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Bruce Pennington

NCOs with Private Swords

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Came across this picture of a MSgt carrying what appears to be a civil/private sword re-fitted for WWII.  HERE AT WARRELICS.

 

Nick Komiya uncovered, earlier, an Army order officially permitting the practice - in 1945!  But we all have seen pictures as far back as WWI of NCOs holding private swords.  This photo was taken in 1939.

 

Late edit: Nick Komiya is aware of the practice as early as the China Incident!

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For parade and barracks use I imagine one had to keep the mandated equipment but once "in country" it was all fair game. 

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6 hours ago, Bruce Pennington said:

Yes!  I was hoping that would show up.  And isn't this one dated in WWI?

 

 Shanghai 1930s.

 

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Rather than start a new thread, I'm going to tack this on this one.

 

NCO tassels on Type 98 gunto and blades (both WWII and older) mounted in leather-covered saya and Type 98 tsuka/tsuba. 

 

I have found 4 on a quick NMB search.  Adam's (Babu) recent one got me wondering.  The majority of them have what appears to be used/abused NCO tassels, often the knot missing and the ends tied off.  In some cases, the entire gunto looks equally beat up, like it saw plenty of time in the field. 

 

I want to propose the idea for discussion that these are NCO gunto, carried under the 1945 Army authorization for NCO carry of family swords.  My idea is that when an NCO showed up at a shop with a family blade to be re-fitted, the shop used Type 98 tsuka/tsuba as they wouldn't have had access to aluminum tsuka. 

 

Another angle is the Warrant Officer.  I found a 2015 post of a sword - Taken at Kabwet, Burma - where a museum had a fully fitted Type 98, company grade tassel, that was being carried by a captured Warrant Officer.  Now, I find it more likely that a Warrant Officer would carry this, than a Type 98 with NCO tassel, but what if  the guy came up through the enlisted ranks and became a warrant officer, upgrading his sword to an officer sword, but retaining his NCO tassel, like our "Mustang" officers today, wear their ribbons on their officer shirts (officers don't wear the ribbons on shirts.  We're talking A.F.)

 

I'll post this on the Warrelics forum too, to get blasted by the experts there, but I'm getting the feeling from some of these that the tassels are wartime, not G.I. add-ons or post-war add-ons.

 

What say you?

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Hi Bruce it's an interesting thread.

The tassel on my gunto is a strio of leather knotted at the end and with both ends cut to 45 degrees.

It's very old almost fragile and very soft.

I don't not believe it's been added by anyone it seems to show it's always been a part of the fittings.

I've got leather harnesses and Tack  from around 1935-45 and this looks very similar in it's condition.

I must assume it's period.

I cannot see why a GI might want to add a tassel.

I've seen a great many with nothing.

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Here's one Chris (Vajo) found.  I could be wrong, but it looks to me that he's a Sgt Major carrying a civil sword - cloth ito and thin civil tsuba.

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