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US Navy Cutlass or m1941 Dutch Klewang?


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I think I know the answer from researching on this forum, but I'd like confirmation. My grandmother gave this to my dad 50 years ago. Unsure of where it would have come from before that. Lots of relatives who served in the Pacific, but that means nothing in regards to this sword, as I have no proof it came home with one of them. Were these ever available through surplus in the 50's/60's?

 

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Can't rreally tell for sure from the photos. A couple questions:

 

- Are the grip scales wood or bakelite or other such material? the Navy M1917/41 is wood stained black. The black stain, however, on many examples seems to have been largely faded/worn off leaving a brown wood surface.

 

- Is there a "step" or "notch" in the cutouts in the baskets? The USN models had none, most Dutch models have them. I think I see a step in your photo, but can't be sure. Here are a couple photos, first a USN example, then a Dutch:

 

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- Are there any markings on the blade? USN cutlasses had none, Dutch klewangs often had makers names, including names of US makers such as MILSCO who produced klewangs for the Netherlands East Indies Army under contract. Your sword seems unmarked.

 

Some background data:

 

In early 1941 it was decided to procure more M1917 cutlasses to equip the ships then being built. On 12 June 1941¸ 280 cutlasses were ordered; on 14 July¸ 2408 cutlasses and scabbards were ordered at an estimated cost of $2 00 each; and on 12 August¸ 270 more were ordered. On 15 September 1941 Commander M. 0. Carlson¸ U.S. Navy¸ called the Bureau of Ordnance and stated that only source of supply¸ the Lilley-Ames Company of Columbus¸ Ohio¸ had stated that it could furnish only 170 cutlasses of the Navy type, but that it could furnish a weapon which differed only slightly from the Navy cutlass, i.e. the Dutch klewang which it was currently producing for the Netherlands East Indies (NEI) Army. The Ordinance Bureau responded it considered the differences between the sample cutlass submitted by the Lilley-Ames Company and the present Navy type were of a relatively minor nature¸ and it would be satisfactory to the Bureau of Ordnance and authorized the Navy Yard¸ New York¸ to obtain cutlasses of the type being manufactured for the NEI Army. However¸ the handle should be stained black¸ instead of being left plain unfinished wood¸ and the reverse side of the frog should be dyed black¸ instead of being left plain leather. On 7 October 1942 , New York reported to BuOrd that the procurement of the 2 ,938 cutlasses authorized had been completed and all outstanding obligations paid. The cutlasses were totally unmarked. Rather than being used to equip new ships, however, most were sent to the South Pacific in 1942 and were issued in lieu of machetes to US troops deploying to Guadalcanal and other Solomon Island locales. See cutlass in soldier´s pack in photo. Note the cut opennings of the guard lack the step seen on Dutch produced klewangs. The survival rate of these cutlasses appears to have been low.

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Thanks so much for the detailed response. Mine is totally unmarked. The cutouts in the basket do have the little step. I'm almost certain the grips are black bakelite, but I'll have to examine closer. It sounds like the Navy procured the Dutch type as well as the USN model. Again, other than having been in my family since at least the mid-60's, no clue where this came from or why we have it.

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Thanks so much for the detailed response. Mine is totally unmarked. The cutouts in the basket do have the little step. I'm almost certain the grips are black bakelite, but I'll have to examine closer. It sounds like the Navy procured the Dutch type as well as the USN model. Again, other than having been in my family since at least the mid-60's, no clue where this came from or why we have it.

 

 

I recall we discussed the possibility the batch made/contracted for the Dutch went undelivered due to the war in the Pacific over ran the Dutch colonies.

 

Link to older topic

 

http://www.usmilitariaforum.com/forums/index.php?/topic/261733-m-1917-boarding-cutlass/?hl=klewang&do=findComment&comment=2103055

In Memoriam:
Lieutenant J.Kostelec 1-3 First Special Service Force MIA/PD 4 March 1944 Italy
I HAVE SEEN THE ENEMY AND IT IS DAYLIGHT
Forget about the tips..We'll get hell to pay (AC/DC)
"If you cant get out and run with the big dogs then sit on the porch and bark at the cars going by.."

Have you Hugged a Clown Today?

You Cant Get A Sun Tan On The Moon..





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