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Soviet World War Two Swords? The Cossack M1927 Shashka

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Cossack forces have long been a key cavalry element of the Russian military, and this did not change during the Soviet era. The Cossacks had their own rather distinctive style of sword, the shashka, and the Red Army maintained the tradition of issuing them to Cossack cavalry troopers. In 1927, a new pattern was adopted, and it was produced and issued from 1928 until 1946. The shashka has a slightly curved, single-edged blade and no handguard. The model 1927 military type was initially made with a rather decorative pommel, but this was simplified to just a plain 5-pointed star as German advanced into Russia really stressed Soviet industrial production. However, production and issue of the shashka continued uninterrupted throughout the war.

Oritingally there were separate infantry and officer versions of the model 1927, with the infantry version including the ability to stow the trooper’s Mosin-Nagant rifle bayonet on the side of the shaskha scabbard. As cavalry, the Cossacks were not expected to carry their rifles with bayonets fixed, and this served in lieu of a bayonet sheath. By 1944 this feature was omitted, as the M91/30 was replaced by the M38 and M44 carbines and submachine guns, which did not use bayonets.

The decorations returned to the M1927 shashka in 1945, with a series made for the Victory Day parade celebrating the defeat of Germany. Today’s example is one of these, and in beautiful condition.

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