knife knotes part v

 

Updated 7/8/01

Stars in Blue

Just in case you were wondering about when the stars appeared on the flag.......

13    1777

15    1795

20    1818

21    1819

23    1820

24    1822

25    1836

26    1837

27    1845

28    1846

29    1847    

30    1848

31    1851

32    1858    

33    1849

34    1861

35    1863

36    1865

37    1867

38    1877

43    1890

44    1891

45    1896

46    1906

48    1912

49    1959    

50    1960

 

Phonetics

If it sometimes sounds like military speak is all in code this is the secret decoder. The Phonetic Alphabet. Yes that is the correct phonetic spelling of ALFA to prevent mispronunciation of Alp and Ha. Isnít it phunny that phonetic isnít spelled fo-net-tick-lee. Now take every military like sentence or item name you have ever heard and say it backwards. There you have now broken the code.

ALFA, BRAVO, CHARLIE, DELTA, ECHO, FOXTROT, GOLF, HOTEL, INDIA, JULIET, KILO, LIMA, MIKE, NOVEMBER, OSCAR, PAPA, QUEBEC, ROMEO, SIERRA, TANGO, UNIFORM, VICTOR, WHISKEY, X-RAY, YANKEE, ZULU

Now how about the old one.

ABLE, BAKER, CHARLIE, DOG, EASY, FOX, GEORGE, HOW, ITEM, JIG, KING, LOVE, MIKE, NAN, OBOE, PETER, QUEEN, ROGER, SUGAR, TARE, UNCLE, VICTOR, WILLIAM, X-RAY, YOKE, ZEBRA

Before somebody says I am wrong these were the most commonly used ones, also present during WW II were:

CAST, HYPO, INTER, NEGAT, OVER, PREP

 

NASA Knives

In a recent conversation with a fellow collector the topic of astronaut knives came up. Well known is the Randall Astro knife and itís presence on the earliest manned flights. Recently Gus Grissomís knife was recovered along with the space capsule lost all those years ago. The topic went to what happened in all those years in between. Although I canít seem to get a definitive answer from NASA I can cover some of the items they have used. A capsule mounted knife was agreed on and NASA turned to W.R. Case & Sons to provide them with the machete. Produced with the white poly handle this was the next knife in line for NASA. After the Apollo fire every item in the capsule was tested for flammable tendencies, among which were the production of toxic gases. The handle on the machete was changed to aluminum. Scabbards were not supplied with the machetes as this part was fabricated by NASA to custom fit the hatch door mounting. At first they used a fiberglass like skeleton scabbard that was later changed to an all aluminum affair. The machete was not for fighting off space aliens. At the time of these plans we still werenít sure if we could get the capsule back and if we could, would it land where we wanted it to. The machete was in case of a ditching in the Pacific while the recovery fleet was in the Atlantic. If the men were to survive on a deserted isle they would need a machete. Boring as it may be that is the reason a machete was selected. The astronauts learned the true value of the machete while on survival training in Panama. A machete is used for everything in that jungle. While all this was happening the personal survival gear also contained a knife. Not many folks realize that NASA used the Camillus MC-1 auto knife in their survival kits. The knives were purchased directly from Camillus. After they were received, they had the NASA part number and the NASA serial number engraved on them. That makes it quite easy to identify them if one is found today. The shuttle missions turned to the familiar red handled Swiss Army knife. The manufacturers went as far as to produce the NASA version with a picture of the shuttle on the handles. I do not know the differences between the actual NASA purchased knives and the regular commercial products or if there are any differences. If you know can you please tell me. Moving along we now find NASA as the recipient of a high end production knife . This is how it should be, a demanding job where oneís life is at stake should always possess the best tools available. Selected for the Space Station inhabitants was the Emerson Knives SPECWAR knife. Although not a true SPECWAR design the knife selected is just about a mirror image of it with an altered blade shape. Along with the tanto style blade is a hook type cutter to allow a food kit to be opened without the danger of a slip, or a pressure suit to be cut off in an emergency. The knives have been fully flight tested and certified as ready for flight by NASA. Wait till those Russians up in that station get a look at that knife, better have a lanyard attached to it or it may end up in Siberia on the return trip!

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Early NASA machete with poly handle and skeletonized scabbard.

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Post Apollo fire machete, handle and scabbard made of aluminum .

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A Camillus MC-1 that was actually flown in space.

All the above items are courtesy of the Bill Adams Collection.

 

The Emerson NASA knife. Not available for retail sales it was made expressly for the Astronauts as their using tool.

 

A Bibliography of the Bayonet

This book review was run in Knife World some time back but it bares repeating.

For years, those of you who have followed my writings or should I say rants, I have asked for a concise bibliography of all related writings on military edged weapons. Well our good friend Roger D.C. Evans has undertaken such a project and it is in a word, wonderful. To my knowledge this important work is the first bibliography of the bayonet ever attempted. Packed into this one volume is a comprehensive survey of the writings on the topic of the bayonet from classical times to the present day. Many of the present day researchers and scribes owe it to themselves to be at least cognizant of many of the earlier masters. Thoroughly researched, across all the continents of the world, Mr. Evans categorizes the research into easy to find listings. One listing even covers film, TV and new Internet references. Other listings include references to hundreds of books and military training manuals with over two thousand articles written on the subject, yes two thousand! A full listing includes, titles, authors, publication dates and even reveals sources! This monumental work is invaluable when researching a particular model or the historical development and tactical significance of the bayonet. This journal is aimed at the collector wishing to locate published information on a particular model, or at the researcher searching for differing views recorded over time. The book itself is a 208-page A4 paperback, comb bound, with a laminate transparent acetate cover. For anyone with even a casual interest in the bayonet this books is a must have. The only down side to it is I now know of all these publications, now I have to find them! The book sells for 14.00 Pounds Sterling. To order directly from Roger he can be reached at:

Roger .D.C. Evans 

Brook House

Brookhill Baildon

Shipley West Yorkshire

England BD17 6NS

 

Airmail is 5.40 Pounds to the USA and Surface mail is 3.00 Pounds.

You can e-mail Roger at:

plughole@legend.co.uk

 

Or for easier access books are also available directly from Tharston Press at:

Anthony Carter 

Tharston Press

Morton Hall, Morton on the Hill

Norwich Norfolk

England NR9 5JS

 

or at their website:

http://webspace.netmatters.co.uk/tharstonpress

They except Visa, Mastercard and Eurocard

 

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Click on thumbnail for full side photo of book cover.

 

The Bayonet Clutch

In a follow up to the Hughes Trench Knife article I recently did for Knife World I proceeded to look a little deeper into Captain Rupert Hughes N.A. (National Army.) Capt. Hughes was a resident of New York City, N.Y. when he submitted his plans for a Trench Knife design. Actually Capt Hughes was in the United States Army but his hometown of record was NYC. I have not been able to ascertain he exact place or specialty in the Army but Capt Hughes was involved in several edged weapon patents. Prior to having the patent on his Trench Knife, Capt Hughes submitted a patent on the Bayonet Clutch. In effect it was to grab the opponents bayonet during a parry and hold it while the American soldier took the advantage to over come the enemy. Reprinted here is the entire text of the patent and the original drawings submitted for the bayonet clutch. I have never seen one of the devices. I do not know how many were built. I do know they were, as an official test by the Infantry Board was conducted on the items. The following is a letter I found in the National Archives during my research on the Trench Knife:

Infantry School of Arms,

Experimental Department.

February 6, 1918

Memorandum for

Senior Instructor, Bayonet Section,

Small Arms Department.

1.) There has been submitted to this Department for test a bayonet Clutch and a Trench Knife, invented by Captain R. Hughes N.A., and a Defective Bayonet Catch, devised by the Ordnance Department, which are sent to you herewith. The Commandant directs that you test them and give this office an expression of your opinion on the following points:

Bayonet Clutch

This device is attached to the rifle near the muzzle, by which an opponents weapon can be caught, his blow parried, or his weapon wrenched from his grasp.

1.) Can the device be easily attached and detached from the rifle?

2.) Can it be kept to the rifle at all times? If so does it interfere with the proper handling of the rifle?

3.) If attached to the rifle just prior to time when the bayonet is fixed:

a) where and how can it be carried at that time?

b.) How much time is required to attach it to the rifle?

4.) How does the attachment of it to the rifle affect:

a.) Weight of the rifle?

b.) Balance of the rifle?

c.) Ease with which bayonet combat is carried on as compared without it?

5.) Does it neccessitate new points in teaching bayonet combat?

6.) Is it adapted to field service, considering itís weight and bulk?

7.) Does it give the man provided with it an advantage which his adversary does not possess?

8.) Any other points which suggest themselves to you during the test and which may add or detract from the usefulness of the device.

9.) Details of the tests conducted by you.

As we know the device was never adopted for use and it was promptly forgotten about. Thus we reprint the original patent text and the original drawings for your pleasure. Perhaps you have seen one on your travels but did not know what it was for? Now you do. Knowledge truly is power.

