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Short Development History of Type 95 Gunto

Article about: I do not collect edged weapons, but used to regard ground blades on bayonets and sabers as mostly post war mutilation, at least from the point of view of a collector. But ever since getting

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    Default Short Development History of Type 95 Gunto

    See next:

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    The edge-adding by filing was routinely done until the Manchurian Incident, but got switched to hand polishing from the Type 95 tests. At least in 1938, Type 95s could be ordered either in peacetime or wartime specs with and without a cutting edge.
    The smooth version Bruce mentioned must be a peacetime version made that way without an edge as two versions were definitely officially produced.
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture Short Development History of Type 95 Gunto   Short Development History of Type 95 Gunto  

    Last edited by nick komiya; 06-26-2017 at 08:13 PM.

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    Once again Nick has shared his knowledge and information that I find very educational.

    I Thank You Nick.
    I also hope that this thread will be pinned and be made into a sticky so that this info will not be lost to the ages.

    Semper Fi
    Phil

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    Feedback from the field units, collected in 1932 reveals how mistrusted the Type 32 sword was in the Manchurian Incident.

    Problems
    1. Short grip does not allow a two-hand grip for full force slashing. Particularly when wearing heavily padded winter gloves and uniform. At such times, the enemy is also in padded uniform, so the slashing blade just bounces back and has no effect. The only effective way of fighting in heavy winter gear is by stabbing thrusts for which the Type 32 is well suited. If slashing is meant to be the main use of the weapon, the grip needs to be longer in future.
    (March 1932 response from the 20th Division)

    2.Adding of the cutting edge needs to be done by polishing, instead of filing to make slashing effective (May 1932 response from 30th Inft Regt.)

    3. NCOs have little confidence in the Type 32 sword in practical combat and not a few additionally carry their own private Samurai swords for that purpose. (April 1932 feedback from the 24th Mixed Brigade).

    As a result of such drawbacks of the Type 32, the army units quickly started to unite in their support of a 2-handed Samurai sword design. As seen above, front line experience of having to fight in heavy winter clothing in Manchurian winters had a decisive impact on how the Type 95 was born and why the filing work on edges was finally abandoned.
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture Short Development History of Type 95 Gunto  
    Last edited by nick komiya; 06-30-2017 at 06:11 PM.

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    Nick,

    THANK YOU!!! Ever since 1983 I've heard that Japanese military swordsmanship was reevaluated due to ineffective combat results in China, but sensei never had any imperical data, only "he-said, I read."

    Can you please attach an image(s) of the report(s) ... If you have access to the source data?

    Thank you very much.

    --Guy

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    Quote by ghp95134 View Post
    Can you please attach an image(s) of the report(s) ... If you have access to the source data?

    Thank you very much.

    --Guy
    Done

  7. #7

    Default Thanks nick !!

    And COOL! It cites Rikugun Toyama Gakkou:

    Left panel, middle notation.
    昭七・六

    陸軍戸山学校
    1. 三十三年式軍刀乙を不可とし両手刀、必要を説けるもの
    2. 右軍刀の外装明方式を不可とせるもの
    June 1932
    Army Toyama Academy
    1. The Model 33 type-B military sword is inadvisable to use as a two-handed sword; it is our opinion (two-handed use) is needed.
    2. .... as to the sword [mentioned] to the right, it is inadvisable to have a bright exterior.
    (did I get this right?)

    Further to the right (left panel 1st notation) it states that it is necessary for officer and NCO sword scabbards to be painted black; then something about officers and "NCOs who are authorized to carry swords" (Kashikan Taito Honbu-sha) separately carry Nippon-to.

    Question ... I've always heard Nakamura sensei say (and write) that he was "taito honbusha"; and, I thought that *all* NCOs were authorized to carry swords. Were there NCOs who were *not* authorized to carry swords?


    Thanks!
    --Guy

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    Guy, from the feedback listing, the Toyama School opinion, which you are interested in read----

    1. 三十二年式軍刀乙を不可とし両手刀の必要を説けるもの "Type 32 B Model swords are unacceptable. 2-handed swords are needed instead."
    2. 同右軍刀の外装佩用方式を不可とせるもの "Type 32 B exterior furnishings and method of wear are also not acceptable."

