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Remembered Today:

WW1 wire cutters


findabetterole
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Hello Chaps...

I find the following subject.. ww1 wire cutters.. one that is very loosely encountered, yet barbed wire and the means to defeat it, was an ongoing experiance/task for all combatants.

Lets have a little fun! From the pics that I've illustrated, which countries wire cutters are present, and can you correctly identify them?

OK then.. eyes down!

Seph :D

post-18081-1220489020.jpg

post-18081-1220489041.jpg

post-18081-1220489061.jpg

post-18081-1220489134.jpg

post-18081-1220489157.jpg

post-18081-1220489229.jpg

post-18081-1220489244.jpg

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WOW! What a collection. I'm pretty certain the first pair (and first close-up) are French. The next smallish ones with 3 cutting positions is British , the next long handled cutter (normally found without the wood bits) I'm guessing is the German one. The folding ones are British issue. The next pair is a British rifle mounted cutter. The last ones stump me! Cheers, Bill

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Hmmm.. not bad, not bad at all! A good guess on a couple there Bill. Keep watching, and I'll give the answers on Monday to however many guesses that we have.

Seph ;)

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I believe:

Top is French (typically 'Peugeot Brothers' marked).

Below left British 'MK V'.

To right are British - cannot remember the mark but more common WW2 dated.

Next lower left British folding - common, Chater Lea 1917.

To right of that are British SMLE mounted - unsure of Mk.

Bottom are German, metal handled IIRC?

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The top 6 pics are British. The one on red background is German.

Mick

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Back in my more active militaria dealing days used to sell bundles of these things, they were incredibly common and cheap at French fairs - below are some compilation pics of various British, French and German models I sold over the years:

wire%20cutters1.jpg

wire%20cutters2.jpg

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Not bad at all so far chaps! :) However!... two of the items are very similar, thus deceptive to their true ownership, and one will be a complete surprize. Three are obvious.

A few markings included there that I do not have in my files... Thank You Max!

Seph ;)

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In order

French British

British British

British

British

German

Gunner Bailey

Max

Current French market price is about 35€ a go.

GB

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Hmmm, the only one of doubt would have thought was the top one - looks like a typical French ('Peugeot Freres') model but there was a very similar British, maybe private purchase pattern.

Have re-hosted the pics above to make them a little clearer. There a quite a few pairs of the Puegeot type in there including on the bottom left the little bicycle maker mark - like many companies Peugeot made bikes long before cars and as with most engineering firms in France and the UK made something towards the war effort.

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Very interesting thread. Presumably the wire cutters of both sides were designed to cut the much heavier-gauge German wire. Could someone post photos of examples of the different types of wire.

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Haven't got a pic but British wire was thinner guage and double stranded, German was heavy guage single stranded with much more vicious square section barbs.

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Thanks, Max. I haven't got a pic either, but I think that one of the more chastening experiences for someone learning more about the things they read about in contemporary accounts is seeing exactly what 'the German wire' really means.

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Hi - I go with Auchonvilliers on this - and the basis that my examples of the ones he mentions as British all have british maker's marks and arrows. Not seen the last one (on red).

Having encountered German WW1 wire in France/Flanders and Gallipoli, and backed up by the fact that the same wire was used at Satalg Luft III (encountered during a archaeological dig there a couple of years ago), German wire has a square section, comprising a twisted single strand, with long barbs, extremely hard to cut; British wire (encountered in situ again in archaeological digs in FF) is double strand and therefore easier to cut...

Cheers

Peter

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Can someone point out the differences between the wooden handled British and French cutters. Apart from the maker marks. Also did the Americans have a similar type? Cheers, Paul.

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Very little bar the 'horns' IIRC.

To tie in with the pics I posted the cutters are British, French, German in this order:

BFFF

GGGG

GBBB

BBBB

BBBB

BBGG

GGGG

GGGG

GGGG

FFFB

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... did the Americans have a similar type? Cheers, Paul.

