Knife Knotes XII
Updated January 2006
Don't Forget to Vote
If you are a member of the Society of American Bayonet Collectors you need to get your dues in and VOTE by the end of this month. We are fully behind Bill Porter as a Director. Support the future of the SABC Vote for our monthly contributor BILL PORTER.
M8A1 in the Box
At a recent gun show a simple cardboard box caught our attention. The tag read M8A1 scabbards. The box was open but only because the tape was pealing back some. The table owner, good friend of all collectors, Bill Ricca, told me a little about it. He purchase a few of them and they were still sealed, like new inside the box. Bill pulled it out of the case for me to examine. The markings show a 1967 contract number for the Department of the Army with a packaging date of July 1968. Prime years right in the Vietnam era. The scabbards were packed two per sealed plastic bag and one set per box. The wrapping and container fit the "Export" shipping specifications and also the long tern storage requirements. The packaging was coming apart from the years so seeing what was inside was made very easy. Too many time when a sealed package is finally opened we find the item rusted into a solid mass from poor packaging. Not so with this group, they were like new. A deal was struck and the two scabbards and packaging came home with us. Nothing special about the scabbards, typical PWH marked specimens with tip protectors and cotton lace tie downs. A typical in the 1968 time frame. The packaging is something to ponder on though. The plastic wrapping is Transtex manufactured in April 1967. It is a heat sealable plastic. Made by Orchard Corp of America, St. Louis Mo. under a Shell Development Corp. Patent 2,629,649 among others. It meets or exceeds MIL-F- 220198 specifications for packaging. The plastic has printed in black ink on the top in five lines: 1095-508-0339 / Scabbard, Bayonet Knife, M8A1 / 2 Ea. / DAAF03-64-F-0002 / A/7/68. The cardboard box has the same printing on the side but uses only 4 lines to do so. On the bottom of the box we find the manufacturer of the carton itself, Connelly Containers Inc. of Bala-Cynwyd, Pa. This makes sense as the scabbards were made in Philadelphia so the source of the box was also a local to Philadelphia Company. The box has the typical stamping that it meets all requirements of uniform freight classifications and that it complies with the government specifications of PPP-B-636. As we already know whom the maker of the PWH scabbard is the tale tells us who made the packaging and the specifications they were required of at the time. Just find it interesting…
Click on the thumbnails for the full size photos
US M1917 Trench Knife Copy
A the same gun show our friend Bill Hope pointed out to us that a Model of 1917 Trench Knife was sitting on another table and asked if I had seen it. We thought he was speaking of the real thing and wandered over to take a look at it. Not so we immediately found out. It was just a matter of time until it happened. The good part is that it is not a true replica with the blade being much different. The bad part is the knuckle bow is so good it will end up on knives of all sorts and sold as Theatre made. Our crystal ball tells us this is only a matter of time as well. The knife is a Chinese made import and sells for a retail of $20.00. Slave labor I guess, how could they make it, package it, ship it and sell it for $20.00 is beyond me. Anyway it is here in quantity now. The knife is stamped COMBAT / READY in two lines on the ricasso and etched very faintly on the reverse China. Expect the China to disappear from the blade quickly. It really doesn’t matter as this blade profile is out of place on a M1917 as it was never made originally with this type. Actually it is a shame it wasn’t, would have been a great improvement over the stabbing only blade. The knuckle bow is what we are concerned with. It is well done, ahs the appropriate spanner nut on the end and is stamped with the correct ACC stamping inside the guard. The font is different as you can see from the photos compared to the real one but if you don’t have one with you to compare with this is going to represent a big problem down the road. Below are some photos of the new knife and a comparison of the markings and guard. Caveat Emptor.
Click on the thumbnails for the full size photos
The last photo compares the repro on the top with an original on the bottom, note the font differences.
Hyde Utility Knives
A recent government contract for a large purchase of utility knives sent us off hunting. The manufacturer was Hyde Manufacturing Co, a maker we had not heard of before. Scanning the web we could not locate any new designs of the Hyde Company. A larger parameter was set on the search and a number of links to Hyde came up. In the search of the company catalog we could not find it so back again to the contract to look for more detailed information. An NSN was found and a Part number, OK we are looking good now. Quick, back to the catalog and go with it for a second run. We found it this time much to our chagrin, it is a utility knife and we can see where they might need a few of them. Ah well, can’t find a treasure every time.
A Big Ranger Knife
What is the largest F/S knife ever made and where is it located? Fort Benning Ga. at the Ranger Memorial. Cool place to visit if you should ever get the chance. They also have a first class museum, the National Infantry Museum is housed there on base, a must see.
Click on the thumbnails for the full size photo
The Old Days
Remember the old days and knife prices… here are a few that you might remember. Or shed a tear over depending on your point of view. Those who bought them back then and still have them… still laughing!
Click on the thumbnails for the full size photos
M6 MILSCO Scabbards
We have seen an amazing number of the reproductions showing up all over the place. Some look aged and other look as new. Please study before you buy an M6 marked MILSCO. The fakes are now rampant and actively being passed along. Despicable.
Click on the thumbnails for the full size photos
Updated Feb 2006
Go and tell those who sent you… we shall not leave save at the point of a bayonet.
Comte de Mirabeau, Speech at Etats – Generaux
The New Price Guide is Here!
That’s correct, they finally made it. After five long years the US Military Knives, Bayonets and Machete Price Guide is back in the new Fifth Edition. A lot has been added to the contents from discoveries over the years and the format is all new as well. We have added three new books to the reference section, The Best of US Military Knives Bayonets and Machetes, Pocket Knives of the US Military and Military Knives: A Reference Book. In addition we changed the format of the book. A lot of discussion went into this and we came up with what we consider to be a real bonus, pocket size. That’s right the new Guide is in 4 X 9 size to allow you to take it with you to your next gun, knife or antique show! All the listings are still included but the layout is now condensed to easily note the reference book and the price across the line. Simple to use and a good reason to buy the books referenced in the guide. In any case the price is still low at only $9.95 which makes it cheaper then any of the knives listed in it. No excuses for not having one. For sale on the Books for Sale page.
We are what we repeatedly do.
Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.
"Model of" to "M"
For quite some time we have searched for the time frame that the US military switched nomenclature for the older style of naming items as Model of to the more recent term we call the M series. The Model of 1905 bayonet became the M1905 and was followed up in it’s line of succession by the M1, when did this happen and why? Well f we finally found the paperwork and have it all in front of us now. We shall try to explain.
The subject was first broached with the need to standardize the descriptors in use for cataloging and technical writing. The Ordnance Board decided a subcommittee was in order to explore the subject and report on various pros and cons in the current system. The subcommittee was selected consisting of Major J.K. Crain, Ordnance Department, Manufacturing Service and Major Charles G. Mettler, Ordnance Department, Technical Staff on December 10, 1924. A letter explaining the task was sent to the officers named and the various section chiefs for release of the men and input with the objective in mind. In the body of the letter the Board requested the sub-committee to "consider, make recommendations and submit reports to the Ordnance Committee on matters pertaining to the proper designation for Models and Types while under development and proper designations for approved standard types." They further requested all matter of type or model designations and nomenclature which arise in any of the named divisions should be referred to this special committee. Suggestions were to be submitted prior to December 31. Seems like a pretty tall order to deliver for a scant 21 days!
Data was gathered and reports submitted for study to the subcommittee and a brief was put together to deliver to the full Ordnance Committee meeting. The subject was studied in depth with additional time taken over the first 21 days to put the plan together. The first brief was submitted on Thursday June 11, 1925 at Ordnance Committee meeting Number 22. The full board, headed by Brigadier General J.W. Joyes was presented the report. The full report was read before the board, it consisted of 7 pages. A lot of it was technical in the application but what we are interested in was the new designations. The sub-committee recommended that the new designations would be started with a T letter for type and then an Arabic numeral indicating the number of the design itself which has been produced or is to be produced. That would be followed by and M letter for modification to cover alterations and modifications of an original design which do not radically change that design again followed by and Arabic numeral. Thus we would have T1M1 for a standardized first type, first modification, nomenclature. It was also found essential to provide for a designation that would indicate experimental status or type. The sub-committee selected the E letter that would again be followed by and Arabic numeral as above. Actually the E was already in use and it would prove to be of no benefit to change this designation and further cause confusion. Thus we could have and experimental bomb fuse designated as T1M2E1 that is the first type, second modification and currently being experimented on. Of course the E letter and final numeral would be dropped when the item was standardized and adopted. If the experiments were to radically change the fuse it could change to T2 or if just a minor modification it would retain the T1 but become the T1M3.
Several questions were raised after the report was delivered. Mr Whittett, a civilian contractor in the Ordnance Department pointed out the large number of training and technical manuals then in print that would become obsolete. If the T letter were dropped and the M used to designate Model it would salvage many of the printed items then in service. The T could be phased in for possible future use but it would be done over time to eliminate certain confusion in time of war. General Joyes then asked Major Hardigg what his thoughts were on the subject. The Major did agree in principle with the designations but dod not like the T numeral as a designator. He requested the continued us of the term Mark as that current designator was becoming popular and many items were already designated as such. General Joyes then summed it up by stating, "I feel that this discussion has brought to light some of the points that might well be considered further by the sub-committee and I realize the difficulty under which the sub-committee was working… I feel the sub-committee has done good work here, but it is of such and important change that I suggest Major Crain take the report back to see if the sub-committee can work out the question of designations of models in the light of some of the discussion that has taken place."
The meeting was adjourned without a vote on the subject, it was sent back to committee to work out the problems brought up in the tabled discussions.
The subject was brought before the full Ordnance Committee Board again on Thursday July 30, 1925 at meeting No. 28. At the requested time the full report was read again but this time it consisted of 9 pages in total. Many changes had been made in the designation system but the vocabulary sections not discussed above stayed pretty much the same. Items considered this time were very to the point and laid out as;
- Catalog arrangement
- The exact definition of terms to be used to distinguish Ordnance items.
- The distinctive adjectives which indicate caliber, weight, size or use.
- The most useful, distinctive term to indicate the class to which the Ordnance item might be assigned.
- Technical discriminations between items of the same general character.
- Special designation of experimental types from standard types.
Under a. it appeared desirable to adhere to the Field Service custom of using the principal noun as the alphabetic index word and of placing the noun first in any title which is assigned the item. It was further desirable to follow the custom on any drawings, markings, index lists, name plates, training regulations and like places to prevent confusion. In this order we would speak Gun, Machine instead of Machine Gun; or Cartridge, Ball in place of Ball Cartridge.
Under b. there was currently much confusion to combat so the only conclusion was to publish a standard dictionary of standardized terms and with each similar item adopted the standard designation would then be applied. This was the birth of the Standard Nomenclature List.
Under c. it was thought desirable to continue to indicate in the title the caliber, size, weight or general application of the item in questions. In order to categorize the class of similar use items this designation would still be required. This designation would always follow the principal noun in the title, thus we would have Carbine, Cal. .30 for the rifle but in the case of small arms cartridges the designator type would be used first, thus Cartridge, Ball, Cal. .30. The same system would follow if designated by weight such as Tractor, Mack, 3 ½ Ton.
