Argentine Model 1909 Infantry NCO’s Machete Sidearm
Single-edged blade with a swell towards the point, 14¾ inches in length (just under 20 inches overall). Steel S-shaped hilt, exposed tang and beaked pommel, wood grips secured by two rivets with washers. Blued steel scabbard with teardrop frog stud.
The ricasso of the blade is stamped on one side with the Argentinian coat of arms surrounded by the text ‘Modelo Argentino 1909’, and on the other with ‘Weyersberg Kirschbaum & Co. Solingen’, the manufacturer. Both the hilt and the scabbard are stamped with the serial number ‘E01821’, indicating they are a matching pair. The pommel is stamped ‘RA’ within a circle, a government mark of the Republica Argentina. There are a few marks of individual letters with a cross on various components, these may be factory inspection marks. The spine of the blade has an ‘A’, the hilt a ‘P’, and the scabbard a ‘D’.
The design of the 1909 sidearm was clearly inspired by the German Model 1898/05 bayonet: its blade is almost identical in shape and thickness, being just a fraction longer and without a fuller. Its scabbard and frog are also very close facsimiles. This example is one of those made by a German manufacturer and exported; some were also produced locally in Argentina.
These sidearms were still carried by Argentinian NCOs by the time of the Falkands War in 1982. After Argentine forces surrendered to the British on June 14 their small arms were piled up by the thousand in the Islands’ capital Port Stanley, where most Argentine forces had been deployed or driven back to, as well as at their smaller garrisons at Goose Green and on West Falkland. Anecdotally, I have been told it was their artillerymen who were seen surrendering M1909 sidearms. The bayonets and sidearms frequently became personal trophies or souvenirs for British soldiers as they would not be illegal to own in civilian life. This example is almost certainly one such ‘bring-back’.
The blade has some spots of patination and no edge damage. The hilt, pommel and exposed tang are likewise clean. The wood grips are in very good condition with no chipping, only a few surface dents. The scabbard is free of dents and retains much of its original blued finish, with some rubbing to the sides, the chape and where it would contact the frog when worn.