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A Fine Spanish 17th Century Bilbo Rapier. Armourers Marked Blade

A most attractive rapier of the Iberian Peninsular circa 1660. Most elegant long thin blade with central deep fuller struck with armourers letter marks S. AHC. V.M. plus three armourers stamps. Typical mid 16th to 17th century ribbed egg shaped pommel, somewhat more similar to the form of a guillemot egg than a barnyard fowl. This sword appears to be the direct ancestor of many Spanish Military heavy cavalry swords of the 18th century. There is a fabulous portrait of Fernandez de Velasco, gentleman of Seville, painted in 1659, by the Spanish master, Bartolome Esteban Murillo hanging in the Louvre collection in Paris, wearing his Spanish bilbo rapier. In fact with the appearance of such a near identical example that this could even possibly be the very sword itself. The Rapier or Espada Ropera, is a loose term for a type of slender, sharply pointed sword. With such designing features, rapier is optimized to be a thrusting weapon, but cutting or slashing attacks were also recorded in some historical treatises like Capo Ferro's Gran Simulacro in 1610. This weapon was mainly used in Early Modern Europe during the 16th and 17th centuries. The word "rapier" generally refers to a relatively long-bladed sword characterized by a protective hilt which is constructed to provide protection for the hand wielding the sword. Some historical rapier samples also feature a broad blade mounted on a typical rapier hilt. The term rapier can be confusing because this hybrid weapon can be categorized as a type of broadsword. While the rapier blade might be broad enough to cut to some degree (but nowhere near that of the wider swords in use around the Middle Ages such as the longsword), it is designed to perform quick and nimble thrusting attacks. The blade might be sharpened along its entire length or sharpened only from the center to the tip (as described by Capoferro). Pallavicini a rapier master in 1670, strongly advocated using a weapon with two cutting edges. The word "rapier" is a German word to describe what was considered to be a foreign weapon. The word rapier was not used by Italian, Spanish, and French masters during the apogee of this weapon, the terms spada, espada, and ?p?e being instead the norm (generic words for "sword"). Because of this, as well as the great variation of late-16th and 17th century swords, some like Leoni simply describe the rapier as a straight-bladed, two-edged, single-handed sword of that period which is sufficient in terms of both offense and defence, not requiring a companion weapon.

Code: 20157

3650.00 GBP


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WW1 German Machine Gun Abteilung Marked Axe and Cradle,

steel axe head stamped with standing lion makers mark and “G. LEWELT”, waved wooden haft. Housed in brown leather cradle with stud fittings, stamped to the inside “1 M.G.A” 1st Maschinengewehr Abteilung and the axe block with “BA II 1917” Issued to Bekleidungsamt Armee Korps Stettin. Split to leather by brass stud. Used by the machinegunner to cut down trees or wood that thus enabled a machine to be placed at its best advantage point, preferably concealed by wood or thicket. It was also the perfect trench warfare close combat weapon. The German army had been a late convert to the potential of machine guns, but its tactical employment of them in 1914 proved superior to that of its enemies. German machine gunners exploited the weapon’s long-range accuracy, and the fact that the guns were a regimental (rather than battalion) asset allowed them to be grouped to achieve maximum effect. This efficiency created a myth that Germany deployed far more machine guns than its opponents in 1914.

Following the onset of positional warfare, machine guns gained notoriety as highly effective direct-fire weapons. They could theoretically fire over 500 rounds per minute (rpm), but this was not normal in combat, where "rapid fire" generally consisted of repeated bursts amounting to 250 rpm. The effectiveness of these bursts of between ten and fifty bullets was enhanced by exploitation of ballistics and the precision offered by firing from adjustable mounts. At ranges of 600 metres or less, machine guns could create fixed lines of fire which would never rise higher than a man's head, with deadly results for those attempting to advance across them. Or the gun could be traversed between bursts to offer what the French called feu fauchant (mowing fire). At longer range, their bullets fell in an elliptical "beaten-zone", giving them an area-fire capability.

