Ditsong Artefacts

The gladius is a short sword which narrows near the base of the blade. This shape makes the sword effective at cutting as well as thrusting. The gladius is best known as a primary weapon of the Roman legions. It forced Roman soldiers to get in close to their enemies and to kill quickly. It was the Roman defeats of the famous Greek hoplites that showed the sword to be more deadly than the spear.

The SA dagger was the service dagger of the Sturmabteilung (Storm Detachment) formed under Adolf Hitler and Ernst Röhm’s authority in 1921. Otherwise known as the Brown Shirts, the SA was a paramilitary group named after elite German forces from the Western Front in the First World War (1914-1918). Their primary role was to provide muscle at Nazi rallies and to counter the actions of opposition paramilitary groups. The SA soldiers were also used to violently intimidate civilians.

 

The military art collection of the Ditsong National Museum of Military History includes a watercolour entitled, “HMS Kelvin – D-Day +6” by Francis Flint. The painting is noteworthy in that it portrays three important personalities of the Second World War (1939 – 1945) – Sir Winston Churchill (Prime Minister of the United Kingdom); Field Marshal Sir Alan Brooke (Chief of the Imperial General Staff) and Field Marshal Jan Christiaan Smuts (Prime Minster of the Union of South Africa).

In the Curator’s Choice display of edged weaponry at the Ditsong National Museum of Military History, are Chinese double or paired swords from the early 19th Century. The swords are decorated with dragons that have five claws symbolising high rank. The museum’s Chinese paired swords may have belonged to either a Prince of the first rank or qinwang (Prince of the Blood) or a Prince of the second rank or junwang (Prince of the Commandery). 

A 1:48 scale model of the Type VIIC German U-boat “U-96” was donated to the Museum in September 2019. The model is a true representation of the original submarine used in the Second World War (1939 – 1945) and was constructed by the donor, Mr Brian Echstein (see image above).

The Importance of the Donation

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