If you have found your way here, you are clearly interested in Belgian smallswords and I can but urge you to buy my book 'Belgian Smallswords, Status Symbols of Times Past', which has been written since I created this site and contains a lot more information than you will find on this page.
For more information on the first ever book on Belgian smallswords, see here.
Belgian Sword Marking
This page aims at presenting the official marks that can be found on standard issue Belgian swords only. It does not go into interpreting maker's marks.
Here is what I could find on the subject :
Sabers will have control marks on the base of the blade, the pommel and the scabbard.
The instruction of April 29th 1874 states that cavalry sabers will be numbered and marked under the counter-guard, next to the back of the blade, while scabbards will be marked on the left side of the fitting holding the loose ring. The circular of August 3rd 1893 states that seargent-majors and infantry first seargents's sabers have to be numbered on the left side of scabbard mouth and on the shell next to the bar.
Weapons marked with a letter corresponding to the outfit, and will be numbered sequentially, starting at 1 and ending at the number of soldiers in the outfit.
The letter/outfit correspondance decreed by the circular of January 29th 1836 is the following :
|A to L||1st to 12th infantry regiment|
|M to O||1st to 3rd chasseurs à pied regiment|
|Q and R||1st and 2nd chasseurs à cheval regiment|
|S and T||1st and 2nd lancier regiment|
The second cuirassier regiment not being formed until June 16th 1836. This is remarkable, as the creation of both regiments was decided in the royal decree of September 22th 1831. It seems that soldiers did not want to enrol in the unit, even for a premium.
Worker's companies and bridge units dependant of these outfits were attributed the same letters, while artillery train weapons showed none.
The circular of April 15th 1836 added the artillery to the list :
- X to Z : 1st to 3rd artillery regiment
And the instruction of December 28th 1837 added reserves and the second cuirassier regiments to the list :
- I* : 13th reserve regiment
- II to IX : 14th to 21st reserve regiment
- V* : 2nd cuirassier regiment
The weapons of the united voltigeurs and grenadier's regiments bore no letter.
The decision of February 23rd 1838 stated that weapons of the 'Armée de l'Escaut' would be stamped with the letters B.E..
The royal decree of June 4th 1842 stated that weapons of the 4th artillery regiment would be stamped with the letter a.
And the instruction of September 3rd 1855 stated that weapons of administrative companies 1 to 4 would be stamped with the letters A.A. to A.D..
The circular of March 23rd 1863 stated that weapons given to soldiers sent to the Ypres cavalry school would be stamped with the letters E.C.. They will also be marked with the year they came into service. Since the 3rd and 4th lancier regiments were created at this time, based on the defunct 1st and 2nd cuirassier regiments, it was decided that their weapons would still bear the letters attributed to the cuirassiers regiments. These weapons were dated 1853 ??.
The circular of June 17th 1869 stated that briquet saber scabbards and bayonet-saber scabbards will be marked on the leather only.
Summarizing the situation on March 23rd 1863, gives us the following table :
|Train company or united (voltigeur + grenadier) regiment|
|A to L||1st to 12th infantry regiment or associated workers|
|M to O||1st to 3rd chasseurs à pied regiment or associated workers|
|P||miner's battalion or associated workers|
|Q and R||1st and 2nd chasseurs à cheval regiment or associated workers|
|S and T||1st and 2nd lancier regiment or associated workers|
|U||guides regiment or associated workers|
|V||3rd lancier regiment or associated workers|
|V*||4th lancier regiment or associated workers|
|X to Z||1st to 3rd artillery regiment or associated workers|
|I*||13th reserve regiment or associated workers|
|II to IX||14th to 21st reserve regiment or associated workers|
|A.A. to A.D.||1st to 4th administration companies|
|B.E.||Armée de l'Escaut or associated workers|
|E.C.||Ypres cavalry school|
|a||4th artillery regiment or associated workers|
Which stayed valid until the instruction of January 19th 1874 changed the attribution of letters to units in the following way :
|A to N||1st to 14th 'de ligne' infantry regiment|
|O to Q||1st to 3rd chasseurs à pied regiment or associated workers|
|R||carabineers regiment or associated workers|
|S||grenadier regiment or associated workers|
|T||school for trooper's children|
|U||discipline and correction corps|
|V||Engineers or associated workers|
|(A) and (B)||1st and 2nd chasseurs à cheval regiment or associated workers|
|(C) and (D)||1st and 2nd guides regiment or associated workers|
|(E) to (H)||1st to 4th lancier regiment or associated workers|
|(I) to (L)||1st to 4th field artillery regiment or associated workers|
|(M) to (O)||5th to 7th siege artillery regiment or associated workers|
|(P)||artillery workers company|
|(R)||explosives experts company|
|(S)||artillery bridge building company|
Civic Guard weapons also bore a two letter code corresponding to the city or group, along with a sequential number.
L Leconte's 'Les armes portatives des troupes belges, de 1830 à 1910'