=s was commissioned to make 250 new F/S knives just for this purpose. Talk about an instant collectable. My friend=s knife was one of two retained by Wilkinson=s for their showroom display and museum. Talked out of one of the knives they now just retain one and it isn=t for sale, I asked. Along with the knife came a letter stating how many were made and when the were produced. To all you F/S collectors out there, there=s a new one floating around that will be worth big bucks as soon as it is known to exist.
Knife knotes part II
The Navy V-42??
Some new information just arose but it is very limited. We know that Case shipped 70 knives to the Brooklyn Navy yard in 1943. We also know that these knives were stamped on the short Marine Raider type scabbardAU.S.S. Omaha@. These knives were issued to the AShips Landing Party@ according to information given to M.H. Cole in his book IV. The U.S.S. Omaha was one of ten ships in the AOmaha@ class of Light Cruisers. Built in 1920 the U.S.S. Omaha was one of the older ships in the fleet during World War II. She mounted 12 - 6 inch guns, weighted 7,050 tones and had a complement of 458 personal. So far nothing new here. What is speculated at this time if the makeup of the AShips Landing Party@. Well in April 1941 the Congress of the United States stipulated that the Marine Corps strength should be 20% of the Navy in all areas. With this enacted, AShips ALanding Parties@ on capitol ships were comprised of Marines in all theatres of operations. The complement for the U.S.S. Omaha was set at 45 to 60 Marines a lower number then the 20% due to bunking facilities. With the Raider type scabbards and a like number of Marines aboard it is most likely that the Case -42's were issued to Marines. Again this is speculation on my part but the numbers seem to fit. Does anyone have additional information to add to this part of history?
The grass is bright green, the garden is producing large volumes of various delights and lazy days abound, what could be better. As I sit here writing this I realize it is fleeting. Soon the first hint of fall will be upon us but that=s ok because it brings with it the Aknife season@. Shows will begin again, new adventures and discoveries will abound. I look forward to it.
Two new books are arriving on the scene for military knife collectors. The first is British and Commonwealth Military Knives by Ron Flook. This book gives extensive coverage to knives of the British Empire from the Victorian era to the present day. At 256 pages it contains over 500 illustrations and line drawings. Many knives not previously know are pictured in here. This book will be a welcome addition to the library.
The second book is by fellow member Mike Silvey. Knives of the United States Military, World War II, is a full color, large format book much like the fantastic previous book by Mike, Knives of the United States Military in Vietnam. I have had the chance to see some of the pre-production photo layouts for this new book and can tell you they are wonderful. At 250 pages with 240 full page color plates this book will be loaded with beautiful photography that Mike has become known for. The first printing will be a limited edition so get yours fast. This book can be obtained directly from the author at PO Box 278106, Sacramento, Ca. 95827. I can=t wait for my copy.
Knives by Wire.
I think I have purchased more knives this past summer then I have at any time in the past. All from the comfort of my own home. This new way of shopping is sweeping the nation and it is via the wires in you house. The Internet has brought about the auction to the common folk. Several companies now have auction sites on-line and knives abound on them. When I say knives I mean serious knives. I have seen rare and virtual one of a kind items put up for bid by knowledgeable and sometimes unknowing sellers. As with any purchase be careful and check the product out thoroughly but by all means look into it. This will not take the place of the knife show but it will help those withdrawal symptoms just fine.
