knife knotes part vI
Where is Herman Hanneken When You Need Him??
Tomahawks are cool weapons but we need more then smart bombs for this one. It took an enterprising USMC Sergeant Herman H. Hanneken, actually an acting Captain at the time in the Haitian Gendarmes, to eliminate the resistance by brutally killing the leader, up close and personal. In the age of political correctness this in not allowed by U.S. law. The similarities in this current problem we have are very close to identical. For example, consider the killing of Haitian guerrilla leader Charlemagne Peralte by Hanneken in 1919. During this period, U.S. Marines were involved in the occupation of Haiti. Peralte had raised a rebel force of as many as 5,000 in the northern part of the country. From February through October, Marine forces pursued the rebels, known as "cacos," fighting 131 engagements but were unable to suppress the rebel activity. So, disguised as cacos, Sgt. Herman Hanneken and Cpl. William Button infiltrated Peralte's camp, where Hanneken shot and killed the caco leader. The rebellion in the northern portion of the country subsided. In this case, a special operation consisting of two Marines accomplished what 7 months of combat could not. To make it even more unbelievable, at the time no one knew what Peralte looked like, there were no photos of him. To accomplish this feat the Marines established a fake band of "deserter" gendarmes who gradually convinced Peralteís people of their sincerity. Hanneken and another Marine NCO Corporal William Button along with a trusted local gendarme "deserter" successfully passed through several check points to come face to face with Peralte. Hanneken then shot Peralte up close and personal with a Colt .45 while Button took out the bodyguards with a Browning BAR he was carrying. They threw the body on a mule and quickly departed the area. The following day Peraltes body was buried in concrete to prevent his followers from digging it up. It won Hanneken the Medal of Honor, he later retired from the Marine Corps as a Brigadier General. I just bring this up as it seems our very own Peralte is with us today in the form of Osama bin Laden. The plan worked before, who will be our Hanneken this time around?
A Knife Story
Once upon a time somewhere in the mid-west there was a very pretty young girl who loved to go on dates. The dates usually consisted of dancing or a movie, what ever was going on in town that night. One rule she had was that the young men calling on her did not bring flowers but instead brought a pocket knife of some sort. Some of the young men thought this a bit odd but for the company of a young lady it was not that odd. Her reputation began to grow and soon she had men from all over asking her for a date and bringing better knives to one up the last fellow. They would all ask her, but she never told the reason for the strange request. She never carried a knife on her so that was not the reason. She merely threw them in a box and packed them away. She did not seem to hold any fascination at all with knives. She had several proposals but had refused them all, she liked dating different men and did not want to get married, it seems all the married men she knew had given up dancing and going to the movies after they were married. One day a crowd outside the barber shop had gotten into a discussion about the "knife" lady and her reasons for hoarding knives. Many opinions were exchanged on that bench that day. Just when the discussion was getting heated an old-timer happened by and heard the remarks. He started laughing at all the silly thoughts which made the others kind of angry. One of the fellows said to him "If you are so smart, why donít you tell us all why she keeps all those knives?" The old timer scratched his head for a moment and said to the crowd, "Someday she will not be young and pretty right fellows? Well then, remember this, a 16 year old boy will do just about anything for a good knife!"
Last Months Trivia Question
It was revised from an earlier pattern in December 1963. It was finally canceled in 1968. I have never seen one nor heard of anyone else having one. It was a U.S. Army item, not Navy or Air Force or Marines, they used another pattern. What knife is it?
Well, we did not receive a single correct answer to the question this month. That is the first time this has happened. The answer is the MIL-K-10043 parachutist knife.
New Trivia Question
This one comes from our good friend Dick Boyd.
In what WW II war movie did John Wayne appear wearing a Nichols Fighting Knife?
First correct answer as usual receives a free USMILITARYKNIVES.COM Tee shirt.
As much as I hate to do this... Again
The USMC has released yet another statement in the Commerce Business Daily.
This time it is for the announcement of a bid to acquire bayonets. The following is an excerpt of the Nov. 30, 2001 press release. "The Program Manager, Combat Equipment and Support Systems Product Group, is seeking qualified sources with manufacturing capabilities sufficient to produce 106,000 bayonet systems within an 18 month period. The bayonet will interface with the existing M-16 rifle and the M-4 carbine weapons within the Marine Corps inventory. Firms possessing current expertise with comparable products, commercial or military specific, are invited to submit their qualifications, including the following: Statement of capabilities to accomplish the proposed effort; any commercial pricing schedule; description of business operations, including facilities, number of employees, and revenues over the last two fiscal periods; and past performance with requirements similar to those cited in this notice. Interested firms are requested to respond NLT 14 Dec. 2001, with the aforementioned information and a corporate point of contact. The names of the firms responding to this notice will be posted on the MARCORSYSCOM business opportunities home page on or about 17 Dec. 2001."
So as we see the USMC is tendering bids for a large amount of bayonets. Perhaps they have learned a lesson about just selecting a manufacturer who is not producing the items in the U.S. during wartime? At least we hope they did. Stay tuned here as we will post the name of the selected manufacturer as soon as we know who it is.
I repeatedly receive the forwarded e-mail note of how Jane Fonda was responsible for beatings and deaths during her visit to North Vietnam during the Vietnam War. Why these things are embellished upon is beyond my comprehension. What she did was very wrong and need not be built up in any way. Anyway here is the bottom line on that Hanoi Jane e-mail. www.snopes.com/inboxer/outrage/fonda.htm
Son Tay Raider Equipment
I was recently contacted by a fellow who knew of the equipment used by the Son Tay Raiders. In fact he was connected with that famous group and sent me a few photos. Listed below is the actual equipment list of items taken along on the raid.
2 M-16 Automatic Rifles 1,200 rounds
48 CAR-15 Assault Rifles 18,437 rounds
51 .45 Caliber Pistols 1,162 rounds
4 M-79 40 mm Gr Launch 219 rounds
4 M-60 Machine Guns 4,300 rounds
2 12-Gauge Shotguns 100 shells
15 Claymore Mines
Special Demolition Charges
213 Hand Grenades
12 Pairs of Wire Cutters
11 Bolt Cutters
7 Coils of Rope
2 Oxyacetylene Cutting Torches
2 Chain Saws
34 Miners Lamps
6 Strobe Lights
6 Night Vision Devices
6 Baton Lights
14 "Beanbag" Lights
Following items1 per man
AN/PRC-90 Survival Radio
The items we will be most concerned with are of course are the knife and the machete. The requirement was for every man to have a 6 inch knife. That may be a little misleading or in fact a misprint. The fact of the matter is that every photo I have seen of the raiders actually showing a knife is that of the 5 inch Jet Pilot knife. Many were used examples with dark scabbards while other seemed to be recently acquired examples with very light almost blonde scabbards. Some worn on the belt while others were worn on the leg. If more pictures are discovered we may even find one on the harness mounted inverted as it was a typical wearing place of the times. Nothing special here, no fancy special issue knife, just the handy, current issue Jet Pilots Knife.
The machete is another story. Here we find an answer to a question often asked. What did they look like? The famous picture of Col. Arthur D. Bull Simons taken just before launch shows the Bull wearing a machete but from the angle taken it is really not identifiable. It seems to be a local made item of Asian design with an Ivory or horn type handle. In some reference books the machetes issued are stated to be cut down US made items. In fact in Schummer's book "The Raid", the best book out on the raid itself, he plainly states that they used cut down M1942 machetes on the raid. No so according to photo evidence. Previously this made perfect sense as these cut-down M1942 machetes were most certainly used by SOG teams and many other SF and Ranger groups throughout Vietnam. Early on this lead to the development of the SOG Bolo knives, in the attempt to find a shorter handier machete. Also at the same time period the U.S. had been experimenting with a new design "Trail Cutting Machete" as I wrote up in this months issue of Knife World. So we can see the machete field was wide open to possibilities and items on hand. This picture of a display board set up at the Raider reunion brings to light what machete was used but it creates more questions as to why? Why was is selected? Where was it procured? How was is found? And so on. As is usual with investigations we are confronted with more questions all along the way. Anyway here is the photo of the Son Tay Machete. The machete and description can also be found as Plate #381 in Ron Flook's book British and Commonwealth Military Knives. If you can any more to this story I am all ears!
Speaking of machetes...
On the Gun and Knife bulletin board this month it came to light that the D-C marked machetes shown in Cole IV Pg 122 were made in Australian by DieCasters Ltd. DieCaster were much better known for making Australian Sten Gun parts and marking those parts with the same D-C markings. I had known about that previously but for what ever reason had never put the two together. In fact I had once discussed this company in depth with a fellow who collected Australian guns but again the two never crossed. In further checking another Australian machete with a cross hatched handle can be found. So many clues were out there on this one but it never came all together. This again points to the fact that the Internet is a powerful tool in the search for information.
AN INTERESTING QUESTION:
There are two men, both extremely wealthy. One develops relatively cheap software and gives billions of dollars to charity. The other sponsors terrorism.
That being the case, why is it that the Clinton Administration spent more money chasing down Bill Gates over the past eight years than Osama bin Laden?
Hillary gets $8 Million for her forthcoming memoir.
Bill gets about $12 Million for his memoir yet to be written.
This from two people who have spent the past 8 years being unable to recall anything about
past events while under oath!
Some time within the last 30 days a genuine ivory grip USMC mameluke sword
named to David Kipness was stolen from a locked showcase at Kaiser Bill's
Military Shop in Pomona.
The exact details of the theft are currently unknown however a report has been made to the Pomona Police Department. Due to the value of the sword the crime would be considered felony grand theft.
Anyone with any information regarding this theft should contact Lt. Colonel David George (Ret.) at Kaiser Bill's or the Pomona Police.
The Rallying Cry
As I sat and watched the Pearl Harbor 60th Anniversary ceremony I heard the latest Rally cry of "Remember September 11th." This is now heralded as the War Against Terrorismís anthem, much like "Remember the Alamo" was to the Mexican American War and "Remember Pearl Harbor" was to World War Two. As it too will be a date etched into our memory I think a much better statement would be "Letís Roll." That statement being the last recorded words from the cell phone on the ill fated airliner that crashed in the fields of Pennsylvania. As the passengers rushed the cockpit of the terrorist held plane the shout of "Are you guys ready? O.K. then... Letís Roll" are also etched into my memory and will continue to be the words that inspire me the most.
This one relayed to us via our good friend Joe Blandford,
"It is God's place to forgive Osama bin Laden, It is the Marines job to arrange the face to face meeting!"
