Degan With Weimar Use?

    M. 1889 Prussian Degan With Weimar Use?M. 1889 Prussian Degan With Weimar Use?M. 1889 Prussian Degan With Weimar Use?M. 1889 Prussian Degan With Weimar Use?M. 1889 Prussian Degan With Weimar Use?M. 1889 Prussian Degan With Weimar Use?

    I've posted this sword over in the WWI Imperial German forum but have received no replies, so thought I'd ask here as well. This seems to be - from what I've been able to find online - a late-manufacture Prussian M. 1889 degan with a steel hilt, which I understand was normal for those made after 1915. (As can be seen, mine's dated on the spine 16.) However, I understand these were supposed to have gilded steel hilts, and although the cypher has traces of gilding I don't see any on the guard. Were there any of these left "in the white"? Also, there's no indication of ANY wrap on the grip like either shagreen or leather - just bare wood. (The wire wrap and cypher fit flush and have no residue of any kind underneath them, indicating it was made this way. As you can see it's maker marked by Weyersberg, Kirchbaum, & Cie, Solingen.

    There are both unit markings, Ma. Jn. 8., and the date 1920 on the top of the guard behind the grip. (I have NO idea what unit is meant by the abbreviation; any identification would be helpful!) I presume the date indicates this piece was still in service at that time and was marked like firearms were? If so, why would an officer's blade be catalogued by the allied inspectors? Or could this very plain piece be in the category of the familiar ordnance sabels? I also understand that senior non-commissioned officers like vizefeldwebels and others mit portepee were authorized to wear an officer's-style sword, so could this be one of those? I find it strange in any case that swords like this with Imperial cyphers would still be in use in 1920 during the Weimar era.
    Last edited by James N; 11-08-2016 at 09:54 PM.

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  3. #2

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    Quote by James N View Post
    I've posted this sword over in the WWI Imperial German forum but have received no replies, so thought I'd ask here as well. This seems to be - from what I've been able to find online - a late-manufacture Prussian M. 1889 degan with a steel hilt, which I understand was normal for those made after 1915. (As can be seen, mine's dated on the spine 16.) However, I understand these were supposed to have gilded steel hilts, and although the cypher has traces of gilding I don't see any on the guard. Were there any of these left "in the white"? Also, there's no indication of ANY wrap on the grip like either shagreen or leather - just bare wood. (The wire wrap and cypher fit flush and have no residue of any kind underneath them, indicating it was made this way. As you can see it's maker marked by Weyersberg, Kirchbaum, & Cie, Solingen.

    There are both unit markings, Ma. Jn. 8., and the date 1920 on the top of the guard behind the grip. (I have NO idea what unit is meant by the abbreviation; any identification would be helpful!) I presume the date indicates this piece was still in service at that time and was marked like firearms were? If so, why would an officer's blade be catalogued by the allied inspectors? Or could this very plain piece be in the category of the familiar ordnance sabels? I also understand that senior non-commissioned officers like vizefeldwebels and others mit portepee were authorized to wear an officer's-style sword, so could this be one of those? I find it strange in any case that swords like this with Imperial cyphers would still be in use in 1920 during the Weimar era.
    A government issue Kriegsmodell version of the IOD 89 for senior grade NCO's made to get around the fact that in the later stages of the war brass was no longer available to Solingen makers (although I did have at one time a slightly earlier variant that used a presumably leftover brass grip cypher). The example shown here of course is a Weimar era re-issued version with the 1920 date, and what are most likely same period unit markings, which is not to say that they were necessarily unmarked during the Imperial era. Mostly for the Weimar era without the grip cypher and sometimes with a portion of guard/knuckle bow also removed, but not always. That said, they were never to my knowledge made with a gilt finish instead like guns having a blued finish, although in many cases it can be worn off in places or completely depending on how it was taken stored or maintained. Best Regards, Fred
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture M. 1889 Prussian Degan With Weimar Use?  

