Category Archive 'Arms and Armor'
24 Jul 2023


25 Jun 2023

Great Find!

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Smithsonian reports:

A rare sight greeted archaeologists excavating a gravesite in the southern Bavarian town of Nördlingen last week: Nestled near the grave’s occupants was a 3,000-year-old sword.

The weapon barely shows its age. It has remained so well-preserved that it “almost still shines,” says Bavaria’s State Office for Monument Protection in a statement, per Google Translate.

The weapon sports an octagonal bronze hilt that was cast over the blade, which few smiths were skilled enough to make at the time, according to Live Science’s Laura Geggel. Only two manufacturing regions were known to have made swords of this kind: one near the excavation site in southern Germany, and the other in northern Germany and Denmark.

The octagonal hilt was cast directly over the blade of the sword, something only certain smiths were skilled enough to do. Archäologie-Büro Dr. Woidich / Sergiu Tifui

The sword shows no wear and tear indicating use in battle, but archaeologists say “its center of gravity made it suitable for use as a real weapon, and it was capable of being used to slash opponents,” reports Newsweek’s Jess Thomson.

Bronze swords first emerged around 1600 B.C.E. and were used until roughly 600 C.E., as Smithsonian magazine’s Alex Fox wrote in 2020. Researchers say that the Bavarian artifact dates to the end of the 14th century B.C.E.

The archaeologists say that swords like this one are quite rare, particularly because “many middle Bronze Age graves were looted over the millennia,” per Live Science.


23 Nov 2022

Better than Roomba

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22 May 2022

Ukrainian Frorces Reported Using WWI-Era Maxim Machine Guns

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Ukrainian soldier with Maxim Gun.

Jillaire Belloc observed complacently: “Whatever happens, we have got The Maxim Gun, and they have not.”

And apparently the Russians are sending conscripts into combat armed with Mosin-Nagant rifles.


The Russian invasion of Ukraine has brought about the resurgence of some of both countries’ old weapons that still pack a good punch, some of which have outlived their operational capacity. However, there are a few that still does make a difference despite their age, and one of those weapons is the M1910 Maxim machine gun.

Footage and photographs of the M1910 Maxim machine gun had surfaced on social media after it made its 2022 debut on the battlefield. However, they have been seen being used by the Ukrainian Armed Forces in 2018 as well to hold fortified positions, notably by the 92nd Mechanized Infantry Brigade.

Using old weapons has been not uncommon during this three-month-old war as both countries have, one way or another, used very old weapons to arm their troops. The Russian forces are guilty of arming their conscripts with Mosin-Nagant rifles from the 1800s, and they were also allegedly spotted using a very old antique cannon to guard a checkpoint in Kherson. The Mosin-Nagant rifles are very much still capable of blasting the heads of your enemies off, and it is still a reliable weapon to wield. Nevertheless, the Maxim is still a pretty good machine gun. It is water-cooled and has a rate of fire of 600 rounds per minute, and fires the 7.62×54 round. This round is still in use today in the Dragunov, SV-98 sniper rifle and the PKM machine gun. It is a bit bulky to lug around and is usually serviced by a crew of 4-6 soldiers to drag it on it wheeled carriage, and carry ammo and water for it.
M1910 Maxim machine guns used by Ukrainian forces in Luhansk, 2020 (Rob Lee). Source:
M1910 Maxim machine guns used by Ukrainian forces in Luhansk, 2020 (Rob Lee/Twitter)

The same can be said for the Ukrainian forces, who are now using the M1910 Maxim machine gun. Yup, there are loads of other better options out there, but we think it’s more acceptable for Ukraine’s situation as the country needs all the weapons it can get to fend off Russian invading forces. For the Russians, we think that for a country that boasts their so-called military prowess, they could have armed their conscripts with something better than Mosin-Nagant rifles. It’s funny to think that the Russians have actually mocked the Ukrainians for using this machine gun, telling their public that the Ukrainians lack modern weapons when they themselves have been using olden munitions too.

But going back to the M1910 Maxim machine gun, we’d argue that they are still very much effective given the way they are used under certain conditions. To give you context, this machine gun entered service in 1910 and was in service during World War I during the Russian Empire (not even the Soviet Union yet), so this weapon is likely older than your granddad. Older versions of this weapon were in Imperial Russia’s arsenal as early as 1891. You can usually find it mounted on a two-wheeler with an armored gun shield.