Paul Harvey, December 2001
Along that line while most Americanís decry this War Against Terrorism is not a religious war I have tried to dig into it in my limited background with various religions. If another person tries to tell me the war is not about Islam I will attempt to strangle that person with my bare hands. If is isnít about Islam just what in the hell is it about??
Here are a few quotes from the King James Version of the Bible.
"He that hath no sword, let him sell his garment and buy one." Luke 22:36
"Think not that I am come to send peace: I came not to send peace but a sword" Matthew 10:34
"Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ĎPut every man his sword by his side, and go in and out from gate to gate throughout the camp, and slay every man his brother, and every man his companion, and every man his neighbor.í" Exodus 32:27
I could not find any from the Koran which have an edged weapon in the text. (If you know of any please forward them to me.) I did find the one most often cited as the "reason" behind the terrorist attacks.
"Let those who fight in the cause of God who barter the life of this world for that which is to come; for whoever fights on Godís path, whether he is killed or triumphs, He will give him a handsome reward."
Nothing about the reputed 72 virgins there but I imagine that is the "handsome reward??"
Randall Model 15 White Tenite for sale
It isn't often one of these rare knives comes on the market. They don't get much rarer then this one. Our good friend Doug Smith has one for sale. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org
This is not the knife but it is one just like this.
The Marines Have Landed
In a recent photograph of US Marines landing in Afghanistan we see the newest high tech weaponry along with the old tried and true 1219C2 Fighting / Utility Knife. As with most pictures of knives in combat situations they are not usually in focus or in good lighting. This photo is just like those others but we can clearly see the shape of the handle and the leather scabbard on the Sgt.ís belt. As a bonus we can also see a Gerber Multi-tool attached to the war-fighting gear (LBE) shoulder strap. The old meets the new in the ancient land of dust and rubble. Itís great to see the old 1219C2 soldiering on into the 21st century. We hope it accounts for a few terrís in a hurry to meet Allah in their own convoluted way. Now that would be a fitting tribute to the old warhorse.
Real Shark Knives
During a recent after dinner conversation with my Father-in-law, who is a WW II Navy veteran, the subject of Theatre knives came up. He noticed a book laying on the table next to my favorite reading chair and picked it up. The book was Theater Made Military Knives of World War Two by Bill & Debbie Wright. After looking at a few pages he told me of how he and some friends had made several of these knives with plastic handles in the ships machine shop. The conversation floored me. We have known each other for 25 plus years and he never told me about making knives, but to be honest I never asked. Anyway he told me of his favorite grip material, sharkskin. It seems they would trade for sharkskin any time possible to make handle covers for screwdrivers and pliers, tools of the electricians trade. So if it worked for tools why not knives. They made a few handle covers and the crew liked them. From that point on they would use sharkskin covers to make a better and surer grip on the knives they made. I have never heard of a theatre knife with a sharkskin handle but am now on the lookout for one. If you happen to run across one I sure would be glad to hear from you.
M1917 Winchester Bayonet dated 1918??
I recently purchased a Model of 1917, Winchester made bayonet in very good to excellent condition. Nothing strange there, not easy to find but not really hard either. I over paid for it because it was dated 1918 on the blade. Thinking I had found the only one ever to be found I agreed to pay the extra few dollars. You see, the seller did not know what the treasure he was holding on to was but wanted top dollar for a Winchester in "mint" condition. So I went for $250.00 on it, you see, I knew what it was. Was that unethical I asked myself? No not really I paid the sellers price, yes I tried to beat him down but that is part of the game. When I got the bayonet home I examined it closely and started to photograph it and scan some images. That is when I noticed it. The circle W was a little crooked. Upon closed examination the words Remington inside the circle were removed and the W engraved in it's place. My $250.00 priceless treasure was a fake, a fraud, a fantasy, a worthless piece of junk, or was it? In my hurry to pull one over on the "ignorant" seller I did not do my homework, I wanted it, and I wanted it in a hurry so he wouldn't figure out this tragic mistake. I made the cardinal sin of letting my better judgment go by the wayside in the rush to get away from the "scene of the crime" so to speak. My saving grace was I returned it for a full refund as it was discovered the same day I received it. If I had put it off for awhile or not bothered to look closely under magnification my greed would have gotten the better of me. Whether the seller knew or not I do not know nor do I care at this point, if he did I played right into his hands, thinking I was getting over on him, quickly settling the deal and leaving quickly. Nothing unethical on my part, just stupid. It didn't cost me anything but it sure was a lesson I needed to learn all over again. If the deal is too good to be true... it probably is. Oh and by the way there is a very good M1917 bayonet out there waiting for another "owner" to fall into that trap.
The crooked "W" M1917 bayonet.
A while back I wrote a short knote about Landers, Frary & Clark and the knives they made for World War One. In that piece I noted they made 2,500 saddlerís knives. I also noted I had never seen one and really wasnít sure what a saddlerís knife was. Well you responded in force to tell me what one looked like. In fact several of you pointed out it was shown in the photo I used to illustrate the story! I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for the wonderful response to tell me what one looked like. While it had my attention I started too look for other examples. In the World War Two era War Department Technical Manual TM 9-867, Maintenance and Care of Hand Tools dated 19 April 1945 the saddlerís knife shown is vastly different then the one shown in the World War One photo. Out of all the responses I received, all pointed out the WW I version. So in the interest of further education for us all, here is the updated version of a saddlerís knife. Our good friend Mike Silvey pointed out that he still uses the WW I version in making his leather scabbards, says it is very user friendly and aids in quick cutting of the leather.
Gerber Mark II
The prices on these puppies are sky rocketing for mint examples. The Orange and Yellow handle versions are very rare and often associated with exotic special units and locales so that all adds up to big bucks for collectors but why are the run of the mill gray handle versions also out distancing the rest of the commercial Vietnam Era knives? Much of it is romance and much of it is nostalgia, the Gerber Mark II fits the niche perfectly. The timing was perfect, in 1966 the Viet Nam War had gotten deadly serious for the American Army. The opening presented itself for a sturdy, lightweight, practical knife of the highest quality but affordable to the average trooper. The choice was a dagger designed for sticking, but equally capable of cutting and slashing. The Mark II design was based on a sketch sent in by Army Captain C. A. "Bud" Holzman. It is curious to note that the Mark 1 Gerber was not designed until 1976, that is after the Vietnam War was over and a full ten years after the Mark II was produced. Perhaps they were playing on the Mark 2 known to all the Vietnam era fathers that they carried in WW II, better known as a k-bar? Anyway, the concept of the Mark II is a descendant of several World War II dagger models, such as the British Fairbairn / Sykes Fighting Knife and the Case V-42 designed and produced for the First Special Service Force. The blade of the Mark II is much more robust then the former two and much more reminiscent of the Randall Model 2 Fighting Knife, perhaps this is the reason for the "II" model designation? The forged double-edged blade great, while the cast-in-place hot molten metal sprayed aluminum grip was nearly indestructible. The knife was supplied with a quality leather sheath, and had an accessory sharpening steel in a sheath pocket available as an option.
While Holzman's sketch is often called the inspiration, the final design was probably done by Francis "Ham" Gerber according to Bernard Levine who also credits "Ham" with the design of the Fh line of Gerber knives.
The knives themselves are produced on the premises of the Gerber plant but the forged blades were supplied by and outside contractor as Gerber did not possess the forging capabilities. Handles were cast on in the Gerber plant and the grinding, glazing and painting were all hand done in the Oregon plant. At some point the knives were supplied to various PXís around the country and eventually around the world. Many of the knives were supplied with a small bottle of cold blue solution so the individual owner could darken his blade if wanted. Not many knives are noted with blued blades today but if one is seen this is probably how it got that way. The first knives had the canted blade to allow the knife to hug the body better. This was not a very long lasting idea as many of the knives were returned to be "straightened." Many stories we hear today speak of the knife cant being for the easy targeting of the enemy kidneys, donít know haw that one started but like all urban legends it still presents itself as fact. The idea was to hug the body of the wearer to prevent hang-ups and snags in the boonies. Although the knife was supplied with the hooks needed to mate with the US pistol belt the favorite place for the Mark II was on the shoulder strap of the web gear. Hung upside down and ready for quick action it was the center of attention on many soldiers. In fact one Gerber knife played a role in a Medal of Honor winning fight. Staff Sgt. Jon Cavaiani used his Gerber Mark II to dispose of two North Vietnamese in the battle for Radio Relay Site Outpost Hickory. Although the Staff Sgt. was ultimately captured, the Gerber served him well when he needed it the most. Along with the ordinary private purchase knives are the select few purchased and engraved as award knives to be given to the honor graduates of special schools in Vietnam. Lucky indeed is the collector who happens upon one of these knives. Very few were made, they are highly documented and serial numbered to prevent forgery. All this adds up to the mystique surrounding the Gerber Mark II, I guess thatís the reason the prices are sky rocketing after all.
Jerry "Maddog" Shriver
I just picked up a book today titled Carlsonís Raid: The Daring Marine Assault on Makin by George W. Smith. Havenít read the first page yet but I did leaf through the pictures. One of them caught my attention. It is a common picture of a group of Marines playing cards, nothing special about that. What is interesting is the place is Guadalcanal and the date is November 1942. That in itself still would not be anything special except that one of the Raiders is wearing a 1219C2 Fighting / Utility knife on his belt. We have long thought that these knives never made it to the fighting until a bit later then this. In fact the end of November is always credited with the adoption of this knife type. This leaves us with two conclusions, either the picture is misdated or the 1219C2 made it to the islands much earlier them we think. While the former if very possible I have long thought the latter is correct. In fact I think there was a 1219, 1219A, 1219B, 1219C, 1219C1 and then the 1219C2 in the design family tree. I have nothing to back it up with but the thought still exists.
The Continuing Saga...
The latest on the USMC plight to obtain bayonets for the troops. Now we have the list of makers who have replied to the proposal in the Commerce Business Daily. Listed below is the latest post on the government web site. Many of the company names will be familiar to you and many are unheard of companies in the knife making industry. So far nothing on the actual proposals but when they are available we will bring them to you right here. Stay in touch for the next chapter of.... Government Red Tape.
18 December 2001
Status of Effort: Market Research
Available Documents: RFI Respondents (See Herein)
Acquisition Strategy: Commercial Item Acquisition
Next Event: Draft Request for Proposal (RFP)
The information on this page is non-binding and is presented in the interest of providing the vendor community in general, and potential offerors with a greater understanding of the intent of this procurement. Your inputs and comments are solicited and we welcome the opportunity to respond. All relevant information affecting this procurement will be posted to this web page and updated regularly. Interested parties are reminded that only the solicitation document is binding with respect to government requirements.