Groups of guns could interlock their fire. In favourable circumstances, such as at Loos on 26 September 1915, or on the Somme on 1 July 1916, this could prove devastating. But although this is how machine guns are now best remembered, new methods of using them were developed from 1915 onwards

Code: 23343

775.00 GBP


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A Rare and Very Fine WW1 German Sniper's Scharfschutzengewehr Optical Scope

WW1 German Sniper Optical Scope, steel body scope with bracket fittings to the lower section. Top focusing mount is maker marked “Rudiger & Bischoff Braunschweig”. Remains of the blued finish. Optics remain clear. Photo in the gallery of German snipers in WW1 and a cabinet of original snipers kit, including the rifle and sniper site, in the Imperial War Museum. During World War I, snipers appeared as deadly sharpshooters in the trenches. At the start of the war, only Imperial Germany had troops that were issued scoped sniper rifles. Although sharpshooters existed on all sides, the Germans specially equipped some of their soldiers with scoped rifles that could pick off enemy soldiers showing their heads out of their trench. At first the French and British believed such hits to be coincidental hits, until the German scoped rifles were discovered. During World War I, the German army received a reputation for the deadliness and efficiency of its snipers, partly because of the high-quality lenses that German industry could manufacture.

During the First World War, the static movement of trench warfare and a need for protection from snipers created a requirement for loopholes both for discharging firearms and for observation. Often a steel plate was used with a "key hole", which had a rotating piece to cover the loophole when not in use.Imperial German Scharfschutzengewehr (Sharpshooters rifle in German) Model 1898 sniper rifle in 7.92x57 or more commonly known as 8mm Mauser. At the beginning of World War 1 no country had a "sniper program" as we know it today. Germany in 1915 outfitted the most experienced marksmen (typically pre-war game wardens and poachers) with specially selected factory rifles and equiped them with optical hunting sights. These early telescopic sights usually consisted of 2.5x, 3x and 4x power, produced by manufactures like Görtz, Gérard, Oige, Zeiss, Hensoldt, Voigtländer Rudiger & Bischoff and various civilian models from manufacturers like Bock, Busch and Füss. These rifles were standard 1898 Military Model which held exceptionaly high accuracy at the factory. They were fitted with a Model 1898AZ carbine bolt and optic and issued to an individual Soldier (Soldat) instead of a unit. Due to the very high usage of steel armor piercing ammunition the barrels were rapidly erroded and the life span for accuracy was between 1000-2500 rounds, often less, before having to be replaced. Soon the British army began to train their own snipers in specialized sniper schools. Major Hesketh Hesketh-Prichard was given formal permission to begin sniper training in 1915, and founded the First Army School of Sniping, Observation, and Scouting at Linghem in France in 1916. Starting with a first class of only six, in time he was able to lecture to large numbers of soldiers from different Allied nations, proudly proclaiming in a letter that his school was turning out snipers at three times the rate of any such other school in the world.

He also devised a metal-armoured double loophole that would protect the sniper observer from enemy fire. The front loophole was fixed, but the rear was housed in a metal shutter sliding in grooves. Only when the two loopholes were lined up—a one-to-twenty chance—could an enemy shoot between them. Another innovation was the use of a dummy head to find the location of an enemy sniper. The papier-mâché figures were painted to resemble soldiers to draw sniper fire. Some were equipped with rubber surgical tubing so the dummy could "smoke" a cigarette and thus appear realistic. Holes punched in the dummy by enemy sniper bullets then could be used for triangulation purposes to determine the position of the enemy sniper, who could then be attacked with artillery fire. He developed many of the modern techniques in sniping, including the use of spotting scopes and working in pairs, and using Kim's Game to train observational skills. An original complete Imperial German Scharfschutzengewehr (Sharpshooters rifle in German) Model 1898 GEW98 rifle, with its scope, just as this one, can now fetch over $11,000.

