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Old 18th August 2022, 06:43 AM   #1
Cathey
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Default Walloon, not really?

Continuing on from my attempt to finally settle on general file descriptions for swords in my collection. Here is the next group I am querying.

This group, I have always described as Walloon’s although I know that is not strictly correct. I do have one classic Dutch Walloon and when you compare these to that sword the difference is size alone is significant. Not to mention that the Walloon is probably Dutch, whereas these are generally listed as German, Norweigan or Swiss. Given the country or origin dose vary I was thinking perhaps Campaign Sword/Sabre dependant on blade type or Field Sword/Sabre.

At this stage I have come across the following alternative names:
  • Velddegen
  • Felddegen
  • German Haudegen (Hewing Sword)
  • Campaign Sword
  • Swedish cavalry sword
  • Swedish cavalry broadsword
  • Reitar Haudegen
  • German campaign sabre
  • "Schwedendegen" (Swedish sword) if double edge and "Svensksabel" (Swedish Saber) if single edged
The four examples pictured are:

Walloon-c1610-Broadsword Kings Proof-Col Heinrich
This sword was originally featured in SOUTHWICK Leslie The Price Guide to Antique Edged Weapons pp 93 plate 239. Hilt of steel with side ring filled with a pierced plate, and with a thumb ring on the inner side. The blade struck with the king's head mark of Coll, Heinrich - Also known as Enrique Col or Coel and Henrique Sol. A famous German swordsmith who worked chiefly in Spain, 1588-1610.

Walloon-c1640-Broadsword
Northern European [Dutch or German] heavy cavalry campaign Walloon-hilted broad-sword dates to the Thirty-Year War, ca.1640, and is mounted with a Large broadsword blade. The hilt had acquired a nice uniform patina, has two knuckle guards decorated in the centre with twin engraved balls and a thumb guard. The Guards insert into the base of the pommel. The Shells display heavily embossed decoration, and the grip has twisted steel wire.

Walloon-c1650-Broadsword 1414 & Running Wolf
" straight double-edged blade with light staining & clear markings, short single fullers inscribed 1.4..1.4. & struck with the running wolf mark; grey finish to steel hilt with thumb ring on the inner side; flat mushroom shaped pommel & pierced kidney shaped guard; grip re-bound with woven brass wire; n/s. A good early sword C.1650

Walloon-c1670-Broadsword-Inti Domini
Good. 35" straight double-edged blade with light staining & clear markings, short single fullers inscribed INTI DOMINI (Innermost with the Lord) & struck with the running wolf mark; grey finish to steel hilt with thumb ring on the inner side; urn shaped pommel & pierced kidney shaped guard; grip re-bound with woven brass wire; n/s. A good early sword C.1670.

I would be interested in an alternative view of an appropriate and clear naming description, if possible, please provide references.

Cheers Cathey
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Old 18th August 2022, 09:16 AM   #2
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What magnificent swords! You must have a beautiful collection.

As far as I know Walloon are the French speaking people of Belgium. Not sure why this type of sword is named after them. Maybe because they live with the Flemish/Dutch people often associated with this sword? Maybe Walloon is the French term for the sword?

Nobody in Sweden knows why the Germans sometimes call it Schwedendegen/Schwedensäbel (Swedish sword/sabre). It seems to be a German term dating back to the 30-year war. These swords were never common in Sweden.

This is not science, but collecting individually handcrafted arms from the 17thC. Hence I think it’s futile to attempt to find scientific definitions to these items. As long as we understand each other when we mention a term then that’s satisfactory at a basic level.

I know immediately what people mean when they mention a Walloon sword. But given the fact that these swords were commonly used all over Europe I would try to avoid using a narrow geographic place to name this sword. I favour calling it a Felddegen or campaign sword. Other members may prefer to call it something else. The most important thing is that we understand each other.
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Old 18th August 2022, 01:20 PM   #3
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...As far as I know Walloon are the French speaking people of Belgium...
As you say, Victrix, Wallonia is the Southern francophone part of Belgium; land of the Walloons.
Some say the walloon sword is a 16th century european weapon used by belgian calvinist cavalry and foot soldiers alike.
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Old 18th August 2022, 01:44 PM   #4
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I think best before answering would be to check several of Jan Puype's books or the Visscher catalogue (which still I do not have). But I am bookless now.

IIRC Puype gives precise notice of how the walloon sword was adopted by the Dutch (PUYPE, Jan Piet, et al. Het arsenaal van de wereld. Nederlandse wapenhandel in de gouden eeuw. De Bataafsche Leeuw, Amsterdam 1993), sometime in the 1630s.

