Thursday, February 26, 2015

Standard Toy Soldier Poses: the Officer with Pistol

Standard Toy Soldier Poses: The Officer

Most of the troops in a set of soldiers carry the main infantry weapons of the army they represent. One who does not is the officer. Usually depicted wit ha pistol in hand, the officer stands our for his lack of heavy weaponry. Every set has an officer of one sort or another.

Of course, every set of toy soldiers has its commander. From sets representing Revolutionary War troops to War of 1812 / Napoleonics, Civil War and modern forces, there he is. In sets for the 18th and 19th centuries, the officer may have a sword, or pistol, or both. 20t hand 21st Century officers have pistols. The officer’s weapons are defensive. The pistol has been considered a "back-up" weapon because of its short range. Swords were the back-up weapons of an era where bayoneted muskets were the close-quarter weapons of choice. The idea of a lightly-armed officer was to keep his focus on leading the troops rather than getting into the shooting himself. He was to lead the fight. It is rather hard to observe the enemy and one’s own troops if one is actively engaged in firing at the enemy.

Officers in sets from the "horse and musket" usually wield a sword, which was a symbol of authority since the Middle Ages. In many places during Medieval times, only nobility could wield a full-size sword. Many things from that era are retained in modern officer corps. Saluting and the deferential "Sir" when addressing a commissioned officer are Medieval holdovers.

Swords fell out of favor after the Civil War. Revolvers and other "repeaters" relegated swords to ceremonial uses. Soon after, magazine-fed automatic pistols increased an officer’s firepower for times when the enemy got too close. While his range did not increase, his defensive capacity imrpoved greatly wit hthe advent of the automatic pistol. The US M1911 .45, German Mauser "broomstick" 7.65 automatic pistol and 9mm Parabellum Luger defined the new era of hand guns.

Most of the officer figures are posed as if they are leading their troops. Only a few are firing their pistols.

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