Code: 23342

1195.00 GBP


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Original German Army Afrika Korps 2nd Pattern Pith Helmet,

German Army Afrika Korps 2nd Pattern Pith Helmet. The Afrika Korps formed on 11 January 1941 and one of Hitler's favourite generals, Erwin Rommel, was designated as commander on 11 February. Originally Hans von Funck was to have commanded it, but Hitler loathed von Funck, as he had been a personal staff officer of Werner von Fritsch until von Fritsch was dismissed in 1938.

The German Armed Forces High Command (Oberkommando der Wehrmacht, OKW) had decided to send a "blocking force" to Italian Libya to support the Italian army. The Italian 10th Army had been routed by the British Commonwealth Western Desert Force in Operation Compass (9 December 1940 – 9 February 1941). The German blocking force, commanded by Rommel, at first consisted of a force based only on Panzer Regiment 5, which was put together from the second regiment of the 3rd Panzer Division. These elements were organized into the 5th Light Division when they arrived in Africa from 10 February – 12 March 1941. In late April and into May, the 5th Light Division was joined by elements of 15th Panzer Division, transferred from Italy. At this time, the Afrika Korps consisted of the two divisions, and was subordinated to the Italian chain of command in Africa.

On 15 August 1941, the German 5th Light Division was redesignated 21st Panzer Division, the higher formation of which was still the Afrika Korps. During the summer of 1941, the OKW increased the presence in Africa and created a new headquarters called Panzer Group Africa. On 15 August, the Panzer Group was activated with Rommel in command, and command of the Afrika Korps was turned over to Ludwig Crüwell. The Panzer Group comprised the Afrika Korps, with some additional German units now in North Africa, plus two corps of Italian units. The Panzer Group was, in turn, redesignated as Panzer Army Africa on 30 January 1942.

After the German defeat in the Second Battle of El Alamein and the Allied landings in Morocco and Algeria (Operation Torch), the OKW once more upgraded the presence in Africa by adding first the XC Army Corps, under Nehring, in Tunisia on 19 November 1942, then an additional 5th Panzer Army on 8 December, under the command of Colonel-General Hans-Jürgen von Arnim.


1943 drawing by US army artist Rudolph von Ripper of Afrika Corps prisoners of war, captioned "laden with the loot of many country's, the Africa-Corps is brought into captivity."
On 23 February 1943, the original Panzer Army Africa, which had since been re-styled as the German-Italian Panzer Army, was now redesignated as the Italian 1st Army and put under the command of Italian general Giovanni Messe. Rommel, meanwhile, was placed in command of a new Army Group Africa, created to control both the Italian 1st Army and the 5th Panzer Army. The remnants of the Afrika Korps and surviving units of the 1st Italian Army retreated into Tunisia. Command of the Army Group was turned over to Arnim in March. On 13 May, the Afrika Korps surrendered, along with all other remaining Axis forces in North Africa.

Most Afrika Korps POWs were transported to the United States and held in Camp Shelby in Mississippi, Camp Hearne in Texas and other POW camps until the end of the war. Combat used condition. Photos to add on Tuesday.

Code: 23345

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A Most Rare Original WW2 British Early War Issue Pattern Tank Crew Helmet,

A fabulous early WW2 British tanker's helmet of fibre body shell with enforced plate to the top and padded front section. Exterior of the helmet is finished in a rough textured paint finish. Original liner with leather sweatband having broad arrow stamp underneath. Shows some wear with some of the exterior paint flaking and the padded front section is slightly crushed. The RAC was created on 4 April 1939, just before World War II started, by combining regiments from the cavalry of the line which had mechanised with the Royal Tank Corps (renamed Royal Tank Regiment). As the war went on and other regular cavalry and Territorial Army Yeomanry units became mechanised, the corps was enlarged. A significant number of infantry battalions also converted to the armoured role as RAC regiments. In addition, the RAC created its own training and support regiments. Finally, in 1944, the RAC absorbed the regiments of the Reconnaissance Corps. The 7th Armoured Division was an armoured division of the British Army that saw distinguished active service during World War II, where its exploits in the Western Desert Campaign gained it the Desert Rats nickname.