Wardog... as far as I am aware, the Americans did not have a standard military wire cutter until post WW1. In my search for genuine Doughboy items, I have only encounterted US manufactured military wire cutters with dates from 1935 to post WW2. The US item is illustrated below.

Seph

post-18081-1220573565.jpg

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Thanks Seph, I guess they used British or French wooden longhandled cutters then. If its down to the horn size /shape to define a UK wooden longhandle type from the French, I will go for the second picture French, the last German and the rest British. I wonder if looking at the pictures the French ones used a sort of rivet or screw while the ones I think are British, pic 1, have knuts and bolts. Have also seen British ones with lanyard ring at the end on one handle. Cheers, Paul.

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Yes, American used quite a fair amount of Allied kit and equipment during The Great War... Aircraft, Tanks, Artillery, Vehicles, Machineguns... Wire Cutters

Your certainly on ther right track Paul.

Seph :D

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Here is another compilation with some of the maker marks of those I pictured a little clearer (Peugeot Freres, Bradbury, Wynn and Timming, Wolseley, Chater Lea;

wcc1.jpg

wcc2.jpg

wcc3.jpg

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Thanks Seph, I guess they used British or French wooden longhandled cutters then. If its down to the horn size /shape to define a UK wooden longhandle type from the French, I will go for the second picture French, the last German and the rest British. I wonder if looking at the pictures the French ones used a sort of rivet or screw while the ones I think are British, pic 1, have knuts and bolts. Have also seen British ones with lanyard ring at the end on one handle. Cheers, Paul.

Hello, Paul -

The U.S. did indeed have wire cutters during WWI. In 1917 the AEF was issued with the M-1910 pliers-style (one version with only "U.S." markings and the other marked as being made by Kraeuter). Actually, they were pliers with a wire-cutting inside cutting edge for wire and barbed wire. As you can imagine, they were absolutely worthless for cutting the German barbed wire encountered on the Western Front, so a French-type style with tape-wrapped grips was designed and issued in 1918. This was the M-1918; I don't know how many made it to Europe before the Armistice.

If I remember correctly, the book AMERICA'S MUNITIONS discribes the inadequacies of the M-1910 issue and tells of the design of the M-1918 wire cutters, and it has a photograph of the M-1918. I also have seen a photo of another version of the M-1918 with hardened rubber grips in a reference book, but I have never seen an actual example of that particular design and it may have been a customized alteration of a M-1918.

To meet the needs of the AEF until the M-1918 wire cutters arrived, the AEF purchased both the long and short versions of the French wire cutters and stamped them with U.S. markings.

The M-1910 U.S. pliers-style wire cutters are not particularly rare and are found on U.S. ebay fiom time to time; examples of the M-1918 are much more scarce and often are missing the tape wrappings when found. The U.S.-marked French wire cutters are rarer still, and I have only seen two or three.

I hope that this information is of some value.

Regards, Torrey

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Those folding British wire cutters were still (or are?) in use in the late 1990's. They were part of

the CES, Complete Equipment Schedual, that was issued to armoured vehicles such as the

Ferret, Saracen, Chieftain. Not bad for a design to be still used for 8 decades.......

Does anyone know when the folding type was introduced ?

Bob Grundy

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Those folding British wire cutters were still (or are?) in use in the late 1990's. They were part of

the CES, Complete Equipment Schedual, that was issued to armoured vehicles such as the

Ferret, Saracen, Chieftain. Not bad for a design to be still used for 8 decades.......

Does anyone know when the folding type was introduced ?

1916 at least - I have a pair with that date, and most you see are 1917 marked or later.

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Torrey.. do you have a pic or two of the US ww1 wire cutters? As I mentioned, to my knowledge there was not a general issue pair existing during the Great War period. I would most gratefull for any update in order to fill, what is.. an unpleasant void within my files.

What would be the reason that only post ww1.. 1930's to post ww2 dated items are only encountered? Were the ww1 issues as rare as hens teeth?

Bob G... those same folding wire cutters were still on general issue scale at the time of my leaving the RM's = early 90's

Seph

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