Original German WWII Officer Lion Head Saber
Original Item: This is a beautiful classic Lionhead German WWII Officer sword. The all brass hilt consists of a finely detailed lion head cat with oak leaf backstrap and "P" guard. The cat is fitted with blood red faceted eyes. Nice detail throughout his whiskers, chin, and muzzle. The handwork is beautifully rendered throughout this brass. The backstrap consists of raised out oak leaves with double leaves flowing into the side tabs.
The "D" guard also features raised out oak leaves and acorns. The crossguard consists of an open-winged, Art Deco style eagle. The eagle on this piece looks to the viewer's right. It is highly detailed featuring lots of hand accenting. The hilt gilding is nice and even and very pleasing.
The grip is composed of black celluloid over wood. It is in perfect condition and it is wrapped in an attractive style. It features two plain wires nicely twisted.
This blade measures 34 ½ inches in length and is very nice condition featuring quality nickel-plated surfaces. The blade does not bear a maker marking.
The accompanying scabbard is nice and straight and has good original black paint. There are a few minor rust spots and scratches, but overall very nice.
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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