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Click on thumbnails for full size Patent Documents

 

Levineís Guide to Knives and Their Values.

Levine_Cover.JPG (58063 bytes)

Our good friend Bernard Levine has recently spoken out about the series of books which carry his name. It seems some time back the title was purchased and Bernard does not have control of it. The 5th Edition created some controversy when Bernard was contacted to do a re-write but told not to change anything. Of course he would not agree to anything of the sort so the two parted company. The 5th Edition was produced without the participation of Bernard Levine yet it still carries his name. While Bernard does receive royalties from the printing he will not endorse it. We have purchased some of the last remaining 4th Editions which are the last of the editions produced with Mr. Levineís participation and blessing. If anyone is interested in obtaining the last of the original copies check out our book section where we have them on sale. Although not limited to only military knives this is about the best book on knives in general ever created. For further reading on the topic check out Bernardís website at:

http://pweb.netcom.com/~brlevine/links.htm

Don't be fooled by "5th" rate imitations. 
The "4th" is the latest legitimate edition. 

 

Updated 7/22/01

Ames Sword Co.

The N.P. Ames Company first opened its doors at their Chelmsford, Massachusetts factory in 1797. The move to the more familiar Cabotsville plant did not occur until 1829, most likely caused by the depression of 1828 and the resulting work slow down at the Chelmsford factory. Yet it wasnít until1832 that Nathan P. Ames signed their first contract with the United States government for Foot Artillery swords, Model 1832. Reminiscent of the Roman short sword it was the introduction they needed. The limited production facilities of the Ames Co. prompted them to sub-contract the brass hilts with Samuel Huse whose foundry was located in nearby Newburyport, Massachusetts. The Ames Manufacturing Company exclusively furnished the U.S. Army with M1832 Foot Artillery swords until May 24, 1862 when the last 300 were delivered. From 1832 until 1862 Ames delivered a total of 20,100 swords. Thus began the tradition that exists to this day at America's oldest sword manufacturer. It was one of those quirks, some might call it fate, that they even started to make swords at all, you see it wasnít what they started out to do. Ames entry into the field was due to the great American sword maker Nathan Starr. How we might say does a fellow sword producer inspire a rival company? Well Starr gave up making swords for the government in order to produce muskets and pistols for them. Reminds me of the IBM / Bill Gates story in where Gates was actually the second choice to supply some language code, it would never amount to much. IBM wanted to make computers, thatís where the big money is, yeah right. This accidental beginning resulted in a change of products for Ames which continues to this day.

While we may tend to think of Ames for their swords, they were also eventually home of one of the largest brass, bronze and iron foundries in the country. Some of the best Ames work included cannon and rifled guns during the Civil War, many famous statues including the Concord Minuteman statue in Lexington Massachusetts which was fashioned from condemned Confederate cannons, and the bronze doors for the United States Senate building. Common axes and hatchets, belt plates, lance heads, powder horns and padlocks were all created by Ames. The common denominator in all the items was quality, this was never neglected. The most prolific of American sword makers, the Ames factories turned out more models in larger quantities than all other American makers combined. Ames swords carried by enlisted men and officers alike saw service from frontier Indian skirmishes to the great battle fields of Europe in the twentieth century. The first presentation swords ever commissioned by Congress, to honor heroes of the Mexican War, were contracted to the Ames Sword Company. Some taking years to produce, they were more a work of art then a sword. With the decline in the use and need for the sword after the Civil War, Ames continued its sword making tradition by creating and producing dozens of styles for fraternal and society organizations. Numerous surviving Ames swords represent the heights reached by the sword-makers art in America. Many can still be found throughout the U.S. in museums such as the Smithsonian Institution to the smallest personal collections.

Although the Ames family eventually left the business, the name continued on through a succession of sales until sold to the regalia firm, M.C. Lilley Company of Columbus, Ohio in 1925. M.C. Lilley continued to operate, produce and sell swords until it too was sold, to the C.E. Ward Company of New London, Ohio in 1951. C.E. Ward produced large numbers of swords for Fraternal organizations under their company trademarks using Ames equipment. In August of 1987 the C.E. Ward Company sold its sword and fraternal divisions to Fraternal Supplies, Inc. which revived the old Ames name for its military and Fraternal sword division.

Direct U.S. government contracts for military swords used today are mainly produced outside the United States due to the availability of inexpensive labor. For officers, who usually purchase their swords privately, outside of government sources, Ames still supplies custom features and presentation models. Names can still be etched into panels provided for them, thatís right etched not engraved. I would guess to say that most swords sold today are merely hung on the wall, not actually to be used in combat. I know that may be going out on a limb but I still think it to be so. With this I would also venture to say that the $99.95 sword will fill that niche. But for those who want a real sword made by a real sword making company with a rich and historic background you just canít beat the Ames name.

Ames Sword Company 
So. Railroad St. 
New London, OH 44851 
1-800-345-3682 

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Wood Block engraving of Ames Products

 

 

USMC NCO Sword

Did you know that the Marine Corps is the only branch of the services to allow all NCOís to wear swords?

Why is the Star of David on the sword of the Marines? Anyone with a historical note on this. This is what I found:

The Star of David came about because during the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln commissioned a Jewish man named Zendt to design the USMC Sword. Because Zendt was Jewish, he included a Star of David (Magen David) on the Sword. Today, the Star of David still appears on the Marine Corps NCO (Non-Commissioned Officer) Sword, and the Officers Sword just below the hilt.

The above reference comes from JewishMarines.com

I also found:

If the sword is made by the Wilkinson Sword Company the Star of David is on the hilt because the company was founded by a Jew, and the swords made by the direct descendants all have the Star of David on the hilt.

Are either of the above known to be true or are they urban legends?? I have no source documentation to compare this with.

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USMC NCO Sword

 

Army NCO Swords

The Drum Major of the United States Military Academy Band at West Point, NY, carries a sword. He is the only NCO in the United States Army authorized to carry a sword. Not even the "Old Guard" has that privilege.

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M1840 Musicians Sword

 

Suggested Sword Lengths by Height

Under 5'6"................. 27"                                                                  5'6" to 5'7"................. 28"                                                      5'8" to 5'9"................. 29"                                                    5'10" to 5'11".............. 30"                                                       6'0" to 6'1"................. 31"                                                      6'2" to 6'3"................. 32"                                                      6'4" to 6'5"................. 33"                                                      6'5" and up................ 34"

 

Roman Short Swords Again

Speaking of swords, I found a great World War Two era letter in the Commandant of the Marine Corps personal papers file at the National Archives. It is such a short letter I will reprint it here in itís entirety.

Dearborn August 30, 1942

President, United States

Washington, D.C.

My Dear Commander-in-Chief,

To bad our boys had to use their bare fists on Tulagi. Would suggest Sir, you furnish our Marines with the Roman Short Sword.

Respectfully yours,

George S. Ricket

Dearborn Mich.

A patriotic American sending a letter addressed only to President United States, Washington, D.C. Not only did it get to the President but he in turn sent it to the Commandant to reply to Mr. Ricket! Here is the reply:

 

7 September 1942.

My dear Mr. Ricket:

Your letter of August 30, addressed to the President of the United States, has been referred to me for reply.

We appreciate your interest in the Marines fighting on Tulagi, and your suggestion for the use of the short sword. For your information, our Marines in that area have been well armed and equipped for close in fighting, and I assure you that such fist fighting that occurred may be found on any battle field during the melee of combat.

For the Commandant

Wm. T Clement

Colonel USMC

So there we have it. Almost 60 years of advancement of every type, in every field, since this letter was written. Just try sending a letter to President United States, Washington D.C. and receiving an answer from the Commandant of the USMC in 7 days! So much for progress. I for one would have sure liked to have seen that short sword!

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The Ames 1832 Foot Artillery Sword. Closest the U.S. ever came to the Roman Short Sword.

 

The Military Knife and Bayonet.

A new reference book has just hit the streets. "The Military Knife and Bayonet" by Homer M. Brett was just publicly unveiled July 14, 2001 as the long awaited tome by the noted bayonet and knife authority. It has been long in the making, several years, but like all good things well worth the wait. The Military Knife and Bayonet was actually a joint effort between Homer M. Brett and a well known and respected Japanese publisher Kesaharu Imai. This is the first book of itís type published in Japan on military blades since World War Two.

