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Lot 0702


FROM THE ESTATE OF GEN. CLARENCE R. HUEBNER, COMMANDER OF THE 1ST INFANTRY DIVISION IN THE FIRST WAVE AT OMAHA BEACH Finely-forged Japanese sword blade, measuring 26 3/4' from 'kissaki'(tip) to the habaki stop, and 33' long overall. The tang is 'mumei' (lacking a signature), but the reverse bears two vertically aligned kanji, likely a dated, although these have not been translated by us. The tang further shows a fine layer of brown oxidation, with two overlapping holes for 'mekugi', or securing pins. The blade is very skillfully forged and shows a subtle, inactive 'hamon' delineating the cutting edge, with very visible 'hada' (grain) just above the tang. The obverse of the blade features a wide fuller above a much narrower groove, both terminating 1' from the kissaki, while the reverse shows two narrow fullers of similar length. The exposed area of the blade shows some extremely light freckling, but is otherwise in fine condition. The sword is mounted in a later wood grip covered with white ray skin, wrapped with brown fabric laces and with two brass 'menuki' in the form of cherry blossoms inserted beneath the wrappings, one on each side. This grip does not fully fit the tang, and the 'mekugi' (wood pin) securing it to the blade is missing. The 'tsuba' is brass, decorated with four cherry blossoms. The top of the grip, the 'tsuba', and the two brass spacers above it are all numbered '19'. It is most likely that these fittings were all installed circa World War II, enabling the sword to be used by an officer. The blade is housed in a brown-painted steel scabbard with a thin wood liner, mounted with brass decorations and a single suspension ring. All fittings are in very good condition overall, showing only minor wear. CLARENCE R. HUEBNER (1888-1972) American general who commanded the 1st Infantry Division, popularly known as the 'Big Red One', in early August of 1943. He commanded the division during the D-Day landings on June 6, 1944, where it was the first force to face the Germans on Omaha Beach, and he joined his men on the beach the same day. The division was instrumental in the breakthrough following the battle for St. Lo and in foiling the German counteroffensive at Mortain. After the Allied breakout in Normandy, the division advanced rapidly, arriving at the German border in early October of 1944, where it was committed to battle at Aachen, which it captured after two weeks of heavy fighting. After experiencing heavy fighting once again in the Huertgen Forest, the division briefly rested but soon returned to counter the German offensive at the Battle of the Bulge in December, 1944. In January, 1945, Huebner was named commander of the V Corps, which he commanded in its advance to the Elbe river, where elements of the corps made the first contact with the Soviet Red Army. By war's end, the division had advanced into Czechoslovakia. Following the German surrender, Huebner served as the Chief of Staff for all American forces in Europe, and in 1949 was named the final military governor of the American occupation zone in Germany. This katana originates directly from General Huebner's estate and is accompanied by a letter of provenance signed by a direct linear descendant. We believe that he received this sword as a gift from an unknown fellow officer, and that it was likely sized as a prize from a surrendering Japanese officer at war's end.

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Estimate $500 - $700Nov 20