Experimental Fighting Knives
Using some information I just received from fellow collector Mike Silvey along with information I obtained from the National Archives we can piece together another puzzle in the chain of military knives. In M.H. Cole=s Book IV pg. 107 he lists several experimental fighting knives. Just to establish a little history on these knives I quote from official letters the following, A The United States Infantry Board evaluated the standard bayonet-knife (M5E1) as a combination utility-fighting knife in early 1957 when it was first contemplated that rifles of the future would not require bayonets. The Board found this bayonet-knife unsuitable and recommended that several other type knives be submitted for evaluation. In June of 1958 the test items were received for service test. However the plan to eliminate the bayonet from the rifle was revoked in early 1959 by the Department of the Army and as a result the Service Test of the Fighting Knife was terminated.@ These knives were originally made up in 1958 for testing as the Army was thinking of officially dropping the bayonet from it=s inventory. With the issue of the M-14 rifle and fully automatic fire power the powers that be thought the bayonet was needless pounds on the individual soldier. While the drawings are great and the information accurate what it doesn=t say is the outcome of the tests. Just to sum it up both knives were tested in 1959 along with the USMC Fighting / Utility knife. The USMC Fighting / Utility knife won the competition hands down. In the final analysis the Infantry Board summed it up by stating AIt is recommended that test knife Nr3 (USMC Fighting / Utility knife) and scabbard Nr1 be considered suitable for Army use if the need for a fighting - utility knife is established.@
So both of these knives were left on the drawing board and became very rare collectors pieces today. It also led to the adoption, by the Department of Defense, of the USMC Fighting / Utility for all services. The Mark-2 was listed in catalogs and became the official knife for issue where such items were needed. It was at this time that the Mark-2 had the blade markings changed toAU.S.@ over the contractors name for issue to all services. The Mark-2 became AAmerica=s Knife.@
The Force Recon knife
Say it ain=t so!! In a recent conversation with a fellow knife aficionado the subject of the mysterious USMC Force Recon knife came up. Well the conversation didn=t just come up, I pried a little bit. The fellow I was speaking with was a two tour Force Recon vet of the Vietnam War. He is also a former Director of the Marine Corps Museum at the San Diego Recruit Depot. He said he had never seen one in Vietnam nor was it an issue item! SOG knives, yes. Randall's, yes. Gerber's, yes. The majority carried the USMC Fighting / Utility knife better known as the K-bar. I had often wondered why such an elite, high class organization such as the Marine Corps Force Recon would chose such a piece of junk for a knife. I guess I knew better all along but really wanted to believe in the knife being the real deal. I wonder where these ideas get started. Who called the knife a Force Recon knife to begin with? Stopping it now is like standing in front of a moving truck on the highway, you just don=t stand a chance. Case in point is the correction of the Collins #18 being called a V-44, it ain=t but it will always be known as such. If anyone has documentation to substantiate this knife as being part of the Vietnam era USMC Force Recon organization I would sure like to see it. Until then it=s just another cheaply made Japanese knife to me.
Royal Marines Falklands Fairbairn
Say that fast 5 times or so. In Ron Flook's book I talked about last month a knife was pictured that I had never heard about. Well recently a friend of mine in England just purchased one. It seem when the UK declared war with Argentina the Royal Marines were summoned to take part in the frey. As preparations were being made the urgent call for Fairbairn / Sykes knives went out. Wilkinson
The Hughes Knife
For years now I have been searching for information on the so calledAHughes Knife@. Well just when you don=t expect it sometimes it just falls in your lap. On a recent request from the National Archives a little blurb about a knife Atest@ piqued my interest. Just to set the record straight the Hughes knife was beaten in a test for the replacement of the Model 1917 / 1918 Trench knife. The final result was the Model 1918 Mark 1 Trench knife with the brass knuckle handle. I have seen the knife mentioned several times in prominent books such as Benedict Crowell's AAmericas Munitions@ and others but never a description or a picture of one. Anyway on further search it appears to have materialized on paper. Right now I am waiting on the only known two pictures of the knife. It appears from the testing that 6 knives were made for this purpose but if any others were produced after that it is a mystery still. The knife itself was patented in the U.S. and in England. Patent drawings and further information to follow next month I hope. I love it when a plan comes together, even if it wasn=t what I had in mind at the time.
In the Gun Digest Book of knives 3rd Edition on page 123 they noted that the firm of Springfield Armory was importing several items from what was then West Germany. German fighting knives and wire cutting bayonets I can understand but also pictured is a copy of the USMC Fighting / Utility knife supposedly made in West Germany. Has anybody ever seen one? Have information on them? I e-mailed the firm, Springfield Armory, and they told me they weren=t in business at the time that article was written. Different Springfield Armory I guess!! Could the U.S. / M.S.I. marked knife be the one? Naw, the Germans have too much pride to build a piece of trash like that.
A Kinfolks Mark -2 ??
I really doubt it but one never knows. Several months ago I received a query from a prominent knife dealer asking how much a knife such as this would be worth. My reply at the time was I really didn=t know as one had never been documented. To me it was a fantasy knife even if it was very well executed. Well just the other day I had the chance to buy the knife. The price was considerably lower then had at first been discussed. While I do not encourage this type of behavior, buying fakes, I bought the knife knowing full well it could or should I say probably was someone=s fantasy object. As long as you knowingly enter into the sale this way I do not see a problem with it. Again I wouldn=t pay some outrageous price to encourage fake makers to continue the craft but it does fit in well with my Mark - 2 collection. Anyway with the knifes arrival it was plain to see that the stamping in the blade was very real and is identical to those on other wartime Kinfolks knives. The handle and the guard are not very well executed but that damn stamping has me bothered. It is really good. An inquiry to the Case Collectors club revealed nothing. Perhaps it was made by some worker at the Kinfolks plant in some spare time. Perhaps it is a very good fake and perhaps it is the real thing made up as a prototype. Perhaps I will never know.