Under d. they allowed for new words being added to the military lexicon at the time that became good descriptors in themselves. The now common word "Tank" is a great example of a new word and a very descriptive word indeed. This would allow for a new word or an acronym to be used if the item is generally recognized by such title.
In e. is where they change dramatically from the first cut shown above. This is where the designation we know now come from. They still thought it essential to show some distinctive numermerical succession which the various services may know the reletive progress of the design, the variation between similar types and the minor changes which are introduced to improve the item in question. The decided upon to distinctive classes of development; the first is any item entirely in the development stage with the second being an item that has been standardized, adopted and in use. As many designs are approached for development but never adopted some sort of succession should be kept in order to keep track of the research. It is also desirable to use a designation not then in use to keep the item from confusion with standardized adopted equipment. The sub-committee selected the letter T for use as a "trial" item while the item is under design. The first item should be designated T1, the second model T2 etc. After the item has been decided on to make experimentally it is frequently necessary to make considerable changes in the course of the trial for better adaptation for service use or improvements in design. These changes should be designated by a separate letter. The sub-committee selected the letter E for experimental followed by an Arabic numeral to designate those adaptations. Thus we could have Carbine, Cal. .30, T1 in the first design phase or Carbine, Cal. .30 T2E2 if the little rifle underwent a major change and two minor changes to the second design. It was stressed that all changes should be given the T or E designation and a complete file of experiments be kept so as not to make the same mistake again or for further study in the future should a new process or machine become available that may make the old idea workable. This file would be stored in the Ordnance Office under the designation given and kept open for design study. This may be one of the reasons the Records of the Chief of Ordnance are so unbelively full and still intact at the National Archives today. When material has passed the satisfaction of Ordnance tests and approved for adoption it would receive and new designation. The sub-committee suggested it would then have it’s designation changed to the letter M for Model or Mark and should be followed by Arabic numerals indication the number of the design which has been standardized. The use of Roman numerals after the words Model or Mark should be discontinued. In assigning M numbers it was stated that care should be taken not to duplicate any numbers then assigned to previous Mark or Model designations in the same class. Where items are now in service with Model or mark designations it was not considered feasible to change their present designations. New items should begin with unity and hereafter continue in numerical succession for each M number of the item produced. When modifications or alterations to adopted materials are made great care should be taken to designate such items as altered. The sub-committee selected the letter A for this designation to alterations of items in service. The A designation should only be applied by the Ordnance Office when sufficient change has been made to the item and the designations should be applied in the same meeting as the item is adopted in. This was thought so important that space was to be left on all data plates to have the A designation later added if the item was altered in the future. A hand stamped A1 on a data plate of a Jeep for instance would show this item was modified after it was built at the factory and the alteration was applied in the field. Thus we could have an M1A1 as the first adopted model with it’s first Ordnance approved alteration. Any radical modifications or alterations would again change the designation to the successive numeral, thus and M4 bayonets for the Carbine would become the M5 bayonet when it was adopted for the Garand.
It was further stressed that all new designations should be carried across all markings applied in any place. This was from the drawing stage on blueprints, to the item itself, the packaging, crates, shipping containers, books, pamphlets, training regulations, stencils etc. All classification books must be kept with the nomenclature books and both kept in the same office for reference. The change must be complete.
Well it took up some time for the full Board to hear it out but it was quickly adopted and voted on at the meeting with full approval. It was approved by Ordnance Committee on July 30, 1925. The War Department Office of the Chief of Ordnance sent the following Office Order No. 614 dated August 18, 1925 to all the various branches of the service. Changes in Model Designations… signed by C.C. Williams Major General, Chief of Ordnance. From that point on we have been using the system designed by Majors Crain and Mettler as our Standard Nomenclature.
Model of 1917 Bayonet Scabbards
Did you know that the Model of 1917 bayonet scabbard was the approved type for manufacture in time of war for the M1905 bayonet? I didn’t. Well we just found a few Ordnance Memos from the February 9, 1924 Ordnance Committee meeting on the subject. Item No 3611 states Substitution of Model of 1917 Bayonet Scabbard for Model of 1910 Scabbard,
Recommendation: That action be taken to obtain authority of the Adjutant General of the Army for the manufacture of the Model of 1917 bayonet scabbard as a substitute for the Model of 1910 bayonet scabbard for use with the Model of 1905 bayonet in time of war.
Consideration: This action is to be considered to be desirable by reason that the Model of 1910 bayonet scabbard is difficult to manufacture as compared with the Model of 1917 scabbard and the latter is entirely suitable for use with the Model of 1905 bayonet. The Model of 1917 scabbard is considerably cheaper then the Model of 1910.
We then find on Thursday April 17, 1924 at Ordnance Committee meeting No. 15 action was taken on the recommendation now listed as Item No 3753.
Approval as Standard Type, Bayonet Scabbard, Model of 1917
In connection with Item 3611 Ordnance Committee Minutes of February 28, 1928 and for the information of the Committee Major Wilhelm read the following endorsement:
WD, AGO, Washington. April 8, 1924. To the Chief of Ordnance.
- Bayonet Scabbard Model of 1917 is approved as Standard type for use by the Army in time of war.
By order of the Secretary of War:
So there we have it, the Model of 1917 scabbard was adopted as the standard type to be manufactured in time of war as they were easy to make and cheaper then the Model of 1910 scabbard. If the M3 scabbard had not been adopted in 1940 we may have had quite a few Model of 1917 scabbards built during WW II. Just an interesting fact we thought you might enjoy.
Western Military Purchases
The question often arises among collectors of which knives did the US military actually purchase from Western States Cutlery. Most collectors will be quick to tell you that Western knives were strictly private purchase, to this we say emphatically NO! We then remind folks about the Western USMC Parachutist knife, it was a military purchased knife. To that we add the Western Bushmaster machete often miss labeled as the V44. It was official Army Air Corps purchase for inclusion in the Emergency Sustenance Kits. Well you say OK but only those two, the answer is no again. The six inch "Shark" knife was an official purchase as well. Early in World War Two the military designation of "Hunting Knife" was any six inch blade knife made as a hunting knife in the traditional pattern. Most had leather handles like the PAL RH 36 or the Robeson or the Kinfolks, they were all official purchase "Hunting Knives." Another designation was "Sheath Knives" used by the Navy. Western had "Sheath Knife" contract with the Navy in 1944, most likely the Mark 1 commonly called the Seabee knife by collectors. Western also made life raft knives for the US military. These were made for the Army Air Corps in large numbers in 1944 as well. Life raft knives can often be found mounted on a small orange vinyl backing which can be glued to the vinyl raft assembly. The same knife can be found mounted to a larger backing with a leather sheath on it and two Lift The Dot snaps. These knives are for mounting inside the rear of an aircraft fuselage such as the B29 or the like. The knife was used to cut away clothing and gear from a wounded airman and avoid cutting the airman. Today we call the seat belt knives and such, rounded points and blades to avoid cutting the patient and only cut the belt or clothing. In any case it is an official US military purchase. Well OK you say so what, a few were official purchase but most were not, again we say not so. The L76 was a unit purchase piece coveted by the Marine Raiders while training on the west coast. The Marine Parachutist’s also had unit purchases of the Western L76 and later the L77 when Western improved the breed. But is a unit purchase official purchase, well then consider the Camillus Marine Stiletto, it was a unit purchase knife. How about the V42, only with the First Special Service Force was this standard (albeit a Navy ship did end up with some in an official manner) How about SOG knives?? Some of the most collectable knives are attributed to high profile groups and they were officially unit purchased items. An exciting new discovery just cam top us this past week on of all places eBay. We followed and auction of five still in the box Western baby shark knives. These knives were bright bladed and had plastic guards and pommels. Surely they could not be official purchase could they… Well the knives were still in the box and the box told the story. We contacted the seller and found it to be our friend Bill Nemitz who was more then willing to shoot a few photos of the box labeling and send it to us. The label gives the contract number and the nomenclature: Hunting Knives, Western States Cutlery & Mfg. Co. Boulder, Colorado with contract number W585-A.C. 30316: Order No. (535) 42-2234 6P; Item No. 2, Part No. Marvel (5); Manufacturer’s No. G-46-5 in Plastic Knife, So we have a 1942 contract for the Army Air Corps for the all plastic outfitted baby shark knife. It was an Aircrew knife plain and simple. As time goes on we find more and more information linking the Western States Cutlery products with official purchase. We still can not place the G46-8 to official purchase but we are still searching, can you place it in the hands of the government officially??
Updated March, 2006
The New 5th Edition of the US Military Knives, Bayonets & Machetes Price Guide is now available. Click Here to Order a Copy Just $9.95 + $2.00 shipping
"It is neither wealth nor splendor, but tranquility and occupation, which gives happiness."
"Trench Knife Knob Latest In Armory"
"Acorn-Shaped Lump of Iron added just below Hilt"
"The trench knife has just been refined, A nice little knob- an acorn-shaped lump of iron-has been added to it just behind the hilt. And the hilt is really only a pair of Brass Knuckles. The blade is a modest affair, three cornered, thin as a stiletto, about six inches long. Trench knives have long been issued, but the earlier ones were rather crude, having wooden handles that broke sometimes. The new one is scientifically designed to make every blow count.
For instance, the knob of iron on the end opposite the blade is splendid for a down-sweeping blow in case the first jab with the blade has failed to land. But the brass knuckle hilt probably will be the most popular feature of the knife. Previous to the adoption of the new trench knife, probably the most artistic weapon used in this war was the German clean-up club-a stick of wood about as long as a policeman's club, with a knob of iron on the end about as big as a fist. The iron had little peaks all over it, so that the knob wouldn't slip off the human head when it landed."
The Stars & Stripes, October 25th, 1918 Vol. 1 No. 38.
Makes you think doesn’t it. If the little lump was added just behind the hilt are they speaking about the LF&C model with the extra knob on the guard as opposed to the LF&C without the extra pyramid? Or are they speaking of the Mark 1 with the skull crusher pommel nut? Brass knuckles on the new one as opposed to the old one with wooden handle. It sure sounds like the writer has the two confused. Most likely he has never seen a Trench Knife and is writing up from hearsay or from a report. In either case it is an extract from a copy of the Stars & Stripes sent to us via e-mail. You decide…
The M5 Bayonet Scabbard
A little known scabbard, the M5 was made during World War Two by the Victory Plastics division of Beckwith Manufacturing Company. Unless you collect British No. 4 spike bayonets you may never heard of it before. That’s right the M5 was a US design for the No. 4 British SMLE bayonet. The Ordnance Department drawing, Number 20-2B-51 shows the date of the drawing as December 12, 1922 but we know that is a mistake; as it should be 1942. It does bring to question as to how it was missed though, two Ordnance Officers signed off on the drawing and both should have known that 1922 was two decades earlier! The next drawing number in series is 20-2B-52, that one is for the M3 Trench Knife dated December 20, 1942, that kind of locks it down to being a simple mistake. In any case all of the specifications and parts needed for the scabbard are listed on the main drawing. We see that the main body is made from the same materials as the M3 US bayonet scabbard. The drawing calls for the body to be Olive Drab in color but all we have observed were black in color. Perhaps a change in the specifications as the British N0. 4 bayonet scabbards made in England are black as well. We have seen some that are painted a light tan for use in the desert but in the main they are black. All metal parts such as the throat piece assembly are Parkerized while the frog is listed as Webbing, Cotton, Natural. All the frogs we have observed were dyed green. The only real variation on the whole assembly is the rivets that attached the from to the scabbard. The early scabbards used a round head domed rivet while later production switched over to the round flat pressed stud type similar to those in use on the M6 leather scabbards. Most likely due to availability more so the and specifications changes. The body has the stylized VP company trademark in the rear along with the mold numbers for inspection purposes just like the typical Beckwith scabbard made for the US. The rear of the scabbard body is flat while the front is rounded, tapering to an enlarged bell shaped top. The throat piece is attached to the main body by two domed rivets extending down from the top. The early frog is of a simple loop design, attached to the rear via the two rivets and sewn in place. The later frog folded the webbing one additional time to have a three layer webbing on the rear for added strength and to use the male and female snap type rivets. A retaining strap is not needed as the scabbard throat uses tow spring steel inserts just like the M8 scabbards to retain the blade in the scabbard.