Initial Posting: 18 December 2001
General Information: The Marine Corps Systems Command (MARCORSYSCOM) is currently finalizing requirements for the commercial purchase of a new bayonet. This effort will be accomplished as a commercial item, competitive acquisition as defined by FAR 2.101. An Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity (ID/IQ) contracting strategy is planned, to provide flexibility in ordering and options for varying quantities. Commercial manufacturing and testing standards, processes and treatments for hardening and durability, and best practices for shipping and support are all considerations in developing this requirement. Offerors will have the latitude to provide unit pricing based upon delivery quantities and manufacturing schedules that are conducive with their business strategy while affording the government economies of scale associated with ordering.
Risk Reduction Strategy: Extensive market research is being accomplished to ascertain bayonet availability and pricing. The intent of this procurement is to leverage qualifications possessed by vendors with core capabilities in the key risk areas of weapon integration (i.e., M16 and M4 rifles), ergonomic design and safety, and product quality. The USMC will focus on capable products that also incorporate sound business strategies, thereby reducing aggregate risk to both vendors and government. As such, the following guidance will remain at the core of this procurement:
1.) Performance objectives, not thresholds will be established by the performance specification.
2.) Allow vendors to provide evidence of the viability of their commercial products previously accomplished testing, and customer base as key elements of their proposals.
3.) Innovative business strategies, along with technical performance capability are encouraged.
Teaming by interested parties, such that the key risk areas are mitigated or abated is encouraged. The following vendors responded to the RFI published by this Command in the November 30th edition of the CBD:
Ontario Knife Company
Gerber Legendary Blades
Camillus Quality Knives
Saber Tech LLC
Mission Knife and Tool
Knives of Alaska
Currently, the Marine Corps anticipates a Request for Proposal (RFP) utilizing FAR 12.603óStreamlined Solicitations for Commercial Items. Prior to formal release of any RFP, a draft Statement of Work (SOW) and specification will be posted to this web site for industry review and comment.
At this time, questions regarding this effort should be addressed to Ms. Peggy L. Hake, 703-784-5822 Ext. 240. She will forward your communications to the appropriate parties (i.e., technical representative, etc.) and ensure a timely response. Please continue to check this web page for future updates.
E-mail: Peggy L. Hake at email@example.com
2033 Barnett Ave., Suite 315
Quantico, VA 22134-5010
Will they look like this??
A Model 1917 Ĺ Trench Knife??
This is a strange one. I have never seen one like it before nor have I seen one documented anywhere. And although I do not have an answer to the M1917 vs. M1918 question that I believe is proof positive which is which I feel this one may fall somewhere in between. The knife is completely unmarked. The blade is a typical M1917 / 1918 triangular type, blued and exhibits the typical drag marks from insertion into and extraction from the Jewell 1918 stamped tubular scabbard. The handle is the typical dark American walnut common to the other knives of this genre. The difference being the screw inserted into the top of the handgrip most likely used as a locking device to hold the knife together. The knuckle guard is completely different in all aspects. The steel used is slightly thicker. The flanges are much smaller then the typical guard but the construction seems to be the same in the bending of the larger flat sheet to make the flanges protrude. The pommel is a well rounded knob without the spanner holes used on the screw top models or the peening used on the LF&C peened pommels. This is the reason for my thoughts on the screw from the top being the device used to hold the knife together. The only way to find out is to remove the screw and try but alas the knife is not mine to do so. We show it here for your (and my) information only. Can anyone tell me what it is??
From the Homer Brett Collection
A New Book
I always have a stack of books on the shelves waiting to be read. The next one to be read when the current one is finished. Sometimes I skip around but rarely. This one was different, once I picked it up I couldnít put it down. Upon itís arrival when I unwrapped the shipping container I glanced through the pages to make sure it was O.K. and I was struck, I started reading it immediately while my current book was left sitting half finished on the end table next to my favorite recliner. Reference books rarely do that to me, I use them almost everyday but I do not sit and read them through from cover to cover. And I might add this one was a bit out of my interest area so it was all the more surprising. Being a United States Military knife collector I was a bit apprehensive about the contents but that quickly vanished once I started reading. The book is:
"The Sword And Knife Makers of Germany 1850-2000, Volume 1, A-L"
by Anthony Carter. The book starts off by telling the background and history of the famous cutlery town of Solingen. Interesting in itself the history is just the setup for the information packed into this book, and I do mean packed. Several years of research along with the active co-operation of leading Solingen based knife making companies and their archives have led to a book of markings and codes unequaled by anything I have ever seen on the subject. Included are suppliers to the industry not just the makers themselves. If you supplied a grip material you are included, if you were a retailer you are included, you forged blades only... included. This part hits very close to home as the most well known retailers active during the American Civil War sold Solingen made swords, knives and bayonets, they are included. Those interested in bayonets of the world will be even more surprised as Solingen exported all over the world, be it a British, Danish or even Cuban used item the markings are here. While I admit to knowing very little about said markings I am well aware of the Eickhorn Squirrel marking. Did you know the Eickhorn has over 60 variations on their trademark stampingís? The volume contains 1600 trademarks and 1400 brand names along with maps of the knife-making capitals in Germany. This is indeed a monumental reference book well worth the cost and should be on every knife collectors shelf even if you only have a passing interest in German made blades. I felt the same way myself, now I canít wait to receive Volume II M - Z when it is released. Never again will you wonder who made that Solingen stamped knife! It is a 288 page hardback, ISBN 0-946696-31-4
Morton Hall, Morton on the Hill
Norwich NR9 5JS, England
Get one, you wonít be disappointed.
Condor Marked Knives
Iím asking for help again on this one. Pictured below are three photographs of a knife said to have been recovered from a shot down airman or pilot during the Korean War. The knife was found along with other personal effects and held by a Russian Advisor until his death. The current owner would like to repatriate this knife with the former owner or relative. We are trying to determine the correct age and maker of this knife. Any help would be greatly appreciated by us and the U.S. - Russian Commission on POW / MIAís in Russia. Any information or clues are welcomed, even a guess may help find the answer. Waiting to hear from you. Thanks in Advance! Frank. E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Knife with "CONDOR" marked in the fuller. Can you I/D this knife?
Old Trivia Question
Well this is the second month in a row we have not had a correct answer. Too hard I guess. The correct answer was Sands of Iwo Jima. Record it and play it slow during the landing and fight up Mt. Surabachi and you will see several scenes with the knife prominently displayed. Again I thank Dick Boyd for that question.
New Trivia Question
What is the correct name and model number for the Western States Cutlery & Manufacturing Co. so called V-44 according to Western advertising?
As always the first correct answer wins a free USMILITARYKNIVES.COM tee shirt.
A Classy Lady
In most cases I refuse to forward e-mail of the chain letter or spam type. Again in most cases the content is not correct, contains mistakes, lies or has been so twisted that the intended point is all but lost. Here is one I received and checked out as best I could. It seems real enough and concurs with other stories of the same type. Nothing to do with knives but here for your reading pleasure:
3/66 First tour of performing in Vietnam.
12/22/68 Goes with Bob Hope Show for second tour of Vietnam
There is Justice: Ann-Margret and the Vietnam Vet
Richard (my husband) never really talked a lot about his time in Vietnam other than he had been shot by a sniper. However, he had a rather grainy, 8 x 10 black & white photo he had taken at a USO show of Ann-Margret with Bob Hope in the background that was one of his treasures.
A few years ago, Ann- Margret was doing a book signing at a local bookstore. Richard wanted to see if he could get her to sign the treasured photo, so he arrived at the bookstore at 12 o'clock for the 7:30 signing. When I got there after work, the line went all the way around the bookstore,
circled the parking lot, and disappeared behind a parking garage.
Before her appearance, bookstore employees announced that she would sign only her book and no memorabilia would be permitted. Richard was disappointed, but wanted to show her the photo and let her know how much those shows meant to lonely GI's so far from home.
Ann-Margret came out looking as beautiful as ever and, as 2nd in line, it was soon Richard's turn. He presented the book for her signature and then took out the photo. When he did, there were many shouts from the employees that she would not sign it. Richard said, "I understand. I just wanted her to see it."
She took one look at the photo, tears welled up in her eyes and she said, "This is one of my gentlemen from Vietnam and I most certainly will sign his photo. I know what these men did for their country and I always have time for "my gentlemen." With that, she pulled Richard across the table and planted a big kiss on him. She then made quite a to do about the bravery of
the young men she met over the years, how much she admired them, and how much she appreciated them.
There weren't too many dry eyes among those close enough to hear. She then posed for pictures and acted as if he was the only one there.
Later at dinner, Richard was very quiet. When I asked if he'd like to talk about it, my big strong husband broke down in tears. "That's the first time anyone ever thanked me for my time in the Army," he said.
Richard, like many others, came home to people who spit on him and shouted ugly things at him. That night was a turning point for him. He walked a little straighter and, for the first time in years, was proud to have been a Vet. I'll never forget Ann-Margret for her graciousness and how much that small act of kindness meant to my husband. I now make it a point to say "Thank You" to every person I come across who served in our Armed Forces. Freedom does not come cheap and I am grateful for all those who have served their country.
If you'd like to pass on this story, feel free to do so. Perhaps it will help others to become aware of how important it is to acknowledge the contribution our service people make.
A proud wife, Barbara
Navy MK-V Dive Knives
We spoke about them a little in the past few months but nothing in depth. I am in the process of trying to collect information on them for a forthcoming article. Any information, documents, anecdotes or photos would be welcome, with proper credit given of course. These things are hard to find information on. Seems they have always been there but nobody knows for sure when they started of how many have been supplied and by whom! HELP! Thanks.
The "AN" Marked M6 Bayonet
Our good friend Greg Robinson is on a hunt. I have tried to assist him with our limited knowledge on the subject and along with another good friend Gary Cunningham we have tried to crack the case. Still at a dead end though. So far several assumptions are in play and trial and error still prevail. When the M14 was adopted there was a big discussion in the Army Ordnance Department as to whether or not we really needed a bayonet. (That in itself is another story as this discussion has taken place since the invention of gun powder and is raised again at every newly invented ignition system and magazine capacity increase!) During development of the M14, which took from 1945 to 1957 in testing various models, we believe an M5 bayonet was used as a model with the M6 type fittings being installed to fit the new rifle. Perhaps the work was done at Anniston Arsenal in Alabama who used the government markings of AN on all of their rebuilt pieces. Again this is all theory so far. The prototype for the M6, the T12 was developed at Springfield Armory so why would Anniston be involved? We canít answer that one just yet. Can you add anything to this?? Bits and pieces are welcome as are guesses!
