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Roar Of A Silver Lion: My Easiest Research Project Ever

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This was without question the easiest sword that I have ever been asked to research... because I've had all but one of the wearer's award documents AND his service records (from the Bavarian Kriegsarchiv in pre-computer days) right here on The Island for more than 30 years.

Once again the eerie phenomenon that my Magic Epson and kitchen table are the literal center of the universe has been proven. :speechless1::whistle::cat:

Edited by Rick Research
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This very nice Bavarian red glass eyed SILVERED lionhead heavy artillery sword (Kirschbaum knight's head mark) in pre-1906 regulation 2 ring nickled scabbard is inscribed "JB" on the quillion and in very small engraved script on the blade "Cuno s/l Bielke 1900." Once again, a cadet school graduating roommates presentation piece. It comes with a minty fresh silky Portepée and in the original old sword storage bag (see 1908 Eichhorn catalog reprint p. 107 for the exact model bag) as first seen above.

You've been introduced to J. Bielke here many years ago, in bits and pieces because I've had his award documents since 1981. :whistle:

This sword came from England in 2012 and went to a Traveling Museum regular, with whose kind permision the sword is shared with you. :beer:

(If he dies first, I get the sword. If I die first, he gets the documents....) :catjava:

Edited by Rick Research
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This is going to be an Epic, so bear with me until I get to the end.

Sword presenter GUSTAV CUNO was a Bavarian pioneers officer--

Born 1879, alive 1926

Fähnrich 08.02.99

Leutnant 07.03.00

Oberleutnant 05.06.07

Hauptmann 01.10.12 ohne Patent (uniform of KB Pio Bn 4), later Patent of 30.09.14

to der Landwehr II status on 14.09.16 (!!!) and from that to zur Disposition with pension 13.01.17 (!!!) and yet

charakterisiert Major außer Dienst as a regular per the 1914-1918 Honor Rank List (with none of the dL/zD interludes showing!)

Cuno was commissioned into KB Pionier Bataillon 2. After serving as battalion adjutant, he was detached "without pay" to service with the Reichs Foreign Office from 15.01.06, and then over to the Reichs Colonial Office (in Berlin) from 14.06.07 to 28.02.09. He returned to KB Pio Bn 2 on 01.03.09. Assigned to Fortifikation Ingolstadt from 10.05.09, before assignment 19.12.09 as adjutant of the Inspector of the Bavarian Engineer Corps and Fortifications, while nominally assigned and uniformed to the 4th Pioneers in 1912. H was with that battalion when the war broke out.

Pre-war award =

Bavarian Military Merit Order 4th Class (BMV4) on 15.02.11

Bavarian Prince-Regent Luitpold Army Jubilee Medal 1905

Prussian Crown Order 4th Class (KO4) on 28.12.10 as Inspectorate adjutant

Cuno was clearly heading for great things...

Known wartime awards =

Bavarian Military Merit Order 4th Class with Swords (BMV4X) 30.08.15

Prussian Iron Cross 2nd Class

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Sword recipient JULIUS BIELKE

Born 16 April 1878 in Straßburg, Alsace, son of "Rentier" ("man of independent means") Julius Bielke, Senior (alive in 1920) and Anna née Müller (died 28.09.93). Protestant, unmarried as of 1920.

Bielke served in the Bavarian army foot artillery from 15 July 1898 to 31 March 1920:

Freiwilliger-Gemeiner unf Fahnenjunker 15.07.98 in KB Fußartillerie Regiment 2

Fähnrich 08.02.99

Leutnant 07.03.00

Oberleutnant 25.06.10

Hauptmann 26.05.14 ohne Patent/ Patent 20.10.14/post-war equalization to Prussians seniority 18.10.13

charakterisiert Major a.D. 27.12.20 with permission to wear the uniform of KB Foot Artillery Rgt 3.

With too much typing to do, will attach further career details as jpeg scans:

Edited by Rick Research
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With the exception of Bielke's Third Reich 40 Years Treudienstkreuz Urkunde, all of the award documents following were obtained by Yrs Truly in July 1981 from "The Fox Hole" (later Manion's). The 1938 document came from the same source... in October 1982. Ah, NO NAMES LISTED. Typical of that operation, none were described or even pictured--requiring long distance phone calls to long suffering (and non-German speaking) Al in "descriptions." But I was awatchin' and by gum I got these back together agin! (Also an unrelated family WW1 doc NOT relevant here). :cat:

Somewhere in the Great Out There his Bavarian XXIV Years Service Cross document has gone missing or been tossed as a dog license. Ditto his commissions. They may yet turn up. After all--his sword came from England in 2012!