Total production of the M5 is as of yet unknown but the number had to be in the hundreds of thousands. As the drawing date is December 12, and the Smaller War Plants report from Beckwith that as of April 1943 they had no other work on hand we can assume the scabbards were made in this time frame. So if you have an M5 scabbard you would then need a Stevens made No. 4 bayonet to go with it. Both were made here in the US and part of the Lend Lease program during WW II. The bayonets are very affordable but not so easy to find all the variations. The scabbards are much harder to come by here in the UIS for some reason, most likely because they were all sent to England and not used by any American units. This would be a reason none were brought home at the end of hostilities. They were not a US standard weapon so of no use to the US forces.
We bring this up only as a thought, though not technically a US scabbard the US was experimenting with the Carbine bayonet idea at the time and one of the models was a spike bayonet, actually two, one was diamond shaped while the second was round. These experimental bayonets could be held by the M5 scabbard. The dates are correct so it is something to think about or at the least the M5 scabbard could have been an influence to experiment with the T4 and T5 on the Carbine, which came first…
"The notion that hardship develops character is wholly without merit. Character is developed early in life and is simply revealed by how we react to threat or pending catastrophe."
A Grand Time
The Forks of the Delaware gun show in Allentown Pa is a classic. It never fails to produce results even if it is someone else who does the buying. This time we had the good fortune to walk the entire show with our good friend Bill Porter. Bill taught me about all those foreign bayonets as we browsed the isles. We each made a purchase or two and it would have been a great day in itself but there was more, all the friendly faces along the route. We spent time talking with, Stan Tranquillo, Kerry Gordon, Larry Thomas, Harvey Reisberg, Vince Coniglio, Homer Brett, Walt Lojeski, Bill Humes and John Humes, (who were ahead of us most of the time scouting all the good stuff!), Bill Ricca, Bill Hope, and quite a few others. It was a grand old time and then a blizzard hit that night and it was back to normal digging out the sidewalk and driveway on Sunday! Such is life.
The New Combat Action Badge
As we report some time ago the new badge has been authorized for wear. Here are the regulations and requirements as issued by the Army. Of course we feature it because of the bayonet it displays. Here we have the newest badge using a current M9 bayonet in the center.
DESCRIPTION: A silver badge 2 inches (5.08cm) in width overall consisting of an oak wreath supporting a rectangle bearing a bayonet surmounting a grenade, all silver. Stars are added at the top to indicate subsequent awards; one star for the second award, two stars for the third award and three stars for the fourth award.
II. SYMBOLISM: In keeping with the spirit of the Warrior Ethos, the Combat Action Badge provides special recognition to Soldiers who personally engage the enemy, or are engaged by the enemy during combat operations. The bayonet and grenade are associated with active combat. The oak wreath symbolizes strength and loyalty.
III. AWARD ELIGIBILITY: The Combat Action Badge (CAB) may be awarded by any commander delegated authority by the Secretary of the Army during wartime or the CG, U.S. Army Human Resources Command and will be announced in permanent orders.
(1) The requirements for award of the CAB are Branch and MOS immaterial. Assignment to a Combat Arms unit or a unit organized to conduct close or offensive combat operations, or performing offensive combat operations is not required to qualify for the CAB. However, it is not intended to award all soldiers who serve in a combat zone or imminent danger area.
(2) Specific Eligibility Requirements:
a. May be awarded to any soldier.
b. Soldier must be performing assigned duties in an area where hostile fire pay or imminent danger pay is authorized.
c. Soldier must be personally present and actively engaging or being engaged by the enemy, and performing satisfactorily in accordance with the prescribed rules of engagement.
d. Soldier must not be assigned/attached to a unit that would qualify the soldier for the CIB/CMB.
(3) May be awarded to members from the other U.S. Armed Forces and foreign soldiers assigned to a U.S. Army unit, provided they meet the above criteria.
(4) Award of the CAB is authorized from 18 September 2001 to a date to be determined. Award for qualifying service in any previous conflict is not authorized.
(5) Subsequent awards:
a. Only one CAB may be awarded during a qualifying period.
b. Second and third awards of the CAB for subsequent qualifying periods will be indicated by superimposing one and two stars respectively, centered at the top of the badge between the points of the oak wreath.
(6) Retroactive awards for the CAB are not authorized prior to 18 September 2001, applications (to include supporting documentation) for retroactive awards of the CAB will be forwarded through the first two star general in the chain of command to CG, U.S. Army Human Resources Command, ATTN: AHRC-PDO-PA, Alexandria, VA 22332-0471.
(7) Wear policy is contained in Army Regulation 670-1.
(8) Soldiers may be awarded the CIB, CMB and CAB for the same qualifying period, provided the criteria for each badge is met. However, subsequent awards of the same badge within the same qualifying period are not authorized.
IV. DATE APPROVED: On 2 May 2005, the Chief of Staff, Army, approved the creation of the CAB to provide special recognition to soldiers who personally engage, or are engaged by the enemy. HQDA Letter 600-05-1, dated 3 June 2005, announced the establishment of the Combat Action Badge.
V. SUBDUED BADGE: Subdued badges are authorized in metal and cloth. The metal badge has a black finish. The cloth badge has olive green base cloth with the bayonet, grenade, oak wreath and border of the bar embroidered in black.
VI.MINIATURE BADGES: A dress miniature badge, 1 1/4 inches (3.18 cm) in length is authorized for wear on the mess uniforms. A miniature badge, 1 3/4 inches (4.45 cm) is also authorized in lieu of the regular size badge.
Lt. Colonel John George on Bayonets from "Shots Fired in Anger"
" The Japs, like many of our experts, were still living in the dark ages when it came to weapons sense, and we are similarly overly bayonet conscious, going to great lengths to make their rifles into good bayonet handles. The built massive upper bands and hooked good strong studs onto them and kept the front sights and the muzzle ends well adapted to the fitting of these long obsolete toad stabbers. And they accordingly increased the weight of all of their rifles. The folding bayonet on their Model 1911 6.5 Cavalry carbine with it’s massive hinge and latch provided the high water mark of this foolishness and barbaric influence in modern weapons design.
In case the foregoing paragraph has not made my stand in this matter clear, let me give you my own opinion on the bayonet and hand to hand combat in general. It is my belief that the bayonet is about as useless a bit of equipment in this present day and age as the cavalry saber. We should have dispensed years ago with both the weapon itself and the hours of wasted effort which went into bayonet instruction. The present day apologists for the retention of that obsolete item will argue for the first few minutes of a discussion and claim and actual combat value for the weapon; then, when loudly called down and corrected by all of the men in the room who happen to be wearing the Combat Infantry Badges, they will lapse into a lot of drivel about "stimulating morale" and "improving the physical condition of the soldier".
Such arguments are as stupid as they are dangerous. There are plenty of the useful phases of training which will serve to teach a useful subject to a man and harden him physically ate the same time. And if you want to give a man calisthenics – well, give him calisthenics. Don’t try to sell and intelligent American on the idea of killing his enemy the way Sir Galahad did. Let the foreign nations retain their idea about bayonet fighting. After our experience in this war, we can rely on our own judgement – at least in the evaluation of foreign methods.
For all practical purposes, there hasn’t been any bayonet fighting in this war of ours – and it is time we have admitted such foolishness in hanging on to the bayonet all these years. It will be even more foolish for us to continue to weigh down the front end of our weapons with a lot of extraneous wood and metal in front of the lower band.
(We are not now making that mistake, for the bayonet has been cut to knife length – and is mainly being used as a knife. It was to our advantage that the Japs wasted much more time and effort then we did with pig stickers. It is to the great discredit of our intelligence that we waited so long to change our bayonet into a sheath knife that would be put on the end of a rifle for morale and other purposes.)"
LTG William Yarborough Dies at Age 93
LTG William P. Yarborough died on December 6, 2005 near his home in Southern Pines N.C. Yarborough a WW II veteran and Special Forces legend died of natural causes, he was 93 years old. Recently the general had a knife named after him, the Yarborough is given to the graduates of Special Forces training. The general suggested a large Bowie knife be given to all Special Forces men in the early 1960’s but it was never carried through with. As a member of the Test Parachutist’s in 1940 the general designed the wings, boots, uniform and much of the other gear associated with jumping. He was in the group that assigned the M2 knife to all parachutists as well. He was a knife guy.
Federal Income Tax Exempt
We recently heard of a proposition that a Medal of Honor holder should be exempt from ever paying Federal Income Tax again. Now that my friends is a great idea. It gets our vote.
"I do not take a single newspaper, nor read one a month, and I feel myself infinitely the happier for it."
TR on the Subject of England Fighting for Control in Egypt after the War.
"It is not worthwhile belonging to a big nation unless the big nation is willing when the necessity arises to undertake the big task… You have tried to do too much in the interests of the Egyptians themselves. Those who have to do with uncivilized peoples, especially fanatical peoples, must remember that… weakness, timidity and sentimentality may cause infinitely more harm then violence and injustice."
Some things just don’t seem to change do they…
San Antonio Iron Works
As seen on a recent posting on the Internet is this old ad of very high interest, at least to us. The posting was a question on the ad and the knives being sold in the ad. You see the knives pictured in the ad are what collectors generally call the San Antonio Iron Works Knives. This association is very shaky at best for my taste but it is what the world knows them as and we have not been able to prove otherwise to date. The story goes that a bunch of the knives were found in a crate sealed up from the WW II era and painted on the crate was San Antonio Iron Works. How is that for the start of an Urban Legend for you, we can see that one a mile away. But as the saying goes, stranger things have happened. In any case here we are treated to an ad as seen in the American Rifleman magazine circa 1961. Quite a nice price on them, if only…. In any case the question presented was: were the knives being offered in 1961 actually surplus made during WW2? Or were they (San Antonio Iron Works) still making these knives post war? Does anybody out there know for sure? The ad is marked P&S Arms of Tulsa Oklahoma. They seemed to be in the business of selling military surplus.
The description says:
Handcrafted from Cavalry Sabers
$2.95 ea. Ppd.