After the Munich Agreement, the division was formed in Egypt during 1938 as the Mobile Division (Egypt) and its first divisional commander was the tank theorist Major-General Sir Percy Hobart. In February 1940, the name of the unit was changed to the 7th Armoured Division.

The division fought in most major battles during the North African Campaign; On 7 June, the division was again prepared for battle as part of Operation Battleaxe, having received new tanks and additional personnel. In the attack plan for Operation Battleaxe, the 7th force was divided between the Coast Force and Escarpment Force. However, this Allied push failed, and the 7th Armoured Division was forced to withdraw on the third day of fighting. On 18 November, as part of Operation Crusader the whole of the 7th Armoured Division was concentrated on breaking through. They faced only the weakened 21st Panzer Division. However, the XXX Corps commander, Lieutenant-General Willoughby Norrie, aware that the 7th Armoured Division was down to 200 tanks, decided on caution. During the wait, in the early afternoon of 22 November, Rommel attacked Sidi Rezegh with the 21st Panzer and captured the airfield. Fighting was desperate and gallant: for his actions during these two days of fighting, Brigadier Jock Campbell, commanding the 7th Support Group, was awarded the Victoria Cross. However, the 21st Panzer, despite being considerably weaker in armour, proved superior in its combined arms tactics, pushing the 7th Armoured back with a further 50 tanks lost (mainly from the 22nd Armoured Brigade).

On 27 June 1942, elements of the 7th Armoured Division, along with units of the 3rd The King's Own Hussars, suffered one of the worst friendly fire incidents when they were attacked by a group of Royal Air Force (RAF) Vickers Wellington bombers during a two-hour raid near Mersa Matruh, Egypt. Over 359 troops were killed and 560 others were wounded.

The Western Desert Force later became HQ XIII Corps, one of the major parts of the British Eighth Army which, from August 1942 was commanded by Lieutenant-General Sir Bernard Montgomery. The 7th Armoured Division took part in most of the major battles of the North African Campaign, including both battles of El Alamein (the First Battle of El Alamein in July 1942, which stopped the Axis advance, and the Second Battle of El Alamein in October/November 1942, which turned the tide of the war in North Africa).

Infantrymen of the 1/6th Battalion, Queen's Royal Regiment (West Surrey) marching into Tobruk, Libya, 18 November 1942.
The 7th Armoured Division, now consisting of the 22nd Armoured and 131st Infantry Brigades and commanded by Major General John Harding, fought in many major battles of the Tunisian Campaign, taking part in the Battle of El Agheila in December. By January 1943 the Eighth Army had reached Tripoli where a victory parade was held, with the 7th Armoured Division taking part. Among the witnesses was Winston Churchill, the British Prime Minister, and General Sir Alan Brooke, the Chief of the Imperial General Staff (CIGS).

The division, now commanded by Major General George Erskine after Harding was severely injured in January, next took part in the Battle of Medenine, followed by the Battle of the Mareth Line in March. In late April, towards the end of the campaign, the 7th Armoured Division was transferred to IX Corps of the British First Army for the assault on Medjez El Bab. The attack was successful, with the 7th Armoured Division competing with the 6th Armoured Division of the First Army in a race to the city of Tunis, with 'B' Squadron of the 11th Hussars being first into the city on the afternoon of 7 May, followed closely by the 22nd Armoured Brigade and the 131st Brigade. The fighting in North Africa came to an end just days later, with almost 250,000 Axis soldiers surrendering to the Allies and becoming POWs