A New Book
As promised a couple of months ago I received the newest book from Mike Silvey. Titled Knives of the United States Military, World War II it is awesome. Mike has done a fine job of bringing some of the most desirable knives to life. The knives are placed with other items of interest to the militaria collector of World War II. In fact some of the articles in the photos are rarer then some of the knives! But don=t let that fool you these knives are keepers. Full color and lots of pages bring out the details often missed with a casual glance. I couldn=t put it down when it arrived. Sure to become a classic, get it while you still can, this is sure to be another sell out book by Mike. You can purchase it directly through Mike Silvey at PO Box 278106, Sacramento, Ca. 95827 or through Knife World Publications.
That=s right Bolos! I have been watching the prices grow on these items steadily through the year. It seems there are collectors out there who specialize in them and the crowd is growing. Long under appreciated by the main stream knife collector they have remained at a very low cost considering the numbers of them made. The last large issue to main forces was in World War II if you don=t count the items issued to SOG troopers on a limited basis in Vietnam. Prior to that the bolo was a pre World War I item. The Model of 1904, Model of 1909 and Model of 1910 are still out there but quickly going up in price. The Model of 1917 and the Model of 1917 C.T. is still pretty much seen at every show. Quality varies on these last two so take your time to select nice ones. Trying to collect one of every year and every manufacturer would be difficult at this point but still achievable. And you won=t have to take out a second mortgage on your house to do it. You heard it here, start buying bolos before it is too late.
I just heard it on the news tonight that Colt Firearms is shutting down production to the civilian markets. Funny how the government that went to Colt for help during the last 5 major wars starting with the Civil War is the same one that is trying to shut them down. Honor is the first word that comes to my mind, a lack of it in the current crop of politicians. Despicable is the second word. It never ceases to amaze me.
Another Mark 2 Variation
It never stops I guess. Just when you think you have them all another one comes down the pike. Just picked up a blade marked Robeson Shuredge USN Mark 2 that does not haveARobeson Shuredge@ stamped on the reverse ricasso. As it is the first one I have seen I would guess it was a production oversight. That=s a guess mind you! In that run I wonder how many were produced like that. 1 or 100 or even 1,000 may have been made like it. It=s funny that after 55 years these things are still coming to light. It makes the hunt that much more entertaining. Like a fellow collector recently said to me AAin=t it fun@, frustrating, maddening, expensive at times, yep, you bet, AFUN@ in capitol letters!
Non - Mag Diving Knives
I have been in contact with several people and various government agencies trying to find the source of the 1981 contract Non Magnetic EOD knives. So far it has been a bust. The number printed on the knife and scabbard refers to an electronics company that has never produced a knife that they are aware of. I have come up with the official drawings and specifications from the Navy EOD department but so far the manufacturer is still blank. These knives were all supposed to be de-mil=ed by cutting them in half. That sure didn=t happen to a lot of them. In fact some are still carried in supply as late as 1998 according to official records. They have been replaced by titanium based knives but the older ones are still in the fleet. The earlier model as made by Imperial has been documented quite well. We all know somebody made them but the question still remains who? If you have any relevant information on these knives I would sure appreciate hearing from you. Believe it or not that is the way most of the information turns up, little pieces here and there add up. Who knows, maybe we can still figure this one out.
Aircrew Survival Knives
A really good book on the subject isAUnited States Combat Aircrew Survival Equipment@ published by Schiffer Publishing. It identifies many different knives and correctly places them in the actual survival packages they were originally intended for. The one that really stands out in my mind is the Case V-44. The real V-44 was intended for the Navy M-592 Survival kit. It is a wooden handle fixed blade machete with a 10" blued blade, not the Collins No 18 pattern knife everybody calls them today. While the book doesn=t go into this much detail on nomenclature it properly shows what knives were and currently are used as Aircrew Survival knives. And it is just plain interesting reading.