The Ukrainians have been using it to defend fixed and fortified positions, so no worries about moving it around. They could move it, but these are 150 pounds per unit, so it does take a bit of effort to carry, but then again, it is wheeled so they could tow the weapon. In comparison, the M2 .50 cal weighs some 121 pounds, a weapon that is also used by the Ukrainians. These M1910s use 7.62mm x 54mm ammunition and can fire 600 rounds per minute. They’re also water-cooled, enabling the user to fire for an extended period of time when compared to the Russian PKM, which is prone to overheating and a cook-off even when just fired for over a minute. However, the PKM does have a higher fire rate and is much lighter.


10 Oct 2021

Collecting Greek Helmets

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A Corinthian helmet.

For any of my Hollywood movie star, hedge fund owning, kleptocrat dictator readers, Christie’s offers a collecting guide to a very interesting (and hideously expensive) hobby.

Ancient Greek helmets are a source of fascination for the modern audience as they provide a glimpse into this ancient culture and how their warriors functioned. Primarily, helmets were physical protection, worn in battles beginning in the Archaic period, together with greaves, chest plates and shields in many cases.

Helmets were also often symbols of status, with more ornate examples worn by an elite group. ‘Many buyers are looking to understand the ancient world through physical objects,’ says Hannah Fox Solomon, Antiquities Head of Sale and Specialist at Christie’s New York. Ancient helmets are just one example from which to do so.

The Illyrian helmet, one of two helmets to appear in the early 7th century BC, is the most common type. It is recognisable by its square face guard and pointed non-hinged cheek pieces, as well as the smooth dome featuring raised parallel ridges to which a crest made from horsehair, wood or leather would be pinned in place by a rivet at the crown.

The Corinthian helmet is the other 7th century helmet, with its characteristic almond-shaped eyes and rounded nose guard. ‘I think that the eyes are especially beautiful,’ says Solomon. ‘It’s an immediately recognisable shape: the domed head, the slightly flaring neck guard, the elongated eye openings . Aesthetically, it’s a beautiful form that has a lyrical nature.’

The Samno-Attic helmet, a later variation on the earlier types, features cheek pieces attached by hinges, and generally has a lighter feel with wider openings for the face and ears. They are often more ornate, some with moulded decoration and tall tubular plume-holders. Feathers were believed to be connected to Ares, the god of war, and scholars believe warriors wore feather atop their helmets as a means of intimidating the enemy. …

As with many objects on the market, condition has a major impact on the value of a helmet. ‘Some helmets are perfect, but some helmets have evidence of what we call the “death blow”,’ says Solomon, referring to damage on the side of the dome. ‘While I can only hypothesise whether or not that is true, occasionally you’ll find helmets with damage that makes you wonder if it was the result of battle.’

Importantly, however, not all damage is immediately visible. Often helmets need to be x-rayed in order to establish their condition. An x-ray can reveal cracks, areas lost or that have been filled with modern material, all of which affects the value.


25 Jul 2020

“Born for the Saber” / “Zrodzeni do Szabli” (2019)

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Born for the Saber / Zrodzeni do Szabli from Stow. Polska Sztuka Krzyżowa on Vimeo.

Former Polish Nobility Association [ZSP] Chairman Marcin Wiszowaty forwarded this video trailer today. Great stuff.


Set in Poland during the first half of XVII century, the epic documentary-drama “Born for the saber” tells the story of young knight Blazej Wronowski. Jan Jerlicz, a veteran of the Muscovite wars who returns to his fatherland upon Maciej Wronowski’s – his brother’s in arms request to begin training his son, Blazej. “Born for the saber” is a feature story about honor, courage and war, seen through the eyes of a young noble and knight growing up in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. Documentary part of the movie is a cinematic journey through history and art of the mystique of high-end crafting of the polish saber, which to date is considered to be one of the best melee weapons on the globe. Word class experts demonstrate the art of saber fighting and forging this extraordinary weapon.

I doubt that an English-subtitled version is available yet. Yet.

18 Jul 2020

Three types of Crossbow bolts Versus Three Types of Flexible Armor type


04 Apr 2020

Captured During the Relief of the Siege of Vienna, 12 September 1683


Chainmail Shirt from the Ottoman Empire captured during the Siege of Vienna in 1683 on display at the Heeresgeschichtliches Museum in Vienna

Photographs taken by barbucomedie 2016.

26 Mar 2020

Japanese Battleship Armor Post-War Tested

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26″ (66cm) Class “A” (Yamato-Class) Main Armament Turret Face (Port) Plate.

