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Thread: New Question on Post WWI Marine NCO Swords

  1. #1
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    New Question on Post WWI Marine NCO Swords

    In researching the USMC M1859 Sergeants' sword, I found the Marine Uniform regulations continued to call for senior Staff NCO to carry their swords with slings vice with a frog right up until the start of WWII. The 1937 reg stated: "When sword is worn with the dress or blue undress, the dress belt with slings shall be worn by noncommissioned officers of the first grade, and the dress belt with dress frog by all other enlisted men." The reg also included this illustration of regulations swords, scabbards and knots:

    Name:  USMC Uniform Reg 1937 Sword Illustration. comp.jpg
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    In thinking about this, I was taken back a bit to realize i had never seen a Marine NCO sword with the post WWI thin blade in a scabbard intended for wear with slings, nor had I ever even seen a picture of such a creature other than the one in the regs. Do any of you have one or, for that matter, have you ever seen one? (I would guess Tim would if anyone had!) If so, I'd appreciate hearing about it and if possible getting a photo.

    Thanks.

  2. #2
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    I received no responses to the above request for information, and have been unable to locate any other info on the existence of post-WWI M1859 senior staff NCO swords with thin blades and scabbards configured with carrying rings for wear with slings. As a result, I am beginning to think that despite what the uniform regulations might have said, that in practice first grade NCOs (sergeants major and quartermaster sergeants) wore their swords with a frog just as did lower grade NCOs. One explanation for this might be that the ringed scabbards were not available. Given the small size of the Corps at that time, it would not surprise me if Lilley and other manufacturers at the time when the blade width was reduced decided there would not be enough demand for ringed scabbards to justify re-tooling to produce the two different styles. Just how many sergeants major and quartermaster sergeants were there in the pre-1940 Marine Corps?

    I know a number of Forum members have catalogs from various military supply houses from the first half of the 20th century. I would greatly appreciate it if you could check those catalogs and lists and tell me if they were offering USMC M1859 NCO swords with scabbards with carrying rings. If they were, my above theory is probably wrong, but if they were not offering such scabbards, the mystery of their absence might be solved.

    I would appreciate it if you could tell me which catalogs/lists you have by company and date, and whether or not they offered the elusive ringed scabbard. Thanks.
    Last edited by Richard Schenk; 04-25-2017 at 06:57 PM.

  3. #3
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    Never received any feedback to my question above, and was just about to come firmly to the conclusion that despite what the uniform regulations said, there were no post-WWI narrow-bodied USMC M1859 NCO swords with carrier rings. Then I stumbled across this on a dealer's list:

    Name:  SNCO Horstmann 448 Post WWI 11 Comp.jpg
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    This was mis-identified as a wide-bodied NCO sword, but it is obviously a post-WWI narrow-bodied sword with the new-style etching pattern. Also note the circular Horstmann logo with the statue in the Middle. I'm not sure of the dates this mark was used, but it is definitely early 20th century. It is also evident the scabbard fits this narrow blade. Unfortunately the scabbard is in miserable condition, but it shows such an animal does exist. It is, however, the only one I have ever seen. Have any of you members ever seen another?

    Related guestion: Do any of you know the dates the circular Horstmann logo with the statue was used? I think it was probably about 1910 - 1930, but am uncertain. What do you think?
    Last edited by Richard Schenk; 09-06-2017 at 09:40 AM.

  4. #4
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    Nice find Richard. It looks like the sword is numbered on the guard. I wonder if the scabbard is also numbered on the drag? I have never seen one of these later swords with this scabbard.
    "You can't please everyone, so you have to please yourself." Ricky Nelson

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by George Wheeler View Post
    Nice find Richard. It looks like the sword is numbered on the guard. I wonder if the scabbard is also numbered on the drag? I have never seen one of these later swords with this scabbard.
    I have asked the dealer that question but have received no reply. I would like to buy this sword, but the price seems way too high at almost $1K. It is undoubtedly a rare sword, but in lousy condition; probably there is just myself and one or two others who give a care about obscure variations of 20th century USMC swords.

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