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Old 28th February 2018, 12:16 AM   #1
M ELEY
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Default Mystery solved and started!

Hello all. Some might remember a sword I started a thread on awhile back. I had assumed it was either naval or infantry based on the plain solid brass hilt with simple knuckle bow. Here is that thread with pics-

http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=21771

http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/attac...id=156245&stc=1


I always knew it wasn't 'munitions grade' briquet or parade sword. The watered steel blade was superb and well balanced, with the brass bird head hilt solidly constructed. When i was going though my books the other day, I happened to stumble upon a drawing of a hilt near exact to mine! It was in Harold Peterson's 'Arms and Armor in Colonial America 1526-1783', on page 257. The written description was spot-on, "a short bladed, double edged sword. The hilt was cast brass and consisted of a smooth grip, simple bird's head pommel, a rectangular knuckle-bow and quillon. At the time of the American Revolution the blade was usually about 22" long".

This is a Jaeger enlisted man's sword (plate 247), apparently an elite Germany infantry troop from the Rev War period. That's the first part of the mystery solved. Here's what remains...

With the exception of Peterson, I can't find any other pics or drawings of a similar sword. I have decades worth of sword catalogs, a small library of books, many of them about the Revolution, but no such sword. Anyone out there able to help?

Just read an excellent article on Hess Jaeger troops fighting on American soil and wondered if the markings on mine might be able to help me identify which troop it might have been with. The marking again is 'RX.2' and 'No. 45'. Does that mean anything to anyone? Also, does anyone have interesting info on these special troops? Thanks!
Mark
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Old 28th February 2018, 05:23 PM   #2
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May i switch the complicometer, Mark ?

The so called rack number; i take it that word "rack", being a (idiomatic) term to call a storing place, is not an actual description, thus its initial does not refer to appear in markings themselves. Meaning to say that the letter R in your sword would rather mean Regiment, as we used to mark weapons in my neck of the woods or, in some cases, someone's (owner) name initial.
Now, the X is quite a challenge, as hardly this letter is the first in a name ... or thing. In the German dictionary no more than a dozen names start with a X, for one.
On the other hand, the initials No as engraved, meaning 'number' as thought, are the type of symbol used by english speakers. Others would use or
Could it be that this number was engraved after the sword was imported ? What country did you buy from?
And last, before you hit me. Is it the different angle in which you took the photos of either marking set or could it be that one inscription was engraved in a different period than the other; they seem to have a different font style.
... And no more nonsense .


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Old 28th February 2018, 05:35 PM   #3
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In Don Trioani's 'Soldiers of the American Revolution', he verifies that the elite Jaegers carried a plain looking brass hilt hunting style sword. He has pics throughout his book of the more common Hessian infantry swords, but none of the Jaegers. He mentions that the uniforms of the Hess-Cassel Jaeger troops matched the Prussian Jaeger uniforms, so no difference there. There was one short Jaeger rifle marked 'No. 79', so they did mark their weapons as such. Looking through Neumann's, saw lots of characteristics of the brass bird hilt with other German swords of the period. Likewise, saw lots of markings starting with the letter 'R', but no X following it.

Still not sure of the number of Jaeger troops that came to America. I know there were tens of thousands of Hessian troops sent here, a striking number!
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Old 2nd March 2018, 03:04 AM   #4
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Opps! Totally missed your post, Fernando! Thanks for responding. I'm hoping the 'R' does stand for regiment, as that might help me track down the troop. I was quite surprised that the Jager corps had a great impact on many of the battles of the American Revolution. They came from multiple regions of the old Germanic empire and were exemplary in helping their British allies turn many of the tides of battle. here is a great article on them-

http://allthingsliberty.com/2015/th...ania-1776-1777/

I understand there is a possibility that there could be initials, but as you pointed out, not too many German names ending in 'X'. Curiously, these markings are etched, not stamped as an official marking would be, unless done afterwards, as you pointed out, perhaps in reverence to a squad or troop. I can say that the pics do distort the etch a bit and I believe that both marks are made in the same style and by the same hand (whether contemporary with the weapon or much later, who knows?). I thought of museum acquisition numbers as well until I thought about it (DUH!), they wouldn't permanently mar an item in a collection in this way. In any case, it is exciting to try and research, even if it amounts to not much.
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Old 2nd March 2018, 08:29 AM   #5
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Could it be a combination of roman and ”arabic” numericals so that it stands for Regiment X (i.e. 10), and then company number 2?

Interesting article. I did not know so many German troops served in the American War of Independence. Interesting that the Jägers lack of bayonets was perceived as a weakness. The text mentions they were armed with hirschfängers and not hangers. Did you check out this website mentioned in the bibliography: “Edged weapons of the Hesse-Kassel Jäger Korps,” http://www.jaegerkorps.org/, accessed Dec. 9, 2014.?
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Old 2nd March 2018, 11:08 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M ELEY
Opps! Totally missed your post, Fernando! ...