You may all commence singing the "It's a Small, Small World" song now. It is scary sometimes, isn't it? :whistle:


1) Bavarian Army Luitpold Jubilee Medal: to Leutnant Bielke Fußa 3, at Munich 27 September 1905. Signed by foot artillery brigade commander Generalmajor Franz "Murmann" (GenLt aD 1853-1920). The red calligraphy is a classy extra touch not usually found on these documents.

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2) Iron Cross 2nd Class: 4 October 1914 as Hauptmann (so backdated!) and Battery Chief in Fußa 3. This is the standard IIIrd Bavarian Army Corps long form, autographed by commander General der Kavallerie Ludwig Freiherr 'v. Gebsattel" (1857-1930: Commander of the Bavarian Military Max Joseph Order, recipient of the Pour le Merite)

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3) Bavarian Military Merit Order 4th Class with Swords (BMV4X): 8 January 1915 "per 29 December 1914" as Hauptmann and Battery Chief in Fußa 3. This is the standard printed Bavarian wartime "dog license" no-frills Urkunde. Unit shown on these throughout was either the recipient's peacetime unit (for security reasons--all these were publically gazetted in the Personal-Nachrichten) or something like "of a reserve infantry regiment" as the individual case might have been.

Given time delays in processing, both Bielke's EK2 and BMV4X were likely for accumulated actions. On 19 August 1914 his battery singlehandedly knocked out the entire 1st Battalion/French 37th Field Artillery Regiment--which itself had wiped out the 1st Bavarian Infantry Divisions field artillery. 12 French guns and 15 ammunition wagons were captured in the enemy's abandoned positions. (See pp. 147-148 of "Bayerns Schwere Artillerie") Overnight 26/27 August 1914 Bielke's battery pounded French Fort Manonviller into surrendering. Over 16 to 18 November 1914 Bielke's mortar fire forced 4 French officers and 200 African troops into surrendering at Chauvoncourt. And as previously noted, the battery had played the significant role in capture of camp Fort des Romans.

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Some of you Ancient Ones may remember this coming up in the distant ages. Here we have Captain Bielke's RECEIPT for the BMV4X, signed by him "in the command post east of St. Mihiel" promising "after my decease" to have his grieving heirs RETURN the Order "intact and undamaged."

This "Declaration" has been further annotated and stamped to indicate that--per requirements--the BMV4X had been returned (yes, intact and undamaged) to the Bavarian Orders Chancery BEFORE they would release its REPLACEMENT--the BMV4X with Crown.

Officerss who wore BOTH a BMV4XKr and BMV4X after the first war were very very naughty perssons indeed!!!

Note that the return date--17 July 1918--is more than a month after his BMV4XKr was authorized--we'll get THERE below.

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4) Prussian Iron Cross 1st Class: just an ordinary piece of paper, typed up in the field. To Hauptmann and Battery Chief (without HIS unit!) of the Heavy Artillery of the 1st Bavarian Infantry Division, per decree of IIIrd Bavarian Army Corps 20 June 1916. This was only actually typed up (guess they were busy, hands full, war and all) on 15 August 1916, with stamp of (!) Prussian landwehr Foot Artillery Regiment 3 and autograph of its commander, KP Major Ludwig "Bissinger" (HOH3X, BMV4XKr, BZ3aX, RAO4, BMV4....).

For you Order of Battle fans--who'd have expected a PRUSSIAN Landwehr unit to be the headquarters of composite heavy artillery for a BAVARIAN division, eh?

At this time, Bielke was in the Ailly forest.

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5) Bavarian Military Merit Order 4th Class with Crown and Swords (BMV4XKr): awarded 14 June per 30 May 1918. Note the time lag between AWARD and authorization to GIVE it to him as noted above!

At this time Bielke's unit was suffering heavy losses due to the open terrain and unprepared positions around Armentieres (of That Song), as written by him in "Bayerns Schwere Artillerie" pp. 538 to 544.