    The second item judging from the other feedback that I omitted must be referring to the conspicuous scabbard finish, which many thought required changing to black. The wear method probably is referring to the need to wear the sword at an angle for quick drawing.

    Regarding the designation 帯刀本分者 (Tai-Toh-Honbunsha) meaning "those entitled to bear swords", that wording was commonly used in the Army, because what we call the NCO sword was actually only for Sergeant Major and above. That is why the above document refers to the sword also as 曹長刀 (sergeant major swords).

    However, those below that rank were also allowed to wear swords if they were 乗馬本分者 ”entitled to ride horses".
    Thus the Cavalry, Transport and MPs wore swords down to enlisted men.

    Also, those serving in regimental headquarters could wear swords from corporal upwards.

    These entitlements for wearing swords got somewhat out of control in the campaigns in China where many non-entitled men also wore private Samurai swords. So on 13th May 1939 an order went out to enforce entitlement regulations. Thus you got into trouble with MPs for wearing swords when you were not qualified to do so.

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    Quote by nick komiya View Post
    ....
    Regarding the designation 帯刀本分者 (Tai-Toh-Honbunsha) meaning "those entitled to bear swords", that wording was commonly used in the Army, because what we call the NCO sword was actually only for Sergeant Major and above. That is why the above document refers to the sword also as 曹長刀 (sergeant major swords).

    However, those below that rank were also allowed to wear swords if they were 乗馬本分者 ”entitled to ride horses".
    Thus the Cavalry, Transport and MPs wore swords down to enlisted men.

    Also, those serving in regimental headquarters could wear swords from corporal upwards.
    Nick! I cannot thank you enough for correctly translating my poor attempt! And thanks for letting me know the requirements for Taito Honbusha -- your explanation really cleared that up for me.

    Muchas gracias, mi amigo!
    --Guy

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    Short Development History of the Type 95 Sword


    Though commonly called an NCO sword, wear was actually limited to senior NCOs, namely Sergeant Major and Warrant Officers. Thus Corporals and Sergeants normally could not wear Type 95 swords unless they were attached to regimental HQ or when they belonged to the mounted branches (Cavalry, Transport or MP).

    The Type 95 NCO Sword was designed at a time of shifting trends, so designers had to go back to the drawing board many times to fully reflect the requirements of the times, resulting in 8 rounds of prototyping and a total of 12 years in development.

    The predecessor, the type 32, required improvements in rust proof nickel finishing for the scabbard and it was also not a very handy weapon with a blade that many thought was blunt. So improvements were already in progress in 1923. Thus the whole development started only with the modest hope of making minor improvements to the Western style saber, but after several twists and turns, what came out 12 years later had turned into a Samurai sword in configuration. This transformation was not because of sentimental nostalgia for tradition, but for very practical reasons that often made a difference of life and death.

    Below is a short version of a long story of transformation.


    Prototypes 1 to 4 (1923-1928)
    The first prototypes were ready in March of 1923, which followed the precedent of the Type 32 by having a cavalry version and another version for un-mounted troops. These were presented for testing at the Toyama School and the Cavalry School. However, surprisingly, both schools responded, saying that a sword for a two-handed grip was more desirable, which gave rise to a common version for both types of services.

    This was the concept of the second prototype, submitted to both schools in March 1925. The new design was favorably received, but some added weight as well as a shift of the center of gravity to the front was suggested. Such was then the third prototype that was tested in September 1926. The blade was thicker by 0.5mm among other changes. The feedback pointed to too much curvature in the blade and the schools preferred a grip closer in design to a Samurai sword. Also, the Cavalry School did some back-treading, saying a handguard would not be unwelcome.

    The 4th round of prototype tests were carried out in May 1928 and the 5th round followed in September 1929.
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture Short Development History of Type 95 Gunto  
    Last edited by nick komiya; 07-01-2017 at 04:48 PM.

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