Well, i must say i was shooting in the dark ... partly. I have this fixation that the R is for Regiment; as consistent with the term 'regimental marks'.
Now that you mention Neumann, i reflect my reasoning in page 177, where a Horseman sabre (Item 348.SS) is marked 3 RG LD NO 35 3-T. Doesn't that three digits set sound like 3th Regiment ? The two following letters referring the troop service, like Light Dragoons or Delaware Line. Then the last part would refer the rack or, more possibly (for me) the serviceman number. Note that the NO (for number) doesn't have a dot.
I will here upload the marks of a couple XIX century Portuguese pistols i used to own, where you see that both Regiment and rack numbers are perfectly intelligible.


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Old 2nd March 2018, 11:22 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Victrix
... Could it be a combination of roman and ”arabic” numericals so that it stands for Regiment X (i.e. 10), and then company number 2? ...

That was one of my thoughts, but i abandoned the idea, as not so practicable in that side of the world ... i would guess.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Victrix
...Interesting that the Jägers lack of bayonets was perceived as a weakness. The text mentions they were armed with hirschfängers and not hangers...

Precisely. You may also see in Neumannn's a nice drawing of a German field Jaeger, circa 1780, in page 61; equipped with a hirschfänger (hunting sword).


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Old 2nd March 2018, 11:45 AM   #8
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Thanks, gents, for your knowledge and opinions.

Victrix, I tried accessing those articles before and most are now defunct. I will do a general search for that title and see what comes up.

I had seen that pic from Neumann's as well, so i remain confused. Peterson shows a drawing of a sword exactly matching my sword, with bird head solid brass hilt, no grooves or pommel, "rectangular" guard and a blade measuring exactly 22". Next to that pic, he had another brass hilted sword, so perhaps there were several patterns? As far as the word 'hirschfanger', the generic form is a straight-bladed field piece, typically with plain brass hilt, so I would say that the sword discussed is still in the ballpark- Hangers of the 17th and early 18th c. were by definition 'hunting swords. Likewise, I don't know if the illustrator for this depiction saw the definition of 'plain straight brass hirschfanger' and took artistic license. Then again, I don't know if Peterson could also be incorrect in his drawing.

Does anyone have H. Peterson's book to print the pages I mentioned above? My skills with the digital camera are terrifying!

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Old 3rd March 2018, 05:54 AM   #9
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Here's the site for the Jaeger Korps re-in actors. Again, I understand the mention of hirschfanger brings up a generic image of the many types of hunting implements, as shown on the site. I still can't get past, however, Harold Peterson's very descriptive narrative and image. You will also note that the swords on this site are for reference only, as some are not German, some are 19th century, etc. Adding to this confusion is the fact that the Jagers were around all the way up through the 20th century! Obviously, uniforms and accouterments would change over time. I know I sound like I'm fighting the possibility that this isn't a jaeger sword. I'm really not as I win either way (if not a jaeger, I can continue to classify it as a brass hilted hanger cum cutlass. If it is the sword used by the elite group, that that is fine too). I may never find out what the markings are or even if this piece saw action during the Rev War, but I just hope I can solve the fundamental question of is it or isn't it!



http://www.jaegerkorps.org/blankwaffen.html :
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Old 3rd March 2018, 02:10 PM   #10
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It would make sense for Jägers to carry hirschfängers, or hunting swords, as they were often recruited from hunters. But the source which claims they carried hirschfängers seems dubious. Perhaps the author just felt like popping in a German word? The best way would be to look for contemporary graphic illustrations of Hessian Jägers to form a view of how they were armed. Not sure they are to be viewed as ”elite” though. In those days the elite were the guards regiments propped full with aristocracy and embellished with glamorous uniforms and equipment. The Jägers were probably perceived as rather less glamorous at that time. The sword you showed us looks lika an infantry hanger rather than a hirschfänger. Could it not have been used by the Hessian grenadier regiments (which were probably regarded as more exclusive at that time)?
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Old 3rd March 2018, 09:30 PM   #11
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Excellent points, Victrix. I will try and start researching contemporary paintings for more information. You also bring up a good point concerning the usage of the word hirschfanger. At that time, it was a hanger, plain and simple, not the horn gripped, saw back types we're used to seeing after the close of the 18th century. Perhaps Peterson did indeed draw and describe another hanger type carried by grenadiers or a similar branch of Hessians. I find it too hard to believe, however, that he arbitrarily made up this pattern as being German or not somehow affiliated with the Hessian troops.
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Old 5th March 2018, 02:29 AM   #12
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Fernando, forgot to thank you for posting those pics of the regiment/rac marks. I am also of the opinion that the R or RX for that matter, stands for regiment once we ruled out (in the original thread) that it was for 'rack number' (ruled out by the fact that the German word for rack is 'Gestell' ), whereas 'regiment' is the same in German and thus starts with the leter 'R'.