Yes--beautiful hand-crafted hunting knives--made from genuine U.S. Army Sabers! Since they are hand-made, no two are alike. Approx. 12½" overall. Wood handles, riveted. Metal guards. Bright steel blades 7½" long, have blood gutters. This fine saber steel will take a razor edge.
We sure would like to know the answer to this one and possibly clear up a mystery along the way. Always on the hunt you know…
Model of 1905 Leather Scabbard Inspection Markings
Here is a treat we don’t often get to see, an Model of 1905 scabbard body with the throat off. What makes this interesting is the markings that are present under where the metal throat would be. We had the chance to examine 4 bodies without the throats. Two were of interest because of the varied markings. The photos illustrate the marks. The shots were taken on the floor of the Baltimore show so it was not the best of lighting but it will suffice to prove the point.
The body on the left was originally built as a long throat model while the body on the left was built as a short throat and converted in the same year to the long throat. Note the two final inspectors markings with the 1906 date on the right side example. The body on the left also has three inspector stamps that are not dated under where the long metal throat would hide them. Are these inspections that took place along the production of the scabbard? Was someone just testing the stamps? Is this consistent with other bodies that have the throats removed? The five different inspectors, E.H.S, W.F.B., E.L.R., J.A., & H.E.K. all worked at the Arsenal in 1905-1906 we would guess. Exactly who are they we can not tell you. From the published resources we have on hand we can tell you the names of three of them but not much more then that. The first two are unknown in the references we have, in fact the initials / letters are not even displayed as having been used at some point in time. In any case here for your viewing pleasure are a few photos of some hard to find markings.
E.L.R. = ???
J.A. = ???
H.E.K. = Henry E. Kelsey
E.H.S. = Emil H. Schmitten
W.F.B. = W.F. Bradbury
Knives for the Troops
Many words come to mind here and none of them are very nice. This guy is a disgrace to have written a letter such as this. Fighting for someone else’s freedom and restricting the freedom of his own folks. We have said it before, Political Correctness is the Scourge of Our Times.
J. W. Petrie
While on the topic of Advertising we have a copy of a flyer sent to us by our good friend Bernard Levine. We have seen this knife before and not known exactly what it was. We have termed them Theatre Knives until positive identification could be made. Well the Eagle has landed. This flyer, undated so we do not know the time frame does not reproduce well but it does show the hex pommel and the string like wrapped handle which we have observed on all of the very few we have examined. An interesting knife, not a military issue piece but one intended for the military man or for someone to purchase and send to him.
Our good friend Theo Knaack sent us a scan of the cover of a recent edition of Patroling Magazine. It features the largest F/S type knife in the world, at least the largest we are aware of.
We are currently looking for information on the design and testing of the Rifleman’s knife in the 1980’s time frame. Do you have any information on them???
Thanks in advance.
M1917 Re-pack Bayonets
OK folks, here is one for the books, The M1917 bayonet as made in 1917 was taken out of storage, inspected and refinished if necessary and then re-packed again for overseas shipment or long term storage! Here we show a sample found that is in the 1970 dated packaging with the appropriate FSN number for a wood handled M1917 bayonet. The newer plastic handled versions had a different part number and hence a different FSN as well. When we started running out of them the government went to General Cutlery and Canada Arsenal for more. Did you know the old style M917 was re-packed and re-issued as late as 1970 and most probably much later as they have an 8 year shelf life in the re-packs? Do you suppose we still have some in storage waiting to be broken out in time of need?
Paul Ray Smith,
In case you missed the 2 minute news blurb about Americans newest Hero, here it is.
The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, March 3, 1863, has awarded in the name of Congress the Medal of Honor to:
Sergeant First Class Paul R. Smith
United States Army
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty:
Sergeant First Class Paul R. Smith distinguished himself by acts of gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty in action with an armed enemy near Baghdad International Airport, Baghdad, Iraq on 4 April 2003. On that day, Sergeant First Class Smith was engaged in the construction of a prisoner of war holding area when his Task Force was violently attacked by a company-sized enemy force. Realizing the vulnerability of over 100 fellow soldiers, Sergeant First Class Smith quickly organized a hasty defense consisting of two platoons of soldiers, one Bradley Fighting Vehicle and three armored personnel carriers. As the fight developed, Sergeant First Class Smith braved hostile enemy fire to personally engage the enemy with hand grenades and anti-tank weapons, and organized the evacuation of three wounded soldiers from an armored personnel carrier struck by a rocket propelled grenade and a 60mm mortar round. Fearing the enemy would overrun their defenses, Sergeant First Class Smith moved under withering enemy fire to man a .50 caliber machine gun mounted on a damaged armored personnel carrier. In total disregard for his own life, he maintained his exposed position in order to engage the attacking enemy force. During this action, he was mortally wounded. His courageous actions helped defeat the enemy attack, and resulted in as many as 50 enemy soldiers killed, while allowing the safe withdrawal of numerous wounded soldiers. Sergeant First Class Smith’s extraordinary heroism and uncommon valor are in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, the Third Infantry Division "Rock of the Marne," and the United States Army.
He often went about stripped to the waist, his weapons carried on a heavy web belt. These weapons were only two, a handmade knife with a beautiful handle of selected New Caledonian staghorn, and a National Match .45 Colt, which he could shoot with rifle accuracy.
Comments on Colonel George,
Shots Fired in Anger
Update October 2006
My name is Tamara Leifer and I am Dave Leifer's daughter.
On Monday April 24, 2006, my father suffered a fatal heart attack and
Services were held Wednesday, the 26th and Thursday the 27th, we buried
him at the Florida National Cemetery with military honors.
He was a wonderful and special man who served his country, his family,
and his friends with everything he had in him, body, mind, and spirit.
My mother Ellie, and I will miss his presence in our lives, but know that
he lives on in our hearts.
Thank you all for everything you ever meant to him.
MORE SAD NEWS!
A true pioneer in our hobby is gone. Bob Rubendunst of Cincinnati, Ohio passed away this morning at the age of ninety. Bob is well-known to many of us in the BCN, SABC and OGCA. He collected bayonets since childhood, and was a mentor to many young collectors, including me, during his many years of active collecting. He was always willing to share his knowledge and show his bayonets to anyone interested. He set an example that all of us can only hope to follow. Bob will be greatly missed.
EVEN MORE SAD NEWS!
At the request of the family it is our sad duty to report the passing of Jeff Cooper on the afternoon of September 25, 2006. Jeff died peacefully at home while being cared for by his wife Janelle and daughter Lindy.
There will be a private interment at Gunsite by invitation, with a public memorial service at the Whittington Center at a date to be announced. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family.
We Have Returned
Well after an extended hiatus and some jumping through hoops we are back! It was a long summer and desperately needed as well. A break from the action to let down your hair and relax is well and good but it is back to the task at hand of researching and writing about knives, bayonets and machetes. I can tell you though that the summer was great. We put more miles on the motorcycle this year then in several years past combined. The computer was rarely turned on and e-mail just piled up along side the snail mail, subscriptions and magazines as well as catalogs and such are all in a huge pile. My apologies to anyone who has nor received a reply yet, we are in the act of catching up now. A few thousand or so in the pile so it may take a bit! In any case with the web site down the e-mail did slow down considerably for that we are thankful.
As many of you asked, no we are not getting out of the knife arena. The website going down was just a matter of timing that was beyond our control. The former host went out of business and as it was the summer break I decided not to worry about it until the fall when we would put it all back together again. We managed to save all the old information (that did scare us for a bit) and made me a strong believer in back ups! In any case now you know the story and we are back again for another season of exploration. We have back with us, Bill Porter, Carter Rila, and Gary Cunningham for more outstanding updates this year. So… we have returned!
Fairbairn Sykes Marine Knives in the Falklands
In several discussion over the past year we have been admonished that no Marines ever received any F/S knives during the Falklands war. To this we strenuously disagreed and have proof that indeed the Royal marines did have a large order of F/S knives from Wilkinson for the knives during the Falklands War. Sorry to say that some of the men in the Royal Marines at the time and actually there on the island did not receive them. Some said they didn’t exist but there were men in the RM, and in the factory, and records in the Wilkinson museum that show proof of the fact they were made and delivered. Yes, they did have the last large production batch of Wilkinson F/S knives made for the RM. They had to be rushed through the factory very quickly so the blade's weren't polished, hence the rough appearance of these knives. Wilkinson's was commissioned to make 250 new F/S knives just for this purpose with immediate delivery.
Wood Handled Collins No. 18 Machetes
We recently heard from good friend Dick Boyd with this finding. Until this time we had known that Collins No 18’s were made with wood handles, we have seen three examples with wood handles and all lacked the guard. One is shown in Coles Book IV with this set up. We have not seen any that were painted. Below is the story from Dick…
Thought you might be interested in a tidbit of info.....if you are not aware already.
Did you know that some of the Collins No. 18 knives (aka V44) had wooden handles? Actually owned one until recently and didn't realize the handles were made of wood due to their looking exactly like the black plastic/phenolic ones, painted a practically identical black color. The paint was probably sprayed on originally as it was a thin coat. The only way I spotted it was that there were some very small chips of the paint missing on one of the grips and for some reason I looked at them using a magnifying glass. The angle of light had prompted my attention to the fact that the small pinhead chip areas had a non-black look to them...more of a brownish tint. Even though I had looked at this piece many times, I had not spotted this previously. The shape, feel, look and weight of the piece seemed exactly like the plastic/phenolic ones so nothing was really evident and I would have bet money that the handles were of the more common type until examining with the magnifying glass. (A hardwood would actually weight close to what the plastic/phenolic type would weigh). First one I have ever knowingly encountered.
Ever see such a piece? Don't know how you could actually spot one without actually taking a "straight pin" and trying to insert it in an obscure area on one of the handles/grips/scales... (whichever).
Typical reasoning is that.....possibly.....Collins may have been caught in a tight when the green horn source (Germany) ran out and they (Collins) were trying other materials until the plastic/phenolic type was found/devised/settled upon. Sounds good anyway!!
We would be interested to hear from anyone on this topic if you have one of the black painted wood handled No. 18 Collins machetes. We just wonder now how many are really out there like this and new spotted.
Knife Collector Sets National Speed Record
Our good friend and fellow military knife collector Bob Tronolone and crew at Chop-N-Grind Racing just set a new National Land Speed Record in the Modified / Push Rod / Gas / 1650 cc Class! An outstanding achievement by the crew, we bow before you all at this incredible feat. As you loyal readers may remember we have featured some of Bob’s knives in the past and included some of his handy work such as the M1918 Mk1 kick starter pedal and the Stone knuckle shifter handle. Bob included several knife features in customizing bikes in the past but this one was all speed and no frills. Below are some photos courtesy of Bob of the bike and the crew at Bonneville. Way to go man!
Straight from Lancay
The NEW M901 Prototype - UltraLight Weight Model - Black
The new unit weighs 20% LESS then the current standard M9/M11 model by using a special high grade stainless steel alloy with aluminum interior components.
* The scabbard with this new M901 model is the same as the M9.
* Attaching Assy is all new with M901, it can mount to - Alice Clips, Molle Vest/Assy, or a Standard Belt.
* Performance and balance are exceptional with this new model.