T12 development drawing prior to becoming the M6
Who said this??
"It is a paradoxical truth that tax rates are too high today and tax revenues are too low, and the soundest way to raise the revenues in the long run is to cut the rates now. The purpose of cutting taxes now is not to incur a budget deficit, but to achieve the more prosperous, expanding economy which can bring a budget surplus."
(Probably not who you might think. Skip down to the bottom for the answer.)
The Crystal Ball Effect
The most often asked questions I seem to receive are:
What do I have? What is it worth? Will it increase in value / Should I keep it?
Most come from folks surfing the web and coming across my page here, they often think I have a crystal ball. The second question is usually the easiest. Current value has become easy in most cases as a simple search will find you the information if you know where to look. Start with completed auctions in ebay or another of the current on line auction houses. Then migrate to some of the forums currently operating and look in the "for sale" sections. They give a good indication of the current value. You may not agree with it but if they sold then that was the assumed value by at least one person. After that it is a matter of hitting the gun and knife shows to look. Donít just look at the asking prices, that piece may have been laying on the table for a decade. Just because a "dealer" prices it too high does mean he will get it. On the other hand if a dealer prices it too low donít expect to find another one for that same low price, probably wonít happen.
For the first question I would suggest the same as the above but add in purchase a few books. Suggested reading can be found on the Books for Sale pages. Then comes the big commitment, pick up and examine every knife you see for the next ten years or so. It helps with identification to have actually seen the knife not just a picture of what one should look like.
The third one is the hardest, my crystal ball says that any knife is likely to hold its value and keep up with inflation as long as it's in production. Duh! Another easy call is when the knife undergoes an enhancement does the world think it is better or worse? If better the prior model will not be wanted and value will go down, if worse the prior model will be searched out for itís qualities adding to the value. Duh again! Other then that your guess is as good as mine, hell it may be even better then mine. In older collectable knives the main deciding factor is condition. A mint knife will almost always appreciate in value, in fact it is almost impossible to pay too much for one these days the way items are being snatched up to avoid the stock market with itís low return and high risk. Another part of the equation is the intrinsic value of the item. If it was Uncle Harryís knife it is usually more valuable to the family then an outsider who did not know Uncle Harry. They are the most dangerous appraisals to handle for someone. The sentimental value is hard to put a price on. I usually tell people it is worth more to them as a valuable family heirloom them to put it out on the street to some unknown. In other cases it can be very hard to tell someone that "Dadís" knife he carried throughout WW II was made in 1976 or something like that. I try to be easy but it never works out that way. Last but not least if the market drops and everything in your life comes to a stand still, you can still use the knife to cut with, providing you are willing to sharpen that rare mint collectable!
What do all those Tís, Eís, Aís and Mís Mean?
As weapons are the basic equipment of an army they are the most common items to be modified and modernized. When existing weapons are proven to be inadequate they are updated by means of improvement or a totally new design. This was probably most apparent during World War Two as the full thrust of American technology and industrial might came to bear. Improvements in the weapons and in production necessitated the modernization of our stocking system and cataloging through temporary and permanent designations. This is where the above designations come into play. The system of designating items with alpha numeric classifications provides a clue as to the amount of research and development that lies behind each approved model of a particular weapon or weapon system. Depending upon what stage they are in of development, the items may be assigned a temporary alpha numeric designation in experimentation and another permanent number in standardized life. With that all said lets get to the meat of the discussion, the designators.
The E designation stands for Experimental model.
The T designation is the next higher level and indicates testing.
The M designation denotes the item has been adopted for use.
The A designation along with the M states a modification has been made to the adopted model.
Lets run through a few examples of the system:
E10 would designate the tenth experimental item of that line.
T8E10 would designate the tenth experimental model of the eighth test type.
M26 would designate the twenty sixth adoption of a weapon or system.
M26A1 would designated the first modification of the twenty sixth model adopted.
Hence we have the M1905E1 being the first experimental model of the adopted M1905 bayonet. We have the M8A1 being the first modification of the adopted M8 scabbard. The T12 was the test bayonet which became the M6 when adopted into standardization so we can see the temporary alpha numeric designation completely changing to the permanent designation. There doesn't seem to be a hard date to when the US changed over from the Model designator being the year of adoption to a standard number. We see the M1 Garand being adopted in 1936 and given the first single number designator while the M1941 Johnson came about with a date designator as did the adopted combat shotguns of WW II. The Thompson Sub Machine gun was first adopted by the Army as the M1928A1, a date designator and later purchased for WW II as the M1 and later yet as the M1A1! Why did they change the Thompson and not the M1903 Springfield which went through the M1903, M1903A1, M1903 MOD., M1903A3, M1903A4 and never changed into the non date designation? I guess that is another discussion for another day.
Sidney R. Baxter & Co. Boston Ma. made industrial machine knives. They also made "combat knives" during World War Two. One design was a blade inserted into a "mill file" handle. They used brass guards and pommels with red fiber slab handles on most of the fighting knives. Other then the photos in various books, Cole, Silvey etc., that is about the extent of my knowledge on Baxter knives. What can you add to that?
Two WW II Era Baxter Knives
In a debate with our good friend Bernard Levine he contends that Hicks knives were not military. I have read through those Allegheny Arsenal Letter Books that are supposed to hold the reference to them being purchased by the military but could never find that passage Peterson attributed to them in his early reference "American Knives." Without that passage I too contend they were not made for the military but for private purchase. While surfing the Ďnet looking for references with Hicks I found this one:
This is an authentic Springbok Jigsaw Puzzle called "Andrew Hicks on Hatteras Ground". Copyright 1972. 500+ pieces. 20" x 22 9/16". This is a painting by Frank Vining Smith from the Mariners Museum, Newport News, Virginia. Picture is of the Andrew Hicks ship which was built in 1867.
Here we have a sailing ship named the Andrew Hicks, surely not the same Andrew we are searching for but a hit still the same. Can you prove to me that the military purchased the Hicks Bowie knife for issue?? I would love to hear that story.
Murphy's Laws of Combat in Latin.
As you faithful followers of my ramblings are aware, I love a good quote.
While not a quote the following is fairly close and is profound enough to add to
our discussion list.
If the enemy is in range, so are you.
Si hostes visibilis, etiam tu.
Incoming fire has the right of way
Missiles invenientes semper potestatem viae habent
Don't look conspicuous, it draws fire
Noli eminere, catapultas allicies
There is always a way
Putamus viam semper esse
The easy way is always mined
Via perfacilis laqueis semper plena
Try to look unimportant, they may be low on ammo
Conare nullius momenti videri fortasse missilibus careant
Professionals are predictable, it is the amateurs who are dangerous
Peritissimos semper praevidere possumus, rudi autem periculosi sunt
The enemy invariably attacks on two occasions:
(a) when you are ready for them, (b) when you are not ready for them
Duobus temporibus oppugnant hostes: cum parati estis, et cum imparati estis
Teamwork is essential, it gives them someone else to shoot at
Collaboratio maximi momenti est, quia eis alterum scopum praebet
If you can't remember, the claymore is always pointed at you
Si id memini non potes, scutula dirumpens semper at te collineata est
The enemy diversion you have been ignoring will be the main attack
Negligentia hostium quam non coluistis primus impetus erit
A sucking chest wound is nature's way of telling you to slow down
Vulnus pectoris sugens ne properetis mos naturae dicendi est
If your attack is going well, you have walked into an ambush
Si impetus bene it, in laqueum incessistis
Never draw fire, it irritates everyone around you
Numquam catapultas allice, iram omnium concitabis
Anything you can do can get you shot, including nothing
Ex quocumque facere poteris te sauciabit, nihilo comprehenso
Make it tough for the enemy to get in and you won't be able to get out
Si hostibus difficile incedere facias tu quoque male extricabis
Never share a foxhole with one braver than yourself
Numquam fossam compartire cum viro tibi fortiore
If you are short of anything but the enemy you are in a combat zone
Si nihilo carueris nisi hostibus loco pugnae es
When you have secured an area, don't forget to tell the enemy
Si locum inexpugnabilis facias, memento hostibus de hoc profiteri
Never forget your weapon is made by the lowest bidder
Numquam obliviscaris tua tela facta ab eis qui minima liciti sunt
(This one drove my spell checker over the edge!)
We were sent the below newspaper clipping. Makes for good reading.
From the Boston Mercantile Journal, Oct. 1, 1839:
THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE AMESES - We have very cursorily mentioned the beautiful table of N.P. Ames, which occupies a conspicuous place, as it well deserves one, in the centre of the rotunda at Quincy Hall, and attracts a continual crowd of admiring spectators. This show is somewhat novel; to some extent unique in our country, as well as in this exhibition...
It may not be generally known that there is no other regular sword manufactory in the United States. There never was one, to our knowledge, excepting a small concern set up at Middletown (Conn.), we believe, during the last war, and which ceased its operations very soon after. Swords, to be sure, are occasionally got up elsewhere. There is a German at Philadelphia who
finishes some imported blades; and Fletcher, the silversmith, of that city, does one to order now and then, just as our neighbor Mr. Jones would, we suppose, on a pinch; and especially if he got $7,000 for it, as Fletcher did (they say) for the sword given by the Legislature of New York to Col. Worth of the Army; or $1,000, which was the cost of one presented not long ago to Gen. Brady at Detroit. This, by the way, is the greatest cost for a home-made sword, we have heard of. General Macomb has one, a present also, of the $700 style. The Ameses made one lately at $500. for Capt. Turner, now of the frigate Constitution; that is, for the parties who made a gift of it; and they are just now finishing up half a dozen, which are to be presented to as many officers, who distinguished themselves in the last war, by the Legislature of Virginia. We have been surprised to learn how much of a business grows out of these presents, and how many more out of prizes for target-shooting, and so on. They are not, however, made so costly as these we have named, but more generally from one hundred dollars to two; and for that kind the Ameses have a very considerable and a constant demand. They have recently made a $125 sword, which has been given by one of the Salem military companies to Captain Sutton of that city.
