Colonial Officer Sword


Well-known member

I would like to show an interesting Imperial German Colonial Officer Sword. This is the so-called (by some) "old style" Colonial sword made in the style of a Prussian Infantry Officer Degen (IOD). The so-called old model is characterized by having the Imperial eagle on the guard face to its left while the "new style" had the eagle facing to its right. The old style had the normally encountered Wilhelm II monogram on the obverse grip while the new style had a slightly different Imperial monogram. The final supposed difference was that the old style sword had an Imperial crown on the top of the pommel while the new style sword had a plain pommel without the crown. There have been other collector interpretations of these variances over the years.

This is confusing because of the inclusion or absence of the crown on the pommel and the way the eagle in the guard is looking left or right. The two types of grip monogram also confuse the issue. Interpretations vary and Charles Woolley, "Uniforms of the German Colonial Troops 1884-1918" also has an interpretation backed up with period uniform plates. He shows the Officer sword with a crown on the pommel in a uniform plate on p.9 and an NCO sword without the pommel crown on p.11. These Officer-NCO different pommels seem to be repeated in various other period uniform plates in his book.

This particular Colonial sword was manufactured by Alexander Coppel and has the ACS/Scales marking on the reverse ricasso of the plain straight IOD style blade. The hilt is brass with considerable detail to the eagle. The leather finger loop is black and red to match the Portepee colors. The felt blade buffer is red. The undamaged black grip is celluloid over wood with the "old style" monogram. The Imperial crown has been removed from the pommel on this particular sword and one wonders if it was lost or if it was removed to bring it into line with the new regulation sword that supposedly did not have a crown? The Imperial style pommel crown on this sword was a separate device that screwed into the top of the pommel and the threads are undamaged and remain in the pommel so the crown was in place at some point in time during the period of use.

Officer or NCO with Portepee Colonial sword?


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Thanks for sharing. I really like.

Here in the Reichsland "Elsaß-Lothringen" we happen to find sabers with the same mounting. These are the sabers of the Reichsgendarmerie (Reichsadler, Reichskrone, monogram W with sticks).
Small "Fahnenträger" type short saber for gendarmes, and Reichs IOD for gendarmerie officers.
Reichsgendarme Chercheur57.jpgIOD 89 (Flickr) Reichsadler.JPG

The one shown below at "articulated ear" is my "Reichsgendarm 0ffizier". The proximity of the decorations to the colonial saber is explained by the fact that the Reichsland was considered as an annexed territory, in the same way as a colony.


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Thank you all for your interest and feedback.

Clovis, here is the Prussian Land Gendarmerie version of your Reichsland short sword. Of course the Prussian examples have the regular Prussian eagle in the guard and are property marked "L.G." on the guard and the top fitting of the scabbard.

This particular sword was made in 1900 and is so marked, and "Crown/W" over "00" marked, on the spine of the quill back blade. It is fully Prussian military inspector marked throughout including the solid pommel cap. The obverse blade ricasso is marked with the "Crown/Erfurt." marking while the reverse ricasso is marked with the "Weyersberg" maker marking. The leather finger loop is black to match the Prussian Portepee. The Fahnentrager type sword is "L.G." property marked on the back of the brass guard and the top fitting of the black leather scabbard.


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One must bear in mind that the circa 1933 nationalized German Police inherited the traditions of the Colonial Schutz-truppen and Polizei-truppen. One of the things they inherited after the 1936 Polizei uniform changes was the Colonial Officer Portepee. So, a similar Portepee for Police NCO knots was also adopted but in a slightly different format with green highlights on the crown and ball and a slightly different arrangement of the stripes on the strap. This NCO knot was not worn by Colonial Troops but the Officer knot was.

Notice the inserts in the bottom of the ball on the Mini-Portepee. The NCO knot has a green insert while the Officer knot has a red/white/black Nationale colors insert. This national colors insert will be found on both Colonial and later Police Officer knots as they are essentially the same knots.


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The Kolonial is probably my most favorite sword design. thanks for showing
Here is mine, open crown for officers, ACS logo is from the 30's , so a post conflict purchase.


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Also worth noting that the Eagles head can face left or right as stated above.

i always gone along with :
Looking left were for the East Asia Expeditionary Corps and looking Right for Africa forces.

I haven't seen it documented, but heard elsewhere and sort of makes sense. as the few I have seen with East Afrika always face right.
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Thank you for showing your wonderful commemorative Officer sword. I can't quite read the inscription on the blade but the fire gilt and bluing is exceptional as it becomes so fragile over time. Can you please translate the inscription?
Here a some pics stitched together. and the other side.

I'm not a German speaker but have been told it something like : "Bravely carry the call of Germany's mighty struggle for its fortune and its right blithe and proud into the world!"

I have see the same on other colonial swords.


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