This section of armor plate was meant for use on an 18″ Main Gun Turret on a Yamato class battleship and was found at the Kure Naval Base in Japan after the end of WWII then brought back to the US for testing.

This plate section was originally intended for IJN SHINANO, the third Japanese YAMATO-Class super-battleship, which was converted into an aircraft carrier instead, and sunk on its way to final fitting out yard by a U.S. submarine.

The damage is the result of the impact of a 16″ US armor piercing naval shell during ballistic testing 16 October 1946 at the Naval Proving Ground in Dahlgreen, VA.

This plate is now on display at the U.S. Navy Memorial Museum at the Washington Navy Yard, Washington, DC, just in front of the old Gun Factory building.


19 Mar 2020

One of Oldest Swords in the World Found in Monastery Collection

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This 5,000-year-old weapon, made of an alloy of arsenic and copper, may be among the world’s oldest swords.


Housed at a monastery on the Venetian island of San Lazzaro degli Armeni, the blade boasted a distinctive shape that reminded the young archaeologist of some of the oldest swords known to humankind, which date back to around 3,000 B.C. and were recovered from sites in western Asia. To confirm her suspicions, Dall’Armellina and her colleagues spent the next two years tracing the artifact’s origins back in time through a series of monastic archives.

After much digging, the team realized that the sword was discovered at Kavak, a settlement near the ancient Greek colony of Trebizond in what’s now eastern Turkey, some 150 years ago. Shortly after, it fell into the hands of Armenian art collector Yervant Khorasandjian, who then gifted it to a monk named Ghevont Alishan. Upon Alishan’s death in 1901, the monastery acquired his belongings—including the sword, which they mistook for a recent construction.

A chemical analysis of the sword solidified its ancient roots. Fashioned from a combination of copper and arsenic—one of the earliest forms of bronze—the weapon almost certainly predates the late third millennium B.C., when humans first transitioned to blending bronze using tin. The blade’s sculpting resembles that of a pair of twin swords found at Arslantepe, another archaeological site that’s been dated to about the third or fourth millennium B.C.


HT: Karen L. Myers.

07 Dec 2019

Tiger Mortar


9.4″ mortar shaped like a sitting tiger. India, 1770-1799

23 Nov 2019

Lord Byron’s Greek Blunderbuss

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Auctions Imperial LLC, November 30, 2019, 9:00 AM PST

Est: $7,000 – $8,000
Opening Bid: $3,500

An exceptional example of a tromboni made in Epiros, covered entirely in superbly embossed and engraved silver displaying naturalistic flowering vinework. The brass buttplate and triggerguard engraved en suite. The fine matched flintlock mechanism and barrel with flared muzzle elegantly chiseled in relief with vinework and a stand of arms highlighted with gold. Set on the left side of the stock with a silver plaque with foliate border engraved, GGB for George Gordon Byron. From the Samuel Gridley Howe Collection. Early 19th century. Very minor wear.

George Gordon Byron, Sixth Lord Byron, was England’s greatest Romantic Era poet. He led an adventurous, often dangerous, existence and at age 35 journeyed to Greece to join the revolution and fight the Ottomans. Given command over a brigade of Suliots, he was preparing an attack on the Ottoman stronghold of Lepanto, but died in Missolonghi on April 19, 1824. Byron’s passing was mourned throughout the world. He became a national hero to the Greeks and his renown as a poet grew in England, Europe and America.

Samuel Gridley Howe M.D. (1801-1876,) noted American abolitionist, was so inspired by Lord Byron’s cause, that he sailed for Greece in 1824 with the intention of fighting by Byron’s side. Howe arrived just weeks after Byron succumbed to fever; he nonetheless fought for six years against the Ottomans at Missolonghi, Crete, and other locations, and assisted Byron’s close friend and protege, Alexandros Mavrokordatos, among other Greek notables. Howe acquired Byron’s helmet, sword and a number of other military effects before returning to the U.S. in 1830; the helmet was repatriated to Greece in 1926, donated to the Ethnographic Museum, Athens (now the National Historical Museum) by Howe’s daughter, Maud Howe Elliot, which memorialized her father’s service to Greece as well. Howe’s eldest daughter, Laura Elizabeth Richards, celebrated American author, presented the blunderbuss to her son, Henry Howe Richards, at the beginning of the 20th century.

Late 18th-early 19th century. Minor wear. Overall length 51.4cm. Condition II

Samuel Gridley Howe, 1801-1876

The images of a portrait of Samuel Gridley Howe as a Greek freedom fighter, painted by John Elliot c. 1830, now housed at Brown University.

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