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Old 27th March 2021, 09:08 PM   #1
cel7
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Default MILSCO klewang

Hi, I bought this MILSCO klewang today. Strange is that it differs from other Milsco klewangen that I have seen before. First and particularly striking is that the wooden grip scales are attached with Phillips screws instead of riveted. Also the belt loop is attached with a Phillips screw.
Second is that the guard is made of thin metal different from what was normally used.
A third deviating detail is that the groove in the blade is very narrow and superficial.
I know that Milsco delivered these to the Dutch between 1946/47 and 1950. most of them never reached the troops because the war in Indonesia ended.
Does anyone know why this one is different from usual. Is it perhaps a very late example or maybe a forgery?
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Old 28th March 2021, 02:45 AM   #2
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Phillips head screw invented in mid 1930's
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Old 28th March 2021, 02:54 AM   #3
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Phillips head screw invented in early/mid 1930's
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Old 28th March 2021, 03:30 PM   #4
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Hi cel7.

There is quite a lot of material on these pages regarding the "Dutch klewang" and its U.S. versions. You can find it through the Search function.
Several U.S. companies produced these swords, some for use by the U.S. Navy.

The Military Saddlery Company (MILSCO), Milwaukee, Wisconsin produced at least 40,000 klewang starting in 1946, and supplied these to the Dutch East Indies until the time of Indonesian independence in 1949. Many of the 40,000 klewang ordered by the NEI Army in 1946 may not have reached the Dutch East Indies before Indonesian independence. This may explain the presence on the surplus market from 1950 onwards of a large number of MILSCO klewangs, many still wrapped in their factory-supplied greased paper. Some MILSCO klewangs also ended up with the US Army.

Because all of the MILSCO swords were produced from 1946, none of these saw action in WWII. They are the most common form of these swords seen on the market today and are often mistaken for the original Dutch sword.
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Old 28th March 2021, 06:39 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian
Hi cel7.

There is quite a lot of material on these pages regarding the "Dutch klewang" and its U.S. versions. You can find it through the Search function.
Several U.S. companies produced these swords, some for use by the U.S. Navy.

The Military Saddlery Company (MILSCO), Milwaukee, Wisconsin produced at least 40,000 klewang starting in 1946, and supplied these to the Dutch East Indies until the time of Indonesian independence in 1949. Many of the 40,000 klewang ordered by the NEI Army in 1946 may not have reached the Dutch East Indies before Indonesian independence. This may explain the presence on the surplus market from 1950 onwards of a large number of MILSCO klewangs, many still wrapped in their factory-supplied greased paper. Some MILSCO klewangs also ended up with the US Army.

Because all of the MILSCO swords were produced from 1946, none of these saw action in WWII. They are the most common form of these swords seen on the market today and are often mistaken for the original Dutch sword.
Hi Ian,

Thanks for your reply! The facts you mentioned above are known to me. I wonder why this one is so different from other Milsco klewngs.
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Old 28th March 2021, 07:32 PM   #6
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Hello Cel7,
Let us move this topic to the Ethno forum, where your 20th century klewang is more within scope; and where the vastest majority of these weapons is discussed. Hopefully the members there will have a say about your example .
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Old 28th March 2021, 11:23 PM   #7
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I wonder if it is indeed a fake; the philips head screws are a jarring departure as is the almost home made looking guard. The fuller is as you say, very very shallow.
Aren't these swords climbing in price nowadays?

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Old 29th March 2021, 01:33 AM   #8
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The use of Philips head screws is very unusual. The narrower fuller is seen also on some Lilley Ames blades made under contract for the KNIL. Another minor anomaly is the slightly upturned tip (slightly more than usual I think) not mentioned yet.

Does the edge grind vary in width? That is a feature of all the MILSCO blades I have seen.

If it is a fake, and an old one at that, why make a fake of something that was sold for low prices in surplus stores in the 1950s? Not worth the faker's time and effort.
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Old 29th March 2021, 02:30 AM   #9
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Could the handles be a replacement? When I was a kid I would buy surplus bayonets for almost nothing and replace the handles that had sat in the cosmoline till they crumbled or became mush.
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Old 29th March 2021, 02:51 AM   #10
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Just a reminder that these were NOT the 1917 USN Naval Cutlass. (A 'real' USN 1917 is shown below on a red background) The ricasso was stamped USN rather than MILSCO(or HEMBRUG), and was actually mfg. by the USN themselves in unknown numbers. And never issued.

The klewangy ones were produced to the original Dutch blueprints By Hembrug, Milsco, AND Solingen (Like mine).

The USN bought their MILSCOs for use by the Marines, in the Pacific, as shown below. A Marine having a rest. There are two things a soldier does whenever he has the smallest chance, Eat, and Sleep, not necessarily in that order. (Not counting the disposal of waste products from eating. Interesting He is carrying not only his klewang, but a (possibly pre-)ww1 era sword bayonet for his Springfield rifle. No little stubby one for this Marine!

Cold Steel produces a replica with slotted head scale screws and a polished brass scabbard throat piece, Originals appear to all be blackened. They apparently usually had brown leather scabbards, not sure about Milsco ones tho. I would not put it past CS to have also used Phillips head ones. Their offering also was not initially distal tapered. The originals appear to have a much wider forged fuller too. The CS one has a narrower one that looks ground in. The pommel screw on my original is also slotted, but much wider and shallower. The Topic one may have been replaced or made that way by whomever made it. The Guard looks damaged and bent, leaving a wedge shaped gap at the pommel. As noted there is somethging wrong about the clipped point. To me it looks rather thick and possibly because it is not a distal tapered blade.

See also USN 1917 Cutlass

and/or
USN Cutlasses and Dutch Klewangs

(the M1898 Solingen one with the black leather lanyard on that site is mine )

They reference that the US Milsco ones were made with Bakelite grips, unlike the European made ones!
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Old 29th March 2021, 05:13 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian
The use of Philips head screws is very unusual. The narrower fuller is seen also on some Lilley Ames blades made under contract for the KNIL. Another minor anomaly is the slightly upturned tip (slightly more than usual I think) not mentioned yet.

Does the edge grind vary in width? That is a feature of all the MILSCO blades I have seen.

If it is a fake, and an old one at that, why make a fake of something that was sold for low prices in surplus stores in the 1950s? Not worth the faker's time and effort.
Here's another completed auction, shallow fuller philips head screws looks like a match.
https://www.bidorbuy.co.za/item/3329...condition.html
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Old 29th March 2021, 09:27 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick
Here's another completed auction, shallow fuller philips head screws looks like a match.
https://www.bidorbuy.co.za/item/3329...condition.html
Thank you for your answers!

Rick, that is indeed a match!

It seems to be factory made after all. Could it have been a simplification of the process at Milsco?!
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Old 29th March 2021, 11:33 AM   #13
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Here's another one. Unfortunately the photo has no discription.
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Old 29th March 2021, 11:53 AM   #14
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Odd location, So. Africa.
I never trust Auctioneer descriptions. I'm surprised they didn't add 'Possibly Zulu?' o 'encourage' the bidders. We can agree it was probably made wherever the OP's was. Could have just used whatever screws were at hand.Guard securing nut on the pommel again looks odd.

p.s.- They were ALL factory made, even the chinese copies.
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