The Marines Knife of Choice Today
It=s not what you would think but it is a great idea. Fresh Marines straight out of MCT (military combat training) are given a pay allowance and instructed to purchase a knife and a watch. At a recent graduation exercise at Camp Lejune N.C. I witnessed about 30 Marines line up in the base P.X. buying them. The knife they are Ainstructed@ to purchase is the Gerber Multi-tool. Gone are the days of the MIL-K-818C being in everyone=s pocket. Today=s warriors are being equipped with the multi-tool for use in the field or on the base. As the standard USMC Fighting / Utility knife just passed it=s 57th birthday as an issue knife it is far from being the knife of choice anymore. Although when it comes to fixed blades it is still the number one choice of the new Marines. Tradition dies hard in the Corps and a AK-bar@ at your side says a lot about the warrior. Come to think of it the Mark 2 is probably the longest serving knife in the history of the military. Can you think of one that has been around longer?
The M9 Bayonet as made by Lan-Cay is back to using forged blades again. Although there have not been any reported breakage problems with the stock removal process the specs call for a forged blade and apparently that is what the Army wants. That makes about the umpteenth revision of the M9 in it=s short life. The collector of M9's can have a field day trying to collect all the different patterns made. They are minor changes to be sure but they are changes and that adds excitement to the chase. More changes are in the works waiting for Army approval. A big one is the grip design being changed to a more ergonomic style. That would be a big plus and it would also be a more noticeable change to the average collector. Keep your eye on these as some subtle little changes can mean the difference between a $75.00 item and a $600.00 dollar one.
Comments from Abroad
In the last issue of the Knewsletter an addendum was added by ibdennis adding to our knowledge of the F/S knives of the Falklands war era by Mr. Bruce Larsen. I passed these comments on to a British friend of mine, Peter White, co-author of The Bayonet Book and thought his comments worthy of repeating here. This topic has surely generated much conversation and we are very glad to see it.
Also of interest was your comment about the other knives carried by the Brits. Cannot remember whether I told you, but until I retired in 1995 I was the County Civil Defense and Emergency Planning Officer for the County of Durham, and often ran a course for volunteers. On one of these we had two instructors from the SAS as guests and both carried the Puma Auto Messer which is really a White Hunter with wood grips! They are good versatile knives and were issued to the Luftwaffe as survival knives - in fact the same pattern is still issued but not by Puma, but by Rudolph Weber Jr. of Solingen. The Weber blade has a "gut hook". The EKA knives have always been popular as private purchases by the military. I think the type you describe with the black grips was retailed over here as the Swede 45 by Normark. I have a 1974 piece with red grips which cost ,5 ($7.5) complete with a lanyard. Very good knife and still excellent value. We used to issue WW2 type jack knives to Civil Defense Rescue Corps personnel. I believe that only the special forces are allowed to carry "sheath knife" type private purchases nowadays, though I know for a fact that some RAF pilots carry Gerber Mk2s with no problems. The worst official knife issued is that heavy Sheffield made survival knife. I tried one out some years ago and it was blunt after stripping down a small fir tree - about as much good as a chocolate walking stick! Best wishes Peter@
So it seems the Puma knives are very popular with the SAS folks and for good reasons, it is a very capable working knife. While not extremely popular, the Pumas were also used by US forces in Vietnam as a private purchase item. I would call it a sleeper, not generally known as a military knife but used by some of the worlds best soldiers.
The Parker Rust Proofing finish, today known as Parkerizing is a common form of protecting a knife from rust.There are two types of Parkerizing, manganese phosphate which is a dark charcoal black and zinc phosphate which is a lighter gray. At one time or another both forms of Parkerizing were used by the military contractors. Today we hear much about the gray/green color variation, I know of no phosphateing that will give a green color right out of the bath. For this color phenomenon to occur it is usually a contamination of the bath fluid, in most cases Cosmoline is the likely suspect. Another factor in the coloration is the type of steel used and the hardness after heat treating. I have seen many knives with blades of a different color then the pommel. This can be due to being parkerized at different times or the hardness of the different metals. On brass such as scabbard throats and the 1918 Mk1 Trench knife handle a solution of sulphuric acid was used to darken those items, this is not to be confused with a phosphate coating. Parkerizing was a cheap easy way to prevent rust, that was the main goal of it for military applications. Bluing was much more time consuming, the product had to be buffed quite considerably before even getting to that stage which increased manpower and cost. In many cases Parkerizing can be brought back to life with a small application of oil, it does tend to darken up the color a bit, just like the brown or green Micarta handles on an older Randall. Add oil and they return to the original black.
