This month we feature a somewhat unique mystery sent to us by Kevin Gauthier. Yes it is the same knife written up in the Current Knotes but it is listed here again to keep it in the category of a Mystery.
An Experimental M1918 Mk1 ??
In a recent exchange of e-mails and phone calls with Kevin Gauthier we may have stumbled onto a very exciting knife. At first glance it appears to be a typical Model of 1918 Mk 1 knuckle knife. A closer examination reveals some interesting differences, The knife is of the LF&C design in every aspect except it doesnít have the LF&C 1918 small casting under the US 1918 in the handle. Close study shows it never did have the writing cast into the handle, not that it has been filed in over time. The LF&C it does have in it is hand stamped as can be seen by the uneven and off center placement. On the reverse of the handle in the same stamping font is HQ 155 MG again hand stamped. The blade is typical of the LF&C made knives showing the same ricasso design they have as typical. Overall other then the markings this is a typical LF&C made M1918 MK1.
Next we come to the scabbard, unusual but just another home made item? Looking closely at it we find it is extremely well made, as if factory made. The scabbard body is a pressed steel much like the Krag bayonet scabbard but with a different body taper and ball end. The throat is combined with the upper frog on a swivel just like the Krag piece. The frog itself is made from the same pancake flipper or spatula if you will as the OSS scabbard. The cutout for the rubber o-ring is missing as it would serve no purpose on this model knife. The frog is attached via two large rivets through the spatula to a steel hangar clipped to the scabbard body swivel. As we stated a very well made piece, much more then a common backyard engineering project. There is also a stamping on the frog, the marking is EXP 4-43 again hand stamped. So what do you suppose we have here? By April 1943 the US was producing the M3 for the Army but thought was earlier to reproduce the M1918 MK 1 or actually put it back into production again. The idea was nixed as the amount of brass it used was not good for the war effort, the brass was needed for other items. Was this an attempt by LF&C to sell the knives commercially or perhaps submitted to the government as a knife to re-standardize with an updated scabbard made partially like two previously adopted scabbards. Perhaps the scabbard is the only experimental part of the duo, made to fit the 139,000 M1918 Mk1 knives then in the hands of the military. The earlier tin scabbard of the WW I design was certainly dated and hard to use, this would eliminate that problem and hold the knives in place very well. We just donít have an answer on this one, perhaps you do? We would love to hear some opinions on this subject, anyone???
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