These gentlemen furnish the United States army with their swords, by contract with the Government, which amounts, we believe, to some $4,000 yearly, including, no doubt, what are stored, and what are furnished in quotas to the States. The officers order their weapons where they please, only following the national pattern; but not a great many are ordered to be imported. Generally they order their service-swords of the Ameses - a very handsome article, though not above $20 in cost - specimens of which may be seen at Quincy Hall. In that collection we notice one also, ordered by Captain Moore, now commander of the Texan navy, adorned with the national magnolia, and got up altogether in beautiful style, with silver mountings, though not costing probably above $50, and so by no means, an extravaganza for the naval chief of so mighty a nation as that - is going to be. The same gentleman has ordered another article, more substantial - a boarding-sword, elegantly finished - but having the weight and formidable aspect of a pick-axe, or of that far-famed Drontheim "star," wherewith the worthy watchmen of Norway last season thought proper to beat in the thick skull of the riotous Marquis of Waterford. It would
do no good, at all events, in a close grapple; probably a bore, rather. The same must be said of the bowie-knife on this table - the only one in Boston we hope - for a most terrific utensil it certainly is. These, Mr. Ames says, are not very marketable, though he has tried his hand at a few.
Mr. A. showed us an article more to our fancy, which is ordered by a Southern gentleman, as a present to "John Trezevant Wigfall," doubtless a military personage. This is a splendid sword, rated at $250, but we have no room for describing it. We can merely mention, also, the new and beautiful pattern intended for the United States Topographical Engineers; the dazzling fancy-sword, fitted for the stage - such as Macready likes to wear, and such as Forrest does wear......it is too good a fact to be lost, that the swords sent out to England some years since by the Ameses, or by some of their customers, were not only imitated as exactly as possible, and at once, by their manufacturers, but thought so well of, that the counterfeits came back to this country with even the name of "N.P. Ames" upon them. This was a daring move, and has been discontinued, but we understand the pattern comes constantly still, though without the name. So much for American ingenuity. The compliment may certainly be appreciated, though the trick must, of course, be despised.
The Ames Logo
Last Months Trivia Question
What is the correct name and model number for the Western States Cutlery & Manufacturing Co. so called V-44?
Answer: The Bushman Model No. Bx54
The first correct answer was supplied by Dick Boyd. We had a large number of answers this round, thanks! Dick received his U.S. Military Knives . Com Tee Shirt for that lightning fast reply.
New Trivia Question
During World War Two John Ek Mfg. Co. was located in Hamden Conn. What was the street address they were located at?
As always the first correct answer wins a U.S. Military Knives . Com Pocket Tee Shirt mailed straight to your door. Good Luck
1955 Krag Bayonets
We have recently been informed by our good friend Dick Boyd that Chrome plated Krag Bayonets were produced by Rock Island Arsenal as late as 1955. These items were used by the U.S. Military Academy at West Point until 1962 when they switched over to the M14 Rifle which mounted the M6 bayonet. You see the Krag bayonet and locking system fit the Krag rifle, the M1903 Springfield rifle and the M1 Garand rifle, a fact that is little known. The shorter Krag bayonet balanced better and looked smarter on the Cadet Parade ground. The black metal scabbard with hook also better suited the cadet uniform with the black scabbard body and the locking hook which could fit over the white dress belt of the cadet. I had seen a reference to 900 being ordered in WW II (Bayonets, Knives and Scabbards, yes a plug for the book!) but never as late as 1955. In a letter from Rock Island in Dickís possession we find they confirmed the production. The letter, dated 30 March 1979 from Department of the Army, Rock Island Arsenal states that "the M1898 dress bayonet and scabbard is from the last group made at RIA in 1955. When West Point began using the M14 Rifles, these M1898 dress bayonets were offered for sale to former graduates of West Point. The piece under the belt loop of the scabbard is a safe made of black leather." We are unsure of the markings but seem to be "RIA B-136C" on the ricasso. It does not seem to be a stamping according to Dick. So there we have it, you read it here first. Krag bayonets, some 100 years old be refurbished for the Corps of Cadets. They also stated that some of the bayonets have been refinished as many as 5 times! Shorter and rounded blades are normal for a refinished cadet model so do not worry if yours appears to be shorter them the proscribed length, it is a common occurrence. Our deepest appreciation to Dick Boyd for sharing that with us.
A Photocopy of the Photo.
While on the subject of Kragís
We hear from our good friend Gary Cunningham that he has observed 9 Krag bayonets all dated 1900 with a strange bluing on them. Not a high polish as we will discuss in a future description of how blue was applied at the arsenals and armories. This is more of a dim, swarthy blue - gray but not like a Parkerizing. All of the observed bayonets have properly installed grips that have not been played around with. They have the correct and standard domed rivets which make them appear to have been depot finished. The truly peculiar part is that no other dates have been observed with the dark dull blue finish. Gary relates to us that he has heard from other collectors that these were from a quantity done in Manila for use in the Philippines. Nothing in writing and purely speculation but it is a thought as the Philippines Department was experimenting with bayonets at that time and we know they had some work done to a few M1898 bayonets to modify them into bolo bayonets. These were forwarded to the Ordnance Department to test and duplicate for conceivable future issue. So it is feasible it may have been executed there. It is also possible they were finished in someoneís garage in 1953 along with the touch up on the Western Field 16 gauge double gun. We would love to hear from someone who could cast a little light on this one!
Cole III is Going Out of Print
We recently learned that IDSA Books is going to let U.S. Military Knives Bayonets & Machetes Book III go out of print. It will join Cole IV already in that status. While this may not affect collectors already established it will greatly affect the arrival of the new collector. Call or write to IDSA and politely ask that they reprint, or sell the rights to someone who will, if they believe it to be a money loser.
A so called friend...
Wandering around a very large knife show with my wife we were approached by a good friend. The fellow wanted to speak to my wife and give her his card. Just as plain as day he said "Give me a call if you want to get even with him or if he dies." I started to laugh as did my wife, he wasnít laughing, just wanted first shot at my possessions. I locked my stuff up real good when I got home!!
XM9 Eickhorn Test Bayonet
This is my latest toy to be gathered up. One of the original test bayonets for the M9 bayonet trials. At first glance it appears to be another of the multitude of Eickhorn wire-cutting bayonets currently available on the retail market. It is the rudimentary model for the M-16A2, in green with rectangular handle, and the short bowie blade. The scabbard, also green, is in fact for the longer version of the Eickhorn products with a detachable clip at the frog. This allows the quick release of the scabbard to mate with the bayonet blade to fashion the wire-cutter. One can only guess that the longer scabbard was intended to contribute more effective leverage for wire-cutting. While most may think this is "high tech" and "trick" I think it is a waste of time. The typical soldier will need a wire cutter like I will need another hole in my head. Just a gadget to increase the price of a basic article of equipment. A pair of wire cutters from the hardware store work much better, faster and noiseless. The pommel, guard and blade are all finished a bleak, non-reflective, black. The part that makes this bayonet distinctive is the markings. The blade is unmarked save for an engraved "6." (Eickhornís ID Number for the trials) on the reverse ricasso. The reverse side of the grip, near the guard is hand engraved "C 2" with an electric engraving pencil as is the front of the scabbard near the throat. This indicates that this was bayonet number C 2 tested. The "NU - 59" painted on the scabbard is a code for a insufficiency during the test, in this case a cutter plate complication. Overall length of the bayonet is 12" while the blade is 6 3/4". Total length in the scabbard is 15 Ĺ".
My Newest Toy
My Springfield Armory Trip
I was fortuitous enough to be traveling through Springfield Mass. so the prospect of a sojourn was absolute. It has been a while since my last visit and this time I was prepared with my digital camera. This is a great arms display and I wanted a few pictures to display here. I couldnít get any of the information I was looking for from them at the time but I have a letter in the works. Well nevertheless here are a few pictures of some of the preeminent bayonets to be found anywhere....
Armory Photos Page
ABC Forbids the Red, White & Blue
Did you know that ABC News has asked its staff not to wear American flag pins in their lapels, or even red, white and blue ribbons, in an effort to protect their credibility as objective sources.
"We cannot signal through outward symbols how we feel, even if the cause is justified," said ABC spokesman Jeffrey Schneider. "Overseas, it could be perceived that we're just mouthpieces for the U.S. government, and that can place our journalists in danger." I never noticed that statement when everyone was wearing a red ribbon to align ones self with the AID'S. awareness campaign, makes me wonder sometimes?
The Color of Money and Knife Blades, Parkerizing!
At a recent gun show I stood back and watched a fellow scrutinize a WW II era bayonet. The price was high and the bayonet was mint or as close to it as you want to find. The price was not the debate, the finish was. The seller had a mint bayonet, a mint scabbard and a price to match, he was not worried about selling it. The buyer did not even ask about the price as he examined the blade. He stated the bayonet was refinished and the "color of the Parkerizing was wrong" for the particular maker. He put it back down and walked away. I looked at the bayonet afterwards and could not find any indications it had ever been touched let alone refinished. In about 10 minutes the fellow came back with a friend to look at it again. The friend pronounced it an "amazing" find but the original fellow then told him about the "color" problem. They agreed on that and wandered off. It left me scratching my head. Is this possible to tell original items by the color of the Parkerizing? In a perfect world, yes, in the real world, no. You could look at 1,000 bayonets that are the same color from the same batch and then one could be off color. The color process is effected by several things, one of which is the strength of the solution. Yes it does get weak from use! Did they mix up a new batch just before quitting time or could they have used the same batch for the last few bayonets? Type of steel, steel from a different melt, temperature differences in forging, tempering, straightening procedures, water density, water purity, age of the pipes in the plant, solution mix strength, etc. all add up to possible variations in color. I contend that you can not disparage an original parkerized bayonet, or for that matter any item parkerized, by the color I donít care how god damn good you are. I have seen green, gray, brown, black and red parkerized bayonets from the years. Other than off-colors such as a bright silver or a solid black, it is all but impossible to tell the originality of Parkerizing without a detailed, physical inspection beyond the color. Upon that inspection you need to look for a grainy texture of the finish and rounded or buffed markings, that can tell you something is wrong not the color. To keep rifles the same color Springfield Armory eventually used a dye in the final oil coating so they would not raise a concern over the color issue. The Parker Rust Proof Co. was the main provider to the government and all the separate Ordnance controlled facilities and manufacturers. The same product, "Parko Powder" was being sold to every manufacturer yet they produced different colors in different parts of the country. Yes, it is a great indication to look harder if the color does not look right but as a reason to condemn a piece without further indications it is crazy.
