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Dutch Netherlands Klewang Naval Cutlass: A Brief Photographic History, Identification Maker Marks of Hembrug and Vince and Unmarked Milsco M1941 Klewangs, Technical Information, Price and Availability on the Netherlands Dutch Klewang Cutlass or Klewang Marechausse Models M1898, M1911, M1940, M1941 and the WWII Japanese "Heiho" Which was a Re-used Cut-Down Klewang
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dutch klewang cutlass m1941


Above photo is of a U.S.-manufactured Dutch Klewang M1940 designed after the European-manufactured M1898/M1911 models. The M1940 was manufactured in the U.S. by Milsco (Milwaukee Saddlery Company) beginning in 1940 and had an unmarked blade. The European models M1898/M1901 were manufactured in Solingen, Germany and Hembrug, Netherlands. Additiionally in the early 40's both Milsco and another a U.S. company named Vince supplied only the Klewang blades for the Dutch to be used as replacement blades in the Dutch East Indies. These blades were assembled with hilts, grips, and guards both in the Netherlands and mainly in the Dutch East Indies as replacement blades to the M1898/M1901.

There is hardly a difference between the various models of Klewang over it's 50 odd years of production by the various manufacturers and the pattern has stayed virtually the same. All Klewang models had a pierced hilt cup and clipped tip. The European models used a wooden grip while the U.S.-made Milsco used a black plastic-like bakelite grip.

Additionally, there are to be found square "notches" cut into the pierced cups of the hilt on all models except the M1941 where there are no notches and the pierced cut-out have smooth rounded edges, the blades on this particular model will have Vince or Milsco stamped onto the ricasso. However there is a slight difference in the size of notches found on a European-made Klewang vs. a non-marked M1940 Milsco-made Klewang. The notches found on the middle aperture of the pierced cup of a European model are 1/16" while the same notches found on the middle apperture of a Milsco are 3/16" - a substantial difference in determining provenance. Also there is the size of the pommel screw: on the Milsco-produced model it is 3/8" while on a European-model it is 1/2", another substantial size difference when determining provenance.

After the Netherlands couldn't fullfill its' contract to Milsco in 1941, having been overun by the Germans, the U.S. Navy purchased the excess inventory of cutlasses and then sold them after the war as Navy surplus. It appears that Milsco had shipped a number of these M1941 Klewangs to the Netherlands East Indies just prior to or right after the outbreak of WWII. Many of these post-WWII Klewangs ended up being used in the East Indies during the colonial uprising.

shortly after the dutch captured a fort at acheh, 1901 klewang cutlass m1898 with scabbard To the left is a photo of the Dutch Korp Marechausees in 1901 after the capture of a fort at Aceh, East Indies. Note the soldiers carrying the M1898 Klewang.

To the right is an M1898 Model Klewang Cutlass and Scabbard, European-made with maker mark of Hembrug. The Klewang was named after the native name for their sword-machete like weapons that they used in the jungle as both a weapon and tool.

The Klewang certainly has that piratey look (and feel) with the notched false top edge and falchion blade style. As discussed on another page the U.S. Navy modeled it's M1917 naval cutlass from the Dutch Klewang. Oddly enough the Dutch Klewang M1898 Cutlass was not produced specifically for the Dutch Naval Forces but for the Netherlands East Indies troops and police! But it certainly is a kewl enough cutlass, and at least the United States Navy thought the same.

It's unclear whether there really was a European manufactured Klewang model M1911. What is clear is that the German company Solingen first manufactured the M1898 Klewang for the Dutch in it's earliest development as there are some Klewangs with the maker mark "solingen" clearly appearing on the ricasso of the blade.

It seems that shortly after production began in Solingen the Dutch government moved the production of the M1898 Klewang Cutlass to Hembrug in the Netherlands where it was manufactured into the 1920-1930's. Most of the M1898 Klewangs bear the maker mark Hembrug, which appears exactly like the Solingen with the exception of the maker mark. M1898 Klewang with Hembrug marked blade M1898 Klewang with Solingen marked blade

Photo to the left is of a Dutch M1898 Cutlass with a Humbrug maker mark stamped on the blade. Photo on the right shows an M1898 Cutlass with a Solingen maker mark stamped on the blade. They certainly do look the same.

hembrug marked blade solingen marked blade

The above photos clearly show the two different maker marks and completely substantiate the change in manufacturing venue for the Klewang M1898 model of cutlass.

