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Matched Unit Marks Gendarmerie Dress Bayonet by Horster
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A Third Reich rural Police dress bayonet that was manufactured for the police by E&F Horster prior to the Third Reich and which was shortened for wear during the Third Reich. The overall length is approximately 19 inches in the scabbard, with the bayonet having a blade length of 13 inches. The ricasso is marked on one side with the monogram trade mark of the Horster firm while, on the other side, the full name of "E&F Horster Solingen" appears. The spine of the blade has a proof mark. The blade was shortened and re-plated during the Third Reich, and the plating of the blade is exceptionally bright. There are some very small spots on the blade and it has the typical light scratches, but overall the blade is mirror bright, which is an unusual state for the police bayonets, which often saw some plating loss over the years of wear and use. The stag grip plates are very nicely toned to an appealing golden color. The grip plates are free of chips or cracks. A police eagle in nickel silver, as opposed to the usually seen aluminum, is set on to the obverse plate and this eagle retains very good detail. The plates on both sides have two domed rivets which hold them in place. The grip plates, like the bayonet blade, were shortened during the Third Reich refurbishing process, and at the bottom of the back plate on this bayonet there is the usual indication of the prior opening which was the locations of the lower grip plate rivet before the grip plates were shortened. This hole on the back plate was filled. Interestingly, the back grip plate also has three very small holes which are barely visible against the dark coloring of the stag grip. These were undoubtedly placed during the refurbishing process in order to attach the police eagle grip insignia to the plate. The worker who was performing the refurbishing process then undoubtedly realized that he had prepared the back plate to receive the grip insignia rather than the front plate. However, since the back plate would not been seen when the bayonet was worn, and since these holes were barely visible against the coloring of the grip plate, the plate was still used. It's a testament to the economy and the efficiency of the German craftsman who refurbished the bayonet that the newly shortened reverse grip plate was not going to be wasted, particularly for something that was not going to be visible. The top reverse of the scabbard throat fitting is unit marked and numbered, as is the reverse of the bayonet guard, and these unit marks and numbers match, which is actually somewhat uncommon with these police bayonets. The factories that performed the refurbishing do not seem to have placed much emphasis on keeping the police bayonets with the scabbards in which they had arrived for treatment, and most often the bayonets are found with mis-matched unit markings. However, the German craftsman who refurbished this bayonet made it a point to keep this bayonet with its matching scabbard, and both are marked "L.Ka.353", indicating that this bayonet was weapon number 353 of the Landjaegerei (rural constabulary) of the town of Kassel. The scabbard is in brown leather, as worn by the rural Gendarmerie, and while it shows typical scuffs and spots, the leather remains supple and the scabbard is complete and intact. Additionally with this bayonet is its original brown leather frog and police bayonet knot. Unfortunately, the American veteran who brought this bayonet home as a souvenir stored it in an attic environment that caused the stitching on the frog to disintegrate and the brown leather frog is now in two pieces. The bayonet knot similarly came apart over decades of attic storage, but that same dry environment was undoubtedly also responsible for keeping the blade finish pretty close to being as bright as a mirror. This piece is a fine example of a Third Reich rural police dress bayonet with matching unit markings and which is in overall excellent to very fine used condition.