The book serves as a general military knife and bayonet history with emphasis on the two World Wars and the period since although many items will date back to the 1700's. The layout is done in alphabetical order listed by country of origin, this allows for an easy reference potential and is well thought out. Printed on high quality paper the pages are packed with professional, studio quality color photographs, 392 pages to be exact. Over 1000 knives and bayonets are contained within. Each photograph is accompanied with text in both Japanese and English to appeal to the respective countries in which it will be sold. While speaking of the dual text it should be noted that certain very distinctive differences are carried over by the traditional Japanese publishing. In place of the usual single introduction we have come to expect in a reference book, the Japanese style is to have multiple letters of introduction by experts of equal or greater knowledge and stature. This allows the new author to be regarded as an expert in his or her field. Introductions are by M.H. Cole, author of multiple books on U.S. Military Knives and Bayonets, Mickey Finn, designer and developer of the U.S. M9 bayonet, Gary Boyd author and magazine columnist on U.S. Military Knives and Jerry L. Janzen noted author and collector of Bayonets. The authors extensive research and actual field testing in parachute operations all over the globe have placed him in an enviable position to come into contact with many blades never before seen in the Western world. This allows us, the reader, to view knives in current and former use by the Warsaw Pact countries which have never before been illustrated in any book to my knowledge. The list includes such countries as Russia, China, Poland, Vietnam, and the former Yugoslavia, Serbia. Some other nations not often thought of, such as Argentina or Italy also have a rich tradition in military blades. While the book does have world wide coverage the United States section is truly extensive. Covered are the standard models to be expected but also included are many never before seen prototypes and experimental models, some still in trials and testing.

The hardback book is 8 Ĺ" X 11" with 392 pages of high quality glossy paper. Over 1000 knives are illustrated in full color. The price is $69.95 with $5.00 for postage. A special introductory price offer is in effect until December 25th 2001, $59.95 plus $5.00 postage for a total of $64.95. Currently available only through Homer Brett, PO Box 111, Alexandria, Va. 22313 USA or phone him at (703) 548-9694. It is a must have reference book for your military blade library.

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The Military Knife And Bayonet

 

Trivia

On what date was the U.S. M3 Trench Knife recommended for standardization?

The first one to e-mail me with the correct answer will win one USMILITARYKNIVES.Com Tee- Shirt in your choice of large or extra large size. The correct answer and the person who submitted the winning answer will be posted in the next update.

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M3 as new in the box. 

 

Weske Cutlery

Who can tell me about the Weske Cutlery Company? Other then the fact that they were in business from circa 1945 until 1952 in Sandusky Ohio and owned by William Weske what do we know about them? They made hunting knives, we know that as they can be found for sale at knife shows, flea markets and online auctions. It is rumored they bought parts from Case Cutlery to build their knives, parts Case would consider seconds. Can anyone prove this? If they bought parts from Case did they also buy components from other cutlery manufacturers such as Ka-Bar or Camillus? Can anyone confirm this? If it sounds to you like I am being very vague on this or beating around the bush it is because I am. I have an opinion on them but would like to gather some additional facts before I give my hypothesis and taint the thoughts of you readers. Help me on this one, I promise you it is very interesting. Stay Tuned.

 

Updated 7/29/01

More on NASA Knives

I was e-mailed a short note on the Space Shuttle piece we ran a few weeks ago. They had some additional info to confirm for us.

"Yes, there used to be a Victorinox "Space Shuttle" model - it had a silver colored space shuttle inlaid on the scale (although I am not certain if this was the exact model carried on the Shuttle.) This model is no longer imported by Swiss Army Brands (aka Forschner) to the US. The US model # for the shuttle knife was 5049 in 1990 or there about. You may still be able to get this model from Victorinox in Switzerland I donít know for sure."

Art Long

I did a search on the NASA site and didn't come up with a model name but it does have a part number. It is known as: Swiss Army Knife P/N 528-40807-1 in the instructional manuals. They have detailed written manuals for every conceivable procedure on the shuttle. In these technical manuals, every time something needs to be cut it lists the full name and part number. Would save a lot of space if they just listed it as SAK, the universal name. I guess we should be glad they did it this way, 50 years from now when someone rediscovers this stuff they will be certain which knife they are talking about.

 

Trivia Answer:

Recommended for Standardization on 14 January 1943. First correct answer submitted by Dan Kelley at 8:22 PM Eastern. Dan has his shirt on the way.

This Weeks Trivia Question:

We often see like new machetes for sale marked "S.W.I." with 1943 or 1944 on the blades. These machetes are actually reproductions not originals from World War Two. What does S.W.I. stand for?

The first one to e-mail me with the correct answer will win one USMILITARYKNIVES.Com Tee- Shirt in your choice of large or extra large size. The correct answer and the person who submitted the winning answer will be posted in the next update.

 

Another UDT man interviewed...

Same question, same answer, every time so far. I just hung up the phone after talking in great length to a post World War Two veteran UDT man. The question I posed to him was "Did you ever see or use a bright bladed Mark 2 knife while in the Teams?" After a laugh he told me negative. You see, he went on to tell me, that anything with a light reflecting capability was strictly off limits, they werenít even allowed to possess such stuff if they purchased it themselves. He still has the knife he was issued in February 1954 and it is a guard marked Ka-Bar Mark 2 with the parkerized finish and a standard grooved handle, the scabbard was a gray fiberglass and canvas affair. In other words a typical U.S. Navy Mark 2 knife and scabbard. He did tell me that getting a knife was not any trouble at all, finding a sharpener was extremely difficult. He kept his sharp by spitting on a concrete step outside of the barracks and using that as a whetstone. Later he found that a little bit of fuel oil from the barracks kerosene heater worked better then spit. The first use of the knife was actually in "frog school" went it was put to use opening "C" rations while ordnance was exploding all around him. He told me " Those damn Instructors would steal all of the fruit from the C-rats and then to top it off they also stole the opener keys. If we wanted to eat we had to use our knives to open the cans. I think I ate just as much sand as I did food." Another trick relayed on to me was that they kept the candy bars inside condoms to prevent them from melting in the constant salt water. They were used for quick energy and could be carried on a long swim this way. He also stated that home-made or private purchase knives were fairly common among the younger enlisted men. Rarely seen on the older veterans, they used what ever was issued. You see they knew it would be lost or broken one day so why spend your own money when Uncle Sam would supply you for free. Well after his discharge from the Navy he went on to a career in commercial crabbing and later shrimping. The knife was ever by his side during these times. Over the years it has taken a beating and been misused more then ever thought possible but it still remains in one piece. The handle is still tight but the finish is non-existent. It disappeared long ago from repeated sharpening and cleaning. It is much smaller today from those sharpenings but it still cuts like magic.

I only list this here to again ask for your help. Does anyone know of someone who actually used a so called "UDT" knife while in the service. So far I have not been able to find a single person who has had one or has seen one in use. At this point, without any tangible evidence known, all I can say is this has to be one of, if not the largest, urban legends in military knife collecting. Right up there with the so called "Ranger" knife and the "V-44." Not one shred of proof so far to say these were actual government purchase, standard issue knives, at any time. I canít even find someone who might have purchased one privately. In my travels around the various libraries and archives I have never seen one of these knives illustrated in any manuals either. I have seen the common Mark 1 and the common Mark 2 illustrated various times in technical and field type manuals. Even seen them in the Navy Landing Party equipment manual, courtesy of our good friend Carter Rila, but not the smooth handled plated version. So with curiosity up to a near high I decided to look back into this urban legend and see if I could see where or when it started. Nothing in the early Cole Book 1 about it, nothing in Cole Book 2 either. Peterson in his early book American Knives didnít mention it but this does seem to be the birth place of the "Ranger Knife" spoken about earlier. It is listed in Cole Book III which made itís introduction in 1979. Mr. Cole has it listed as "..types said to have been used by Underwater Demolition Teams." The key words here are "said to have been", OK who "said" it to Mr. Cole? Doing some searching it looks like the first mention of it is in the American Blade, September - October 1974 Volume 2 Number 1 edition. In an article, Knives of the UDT and SEAL's written by Adrian Van Dyk we find the beginnings. On page 5 Mr. Van Dyk, one of the early pioneers of U.S. Military Knife collecting and research writing, states: "One example of the MK-2 deserves special mention here since it probably was developed especially for under water operations." (Italics and red are mine) PROBABLY, PROBABLY, yes you read that correct. Mr. Van Dyk was speculating in an early article that it MAY have been used for UDT purposes. That short little line taken out of context and repeated often enough has led us to the point where we currently reside, Urban Legend. From that point in time the knife was thereafter linked to the Special Forces community. As our good friend Bernard Levine put it: " the kind of error that meshes so well with the wishful romantic fantasies of most collectors that it is impossible to eradicate. It seems that more of these types of error are added to the canon of orthodoxy every year. Trying to refute them is like trying to teach a pig to sing -- wastes your time and annoys the pig." So here I sit trying to figure out how to teach a pig to sing, I have a better chance of doing so then changing the so called "UDT" to an after market surplus hunting knife. One I might add that is not connected to the military in any way and is really not a coveted collectors item when viewed for what it really is. I hate to be the one writing this or even exposing it as I have several of those "UDT" knives in my collection. If they are not "UDT" what do you suppose they are worth? A post World War Two 7" blade hunting knife by a small almost unknown home work shop type firm?? We would be happy to get $65.00 for such a knife.

