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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
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
A Third Reich cast aluminium alloy wall or train eagle, wingspan 35" (89cm), the back marked “.GAL..Mg.si APAG” Manufacturer, with 3 threaded mounting bolt holes.GAL-Mg-Si (Gal=Galvanized Aluminum, Mg=Magnesium, Si=Silicon). APAG also made bunker periscope fixing mounts, amongst other alloy castings, for the Wehrmacht. During Nazi rule, a stylised eagle combined with the Nazi swastika was made the national emblem (Hoheitszeichen) by order of Adolf Hitler in 1935. Despite its medieval origin, the term "Reichsadler" in common English understanding is mostly associated with this specific Nazi-era version. The Nazi Party had used a very similar symbol for itself, called the Parteiadler ("Party's eagle"). These two insignia can be distinguished as the Reichsadler looks to its right shoulder whereas the Parteiadler looks to its left shoulder. The Third Reich, more commonly known as Nazi Germany [a name coined by Winston Churchill as an abbreviation of Hitler's 'National Socialism'] that described Hitler's regime from January 30 1933 to May 8 1945.
The regime began when Adolf Hitler rose to power and began his perilous rule as head of state (chancellor) on January 30 1933.
In a bid to champion the common man as Hitler often claimed, the Nazi Socialist revolution sought to establish a Volksgemeinschaft, a pure German peoples race.
Awarded for gallantry to German and Turkish officers serving in the Gallipoli Campaign and the Ottoman warfare region against the British, Russians and Australians in WW1. The 8" blade is impressed on one side with the shahada Islamic decoration of faith, and on the other side with the tughra mark of Sultan Mehmed V, star and crescent, Arabic date 1334 (1918), serial number 2039, etc, the hilt and sheath embossed with brass panel pattern retaining traces of red background, the sheath with flat pierced bar for suspension which is also stamped with the serial number. Very good condition: The Enveriye dagger was an honour award for military gallantry bestowed by the Turkish War Minister Enver Pasha on deserving Turkish and German officers serving with the Turkish army between 1914 and 1918, and fewer than 5000 were ever awarded. In British terms it would be the equivalent to the George Cross Medal, in America the Silver Star Medal. The Middle-Eastern theatre of World War I saw action between 29 October 1914 and 30 October 1918. The combatants were, on one side, the Ottoman Empire (including Kurds and some Arab tribes), with some assistance from the other Central Powers; and on the other side, the British (with the help of some Jewish volunteers, Greeks, Assyrians and the majority of the Arabs), the Russians (with the help of Armenians) and the French from among the Allies of World War I. There were five main campaigns: the Sinai and Palestine Campaign, the Mesopotamian Campaign, the Caucasus Campaign, the Persian Campaign, and the Gallipoli Campaign. There were also several minor campaigns: the Senussi Campaign, Arab Campaign, and South Arabia Campaign. The Ottoman Empire joined the Central Powers through the secret Ottoman-German Alliance, which was signed on 2 August 1914. The main objective of the Ottoman Empire in the Caucasus was the recovery of its territories that had been lost during the Russo-Turkish War, 1877-78, in particular Artvin, Ardahan, Kars, and the port of Batum. Success in this region would force the Russians to divert troops from the Polish and Galician fronts.
German advisors with the Ottoman armies supported the campaign for this reason. From an economic perspective, the Ottoman, or rather German, strategic goal was to cut off Russian access to the hydrocarbon resources around the Caspian Sea.
Germany established an Intelligence Bureau for the East on the eve of World War I. The bureau was involved in intelligence-gathering and subversive missions to Persia and Egypt, and to Afghanistan, to dismantle the Anglo-Russian Entente. Ottoman War Minister Enver Pasha claimed that if the Russians could be beaten in the key cities of Persia, it could open the way to Azerbaijan, as well as the rest of the Middle East and the Caucasus.
If these nations were to be removed from Western influence, Enver envisioned a cooperation between these newly established Turkic states. Enver's project conflicted with European interests which played out as struggles between several key imperial powers. The Ottomans also threatened Britain's communications with India and the East via the Suez Canal. The Germans hoped to seize the Canal for the Central Powers, or at least to deny the Allies use of the vital shipping route.
We show in the gallery a picture of an officer wearing his [not included for information only]
Silvered hilt with double eagle and swastika decor, one as a langet, the other as a pommel, with black celluloid grip, wire bound, maker marked by Carl Eikhorn who was supposedly an honorary member of the SS, and solely authorised maker of the 1936 pattern chained SS dagger. Very good condition steel blade, and blackened steel scabbard. According to Major Angolia's authoritative book of Third Reich Weapons this Prinz Eugen pattern sabre was a very popular choice with SS officers of the SS Prinz Eugen Division before the 1936 regular SS/Police pattern sword was designed. Primarily, it is assumed due to the fact it has two separate eagle and swastika designs within the hilt, thus making it 'extra nazified' so to speak, and of course, as it was designed and dedicated to the honour of their Division's namesake, Field Marshal Prinz Eugen. Made by Eikhorn of Solingen and named the Prinze Eugen Field Marshals pattern sabre, it is probably one of the most collectable and desirable WW2 German swords today, that was made with the approval of the Third Reich,SS, before the 1936 period. We show in the gallery a Third Reich period photograph of a Waffen SS officer, a hauptsturmfuhrer of the SS Prinz Eugen Division wearing his Prinz Eugen Sword that appears in Bruce Quarrie's book Weapons of the Waffen SS. Also a photo of the guard of the SS Liebstandarte Adolf Hitler also with a pre 1936 sabre. Prinz Eugen was one of the great Germanic heroes of the SS from history, so much so, that a Waffen SS Division was named in his honour, and made up of volunteers to serve in the mountain division of the SS. The 7th SS Volunteer Mountain Division "Prinz Eugen" (11. SS-Freiwilligen Gebirgs-Division "Prinz Eugen") was a German mountain infantry division of the Waffen-SS, the armed wing of the German Nazi Party that served alongside but was never formally part of the Wehrmacht during World War II in Yugoslavia. Formed Volksdeutsche (ethnic German) volunteers and conscripts from the Banat, Independent State of Croatia (NDH), Hungary and Romania, it fought a counter-insurgency campaign against communist-led Yugoslav Partisan resistance forces in the occupied Serbia, NDH and Montenegro. It was given the title Prinz Eugen after Prince Eugene of Savoy, an outstanding military leader of the Habsburg Empire who liberated the Banat and Belgrade from the Ottoman Empire in the Austro-Turkish War of 1716–18. It was initially named the SS-Freiwilligen-Division Prinz Eugen (SS-Volunteer Division Prinz Eugen). In January 1944 the division was involved in more anti-Partisan actions in operation Waldrausch. In May division took part in Seventh anti-Partisan Offensive (Operation Rösselsprung) which began on 25 May 1944. This operation had the task of killing or capturing Tito, and the operation was spearheaded by the 500th SS Fallschirmjäger-Bataillon and supported by the Brandenburg Regiment.
In May June and July, the division also saw action in operations Freie Jagd, Rose and Feuerwehr. In August (12–30 August) the division was engaged in operation Rübezahl, aimed to prevent offensive of NOVJ forces from Montenegro into western Serbia. In September, the Soviet Red Army had advanced to the Balkans and the division suffered heavy casualties in defensive battles against Bulgarian, Soviet and NOVJ forces in the Nish region.
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