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WW2 Nahkampfspange erste Stufe, Silver Close Combat Clasp, Friedrich Linden

Of the roughly 18 - 20 Million soldiers of the German Wehrmacht and Waffen-SS only around 9,500 were awarded this Silver class award. It was initiated by Adolf Hitler on the 25th November 1942 to recognise personal bravery, by a member of the Army Navy or SS, in close combat hand-to-hand engagements, with rifle pistol bayonet or hand grenade, while on foot and unsupported, It was worn above the left breast pocket. The German WW2 'Silver' Class of this prestigious award was presented for a period of 20 to 30. days in close combat with the enemy (the rally of close combat days was recorded in a soldier’s pay book). The reverse has the correct silver finished coke bottle shaped pin which is good and functions nicely. The hinge sits atop a raised guide ridge. The reverse is marked with the correct manufacturer’s logo on the right side of the back plate with the distinctive circle trio, encompassing the initials F.L.L. "Friedrich Linden, of Ludenscheid". To the left is the name of the designer, W.E. Peekhaus of Berlin. A very sound example, without black insert, of a highly desirable award. Good original examples of these high class Third Reich combat awards just do not show up very often. Original photograph of Wehrmacht Captain Russland in 1943, displaying the Close Combat Clasp and he is also wearing his Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross. Another photo of Reichsf?hrer der SS, Heinrich Himmler, presenting the Close Combat Clasp to Unteroffizier Heinz Rudolph, Unteroffizier Kray, Unteroffizier Adam Schaub und Obergefreiter Georg Felsner (left to right)

Code: 18760

485.00 GBP


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A Fascinating & Most Rare WW1 Motorbike Machine Gun Armour Shield

Machine gunners of WW1 were given all manner of ingenious ways of providing protection in front-line combat arenas as many soldiers fell foul of enemy snipers. The methods of creating mobile machine guns were sometimes quite extraordinary, and then for protection an armour shield such as this would be devised and fitted. A different shape for a different motorbike machine gun system. The German snipers were usually specially trained marksmen that had rifles with telescopic sights, dedicated to remove the enemy machine gunners, whether fixed or mobile. German snipers did not normally work from their own trenches. The main strategy was to creep out at dawn into no-man's land and remain there all day. Wearing camouflaged clothing and using the cover of a fake tree, they waited for a British soldier to pop his head above the parapet, or if high enough to spot men travelling towards the front possibly on some form of transport. A common trick was to send up a kite with English writing on it. Anyone who raised his head to read it was shot. If on the ground or in a trench they also used a steel plate with a loophole for their Mauser sniper rifle, very similar to this motorbike one. There were many variations of these bullet proof shields, all shapes and sizes, from lightweight models to huge, fully wheeled contraptions. The position of the opening allows maximum protection for right handed soldiers. Many were designed to be portable on the battlefield. Some shields could have been dug into the trench system or used in large numbers as part of short term or even semi-permanent strong points or sniper posts in trench systems. A batch of 250 Matchless armoured machine motorcycles were manufactured in Britain in 1917 for the Czars Russian military, they could seat three people - one on the main saddle, another on a pillion saddle and a third in the sidecar operating the Vickers machine gun. These would have been the ultimate motorbike attack vehicles of their day. Although the usefulness of the machine gun had not been fully appreciated by the British Army before the outbreak of the Great War, it soon became apparent that highly mobile machine gun units would be of considerable value in the fluid warfare that characterised the first few weeks of the war. Accordingly, the formation of batteries of motorcycle-mounted machine guns was authorised in November 1914, under the command of Lt-Col R.W. Bradley, DSO, South Wales Borderers. These batteries were designated part of the Royal Field Artillery, one battery being allocated to the divisional Artillery of each Division of the British Expeditionary Force. Each battery consisted of 18 motorcycle/sidecar combinations, carrying six Vickers machine guns, ammunition and spare parts, eight motorcycles without sidecars, and two or three cars or trucks.