Well thatís my opinion, what is yours?

 

P.O.W.ís

I donít know about you but I find it really offensive to see what the American P.O.W.ís of Japan during World War Two have been going through. We as a nation have supported the Jewish people oppressed by Nazi Germany to include hunting down the perpetrators, following the money trails and using our influence to open bank files, to repay those who lost everything to the Naziís. We as a nation have agreed to pay those interned Japanese Americans who, rightfully so, declared America to be their homes but America did not feel that way in return during World War Two. We can make up all kinds of excuses but we discriminated against them, plain and simple. Did we inter Italian Americans or German Americans, no. Yes it was the wrong thing to do and the nation has finally said so. What I find despicable is that we as a nation have not only prevented our own from asking for repayment for wrong doing from Japan but have actually asked those in Japanese prison camps to sign "gag" orders to prevent them from even talking about it under national secrecy laws. Give me a break. Did you know that an American Federal Judge ruled that winning the war was all the payment those folks who were beaten and starved to death on the Bataan Death March were entitled to? The survivors are not to even speak of it, the case brought by one of them was ended with the above decision. What kind of bull is that to serve to our "Greatest Generation?" What really pisses me off is that you will not hear of this on the 6PM news. The 6 PM news today was about a whale stuck in some kind of net or some such and the millions of dollars spent on trying to save it, a stupid whale! Yet these men who were used for years as slave labor and bayonet dummies by some of the biggest corporations in the world are told itís their own problem. If you think I am hot under the collar on this one I can barely type! Next time you buy a product made by Mitsubishi think not only about the fighter planes they made that killed thousands of Americans, that was a war and men die, think about the starving Americans working in their Copper mine that even Japanese laborers refused to work in due to hazardous conditions. Or the Mitsui Corp. one of the largest corporations in the world, all those land and sea truck / ship containers you see on the highway are made by and belong to them. One American soldier being used as a slave laborer had a leg broken in a mining accident, he was refused medical attention. The leg was amputated without any pain killers with a pocket knife and a hacksaw blade. He is not allowed to talk about that by our own U.S. law. Nippon Steel and Kawasaki also large corporations today used slave labor. All these companies are untouchable for their past offenses due to the peace treaty the U.S. signed with Japan in 1951. To this day Japan has not accepted responsibility for their part in World War Two. If it does to you what it did to me you need to take a small portion of your time, less then it takes to read this update, and contact your Congressman and Senator about pending legislation on this topic. Now for the kicker, a bill sponsored by Rep. Michael Honda, yes a Japanese American, who as a child was interned with his family, is fighting for the rights of these war veterans. Join him in the fight, e-mail your representative today. Donít know who it is?? Go to and to look them up and bookmark their names. Not only is it the right thing to do it will make you feel damn glad you did it. Soapbox Off.

 

Updated 8/12/01

Another New Book Hits the Streets!

When it rains it pours! Just as we finished reading and digesting The Military Knife and Bayonet Book another most excellent tome comes our way. Theater Made Military Knives of World War II by Bill and Debbie Wright. Filled with wonderful color photography it is a delight for the eyes! Between the author's personal collection and our good friend Roger Ballard's collection this book contains more custom made, military carried, knives, then I have possibly ever seen! Yikes, it is packed with them! Following the practice of minimal text and wonderful photography this book covers an area not before seen by the collectors of this genre. The book consists of 264 high quality paper pages in an 8 1/2 x 11 hardback format. If you think this is just a big picture book donít believe it, the historical significance is just beginning to be placed on this interesting sub group. As individual as the men that made them, these knives can tell a story if we would just slow down a bit and listen. Equally important and just as individual are the men that carried them in the jungles, deserts and cities around the globe. Studying these sub group secondary knives can be an enjoyable past time that will continue to intrigue you for the rest of your life. Donít expect to ever know the answers on all of them, just be happy if you get to know a few. This book is another one the military knife aficionado needs to place on your reference book shelf. I have secured a few copies to sell and a few to keep. Get it directly from us here at trz@citnet.com  Most of you should know me by now, you can never have enough books. Price is $59.95 plus shipping.

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Click on the photo to see an enlarged version of the book cover.

 

M9-XM One More Time

Although the USMC M9 development program is several years old it still continues to intrigue most of us. I have some further information to add to that which we had previously written up. Although the reason still isnít clear the Marines have wanted a full tang M9 style bayonet. Several designs by Buck have been tested and as have several from LanCay. Pictured here are two from LanCay. The first is the typical round handle model while the second one is the two piece M7 type handle. The only difference is the handle pairs are green. These prototypes can also be seen in Homer Brett's book "The Military Knife and Bayonet." As reported in Marine Corps Times about a year ago this is the "hybrid" design they were speaking about. As with any other procurement project when the leadership changes or rotates out of MARCORSYSCOM the designs or ideas also rotate. Well anyway we now find out the a total of 60 LanCay prototypes were made for the testing, 30 of each type handle. All are marked identical to each other with the blade being stamped: "M9 - XM / USMC / LanCay" on the left ricasso. In addition to this all of the bayonets were produced with the common M7 latch plate. As the full stick tang was rectangular and the M9 latch plates were designed to work with the round tang it made sense for the small amount to be produced to use the typical rectangular M7 latch plate. The tang ended even with the latch plate and was MIG welded in place. The scabbard is the typical LanCay Product Improved scabbard with the stone and webbing cover still in place. While it is just my opinion I think they should just take the Fighting / Utility (K-bar) blade profile, make it in 1/4" stainless steel with rounded junctions between the tang and blade to prevent breakage add an M7 grip, muzzle ring and latch plate then dual heat treat it between tang and blade. Next make a scabbard body like the M10 , injection molded, but large enough to fit the new blade, add the M9 webbing and Bianchi clip and we would be done with all this expensive testing. Yeah I am a bit biased in this but that F/U knife has worked for almost 60 years now, why abandon what we already know works. Besides with the USMC being so bound in tradition it would sail through all objections easily regardless of staffing changes.

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Click on the thumbnail to see the full size picture.

 

Flaming Bayonet

In a recent magazine advertisement I was reminded of an old weapon that never made the grade. The new item as made by the G.R.A.D. Co. is the .22 firing knife. The gun / knife is a 5 shot double action firearm capable of quick follow-up shots. The knife is also available in a bayonet configuration to allow it to mount on the M16. While it is a new item it is not a new idea. During World War One this same principle was tried albeit with a flame as opposed to a bullet. Thatís right a flame throwing bayonet. It was called the "Flaming Bayonet, constructed and tested by the Army Chemical Service it was a unique weapon for itís time. The idea was to launch a ten foot flame as you were about to close in with the enemy for a bayonet thrust. The flame would so dis-orient the enemy you could then run him through with your own bayonet. It was originally to be used for shock value. Something still in use today in many ways the value of hesitation or shock can not be under estimated. The first flaming bayonet was a single shot canister. This proved to be a simple mechanical canister filled with a charge. Very basic and easy to operate but lacking after the initial charge was blown. To improve upon this a five shot canister was designed. This added the extra fire power needed to cover more ground while attacking more of the enemy. This canister proved to be rather more complex then the initial single shot version. Common problems were with ignition and weight. The days of electronics were far into the future in 1918 and reliable ignition through piezo electric was too. Lack of reliable ignition created more of a disturbance then it helped. If the soldier was wresting with his weapon to fire the enemy would not be standing idly by waiting for him. While this was going on the enemy soldier cleanly ran our man through with his own bayonet. Conditions in the trenches were not very conducive to keeping your equipment dry to ensure firing. Along with the added weight on the end of the barrel it effected accuracy and even bayonet handling. Although this was examined for a time after the war it was quietly dropped in 1919 by the Chemical Service as unworkable. Test data and photos were condemned to a dusty file to be forever forgotten. I have never seen a Flaming Bayonet but that doesnít mean any havenít survived. Do you know of one?? Well anyway now you know what to look for.

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Official drawings and photo from the archives. Only know photo of the Flaming Bayonet in operation.

 

Trivia Answer From Last Update

The Schreck Wholesale Co. was the SWI on those machetes. They also sold USMC stamped all metal utility (MIL-K) knives. The Marine Corps stamping sold for $1.00 over the US marked items. First correct answer provided by our good friend Charlie Flick. Congratulation Charlie!

New Trivia Question:

The Case V-42 Stiletto was made for the First Special Service Force. The production knives were richly gun metal blued. Who performed this bluing for Case during World War Two??

 

Recognize Recent Reproductions

Seems you canít go to a gun show any more without seeing a modern made Ka-Bar Mark 2 for sale listed as a World War Two survivor. Is it that we have so many crooks among our ranks or is it that they just donít know the difference. I prefer to choose the latter path but do not know the answer to the question. As I often repeat "Knowledge is Power" so we will explore the differences in the Mark Two in the post war example. It is extremely simple to tell the difference in the post war Kabar Mark 2 if you have?:

A) read this article or one similar to it.