* Unit comes with a tungsten & magnesium fire starter block.
* The 6 Weight Reduction Holes in the M901 does not affect the strength performance of the unit.
* The blade says M9 in the photo but will be re-stamped M901 in later revisions.
Weight - 20.2 oz.
Interior components made of 7075 aircraft grade aluminum
7.5 Inch Blade
12 1/8 inches Overall (30 centimeters)
Blade thickness - .235, Forged 420 Mod. Stainless Steel
Modified Stainless Steel alloy blade
Crossguard - IS All Aluminum , NOT steel
6 Weight Reduction Holes
Wire Cutter Hole
Milled Sawteeth on Backside of Blade
Unit passes all previous M9/M11 physical tests
Here are the specifications for the M901, which is the improved version of the US Army M9. This is what are purposing to furnish to the Malaysian Government.
The knife blade is .235 inches thick, made of modified 420 stainless steel, forged for strength, tempered for edge holding and strong enough to hold the weight of a soldier when driven into a supporting structure, such as a tree or wooden wall. The blade is 7.5 inches long with a saw tooth configuration along the spine of the blade. The saw teeth can cut wood, aluminum or 1/2 inch steel rebar. There is a false cutting edge for combat use that doubles as the shear for the wire cutting scabbard. The internals of the knife are made of aircraft grade aluminum which reduces the weight of the complete bayonet to less than 75% of the current M9.
The scabbard contains a cutter plate made of modified 420 stainless steel, which when used with the knife blade will cut barbed wire or chain link fence. The scabbard also includes a fully enclosed fire starter for use in battlefield emergencies. The knife is constrained to allow it to be mounted either upright or inverted. The complete unit may be belt mounted attached to a Molle Vest.
The M901 has been designed to mount to either the US Army M4 or M16 without any modification.
This unit is the strongest, most versatile available for the fighting man. It has stood the test of numerous bayonet courses around the world.
Pocket Knife US No10213
This photo was sent to us by our good friend Mike Silvey. It was a recent auction item and even with the missing main end pin and the possible replaced blade it went for around $300.00. What we are interested in is the marking on the escutcheon, what does it stand for??? Anyone???
Randall Knives and Cats…
$1 million buys a lot of cat toys.
COPYRIGHT 2006 The Orlando Sentinel
Byline: Martin E. Comas
Of all the pets Doane Randall Broggi has ever owned -- including the parrots, the dogs, the fish and rabbits -- cats have always had a special place in her heart.
'They are my big love,' the 73-year-old Orange County woman said.
Her fondness for felines spurred her to donate $1 million to set up an endowment fund for the Cat Protection Society, a no-kill shelter in Sorrento with more than 500 stray and abandoned cats.
Annual proceeds from her gift, about $50,000, will help pay for salaries, supplies and vet bills, including spaying and neutering.
'When we found out, we were floored,' said Lois Lanius, president of the Cat Protection Society. 'I was shocked. I just wanted to cry. There's plenty of other places she could have put that money.'
The proceeds will be a huge boost for the shelter, which exists on about $100,000 a year generated by contributions and fundraisers. Vet bills alone run as high as $46,000 a year. Cat litter costs about $200 a week; the one full-time employee and about two dozen volunteers change about 150 litter boxes a day. The 75 pounds of dry cat food eaten by the cats daily is donated by Science Diet company.
'This money will go a long way,' Lanius said.
Calling her gift 'seed money,' Broggi, who lives near Mount Dora, hopes publicity about the endowment fund will spur more contributions from animal lovers.
'I want people to feel the urge to donate,' she said. 'Because they really need it.'
Broggi, who wouldn't say how many cats she now owns, began volunteering at the shelter in 1998 by cleaning out cages. She now mainly transports cats to the veterinarian.
A retired antiques dealer, Broggi is the daughter of the late Walter Doane 'Bo' Randall, founder of the world-famous Randall Made Knives off U.S. Highway 441 in Orlando.
She said her husband, Peter, and her three children -- two of whom live in Central Florida and one in Seattle -- agreed with her decision to donate the money.
So did her brother, Gary Randall, 65. 'I think she did a really nice thing,' he said. 'We really do need to protect our animals. I'm really proud of her.'
Randall recalled that as a child, his sister had a powerful love for all animals, big or small. 'She would put hamburger meat on the ant hills,' he said.
Growing up in Maitland, she had a cat called Smokey who lost its eye after being hit by a truck. Yet, his sister continued to care for it, Randall said.
Maybe it's the way they purr or rub against a person's leg, but cats have long worked their ways into wealthy people's hearts.
Ben Rea, a British recluse, left $13 million to cat charities and to his cat Blackie -- but nothing to his relatives -- when he died in 1988. In the early 1960s, Dr. William Grier of San Diego willed $415,000 to his cats Hellcat and Brownie.
A Florida law passed in 2003 allows pet owners to set up trust funds for their furry friends in case something unexpected happens and they can no longer care for them. The owner can specify a trustee to oversee the money, designate who is to take care of the pets and have it enforced by a judge. (The law also could prevent an eccentric millionaire from leaving a fortune to a favored pet, because a judge has the discretion to decide whether the trust is being given more money than is needed to care for the animal during its lifetime.) Broggi donated the money through the Lake Eustis Foundation in Lake County. The endowment fund will be managed by the Community Foundation of Central Florida, the parent organization for the Lake Eustis Foundation.
The $1 million principal cannot be touched by the Cat Protection Society or anyone else, said Virginia Barker of the Lake Eustis Foundation.
'It's such a good deal for the cats,' Barker said.
If the cat shelter were to close, the money would go to benefit another charity specified by Broggi.
The nonprofit shelter adopts out about 75 healthy cats a month from the dozens of stray and unwanted animals it receives. If a home is not found for an animal, it will stay there its entire life.
The shelter opened in 1997 off State Road 46 at the former site of the Humane Society of Lake County.
This week, scores of cats lounged on the floors, window sills and furniture throughout the shelter's eight rooms. Batman, the shelter's oldest cat at 14 years old, lay atop a desk near the front door. The black feline lost its left ear a few years ago because of a hematoma.
Officials said that in September they plan to move into a new 12,000-square-foot building on Getford Road in Eustis. The new site will be about four times the size of the current shelter.
'It can't happen soon enough,' Lanius said. 'We're cramped.'
A lot of knives there to add up to a million bucks!
BBC News In Great Britain Knife amnesty nets 17,700 weapons, carrying a knife can land you a four-year jail term.
Over 17,700 weapons were handed in during the first week of the national knives amnesty, the Home Office said. Machetes, meat cleavers and axes as well as knives were among the haul of 17,715 surrendered to the 43 police forces across England and Wales. Home office minister Vernon Coaker said the results were "encouraging". The five-week amnesty, running until 30 June, allows people to surrender knives at police stations without fear of punishment. Mr Coaker urged those who had not yet handed in their weapons to do so. "The initial figures for the first week of that campaign are very encouraging, " he said. "That is 17,715 fewer weapons that can be used in a crime against ordinary, law-abiding citizens. "If you carry a knife out of self-defence, you run the risk of having it turned on you. Carrying a knife is illegal and will not be tolerated. It could land you four years in prison"
'Significant step' As well as knives, Devon and Cornwall police also received an 8lb anti-tank rocket launcher, known as a "tankbuster", which has a range of up to 350 metres. A force spokesman said: "The amnesty is for all weapons and if someone wants to get rid of a rocket launcher, that's fine by us." Devon and Cornwall's assistant chief constable, Tony Melville, who is also a member of the Association of Chief Police Officers, said the haul was "a significant step towards making our streets safer". The initiative, running in England, Wales and Scotland comes amid growing concern at the level of knife crime in the wake of a series of fatal stabbings.
Police say that from 1 July tough action will be taken on those found armed with knives. However, some families of victims of knife crime have questioned the effectiveness of an amnesty, calling instead for tougher sentencing. Last month 15-year-old Kiyan Prince died from a stab wound after being attacked outside his school in Edgware, north London. And last week Alex Mulumba Kamondo, also 15, died after being knifed through the heart during a street fight in Lambeth, south London.
Kind of makes one nervous don’t you think? The classic questions is "What’s next?"
Quite some time ago we asked the question if anyone knew of the Hamlin Metal Product Company of Akron Ohio. They crafted a knife as proposed by Captain Young of the USMC during WW II and sent in for testing. Sadly to say a picture or drawing did not accompany the documents. We have searched most of the remaining Equipment Board files and have not seen one for these knives. It never fails, get one more clue to one mystery and another one pops up in it’s place. We asked and recently received an answer to one part of the query.
Mr. Larry Cavender responded in an e-mail to us:
You had a question as to whether or not Hamlin Steel still exists. YES. It has changed hands and is now known as Hamlin Steel Products LLC. It is still in Akron, Ohio and is a small automotive stamping plant.
So we find that the company does still exist and is located in Akron still. We quickly responded to Mr. Cavender with the question:
Just by chance to you happen to know what the knives they made or designed during WW II looked like? I have not seen an identified copy or a drawing of one. The knife was submitted to the USMC Equipment Board by a Captain Young who may have been an employee or related to an employee in 1942.
Mr. Cavender responded to us:
After reading your article I started poking around. The story so far is in the 1940's Hamlin was in downtown Akron. At that time they not only made knifes but also shell casings. It was owned by the Brennen family & called the Brennen Group. I haven't found anyone here now that was here then or anyone who knows where to get a knife. A few years later Hamlin moved to south Akron in a suburb called Coventry by Portage Lakes. I started here in May 2001, it is now a tier 2 automotive stamping plant.
Your Welcome, Larry
So the company exists and reportedly made other ordnance items during WW II. If anyone knows of one of these Hamlin made knives we sure would like to hear from you.
"..in a crisis the duty of a leader is to lead and not take refuge in the generally timid wisdom of a magnitude of counselors."
Wise men learn more from fools than fools from wise men.
- Marcus Porcius Cato (234-149 BC)
Utica Cutlery Co. M1 Bayonet Production
A document has been located in the National Archives that confirms that Utica Cutlery did receive a contract for 75,000 M1 bayonets in 1953. The contract, DA-19-058-ORD-7440 was let for Bayonet M1, Items Stock No. B001-7312034, Ordnance No. 20-2B-54 on Production Order No. S66-53. The quantity indicated above represents the total to be produced under that contract without run-ons. Production was to be at a rate of 15,000 per month beginning in June 1953. There was the possibility of a partial shipment to be made in May from the manufacturers. This was in a letter from the Rochester Ordnance District dated May 5, 1953, Deputy District Chief by his assistant James D. Finn. The letter was filed under O.O. 474.1 / 109 for those so interested to follow up on it. It was found in RG156 / 390 / 23 / 21 / 02 Box A1260 Tabbed. It also had a 1st Ind with it to the Commanding Officer of the Rock Island Arsenal . They requested the Rochester Ord District be furnished with shipping instruction for the items being procured from Utica Cutlery Company. They also requested that shipments be in truck lots so as not to overstock any one depot, If a depot was to be overloaded the extra quantities would be stored at RIA and or some other reserve depot in the Rochester Ord District area of responsibility. This letter was also part of the 474.1 / 109 file and dated May 25, 1953. This is somewhat peculiar as the production sounds like it was just for the Rochester district area but when you consider they encompass the Rock Island Arsenal it becomes apparent that they were the ones getting the orders for bayonets they could not fill.