Next important date would be 1672 when the French armies invaded The Netherlands and afterwards adopted the Walloon hilt themselves.

In the 1690s the French started making variations of the hilt, both for infantry and cavalry and simplified versions in brass. Sabre blades were also attached.

The basic model was kept in use for almost a hundred years. Probably the peak of use of the Walloon sword was between the Nine years war and the War of the Spanish sucession. By all contenders, including the Spanish.

Even with the identification of the Heinrich Kolle blade, I believe 1610 is a too early date for that hilt. Also the 1414 and running wolf sword I think it is of French use and therefore shall be after 1672.

Walloons, after the peace of Arras (1579), were more of a third of the Catholic Monarchy troops in the Low Countries, outnumbering Italians or Spanish by far. After 1635 they were more than half. The Southern Low Countries, including Walloonie remained catholic. Given how easy was to cross the border, many emigrants moved to the north, but they were mostly Flemish speakers. Brabant in the Netherlands is mostly catholic nowadays.

The question is, I am not sure walloon swords originated with walloon troops.
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Old 18th August 2022, 01:47 PM   #5
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As far as I know Walloon are the French speaking people of Belgium. Not sure why this type of sword is named after them. Maybe because they live with the Flemish/Dutch people often associated with this sword? Maybe Walloon is the French term for the sword?

Nobody in Sweden knows why the Germans sometimes call it Schwedendegen/Schwedensäbel (Swedish sword/sabre). It seems to be a German term dating back to the 30-year war. These swords were never common in Sweden.

This is not science, but collecting individually handcrafted arms from the 17thC. Hence I think it’s futile to attempt to find scientific definitions to these items. As long as we understand each other when we mention a term then that’s satisfactory at a basic level.

I know immediately what people mean when they mention a Walloon sword. But given the fact that these swords were commonly used all over Europe I would try to avoid using a narrow geographic place to name this sword. I favour calling it a Felddegen or campaign sword.
Yeah, I would probably go with felddegen or haudegen.

On a side note, the blade on the bottom one does look almost exactly like the blade on the Walloon sword I got recently (except for the inscription, and minus some patina). So definitely close cousins! }|:oP Picture attached for reference.

As to why Walloons are named that; I've read in the past that it's just a 19th century collectors term... but I don't know whether that is true or not.
Alternatively I'd have hypothesized that they got the name from the French during their war against the Dutch (after which the French then made it into their first standardized model). The first forces they would've encountered geographically would have been the Walloons. But that is just musing and speculation on my part.

And of course the felddegens look quite similar (thumb ring, straight double edged cut and thrust blade, thrust plates on the guard, often pierced, upturned quillon bulb, roughly similar period).
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Old 19th August 2022, 01:53 PM   #6
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These are what the Dutch Legermuseum describe as waalse degen:

https://collectie.nmm.nl/nl/collectie/?q=waalse+degen

And these under houwdegen.

https://collectie.nmm.nl/nl/collectie/?q=houwdegen
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Old 20th August 2022, 12:56 PM   #7
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alternative view:
this type is called in Dutch Houwdegen = broadsword for the footsoldier/infantry and must be dated much later between 1675-1725.

epee-wallone/walloon sword is a different type of sword as previous post #5 , is the most famous Dutch sword and a broadsword for the cavalry, blades were exported from Solingen to Amsterdam where local made hilts were mounted and local made scabbards were added , exported in masses and used in most western European armies. 1645-1675

the name "sword from Wallonia" comes from the french who captured large quantities of these swords during their campaign in 1672/73 in the southern Netherlands and subsequently introduced the sword in the french army under epee wallone.

CF Puype, van Maurits naar Munster /JP puype p 92-95 p-114
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Old 10th September 2022, 11:35 AM   #8
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Default Schwedendegen (Swiss Sword) or Schwedensabel (Swiss Sabre)

Hi Guys

I am endeavouring to write an Article about (what I am now calling) European Campaign swords for the Heritage Arms Society Magazine Barrels and Blades. The swords I am referring to are the four I have posted here that now appear to be frequestly referred to as Schwedendegen (Swiss Sword) or Schwedensabel (Swiss Sabre). As I have said I had previously described these swords as Walloons and/or Walloon Type, until I secured an actual Dutch Walloon at which time, I knew this was definitely not the correct designation for this group of swords. All of mine appear to have German Blades and I have been using the blade to suggest an age; however, I understand that this is not necessarily accurate as older blades were re-used but hoped it might give me a starting point. At this stage the age of the blades on the four examples I have range from c1610 – c1670 (Approximately).