On a recent trip I had the opportunity to pass through Collinsville Ct. Much to my surprise the old Collins factory is still standing and the huge sign on the building is still there albeit faded from the sun. The main building in the front is now a large antique store housing several dealers. Walking through the old building set me to thinking of how it once was. Looking up at the huge beams in the roof and the tracks of the old overhead crane immediately reminds you that steel, heavy steel was transported thru this building. The building is in remarkable shape for its age and the oak plank floors creak when stepped on like they are speaking to you. I bought a few Collins advertising items still left in the old place from years gone by. They didn=t have any machetes or other edged items left but a tour of the grounds really made my day. I brought home a brick found laying in a scrap pile to place it in my walkway in the back yard as a reminder of how things used to be. I can=t wait to go back there. Great memories.
For those of you who have followed this column for the past few years you know how much I love quotes that have edged weapon content in them. Here are a few more I have found.
"I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them."-- Thomas Jefferson
No knife content it that one but it seems to be as relevant in this day and age as much as it was when Jefferson said it, maybe even more so today.
"Our spirits are living bayonets. The ideals which we carry in our hearts are more deadly to the enemy than any man-made weapons."
"By push of bayonets, no firing until you see the whites of their eyes"
Frederick the Great at the battle of Prague 1757
"The bullet is a mad thing, only the bayonet knows what it is about"
Field Marshal Prince Alexander Suvorov, The Science of Victory, 1796
"The bayonet has always been the weapon of the brave and the chief tool of victory"
"A man may build himself a throne of bayonets but he cannot sit on it."
William R. Inge
The U.S.S. Holland
After reading the new Buck company history book, The Story of Buck Knives, it dawned on me that two knife makers served on this fine old ship. Mr. Buck served on the USS Holland in 193? While E.W. Stone served aboard her during World War II. Of course Buck is known for the Buck Knife company while Stone is known to collectors of WW II era military knives for his superb Skull and Cobra handled knuckle knives. I wonder if any other makers got their start in the trade while serving aboard the Holland?
I follow the INTERNET auctions quite regularly for military knives. Let me tell you some of the prices they are realizing from this are just out of sight. I=m sure everyone knows the importance of condition on value but a very strange phenomenon is occurring all the more often. Mint knives are bringing triple the average price on a regular basis with many doing much better then this. In a recent discussion with some fellow collectors it seems to be a case where the market is saturated with common knives which keep the prices somewhat stable. When a common knife is placed for auction in mint condition it is an unusual occurrence. Common knives are often work knives, being work knives they are normally used to some degree even if only minor wear is involved. So in essence a common knife in mint condition can quickly become a Arare@ knife. In these cases bidding can become fierce, auction fever may set in and before long we see an average World War Two era Mark-2 going for over three hundred dollars. Just in the past few months I have witnessed it over and over again. Many of the bidders are knowledgeable collectors wanting a piece to upgrade their collections. The point being that condition makes a large difference in common knives while it takes on less meaning as the rarity of the knife goes up. Just an observation, but if you don=t believe it check it out for yourself.
Non Mag Dive Knives Again
A couple of issues back we discussed the Imperial version of the knives made in the 1961 contract. Further searching led me to a 1981 contract version and a 1983 contract version. Fellow collectors Gary Boyd and Mike Silvey supplied me with several pictures of the knives and some info. With this in hand aAFreedom of Information Act@ letter was sent to the U.S. Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal headquarters. I received a quick reply stating that the knives were purchased from Alton Iron Works of Windsor Ct. A quick letter was shot off to Alton. I received a reply from Mr. Fred Sundberg, Vice President of the newly renamed AIW-Alton, Inc. Mr. Sundberg confirmed they did indeed make the knives for the Navy as part of an E.O.D. kit. The quantity made was 200 pieces. I thought the search was over, NOT. Which knife did they make, the 1981 contract or the 1983 contract? Mr. Sundberg explained that the records had been archived and are not presently available. A second FOIA letter was sent to the Navy E.O.D. HQ. asking for contract specifics. That=s what I=m waiting for now. The search continues. It seems at least one other company made these knives as the fit and finish are vastly different on the last two contract versions.
