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Remembered Today:

Prince Oscar of Prussia with a 'Rosalie'


trajan
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Now, this is an odd one... From Die Woche no.41, w/e 10.October 1914, p. 1691. a nice sentimental photograph of Prince Oscar (Karl Gustav Adolf) of Prussia with his wife, the fair Countess Ina Marie von Bassewitz. That well-known internet source Wiki has this to say of him up to about the the time of this photograph:

"During the early months of the First World War, he commanded Grenadierregiment "Konig Wilhelm I." (2. Westpreussisches) Nr. 7 in the field as its colonel. Future fighter ace Manfred von Richtofen witnessed the August 22, 1914, attack on Virton, Belgium, and wrote of Prinz Oskar’s bravery and his inspirational leadership at the front of his regiment as they went into combat. For this action, Oskar earned the Iron Cross, Second Class. A month later, at Verdun, Oskar again led his men in a successful assault into heavy combat, and was awarded the Iron Cross, First Class. After this action, he also collapsed and had to be removed from the field."

Iron Crosses are present and correct, but what's that hanging from his belt - a hooked 'Rosalie' with a 'German silver' handle, and in its correct frog, by the look of things!

post-69449-0-65270500-1406363722_thumb.j post-69449-0-01777000-1406363773_thumb.j

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this s not a German 'silver handle' but the original French one

Cnock

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this s not a German 'silver handle' but the original French one

Cnock

Yes and no...

Until October 1914, the handle of the Rosalie bayonet was made of nickel-silver, and the usual English term for this was/is 'German silver' as Germany supplied most of this alloy - the French term is bronze de nickel. This metal was supplied by Germany to the French military arsenals (for making the handles of these Rosalie bayonets amongst other things) until August 1914, when export stopped for obvious reasons.... In October 1914, which is roughly when existing French stocks ran out, the Rosalie began to be produced with a brass (laiton) handle. So, Prince Oscar's Rosalie is a pre-October 1914 example, with an original 'German silver' handle! Oh, and of course a hooked quillon.

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A prop? Hmmm... not likely - he could have used among other things any old Prussian blade! I reckon it's more of a trophy thing as in: 'I captured this from the French general I fought hand-to-hand with for 3 hours'!

On the other hand, swords in trenches were cumbersome, and IIRC, sometime in 1915 German officers were ordered not to wear their swords when in the field - here it is, 19 July 1915: see http://1914-1918.invisionzone.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=167681

As this photograph was taken before then I assume our Prince Oscar had preempted the order. I can't see his belt buckle, but the frog looks to me to be the regular French type, so worn with a Prussian belt?

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I have to pose the question why would a German Prince wear a bayonet at all when there were no shortages of daggers and the like, it's not like he would have carried a rifle in the field? What was his army rank?

khaki

ps The more I look at the grip the more I think it looks like a Gras bayonet, the pommel looks more rounded than the Lebel?

(k)

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Those look like Hauptmann shoulder boards to me - but I am not an expert. As for why he is wearing a bayonet, well, like I suggested, either as trophy and/or convenience. It's certainly a Rosalie though - cylindrical scabbard!

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Made a quick comparison of the Lebel/Gras scabbards, the Gras is more ovoid than cylindrical, I don't know whether that would be apparent in a photo, but I concede you are probably

correct.

khaki

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The other thing of note is that if it was a Gras then there should be a more obvious contrast in the handle area - the photograph shows no change, but the dark wooden grips and bright brass pommel of the Gras should have made a clear contrast.

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Hi,

what I meant was the white metal handle, whether it is German silver or not

cheers,

Cnock

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Hi Cnock,

Yes, white metal all the way through, and so 'German silver', and so an original pre-October 1914 Rosalie! :thumbsup:

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Julian,

There is a reasonably detailed section in German Bayonets - Anthony Carter Vol. III about the German use of captured French bayonets. He shows two pictures of Prince Oskar including the one you have shown and another of him on his own. In both he carries the French Mle 1886 and in my opinion the photographs were taken at the same time. Carter comments: "The photographs of Prince Oskar are interesting because they show him wearing a French Mle 1886 bayonet. He was in a position to wear a sidearm of his choice, and must have favoured the Lebel bayonet."

Carter comments that the French Mle 1886 and 1886/93 bayonets were often worn as a sidearm by troops who were not issued with rifles and lists seventeen examples with Imperial German unit markings.

Regards,

Michael.

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Thank you so much Michael! That volume III is the only one I am missing from Carter's German Bayonets series... :mellow:

Julian

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Julian,

I will keep an eye out for you. However, don't hold your breath. I have just checked on Amazon. Vol. I is available at £110.00. The remainder are unavailable.

Regards,

Michael.

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Well, after months of not looking, your post inspired me to do a quick google also and think I might have one! Fingers, toes, etc., crossed...

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And I got it! Order for a vol III confirmed today for GBP 65 plus postage! Looks to be in reasonable condition!

... I have just checked on Amazon. Vol. I is available at £110.00. The remainder are unavailable.

I can't understand why the vol 1 is so expensive - there are more of these around (p/back and hard/back) than any of the other volumes. Roy Williams told me that some US of A concern bought up the Carter stock after his death, and I did get a good vol 1 from that same concern. However, the 'autographed' vol II that I bought from them was a bad p/copy, while the one the uni bought was an original. My volume IV is also a bad p/copy... On the other hand, the information in all three is priceless, and I certainly look forward to this vol III!

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Hi Julian,

Glad you got Vol.III. Well worth the money. Possibly Vol.I is more expensive because more people are interested in the subject matter and so demand is greater?

Regards,

Michael.

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I guess you are right, Michael - many people would know of and so be interested in the 98/05 and thus the literature relating to it. And it certainly looks as if that volume came in two print-runs - the original Thurston Hardback then the paperback. Looking forward to having this vol. III!

Julian

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  • 3 weeks later...

Michael,

My volume III came today! Well worth the GBP 65 plus GBP 10 postage! It is even inscribed by A.Carter- "To Bob, with best wishes, Anthony". No idea yet as to who 'Bob' was/is, but even so, to have an author-signed copy is even nicer!

Julian

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The eternal question, do I buy a desirable book?, or do I buy another bayonet?

khaki

Well, some bayonet buffs, such as SS, frown on bookish learning, but on the other hand, a good library helps one know the material better and most obviously can help one avoid making a costly mistake! E.g., there are two or three dress Weimar/3rd Reich KS 98's around on the market in Turkey at the moment. They felt rather dodgy to the touch, despite the felt liners, etc., but it was a quick check with the books that I have that revealed these to be fakes.

Trajan

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