So we have the contract, the order and the shipping instructions, what we lack is any photo or documentation of what the markings were to be. Did they just use the same standard WW II dies from storage or were there different markings?
OSS Drop Knives
Just this past weekend while walking the Forks of the Delaware gun show I stopped to talk with Homer Brett for a few minutes. A fellow walked up looking to sell one of the so called "OSS Drop knives", the type with the bayonet blade and the rubber hose handle and knuckle guard. The knife looked mint and the scabbard was nice as well but it lacked the leather frog, which most do. When asked about the knife the fellow told me matter of factly it was made at Alexanders Hardware Store on Reade St in Manhattan. I asked how he knew and he told me he had bought a huge load of them many years ago from a guy who was making them during WW II! He would go to Bannermans and buy the bayonets or saber blades and use that to build the knives. He had a huge stock pile of scrap from the sockets and handles he had cut off as well when the store was eventually sold. We have not been able to prove or disprove the story yet but it is quite a nice thread to tug on for a bit. Anyone have anything they could offer to this story? As for Reade St in Manhattan I did find United Hardware & Tool Corporation. (1925). United Hardware & Tool Corporation manufacturers' distributors and importers guaranteed hardware and tools of quality. In looking up Reade St I found that Reade and Chambers streets were the center of the city’s wholesale hardware trade. These two streets are notable today for their impressive and historically significant mid 19th century buildings. This section of the city known as Tribeca is quite impressive and popular today with the trendy set. The old buildings with all the cast iron works are indeed works of art unto themselves. In an earlier time we find GEM CUTLERY CO. 34 Reade St., New York City ca. 1903-1907; later became the Gem Safety Razor Co. occupied a store on Reade St. Through the times a lot of businesses have occupied space in New York City, a search through the city directory usually lists the business and addresses if you know what time frame to look for. This one would be a World War Two era search. Never enough time…
So called OSS Drop Knife
Our good friend Jim Maddox sent us a blue print the other day. Knowing we like such things it was quickly researched. The blueprint has Krag written in pencil on the reverse side in large letters. This could have been added at any time but suggests it is old as it is faded somewhat. Looking at the print we see two versions of a bayonet, one with a short blade and one is long bladed. This in itself is odd as a blue print is naturally very precise and features exact specifications. Having to different items on one print is something I have not seen before. The revisions on the drawing are dated to 1918. This is another strange point, why would we be revising a bayonet in 1918? Was it too hard to make the Model of 1905? Was the short blade for cadets? Would they be making a long blade version, is it already out there to be found? All of these images race through the head looking for any obvious clues as to what the thought process was behind all this. Without written facts to back up the print it is not likely to jump off the page at you. This will need some thinking. After looking at it and walking away other discrepancies started to surface. The print does not have a legend key, there are no revisions listed, who was it drawn by, approved by and what was the original date. A major shortcoming was that it did not possess a model, drawing or part number. Even experimental items have these assigned to them. This is not a government blueprint it is a commercial one but for who? I decided to call in the big guns and ask a question, I sent a copy to our good friend Gary Cunningham to look at. After several attempts, it is a very large file, it made it there. Gary came back to me shortly with the most obvious of all facts, it wasn’t a Krag bayonets at all. It is a Winchester made bayonet for the Russian Model 1895. The first 15,000 were delivered with the short 8.3 inch blade and the remainder had the long 16 inch blade according the Janzen. Well that mystery was solved, I looked at the writing on the print and the measurements and the revisions but only casually glanced at the bayonet itself and never studied it for a possible foreign item. Duh! It still leaves us with the 1918 revision date, this would be a bit late for the Russian Revolution but it is there, why?
Winchester Model 1895 Russian
Bill Humes M7 Display
Here is a photo we took a few months ago but for some reason never ran it. This is good friend Bill Humes with his M7 display at the Allentown show. Bill has more M7 and associated bayonets then I have ever seen. He has some real gems here that are unknown to most in the collecting world. Good work Bill, keep at it my friend!
Officers Kit Photo
We recently found a photo in an old magazine that sparked our interest. Like most photos it reveals to us something out of place but it does not explain what it is. The text along with this photo did not explain anything in the kit, it was about the people who use the kit. This tool kit was for a "Technical Aviation Intelligence Officer to help him pry into and analyze captured enemy material." What peaked our interest was obviously the knife. Note the shape of the sheath, like for a stiletto point. This sheath is not like any other we have seen in any ordnance catalogs or previous field or technical manuals. This sheath looks to be from the typical outers or hunting knife of the pre and post WW II era. The handle, from what we can see of it in this small photograph looks to be Indian trail stag or jigged bone. These knives were made by Imperial and Camillus in large numbers but this is the first I have seen them associated with military usage. Can anyone out there contribute to the common knowledge on this topic?
Many years ago we ran as one of our Mystery Knives a photo from Dick Boyd showing a man testing the newly designed Fulton Skyhook. On his suit was a knife designed for cutting the pickup line in case of an emergency. (He was also equipped with a parachute.) To date we have not received any information on this knife. Recently it was brought to our attention that a similar knife was designed in 1944 and used by the U S Army Air Force during the war. We have only seen this knife in photos and don’t really know if it was ever standardized. We really have our doubts it was as some would have likely surfaced by now but one never knows on that point. What we can determine is that in 1944 at least one knife existed in this design and it was publicized in the official service journal. They mention it will be included in the new crash kit, a kit we have not observed. At the time of this publication the new kit had not been approved and the drawings and dimensions of the knife were not yet standardized. The knife in the Skyhook photo looks larger then the one in the magazine article but this could have changed over time the article was written and the testing of the Fulton system. This is certainly a parent of the later pattern MC-1, M724, and the current Rescue Knife. All were designed for rescue extraction without injury to the victim involved. In any case both of the early items do need further exploration, do you know anything about them?
Our good friend Dick Boyd has taken on an adventure to climb quite a mountain. Dick is establishing a database of serial numbers on Springfield knives. All collectors who have a M1905 Hospital Corps Knife, an M1909 Bolo or a M1910 Bolo that is serial numbered and dated Dick would love to hear from you. He has been at it for quite some time and is looking for any new information to place high and low numbers by year. All knives MUST BE SEEN to be verified, not something a friend of a friend told you about. We all know the production numbers quoted by Springfield are by Fiscal years and the dating of the equipment went by calendar year so the two numbers will never correlate but establishing a high and low may give us some sense of how many were actually made in a given date stamping. This could also establish a pricing pattern and place an emphasis on finding rare years. Anyway you look at it it is a great endeavor and we look to Dick to lead the way with finding the information. Send him an e-mail of the items you have at HRB1JLB2@bellsouth.net Tell him you read about it on www.usmilitaryknives.com
Theodore Roosevelt's Ideas on Immigrants and Being an American
"In the first place, we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin. But this is predicated upon the person's becoming in every facet an American, and nothing but an American ... There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn't an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag ... We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language ... and we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people."
Theodore Roosevelt 1907
"Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."
This month we have a ton of reproduction updates to share with you. Thanks to all the folks who sent us in pointers to auctions and other sites with the fakes, fantasies and trash out there along with the reproductions that are represented as such and well marked as different. We also added a lot of old photos, this month is bayonet training through the ages with postcards and photos. Some really good ones there. We also did something different this month and ran a new article never printed in any other sources before. It has been in the works for years and now is the time to let it out. We have added a few more government documents that we hope you will enjoy, the one on military leather is the best we have ever seen on the subject. And last but not least we added a few more books at a great price for your reading enjoyment. I hope you enjoy, we will be back to the knotes next month.
We wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year!
The United States Bolo Bayonets in the Philippines
Modern science provides us with many improved products but perhaps the biggest advent of the 20th century was a move to scale items down in size. As items became lesser they also became more common to have and use. As these new and improved products became indispensable to the modern man we found ourselves needing more items. A viscous cycle was created. An infantryman of 600 B.C. would not believe the modern conveniences the soldier of the 1900’s would have, and most impressive of all, carry it on his back! The ultimate drawback was weight, with all this improved gear needed to sustain ones self in the field, and to fight, it put the burden on the modern soldier in pounds. Warehouses could be filled with gear strewn across Europe on the march towards Berlin. This is not uncommon in any army, particularly the ones with good standards of living, Xenophon had the same troubles. Lose it on the march or in the battle and if need be it will be replaced at a future date. Historian S.L.A. Marshall in: The Soldier’s Load and the Mobility of a Nation describes thusly; "Even if the overloading of the troops does not contribute so directly to casualties and deaths, overloading greatly diminishes the efficiency of the troops, causing fatigue and resulting in carelessness." Not a new lesson but one still not perfected. The U.S. Marines are currently testing a backpack capable of carrying 200 pounds. Will we ever learn? As you will see we have tried.
The reality of the bolo-bayonet is one of lightening the soldier’s load. To the soldier in the field the idea was very appealing and still is to this day. Combining two such similar appearing items as the bolo and the bayonet seemed an intelligent way to lighten his load. We were soon to find out that initial appearances could be very deceiving.
Placing ourselves at the turn of the century during the Spanish American War most of our soldiers really did travel light. This was due to a variety of reasons, close to camps; local people for payment could use beasts of burden, slow forward movement and readily available human cargo transport. The island terrain fought on placed most vital supplies very near in harbors and in port bases. Mobility known today was not achieved yet either by science or tactics, roads were dirt paths and horses provided the horsepower. Practically the soldier’s entire combat load was carried on his belt. The large haversacks were transported by wagon; this allowed the infantryman to move quickly in most operations. But, even here improvements could be made and issuing a bolo to each man as used by the native bearers would prove an inviting thought. The Krag bayonet and the native bolo knife are of a similar size; it only makes sense that combining the two would make one efficient tool for the soldier. Although they both performed distinctly different jobs that wasn’t thought of just yet. It will eventually prove the devices undoing.
Filipino troops armed with the Model of 1915 bolo bayonet wearing the traditional Moro headgear that allowed prayer without removing the hat.
Combining the bayonet with another article of equipment was not a new idea. Intrenching bayonets had been tried for many years with little success. In fact the thought actually became a reality in 1868 with the first of the trowel bayonets. The 1900 dated so called Bowie bayonet for the Model of 1898 U.S. Magazine Rifle was such an impractical device it quickly faded away to the using arms but it is extremely highly regarded by the collecting community. Rare in the collecting community these bayonets typically bring in the $1,000.00 plus range depending upon condition. Be advised as reproductions of these arms have been made. Soon after this latest bayonet failure, the combining of a native pattern bolo knife with the Model of 1898 bayonet hilt resulting in the 1902-dated Krag Bolo Bayonet made another attempt at change.
This is the Krag Bowie style bayonet dated 1900.