B) handle a few of the millions out there.

Actually you need to do both. Neither alone will set you on the path to enlightenment. Reading all you can about knives is great, I advocate it whole heartedly. It is not only knowledge gaining but and enjoyable method of seeing new knives that for many reasons will never be in your collection. It is not the only answer, you must also handle all the knives you can. At most knife shows custom makers or sellers do not want you handling there knives unless you are at least interested in possibly purchasing. This is not true of them all but in my experience it is. On the flip side most militaria dealers do not care if you hold and examine the knives, in fact they insist on it most times. Again this is not a law it is just my experience. If I had a $3,000.00 custom knife I would not want any joker walking by picking it up and playing with it. A $100.00 common Mark 2 they can handle anytime they want. Stands to reason. Anyway handle all the knives you can. Now with the power of both on your side you are guarded against most of the more common fake items. With the level of craftsman ship displayed today a top level machinist with a knowledge of collecting could make any knife on the planet and the best could not tell it was a fake. All we can do is arm ourselves as best we can. The good part is that a person capable of that level would, in most cases, not even contemplate such a deception and if they did would have to be compensated greatly. This rules out the common Mark 2 as there just isnít enough money in it. So enough about the philosophy and on to the differences.

The single most identifying feature of the new knife is the pommel and itís attaching method. All reproduction knives made by Ka-Bar since the reintroduction in 1977 have the thick pommel( 3/8") with a pin to retain it. This combination was never used in the WW II variations by any manufacturer. All pinned pommels of WW II made knives were of the thin (1/4") pommel version. On top of this we have the pinning method. On the modern knives the pin is only visible on one side. It is inserted through the pommel and the tang but does not protrude out the other side. This method was only used on the modern knives not by any manufacturers during WW II. Of the pinned pommels made during WW II they all were through pins which can be seen on both sides of the pommel. Be careful as when the finish is applied it can be hard to spot the pins in many cases. It is so easy to tell the WW II made knives from the modern ones I often wonder who buys such knives. In most cases it would be new collectors who will be deceived. Now what if the knife does not have its original handle on it? A home work shop knife or Theatre made example that are coming out of the wood work today. Not having the pommel to examine how due we know if it is real or actually of the correct time period for we can never know if these types of knives are real. We can examine the markings. On the modern made knives the stamping is very bold and deep. Much deeper and larger then any Mark 2 of WW II vintage I have ever seen. The WW II knives do not even come close to this depth of stamping. Remember they thought it was weakening the blades so the stamping depth was set shallow, in some cases not all the letters are readable on a WW II blade. Every post war Ka-Bar Mark 2 I have seen exhibited extremely well struck lettering. You canít just read this in a book you have to look at the knives themselves to learn the differences in these markings. Buy a modern Ka-Bar for $49.95 and see for your self. Think of it as insurance, itís cheap to buy it before the mishap. The knives made today have an epoxy like coating on the blade which makes the shiny and smooth, this finish was never used by any manufacturer during WW II and is easy to spot. When the knives were first reintroduced they were made with a parkerized finish, this is a finish that was used by all of the makers so be careful. Just because the knife is parkerized does not mean it is WW II made, it could be from the early batch made in 1977. Scabbards are another point to look at. Any scabbard with the large USMC emblem of the "Eagle, Globe and Anchor" imprinted into the face is post war made. None were made by any manufacturer during WW II. Lately we have also seen scabbards and knives stamped U.S. Army and with the Army Eagle, these too are modern items but these are fantasy items as none were ever produced during WW II. As you can see Ka-Bar took many steps to protect the collector and also re-create a knife they have a proud heritage with. If you know the points to look at you can easily enjoy pointing them out to others once you get the hang of it.

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Please excuse my drawing, it ain't like Howard Cole! 

The second most common knife I have seen in my travels is the Camillus produced M3. Touted by Camillus as being produced on the same dies it is an almost exact reproduction of the highly sought after M3. The first thing you will notice is the scabbard. It looks nothing like an M6 scabbard of World War Two. This should be easy to point out as it would be like comparing a Chevrolet to a Cadillac, they are not even close in appearance. Hit the books to determine what a real M6 looks like and ignore anything that doesnít look that way, you will be safe. But like any thing else in the knife world the scabbards can be easily changed. The common M8 fiber scabbard is readily available so placing a modern M3 in one would be what most fakers would turn to. This would be a good time to point out that any knife that has a condition that does NOT match the scabbard should be considered spurious. This is not to condemn them all but to issue a word of warning that caution should be taken. If they are of the same age and went through the same actions they should be at least common in condition. Just be careful. The knife itself can be a little more difficult. The M3 was originally blade marked with very large, deep markings, a collectors dream knife. The recent Camillus offering is also well marked, in fact it is almost identical to an original. Unless you have handled many M3's I would caution you to NOT compare markings unless you have a known original with you to compare with. As dieís age they often produce different marks in both depth and sharpness. This alone can attribute a difficulty only the very well experienced can tell apart. The method we should choose is again with the pommel. During World War Two the methods used to attach the pommel to the tang by the manufacturers were:

1) peening or staking, this method left the tang exposed slightly beyond the pommel and a heavy force was used to peen or crush the exposed tang over the pommel. Different devises were used which left different designs on the tang / pommel junction. Perhaps the most common was the "sunburst" design.

2) pinning, this method was much like the Mark 2 in that a small pin was placed through a hole in the pommel and tang then finished off on both sides to be flush.

All of the Camillus production during the war was with pinned tangs. The curious part is the pinning method. While Camillus and others used a single pin on the Mark 2 the M3 was built with dual pins. Two side by side pins were placed in the pommel / tang junction to form the favored retention method. The recent production of the M3 by Camillus on the other hand is built using only the single pin method. Any M3 that is blade marked Camillus and has a single pinned pommel is newly made, donít fall for it. Other then that one item it would be extremely difficult if not impossible to tell the difference. Yes a talented individual could switch pommels with a knife of WW II vintage but in most cases the fakers donít go to so much trouble as it just isnít necessary. One word of caution should be mentioned here, with your new found knowledge do not approach a seller or dealer and tell them the knife they have on display is a fake, you are only asking for trouble. If asked it is a different story. The moral here is to "walk softly but carry a big stick."

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The German Made SEMS M3 fantasy knife. 

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Close up of the SEMS M6 scabbard. 

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Photos courtesy of our good friend Miguel Carillo

 

Updated 9/1/01

Semantics

In a long debate with a fellow collector we have come to an impasse, what is the proper term for knives used by military personal but not adopted, procured or standardized by the U.S. military. I believe as does our good friend Carter Rila that we have two top level basic classifications, Primary and Secondary. Primary military knives are knives designed, standardized, adopted, procured, issued and any other such descriptive words you can find to place them as genuine Design Specific Government Issue knives. All the others, and it is a lot, are classified as secondary knives. This would include the Pal Blade Company RH36 as a converted commercial pattern. Yes the government purchased vast amounts of RH36 knives and issued them to soldiers, sailors and Marines all over the globe, that we do not deny. On the contrary, what we do assert is that they were a stopgap effort to supply the military with cutlery not ideally suited or designed for such but commercially available in large numbers fast and cheap. Thousands of hunting knives, old souvenirs, cut down bayonets from the First World War, butcher knives and every other conceivable knife of 5 inches in blade length or more may have been issued at some time during World War Two, this we do not deny, in fact we agree with it completely. We just suggest that they should not be considered as military issue knives in the strictest sense of the word. This relegates them to secondary status. So we agree, two top levels in the military knife world, primary and secondary. Many of the secondary knives recently, within the last few years, have been grouped into what we now call Theatre knives. This is a good term, sounds good, is catchy and has seemed to stick but it is too broad it the knives it covers. Is a knife made by E.W. Stone on a ship in the South Pacific Combat Theatre the same as a shortened butcher knife made by the Oregon Home Workshop Club? Should they be sub-classed the same? Both may have been used by U.S. military personnel but they are hardly in the same sub-classification arena. How about the Kiwi aluminum handled knuckle knife, is it the same as a Nicholís knife? Currently they are classed the same, Theatre. I think it is time for a change. First and foremost a name for the entire genre is needed. I believe in the strictest sense of the word they are all custom knives, militarized custom knives or customized military knives, but custom knives all the same. Not to be confused with handmade or benchmade (the latter which has become a registered trademark) or any other such sub descriptions, just CUSTOM. After that we divide into subgroups again. Now it gets even hairier, what to call the subgroups. Letís start with the current favorite, Theatre. I know what you may be thinking, heís spelling theater wrong, not really, I am using the spelling in vogue during WW II when these knives hit the top of their charts in popularity. As they were made during WW II and very popular at that time I have adopted that spelling, choose any you like as it is the meaning of the term we are most interested in today, we will fight the spelling battle at another time. Theatre Knives to me are knives made or altered in a combat theatre during wartime. This would include most of the plexiglass handled knives we see today as well as the Stone knives and the Aussie and New Zealand made aluminum handled knuckle knives. This is a large subgroup but it encompasses a lot of ground. The main part of the description is that they are made in a combat theatre, that is what sets them apart from a U.S. home made work shop knife. I prefer to simply call them "Shop" knives, it is much easier to say. Shop made knives could be an M.H. Cole knuckle knife or a Nicholís knife, hell even a Randall. These are knives made stateside intended as warriors weapons or tools. No mention is made here of what they are made of, they may contain a factory blade and a converted handle or be of a completely handmade design, it doesnít matter, what matters is that it is not made by a huge cutlery company and it was made in the USA. This allows us to differentiate between the knives and place them in the proper categories. Do we have flaws in the theory, you bet. First one is "how do you know where it was made?" On most of these knives we will never know the true story. That could be a problem. What we do know is that many of the better known knives such as the Cole, Richtig, Randall are US made and should be classed as such. Now after all this is said and done (and written) I had a discussion with Bill Wright on the term (Bill by the way originally coined the term) and here is his original thoughts on the subject, "any custom made or significantly altered knife of the WW II era made specifically for war time use and not a production knife is a Theater Knife." So as you can see we also disagree on the subject but as Bill was the first he gets to choose the name. I just think it covers too much ground. Oh well...

