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"Prussian grenadier carpenters question" Topic

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clibinarium01 Nov 2020 3:10 a.m. PST

Does anyone know how carpenters slung their axes while not in use? I am sure I have seen an illustration of this but cannot now find it. A quick google will give images of them with the axe in hand, but none with it slung. Memory tells me it was slung on the back head down in a leather cover, but memory can be faulty.
Any ideas?

Extrabio1947 Supporting Member of TMP01 Nov 2020 10:37 a.m. PST

The Menzel plates include a front view of a Zimmerman, but not the back. Noticeably absent is a separate shoulder strap for the axe. So either (1) the Zimmerman always carried the axe in his hands; or (2) the axe holder was incorporated into the cartridge box strap, with the cover positioned as you described.

The Zimmerman included in the Mollo book seems to have been sourced from the Menzel plates.

Von Winterfeldt will probably be able to give you a definitive answer.

AICUSV03 Nov 2020 4:47 p.m. PST

I couldn't find anything different than what you have already. I wonder if the axe was just stuck behind cartridge box, handle down and head wedge on the straps.

Garde de Paris04 Nov 2020 8:28 a.m. PST

The axe handle would not run down from the pouch, for it would hit the soldier's leg or legs. Classically, French Napoleonic sapeurs had a leather axe head pouch with a bullet pouch on the front, and the axe ran up along the soldier's back, under his back pack.

Does anyone collect Prussian 30mm flats of the 7YW? Such collections usually show every type of soldier, and might show the back of Prussian zimmerleute (sapeurs). Perhaps Crogge?


Garde de Paris04 Nov 2020 8:41 a.m. PST

Does anyone have any illustrations of the back of any sapeurs of any European army of the era? Could be universal for all such armies.


Garde de Paris04 Nov 2020 8:47 a.m. PST


I hope you can see the side view of a sapeur of the French Old Guard Grenadiers on this page. looking at this right side, see the small black bullet pouch on the front of the black axe head case. It is the bullet pouch belt for all French sapeurs of the era.


Here is an even better selection of rear views of French Sapeurs! "Good on" Pinterest!


AICUSV04 Nov 2020 9:51 p.m. PST

Ray, Is it possible that Old Fritz was too cheap to give them scabbard ? I recall see an image someplace of a Sapper with the axe carried the same way as the Nap. French, but I can't find the image and all the one I can find there is no strap for one.

Garde de Paris05 Nov 2020 9:20 a.m. PST

Reg (AICUSV) Funny!

The "strap" would have been the leather belt for the bullet pouch.

I understand Fred spoke French – probably better than German! He also seemed bo be something of a francophile. He probably would have copied such equipment from them. I just do not know how they equipped their sapeurs at that time.

Also, his army on the way to fighte at Rossbach was newly-uniformed, not a cheap process.

His army was his favorite set of friends. His officer corps was made up of poor Junker nobles. He had the best battlefeld cavarly – probably in the world He bought the 5th, later Bayreuth dragoons, from Saxony for a set of porcelain.

42flanker05 Nov 2020 12:52 p.m. PST

Wasn't that his father, Frederick William?

And I think it was the other way around. FW accepted the dragoons in payment from Augustus of Saxony who was mad for Chinese porcelain. FW doubtless thought he got the best of the deal

von Winterfeldt22 Nov 2020 9:44 a.m. PST

Von Winterfeldt will probably be able to give you a definitive answer.

Much faith you have in the force young padawan – but only suggestions I am able to give.

Under FWI – dem Soldatenkönig eben – as well as under Fredric the Great – the Zimmerleute had axes and an apron of fur – Schurzfell.

Into the big cartridge pouch carried at the back, also called Zimmertasche – the axe could be put into – for that reason it did not contain the so called Kartouche, the compartment were the cartridges could be stuck into, the cartridges were carried at the belly pouch.

So far so easy

The guns and the belly pouch were abolished in 1753.

Scheelens who was with the Guard remarks in 1756 – As long as there are no guns with the battalion (regimental cannons in that context) the Zimmerleute carry the cartridge pouch and fur apron, and they carry the axe, they don't carry a gun.
When the gun is steeply shouldered the Zimmerleute carry the axe outward, are the guns however inclined backwards or when they are carried upside down they carry it inwards on the shoulder and the drummers march with slung drums in two ranks in front of the Zimmerleute, (…)
Kling page 164

Now what does that tell us, when with the guns (in that context regimental cannons) they had no axe etc. – but like when marching into a town etc. – they carried the axe on the shoulder, which they could do without any problems there they carried no muskets any longer.

This was a bit different in 1743.

Don't ask me what Scheelens did mean with outward or inward, there they did not carry muskets any longer it was no meed to stick them into the cartridge pouch either.

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