However, as the war became bogged down in the stalemate of trench warfare, few opportunities arose to exploit the tactical mobility of the MMGS batteries. The units did perform useful service on occasion, for example during the Battle of Neuve Chapelle (March 1915); and the MMGS received an official acknowledgement from BEF HQ in April 1915 of the "invaluable" work it had rendered in the fighting line. Nevertheless, up to that date, only seven MMGS batteries had been deployed on the Western Front. Their potential for future use continued to be acknowledged, and by the date of the Battle of Loos (September?October 1915), there were 18 MMGS batteries serving with the BEF 15.75 inches x 19.5 inches

Code: 22045

850.00 GBP


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A Delightful & Beautiful Most Ancient Samurai ‘Golden Dragon’ Tachi Around 600 Years Old

See it displayed on the tachi-kake, [code 23511] an ancient tachi mounted in the Edo period on a theme of gold, gold nishiji lacquer saya, gold fittings and tsuba and pale gold tsuka-Ito bound of dragon menuki. Blade made In around 1390 to 1420, and this is a most beautiful and ancient sword from the great warring period of Japan's samurai history. In the gallery we show an early samurai print of the presentation of a similar fine tachi by a daimyo lord to his favoured samurai [for illustration purposes]. The mounts are original Edo period, with lovely nishiji [ground gold] lacquer on the saya and traditional tachi mountings in shinchu, and gold silk ito wrapped over pure gold overlaid, carved kinko dragon, holding the ancient ken, the straight ancient Buddhist samurai sword. The tsuba is a tradional tachi form in three pieces , dai seppa in shinchu and the central plate in iron. A blade of most impressive, elegant and deep curvature, typical of the early samurai sword of the Nambokochu to Muromachi era [1333 to 1573]. As is often with ancient swords the story of it's use starts in the era before it was actually made, by it's master smith, maybe a decade earlier in the Nanboku-cho period (Northern and Southern Courts period) Spanning from 1336 to 1392, it was a period that occurred during the formative years of the Muromachi
bakufu of Japan's history.
The Imperial seats during the Nanboku-cho period were in relatively close proximity, but
geographically distinct. They were conventionally identified as:
Northern capital : Kyoto
Southern capital : Yoshino.
During this period, there existed a Northern Imperial Court, established by Ashikaga Takauji in Kyoto, and a Southern Imperial Court, established by Emperor Go-Daigo in Yoshino.
Ideologically, the two courts fought for fifty years, with the South giving up to the North in 1392.
However, in reality the Northern line was under the power of the Ashikaga shoguns and had little real independence. This sword would very likely have been used in the Onin War (1467-1477) which led to serious political fragmentation and obliteration of domains: a great struggle for land and power ensued among bushi chieftains and lasted until the mid-sixteenth century. Peasants rose against their landlords and samurai against their overlords, as central control virtually disappeared. An early Japanese print in the gallery shows a samurai receiving his reward of a fine tachi [such as this one] from his shugo daimyo lord. The shugo daimyo were the first group of men to hold the title "daimyo". They arose from among the shugo during the Muromachi period. The shugo daimyo held not only military and police powers, but also economic power within a province. They accumulated these powers throughout the first decades of the Muromachi period.
Major shugo daimyo came from the Shiba, Hatakeyama, and Hosokawa clans, as well as the tozama clans of Yamana, Ouchi, and Akamatsu. The greatest ruled multiple provinces.

The Ashikaga shogunate required the shugo daimyo to reside in Kyoto, so they appointed relatives or retainers, called shugodai, to represent them in their home provinces. Eventually some of these in turn came to reside in Kyoto, appointing deputies in the provinces.

The Onin War was a major uprising in which shugo daimyo fought each other. During this and other wars of the time, kuni ikki, or provincial uprisings, took place as locally powerful warriors sought independence from the shugo daimyo. The deputies of the shugo daimyo, living in the provinces, seized the opportunity to strengthen their position. At the end of the fifteenth century, those shugo daimyo who succeeded remained in power. Those who had failed to exert control over their deputies fell from power and were replaced by a new class, the "sengoku daimyo", who arose from the ranks of the shugodai'K and Ji-samurai. Osuriage tang unsigned, nishiji lacquer on the saya with small surface age chips, as to be expected. Blade 63cm long tsuba to tip. 40 inches long approx overall in saya

Code: 22660

6750.00 GBP


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George Orwell '1984' Ist Edition In Red

"Already we know almost literally nothing about the Revolution and the years before the Revolution. Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book has been rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street and building has been renamed, every date has been altered. And that process is continuing day by day and minute by minute. History has stopped. Nothing exists except an endless present in which the Party is always right." George Orwell 1984