Wiggington Van Orden
Not a hard name to forget but a difficult one to find. Some time back I wrote an article for Knife World about the first pilot=s survival knives. Marbles played a big part in designing those knives, pre Jet Pilot knives, and their name for the knife was the Wiggington Van Orden Survival knife. I have tried for quite some time to place that name. Well I found him. An e-mail sent to Knife World was forwarded to me by the editor Mark Zalesky. He was Brigadier General Van Orden USMC Retired. It seems BG Van Orden designed this knife and had it sent to the Marine Corps for testing, it was denied. Not to be outdone it was placed into production and sent to the Navy test board and excepted! After the General retired he opened a small store in Virginia outside of the base and supplied young Marines with all the equipment they would need at the cheapest price possible. General Van Orden was very fond of Ahis@ young Marines and very often they were indebt to him. He would not let then ship out without being fitted out properly even if they couldn=t afford it. Seems to me we could use a few more General Van Orden=s today.
Infantry Board Tests
In the 1950's when the Army was thinking about doing away with the bayonet and the adoption of the M-14 rifle they did a test on knives. Several were made up based on the M3 blade profile with plastic type grips and full double edged blades. They are shown in Cole IV pg. 107. The standard they were judged against was..............you guessed it the USMC Fighting / Utility knife. When the test was concluded the non test item, the k-bar, was declared the winner and it wasn't even in the test! The Army Infantry Board thought it was a better knife. During WW II the M3 was adopted due to steel stocks on hand the proper size, cutlery machines able to handle that size and a significant steel savings on 2.5 million knives, not because it was the best candidate. Eventually the Army decided to stick with a bayonet so the point became moot. But they did procure the k-bar type knife for the infantry during the Vietnam war as it was a standard DOD knife and easy to procure without any hassles.
Early Marine Knives of WW II
According to Kabar they had been trying to sell the USMC on this design since the Corps put out a bid for a field knife in 1941. At that time the Corps decided on knives made by Camillus for field issue. They are not in any books such as Cole's and known by only a few collectors. It was actually nothing more then a slab sided hunting knife on the first large purchase. Camillus called them the #5665 Hunting knives. Camillus supplied thousands of them. Camillus also made three separate designs for the USMC Para-Marines known as the J12, J13 & J14 models with "J" being for Jump. Not made in large quantities they are very rare to find and again not pictured in any books for me to refer you to the pictures. The Marines then went to the Western Parachutist knife for the sky boys and these are featured in Coles book. All the while Kabar was working on a machine to shape the leather handles without human help. They needed to accomplish that before they could commit to heavy production. The red spacers were in the handles to help the human hafter on the grinding to prevent marring the guard and removing the finish. The first design was made in sample amounts in 1941. 1942 started with larger amounts being purchased but still no official approval. It was still in the test and development stage. The final approval came in late 1942. The familiar blueprints seen on the current Ka-Bar box show the third redesign. This can be seen on the blueprints as 1219C2c dated 9 Dec 1942, with the "c" designation being the numerator but keeping the Official adoption date as 23 Nov. 1942. The Red Spacer Ka-bars should be in leather scabbards with small round head rivets. These were superceded with the staple design. The Marines never did adopt the hard scabbard although they did test it.
Anyway that's what I have put together from research over the years.
The AM@ List
I have heard of a published list of designations for knives and bayonets but have never seen one. Have you? We know the M1 was a bayonet, the M2 was the parachutist switchblade, the M3 was a Trench Knife and a bayonet scabbard. The M4 was a bayonet, as was the M5 but the M5 was also a scabbard as was the M6. The M7 was both also but the M8 was only a scabbard and the M9 is only a bayonet while the M10 is a scabbard. The M11 is a knife. Confusing?? You bet. Was there an M1 knife or scabbard? Was there and M2 bayonet or scabbard? M3 bayonet? You get the picture. Has any body seen a govt. published list of the various nomenclatures? I sure would like to obtain a copy of it.
A knife recently obtained from fellow member Mike Silvey has piqued my interest. We know what aADelta knife@ looks like from drawings and photos but we have yet to discover who made them. The Steffens knife closely follows the handle design of the Delta knife but has a different blade profile. The clue we hope to link the two together with is the stamping in the blade. Who was Steffens? Did they make the Delta Knife? Are they still in business and if not when were they? Sure is a lot of questions but we hope some of our readers just may have an answer to our search. As always, thanks in advance to any answers.
Marbles Mark 2??