Whilst I intend to base my articel on the four swords already in my collection I am also hoping to include other examples as they come to light.

At this stage the references I am using are:
BEZDEK Richard H German Swords and Sword Makers Pp 187
BLAIR-C-European & American Arms c1100-1850 Pp 9 9 (175)
Cleveland Museum of Art Catalogue of Arms and Armour Vol. 4 Pp 66-68 Plate 234
KUPPELMAYR Waffen-Sammlung
MÜLLER, Heinrich, HARTMUT Kölling & PLATOW Gerd MÜLLER, Heinrich, HARTMUT Kölling & PLATOW Gerd Page 228 pictures 173, 174, 175, 176, 177
George Neumann, Swords & Blades of the American Revolution, pg.72 #33.
NORDSTROM Lena White Arms of the Royal Armoury pp 53 Plate 64
PUYPE J.P. WIEKART A.A. Van Maurits naar munster
SEITZ Heribert - Blankwaffen 2 Pp 110 Plate 123
SOUTHWICK Leslie The Price Guide to Antique Edged Weapons Pp 93 Plate 239
I have on order “The Visser Collection Arms of the Netherlands Vol. I Part 3” its on its way to Australia.

I was wondering if anyone has any other reference recommendations and/or any research material they would be prepared to share. Naturally I would credit them as the source.

In particular I am looking for:
• period paintings of soldiers with these swords
• the identity of the nations that used them, Sweden, Belgium, Norway, Bavaria etc
• were they manufactured in Germany or just the blades with hilts made locally?
• were they for cavalry or infantry or both.
• Where did they originate etc


Every source I check tells a different story thus far. Any assistance you can provide will be greatly appreciated.

Cheers Cathey
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Old 10th September 2022, 12:43 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Cathey View Post
Hi Guys

I am endeavouring to write an Article about (what I am now calling) European Campaign swords for the Heritage Arms Society Magazine Barrels and Blades. The swords I am referring to are the four I have posted here that now appear to be frequestly referred to as Schwedendegen (Swiss Sword) or Schwedensabel (Swiss Sabre). As I have said I had previously described these swords as Walloons and/or Walloon Type, until I secured an actual Dutch Walloon at which time, I knew this was definitely not the correct designation for this group of swords. All of mine appear to have German Blades and I have been using the blade to suggest an age; however, I understand that this is not necessarily accurate as older blades were re-used but hoped it might give me a starting point. At this stage the age of the blades on the four examples I have range from c1610 – c1670 (Approximately).
Hi Cathey,

I strongly discourage you from identifying these type of swords as Schwedendegen or Schwedensäbel since this means Swedish sword and sabre (not Swiss!). People from non-European continents often mix up Sweden and Switzerland which have some similarities in character but are very different countries in Europe.

As I mentioned in post #2 already: “Nobody in Sweden knows why the Germans sometimes call it Schwedendegen/Schwedensäbel (Swedish sword/sabre). It seems to be a German term dating back to the 30-year war. These swords were never common in Sweden.”
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Old 11th September 2022, 02:07 AM   #10
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Default I actually call them Campaign swords

Hi Vitrix,

As you can see from my previous posts I now refer to these as Campaign swords. I used the term Schwedendegen (Swiss Sword) or Schwedensabel (Swiss Sabre) in the header of this post as it has been used on other sites and I hoped it might draw in more information.

Thank you for response, it is useful to note that these swords were not common in Sweden.

I am actaully wondering if I should perhaps start an entirely new thread in the hope of illiciting more information. These are proving very difficult to research with any degredd of confidence.

Cheers Cathey
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Old 11th September 2022, 05:59 AM   #11
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I have found the thread to be very informative and have restrained my own thoughts due to real ignorance of the scope in time we are looking at.

The more I read of the descriptive terms, it seems like a timeline needs to be included to categorize the specific forms. Walloons best regarding the late century infantry swords.

My one example may be later 17th century, with the fully developed inboard plate. Also a plain broad hewing blade of cavalry length.

Some descriptions get parsed to death as to literal meanings, so that just adds more to simply calling everything a walloon (when they are not).

Thanks for this thread!