I finally went back to "Arm& Armor in Colonial America 1526-1783" to check Peterson's footnotes. The one he lists for the jaeger sword is a mouth full-

"Oberleutnant Deiss, "Blank-und Schutzaffen Preussens von 18 Jahrhundred ab" Zeitschrift fur Historische Wafenkunde, Band V (1909-11), 324-330. Notes compiled by Col Harry Larter from specimens in German musems and he paintings of Richard and Herbet Knoetel, Menzel, ad C. Rochling."

Does anyone recognize any of these sources?

Here's a contemporary pic of jagers, with typically nearly out of shot pics! Note the straight sword blades and rectangular knucklebows

https://i.pinimg.com/736x/af/fc/46/...498e2ca7349.jpg

And another straight sword, coveed by cloak and not sure if contemporary-

http://www.jaegerkorps.org/Pictures/jagercaptain.jpg

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Old 5th March 2018, 03:21 AM   #13
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https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipe...2/Knoe10_02.jpg

Another possibly from a contemporary source-
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Old 5th March 2018, 08:15 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M ELEY
Fernando, forgot to thank you for posting those pics of the regiment/rac marks. I am also of the opinion that the R or RX for that matter, stands for regiment once we ruled out (in the original thread) that it was for 'rack number' (ruled out by the fact that the German word for rack is 'Gestell' ), whereas 'regiment' is the same in German and thus starts with the leter 'R'.

I finally went back to "Arm& Armor in Colonial America 1526-1783" to check Peterson's footnotes. The one he lists for the jaeger sword is a mouth full-

"Oberleutnant Deiss, "Blank-und Schutzaffen Preussens von 18 Jahrhundred ab" Zeitschrift fur Historische Wafenkunde, Band V (1909-11), 324-330. Notes compiled by Col Harry Larter from specimens in German musems and he paintings of Richard and Herbet Knoetel, Menzel, ad C. Rochling."

Does anyone recognize any of these sources?

Here's a contemporary pic of jagers, with typically nearly out of shot pics! Note the straight sword blades and rectangular knucklebows

https://i.pinimg.com/736x/af/fc/46/...498e2ca7349.jpg

And another straight sword, coveed by cloak and not sure if contemporary-

http://www.jaegerkorps.org/Pictures/jagercaptain.jpg


The contemporary picture is very interesting. It seems to indicate that officers were armed with epees, mounted Jäger (wearing riding boots) were armed with hussar sabres, and infantry sharpshooters were armed with plain looking hangers. Whether these hangers can be termed hirschfänger is a technical point but seems to have led to confusion in the past.
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Old 5th March 2018, 03:43 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M ELEY
... I am also of the opinion that the R or RX for that matter, stands for regiment once we ruled out (in the original thread) that it was for 'rack number' (ruled out by the fact that the German word for rack is 'Gestell' ), whereas 'regiment' is the same in German and thus starts with the leter 'R'...

We both converge and diverge on this one, if i may, Captain . I may have not made my point clear in that, even considering that determined set of numbers may refer to a specific place where you store weapons (and other) which in english is called 'rack' (often a letter for the shelf and a couple digits for the row), you don't need to quote the term rack with an initial in the marks, as this is already presupposed, or implicit, so to say. Meaning that whether rack in German is written differently, such is not the issue; not to mention the difference in terminology, as Germans probably call such weapons storage implement with a different name. I think (not sure) that in Portuguese we call them 'armeiros' (from arms)... but certainly not a translation for rack.
Furthermore, even assuming that your hanger is of German origin, what about the markings having being made later in the country (and force) that imported it ? This is why i have asked you before where (country) did you get it from.
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Old 5th March 2018, 03:53 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Victrix
The contemporary picture is very interesting. It seems to indicate that officers were armed with epees, mounted Jäger (wearing riding boots) were armed with hussar sabres, and infantry sharpshooters were armed with plain looking hangers. Whether these hangers can be termed hirschfänger is a technical point but seems to have led to confusion in the past.