The Army Uniform
General Tommy Franks of the U.S. Central Command has, this week, declared the Abaya non-mandatory for U.S. service women serving in the Middle East while off post or off duty. Many Saudi-based U.S. commanders continue to require it for female soldiers in the above situations. Abaya or not, the Saudis would be a newly annexed province of Iraq were it not for the continued duty of American soldiers, many of which are female. Way to go General, now get all your subordinates to follow your lead. Do you suppose we could get him to adopt a new fixed blade for the troops too??
Springfield Bluing Procedures
Just for the record they called it browning not bluing but bluing is what we know it by. Did you ever wonder how they got such beautiful deep rich colors? Hard work is the answer. The process according to government instructions are as follows:
Boil all parts for 20 minutes in lime water to remove all traces of grease. They were then removed from the solution and wiped free of lime. The next step is to coat them with the browning mixture which consisted of:
6 oz. Tincture of iron (ferric chloride, anhydrous)
6 oz. Sweet spirits nitre (ethyl nitrite)
1 oz. Nitric acid
1 oz. Corrosive sublimate (mercuric chloride)
Ĺ oz. Sulphate copper (copper sulphate)
2 qt. Water
Mixed in that order which is extremely important.
(Please note these chemicals are extremely hazardous and lethal to humans, donít try this at home!)
After the parts stood for 15 minutes a second coating was applied and the parts were placed in a steam cabinet for 16 hours. This produced a fine coating of rust. The parts were then boiled for 5 minutes to remove the acid traces. Next the parts were "carded" or wire wheeled. Another coating of the lethal mixture was applied and the parts were placed in the cabinet for 3 hours but wet and dry this time. After removal they were again wire wheeled to remove the built up enhanced rust. A third coating was applied and the parts placed in the cabinet overnight. After the final rust removal by carding the process was finished except for a final cleaning and oiling.
So as you can see the browning / bluing process was extremely time consuming and a lot of work. It was a natural when the Parker Rust Proofing Company came along with their original, immediate process using their proprietary "Parko Powder" mix. Sandblasting to clean and etch the exterior. A 30 minute boil in the phosphoric acid and powdered iron coated the surfaces. After the bath the products were coated with oil and a black dye to add consistency to the color and the process was finished. Yeah, a pretty easy decision to convert over for higher production.
Knife Knotes 2002, A look back
Having written this column for something over six years now, I thought it time to take a look back at the assorted ramblingís of a knife collector. It started out as short articles on a common topic per issue. That was O.K. but not what I really wanted to do. It was for awhile. It did work to gather my thoughts and place them all in one easy to find repository for future use. Granted it kept me organized, but it was more restrictive then I wanted to be. I sort of like rambling, to those of you who have followed me all these years as if you havenít noticed! The column itself is of no great importance in the big picture of this ever changing world but none the less it is here for all to see, finally that place to record my thoughts on the knife.
It all started with the urging of our good friend Dennis Ellingsen who want to fill space in the Oregon Knife Collectors Assoc. Knewsletter. For a kid who failed high school English Composition it was a challenge! Curiosity had bitten me, I recorded all this information for myself, maybe somebody else really was interested in this material. With only the obscurest idea of how to do it or even what I was doing, I sent in some scribbling to Dennis via e-mail. Through the patient and skillful handling of Dennis and Elayne (the real editors) the work of this amateur "wordsmith" actually looked like I did know what I was doing, hell it scared me! It has been fun ever since, I still donít know if anybody reads this page but it runs here every month with my latest wandering essay.
After several years in print Dennis decided to put all the past chatter I had written on the Internet, posted to the OKCA site. This was an experiment for the both of us. I liked what I saw and really liked the way it extended my reach. I started to receive e-mail from folks not only in the country but from folks around the globe. It seems that many "search engines" would locate keywords for you in a fast search throughout the plant and for all I know the entire universe? I really couldnít explain the Internet to you but I assure you it is out there, hell maybe Mars has a connection. Anyway I digress, with this new extended reach and power to put out what ever I wanted I was tempted to reach farther and with more.
Knowing little of the Internet and nothing at all of running a web site, hell even where to start I called my local Internet e-mail provider and pleaded stupidness and asked for enlightenment. His answer to me was the same answer I give to most coming to me... I purchased a book. A book on writing in another language ( it is still English but it looks like Greek to me, HTML, the Internet language that is) learned how the World Wide Web worked just enough to enter it (curiously enough it works like anything else, you put in enough money and energy it sort of responds) and joined the world of the Web Sites. Yes I am the Web Site Owner regardless of what the paperwork might say, another stupid mistake on my part, not the first and certainly not the last.
So where does that leave me now? It is impossible to say. I canít tell you how many masses read the site, how many stumble there by accident, or how many return monthly. I can tell you my e-mail is up dramatically so it is an indication it is reaching some. I have also searched the web to find my writing on other folks web sites, with and without my permission I might add. Copyright means little or nothing on the web, I find items all over the place copied. I might also add that I donít mind, in fact it makes me feel good when I see something I had written used on some other site. I get e-mail from folks who copy my writing and send it to friends, again without my permission, and they tell me about it! If it is the target audience all the better. In short, I donít know how many people read this thing. At first my judgment said "Hey this is illegal, you canít do that." I wanted everyone to come to my site, thatís what it is there for. Then my better judgment kicked in and said "Hey dummy, they are readers, this is a good thing." You see my better judgment talks to me that way, I usually listen. And to be perfectly honest, I couldnít stop it if I tried, so I learned to live with it, and that turned out to be the better decision in the end.
Another thing about the net is that I can be brutally honest or for that matter be a loud-mouthed liar. I paid for the space I can put anything out there I want. I want to stick to the topic of knives but I occasionally get side tracked into politics, yes I can proudly wave my flag and thumb my nose at the world when I want to. And I still love my quotes, so you will find them there. You see it is like my house and my rules but it is out over the entire world, way cool! Now if we could just get the Internet to outweigh the Idiot box in popularity we just might get some even handed reporting not the trash they spew on the major Networks. Watching the so called "News" is a complete waste of time, they actually report rumors, the only thing they are accurate on are sports scores a day or so after the event. Big Deal.
Last but not least is the money. With all the "Dot Com" billionaires out there I wanted my part of it. The way it is supposed to work is that you advertise on your site and get paid for those commercials. Well, to get advertisers you have to get high traffic to your site. In fact if every knife collector in the world visited my site daily it would only attract moderate attention from advertisers. To put it bluntly, forget it, "that dog donít hunt" and there ainít no money for a small time web site that doesnít have pictures of naked girls on it. So how about charging to enter the site and read this, yeah right, Hemingway I ainít, 90% of the current readers would probably leave. So much for being a Dot Com billionaire. So I have returned to my roots, a hobbyist who gets pleasure from rambling on about knives. Hmmm, naked girls modeling with military knives... naw my wife would kill me and then sell all my stuff!
All in all itís a pretty good life!
Did you know the Boston Tea Party was over a 5% tax?
Makes you think doesnít it?
Is it just me??
Treason: treaíson n. treachery; breaking allegiance.
Websterís Dictionary 1988 edition
Treason: trea-son n. Betrayal or breach of allegiance or obedience toward oneís sovereign or government.
Funk & Wagnall's Standard Desk Dictionary
In reference to the so called "American" asshole they caught over in Afghanistan, I scratched the word out of both of my reference books. The word no longer has any meaning. When he beats the rap and gets out of jail he will write a book on how he was abused as a child and wronged by the government. The book will hit the best seller list aided by the liberal media and the apologists which will make him rich. He will still be an asshole, albeit a rich one. Just what the world needs.
The Answer to the Question Above
The answer to the "Who said this??" question at the beginning is President John F. Kennedy. Somewhere along the line I believe his brother Democrats missed the message.
CASE XX Navy Knives
According to our good friend Ron Flook the World War 2 period US Navy knives were made by W.R. Case and Sons Cutlery Co., Bradford, Pennsylvania, USA between 1940 and 1942 and bore the mark "Case XX" on the blade. (Flook Pg. 191 & 192) He also talks about knives made in the US for the Canadians during the war marked "Case XX / METAL STAMPINGS / LTD". Again according to Ron that seems to apply only to alloy handled ones so I don't know what the steel ones were marked or, if Case made steel handled knives for Canada in WW2. The post war Pictou knives were marked "M.S.LTD XX" that much we do know. What can you tell me to add to this most interesting history of Case U.S. Navy knives? Can you confirm or deny the above??
Henry Disston & Sons
Looking back at the grand old firm we find that they go all the way back to the1860's. They were once one of the largest employers in Philadelphia employing up to 5,000 men at the old Saw Works. They were one of the old-fashioned good guys too, they provided low cost housing for their employees, sponsored recreational leagues, outings etc., some of the homes they built or financed for employees are still standing in the Frankford section of Philly. In fact there is even a Disston Street still in Philadelphia. They were primarily famous for their saws although we know them best for their machetes, boloís and trench knives. They still sell saw blades under the Disston name, most being the circular saw type not the grand old hand saw. They were a very large government contractor in WW I and WW II. In fact they are credited with the design of the WW I Model of 1917 trench knife. Unfortunately they went the way of many American industries in the 50's or 60's when they could no longer compete in the marketplace due to cheaper competition. I have had quite a few Disston saws over the years both as users and as collectors items. They seem to be plentiful around the Delaware Valley area. As in the traditional manor of just about every thing old or handmade they made a very fine product. Some of their old factory buildings are still standing and are used as factories and retail sales facilities down along the river. Quite a sight to see, wish they were still active to furnish some old records. They were bought out at some point it time and the Stanley Tool Works acquired the right to the name. Records are long gone on the 1917 / 1918 era, oh well...
A small machete I found recently is 17" overall, with an 11" blade. Marked near the base of the blade with a pilot's wings logo over MADE IN U.S.A. / Briddell / No. 1218. A marking I had not seen before put me to thinking what I knew about Bridell in general. Not much was the quick answer. A short bit of surfing led me to this short bio of them. Charles D. Briddell, Inc., was founded in the 1920s in Crisfield, Maryland, manufacturing knives and other tools for the local crab and oyster industry. In World War II, Briddell made bolos for the USMC, as well as a variety of utilitarian cutlery. After WWII, Briddell introduced a line of steak knives called Carvel Hall, named after a famous luxury hotel in Annapolis MD. Soon the company changed its name to Carvel Hall. The firm was a division of Towle Mfg. from 1961 to 1990. According to the site they are now independent again. What can you add to this???