The Model of 1902 Bolo Bayonet is actually well documented in design and background. Originally designed and produced by Captain Hugh D. Wise Quartermaster, 9th Infantry, United States Army in 1901. Capt. Wise proposed the idea while serving in the jungles of the Philippines so this was an actual field evolved tool not something dreamt up in a lab or pattern room of some arsenal. Major Wise served on Samar at various times from 1901 to 1906. Samar was the place where almost all of Company C., 9th Infantry was wiped out in a surprise dawn attack. The order given from Brigadier General Jacob Smith to Major Littleton Walker, USMC, Commander of a Brigade of Marines was "I want no prisoners." " I wish you to kill and burn. The more you kill and burn the better you will please me. I want all persons killed who are capable of bearing arms in actual hostilities against the United States." To say the fighting on Samar would be brutal and savage would be an understatement. In letters exchanged with the Ordnance Department Wise relayed information about actual experience fighting with the bayonet, both the Bowie version and the typical Model of 1892 then issued with the U.S. Magazine Rifle. In a letter Captain Wise suggested:
"I have had numerous demands made upon me by troops serving in the field that they be supplied with bolos and it occurred to me that this article which is so essential be combined with the bayonet it would be a great aid to the troops who are operating through this densely jungled country. And at the same time would be quite as serviceable as either of the present bayonets as such. I therefore selected from a large number of bolos the one which, in balance, weight, and shape most satisfactorily combines the requirement of a bayonet, a fighting cutlass, and a working bolo. This I had welded into the handle of a bayonet. The work is roughly done but will serve to give the idea. The advantage which this bolo-bayonet would have over either of the models now in use, are:-
1st. That it could easily be withdrawn from the body of a man who has been killed with it, since the cutting edge of it would slash a wound sufficiently large to allow the bayonet to be withdrawn and would also cut its way out as it is withdrawn. In this connection attention is invited to the fact that in the engagement of the Gandar River, Oct, 17th, 1901, several men of Company E, 9th Infantry while trying to extricate their bayonets from a dead enemy were killed by another, and all complain that the present bayonet can he withdrawn from a body only with the greatest difficulty.
2nd. This bolo-bayonet has all the properties of an excellent working bolo with which the men can cut their way through jungles, cut wood, or use for any of the other manifold purposes for which a bolo or hatchet is used. Its breadth, shape and strength make it a far better entrenching tool than the present bayonet. It is believed that a slightly increased weight is not sufficient to offset its many other advantages. Without the weight it would be as useless for chopping vines and jungle as the present bayonet and it is certainly better that troops should carry a useful implement and weapon of 25 oz. than that they should carry a comparatively useless on of 21 oz.
This bolo-bayonet was first made by me as an experiment for my own satisfaction and upon testing it in various ways I became so convinced of its efficiency that I decided to send it to you for such disposition or action as the Commanding Officer may see fit.
It is suggested that perhaps the Ordnance Department might make a few of these bolo-bayonets of good steel for trial. The one which I forward is very roughly made and is of very poor material. It is requested that should the Ordnance Department see fit to do this they should confine themselves closely to the weight, shape, and dimensions of the model which has carefully selected.
With the field experience and the backing of his superiors it is was a natural to have the prototypes made up by the arsenal at Springfield. A total of 50 bolo bayonets were made up at Springfield Armory in May 1902. These 50 prototypes were then dispatched to field organizations for actual field-testing. The results were overwhelming in favor of the new item. With these 50 items actually used in testing it is improbable that we will ever find a mint unused example of this extremely rare bayonet. Keep that in mind should the possibility of purchasing one ever arise. Of the total 37 were deemed favorable, 9 unfavorable, 1 qualified and 1 no opportunity to test. This accounts for 48 of the original 50. If we add those 2 missing examples and assume they were kept for pattern purposes and the 1 which had no opportunity to test we can possibly still have 3 unused examples in existence of the 1902 dated specimen. Caveat Emptor. We also find that an additional 6 were made up in calendar year 1903 but stated in the Springfield Record as Fiscal Year 1904. These specimens will be dated 1903 for the actual calendar production year. They were sent to the Engineer Board for testing as an intrenching tool as the imminent replacement by the rod bayonet for the new rifle was near. It should be noted that these items were made up years before Springfield started serial numbering bayonets. A serial numbered Model of 1902 Bolo bayonet should be looked at with suspicion of being a fake.
The Wise pattern Model of 1902 Bolo bayonet.
The scabbards of the Model of 1902 bolo bayonet follow the design of the then current Model of 1898 bayonet. Simple rolled steel with finial end the entire assembly was blued for protection against the elements. These scabbards were entirely made at Springfield and used the current Model of 1899 attachment device. The throat portion of the scabbard held a plate that would only allow the bayonet to enter in one direction, it was cut to fit. As the scabbard is rarer then the bayonet these too are made as reproductions.
The Wise pattern Model of 1902 Bolo bayonet scabbard.
The final deathblow was landed as the following year the Model of 1903 Springfield rifle was adopted which used the rod bayonet. Ordnance sent out a letter stating that the satisfactory results of the testing would be hampered by this decision but the exchange of the 5,000 requested machetes by the Philippine Department could be substituted by the bolo bayonet for use by the Philippine Scouts. The reply came from the Chief of Staff stating "The machetes already issued are sufficient for the purpose." So we see the project was barely off the ground when it was canceled. The cancellation coming not due to the bolo bayonet itself but due to circumstance’s beyond its control. As an aside the Wise pattern was later adopted as the Model of 1910 Bolo Knife and still later as the Model 1917 and the Model 1917 C.T. None were produced as bayonets but the pattern followed was that of Captain Wises drawn up in the Philippines in 1901. This bolo knife pattern was still being used in the U.S. military in the 1970’s as seen in photos of that time period. It is from these bolo knives that many of the fraudulent Model of 1902 bayonets are made.
We know the results of the rod bayonet experiment with the Model of 1903 rifle but when the idea for a bayonet to replace it came about the Ordnance Department went straight for the knife bayonet theory. Although most who advocated the bolo bayonet were still in places of authority the idea was not brought back up with the same vigor of the earlier arguments. On April 3, 1905 the Secretary of War approved a report of a committee appointed by the Chief of Staff to consider the adoption of a bayonet better then the rod bayonet for the Model of 1903 rifle. Two experimental models of the bolo bayonet were produced for trials early in 1905 albeit by mistake. Both are named the Model of 1905 by Hardin in his book American Bayonets, but given a type number to differentiate them in description. The first or Type No. I is very much like the Wise 1902 pattern but longer in blade length. The blade in the specifications from Springfield Armory was to be 16 inches overall. The thought was to put the weight for chopping into the blade, a very logical idea if applied to an axe but the original 1902 pattern bolo was balanced and this newer update was just too heavy. It never made it past the experimental stages. In fact it was produced in error. In a letter from Capt. Tracy C. Dickinson Ordnance Department dated Feb. 15, 1905 he states; "The bolo bayonet submitted herewith was not made exactly like desired by the instructions in O.O. 26791 –O- 621. A pencil sketch showing the general design of the bolo bayonet is enclosed herewith, and he is instructed to manufacture one bayonet in accordance therewith and to send it to this office by express at the earliest practicable date. It should be provided with the same handle as the present design of the knife bayonet." The prototype has the grip of the Model of 1898 pattern bayonet with the Krag type locking system. The 16 inch blade was stamped U.S. on the reverse while the obverse is marked with the date, 1905, hence the designation. This was the typical stamping then in use on the prior Krag type bayonets before the adoption of the shell and flame marking, place of manufacture and the serial number. The entire bayonet was brightly polished with exceptional workmanship, it had to be as the President was likely to inspect it! The total weight fell in at almost 2 pounds without a scabbard; it was massive. The second variation or the Type No. II was a very interesting pattern. This is the design requested initially by Brigadier General William Crozier, Chief of Ordnance in his 1st endorsement of the above letter 621. Crozier requested; "(e) One bolo bayonet of the same design as that submitted by Captain Hugh D. Wise, Quartermaster, 9th U.S. Infantry, except that the cross section in front of the guard is to be extended forward without change sufficiently to make the total length of the blade 16 inches. This bayonet should also be made so that it can be assembled to the U.S. Magazine Rifle, Model of 1903 provided with a Model of 1892 upper band." This is the only known bolo bayonet pattern with a fuller in the blade. The Type No. II model is actually a Model of 1905 bayonet with a large belly at the end that mimics the Wise pattern. Again the thought was to put the weight were it counts but to reduce the overall weight of the component. A great idea which would allow the quicker swing and increased velocity for a better cut. The major draw back in this design is the grip, it affords little control and much less comfort for a working tool. Add that to the decreased ability as a bayonet and it spelled doom for the Type No. II. Again blade length was the proscribed 16 inches total overall length. This blade had a squared off fuller running 11 3/8 inches stopping short of the sharp false edge top. The obverse is stamped with the date, 1905 while the reverse is stamped U.S. just like the Type I version. Again the complete bayonet is finished bright and workmanship is impeccable. In the end the knife bayonet won the trials without any special consideration given for the bolo bayonet as a partial issue where it was needed, in the jungles. Much of this is also due to the Ordnance Department having egg on their face over the miserable failure of the rod bayonet. They just wanted to get a traditional knife bayonet to the troops fast before the President exploded. Had they delayed they knew Roosevelt would have someone’s hide to tack up on his already sizable trophy wall.
This is a composite of the three drawings in the Hardin book, The American Bayonet showing the attempts at a bolo bayonet.
In the passing years a study was done on the intrenching abilities of the knife bayonet but the bolo bayonet idea was passed over again. It took on a new life again in 1911 when a board was formed to report on the field equipment for the Philippine Scouts. The idea for the bolo bayonet was again raised but this time it focused around the Model of 1909 Bolo Knife already in issue. The Philippine troops were sent experimental Bolo Bayonets for testing in at least three different patterns. The Experimental Type No. I, No 179, again using the Hardin numbering, is a typical Model of 1898 bayonet handle with the Model of 1909 Bolo Knife blade affixed. A large heavy blade, 13 15/16 inches long by 2 3/16 inches wide with the short thin grip spelled failure for this example. Too many problems existed to correct this design. The Type No. II design was even worse. It featured the typical Model of 1909 Bolo Knife with an adapter to allow mounting on to the Model of 1903 Springfield rifle. This locking adapter made the grip all but useless in the everyday-working environment the bolo was supposed to fill. This arrangement would have the hand blistered in a few swings. The larger handle was a move in the right direction but it was not effectively pulled off in design. The combined weight of this tool, 1.87 pounds, made it overbearing as a bayonet design. The Model of 1909 limited issue bayonet as shown in Hardin No. 176 tries to combat the previous failures by having the larger handle applied to a conventional configuration of a bayonet. This might have succeed if the overall weight was paired down to an acceptable limit. Again the weight factor, 1.87 pounds, on the end of a rifle places this weapon among the ranks of the proverbial boat anchor. Quite useless as a weapon attached to the rifle but none the less fearsome as a hand wielded one. Although Hardin lists these bolo bayonets as Model of 1909 classifications, I believe the correct nomenclature should be Model of 1911 as that is when they were made, tested and denied. The name Model of 1909 is applied due to the shape of the blade corresponding with that of the Model of 1909 Bolo Knife. Correcting this oversight would be almost impossible at this point as the Hardin numbers are firmly entrenched and it would do very little to update the name just to the correct year. The final version was made in a limited number, 50 pieces are recorded as being produced at Springfield Armory and shipped to the Manila Ordnance Depot, Philippine Department for test by the Philippine Scouts. The blade again copies the standard issue M1909 bolo knife in profile. The blade is 14 inches in length that gradually swells to 2 3/16 inches in width. Like the Model of 1909 bolo knife the blade carries a chisel grind being sharpened on the obverse side only. One complaint about this type of grind is that it works at real chopping only for a right-handed man. Another point of interest that is perplexing is the locking system used on the experimental bolo bayonets, they all retained the earlier Model of 1898 pommel mechanism. The then current system in use by the M1905 bayonet had been in use for 6 years by the time these prototypes were made. I could not find an explanation for this arrangement in any specific letters requesting such a locking device. Having the older style hilt it also retained the rivet retaining system for the grips. The rivets were ground flush and left bright. To also retain some of the angle of the Model of 1909 bolo knife the handle is swelled at the guard allowing the grip to be tilted slightly downward. This angle called for a new guard with an angle bored hole to slip over the rifle barrel. The opposite flange of the guard is also drilled with a smaller hole that mates with a line up pin that protrudes from the mouth of the scabbard throat. This pin aligns the bayonet in the scabbard while the throat holds a retaining spring to clamp the bayonet in place. The scabbard body is of leather while the throat is brass with the mouth soldered into place. It is attached to the leather with domed brass rivets. Like the previous scabbard this one also retains the belt loop for use to attach to any belt, web or trousers, and prevent the scabbard from being knocked off in thick jungle undergrowth.