(We have secured a few copies of Bill's new book Theater Made Military Knives Of World War II If you are looking for a copy just drop me a line.)

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Theatre knives?? You decide and let me know!!

 

"Blood Grooves"

A great sounding name, it evokes the Walter Mitty in one to place yourself at the scene of a hand to hand combat duel to the death with that enemy soldier in the last minutes of a desperate battle. The word "fuller" just doesnít capture that same sense of imagination displayed by the old blood groove term. Actually it is all marketing hype in my opinion. The greatest known set of blood grooves in the military knife world is the USMC 1219C2 affectionately known as the "k-bar" to most. Well these are there for styling and that is about it. The original 1219C2 was nothing more then a re-handled Union Cutlery Company / Ka-Bar commercial hunting knife. This hunting knife design was copied from the super successful Marbles "Ideal" model hunting knife with one minor difference, the Ideal fullers did serve a purpose. If you look at the fullers produced in the Marbles Ideal you will immediately notice that they are very wide and deep unlike the ones on the 1219C2 which are much narrower, placed higher on the blade and not as deep. The idea behind the Marbles fuller was to allow the user to re-sharpen his knife on a flat stone while in the field. This field sharpening method would allow the user to flat sharpen the knife by holding the blade flat. This could not be accomplished on the narrow fullered 1219C2 or for that fact on the commercial version of the knife either. So we see the reason I call them marketing hype. You see the originals did serve a purpose while it was lost to the designers who copied it. At that point the new producers needed to come up with a reason for itís existence, "Blood Grooves" were invented and the suction theory came about from this same drivel. And for those that claim they lighten the blade it is true but for added strength it is also a false belief. While there is a minuscule weight reduction it could not be detected by anyone handling the knife so again it is hype. Adding strength is another often quoted by-product of the grooves. This may be true on steel I-beams and long swords with a true central fuller but not so with the short blade of a knife. The physical effects are just not the same. The above was related to me many moons ago by our good friend Bernard Levine. What exactly made me think of it now I donít know.

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A "Blood Groove" with a purpose in mind.

 

Pet Peeve

Why do some folks make their auction files so large it takes literally minutes to load? Do they actually want to raise the frustration level of a potential buyer? I think a good photograph helps to sell the item but all this colorful backgrounds and music is ridiculous to me, I just canít figure it out. I will tell you this much, if it takes what I consider too long to load the auction, 1 minute or more, I just stop it and go on to the next one. Regardless of what it is, I am not that interested in it if the current owner can not think about those who donít have a cable modem running at the speed of light! When I cruise ebay or some other such site I want to see what is being offered and read the write-up, not have a full length feature motion picture! So this is my way of letting you know you are missing some sales while you piss off a large portion on the buyers by loading your auctions up with worthless junk that you think looks good. Think about it, I wonít be a buyer from you... how many others might feel the same way.

 

Romance in Collecting

Sometime ago Dewey and Lavona Ferguson wrote the "Romance in Collecting" series of knife and price guides. Since that time we have abided by the theme although we have used other words for it. I often quote supply and demand as a reason for prices being so high on objects that seem to defy reason. Another although less thought of reason is the "Romance" the object carries. Not the type of romance you may find in a novel or on the soap operas but it works on the mind in much the same way. It takes you away from the current and lets you drift if only for a brief moment to another place and time. Now this may be in the form of history or lineage to some high profile group, such as the V-42 linked to the First Special Service Force or the SOG knife linked to MAC-V-SOG. Or it could be a knife once owned by a famous person, such as General James Gavinís Randall Made knife on display in the West Point Museum. Or a knife made by a special or famous person such as a Howard Cole knuckle knife. All of the above knives can be considered rare but they are also "Romantically" involved pieces that far out weight the rareness of their existence. The "story" behind the knife is often the determining factor in the pricing of it. While I would be the first one to admonish you to buy the knife not the story, some of these knives are forever hooked to a story for just the reasons cited above, romance. I have seen far rarer knives go for thousands of dollars less just because they do not have the romance or "curb appeal" of the big guns like the V-42 or the SOG. This upsets the true supply and demand idea by linking itself to just the demand side and throwing out the supply side. So to make a long story short, rarity does come into play with pricing but it does not effect the price nearly as much as the romance side of the coin. When you have the two working for you then you have the best of both worlds. That my friends is the V-42 and the SOG and the ...

 

The answer to our last Trivia Question:

Robinson Cutlery Company, Springville NY blued the V-42 knives made by W.R. Case and Sons.
Answered by our good friend Ralph Wasilewski.  

The new question is:

What is the correct letter and number designation given to the  pliers in the Lineman CS-34 or CS-35 pouch along with the TL-29 knife? 

First one in with the correct answer wins a USMILITARYKNIVES.COM Tee shirt.

 

Nothing to do with Knives

Only in America... Can a boy be given a condom (by order of the local school board) in high school and be expelled by that same board for praying that he gets a chance to use it...

Go Figure!

 

Randall Scabbards

Trying to date a Randall Made knife is always tricky and best left to those with the experience to do so. Most knife dating is accomplished by the spacer arrangement and thickness. Another often quoted way is by the sheath or more specific by the Buttons or Snaps used on the sheath. (That is if the sheath is original to the knife which in some cases it is not so be careful.) Going through the many sources of information on Randallís I have put together a list of some "generalities" in sheath dating. The sources are:

Randall Made Knives Book by Bob Gaddis, The Randall Knife Information Collection CD by Intersquare which is a copy of all the Randall Knife Society Newsletters, our friend Bob Huntís Randall Web Site, The Randall Forum on back issues of Knife World and various other tidbits picked up along the way.

Here we go:

1.) Painted Brass Buttons 1940-1943 again 1949-1951 Most were painted black but Brown has been observed.

2.)Brown Button Moore/Heiser sheath 1943- 1946 makes itís first appearance.

2.) Translucent Red Button Sheaths by Southern/Moore/and Heiser: 1946-1950.

3.) Brown Button Heiser sheath 1949-1963. (Includes some with the Heiser Denver Buttons)

4.) "Canteen" (Lift the Dot) snaps were used on some Model 14, 15, and 18 sheaths made from the 1954 inception. Again used during the Vietnam war, possibly left overs.

5.) Johnson Rough-back 1963-1991. (These include the early Johnson Brown Buttons, and transition Brown Button to smooth nickel plated brass Buttons in 1963-1964).

6.) Johnson Smooth-back/Smooth Button 1990-1991.

7.) Smooth Button Sullivan mid 1980's on a small scale, full scale 1992-1995.

8.) "Transition" Sullivan Half smooth/ half with Randall Made Knives logo Buttons: 1995-1996 (as smooth button stock was depleted).

9.) RMK logo Buttons 1995-Present.

10.) Brown stitch Sullivan 1998 or as requested, note this is not a RARE sheath as some would have you believe.

 

The only thing for certain here is uncertainty. This is a field open for a lot of speculation so if you donít agree with what I have here please let me know.

 

Bowie is Back in Texas

By the time you read this Jim Bowie is back in Texas hanging around. Well the only known portrait of the big is guy is back in Texas anyway. The portrait was auctioned off at a Butterfields event in San Francisco last month. The painting, attributed to American artist George Peter Alexander is 28" x 35" in size. Th painting topped out in price at $321,875 by a bid from the State of Texas, that is right the State of Texas has acquired the rare portrait. The current Governor of Texas, Rick Perry is quoted as calling it the "opportunity of a lifetime" to purchase such a prominent piece. At the auction an Eagle Head sword owned by Rezin Bowie was also sold along with several other Bowie owned prize pieces.