GC
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Old 28th September 2022, 09:22 AM   #12
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Default Kings Head Marks

Hi Hotspur

Thankyou for posting this sword, a very nice example of this particular group. Yet another variation of a Kings head mark, it looks like the face on yours is slightly turned towards the front which I havn't seen before. This and some healthy debate over other variations has prompted me to make this a sub section of my article and try and conclude who used which particuar Kings Head. The kings head mark in some form appears to feature on many examples of these swords.

If you have any other swords with a kings head mark I would love to see them.

Cheers Cathey
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Old 29th September 2022, 08:19 AM   #13
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Default Kinga Head Mark

With regard to the kings head mark on blades which caused me to revisit my references. The variations are astounding, even when they can be attributed to a single maker. Attached is what I have found in my references so far. I will try not to get distracted by this area of research but it will certainly be worth revisiting when the Walloon/campaign article is complete.

Cheer Cathey
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Old 29th September 2022, 10:00 AM   #14
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So here is the walloon type sword with a kings head mark I found in the Auckland War Memorial Museum, which they had mislabeled as a rapier!
My initial research into the Kings Head turned up the Wundes family but upon further digging I figured it had to be Martino Antonio because it faced left. Now you show me pictures that say the Wundes family mark could face either way. If anyone has any firm idea of this exact mark it would be appreciated, no other marks are to be seen on the blade.
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Old 29th September 2022, 07:04 PM   #15
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While the focus on makers marks, specifically the 'konigskopf' (=kings head), is in some sense a digression, it is salient in some manner as pertains to these sword forms.

The 'kings head' is well known initially to the Wundes' family of Solingen from late 16th c. into 18th, however in mid to latter 18th it was adopted by the dominant Solingen Weyersberg dynasty, in which there seems to have been abundant variations. In the pages from "The Plug Bayonet" by the late Roger Evans, the mysteries of these often almost wildly variant images of kings head marks seem to have been used by different family members in different periods. Often these dies would become worn or broken, or in cases simply revised in degree to signify individual note.
There is the suggestion of possible use by the German makers who had gone to England in early 18th century to Hounslow using these Solingen marks, just as with the 'running wolf' , however this seems unlikely.

Naturally there have always been cases where well established marks were purloined on other blades, which was a matter of notable disagreement and dispute, but ironically, many markings used in Solingen were spuriously used from other countries, esp. Spain. and the guild registered markings were notably monitored.

It is interesting that in the Wundes group of kings head marks there is one with reduced points of the 'crown' referring to it as a 'conventionalized' version. In the 17th c.. Kohl was using a very similar 'emperors head', so this I'm sure might be factored in.

The 'green man' image with crown was among the figures popular in English themes in hilt decoration early 17th c. (see "British Military Swords 1600-1660" Stuart Mowbray , 2013 for further reading.

Here I would note regarding the use of these 'walloon' type swords in Sweden is further supported by the fact that Casper Kohl of Solingen went to Wira in Sweden in 1630s and there brought in other Solingen smiths as well. As these types of swords were seemingly predominant in German manufacture it seems likely they were made there, as with note to issuance of these by Gustavus Adolphus. Perhaps this might account for the term attributing these in cases being 'Swedish swords'.
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Old 30th September 2022, 07:31 AM   #16
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Here's my Wundes head marking from my Scottish basket hilt. Very similar to yours, Toaster-
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Old 30th September 2022, 06:49 PM   #17
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Here's my Wundes head marking from my Scottish basket hilt. Very similar to yours, Toaster-
This is an amazing Scottish basket hilt of latter 17th c. and it seems had multiple kings head stamps in linear progression, which was another of the variable applications using this mark. Obviously not 'every' Scottish basket hilt had an ANDREA FERARA blade, though that was one of the most favored.

In these times, the Netherlands were one of the most prevalent entrepots of arms and blades from Germany were of course well known going into North England in notable quantity. This was likely the reason they often became termed colloquially 'Dutch' blades, when in fact 'Duetsche'.

With this being the case it does not seem surprising that the bilobate hilt arming swords which became collectively deemed 'walloons' were so widely popular in European armies, as often fully assembled swords were among commerce distributed through there.
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Old 1st October 2022, 04:30 PM   #18
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Here I would note regarding the use of these 'walloon' type swords in Sweden is further supported by the fact that Casper Kohl of Solingen went to Wira in Sweden in 1630s and there brought in other Solingen smiths as well. As these types of swords were seemingly predominant in German manufacture it seems likely they were made there, as with note to issuance of these by Gustavus Adolphus. Perhaps this might account for the term attributing these in cases being 'Swedish swords'.
Whilst it’s true that Gustavus Adolphus started domestic production of military swords in Wira in 1630s and brought Casper Kohl of Solingen for this purpose, there is no evidence that Walloon type swords were produced there. The following information is from Heribert Seitz’s Svärdet och Värjan som Armévapen (1955).

