Original German WWII Field Marshal Series Lion Head Scharnhorst Pattern Army Officer Sword by Carl Eickhorn with Scabbard & Troddel
Original Item: Only One Available. This is a great example of the very desirable "Scharnhorst" variation of the Feldmarschall (Field Marshal) series of German "Lion Head" officer swords. It was made by the famous firm Carl Eickhorn of Solingen, the legendary "City of Blades" in western Germany. The Field Marshal series was quite popular, and had many different variations, all named after famous Generals from German History. Many other makers made some similar designs to the series. This sword is made using the war-time era aluminum fittings, which were then copper plated and gilt as part of a multi-step process. It really looks magnificent, retaining much of the finely gilded finish, with some wear through on the sides of the Lion's head and also the cross guard.
The Pattern 1706 - Scharnhorst sword is named after General Gerhard Johann David Waitz von Scharnhorst (12 November 1755 – 28 June 1813), who was a Prussian General and Chief Staff noted for his reforms of the army and for leadership during the Napoleonic Wars. This pattern features a great looking leopard or lion head with brows that jut out well over the faceted red eyes. The detailing to the head of this cat is outstanding, with handwork evident on the lower jaw, whiskers, muzzle, brow and even to the mane which flows partially down the backstrap. It features a less ornate grip than some of the other patterns, with simple leaf and acorn designs on the back strap, "P"-guard and ferrule. However, the detail on the leaves is exquisite. It also has the characteristic rectangular style side tabs of the pattern.
The cross guard has a Wehrmacht closed-winged eagle which looks to the viewer's left. This art-deco eagle has fine crispness to his eye, breast feathering and raised out swas within a wreath. The reverse of the crossguard has a shield where a monogram is sometimes added, however this example is blank. The grip is of carved wood covered in black celluloid. This celluloid is in good condition and remains very shiny, not showing any cracks. The grip is tightly wrapped with a 4 thread skein of aluminum wires, the center two being twisted together. The top of the cross guard is hilt is stamped GES. GESCH., for Gesetzlich Geschützt (Protected By Law), indicating that the hewer is a trademarked design. The Field Marshall series was an Eickhorn exclusive, and they definitely wanted to protect the specific designs. The hilt is secure on the grip, with almost no wobble in any of the components.
Around the cross guard there is a very nice troddel sword knot. which shows some great period wear. We have unfortunately not been able to identify what kind of unit it is for, and leave it as a great research project.
The blade on this sword is an excellent example. It measures 34 1/4" inches and has the highest quality nickel plating. This plating is still bright with only small spots of wear and oxidation. There are no edge nicks, and as is correct the blade has never been sharpened. The original leather washer is still in place, though it is somewhat cracked from age.
The rear ricasso of the blade under the langet is stamped with the 1935-41 Eickhorn trademark: a seated squirrel holding a sword, with the word ORIGINAL above and the firm's name and location, Eickhorn / SOLINGEN below. Carl Eickhorn is a legendary maker from Solingen, the famous "City of Blades" in Western Germany. According to J. Anthony Carter's book, GERMAN KNIFE AND SWORD MAKERS, this company was founded in 1865 by Carl Eickhorn, and is arguably the most famous of all Solingen makers. Not only could the family trace their history back 500 years, but they could also demonstrate involvement in the hardening and grinding industries for the same period. Truly the nobility of Solingen Edged weapon dynasties. Eickhorn edged weapons are the most desirable of all makers.
The steel scabbard of this example is in very good condition, showing a straight body with no bends or major dents. It has probably about 90% of the original black enamel paint present. Most of the body shows a lot of checking and crazing in the finish due to age, with areas of finish flaking that has now oxidized. The hanger ring is intact, as is the rectangular loop on the side for "hitching up" the sword to a hanger clip indoors.
This is a very nice example of the highly desirable Field Marshall series of swords, made by the most legendary of all Solingen makers. If you were looking for a great sword to hang on the wall, this may be it!
Blade Length: 34 1/4"
Blade Style: Single Edge w/ Fuller
Overall length: 39 1/4“
Guard dimensions: 5" width x 5” length
Scabbard length: 35 1/4”
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 AH 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 AH, 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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