AI4FR Virtual Militaria Items Tour 

Swiss Items

 

These first two photographs are of a Swiss Model 1918 helmet. This design was modified in 1944 to include a new granular style of paint that was mixed with sawdust. This style of painted helmet remained in use until the 1970s.   

The photograph on the left is a set of stamps that was found under the butt plate of a Swiss K-31 rifle.

The picture on the right is a pair of name tags which were found under the buttplate of two different K-31 Swiss rifles. Collectors of the K-31 Swiss rifle here in the U.S. have used these name tags to get in contact with the former owner of the rifle. When contact is made with a former owner from Switzerland, the collector is sure to receive the history of the rifle and possibly some information about the life of the former owner. Some times an exchange of items such as the original matching bayonet to the rifle, shooting medals, and no telling what else is given to the U.S. collector. By far the biggest treat for any collector is of learning the past history of the rifle and that of the former owner. This information is kept sacred with the rifle.

Sadly, this did not happen in my case and I am still on the search. From the tag(top one in photograph) that was underneath the butt plate of the K-31 rifle in the collection here, I have learned that it belonged to a Mr. Ernst Tagmann whom was born in 1922 and was part of a Dragoon Squadron(schadron) number 21. Which I have learned was a horse unit. The rifle was manufactured in 1939 which tells me that Mr. Tagmann was either 17 or 18 at the time of issue. Also on the tag was an address, but this address would be dated 1939 which means it is nearly 70 years old. The address on the tag is Erlen Altstaetten. This is all the information I have on Mr. Ernst Tagmann and his rifle.

If you are wondering why a name tag is on a rifle, the answer would be that each Swiss male, once reaching a certain age is issued a rifle by the Swiss government. They would then take the rifle home and be expected to not only care for it but also be proficient with its use. If Switzerland was invaded by a foreign country, the owner of the rifle would be called upon in a time of war. Pondering on this for just a moment and taking into account the mountainous terrain, it is easy to understand why Switzerland was not invaded during the world wars.  

Swiss documents.  

The photograph on the left is the top part of a Swiss, Karl Zimmermann letter while the picture on the right is the bottom half. The letter is dated May 24, 1945.  

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