Hard Hat Dive Knives
We are still looking for any and all information on the brass sheathed dive knives. Even the smallest bit of information can help. Thanks in advance to all.
Photo Supplied by Ric Koellner of DESCO Corp
Recently found on the side of a package:
1005-722-3097-B008 Bayonet Knife - M6 1 Each DA-11-199-ORD-601 Columbus Milpar & MFG. Co. MFG./Contr. Columbus, Ohio A-1C- /61 Apr 1962.
Showing the 1961 contract being made in April of 1962. Nothing to it just for your reference.
Reading the Koran
As I stated in last months update I had trouble trying to knife or sword quotes in the Koran. After more searching I found that it is a mortal sin to translate the Koran into English, or any other language for that matter. Makes it hard to read it if it is only in Arabic or Farsi, at least hard for me!
USMC Raider Stiletto
I just received in the mail today a World War Two era USMC Raider Stiletto blade blank from our good friend Tom Williams at Camillus Cutlery Company. Along with the blank was an engraved plaque from the re-issue knives they made. Both will look fine in a display along with a real Raider Stiletto. Finding items from the era to display is always fun in the hunt. Patches and other uniform memorabilia certainly make great items to display. Harder yet to find are items from the knife business such as business cards, shipping cartons, wooden boxes and blade, guard or handle blanks. They always add to the display when available and keep the hunt fun.
Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson Just Rolled Over In His Grave
I just heard today that a federal judge mandated that the cadets at VMI are not to say grace before their meals. Seems two cadets objected to it and brought a case against VMI aided by the ACLU. The two won and the action was swift, no more grace. Thatís what happens to any school that takes federal money, they loose freedom on how they run their school. Funny how Congress opens their session with a full time paid chaplain saying a prayer but the cadets can not. I wonder how many of those federal do-gooders were praying when the airliners were coming down in Washington D.C.? Probably praying to themselves so they wouldnít get caught! Stonewall Jackson asked for bayonets and pikes to arm his men to fight when rifles could not be had. I donít think he would have rolled over as easy as the present VMI administration. Would have been a hell of a fight any way.
Recently we received a query about the wording Bahn=Frei cast into the handles of several brass handled bayonets. Many years ago the term was explained to us but an exact determination was never concluded. As is the case with most translations the wording in not exact. What makes this even more involved is that the term Bahn=Frei is not actually a word or a group of words that can be translated. The literal translation from modern day German is "freight paid in advance" or "prepaid freight." This of course has nothing to do with the old world German phrase used in the 1850's era bayonets. The bayonets themselves have been attributed to the Turner Sect established firmly in mid 1800's Ohio. Turners, meaning gymnast in German, were a tight knit group of German immigrants who escaped persecution in Germany. They came to America to practice their own religion and keep their values intact. Activity and working out was a way of life for the Turners. Ohio at the time was the western border of civilization, weapons were the order of the day. Rifles, pistols and knives were openly carried by peace loving people. With the border wars and the outlaw menace the Turners learned quickly how to protect themselves. They manufactured weapons to the specifications they learned in Germany, hence the strange bayonet mounting system previously unknown in the United States. The Turnerís created their own militias to protect the towns and were among the first to enter the Civil War on the Union side in large scale trained numbers. Quite a militaristic society created by the necessity of the times. But we digress, back to the topic of the wording. Perhaps today we could call it a colloquialism or an idiom much like "Whatís Up" for a greeting or "Cool" but not meaning temperature. Bahn=Frei was explained to me as "Watch out" or "Look out of the way here we come" or as Bob Dylan put it Hey folks "The times they are a changin." As I try to come up with ways to explain it, even worse in type, I find I am at a loss for words as the direct definition of an idiom is that it only has one explanation and can not be used in any other way. Try explaining one of them. The example used by a fellow e-mail researcher in a private conversation; try to explain to someone in another language why people jumping out of an airplane shout Geronimo. It has nothing to do with an Apache Chief but it doesnít explain well! So anyway, that, to the best of my knowledge is why Bahn=Frei is cast into the handles of many Turner bayonets. It was a common phrase at the time and it extended their political feelings in a symbol of freedom, the bayonet. As long as a man is equipped with one he is never a subject. If you have a better explanation of the phrase I would be grateful to hear it. My vocabulary is not that large and this seems to be a perfect way to increase it, learn from others!
Photo from The American Bayonet
The John Ek Knife Company
In a recent conversation with a fellow collector he was describing an Ek knife to me which he told me was mis-stamped with the wrong nomenclature. It seems the knife was stamped with the No. 3 prefix to the serial number but according to the collector it was a No. 6. He assured me it was a No. 6 and I told him it was a No. 3 knife, that I was certain of. He hunted up his copy of the Ek catalog and produced a picture and description of it. I agreed with him that the knife in the picture and the catalog was a No. 6 but that did not change the fact that his knife was a No. 3, it was marked correctly and again I was sure of it. The fellow was becoming annoyed so I had to tell him the truth, he was right if the knife had been made in WW II, but it wasnít, and that dear reader is the key. Most folks are not aware that John Ek changed his numbering system at some point after WW II. Several knives were discontinued and several more were added. Due to the elimination of some of the WW II era knives the remaining knives moved up a notch in the numbering system and the newer models filled in the higher numbers. So a WW II era No. 6 knife became a No. 3 post war knife due to the elimination of the WW II No.ís 3, 4 & 5. Just for the record the No. 8 WW II era knife, the Paratrooper, was also eliminated from the lineup. A short table follows to make all this a little easier to visualize:
1 = 1
2 = 2
3 = Discontinued
4 = Discontinued
5 = Discontinued
6 = 3
7 = 4
8 = Discontinued
9 = 5
10 = 9
New = 4A
New = 6
New = 7
New = 8
New = 10
New = 11
New = 12
One of the most hard to believe facts concerning John Ek knives is the fact that the government allowed him to use chrome moly steel during World War Two. There were huge factories and million dollar corporations that could not get that kind of approval to this finest of steel. Ek not only secured the steel but met with government officials on using disabled help and being under the suggested price ceiling. While we are discussing Ek knives lets put to rest the numbering system also. I have never seen the exact date pinned down but most agree it was in 1943 that John started to serial number his knives. The numbering system worked on the power of tens. The serial number was also designed to contain the model number. To achieve this John selected and Alpha-Numeric system. The knives would be numbered 1 through 999 then a letter would be inserted into the serial number. This would continued through 999 again then the next letter in the alphabet would be inserted. Hence serial number 2G546 means this is a Model 2 with a serial number of G546 or the 6,546 Model 2 knife produced. A very simple yet effective system of counting and still keeping production levels somewhat of a mystery. During WW II John Ek Industries was based in Hamden Ct. at 1242 Whitney Ave as we pointed out in our Trivia Contest. In 1949 John relocated the company to Miami Florida, a much friendlier climate to be sure. John Ek passed away in 1976 ending that phase of the company, but the knives continued to serve on with the military men around the globe. Although made in great numbers Ek knives continue to be among the most sought after combat knives pursued by collectors.
The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword,
because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a force
superior to any band of regular troops ...
Noah Webster, An Examination of the Leading Principles of the Federal Constitution,
The V-42 Rides Again
In a recent exchange of e-mails with several VII Corps LRRP Co. (ABN) members I learned of a continued service life of the V-42. As we all know the V-42 is the knife made famous by the First Special Service Force, better known as the "Devilís Brigade." The first commanding officer of "The Force", Colonel Robert Frederick, was the driving force behind the elite group and the selection of the V-42 as the sole knife of that "special" group. No need to go on here about the famous exploits of the FSSF but suffice it to say they made history. The group was officially disbanded after fighting in Southern France on January 6, 1945. The remainder of the FSSF men and the Ranger survivors became the 474th Infantry. Upon the shutdown of the FSSF and the resulting transfer of men and equipment much of the FSSF gear went into storage. According to Col Orval J. Baldwin, World War II era FSSF Group S-4, as many as 350 V-42's were placed into storage at the draw-down and transfer ceremonies. Where these knives went from there is a mystery as they have not shown up in any photos or written text until now... thatís right, they were found, in 1962! Letís not get ahead of ourselves here, a little background is needed to fill out the story.
In the 1950's the world was a quickly changing place. The United States was involved with Communist China in a little place called Korea. While that was happening the face of Europe was also being influenced by the Communist threat. Although a "hot" war was not being fought on the European continent the "cold" war was freezing fast. The US and NATO feared the possible outbreak of war with the Soviet Union and its Warsaw Pack allies. In the event such a situation arose, the US would need a unit capable of providing it with information on the situation deep in the enemy's area. This information would be critical in any future conflict arising in Europe. Allied Units stationed in Germany had units capable of providing them with this type of information, the U.S. did not. With this in mind a new type of force was needed, men to go behind undrawn battle lines to feed back intelligence to the generals planning the fight. Much like the British Long Range Desert Group, working behind lines but in a completely military organization. In 1958 the first LRRP units were formed by 7th Army and assigned to V and VII Corps. Unlike the OSS or the CIA, the group would be uniformed military men, not spies. The name selected was "LRRP" or Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol. Not really a new concept but a new name to go with a newly formed group to the U.S. Army. Initial volunteers were selected from throughout 7th Army, but were primarily drawn from airborne units of the 8th Infantry Division. Each unit consisted of a small HQ, a communications platoon. and two patrol platoons. The patrol platoons consisted of eight four man patrols. Both units were capable of conducting airborne operations; surviving for long periods of time, with little or no outside support; and were highly skilled in long range communications skills. What was generally unknown at the time was that unit members were also secretly trained in deploying Special Atomic Demolition Munitions (SADMs). These highly trained men going into "harmís way" were of the elite group and with the advanced training they received they knew it. The distinctive head gear then worn by the LRRPís was the Maroon Beret of the Airborne. At that time the elite only beret head gear was earned not just issued as it is today. The men noticed the French Foreign Legion wearing the distinctive Lizard pattern camouflage utility uniforms. Not having the available funds to purchase uniforms the men resorted to the same tactic used by Armies for centuries, barter. If they could come up with something the French wanted, they could trade. But what did the US Army have that the French wanted, they were already using just about every item in the US inventory due to the Lend Lease arrangements and the Marshall Plan of re-arming the French. The search began of warehouses throughout Germany. Many of the crates and cases had not been touched since World War Two, just sitting in a damp, dusty warehouse, storage until the next war. In the ensuing search of every warehouse in Germany for trading material a case of knives was found by "Pappy Thomas" and his "detail" on a scrounging trip. The location was somewhere near Ludwigsburg, is all that can be remembered today. It seems they had "volunteered" to help clean up the warehouse in the hopes of finding some of the good sleeping bags which would be fine trading material towards those French uniforms. When they came upon the knives it was a big surprise to everyone concerned including the warehouse manager. They agreed to "requisition" the knives as long as the warehouse supply folks could also acquire a few. Enough were found to equip the LRRPís Company, the Supply folks, a few German NCOís in the 25th Airborne Brigade stationed nearby and even enough to trade a few to the French as they had set out to do.
