Iwo Jima captured sword: A Japanese Type 94 Shin-Gunto Officer's Sword Recovered from the battlefield of the last charge of the Japanese Forces, Found at Airfield No 2, on the morning of  March 26 1945 Length 100 in (254 cm)

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Lot 71
Iwo Jima captured sword: A Japanese Type 94 Shin-Gunto Officer's Sword Recovered from the battlefield of the last charge of the Japanese Forces, Found at Airfield No 2, on the morning of March 26 1945
Length 100 in (254 cm)

Sold for US$ 15,000 inc. premium
Iwo Jima captured sword: A Japanese Type 94 Shin-Gunto Officer's Sword Recovered from the battlefield of the last charge of the Japanese Forces, Found at Airfield No 2, on the morning of March 26 1945
A Japanese Officer's steel Type 94 Shin-Gunto with scabbard,the brown and blue tassel attached to the hilt indicating that the sword belonged to a company or warrant officer. The visible grain and wave pattern on the blade and the lack of any serial numbers indicate that it was handmade, while the hilt is likewise constructed in the traditional manner with ray skin, but has a non-traditional leather wrap. The cherry blossom insignia of the Imperial Japanese Army is present on the guard, pommel and ornament (menuki). The menuki is heavily worn. The guard incorporates a habaki with push button catch. The scabbard is wooden with a brass fixture and a heavily worn dark leather cover, identifying it as late-war issue. A leather woven lanyard is attached to fixture alongside a contemporary brown paper tag detailing the circumstances of the sword's capture. The official tag reads: "This is an authenticated Japanese officer's samurai sword. The sword was captured on Iwo Jima in the early morning of 26 March 1945. One hundred and ninty [sic] seven Japanese officers and men staged a Banzai (to the death) charge against our positions. Grenades and swords were the principal weapons used in the attack. No Japanese soldier survived this attack." The photographs of the sword at the time of its capture both show the unsheathed sword in the hands of victorious US servicemen in their base camp, with other captured items spread out around them.

An exceptional Japanese sword, a fitting tribute to one of the hardest and longest battles fought by the Marine Corps throughout their 4 year campaign in the Pacific Islands. This officer's sword was recovered after the last banzai charge on Iwo Jima on the morning of March 26th, 1945. Marines had been pressing the Japanese Forces back into the northern hills of the island for two weeks, and by the evening of March 25th, there was just a small pocket of Japanese defenders left. Under the cover of darkness around 300 Japanese soldiers slipped through the US lines moving south and then turned from the west towards Airfield No 2. In the early light of the 26th, they mounted a coordinated three-pronged attack against the Airfield, taking the American forces by surprise. A mix of Marine shore parties, Air Force crews, AA gunners, and African/American shore details and Seabees all rallied to repulse the attack. A Lt. Martin, who helped to organize a line of defence, was himself killed in the second wave of attacks, for which he received the final Medal of Honor for Iwo Jima. The two charges were both repulsed with considerable losses. In the attack 262 Japanese died, 18 captured, and for US forces 52 died and 119 injured. It is said that General Kuribayashi had led that final charge, but his body was never found on the battlefield. The Battle of Iwo Jima was over after 34 long hard days of fighting, and losses of over 21,000 Japanese soldiers, and few survivors, while for the US, 6,800 US marines died, and 19,200 wounded, a figure which is said to be a third of all losses of Marines in the Pacific Theater in World War II.
Length 100 in (254 cm)
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