Published in 1949 by Secker and Warburg and, of course,it is one of the most important novels of the 20th century. Orwell died in January 1950. Printed in both red and green in 1949 and it is still not known which colour came first. £7350

Code: 23512

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A Stunning & Beautiful Edo Period Tachi-kake, Japanese Samurai Sword Stand Okuyama Family, Descendants of the Famous Genji Clan

Finest black urushi Japanese lacquerwork, over carved wood, bearing numerous hiramaki-e gold clan "four eyes" Hakkoryu kamon throughout. Constructed in two main pieces, that slot together for assembly, and apart, for storage and transportation in the samurai baggage train. Shown holding our 600 year old ‘golden dragon’ tachi [code number 22660] The Hakkoryu’s Yotsume-no-mon of the Okuyama clan who are descendants of the famous Genji clan (also called Minamoto). The clan was popularized in a famous Heian period romance Genji Monogatari, written by Murasaki Shikibu.

Most prominent of the Genji clan was Minamoto Yoritomo, a renowned general during the Kamakura period. During this era, the two most powerful clans were the Genji and their enemies, the Taira (also Heiko). The Taira were defeated in a fierce sea battle during the Genpei war and Minamoto Yoritomo and his descendants reigned supreme in Japan for some time.

The type of mon (crest) used in Hakkoryu was used by a retainer of the Minamoto clan and is commonly known as Meyui, after the concept of tie-dying. The particular style of the Hakkoryu mon is commonly known as Yotsume (“four eyes”). The significance of the crest is related primarily to the ancestors of the Okuyama family. However, the geometric design of eight squares related directly to the number eight of Hakkoryu* and the four eyes denotes preparedness for attack from all directions. There is also a superstition attached to Yotsume, as the “four eyes” guard against evil. This idea has been extended to include personal protection as in the case of Hakkoryu. The tachikake sword stand displayed the sword in a standing upright position, as opposed to the katanakake horizontal position. The vertical meant only one sword could be held, the horizontal two or several. The vertical tachikake makes a more impressive centrepiece display today, but when originally made if stood on the floor immediately next to the samurai's bed roll, the sword could be grabbed in an instant by a recumbant sleeping samurai if alerted to imminent danger. The Edo period (1603–1868) saw an increase in the focused cultivation of lacquer trees for urushi, and the development of the techniques used. In the 18th century coloured lacquers came into wider use. With the development of economy and culture, and the artistic quality of lacquered furniture improved. Hon'ami Kōetsu and Ogata Kōrin brought the designs of the Rinpa school of painting into lacquerware. After the middle of the Edo period, Inro [box containers worn from the samuria's obi hung by cords] became popular as men's accessories, and wealthy merchants of the chōnin class and samurai class collected inro of the highest aesthetic value, most precisely designed with urushi lacquer. Marie Antoinette and Maria Theresa were known collectors of fine Japanese lacquerware and their collections are exhibited in the Louvre and the Palace of Versailles. During this period, due to the development of the economy, shishiai-togidashi maki-e, an advanced technique, became popular. Small areas of natural age wear markings.

Code: 23511

3450.00 GBP


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SOLD. A Very Good Pre-War German Officers Sword Used In WW2

Photograph in the gallery of Field Marshal von Kliest with his identical sword. It has spent two whole days in the workshop having the hilt specialist hand cleaned to conserve the gilt finish. Pristine gilt remaining to the hilt, synthetic ruby stone eyes oak leaf backstrap. Super deluxe double etched blade. Made by Weyersberg of Solingen. Overall in fabulous condition. Paul Ludwig Ewald von Kleist (8 August 1881 ? 13 November 1954) was a leading German field marshal during World War II. He was also a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords (German: Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes mit Eichenlaub und Schwertern). The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross and its higher grade Oak Leaves and Swords was awarded to recognize extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership. The German Army (German: Heer, was the land forces component of the Wehrmacht, the German armed forces, from 1935 to 1945. The Wehrmacht also included the Kriegsmarine (Navy) and the Luftwaffe (Air Force). During World War II, a total of about 15 million soldiers served in the German Army, of whom about seven million became casualties. Separate from the army, the Waffen-SS (Armed SS) was a multi-ethnic and multi-national military force of the Third Reich. Growing from three regiments to over 38 divisions during World War II, it served alongside the army but was never formally part of it.

