Original German WWII Army Officer Leopard Head Sword Model 1695 with Portepee by Carl Eickhorn
Original Item: Only One Available. This is a fine early example of the very desirable and rarely seen Army Model #1695 Leopard Head Sword, usually grouped with other "Lion Head" Swords. It was made by famed firm Carl Eickhorn of Solingen, the legendary "City of Blades" in western Germany. This piece is also a real treasure as it is not constructed from the usual aluminum, but rather is made of solid brass alloy. It really looks great, retaining a good amount of the finely gilded finish.
The leopard head is a good looking feline, which is fitted with blood-red faceted eyes. The detail to the felines whiskers, brow, and jowls is quite good. The backstrap features oak leaves and acorns that run the length, including the two side stabs. The "D" guard has raised out oak leaves and acorns. The crossguard features an Art Deco style eagle, with outstretched wings and looking to the left. This bird also has good detail and grasps a wreath with mobile swastika.
The blade on this sword is an excellent example. It measures 31 inches and has the highest quality nickel plating. This plating is still bright with only some small scratches and runner wear keeping it from being mint. The reverse ricasso is stamped with the 1935-41 ORIGINAL EICKHORN SOLINGEN stamped squirrel logo. The original leather washer is still in place, though it is somewhat cracked from age.
The grip is of carved wood covered in black celluloid. This celluloid is in good condition and remains very shiny, though it does have some cracks in the base of the grip. It is tightly wrapped with a skein of copper wires, the center two being twisted together.
The portepee is a high grade Army example. It has black/dark green leather strapping which is decorated with triple rows of bright aluminum stitching that runs the length. It is in very good condition, being completely set in place in the original tie. The slide is a leather thong affair which rests above the stem. The stem is flat, having crochet-like bullion covering that affords a view of the metal base. The lower ball is silver bullion. There is some cracking in the leather, as expected on a sword of this age.
The scabbard of this example is in very good condition, straight with no dents, having the original black enamel paint present. This black paint is about 90% throughout and still has a bright finish towards the top. Most of the body has some degree of finish checking and lifting, and the expected wear of age.
This is a wonderful looking sword, from a very prestigious maker. If you are looking for an excellent example to hang on the wall, this one should do it!
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.
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