The above photo is courtesy of Jim Maddox and his wonderful book Collecting Bayonets.
In this same attempt to bring the bolo bayonet to the troops there appears in 1911 several drawings submitted from the testers of what they feel would make a good bolo bayonet. One drawing in specific was a design that would be adopted in the future. Dated 21 November 1911 a drawing submitted by Captain Robert Dickson, Philippine Scouts stationed at Camp Connell on Samar, P.I. was approved by his direct superior Major Hanson Ely with a slight redesign of the point and forwarded to Ordnance for review. It may have taken some time and a few refinements but eventually one of the suggested patterns became the Model 1915 Bolo Bayonet.
Drawings submitted by the troops with their thoughts on the perfect bolo bayonet.
That is jumping ahead somewhat as the design was actually first produced in the year 1912 in a quantity of 52 and reported in the Annual Report of the Secretary of War for Fiscal Year 1913. These new bayonets were at sitting finished at Springfield Armory on December 18, 1912 and verified to the Chief of Ordnance via letter of that same date. The Annual Report report shows the 52 bolo bayonets in Class 7 Section 5, Hand Arms Manufacture, it also shows the 52 bayonets again in Class 7 Section 5 under the Hand Arms, Repaired classification. The verbiage is "52, Bolo Bayonets, Altered". It is interesting to note that when the bolos were completed they were given a through inspection by the Chief himself with a random sample picked out along with the original prototype built back in the Manila Ordnance Depot. The sample did not pass the muster and was sent back to Springfield to be altered along with the remaining 51 still there. It seems the rough edge of the bayonet slot along with slightly oversized hand grips were not to the liking of the chief. Remember the tool would be used for working so the wood to metal needed to be as smooth as possible to avoid hurting the scouts hands. The estimated cost of the rework was $26.00. It was approved and work started on January 18, 1913. The altered bolos were finish on February 15, 1913 and shipped to Rock Island Arsenal for manufacture of the scabbards. There is not an entry for scabbards for the Model of 1912 bolo bayonets in any of the manufacture sections of the 1913 Annual Report to the Secretary of War. At the time Watertown Arsenal accounted for many of the scabbards produced but checking their annual report, subsection of the same Secretary of War report, none were made there either. It is spelled out in the letters and endorsements that Rock Island made the scabbards to follow exactly the pattern submitted from the Manila Ordnance Depot. Upon completion one scabbard would be sent to Springfield along with one bayonet for the museum. The sample and the sample scabbard would be sent to the Chief of Ordnance in Washington and the remaining 50 would be sent to Manila Ordnance Depot, P.I. The 50 completed bolos and scabbards were shipped to Manila on August 2, 1913 from Rock Island. They were received on October 10, 1913 and issued by quantities of ten to the 16th, 35th, 47th, 51st, and 52nd Companies of the Philippine Scouts for testing. The first Model of 1912 bolo bayonets did not have the Model of 1905 scabbard retaining catch in the grip as the drawing suggests. The scabbards were to have a spring retainer in the throat. It was requested that the spring retainer give good pressure and be made of a non corrosive material. They also requested that the spring be removable for replacement purposes if broken. The original letter from Major Joyes sent with the sample bayonet and sample scabbards from Manila went on to state a loop for the belt was mandatory as no other way was secure enough to prevent loss in thick jungle or undergrowth. Finally the endorsement went on to ask that the scabbard not be made of leather as it did not last long in the humid jungles of the Philippines and a heavy fabric would be preferable as long as it could be made strong. The bayonet itself followed the typical markings as the Model of 1905 bayonet with the S.A. marking over the Ordnance shell and flame and then the year, 1912. On the opposite side the blade was stamped U.S. over the serial number. This model is not shown in The American Bayonet. A photo of a surviving example is here, the only one I know of to still exist.
These photos are of the ultra rare Model of 1912 Bolo bayonet in the collection of Robin Bartel.
On May 22,1915 the final design was approved with 6,000 bolo bayonets and scabbards being ordered for issue to the Philippine Scouts.
The blueprint for the Model of 1915 Bolo Bayonet
The very first Model of 1915 Bolo Bayonets were made without the typical Model of 1905 type scabbard catch, a spring steel clip inside the scabbard being used to retain the weapon. Survival rates indicate that very few were made without the catch. The only one I am aware of on display is at the Quartermaster Museum in Ft. Lee Va. In fact the one they have on display is probably the original prototype as it has two slight fullers that the original letter speaks about but was not to be part of the Springfield made production items. A fascinating item on display at the Quartermaster Museum of all the unlikely places. Fellow member Jim Maddox has the only other one I know of. It is shown in a photograph here with the grips off.
More photos of a rare Model of 1915 bolo with special grip from our good friend Jim Maddox.
This is the exact same bayonet shown in Hardin’s American Bayonet as Variation No. 1. Jim allowed the used of the photos here to show what Hardin describes in his text. This is the first time to my knowledge this has been shown and explained. The grips appear to be that of the M1905, without the additional center swell so they do not completely cover the hilt. Additionally they are machined to allow for the necessary clearance around the catch spring recess. The hilt was designed to employ the catch but for reasons unknown it was not used. It appears that a standard M1903 latch bar assembly was initially used. The second design, that which is typically encountered, although that isn’t an accurate term as none of the M1915’s are encountered often, contains the scabbard catch locking system. It is of the Norwegian Krag locking style and is the only U.S. bolo bayonet design with that system. Shown with this article is a machinist drawing of the bayonet and the catch system. The original dates of the drawings are unknown but they appeared in a 1917-dated book. The description of the bayonet directly from Hardin is well written and appropriate here.
"The 15 13/16 inch long blade is of streamlined bolo pattern. It is 1 15/16 inches wide and 7/32 inches thick. The false and true edges are both "V" ground on each side, the former for 5 ¾ inches from the long, tapering semi spear point and the latter for 11 ¾ inches. The ricasso is a heavy rectangle, stamped vertically on the obverse side with "U.S." over the serial number and on the reverse side with "S.A." / Ordnance Escutcheon / "1916". The blade is finished bright."
It does not appear from further research that more than the initial orders of 6,002 bolo bayonets originally requested were ever made. A total of 3,200 were made during 1916 (Fiscal Year 1916, 1 June 1915 to 30 May 1916.) The remainder being made up during the latter part of 1916. In a letter they state 5800 were shipped 2/16 through 7/16 to Manila and the remaining 202 were shipped to Rock Island Arsenal. Prior to World War One the Philippine Scouts numbered less then the authorized 6,000 men but quickly ballooned to over 8,000 at the onset of war. The Model of 1915 Bolo Bayonet served proudly in the Philippines but was never recorded to have been used in Europe during the hostilities. Looking over countless photos finding a picture of the Model of 1915 bolo is tough enough, none to my knowledge exist of the bayonet being worn or used in Europe. The bolo bayonet seemed to carry on quite well until a letter from the Commanding General of the Philippine Department to the Chief of Staff in 1920 recommended that the standard infantry bayonet be issued to Filipino scout organizations as fast as the present supply of the bolo bayonets becomes unserviceable. This in effect discontinued the issue of bolo bayonets. Although we find a letter in the Chief of Infantry files dated 1922 in which it states the Philippine Scouts are still armed with the M1915 bolo bayonets. It was taking time to have the 6,000 bolo bayonets to be deemed unserviceable. In fact they were so popular with the troops it was not possible to have them trade for the standard Model of 1905. With the issue of the "Weeks" report in 1924 it was still not possible to remove the M1915 bolo bayonet from a Scout unless a local made proper bolo were to be exchanged for it.
The final product, the Model of 1915 Bolo bayonet
In 1935 a memo was circulated that M1913 Cavalry Saber was to be discontinued. This action left the Cavalry with no edged side arms as horse troopers were not issued M1905 bayonets. In the Philippines the following suggestion was made by the Colonel of the 26th Cavalry (PS).
It is strongly recommended that the Ordnance Bayonet M/15 be authorized as an article of issue to this regiment in lieu of the Quartermaster bolo.
The action was approved by the War Department and issue of the M1915 to the 26th Cav (PS) was carried out in late 1936. Approval was later granted for a change in the TO&E to have the bayonet issued one per man. This would account for all of the bolo bayonets remaining in the Philippines to have been issued to the 26th Cavalry. The 26th Cavalry was the last mounted cavalry unit of the US Army to fight on horseback against an enemy. As the unit was devastated in fighting a delaying action against the Japanese during World War Two very few of the Model of 1915 bolo bayonets survived the war. Indeed because of the unit having to surrender very few photographs exist of the unit prior to and during the war. This avenue of evidence is missing from archives and has yet to be discovered by this author.
The scabbard for the Model of 1915 bolo bayonet is very elusive, even more so then the bayonet. It appears to be canvas-covered wood wrapped in raw hide much like the M1910 bayonet scabbard. The principal differences are the metal tip as opposed to the leather on the M1910 scabbard and the lack of webbing hooks. The Model of 1915 scabbard has a long canvas strap on the back that allows the scabbard to be worn on any belt or web gear. This was done to allow the Scouts use of the bayonet while they were still using cartridge belts designed in the 1800’s. The unfortunate part of all this which was relearned many times is that jungle climate is not forgiving to this design. The scabbards actually rotted away from use hence they are even scarcer today then the bayonets.
So concludes our story of the bolo bayonets used by the United States forces in the Philippines. Some great ideas and thorough manufacturing methods were used to accomplish the tasks at hand, albeit in a non-practical direction. I often wonder what would have happened had the original Model of 1902 Bolo Bayonet been adopted and produced in great numbers. Would it have changed the design of the bayonet forever or could it have been equally resigned to the collectors market as just another bayonet.
Tell me your thoughts on the subject...
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