Only 17 months after Hitler announced publicly the rearmament program, the Army reached its projected goal of 36 divisions. During the autumn of 1937, two more corps were formed. In 1938, four additional corps were formed with the inclusion of the five divisions of the Austrian Army after the Anschluss in March. During the period of its expansion by Adolf Hitler, the German Army continued to develop concepts pioneered during World War I, combining ground (Heer) and air (Luftwaffe) assets into combined arms teams. Coupled with operational and tactical methods such as encirclements and the "battle of annihilation", the German military managed quick victories in the two initial years of World War II, prompting the use of the word Blitzkrieg (literally lightning war, meaning lightning-fast war) for the techniques used.

The German Army entered the war with a majority of its infantry formations relying on the horse for transportation. The infantry remained foot soldiers throughout the war; artillery also remained primarily horse-drawn. The motorized formations received much attention in the world press in the opening years of the war, and were cited as the main reason for the success of the German invasions of Poland (September 1939), Norway and Denmark (April 1940), Belgium, France and Netherlands (May 1940), Yugoslavia (April 1941) and the early campaigns in the Soviet Union (June 1941). However their motorized and tank formations accounted for only 20% of the Heer's capacity at their peak strength.

Code: 18983

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A Beautiful Late Edo Bakumatsu Copper Katana Tsuba With NBTHK Papers.

Bakumatsu copper tsuba, NBTHK Kicho Kodugu papers from 2020. With a translation, the "ninteisho" is introducing the document as recognition written in calligraphy. The tsuba is decorated with Aki kusa, Autumn grass [flowers], unsigned. The Nihon Bijutsu Tōken Hozon Kyōkai is a public interest incorporated foundation established in February 1948 to preserve and promote Japanese swords that have artistic value. Tsuba are usually finely decorated, and are highly desirable collectors' items in their own right. Tsuba were made by whole dynasties of craftsmen whose only craft was making tsuba. They were usually lavishly decorated. In addition to being collectors items, they were often used as heirlooms, passed from one generation to the next. Japanese families with samurai roots sometimes have their family crest (mon) crafted onto a tsuba. Tsuba can be found in a variety of metals and alloys, including iron, steel, brass, copper and shakudo. In a duel, two participants may lock their katana together at the point of the tsuba and push, trying to gain a better position from which to strike the other down. This is known as tsubazeriai pushing tsuba against each other. The tsuba has north and south kuchi-beni.
Literally "lipstick", but refers to the copper plugs of the nakago-ana. Their function is to secure the tsuba firmly when mounted on a blade. These plugs are sometimes called sekigane.

Code: 23510

695.00 GBP


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A Gold Inlaid Indo Persian Armour Suite of Helmet, Shield & Arm Defence Kulah Khud, Dhal, and Bazu Band

Early 19th century. A simply stunning suite of armour comprising the traditional Kulah khud, dhal, and bazu band. The helmet has a hemi-spherical skull, pierced with four heart-shaped panels each fitted with an iron plate within a moulded frame, the skull fitted at its apex with a low spike, a pair of plume-holders at the front and with a staple for a sliding optional nasal guard, decorated over the greater part of its surface with gold koftgari flowers and foliage and mail neck-defence of butted links; the bazu band of a gutter-shaped form, fitted with hinged inner arm-defence, each decorated with gold and silver koftgari foliage, and chain mail covering for the hand of butted links, and with a padded lining; and the dhal [somewhat in the size of a buckler] of shallow convex form, the outer face applied with brass and gold and silver koftgari inlay foliage and flowers and decorated with silver koftgari foliage enriched with gold flowers: Koftgari is the Indian form of damascening which closely resembles the damascening found in Persia and Syria.

The inlay process begins after the piece is moulded and fully formed. The intended design is engraved into the base metal and fine gold or silver wire is then hammered into the grooves.

The base metal is always a hard metal, either steel, iron or bronze, and the inlay a soft metal, either gold or silver. This combination prevents the base from deforming when the wire inlay is hammered into the surface and results in the inlaid areas being well defined and of sharp appearance.

Swords, shield and armour were often decorated in koftgari work and domestic items such as boxes and betel containers, were also made.

