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The History of the WWII German Army Dagger - The Army was made part of the Wehrmacht in May 1935 with the passing of the "Law for the Reconstruction of the National Defence Forces". The Wehrmacht included not just the Army and Navy but also a third branch known as the Luftwaffe. Initially, the Army was expanded to 21 divisional-sized units and smaller formations. Between 1935 and 1945 this force grew to consist of hundreds of divisions and thousands of smaller supporting units. Between 1939 and 1945 close to 16 million served in the Army.



The Army dagger was initially issued on May 4th, 1935 and was designed by Paul Casburg, a well known designer of daggers during the Third Reich. The initial model submitted to the Fuhrer for approval had a white handle. The dagger was authorized to be worn by all officers up to the rank of Field Marshall. The last year of production was 1944. After this date officers were no longer allowed to wear the dagger.

There were no distinguishing marks in the dagger between the low level and high ranking officers. The beauty of this dagger layed in its simple but attractive design. You may see additional example of the German Army daggers by visiting the German dagger section of our website.

HANDLES
Once the production was in full swing the handles were produced in three different colors; white, yellow and orange. Most of the handles were manufactured of celluloid, which is an early version of plastic.

The variations of handle colors were a matter of preference by the soldier. He could go to the local company store and order from a catalog.

Orange handle White handle - Early production. Yellow handle


The handle consisted of a swirl ribbing pattern. No wire wrapping.

The pommel of the Army dagger consisted of a metal piece ressembling the shape of a crown. Oakleaves were placed all around the pommel. The very top was plain. Not decorated and of dome shape.

Beyond the color of the handle, a soldier was able to customize his dagger by doing things such as having his initials engraved in different places of the dagger.

The photograph to the right illustrates one way in which engravings were applied. Some of the more intricate applications involved placing combat vehicles and scenes onto the blade itself. The biggest determinig factor was how much money tyhe person was willing to spend.

SCABBARD
The scabbard of the german Armt officer's dagger was made of metal. The front and back had a tight pebbled design. The sides consisted of a smooth surface. A set of two loops were attached. One was located at about mid-point and the other was closer to the neck. A metal suspension ring was attached to each loop.


HANGERS
The Army dagger hanger consisted of two cloth sections attached to a single metal buckle. Each section of cloth ends with a clip, which attach to the suspension rings in the scabbard. An oval buckle is placed in each arm. This feature allows the length of the arm to be adjusted. The front of each arm is covered with silver stranded cloth. The back is usually a colored chamois. The hanger attached to a bracket sewn to the inside of the dress jacket.

As with many other components for the dagger, there were different quality levels of hangers. Some had the buckles more lavashly decorated. The choice was left up to the soldier based on his ability to pay for the upgrades.

BLADE
The blade of the dagger was of plain design. It was a double edge stilleto type, ending in a very fine point. Unlike other daggers, the Army blade did not have an organizational motto. Unless it was decorated with an engraved motiff, the only marking found was the manufacturer's logo.


CROSSGUARD EAGLE
The eagle placed in the crossguard of the German Army dagger had several variations. The different shapes were a result of having multiple companies produce the dagger. Some of the varying characteristics included the shape of the head, the wings, the chest, the talons, etc. Some examples of the variations are illustrated in the following photographs.





WWII GERMAN ARMY DAGGER EXAMPLES

The more examples of a particular dagger that are examined the more knowledge is gained about the particular piece. Differences in construction can be better appreciated. Markings on the blade and other sections are better understood. The overall knowledge about the dagger is expanded.

This section of the site provides several examples of the dagger.




WWII GERMAN ARMY DAGGER - 1- Orange handle. Manufactured by Alcoso. With the letters ACS abd scale logo. The name of the manufacturer is set to the side.


GERMAN ARMY DAGGER - 2 - White handle. Complete with the scabbard. No hanger or knot. The balde has surface rusting. No cracks to the handle.


GERMAN WWII ARMY DAGGER - 3 - This dagger has a Yellow handle. Complete with Deluxe hangers and portapee. Manufactured by F.W. Holler. Logo displayed on blade.


GERMAN ARMY OFFICER DAGGER - 4 - White handle. The blade does not have a manufacturer's marking. The scabbard is missing a suspension ring. It shows light surface rust.




GERMAN RICH HERDER ARMY DAGGER - 5 - Yellow handle. No cracks to it. The blade is stamped with the logo of the manufacturer (Rich A Herder). Darkened scabbard with nice pebbling.


WWII GERMAN ARMY DAGGER - 6 - This is a yellow handle army dagger. Complete with the pebbled scabbard.


GERMAN ARMY DAGGER - 7 - This is a WWII German army dagger. As issued to officers. This example has a broken swastika. possibly a de-nazification result.


GERMAN ARMY DAGGER - 8 - This is a German WWII army dagger. Manufactured by the Eickhorn company. Yellow handle. Complete with the scabbard.