The famous and expensive painting.

 

Updated 10/08/01

Deja Vu All Over Again

This could have been written a few weeks ago and been right in line with the times:

"With malice towards none... with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as god gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow and his orphan-- to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves, and with all nations."

Abraham Lincoln, March 4, 1865

 

Last Trivia Question

What is the correct letter and number designation given to the pliers in the Lineman CS-34 or CS-35 pouch along with the TL-29 knife?

The answer is TL-13A first submitted by Sam Bettis, who is now the proud owner of a USMILITARYKNIVES.COM Tee shirt.

 

New Trivia Question

What U.S. company made more U.S. Military Knives then any other company in World War One and where was that company located?

As a bonus, what type or model of knife was the highest produced and how many did they produce?

 

Buying American

Thatís what they keep saying on the news every night, or at least just to buy something. It will prove to the world that we are still going about our regular business. Well I have been doing my part. I donít know for sure the reason behind it but in the last two weeks I have not been able to pass up a knife. Good stuff has been coming out of the woodwork for me and that doesnít happen too often. Well you heard it here, buy, the market I am interested in (knives) is great and has not shown the least bit of a slip. For those of you that have any fear at all I suggest you sell that collection you have been growing for the last 20 years or so.... just kidding!

 

Lan-Cay in Color

I donít know anything about what they are for or where they are destined but I do know you have a choice of colors now. The typical green M9 bayonet is still available as is the typical black one. Added to that we now have White, Tan, Orange and even a painted camouflage pattern in both green and desert tan. I think it is great, I bought one of each. As I said above I donít have the faintest idea what they are for other then commercial sales but I do know that they add color to the collection of the typical dull military knives. I have heard that the white is snow camouflage, the tan is for the desert, the orange is for divers (??? underwater bayonets) and the camouflage is just because! If you collect M9's you need to add them to your list even if they are not U.S. military issue. They are legitimate variations made by a government contractor and you will kick yourself years from now when they reach unheard of dollar values because nobody thought they would be worth anything. Buy your flavor of the week and tuck it away. You wonít be sorry you did.

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Orange and Tan M9 bayonets from Lan-Cay

 

Canopy Line Cutters

I will not call them shroud line cutters ever again.

I will not call them shroud line cutters ever again.

I will not call them shroud line cutters ever again.

I will not call them shroud line cutters ever again.

I will not call them shroud line cutters ever again.

I had a sky soldier jump all over me for using that term. Shrouds cover dead bodies, canopies cover soldiers! Anyway I donít believe I have ever read an article on the typical canopy line cutter have you? They have been made by the thousands for years now and have a large variety of variations for the collector to look for. Some are marked and some are just ink stamped while others have no identification on them at all. Different holders in different colors are available and the storage of the items are different over the years. I have some marked 1960 and other marked 1998 and a large number of years in between. I just picked up two this last weekend dated 1962 and 1992 and both were made by a company named Aerial Machine and Tool. What a neat little piece of equipment this is. I am currently looking for any information I can find on these to try to piece together an article. If you have any or know of any references please let me know. Stumbling across stuff is fine but it is a lot easier if somebody else point the way. Thanks in advance.

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Two Canopy Line Cutters, one is still sewn shut.

 

Silvey Knives

Our good friend Mike Silvey is quite a talented knife maker as well as a great writer and photographer. I recently found myself in possession of a neat little knife built on the Scagel pattern courtesy of Mike. The carbon steel blade is 5" while the overall length is 10". The handle is made up of an antler crown section, leather, brass, aluminum, and copper spacers with red and black fiber to add additional color. What a truly beautiful knife! Stamped in tall capital letters across the blade just below the soldered brass guard is SILVEY. The well made tight fitting leather scabbard is sewn and decorated by Mike also. Two sections of leather with a welt on the cutting edge make up the simple yet effective design. The belt loop is a continuation of the back piece of leather with a single copper rivet finishing it off. While I wish him the best in this endeavor I hope he keeps up with the military knives as well, we need him! I told him I wanted the first Mk2 replica he makes.

Best wishes Mike, keep up the good work.

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My very own Silvey Knife! 

 

ParaMarines Knives

I just received a document from our good friend Alec Tulkoff out of the National Archives. It is a document from the Depot Quartermaster in Philadelphia to The Quartermaster of the USMC in Washington. It recommends the purchasing of the Western States Cutlery & Mfg. Co., Parachutist Knife at $1.30 each. (Last one I seen for sale went for $2,000.00 but that is a whole other subject, see the Lan-Cay piece above) This much we knew already but what it continued on with we didnít know. It lists the knives submitted to, but rejected by, the Philadelphia Quartermaster Depot for procurement. The rejections are:

L. Herder & Sons ($1.00 each) blades were made of carbon steel not stainless as requested.

Clyde Cutlery Co. (3 different $0.80, $0.815, $0.83 each) blade too wide and handle too narrow to afford good grip.

John Chatillion & Sons (no price) no sheath available.

Russell Harrington Cutlery Co. ($0.66 each) Not a through tang construction and a carbon steel blade. ($0.78 each) Not a through tang type. ($0.93 & $0.97) Handle too small to afford a comfortable grip and sheaths made of too light a weight leather.

Kinfolks, Inc. ($0.84 each) Carbon steel chrome plated blade not stainless, handle too small. ($1.00 each) Carbon steel blade.

($1.26) Blade and handle too small and not to the correct shape.

Cattaraugus Cutlery Co. ($0.485 each) Blade too long and not through tang type. Has molded handle instead of the two piece hardwood required.

Western States Cutlery & Mfg. Co. ($1.04 each) sheath made of light weight leather and not properly reinforced; ($1.25 each) sheath not properly constructed to prevent point and cutting edge protruding through under excessive shock.

Union Cutlery Co. ($N/A) blade made of carbon steel instead of high carbon stainless steel, and with out leather sheath.

Camillus Cutlery Co. ($0.50) handle 3/4" short and too narrow to afford good grip, bolster (guard) not correct design; blade carbon steel, chrome plated; ($0.70) handle 3/4" short and too narrow to afford good grip; bolster (guard) not correct design; ($0.80) carbon steel, chrome plated blade instead of high carbon stainless steel and not fitted with bolster; ($0.90) (a) carbon steel, chrome plated blade instead of high carbon stainless steel, handle not properly secured; ($1.00) handle not properly secured with large head telescopic rivets.

After all these denials they again sent the proposals out to six more prospective bidders. It seems as though a test of some sort took place, now all we have to do is find the test that was attached to this document originally. The document states that the attached enclosure was 31 pages long. What a wonderful find that would be. The full scoop on the USMC parachutist knife is out there, all we have to do is find it.

Alec is currently working on a book about USMC equipment used during WW II. From what I have seen so far this is definitely a book I want to see!

 

Boloís

Philippine police officers who canít pass the shooting qualification will have their guns confiscated and will be issued bolo machetes according to Cebu Provincial Police Office Director Jose Salvacion. It seems the police officers are questioning themselves on the ability to shoot straight and provide a hit while they are sure they can do damage with the bolo. As this is written they are severely short of police weapons for issue and will not issue guns to men that canít or wonít shoot. Cops with Bolo Machetes, WOW!

 

A Great Quote:

Gold is for the mistress - silver for the maid

Copper for the craftsman cunning in his trade.

"Good!" said the Baron, sitting in his hall

But steel - cold steel is master of them all.

Rudyard Kipling (1865 - 1936)

 

"My second day as chairman, a plane I lease, flying with engines I built, crashed into a building that I insure, and it was covered with a network I own."

Jeff Immelt, brand new chairman of General Electric.

 

"Donít ever apologize for being right and forget about being politically correct, just be correct"

Drill Instructor on Parris Island

 

And last but not least, I was sent this one but neither I nor the sender know where it came from other then it was attributed to President John F. Kennedy. If you know please let me know so we can properly credit it.

"...our destinies are sometimes focused on the small point of a bayonet."

President Kennedy

 

Killing Made Easy

A new book just published by the Public Record Office in England has hit the streets. Titled SOE Syllabus, Lessons in Ungentlemanly Warfare World War II. The book takes you through Camp X in Canada and introduces us to the Hand to Hand Combat Instructor William Fairbairn. To those familiar with previous fighting manuals nothing new will be found in here but it does draw a far different picture of Fairbairn then we are thus far to know. Quoting from a newspaper clipping sent to me from our good friend Peter White Fearless Dan or the Shanghai Buster as Fairbairn was known lead a very private life. "Fairbairn was a dour figure. In his leisure hours, he never read books or newspapers, and he seemed to have no intellectual interests. One of his former trainees once remembered: "Off duty, his conversation was limited to two words: yes and no." There isnít much on knives in the book but it is interesting as a training manual in use during the period. Surely not light reading or for the faint of heart.

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Fairbairn showing a few moves for training.