Bielke was blessedly lucky that HE was "returned intact and undamaged!"

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6) Honor Cross for Frontfighters, aka Hindenburg Cross with Swords: issued in Stuttgart 25 February 1935 to Bielke as a Reichsbank official resident in Stuttgart-Degerloch. Signed by Police President (miraculously, since 1923) Rudolf "Klaiber" (*1873, KW Hptm dR aD). This was initialed by Bielke that he received the Cross and document on 13 March 1935.

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7) "Golden Faithful Service Cross" as the 40 Years Treudienst Cross was known: standard printed form issued 23 July 1938 to Bielke as Reichsbankinspektor in Stuttgart-Degerloch.

The only Urkunde missing is Bielke's Bavarian army XXIV Years Service Cross, awarded on 28 February 1919 (war years counted double).

ALL WE NEED IS A PHOTO OF BIELKE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

From their ages, both Bielke and Cuno were probably called back up for WW2 military rear area duty, with the usual one rank bump up z.V. I have nothing on Cuno after 1926 or on Bielke after 1938. From the dramatic change in Cuno's career, he may well hav been maimed or similarly permanently disabled.

Cuno's much younger ?brother/?cousin Kurt Cuno (1896-after 1957) also began his career in KB Pio Bn 4. Service in the Reichsheer and Wehrmacht took Kurt to Generalleutnant and award of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross and German Cross in Gold. Establishing the family link between the two Cunos might provide an explanation for what happened to Gustav. Their odd family name and service in the same unit cannot have been coincidence.


Auszug aus der Kriegsrangliste: Julius Bielke

"Die K.B. Schwere Artillerie im Großen Kriege 1914-1918," München, 1928. (Bielke wrote his units' accounts)

Bavarian Militär-Handbücher 1903, 1907, 1909, 1913, 1914, 1915, 1918

Bavarian Armee Verordnungsblätter 1898-1908

"Ehren-Rangliste des ehemaligen Deutschen Heeres 1914-1918," Berlin, 1926

Prussian Militär-Wochenblätter 1909, 1912, 1916 and 1917 (Bavarian entries on both officers)

and of course special thanks to the Traveling Museum custodian of Bielke's silver lionhead sword!

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And THAT is why Research Gnomes like named swords. :jumping:

Now, I can't promise anybody ELSE that when they post THEIR sword... I'm going to have all the wearer's award documents but...

you all DO know the words to the "It's A Small, Small World" song... don't you? :catjava:

P.S. For those stunned into appropriate disbelief by The Two Self-Proclaimed Giants' preposterous asking prices--which have, alas, infected every eCrap never-had-a-sword-before seller on the planet's unposted "minimum bids"...

THIS plain steel blade, immaculate as it is, was NOT "certifiable." There ARE "bargains" out there...

it all comes down to the documentation. :cat:

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Gustav Cuno was born on 2.4.1879 in Bellheim, Bezirksamt Germersheim, in the Bavarian Palatinate. He was the son of Josef Cuno and Maria geb. Lindemann.

Kurt Cuno was born in Zweibrücken, also in the Bavarian Palatinate. He was the son of Friedrich Cuno and Anna geb. Caumann/Cammann.

Bellheim and Zweibrücken are about 66km apart, as the crow flies. Gustav's father was a Kaufmann in Zweibrücken. Kurt's father was a Rentamtmann in Schönberg, Bayer. Wald. So maybe related, but not closely.

They were two of nine total Cunos in the Bavarian Army. The others:

• Ldstm. Maximilian Cuno, *28.6.1874 in Königshofen im Grabfeld, Unterfranken
• Kan. Julius Cuno, *1.1.1877 in Frankenthal im Pfalz
• Vfw. Ernst Cuno, *16.2.1883 in Königshofen im Grabfeld, Unterfranken
• Gefr. Eugen Cuno, *25.11.1883 in Bayreuth, Oberfranken
• Gefr. August Cuno, *30.4.1885 in Allegheny, Pennsylvania
• Gefr. Wilhelm Cuno, *9.10.1887 in Obermoschel, Kirchheimbolanden, Pfalz
• Lt.d.R. Simon Cuno, *12.3.1894 in Heubach, Kulmbach, Oberfranken
Maximilian and Ernst were brothers. All of the others have different fathers, but might have been cousins.

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