Code: 21499

3950.00 GBP


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Superb Victorian Cavalry Sword of the 1st Royal Dragoons Regiment

Used from 1885 onwards, regimentally stamped and numbered, made by Kirschbaum & Co. for the War Dept, [bears WD stamp]. The 1st (Royal) Dragoons
provided a contingent for service with the Heavy Cavalry
Camel Corps in the expedition to relieve Gordon in Khartoum, and took part in the battle of Abu Klea. The Battle of Abu Klea, was one of a series of battles in Northern Africa in a desperate race against time to reach a trapped contingent of British soldiers in the region.

The battle was one of several fought by the British Desert Column against Mahdist forces (the Mahdists were Sudanese fanatics loyal to Muhammad Ahmad bin Abd Allah, a self-proclaimed Islamic messianic figure who took advantage of widespread resentment amongst the Sudanese population towards the oppressive policies of the Turco-Egyptian rulers, and capitalized on the messianic beliefs popular among the various Sudanese religious sects of the time).

The overall goal of the British forces was to push through the Mahdists to Khartoum and relieve General Charles Gordon, under siege there by Mahdist forces, with time swiftly running out to save their embattled comrades at Khartoum. Having spent the night before the battle taking continual fire from Mahdist snipers, when the British forces began advancing into the wadi of Abu Klea at first light, they came under attack from a Mahdist force concealed in the ravine that had been waiting to ambush them.

Despite being heavily outnumbered (approximately 1,100 British troops to supposedly 12,000 Mahdist warriors), in a bloody exchange that lasted little more than fifteen minutes, the British forces were able to push the Mahdists back. Unfortunately, despite having technically won the battle and inflicting serious casualties on the enemy (British losses were 76 dead, 82 wounded, in contrast to Mahdist casualties numbering at least 1100), Abu Klea was a phyrric victory, given that the overall British goal to reach Khartoum and relieve General Gordon failed (the city had fallen and Gordon killed two days before the British Desert Column arrived). The failure to save Gordon caused a major public backlash that effectively ended the political career of Prime Minister William Gladstone (most in British society, including Queen Victoria, blamed Gladstone for the delay in sending a rescue mission), as well as forcing a British retreat from Sudan that would leave the country under the control of the Mahdists for 13 years. Later in its working life it was transferred to the Royal Berkshire Cavalry and bears thos regimental stamps as well with numbering

Code: 21234

775.00 GBP


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A Superb Victorian Crimean War and Indian Mutiny Era General's Sabre For Combat and Dress

Just as was used by the renown British hero ‘Gordon of Khartoum’. Superb condition with most of its original mercurial 'fire' gilt remaining on the guard. Gothic hilt with crossed sabre and field marshal's baton, the symbol of a British General. Fully etched deluxe quality blade with royal cypher and generals crest with traditional scrolling and decorative features. Brass scabbard. Overall all in very good, near pristine condition with original bullion general's sword knot [with natural age wear]. We know not which British Army General carried and used this fabulous sword in combat, but here is a sample of the British generals to which this sword may well have belonged; Infamous General Raglan in the Crimean War, Sir George de Lacy Evans, appointed to command the 2nd Division in the Crimean campaign. He was the most experienced of the divisional commanders and, in the later opinion of the French Commander-in-Chief, the best. He had been born in Ireland in 1787 and had joined the Army as a volunteer in 1806. As a young man he had fought in the Peninsula, in India and in America, and had commanded with some success the British Legion in Spain during the fight against the Carlists. Knighted for his services in Spain in 1837, he had since then been interested more in politics than in the Army. First as Member [of Parliament] for Rye and then for Westminster, he expressed views unusually radical for a soldier. But then he was an unusual man. Moody, intelligent, rather remote and extremely brusque. Lieutenant General Sir William Forbes Gatacre: Commanded a division of two brigades at the Battle of Omdurman and the 3rd Division of the 1st Army Corps during the Second Boer War at the Battle of Stormberg.
Major General Charles George Gordon , aka Gordon of Khartoum a most Colourful Royal Engineer officer; employed by the British-dominated Egyptian government (for the second time) as governor-general of the Sudan and was brutally killed after the Siege of Khartoum during the Mahdist War.
Field Marshal Viscount Gough: Commander of British forces during the First Opium War and the First and Second Sikh Wars.
Lieutenant General Sir Gerald Graham: Victoria Cross winner and senior commander during the Anglo-Egyptian War and the Mahdist War of the 1880s.

Code: 21267

1395.00 GBP


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