Current Knife Knotes


July 2020

US Nomenclature Again

Prior to 1922 the US Army Ordnance Dept. named all types of weapons by identifying what it was and the year of adoption. U.S. Trench Knife, Model of 1917 or U.S. Trench Knife, Model of 1918. On April 11, 1922 Ordnance went to a new system of nomenclature that included the name of the item, the caliber if required and then an “M” (example U.S Trench Knife M1917 or U.S. Trench Knife M1918), followed by the year of adoption. Any major changes would be identified as a “Mark” or specifically an “Mk” as used by the US Navy. This adoption was dated April 11, 1922 so why do we have the U.S. Trench Knife M1918 MKI, was this change made prior to the adoption of the rules or was it an ex post facto change in the name? Do you know?

 Then again a change was made in July 30, 1925 to shorten it once more to the “M” designation and a number such as Knife, Trench M3 and all later changes would be notated by an A1, A2, A3 etc. such as Scabbard, Trench Knife, M8A1 as an example. If a design was already in service it did not get a new number designation it retained the same number just the difference in the prefix and the way it was written hence we have the Bayonet, M1905. Experimental items would be designated by a “T” prefix such as the T2 bayonets for a new item and an “E” suffix for a product improvement item such as the M1905E1 bayonet when shortened to the 10” blade length. On May 8, 1958 this experimental designation was changed to “XM” and when and if the item was adopted it would just have the “X” dropped and become a standard “M” series item.




25th Infantry DI

A fun fact. On February 17, 1926 by General Order No. 16 the Regimental Colors were changed for the 25th Infantry. The heraldic bearings are as follows:

The shield is emblazoned with the stone fort of El Caney and the royal palm of Cuba to commemorate the gallant part the regiment took in the battle of El Caney, Cuba July 1st 1898. The crest, by means of the bolo, symbolizes the participation of the regiment in the Philippine Insurrection; the arrow the Indian Wars in Texas and the Dakotas. The Bolo item stuck out to me as a knife collector and amateur historian. I know of the V-42 being used in many DI’s and in the Special Forces items but was not aware of a bolo ever being used, just an item I thought I would record.




What Is It?

I have had this photo for several years and cannot ID exactly what it is. I know it is a machete but what for and why? Designation? How many were made and by whom? Lots of questions but all I have is the lone photo and the caption information on the back of it. So we know it is a machete and sheath belonging to the Combat Development HQ US ARmy Alaska at Fort Richardson, we know it was taken in Alaska and dated 13 February 1958. We know who took the photo and it was unclassified on 4 Dec 1958. Who can tell me more about this item, any test info available?



Differences in Cole III

I know I discussed it before but did you know there was a change made to a page in M.H. Coles US Military Knives, Bayonets and Machetes Book III between printings 2 and 3? If you have the earlier version you are missing some info and if you have the later version you too are missing some drawings. The following pages are different:

Page 106 has an added scabbard (SBL M6) in the later edition

Page 114 the pommels or Latch Plates to be more specific are drawn differently in each

Page 184 the early edition shows two knives while the later edition shows Howard with a knife.

Page 214 the early edition shows knife company logos and the later edition has the cover of Newsweek 1942.


There may be other differences but these are the ones I am aware of. You need both!



Model of 1905 Bayonet Browning

In a letter from Colonel Stanhope E Blunt, Commanding Rock Island Arsenal to the Chief of Ordnance he acknowledges the revisions requiring certain bright surfaces to the bayonet guard and pommel to be “browned” for purposes of invisibility while in the scabbard. The blades were to be left bright. I always wondered why the exposed parts were browned (blued) and not others, it was for camouflage purposes!




Hickman Pocket Knife

Here is a scan of the Hickman Pocket Knife Patents Letter. Often associated with a Nazi knife and always a fake at that, this design was submitted to the USMC during WW II for procurement by the inventor but was never adopted. A unique and novel design it has gained a bad reputation among collectors through the years and as I stated above always a fake. Just a mention to add to my notes.




Fairnault Sidearm or Trench Knife

Another what is it but this time without a drawing or photo to even know what it looks like. In the NARA archives Record Group 165 / Office of the Chief of Staff, Correspondence, 1918 to 1921 / 1453-1457 / Box 195 a single letter date June 27, 1918 was found from Henry Jervey, Acting Asst. Chief of Staff asking that the letters and papers be returned to Mr. Edwin Fairfax Naulty of Philadelphia in regards to his new weapon, the Fairnault Sidearm or Trench Knife. His request for adoption of the weapon was denied. Mr. Naulty states 10 are in use by the Marine Corps in testing and the Secretary advised him to approach those Marines for a letter to help his position. Never found any more info on it so wonder what exactly it looks like and if I ever seen one? There was a blueprint and it is cataloged as a “work of art” in a copyright entry. Still can’t find it. Anyone?




Nine Million Bayonets

In a post war production page from the Ordnance Dept that list

Bayonets M1905 and M1 – 4,490,000 procured

Bayonets M4 and Trench Knife M3 – 4,851,000 procured


That would be 9,341,000 bayonets procured in 1942, 1943, 1944 and 1945. Makes one think why are they so hard to find and why are they so expensive when we do??? And someone was asleep on the job, they skipped the M3 and M6 scabbards.




The Invader Knife

So after a few years of owning the flyer I listed last month I seem to have found and answer within 3 weeks of the post. I just picked up a copy of “The Sporting Goods Dealer” for 1946 and found it. Another ad but this one is from The EGW Knife Co. and they are advertising their knife as the Invader Knife. This is a direct ad from EGW not like the flyer listed last month from a reseller. So I guess that ends the mystery and pretty quickly as well.




Adolph Blaich Inc.

A page later in the “The Sporting Goods Dealer” catalog I see an ad for Adolph Blaich Inc. (pronounced Blake) asking for manufacturers to contact them about handling their lines. The name is important to early WW II knife purchases, especially Western Cutlery to the US Marines. This is  the Western Cutlery Distributor that supplied the L76 and L77 knives along with the Western Boy Scout type utility knives to the Marines. This is the Western / USMC connection.





The govt. gave servicemen in WW2 $10,000 life insurance policies. If they were killed their families often used the proceeds to pay off their mortgages. This was why a soldier who was killed in action was said to have “bought the farm”.


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Frank Trzaska