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Remembered Today:

Swords & Sam Brownes


PhilB

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The accompanying well known photo prompts a couple of questions.

1/ Why do Pershing and the other general (Italian?) choose not to wear a sword, though they have Sam Brownes?

2/ How is Petain`s sword hung?

I don`t recall seeing many photos of Americans wearing swords, though many wear Sam Brownes. Are/were swords less popular with them? Phil B

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Petain's Sword is probably slung from a Sword belt worn beneath his Tunic,the hangers protruding beneath the Tunic Hem,hence,He is having to hold the Sword clear of the Ground,Perhaps Pershing Forgot his,or no one told him"Swords Will be Worn!" ;)

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The French general next to Haig has a SB, but Joffre on the end doesn`t. Surely it wouldn`t be optional? What does a sword belt consist of - just a belt with no shoulder strap but a low fitting frog? (Pardon the pun)

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What does a sword belt consist of - just a belt with no shoulder strap but a low fitting frog? (Pardon the pun)

Aye thank yoo! :D Wonderful Pun,theres nothing like a "low slung Frog" as they say!,Yes a Sword Belt would be basically just that,a [usually Decorated with Bullion Wire]Belt,with "D" or Box Rings from which was suspended "Hangers"[ie Straps with Clasps,or Buckles,to facilitate "Hanging" the Scabbard from it,{The RN Wore Such Belts rather than Sam Browne's}I do suspect that,amongst the Allies there was some personal preference regarding what such senior Officers wore,Who would have been brave enough to tell a Marchal what to wear!

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The Italian officer had a sword... but he dropped it while running away :lol:

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The man on the end right seems to be Josef Haller who formed the Polish legion in the French army.

I was not aware that it had so much importance that he would be classed as a representative.

What is the date of this photo?

regards

Arm.

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The sword belt was just that as Harry explained. Belt with decorative fastener, two straps with snaps to fasten to the scabbard and a "hanger" at waist level in the form of a "U."

The belt was worn under the tunic with the straps hanging down below the skirts of the tunic and the "hanger" protruding through the tunic to allow the top ring of the scabbard to slip over the "U" and be carried. The sword was carried this way, with the hilt guard facing to the rear of the wearer. Thus, if the sword was drawn, it first had to be reversed with the left hand and then drawn with the right. (Pity the poor lefty!)

Thus, if carrying a sword, the tunic first had to be cut open on the left side at the waist to allow the hanger to be pulled through.

I helped many a hapless and befuddled lieutenant with the arrangements prior to ceremonies requiring full dress.

Sam Browne's and sword frogs made a lot more sense and were a lot less hassle. The USMC wore them (experimentally) in black leather for awhile in the 70's. I don't know if they still do.

DrB

;)

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Thanks Dr B, any idea why Pershing might not have chosen to wear a sword? Were they less popular with Americans?

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The under tunic sword belt was normally worn by Cavalry. and Mounted officers The British Light Infantry and Rifle regiments readopted the under tunic sword belt after WW2

Gen Sam Brown originally designed his famous belt to take the weight of a revolver in a holster Ceremonially officers only wear swords. The 'hangers' By the way, are referred to as sword slings.

Arnie

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Well, shucks....we Yanks have invented a lot of things, but old, dead Sam Browne would certainly take exception to some claims.

As HarryBetts said, I don't think Pershing "got the word" re: swords. Some aide of his was probably "hung out to dry" after this parade. In WWI, the USA/USN/USMC loved carrying swords. It was as much a part of the uniform as anything else.

Nowdays, they are still worn for ceremonial occasion, full dress only, medals, yadda, yadda, yadda, (Or as the Marines used to say: "Dress blues, tennis shoes and a light coat of oil.") except for the service academies where they are worn with many types of dress as a badge of office and to familiarize the novice officers with the machinations involved with waving the thing about......

DrB

:)

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"Ceremonially officers only wear swords".

No. RSM on parade in all regiments, plus Bandmaster, Drum Major.

Also, additionally, in some such as Guards Division, RQMS, Drill Sergeants and a few others.

The list is not exhaustive, just illustrative of the "only officers" being the whole truth.

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Langley

Sprry I ment on cerimonial prades officers only wear a sword and not the pistol Holster.

By the way clever clogs the Band Sergeant also wears a sword

Arnie

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As a generalization, most senior officers at this time regularly wore their Sam Browne as part of their day-to-day uniform, but Haig seems, in my experience at least, to have been an exception. I think that he was more often photographed with a belt sans the cross-shoulder strap or if out in the field, then with the strap of his binocular case across the other shoulder. Has anyone else noticed this and can an explanation be offered?

Below is a shot of him in the full rig; it was taken post-war in Newfoundland

Regards

Michael D.R.

post-386-1112596273.jpg

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I have seen many photos of Haig and he does indeed to seem to vary his dress atire in regard to his belt etc.

On some occasions he has been seen to wear a holster!

I would assume the difference came down to personel preference and the status of the occasion when out and about.

regards

Arm.

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By the way clever clogs the Band Sergeant also wears a sword.

Well done: full list if you need it!

I am not sure that you are right about pistol holster: I have a feeling RAC/ Tankies do not wear sword and do wear pistol. My modern knowledge is very thin.

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Arm,

Now that you mention it, I think that there is an old thread somewhere on this forum discussing a photograph of Haig wearing some sort of side arm.

I agree that perhaps the explanation for his so often being photographed without his SB may be put down to personal preference. Nevertheless I am surprised that the rules were so flexible; they seemed to cover everything else

Regards

Michael D.R.

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Michael,

I think many years ago i had a question about this or something similar and it was about the wearing of the sam browne the 'wrong' way. it was apparently to do with a regimental thing. (thats if i remember correctly) I did also uncover a pic or two of Haig with weapon.

Was there a correct way to wear the SB?

I seem to recall seeing it worn like belt and braces, though this may have been in an earlier era!

regards

Arm.

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Many Happy Returns of the Day, Arm

re Haig’s SB [or lack of same]

If you’re correct and it’s a regimental thing, then we need the advice of a 7th Hussars expert do we not?

Hope you’re having a great day

Michael D.R.

Below, Haig is the odd man out, with Plumer (left) and Lawrence (centre)

post-386-1112882361.jpg

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Is that a SB that Haig is wearing? It doesn`t attach to the waistbelt near the centre, as the others do. Could it be for carrying something? Would there be any attachment points for a "wrong way round" crossbelt? Phil B

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Phil,

Judging by other photos of Haig, it is almost 100% certain that this is the strap of his binoculars case. Our [Arm’s and my own] question is, why does DH appear so often in photographs, not wearing a full Sam Browne, but with only his waist belt without the cross-shoulder piece?

Regards

Michael D.R.

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That`s more like it, Michael!

This talk about Sam Browne`s has got me wondering about the reason for wearing them. I can`t imagine that officers of those days wore a sword or pistol very often, and these days even less so. Since the crossbelt is easily removed, they could have gone without them if they had so wished. So, did they wear them because they liked to or because the regulations called for it? And if the latter, was Haig just showing who`s boss! Phil B

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Quote

Sam Brownes: “did they wear them because they liked to or because the regulations called for it? And if the latter, was Haig just showing who`s boss! Phil B”

Yep; We’d like to know the answer to that too

Where are all our ‘uniform’ experts of late?

Regards

Michael D.R.

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Here`s one of Pershing wearing a sword but no Sam Browne. Perhaps US regs gave him the choice or perhaps not! Phil B

post-2329-1113128953.jpg

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