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Hallo aus Bloemfontein, Südafrika!

Please forgive my English as I am actually Afrikaans speaking...

I am researching the German made uniforms, equipment and side arms of the Oranje Vrijstaat Artillerie Corps (OVSAC), the artillery unit of the Boer republic of the Orange Free State (1854-1902).

In 1880 Captain FWR Albrecht, an ex-Prussian artilleryman and veteran of the 1870-1871 War, was appointed in command of the unit. During his service in the Prussian Army Albrecht served in the 4th Prussian Guard Artillery Regiment and therefore it is natural that under his command the design of the OVSAC uniforms, the drill, equipment and weapons were based on that of his old regiment. They soon became know as "Little Prussia on the Veldt".

Above: Albrecht after being promoted to major in the uniform of the OVSAC

I have recovered detailed uniform orders from the Free State Archives. The OVSAC’s main German uniform supplier during the 1890s was C.F. Wulfert of 68 Charlotten-Straße, Berlin. In 1897 a large order was also placed with Eduard Sachs of 7 Traubenstraße, Berlin. Unfortunately, to date, I have not been able to find any information on the swords the unit ordered from German. Fortunately we have photographical records. In the photo below the sword used by the other ranks is shown clearly. It is a German stirrup-hilted dove head style sword with brass (?) bar hilted grip carried in a polished steel scabbard with two suspension rings. Free State swords had a longish quillon and a sword knot slit on the hilt:

Above: Signal section of the OVSAC with the famous Boer martyr Gideon Scheepers

Can anyone identify this sword? Does it correspond with the Prussian M1848 or M1873?

Unfortunately we know of no original that has survived the Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902), but we know of two OVSAC officer's lion head swords made by Weyersberg Kirschbaum & Co as well an two original WK&C faschinenmesser. For this reason it would be safe to assume the other rank swords were also made by WK&C. A search of the 1892-1893 WK&C catalogue did not show any swords that looks exactly like this model, so I presume it was an older model.

Any ideas would be welcomed!

MC Heunis
Oranje Vrijstaat Artillerie Corps
Historical Study and Re-enactment Group

10.01.13, 09:54:37



Oft wurden offizielle Blankwaffen-Modelle aus den Herkunftsländern der Offiziere und Soldaten nicht 1 zu 1 in andere Einsatzgebiete übernommen. Ich vermute aber den Säbel, den man auch in der Mitte des Bildes erkennt, wenn man HIER klickt.

Dikwels amptelike skerp wapens modelle was nie uit die lande van oorsprong van die offisiere en soldate wat geneem is 1 tot 1 in ander velde. Maar ek vermoed die sabel, herkenbaar, selfs in die middel van die foto, as jy HIER kliek.

20.01.13, 06:07:35
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