As previously mentioned, at the outbreak of WWII the Dutch Government contracted out to Milsco, a U.S.-based company, to produce the Klewang for them for shipment to the Netherland East Indies. Milsco slightly changed the technical specifications of the M1898 Klewang using a plastic bakelite handle (the latest technology at the time) instead of wood handle, it put a squared notch into the pierced cup hilt whereas the European manufactured pierced basket cup was completely smooth, rounded. It has been reported that Milsco made upwards of 30,000 Klewangs for the Dutch Government. (SEE BELOW)

Model M1898 Open Pierced Cup Hilt m1941 klewang with notched aperture basket hilt

Model M1898 Open Pierced Cup Hilt Model M1941 Open Pierced Cup Hilt

Note the step notches in the pierced up apertures on the right, while the basket apertures on the left and right photos are smooth and rounded. The bakelite grip and notched pierced cup apertures are the major differences between the US and European made models of Klewang.

(Both the M1898 and M1941 model Klewangs should not be confused with the U.S. Navy's M1917 Naval Cutlass which was modeled after the Klewang. The US Navy's M1917 Cutlass has an etched cross-hatched riveted wooden handle along with the initials USN prominently displayed on the ricasso of the blade. Plus it has a closed basket hilt just like its predecessor the M1860 which it replaced.)

Just prior to WWII both the Dutch government and it's U.S. supplier shipped varying quantities of the Klewang Cutlass to the Dutch Army located in the Netherland East Indies in the South Pacific. The Japanese captured these islands at the very outset of WWII and some of the weapons found that they put to use were the Klewang Cutlass, which has been termed the "Heiho".

Klewang Heiho Cutdown M1941 Klewang Cutlass on US Marine or Soldier's Web Belt

Photos show captured Japanese "Heiho" Klewang's.

US Marine papua new guinea holding captured japanese klewang Cutdown M1941 Klewang Cutlass on US Marine or Soldier's Web Belt

Photo on the left shows a US Marine holding a captured Japanese Klewang that was not "cut down" to make it a Heiho cutlass.

The "Klewang Heiho": The above two photos on the right show what has been termed the "Klewang Heiho". After the Japanese invaded and captured the Dutch East Indies they found hundreds if not thousands of the Klewang's which they confiscated. To make them usable for their needs the Japanese cut off the hilt's cup and D-guard turning them into more of a machete to help clear the jungle. While not terribly rare they are around and many people think they are "fakes" but they are not.

Notice the Klewang in the web belt of the US marine in the photo to the right. Some WWII collectors of Japanese militaria have stated that the black leather bag seen attached to the Marine's web belt in front of the Klewang is actually a Japanese cartridge holder!

Another 1943 photo of two Netherland East Indie Dutch troops cutting up some coconuts. Note the soldier on the right cutting his coconut with a "Klewang Heiho" cutlass!

Below are Technical Characteristics, Measurements, and Specifications of the M1898 and M1941 Model Klewang's:

 
Dutch European-made M1898 / M1911 Klewang
 
Specifications
 
Additional Information
 
Overall Cutlass Length (blade tip to pommel):
 
29"
 
The Klewang has a very distinctive look.
 
Blade:
 
Sweeping Falchion, Single Large Wide Fuller
 
False Edge has Clipped, Distinctive Point
 
Blade Length (point tip to quillon):
 
24 5/8"
 
The technical characteristics are very exact
 
Blade Width (at ricasso):
 
1 1/4"
 
Thickness and tolerances are very exact
 
Weight (in Scabbard):
 
2 lbs, 6 oz
 
Scabbard is Brown Leather
 
Weight (cutlass only):
 
2 lbs
 
Weight and balance are very standard
 
Grip
 
Rivted Wood
 
3 Rivets, Smooth Non-Hatched Grip
 
Hilt
 
Single Piece Iron, Pierced Basket Cup
 
Apertures are Rounded, No Bushing between Hilt Guard and Blade
 
Pommel
 
Utilitarian Screw
 
Knuckle Guard and Tang Secured with Single Screw
 
Maker Markings - Ricasso:
 
Solingen or Hembrug
 
Very early models were made in Solingen.
 