Code: 23340

695.00 GBP


Shortlist item
A Most Attractive Dyak Tribe Mandau Head Hunter's Sword

A most Dyak sword mandau, swollen SE blade 18½”, flat on one side and tapered on the other with a line of dots and stars, back edge pierced with 3 sets of 4 holes and 2 elephant heads towards point, rattan bound ivory grip, the pommel carved in the form of a stylized antelope with 2 hair tufts, in its rattan bound stylized wooden scabbard with belt loops. A scarce Mandau of the Dayak people, of Kalimantan, Indonesia. With beautifully traditionally carved antler hilt, complete with some hair. Traditional blade with convex obverse and concave reverse. Wooden sheath with upper and lower surfaces carved in relief with matching carved dragonlike shapes, bound with wonderfully woven bi-colored reed wraps, including the original woven reed hanging cords and with it's bi-knife sleeve. The blade was apparently designed convex in such a way as the head could be decapitated more easily by a swinging arc while running. The last photo in the gallery is a period photo of an indigenous Head Hunter, holding his 'prize', achieved with his Mandau

Code: 23316

595.00 GBP


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A Late 18th Century 'Brown Bess' Tower of London Musket

Napoleonic Wars 14 bore Brown Bess flintlock musket, 52½” overall, barrel 37" the rounded lock stamped with crowned “GR” and “Tower” with pre 1809 gooseneck cock, walnut fullstock with regulation brass mounts including early style trigger guard, sling swivels. Beginning its life almost 300 years ago, it created one of the greatest empires the word has ever seen and, among other achievements, made the 'British Square' the almost undefeated form of infantry defence throughout the world. Made in four distinct patterns it originally started life as a 46 inch barrel musket called the Long Land or Ist pattern [Brown Bess]. Then in around 1768 the gun evolved and the barrel was shortened to 42 inches [as 46 was deemed unwieldy] and renamed the Short Land or 2nd pattern. Although the Long Land was made continually for another 20 years. With the onset of the Napoleonic Wars in the 1790s, the British Board of Ordnance found itself woefully short of the 250,000 muskets it would need to equip its forces. It managed to produce around 20,000 short land pattern muskets but this was simply not sufficient. At that time the British East India Company maintained it own troops and had contracted with makers to produce a simplified version of the Brown Bess musket with a 39-inch barrel and less ornate furniture and stock work. It was generally felt that the standard of these "India pattern" muskets was not up to the standard of the earlier Besses, but necessity required action so the authorities convinced Company officials to turn over their stores to the Crown. By 1797 the urgencies of war ultimately created the demise of the Short Pattern, and all manufacture was turned to building the more simple 'India' pattern. For the most part, the gun underwent few changes from its introduction until Waterloo, with the exception of the cock, which was altered from the traditional gooseneck style to a sturdier, reinforced version in around 1809. Replacement Enfield rifle steel ramrod, sideplate half lacking. Good working order and good condition, worn overall.

Code: 23314

2295.00 GBP


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A German S-mine (Schrapnellmine, Springmine or Splittermine in German), also known as the "Bouncing Betty" on the Western Front

RESERVED French soldiers encountered the S-mine during minor probes into the coal-rich German Saar region in September 7–11, 1939, during the Saar Offensive. The S-mine contributed to the withdrawal of these French incursions.3 The mine's performance in the Saar region affirmed its effectiveness in the eyes of the German leadership and prompted the United States and other countries to copy its design.4 After their experience, the French nicknamed the mine "the silent soldier".

The Third Reich used the S-mine heavily during the defense of its occupied territories and the German homeland during the Allied invasions of Europe and North Africa. The mines were produced in large numbers and planted liberally by defending German units. For example, the German Tenth Army deployed over 23,000 of them as part of their defense preparation during the Allied invasion of Italy.5