Another recently discovered knife is a 7" Marbles Ideal. It has a seven groove leather handle with a Jet Pilots pommel. The blade is markedAMarbles / Gladstone / Mich, U.S.A.@ and the full cross guard is made of brass. Placing this knife next to a typical Mark 2 one immediately notices the striking similarity. Not being a dyed in the wool Marbles collector maybe it is a typical knife but it is the first and only one I remember seeing. It turned up at the Oregon show and was quickly snapped up. Lucky collector! Any further info available on this one?
Black Knives........Make mine Camo.
In talking with Charlie Ochs of Ox-Forge we discussed his Auto versions of the Black Knife. Thousands have been made since the initial inception of the pattern and it is a well made and highly respected knife. We started talking about variations on the knife itself. It seems that the knife to find is the painted camouflage version. The parts were supplied to a shop that specialized in painting camo hunting bows. All together he produced 3 dozen of that painted pattern. With 36 knives available when they were made I wonder how many still exist as they were made to be used. Black knives are cool but camo knives are RARE!
The SRU-16P kit holds the smallest military knife issued, at 3 1/4" long. It is part of a personal survival kit in a parachute harness pouch. The kits are not accessible until the parachute has been opened and are generally considered one time use kits. The SRU-16Phas been in service since circa 1960 with little change to it=s contents. I have seen knives made by Ulster and Colonial in these kits over the years. That=s not the case today. The current SRU-16P kits contain knives made in Pakistan. From what I am told these knives are better then the knives they replaced as they were made in China! Now one can=t expect much from a 3" long knife but in a situation where they may be needed I would like to think our men have the best items available to do the job. This is a case of the Alowest bidder@ syndrome that has no place in survival gear. They may be perfectly well suited to perform the tasks they are called for but in my opinion they need to be made in the good ole USA. Unfortunately my opinion does not count.
M9 Bayonet Scabbards.
It=s what is known as a VEP, a AValue Engineering Proposal.@ A study was undertaken to determine if the sharpening stones in the scabbards were necessary or not. With the stones being commonly broken and lost it was becoming very expensive to renew the stones on a consistent basis. In steps the VEP. We know the out come as the stones were eliminated on the scabbards but I thought it was funny that the benefit to the govt would be a savings of $190,000.00 in the first year of not replacing the sharpening stones. I=m in the wrong business!
The latest version of the U.S. Military Knives, Bayonets and Machetes Fourth Edition has hit the market. This time we have added a military machete section. It follows the same format as the previous editions referring to published works for reference items to keep cost low. It=s a must have for your reference collection. Available from Knife World Publications.
A "1904" dated bayonet is probably one of the scarcest items in the Krag bayonet family. There were only a total of 80 made in that year. I have personally only seen one and have only heard of two in private collections. Yes it is one to be on the lookout for. Prices have never been really high on Krag bayonets except for the bowie, bolo and cadet models. I don=t think many folks know the significance of the 1904 model so if you do happen to come across one it could possibly be that sleeper you have been waiting for. While on the topic, the 1895 dated blue blade is also a scarce bayonet. Before they stopped the bluing process in July of 1895, some 9400 rifles and bayonets had been produced. Just like the 1894 blue-blades, the 1895 blue bladed bayonets with the bluing intact are hard to come by. As of this writing the early unmodified bayonets with smooth scales and flush rivets are commanding the premium among the common Krag=s. Keep a lookout for one of those 1904's and let me know if you find one. Just maybe you will find one in a keystone throat, full swing hook scabbard! Yeah Right!
USMC M9 Bayonet
While we are all familiar with the Phrobis and Lan-Cay made U.S. Army M9 bayonets, few are aware that the Marine Corps also purchased M9's. That=s right USMC marked M9 bayonets. They were purchased for Adivision level field testing@ and use by the 2nd Marine Division. As far as we know they are still in use. The original contract was put on an open bid and Buck Knives won the contract. Buck was the original contractor for Phrobis but by the time of this contract (early 1991) they had parted company and were actually bidding against each other. This is the only group of bayonets made by Buck that are solely produced and supplied by Buck without the Phrobis connection. All the bayonets are of the Phrobis first generation style but have the Buck cutter plate on the scabbard. All of the blades are marked with M9-USMC and a plus (+) mark as this is the Buck date code for 1991. Most of the examples hitting the street today have the webbing portion of the scabbard replaced. The original webbing was of the Phrobis style with the dual retaining straps. This webbing was superceded by the newer Lan-Cay style with the single retaining strap. As the bayonet scabbards began to show wear the webbing used for replacement was of the type in the system and this was the Lan-Cay design. Most scabbards still have the male portion of the guard retaining strap still attached to the body. Also seen are the engraving in the bayonets and the scabbards. The M9's were marked to provide easy inventory and storage with an electric pencil. I have seen different markings and all have been alpha-numeric (B-79 as an example.) Many of these bayonets are currently hitting the streets. Total numbers made were very low, 5000 in total. If the opportunity should present itself, grab one of these babies before they get away.