  4. #3

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    Thank you Frogprince! That confirms what I thought about it, though I still think it strange that this Imperial-marked piece would still be issued that late. I suppose the regulations hadn't changed yet or the impoverished Weimar government didn't want to waste money ordering replacements for what must've been a very small number of senior NCO's; most likely it was a combination of factors. Your blade pictured at bottom is of course a near-duplicate of mine. As for it's being blued, there is a spot on the bottom of the guard near the blade that looks like faint bluing, as does the area around the throat of the scabbard. Another ersatz feature I believe mine has is a sort of press-stoff "leather" finger loop that looks like a very thin layer of leather over cardboard; it retains its flexibility and hasn't dried out but is still pretty worn and fragile. I suppose that's another indicator of late production.

  5. #4

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    Quote by James N View Post
    Thank you Frogprince! That confirms what I thought about it, though I still think it strange that this Imperial-marked piece would still be issued that late. I suppose the regulations hadn't changed yet or the impoverished Weimar government didn't want to waste money ordering replacements for what must've been a very small number of senior NCO's; most likely it was a combination of factors. Your blade pictured at bottom is of course a near-duplicate of mine. As for it's being blued, there is a spot on the bottom of the guard near the blade that looks like faint bluing, as does the area around the throat of the scabbard. Another ersatz feature I believe mine has is a sort of press-stoff "leather" finger loop that looks like a very thin layer of leather over cardboard; it retains its flexibility and hasn't dried out but is still pretty worn and fragile. I suppose that's another indicator of late production.
    James, The Weimar era is a somewhat complicated topic, but the very condensed version (IMO) is that in the immediate post WW I period an impoverished nation (because of the war) used leftover military items to equip its Army because they were already paid for and present in usable quantities (as you surmised). That as a military force was initially under the watchful eye of the Allies that severely limited its size and capabilities, and the presumable intent of its existence initially as a force being more of an internal security entity during a time when revolutionary elements (mostly Communists) were periodically active. Not seen as often as the Prussian Infantry Officer's swords, re-issued also were the Cavalry and Artillery Officer's model sabers, as well as some types used by states other than Prussia. Then in the very late 1920's a universal Officer's type saber for senior grade NCO's was adopted that continued to be produced into the TR era. Best Regards, Fred

    PS: A different perhaps slightly better defined image of the sword and blued pommel with its inspection/acceptance marking.
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture M. 1889 Prussian Degan With Weimar Use?  

  6. #5

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    Mine also has this sort of acceptance or inspector's stamps, though not on the pommel; there's of course one on the blade, and another barely visible in this photo on the underside of the guard. Thinking about this, it's possible that mine or others like these were merely retained in the Heer inventory against possible need without actually being issued.

    M. 1889 Prussian Degan With Weimar Use?

  7. #6

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    Quote by James N View Post
    Mine also has this sort of acceptance or inspector's stamps, though not on the pommel; there's of course one on the blade, and another barely visible in this photo on the underside of the guard. Thinking about this, it's possible that mine or others like these were merely retained in the Heer inventory against possible need without actually being issued.
    Of course almost anything is possible as it regards the Prussian IOD 89, and there is a considerable body of evidence and artifacts that the TR era German Army (and German Police) inherited and used Weimar era weapons like pistols, rifles, bayonets, and some swords. As well as some evidence that is harder to pin down such as photos from the in-between period for the Cavalry officer's model sabers a question mark. With the previously mentioned universal Officer's model German Army saber from the late 1920's (versus TR period new manufacture) aside from the markings virtually identical.

    But with all that said, the only actual evidence that I know of for swords with TR plus Imperial era markings are the refurbished Imperial era Artillery sabers (or ex-Imperial - Weimar minus that period's markings) that were re-issued as the TR period Cavalry saber, such as the example posted below. Best Regards, Fred
    Attached Images Attached Images M. 1889 Prussian Degan With Weimar Use? 

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