Markings - Reverse Ricasso:
 
Crown over an E
 
Models with Hembrug maker mark


 
U.S. Manufactured M1941 Klewang
 
Specifications
 
Additional Information
 
Overall Cutlass Length (blade tip to pommel):
 
29 3/4"
 
Similar to Dutch manufactured Klewang
 
Blade:
 
Sweeping Falchion, Single Slim Fuller
 
False Edge has Clipped, Distinctive Point, Heavily Blued
 
Fuller Length
 
14 3/4"
 
Provides strength and balance
 
Fuller Thickness
 
1/4"
 
Provides strength and balance
 
Blade Length (sword tip to hilt guard):
 
24 3/8"
 
Similar to the Dutch produced cutlass
 
Blade Width (at ricasso):
 
1 3/8"
 
Similar to the Dutch produced cutlass
 
Blade Thickness (at ricasso):
 
1/8"
 
Similar to the Dutch produced cutlass
 
Weight (cutlass only):
 
2 lbs
 
Similar to the Dutch produced cutlass
 
Grip
 
Riveted Bakelite
 
3 Rivets, Smooth, Black Non-Hatched Grip
 
Hilt
 
Single Piece Iron, Pierced Basket Cup
 
Notched Apertures, No Bushing Between Guard and Blade
 
Pommel
 
Utilitarian Screw
 
Knuckle Guard and Tang Secured with Single Screw
 
Maker Markings:
 
NONE
 
M1941 Klewangs Had No Markings Whatsoever Anywhere


Below is further historical information published by:

Historical Information on the Dutch Klewang Cutlass Page 1  Historical Information on the Dutch Klewang Cutlass Page 2

 
M1941 Klewang Cutlass #1
Perfect condition! Lots of blueing on the blade. No scabbard.
 
M1941 Milsco Klewang For Sale
Click Photo!
 
$495
Sold!
 
To Order Call
540 659 6209
 
M1941 Klewang Cutlass #2
Perfect condition! 95+% blueing on the blade. No scabbard
 
M1941 Milsco Klewang For Sale
Click Photo!
 
$495.
 
To Order Call
540 659 6209
 
M1941 Klewang Cutlass #3
Excellent condition! Lots of blueing on the blade. No scabbard
 
M1941 Milsco Klewang For Sale
Click Photo!
 
$495.
 
To Order Call
540 659 6209
 
M1941 Klewang Cutlass #4
Great condition! 95% blueing left on blade but slight discoloration loss of blueing in middle of blade and one small 1/4" spot of pitting near blade tip. Fantastic M1941 Cutlass at an affordable price.
 
M1941 Milsco Klewang For Sale
Click Photo!
 
$425.
 
To Order Call
540 659 6209
 
M1911 Klewang Cutlass #5
Excellent condition! Hembrug maker mark on the ricasso. Significant blueing on blade, very slight pitting. Some say this was the real pattern from which the U.S. Navy designed it's last official naval cutlass, the M1917.
 
M1911 Hembrug Klewang For Sale
Click Photo!
 
$625.
Sold!
 
To Order Call
540 659 6209
 
M1911 Klewang Cutlass with Scabbard #6
Excellent condition! Hembrug maker mark on the ricasso. 100% blueing on blade, no pitting at all. Museum Quality! Some say this was the real pattern from which the U.S. Navy designed it's last official naval cutlass, the M1917.
 
M1911 Hembrug Klewang with Scabbard For Sale
Click Photo!
 
$925.
Sold!
 
To Order Call
540 659 6209
 
RARE! M1940 Klewang Cutlass with Vince marked blade #7
RARE! Vince maker marked on the ricasso! Some pitting and surface rust, to be expected. This is one of those rare Klewang's where in the very late 30's the blade was produced by Vince (a U.S.-based company) for the Netherlands government.
 
M1940 Vince Klewang For Sale
Click Photo!
 
$725.
Sold!
 
To Order Call
540 659 6209
 
RARE! M1911 Klewang Japanese Captured, Modified "Heiho" Cutlass with Unit Markings! #8
RARE Heiho! Model M1911 Hembrug maker marked with cut-down hilt knuckle guard cup and blade tip! Some pitting and surface rust to be expected. This is one of those rare Klewang's which were modified by the Japanese after capturing the Netherland East Indies in WWII. Most of these "Heiho" models were recaptured by both American forces and repatriated Dutch Colonial Forces after WWII during the uprisings.
 
M1911 Hembrug Marked Klewang Japanese Captured and Modified Heiho Model!! RARE Klewang For Sale'; return true
Click Photo!
 
$625.
Sold!
 
To Order Call
540 659 6209


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