In 1998 a contract was let for M7 bayonets by the US Army. That=s right M7's! One might ask why M7's as the Army switched to the M9 bayonet in 1986. Well I never did find the answer but I did find out something about the bayonets and the scabbards. The contract was won by Lan-Cay but they passed the contract on to General Cutlery. As the contract was so small Lan-Cay could not see setting up the necessary equipment to process that job. The total was for 1,300 bayonets. The contract was DAAE20-98-P-0041. The scabbard contract was for 10,700 pieces but this too was passed on to General Cutlery as the two owners of the companies were friends. The scabbards were contracted under DAAE20-98-0221. All the components were delivered by January 1999. While externally it would be impossible to tell the 1999 contract M7 from any commercially built model they are different. Army specs call for a dual heat treat while the commercial model=s undergo a much cheaper single heat treat. The govt. specs call for a hard blade and a soft tang. Without a hardness tester you can=t tell them apart. But the scabbard can be spotted. For some reason the webbing of the scabbard has a single red thread running the length of the webbing. It passed the quality assurance test and was accepted into supply. It=s another one to pick up if you see it. The last of the M10 scabbards procured by the US Army in the 1900's.
Savage M99 Bayonet
WOW !! A recent auction set a record for a rare Savage M99 bayonet. The price went over $4000.00 for the super example. Four grand for a bayonet seems a little steep but that is the market today and it=s getting better everyday. Excellent to Mint examples demand high prices but Excellent or better RARE examples can have prices in the clouds. It is a very simple system of supply and demand. Savage M99 bayonet = Rare, Excellent condition = Rare, put the two together and we come up with $4000.00. Yep seems pretty simple to me.
A New Bayonet for the Marines?
According to the 14 August 2000 edition of the Marine Corps Times it maybe coming soon. They say it will still take some time to work out the details but it=s in the works. The Marines currently use the M7, by and large which is a cousin to the original M3 designed during WW II. Officials are looking for an Aoff the shelf@ product but they also have a new design in mind. It is said to be a hybrid of the current Marine M7 and the new Army M9 design. The hoped for results are a Astronger weapon that could be lighter and easier to hold.@ according to the Times report. Could that be the M9-XM we have heard about? More on this topic later.
A recent debate was held over the opinion of value concerning the number of grooves on an M3 handle. I am of the opinion that it matters to some. The casual collector who just wants one for his collection could probably care less. TheAone of every maker@ collector will probably go for a standard type model having six or eight grooves not an odd seven or nine groove handle. The Aone of every variation@ collector will pay handsomely to acquire a version not in their collection as will the Aone of every version by a single maker@ type collector. Well that being said here=s one for you all to find. Camillus made at least eighteen full double edged M3's during the war for samples. They have the standard leather handle, marked bent guard and a double pinned pommel. I haven=t seen one in person but one is shown in the M3 booklet by Coniglio & Laden on pg. 37. I have recently received the prototype drawings of them and they are reproduced here. Does anybody out there have another one of these rare birds?
Just in.............. a write up on the Marine test bayonet and pictures to go with it.
Dimensions are as follows: Overall: 12 1/4", Blade: 7 3/16", and a Muzzle Ring diameter of 22mm.
It is a Lan-Cay prototype developed for the US Marine Corps. Unlike the typical M9, the prototype bayonet has a solid tang and the pommel is actually welded to the tang. The 2-piece grips are identical to those of the US M7 bayonet, except they are OD green. Yes, green. I am not aware yet of the total number produced for testing but assume very few were made. The blade is markedAM9 - XM@ / AUSMC@ / ALAN CAY@ on the reverse ricasso. Scabbard is the normal OD green M9 product with the Asingle hold down-simplified system@ previously used by the USMC. I have also heard of similar examples of the M9 - XM with solid tang, but with the standard one-piece M9 grip. You heard it here first.
Knife Knotes 3