GERMAN ARMY DAGGER - 9 - This is a German WWII army dagger. Manufactured by the Eickhorn company. Yellow handle. Complete with the scabbard.


GERMAN ARMY DAGGER - 10 - This is a German WWII army dagger. Manufactured by the C Gustav Spitzer company. White handle. Complete with the scabbard.


GERMAN ARMY DAGGER - 11 - This is a German WWII army dagger. Manufactured by the Alcoso company. Yellow handle. Complete with the scabbard.


GERMAN ARMY DAGGER - 12 - This is a German WWII army dagger. Yellow handle. Complete with the scabbard.




GERMAN ARMY DAGGER - 13 - This is a German WWII army dagger. early version of the Robert Klaas production. Yellow handle. Complete with the scabbard.


GERMAN ARMY DAGGER - 14 - This is a German WWII army dagger. Yellow handle version with an unmarked blade. Complete with the scabbard.


GERMAN ARMY DAGGER - 15 - This is a German WWII army dagger. Yellow handle version with a blade showing the Rich Hereder logo. Complete with the scabbard.




WWII GERMAN ARMY DAGGERS MANUFACTURERS

The earlier daggers were produced by the Carl Eickhorn factory of Solingen. This was due to the fact that Paul Casburg worked for this company. Later on the dagger was produced by approxiomately 16 different comnpanies with a total of around 30 different logos. The reason why the number of logos exceeds the companies is because a single manufacturer could change its logo several times over a period of time.

The early examples of the Army dagger had fittings that were silver plated over nickel. The scabbard was made of steel. As the war progressed and the Nazi industrial infrastructure started feeling the pressures of war, the materials were changed. The fittings were seldom silver plated and they were made of Zinc. The problem with this material is that it decayed rather quickly. The plating applied to Zinc parts bubbles or comes off within a few years.

The manufacturer's logo was placed on one side of the blade, near the base.

The breakdown of the known manufacturer names, logos and location is shown in the following table:



Count Unique Makers Company Description Logo Comments
1 1 Alcoso ACS Scales only Solingen
2 Alcoso Arch Script 39-40 ACS Scales Solingen
3 Alcoso Arch non-script text "ACS" Scales Solingen
4 Alcoso Sideways Name with "ACS" 1940-41 w/ Scales Solingen
5 Alcoso Sideways Name "AWS" Post 1941 Scales Solingen
6 2 Axt & Hauerfabrik Kings head in double oval Solingen-Ohlig
7 Solinger Axt und HauerFabrik Horse head inside double circle. Name and city surrounding. Solingen-Ohlig
8 3 Bismark Name is displayed across the blade Solingen-Merscheid
9 4 Rudolph Buchel Initials placed in star in single oval with the name around the outside. Solingen-Merscheld
10 5 Christianswerk Fork inside double oval. Placed parallel to the blade Solingen
11 Christianswerk Fork inside double oval located perpendicular to the blade Solingen
12 6 Clemen & Jung Shield with a letter "Z" on one side. The name on the other. An additional version of the logo exists. It is not clear if it was applied to Army daggers. - Solingen
13 Clemen & Jung Shield with a letter "Z" inside an oval. An additional version of the logo exists. It is not clear if it was applied to Army daggers. - Solingen
14 7 Eickhorn Small double oval '33-'35 (1st mark) n/a Solingen
15 Eickhorn Squirrel w/sword - Acid etched '35-'41 n/a Solingen
16 Eickhorn Smaller squirrel/sword stamped version '40-'41 n/a Solingen
17 Eickhorn "Rat" Squirrel n/a Solingen
18 Eickhorn Late "over ther shoulder" squirrel stamped post '41 (large) n/a Solingen
19 Eickhorn Late "over ther shoulder" squirrel stamped post '41(small) Solingen
20 Eickhorn Late "over ther shoulder" squirrel stamped post '41 (facing x-guard) n/a Solingen
21 8 Arthur Evertz "AES" inside a box There is another variation of the logo. It is not known if it was stamped in the Army dagger. - Solingen
22 9 Fridericus Script along balde n/a n/a
23 10 Friedrichswerk Stamped in semi-oval n/a n/a
24 11 Gebr Grafrath Text in Oval There is another variation of the logo. It is not known if it was stamped in the Army dagger. - Solingen-Widdert
25 12 Josef hack Fish facing up in oval. Name above. City below. Steyr
26 13 Hartkopf & Co Two devil heads over name in box There is another variation of the logo. It is not known if it was stamped in the Army dagger. - Solingen
27 14 Carl Heidelberg Name stamped across blade Another version of the logo exists. Unclear if it was used in Army daggers. Solingen - Grafrath
28 15 F & A Helbig Standard Helbig logo Steinbech
29 16 Gebr Heller Balloon man There is an additional logo for this company. It is not known if they were applied to the Army dagger - Marienthal
30 Gebr Heller Stamped text only There is an additional logo for this company. It is not known if they were applied to the Army dagger - Marienthal

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