 

The New USMC Bayonet

Well you can read it here first. In a surprise announcement dated 28 Sept 2001 the Marine Corps stated their intention and adoption of a new bayonet. In a press release they stated "The Marine Corps Systems Command (MARCORSYSCOM) intends to negotiate and award on a sole source basis in accordance with Federal Acquisition Regulations Part 6.302-1, (Only one Responsible Source and No Other Supplies or Services will Satisfy Agency Requirements), with Eickhorn * Solingen for Bayonets." So Eickhorn has finally won a bid after all those years of being in the testing. The contract will be of the firm fixed price (FFP), Indefinite Delivery / Indefinite Quantity (ID / IQ) type utilizing the Off the Shelf type purchase. The Marines did not want to use any more funds to develop a new bayonet they wanted a proven unit that had already been developed by a commercial entity. The Eickhorn * Solingen Bayonet 2000 will be issued primarily to the Marine Warfighter as a weapon to a-fix to their M16A2 or M4 rifle. Part of the reason for the award as stated by the USMC is the ability of Eickhorn to deliver the bayonet with the Eagle, Globe and Anchor imprinted on it at a rate of 5,000 per month on a 30 day notice. At first 50 Limited Production Units will be provided for inspection with the contract amount due starting 30 days from that date. The new USMC Bayonet 2000 will replace the current standard M7 bayonet now in use by the Marines throughout the Fleet Marine Force. No mention is made of the 5,000 M9 bayonets in use by the 2nd Marine Division purchased some years back. The Marines intend to stick with the bayonet although the days of bayonet fighting seem to be far behind us. We all know the reason for that, it isnít actually the bayonet, it is the spirit of the bayonet that wins battles. Sorry to say that with the press release they did not include a bayonet photo so I donít have one to post. So far I have been told it will resemble the KCB77 type with a possible handle change to reflect the ergonomics of the old K-bar. We can only hope!

We would like to thank our good friend Gary Cunningham for pointing this press release out to us. Thanks Gary!

 

updated 11/1/01

USMC Bayonets!

A retraction is in order, not from me but from the Marine Corps! Seems somebody jumped the gun on the purchase of the new bayonets reported in the last update. The plug was pulled on Oct 18, 2001 and the testing continues. According to the report in the Commerce Business Daily the order was rescinded due to "Industry Response." A day earlier the magazine U.S. News & World Reports ran the first story about the award being made. Thatís pretty good when we scoop the big guys to the real story. As of now they have not named a source or a model chosen to be the 21st century bayonet. Stay tuned for the next round.

 

Did You Know?

Who were the original "free lancers"?
Medieval knights who owed allegiance only to themselves and anyone willing to pay for their military services -- their "lances."

Where did the saying "devil to pay" come from?
The "devil" on a wooden ship is the longest seam on the hull, and "pay" is the tar used for caulking. Squatting in the bilges "paying the devil" was an unpleasant task.

How did the term "a cup of Joe" come to refer to coffee?
Coffee became the strongest drink aboard ships when Navy Secretary Josephus Daniels abolished the officers' wine mess in 1913.

The U.S. Navy currently has more admirals than ships.

The U.S. Congress provides the Egyptian military with the same annual funding for new military equipment as the U.S. Marine Corps.

The B-2 bomber is literally worth its weight in gold.

The USA has more troops in Europe than Canada has in its entire military.

Legal bribes paid by defense contractors to U.S. Congressmen (via PAC's) has tripled since 1990.

 

Politics

Did you ever think to yourself what that word really meant? Where did it come from? Lets break the word down to find the root of it, the meaning it holds. "Poli" in Latin meaning "many" and "tics" meaning "blood-sucking creatures." Sure works for me.

 

USMC Cavalry?

The Peiping Horse Marines thought of themselves as the first organized cavalry unit in the Marine Corps, or so it says in a new book entitled Chesty, The Story of LG Lewis B. Puller, USMC. It seems Chesty was, among other things, an accomplished swordsman and horseman. The Marines used the Model 1913 Cavalry Saber for this unit. Mounted on Mongolian Ponies actually they had to run a qualification in order to become a Horse Marine. It was an elite unit within an elite unit of the China Legation Guard during the 1930's. Each man carried a Colt Automatic Pistol in addition to the saber, this again placed them apart from their foot Marines. The high light of the year was the qualification course for the saber. They had to jump obstacles placed around a ring and pierce ten dummies with a set time limit. Extra points were doled out for the fighting spirit such as the spirit of the bayonet. From a photo we have of the mounted unit in 1937 we can see that the enlisted men carry the M1913 of the bright finish type with the typical fabric covered scabbard. The nickel or bright finish feature is often described as the "officers" model, not in this case. While they have the bright finish to the swords they use the dull finished cloth covered scabbards. It seems the officer might be carrying his own USMC officers sword, a Mameluke, due to the mounting and type of scabbard. This is not clear in the photograph. In any case this is proof positive of Marine use of the Model 1913 sword, and actually having a cavalry although it was only about 50 men. The photo also post dates the Armyís official discontinuance of use, April 1934, of the M1913 saber by three years.

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New Trivia Question:

It was revised from an earlier pattern in December 1963. I twas finally canceled in 1968. I have never seen one nor heard of anyone else having one. It was a U.S. Army item, not Navy or Air Force or Marines, they used another pattern. What knife is it?

 

 

Last Trivia Question.

What U.S. company made more U.S. Military Knives then any other company in World War One and where was that company located?

As a bonus, what type or model of knife was the highest produced and how many did they produce?

Answer:

Landers, Frary & Clark, located in New Britain Ct. and for the bonus the knife was the M1910 mess kit knife. Total produced 7,286,550. This one must have stumped a lot of you as we only had 3 correct answers. The first to answer correctly was none other then Bernard Levine! Congrats to Bernard who is now the proud owner of a WWW.USMILITARYKNIVES.com Tee Shirt.

New Trivia Question:

It was revised from an earlier pattern in December 1963. It was finally canceled in 1968. I have never seen one nor heard of anyone else having one. It was a U.S. Army item, not Navy or Air Force or Marines, they used another pattern. What knife is it? Have you ever seen one?

 

E.W. Stone Knives

A new Stone knife has just hit the scene. In a follow-up to 50th Anniversary knives Bill Stone has commissioned 10 knives to be made for the 60th Anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7th, 1941. These knives are a bit different then any previous made knives, they feature the blade of a M1860 saber instead of the normal Mk2. In a recent conversation with Bill he stated that it was to prevent, or at least help prevent someone from passing it off as a WW II model. You see the elder Stone never made any with the M1860 blade. So that being the case if you ever see a Stone knife with a M1860 blade being offered for sale as a WW II made knife, you seen it here first. Whatís that old saying?? "Knowledge is Power."

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Stone M1860 Pearl Harbor 60th Anniversary Knife

 

Steffens

On a recent ebay auction the price of a Steffens marked knife escalated quickly as it was linked to the so called Delta Knife. While this is all speculation I am as guilty as others as I tried to put them together too. Well the publicity caught the attention of the grandson, Mark Steffens of the original maker Jacob Steffens and some e-mails were exchanged on the topic. Here is what I found out:

The factory that made them is not known, but the man who had them commissioned was Jacob Steffens. Mr. Steffens was a LA police officer who had these knives made and proceeded to resell them in popular hunting & fishing magazines. (Need to find a copy of that ad, if you see it please let me know the publication and date.) Unfortunately the enterprise did not pan out too well. When they failed to sell he gave many of them away to his friends and fellow officers. If any made it to Vietnam it was just by luck. Steffens did not have sheaths made for these knives as he thought that they could be more affordable without them, so any sheath you see on a Steffens knife today was furnished by one of its previous owners. There was only one production run of 500 knives made. All had the gray / black swirl or marble pattern handle with a through tang. And I do mean a through tang as the tang actually comes out the end of the handle. This is one area in which it differs from the so called Delta knife in that the tang does not protrude from the Deltaís handle. Toward the guard portion of the handle is "MADE IN USA" in lightly raised letters. Well it is still a possibility that the same factory or shop that made the Delta also made the Steffens but that shop is still a mystery to me. The search continues.......

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DESCO Knives

It was recently brought to my attention that another well known maker of diving knives is currently on the net and selling knives. Remember a while back I wrote of the Morse knives showing up on ebay that are modern made knives? Well we now have the Desco knives to look for too. Both are World War Two makers and suppliers that still make the exact same product today and continue to sell them to commercial divers. Nothing wrong or illegal about it at all and I am NOT saying there is. I am just warning everyone that these knives are available so be on the lookout if you are in the market for the deep diving knives. Desco, like Morse are also military and government suppliers which compounds the fact that you may indeed find a Desco knife with military markings or packaging from a very recent time period or for that matter pre World War Two. Great knives and a fine company history. Thanks for the tip Charlie!!

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U.S. Navy Mark V Diving Helmet as made by DESCO. 

 

 

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