I was under the impression that hirschfängers (read hunting knives) were of unequivocal typology, but i am not the correct judge. I take it however as a striking detail, the absence of a knuckle guard in 'typical' examples. Mark's sword would then be a hanger.
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Old 6th March 2018, 05:25 PM   #17
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Yeah. Fernando, I see your point. I'm giving up on the markings for now and hope to at least get a definitive as to whether this little booger is a jaeger hanger or not. More research needed-

Victrix, I moticed that as well. Of course, even the material I read from Peterson and Trioani indicated that there might be other patterns based on rank. Peterson called the pattern exactly resembling mine and described as such (plate 247 pic) as "a Jaeger enlisted man's sword", no use of 'saber', 'hanger' or 'hirschfanger'. I'm wondering if the hirschfanger might have become standard aster 1800? Most of the pics I've seen (granted, all modern), were of 19th c. hunting swords-
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Old 4th May 2018, 06:27 AM   #18
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I've sent pictures of this hanger off to a prominant museum in Germany and await their verdict. Either way I won't be disappointed. Just watched a documentary on a Revolutionary War battle where a column of soldiers led by jaeger troops collided with colonials. What started out as a shooting match degraded into hand-to-hand fighting bringing up the importance of the jaeger's sidearm despite them being marksmen troops.
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Old 4th May 2018, 06:31 AM   #19
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The reference that leads me to believe that it could be a jaeger was Harold Peterson's well researched colonial weapons book. Here is the line drawing I mentioned (plate 247) and a description exactly matcing my sword down to the blade length-
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Old 4th May 2018, 06:37 AM   #20
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Note in the description the fact that some didn't carry the 'accepted' pattern. In most of the paintings of jaeger troops, the subjects are from differernt eras, this elite unit having been around from the 17th to early 20th c. Thus, the hangers they carried would have undoubtedy changed over time as styles changed (even in Peterson's description, he mentions the changing regulation in sword lenghs)
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Old 23rd June 2018, 11:21 AM   #21
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I sent detailed pictures off to a museum in Germany who finally confirmed that this sword isn't a Jaeger hanger. The gentleman found a near identical French grenadier sword, matching the details of my hilt. I had originally thought about the brass-hilted grenadier swords, but the typical variety had a different pattern to the hilt. It took this professor digging through the museum archives to find one similar. I am perfectly happy with the outcome and am just glad to have some clarification.

Now, the grenadier swords all had curved blades, so it seems mine is similar, but not an exact fit. Going back to my original argument, this still could be a naval/maritime hanger. The brass hilted naval swords of the 1780-1800 period were Plain Janes like this. The spear-point, double edged blade fits the bill. French merchantmen, privateers and such were very prevalent during this period.
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Old 23rd June 2018, 11:25 AM   #22
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And let us not forget this little beauty...

http://swordscollection.blogspot.co...ng-cutlass.html
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Old 23rd June 2018, 01:07 PM   #23
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Well the interesting thing about your sword in my mind is that it’s straight single edge (?) with a false edge at the point, and has a knuckle bow. The contemporary Feld Jäger picture you pasted shows the footsoldiers carried what appears to be similar swords.

Infantry hangers and naval cutlasses often have curved blades for chopping/cutting. Hunting hirschfänger don’t (I think) have knuckle bows but often have straight blades for thrusting. So your sword seems intended for something in-between?
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Old 24th June 2018, 01:16 AM   #24
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Thank you for your comments and input,Victrix. I guess with the expert at the museum going by the old standard that records report 'hirschfangers', I ust accepted his word. (granted, he reported that there were apparently no positively identified jaeger sabers in the whole collection to show me). Then he provided the 'grenadier' pic, which is spot on, IF we accept that it is indeed French. It is still very strange to me, because Neumann shows several well-documented German swords with the brass bird hilt grip and weird straight 'tea drop' quilon. I've never seen this on a French sword until they sent me the pic above.

Maybe you are onto something, though, with your comment about an in-between. After all, sea service swords incorporated everything from marines to coast guard to port authority/dock security. I will continue to do research-
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Old 30th June 2018, 04:35 AM   #25
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Interestingly, the French grenadier sword he identified on the site acknowledges that it was made in Saxony.

http://www.dhm.de/datenbank/dhm.php...&fld_0=MI003624

I understand that Germany at the time was a top sword producer. Now I understand why so many elements of the hilt could be seen on contemporary German swords.
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Old 30th June 2018, 09:17 AM   #26
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Yes, that’s an interesting point. Also in 18thC uniforms and weapons had not yet been standardized. It’s possible that less formal units were allowed to use their own personalized sidearms, or that these were acquired privately for them by their commander. It could explain why museums have no jaeger swords to show in their collections.

I found this interesting info about jaeger: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jäger_(infantry)
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Old 30th June 2018, 11:42 PM   #27
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Excellent point, Victrix. Your point that there wasn't standardized issue weapons and regiments could either pick and choose or at least contract out to a local outfitter for groupings of weapons. Interestingly, this is the SAME case for naval weapons pre-1800 and private purchase maritime weapons as well, no standard pattern.

I'll have to check out that reference you posted when i have time. Thanks for responding!
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