The first picture shows a Walloon type sword common in Central Europe of German origins from the later phase of the 30-year war which in German-speaking areas sometimes are called “Swedendegen” or if the blade is curved “Schwedensäbel.” The reason could be that the blade is engraved with Gustav Adolphus’s portrait.

At the beginning of the 30-year war in 1620-30s Sweden imported most of its swords from the Netherlands (protestants). These are the Netherland-Swedish type some of which have a knuckle guard (pics 2, 3 and 4). These have cross guards and characteristic flat pear/heart shaped pommels.

Domestic production of swords in Sweden started in mid 1630s and and developed from the previously imported Netherland-Swedish type to a simple design cavalry sword at the end of the 30-year war (pics 5-6). This later developed into the soldier swords of the 1650-70s where the pommel became more spherical or onion shaped (pic 7).

From the above my impression is that the so called Walloon type sword was more prevalent on the continent than in Sweden where the Netherland-Swedish type dominated. I have seen no evidence that Walloon type swords were produced in Sweden. Only the first sword above is described as “Schwedendegen” in the book and is of German origins.
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Old 1st October 2022, 05:18 PM   #19
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That is absolutely wonderful and detailed information Victrix! Thank you so much, and for listing the reference source. I know that Seitz is an excellent source for weapons from these regions but unfortunately do not have it.

I think your suggestion that the term 'Swedish sword' or 'saber' might be from the image of Gustavus Adolphus on the blade is quite plausible. In the case of Polish swords, certain forms are known by images of the contemporary rulers on the blades (I cannot think of the examples offhand, but the analogy was relevant).
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Old 2nd October 2022, 10:56 AM   #20
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That is absolutely wonderful and detailed information Victrix! Thank you so much, and for listing the reference source. I know that Seitz is an excellent source for weapons from these regions but unfortunately do not have it.

I think your suggestion that the term 'Swedish sword' or 'saber' might be from the image of Gustavus Adolphus on the blade is quite plausible. In the case of Polish swords, certain forms are known by images of the contemporary rulers on the blades (I cannot think of the examples offhand, but the analogy was relevant).
Jim it seems it’s mainly in Germany they were called “Swedish swords” (Schwedendegen) and they were mostly produced on the European continent (i.e. not locally in Sweden). Most of Gustavus Adolphus’s army consisted of foreign mercenaries (many famous Scotsmen included) and Germans who were his allieds. It’s possible that these German troops and mercenaries were issued with or were using Walloon type swords produced locally in Germany or nearby Netherlands.

Seitz’s book is excellent. It’s mostly in Swedish but has some captions in English. Its English sub-title is The History of the Swedish Army Sword 1500-1860. It’s occasionally available in local second hand bookshops.

Only a couple of weeks ago I was fortunate enough to attend a viewing of the armoury at Skokloster castle which is one of the largest arms collections in Europe dating from around the 30-year war. I was then able to see some of the swords in the book first hand. The collection belonged to Carl Gustaf Wrangel, one of the Swedish commanders in that war who amassed war booty and became fabulously wealthy.
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Old 2nd October 2022, 01:29 PM   #21
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Jim it seems it’s mainly in Germany they were called “Swedish swords” (Schwedendegen) and they were mostly produced on the European continent (i.e. not locally in Sweden). Most of Gustavus Adolphus’s army consisted of foreign mercenaries (many famous Scotsmen included) and Germans who were his allieds. It’s possible that these German troops and mercenaries were issued with or were using Walloon type swords produced locally in Germany or nearby Netherlands.

Seitz’s book is excellent. It’s mostly in Swedish but has some captions in English. Its English sub-title is The History of the Swedish Army Sword 1500-1860. It’s occasionally available in local second hand bookshops.

Only a couple of weeks ago I was fortunate enough to attend a viewing of the armoury at Skokloster castle which is one of the largest arms collections in Europe dating from around the 30-year war. I was then able to see some of the swords in the book first hand. The collection belonged to Carl Gustaf Wrangel, one of the Swedish commanders in that war who amassed war booty and became fabulously wealthy.
Amazing !!
Thank you for sharing
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