S-mines were deployed on the beaches of Normandy in preparation for the anticipated invasion as part of a general program of heavy mining and fortification. On the Îles-St.-Marcouf, just off Utah Beach, where the Allied planners feared the Germans had established heavy gun batteries, Rommel had ordered S-mines to be "sown like grass seed."6 To build the Atlantic Wall, Germans deployed millions of mines of various types, anti-personnel mines (such as the S-mine), dug hundreds of kilometers of trenches, laid barbed wire, and constructed thousands of beach obstacles.7 The mines were subsequently used to defend German positions during the Battle of Normandy and in the defense of Northern France and the German border. S-mines were typically used in combination with anti-tank mines to resist the advances of both armor and infantry.3 The Allies removed an estimated 15,000 unexploded mines from dunes by Pouppeville after the initial invasion

Code: 23339

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A German WW2 Luftschutz Air Protection 'Gladiator' Helmet

Excellent decal, interior liner, with its strap. Good original blue paint and winged Luftschutz and swastika symbol transfer decal. The Luftschutzwarndienst was a civilian organization that was tasked with alerting the population of air raid attacks and for providing safety in air raid shelters, and for assistance to the civilian population after an air raid. First instituted in 1933, the service was originally voluntary up until 1943, when it was made mandatory for all German civilians, including women. The members were expected to purchase their own helmets and gear as their contribution to the war effort. In their role, members were required to interpret various communication reports regarding bomber formations flying over Germany, operate search lights, observe bomber formations, help keep order among civilians affected by bombing raids, and to utilize air raid sirens before and after attacks.

Members of the Luftschutzwarndienst (Luftschutz) were typically volunteers assembled into area units within cities and towns that held the highest risk of being bombed. Many population centers were divided into area “blocks” with unit leaders assigned to each individual section of a city. Volunteer teams were expected to rotate shifts and sleep in large concrete bunkers that held all the provisions and amenities of a regular fortification. These also included the immense “flak towers” built around German cities upon which anti-aircraft batteries were stationed.

On 2 April 1943 Hermann Göring mandated compulsory service in the Luftschutz for all German civilians. For the first time this order included women. Members of the Luftschutz were expected to supply their own helmets as part of the contribution to the German war effort. A variety of helmets were available for 5 Reich Marks each, but many volunteers chose to scavenge captured helmets of Czech, Polish, Dutch, French, and Russian origin. Light average surface wear overall.

Code: 23337

375.00 GBP


Shortlist item
A Very Good German 1936 Polizei /SS Degan By Clemen & Jung,

One of the nicest condition examples we have seen. It would be most difficult to find a better looking example. Silver plated steel degan hilt, with black ribbed grip, bound with silver wire, and with it's original inset badge of the Third Reich German Police, and officer's extended pommel. Blade maker marked by Clemen & Jung, Solingen. The Police and the SS officers shared this common pattern of sword from 1936 onwards. Although a solely serving SS officer may have a sigrunen rune badged hilt to his sword, a Police or combined Police/SS officer may have the Police badged hilt. The Ordnungspolizei was separate from the SS and maintained a system of insignia and Orpo ranks. It was possible for policemen to be members of the SS but without active duties. Police generals who were members of the SS were referred to simultaneously by both rank titles during the war. For instance, a Generalleutnant in the Police who was also an SS member would be referred to as SS Gruppenführer und Generalleutnant der Polizei. In addition, those Orpo police generals that undertook the duties of both Senior SS and Police Leader (Höhere SS und Polizeiführer) gained equivalent Waffen-SS ranks in August 1944 when Himmler was appointed Chef der Ersatzheeres (Chief of Home Army), because they had authority over the prisoner-of-war camps in their area.

Heinrich Himmler's ultimate aim was to replace the regular police forces of Germany with a combined racial/state protection corps (Staatsschutzkorps) of pure SS units. Local law enforcement would be undertaken by the Allgemeine-SS with the Waffen-SS providing homeland-security and political-police functions. Historical analysis of the Third Reich has revealed that senior Orpo personnel knew of Himmler's plan and were opposed to it. Very good blade, good scabbard with no denting some paint wear. Very good bright hilt, with light natural age wear.

Code: 23336

1495.00 GBP


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