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Tuesday, 19 December 2017

German WWI body armour and weaponry so barbaric it was banned under the Geneva Convention for inflicting incredible pain on soldiers is set to sell for thousands in auction

  • Items include a German 'sawback bayonet' blade that was eventually banned
  • One side had a lethal serrated edge that helped it to pull out a victim's insides
  • Another weapon up for sale is a wooden 'trench club' dotted with metal studs 
  • A rare steel body armour set worn by German snipers and machine gunners is also up for auction


  • An assortment of barbaric weaponry and body armour used by German soldiers during the First World War is set for auction in Kent.
    The items include a rare 'sawback bayonet' blade that was eventually banned under the 1929 Geneva Convention for causing 'unnecessary suffering'.
    While it looks like a long dagger, one side had a serrated edge that inflicted horrendous wounds and could even pull out a victim's insides.
    Another weapon up for sale is a wooden club dotted with metal studs, used for stealthy close-quarters combat during night-time trench raids.

    An assortment of barbaric weaponry and body armour used by German soldiers during the First World War is set for auction in Kent. The items include a rare 'sawback bayonet' (weapon pictured bottom, sheath top) that caused such horrendous wounds it was banned

    An assortment of barbaric weaponry and body armour used by German soldiers during the First World War is set for auction in Kent. The items include a rare 'sawback bayonet' (weapon pictured bottom, sheath top) that caused such horrendous wounds it was banned

    Alongside the brutal weaponry, a rare steel body armour set worn by German troops placed in vulnerable fixed positions is up for auction.
    The suit was used by snipers and machine gunners, who came under heavy fire once their positions had been exposed.
    Known as 'elephant armour', the outfit featured a large upper body section and an extremely rare facial defence shield that was known as an elephant plate.
    Resembling a welder's mask, the item covered the head and face to deflect incoming fire, and was coloured and shaped to look like a rock for camouflage.
    Also included in the lot is a German-issue portable periscope used by troops to safely peer over the tops of trenches.
    Leaflets and other paperwork informing users how the device works are included.

    THE WW1 AUCTION 

    German WW1 weaponry, body armour and gadgets up for sale at next month's auction include:
    - A rare 'sawback bayonet' with a serrated edge. Estimated value: £300-£500 ($400-$670)
    - A wooden trench club dotted with metal studs. Estimated value: £300-£500 ($400-$670)
    - A set of 'elephant armour' body plates used by German snipers and machine gunners. Estimated value: £1,500-£2,500 ($2,000-$3,300)
    - Rare facial defence shielf known as an 'elephant plate'. Estimated value: £5,000-£8,000 ($6,700-$10,700)
    - A periscope used to peer over the top of trenches. Estimated value: £80-£120 ($110-$160)

    While the German sawback looks like a long dagger, one side had a serrated edge that helped it to pull out a victim's insides. British troops were rumoured to instantly execute Prisoners of War found with one of the brutal blades, which led to German officials banning the weapon
    While the German sawback looks like a long dagger, one side had a serrated edge that helped it to pull out a victim's insides. British troops were rumoured to instantly execute Prisoners of War found with one of the brutal blades, which led to German officials banning the weapon

    Another weapon up for sale is a wooden club dotted with metal studs (pictured), used for stealthy close-quarters combat during night-time trench raids
    Another weapon up for sale is a wooden club dotted with metal studs (pictured), used for stealthy close-quarters combat during night-time trench raids

    Alongside the weaponry, a rare steel body armour set worn by German troops placed in vulnerable positions is up for auction. Pictured is the armour set's face plateThe outfit features an extremely rare facial defence shield (pictured)  known as an elephant plate

    Alongside the weaponry, a rare steel body armour set worn by German troops placed in vulnerable positions is up for auction. The outfit features an extremely rare facial defence shield (auction item pictured left, file photo right) known as an elephant plate

    In total, the items are expected to fetch as much as £11,600 ($15,500) when they go up for auction at C&T Auctions of Ashford, Kent, on January 30.
    They form part of a collection of more than 300 First World War artefacts assembled over 40 years by a private British collector.
    Auctioneer Matthew Tredwin said: 'A lot of this stuff looks like it was used in medieval times and is completely out of context for modern warfare.
    'Some of the body armour and masks would have been very heavy and very hard for infantry troops to have worn but were used by men in fixed positions.

    Known as 'elephant armour', the outfit features a large upper body section (pictured) as well as a face plateThe suit was used by snipers and machine gunners who came under heavy fire once their positions had been exposed

    Known as 'elephant armour', the outfit features a large upper body section (pictured) as well as a thick face plate. The suit was used by snipers and machine gunners, who came under heavy fire once their positions had been exposed

    Resembling a welder's mask, the armour's 'elephant plate' (inside pictured) covered the head and face to deflect incoming fire, and was coloured and shaped to look like a rock for camouflage

    Resembling a welder's mask, the armour's 'elephant plate' (inside pictured) covered the head and face to deflect incoming fire, and was coloured and shaped to look like a rock for camouflage

    Users of the German elephant armour had more protection from incoming fire but a limited field of vision, with just a small slit in the helmet (pictured) to peer through
    Users of the German elephant armour had more protection from incoming fire but a limited field of vision, with just a small slit in the helmet (pictured) to peer through

    Also up for auction is a German-issue portable periscope (pictured) used by troops to safely peer over the tops of trenches
    Also up for auction is a German-issue portable periscope (pictured) used by troops to safely peer over the tops of trenches

    'Some of the weapons that were in use look very barbaric.
    'The saw back bayonet was so dangerous it was outlawed by both sides. The Germans did make them and use them but if any soldier was caught with one by the British they were shot.
    'They are very rare to find today.
    'Although the club with hopbnails embedded into one end looks like it should have been used by a caveman it was allowed on the Western Front in hand-to-hand combat.' 

    Leaflets and other paperwork informing soldiers how to use the folding periscope are up for sale alongside the device
    Leaflets and other paperwork informing soldiers how to use the folding periscope are up for sale alongside the device

    Each of the items, assembled over 40 years by a private British collector, will be up for auction on January 30 at C&T Auctions of Ashford, Kent. Pictured is a leaflet used to inform German soldiers how to use the periscope
    Each of the items, assembled over 40 years by a private British collector, will be up for auction on January 30 at C&T Auctions of Ashford, Kent. Pictured is a leaflet used to inform German soldiers how to use the periscope

    Auctioneer Matthew Tredwin said: 'Although the club with hopbnails embedded into one end looks like it should have been used by a caveman it was allowed on the Western Front in hand-to-hand combat'
    Auctioneer Matthew Tredwin said: 'Although the club with hopbnails embedded into one end looks like it should have been used by a caveman it was allowed on the Western Front in hand-to-hand combat'

    An assortment of barbaric weaponry and body armour used by German soldiers during the First World War is set for auction in Kent. Pictured is a leaflet up for sale at the auction
    An assortment of barbaric weaponry and body armour used by German soldiers during the First World War is set for auction in Kent. Pictured is a leaflet up for sale at the auction

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