The Three Patterns of Artillerie Blankwaffen (sabres)
All Mannschaften (Other Ranks) of the Feldartillerie (Field Artillery) and Fußartillerie (Foot Artillery) carried a sabre with a curved, single-edged blade with a hand guard which protected the knuckles of the hand as well as the thumb and forefinger. The sabre was carried in a scabbard hanging from the saddle when mounted, or slung from a waist-mounted sword belt when dismounted. Dating issued Artillerie sabres is relatively straightforward based on the scabbard and the flat spine of the blade. For the scabbard, two rings on a steel scabbard indicates pre-1906, in 1906 the lower ring was ordered removed, then in 1910 all scabbards were to be blackened. Issued sabres are typically dated on the bottom of the flat spine with a two-digit date.

On issued pieces, the scabbards are typically chemically blackened by being black manganese parkerized (developed in 1869) which involves an immersion process. However, painted and blued examples are also found. There were three distinct patterns of issued Mannschaften (Other Ranks) Artillerie sabre, from left to right in the photo above:

  • Preußen (Prussian)
  • Sachsen (Saxon)
  • Bayern (Bavaria)
Preußen (Prussian) Issued M73
Issued sabres are very heavy construction, particularly the blades as they are intended to be weapons and designed for combat. The spines of the blades are flat, with a long deep fuller on the polished steel blades. Blades on issued sabres are never engraved. The scabbard on this example shows almost no wear to the black manganese parkerized finish.
Preußen (Prussian) issued M73 sabres have a bakelite grip that bulges out in the center. The grip is rivited on the sides to large tangs at the centre which protrude off of the back-strap (the steel back of the grip). Wartime issued Ersatz examples, however, are often found with a plain wooden grip. Note that the Preußen pattern has a protruding top threaded round screw at the top of the pommel that holds the sabre together. The hand guard (protecting the knuckles and hand) has a distinctive "P" curve from the top of the pommel to the end were it joins onto the crossguard which ends in a round curl, designed for catching the blades of opponents. Or because it looked cool. I have no idea.

The suspention ring on the Preußen M73 scabbard is fixed to the scabbard and does not move.

All Mannschaften (Other Ranks) of the Feldartillerie (Field Artillery) and Fußartillerie (Foot Artillery) of the German Empire carried this pattern of sabre except (naturally) the Sachsen (Saxon) and Bayern (Bavaria) Artillerie who carried the patterns below.
All issued sabres have inspection stamps on their component parts to include a crowned initial and two digit date on the blade spine. On this Preußen issued M73 it is dated 1915.

Unfortuantely, the manufacturer's mark on the ricasso (flat part of the lower blade) blade is hidden by the langet (the D shaped piece coming down from cross guard).
 
Sachsen (Saxon) Issued M73
Like the Preußen (Prussian) issued M73 sabre the Sachsen (Saxon) issued M73 are very heavy construction with heavy, thick blades designed for combat. The spines of the blades are flat, with a long deep fuller on the polished steel blades. Of the three patterns, the Sachsen pattern has the least amount of curve to the blade. All of the steel components on this example have taken on a pleasing dark aged patina.
Sachsen (Saxon) issued M73 sabres have a long bakelite grip that follows the curve of the back-strap (the steel back of the grip). There is no center protruding tang like the Preußen M73 and the top of the pommel is secured by two peened pins. The hand guard (protecting the knuckles and hand) has the same distinctive "P" curve as the Preußen M73 from the top of the pommel to the end were it joins onto the crossguard which ends in a round curl, however, there is no langet (the D shaped piece coming down from cross guard) below the cross guard.

The suspension ring on the Sachsen (Saxon) issued M73 scabbard is fixed to the scabbard and does not move.

All Mannschaften (Other Ranks) of the Sachsen Feldartillerie (Field Artillery) and Fußartillerie (Foot Artillery) carried this pattern of sabre.
The sabre was was stamped on the scabbard when it was first issued to 1.L.M.24.R.90. (1. Leichte Munitions-Kolonnen 24 Reserve 90 = 1st light ammunition supply column Reserve weapon #90). When the sabre was reissued, this unit stamping was crossed out.





At some point the sabre was reissued to 24.R.A,3.60. (24 Reserve Artillerie 3 Batterie 60 = 24th reserve artillery regiment, 3rd battery weapon #60). This unit stamping is on the crossguard.

Note the manufacturer's stamp of Weyersberg, Kirschbaum & Co (WKC) Solingen on the ricasso (flat part of the lower blade),
The back of the spine has the Sachsen (Saxon) inspection stamps to include the crowned initials of König Frederick Augustus III (The last King of Saxony) and is dated 1908.
Bayern (Bavaria) Issued M73
Like the Preußen (Prussian) and Sachsen (Saxon) M73 the Bayern (Bavaria) issued M73 is of massive construction with a heavy thick blade designed for combat. The spine of the blade is flat, with a long deep fuller on the polished steel blades. Note that the Bayern pattern has much more of a curvature than the other two patterns. All of the steel components on this example have taken on a pleasing dark aged patina.
Bayern (Bavaria) issued M73 sabres have leather-covered wooden grips that form a curve that follows the back-strap (the steel back of the grip). Like the Sachsen M73 there is no center or lower tang. The hand guard forms a distinctive large D-shape with a ribbed ring at the base of the grip. The pommel is secured with a peened rivet on the top.

The suspention ring on the Bayern M73 scabbard is loose and sits in a ring on the scabbard.

All Mannschaften (Other Ranks) of the Bayern Feldartillerie (Field Artillery) and Fußartillerie (Foot Artillery) carried this pattern of sabre.
The scabbard is marked to 3.AF.6.31 (Kgl. Bayer. 3. Fußartillerie-Regt. (Ingolstadt) III Bayerisches Armee Korps, 6th Battery, weapon #31)
The back of the spine has the Bayern (Bavaria) inspection stamp to include the crowned initials of König Otto (1886-1913) and is dated 1902.
M1911 Mounted Troops belt and sword hanger
Until 1911 all mounted troops carried the sabre on a white leather belt. The belt had two hangers until 1906 when the lower ring on the scabbard was removed.

The M1911 Mounted Troops belt and sword hanger was adopted for all uses and replaced the white leather sword belts on 23 December 1911. The belt was rough-out leather and worn with a distinctive brass buckle which was changed to grey steel in 1915.