The men wore the knives in the process of training and doing their duties. It seems that someone had gotten wind of the "fearsome" knives and a general recall was announced to turn in the dangerous weapons, again a few were turned it. A vast majority were sent home, stashed, traded and generally made to vanish before any turn in occurred. One enterprising fellow stashed his under his wall locker after a short timer was afraid to take it home. By the time this wise young fellow was to leave all the searching was over and merely sent it home in his duffel bag. Many of the knives were used as throwing knives, again exactly like the young men had done in World War Two when the knives were newly made, some things never change and Young American Boys are one of them! Many of the men continued to shine the knives and keep them through out there careers. Many were mounted on wood plaques to hang on the wall of an office or placed under glass to set off the credenza. Two have been nickel plated to show off in any setting which makes the eye appeal all the better. The two nickel plated knives have never been sharpened, mint condition prior to the plating, after two careerís in the field. The scabbard with one is also mint.
As this story was related to me several of the LRRPís, who communicate quite freely with each other after all these years, have memories of the knives, the places and the names associated with the knives only appreciated by those who know the type of men and the appreciation for a fine knife. Fellows like, Theo Knaak, Joseph Chetwynd, Jim Handlin, Rowe Attaway, Tom Lake and others who sent me memories of the knife and the times. Rowe had his with him in Vietnam. Some of the locals wanted to copy it but Rowe wasnít about to let it out of his hands! One fellow, Patty Smith, forwarded a photo of himself in white snow gear with an M14 rifle in the prone position along the Czech Border, ready to take on the whole of the Russian Army if need be, well armed with a real rifle and a very high profile knife on his hip in a ready position, just like the day it was made. Hanging low below the snow parka just like Colonel Fredericks envisioned it in 1942. A fitting tribute to the old war horse known as the V-42. Brought back to life by the VII Corps LRRP Co. (Abn) in front line duty, facing yet another enemy head on.
Thanks fellows, itís folks like you who make me proud to be an American!
Photo of Patty Smith of VII Co. LRRPS on the Czech Border looking into the town of Eisenstadt. Note the M-14 and the V-42 on the hip.
Last Months Trivia Question
During World War Two John Ek Mfg. Co. was located in Hamden Conn. What was the street address they were located at?
I checked several references to find 1242 Whitney Ave., Hamden, Ct. as the correct address. In one ad displayed on Pg 197 in Cole II they have it listed as 1212 Whitney Ave. That is the only reference to that address I could find. The first correct answer with 1242 was our good friend Joe Palmieri. The 1212 address was pointed out to us by our good friend Gary Cunningham.
This Months Question
Who was the World War Two era owner of Robeson Shuredge? For extra credit what did the fellows middle initial stand for?
As always, the first correct answer wins a large or xtra large WWW.USMILITARYKNIVES.COM Pocket Tee Shirt.
They Patiently Wait
I walked into a little family grocery store yesterday and the television was playing behind the counter. As I stood in line it was blaring out so I looked to see what all the squawking was about, Oprah was on. Now I wonít get into the merits of educational TV but this one needs to be discussed, just on someone elseís dime, not mine. The show had relatives of the September 11th attack on arguing about how much money they were getting from the government or actually how much money they were being screwed out of! I donít think I have ever wanted to be in a television audience so bad in my life. I just wanted to ask one question on national television; How much money have the survivors of the Bataan Death March received from any government? Maybe show a few pictures of death, starvation and beheading and then leave. That quick blip of the show I saw made me so mad I left that store without the items I went in for and will no longer purchase anything there, my protest of Oprah watchers!
Don't breed 'em if you can't feed 'em.
I have always been of the mind that in a democracy manners are the only effective weapons against the Bowie Knife.
James Russell Lowell
Mike Silveyís Newest Book.
Well our good friend Mike is at it again, a new book on U.S. Military Knives is in the works. This one is along the lines of the previous books with full color photographs and captions that educate us with facts on the knives. Mike has chosen as his target for exposition this time the Military Folding knife. I was lucky enough to view the pre-production layout of the book and see the contents. I can assure you this will enlighten you to new facts heretofore unknown on some of the knives pictured. Mike will also expose us to several knives never before seen in any book or articles on the subjects. As always the photographs are first class and the accouterments that accompany the knives are first rate. Mike is an accomplished photographer using the Medium Format film to superior effect for clarity and detail not available in the more common 35mm format. Thatís right, professional results from professional equipment, yes it costs more but is worth it in the long run. I donít want to give too much away before the book hits the streets, which should be in a few months, but the section on U.S. Navy Rope Knives is alone worth the purchase price of the book. Mike is aiming to keep the cost down by experimenting with the size of the book and perhaps the page count but you can count on it being a first class project. I for one canít wait to see the finished project. Full Speed Ahead Mike!!
The scariest thing about politics today is not any particular policy or leaders, but the utter gullibility with which the public accepts notions for which there is not a speck of evidence, such as the benefits of "diversity," the dangers of "overpopulation," and innumerable other fashionable dogmas.
Thomas Sowell 2002
This one hits close to home with me, every time I try to prove a knife is not what others may think it is I get the shit knocked out of me. To disagree with the established "facts" is akin to raping oneís sister. The sentence is eternal damnation. Sometimes the folks can get pretty rough!
USMC Bayonet 2000
Recently pointed out to us by our good friend Mitch Jenkins, the Eickhorn company has posted on their web page the bayonet that was selected by the USMC and then quickly reversed when they found out the rules of fair play were not being followed. Below is a photo of the bayonet and the technical write up that goes with it right from Eickhorn. For the other bayonets they make go to for their page. For all you USMC fans out there note the handle... look familiar?? Patterned after the good old 1219C2 Fighting / Utility knife. Better known as the K-bar. Those Marines like their traditions!
Eickhorn-Solingen has especially designed the multi-purpose bayonet model BAYONET 2000TM for the modern infantry soldier in the 21th century for multi terrain operations (urban, peacekeeping, etc.)
This new generation BAYONET2000TM combines several functions into one bayonet- knife-and-tool with a very flat, sturdy and compact design, good balance, light weight and ready for the toughest field-work. The BAYONET2000TM is compatible withe the U.S. Land Warrior system, fitting on the individual soldier and accessible and operable with one hand. Provided the user follows the instructions as to dry and non-oily conditions the BAYONET2000TM is electrically insulated up to 1.000 Volts, temperature- resistant between -40įF (-40įC) and +176įF (+80įC), fungus-resistant, NBC-resistant and de-contaminable.
We herewith certify that all our products are manufactured according to MILSPECS and NATO -standards (Eickhorn-Solingen manufacturer Nato Code: C 2436) and tested following EN ISO 9001 and AQAP 110 standards.
Note the 1219C2 style handle on the proposed new bayonet, Cool!
If you will take the time to read these. I promise you'll come away with an enlightened perspective. The subjects covered affect us all on a daily basis!
They're written by Andy Rooney, a man who has the gift of saying so much with so few words.
I've learned.... That the best classroom in the world is at the feet of an elderly person.
I've learned.... That when you're in love, it shows.
I've learned.... That just one person saying to me, "You've made my day!" makes my day.
I've learned.... That having a child fall asleep in your arms is one of the most peaceful feelings in the world.
I've learned.... That being kind is more important than being right.
I've learned.... That you should never say no to a gift from a child.
I've learned.... That I can always pray for someone when I don't have the strength to help him in some other way.
I've learned.... That no matter how serious your life requires you to be, everyone needs a friend to act goofy with.
I've learned.... That sometimes all a person needs is a hand to hold and a heart to understand.
I've learned.... That simple walks with my father around the block on summer nights when I was a child did wonders for me as an adult.
I've learned.... That life is like a roll of toilet paper. The closer it gets to the end, the faster it goes.
I've learned.... That we should be glad God doesn't give us everything we ask for.
I've learned.... That money doesn't buy class.
I've learned.... That it's those small daily happenings that make life so spectacular.
I've learned... That under everyone's hard shell is someone who wants to be appreciated and loved.
I've learned.... That the Lord didn't do it all in one day. What makes me think I can?
I've learned.... That to ignore the facts does not change the facts.
I've learned.... That when you plan to get even with someone, you are only letting that person continue to hurt you.
I've learned.... That love, not time, heals all wounds.
I've learned.... That the easiest way for me to grow as a person is to surround myself with people smarter than I am.
I've learned.... That everyone you meet deserves to be greeted with a smile.
I've learned.... That there's nothing sweeter than sleeping with your babies and feeling their breath on your cheeks.
I've learned.... That no one is perfect until you fall in love with them.
I've learned.... That life is tough, but I'm tougher.
I've learned.... That opportunities are never lost; someone will take the ones you miss.
I've learned.... That when you harbor bitterness, happiness will dock elsewhere.
I've learned.... That I wish I could have told my Dad that I love him one more time before he passed away.
I've learned.... That one should keep his words both soft and tender, because tomorrow he may have to eat them.
I've learned.... That a smile is an inexpensive way to improve your looks.
I've learned.... That I can't choose how I feel, but I can choose what I do about it.
I've learned.... That when your newly born grandchild holds your little finger in his little fist, that you're hooked for life.
I've learned.... That everyone wants to live on top of the mountain, but all the happiness and growth occurs while you're climbing it.
I've learned ... That it is best to give advice in only two circumstances; when it is requested and when it is a life threatening situation.
I've learned.... That the less time I have to work with, the more things I get done.
Before you forward that e-mail with the great story, you know the type that is almost too good to be true, check it out. My favorite place is http://www.snopes.com/index.html They can put an end to the most interesting topics in just a few clicks. Check it out.
More on the Koran
After the quick blip I wrote about this last month I have been informed that the reason the Koran is only in Arabic and not translated into English is that it is the exact word of God and if it was translated it would no longer be in his words. Finally I understand the reason behind the decision. Although most Moslems do not speak that language they all pray in it, the above is the reason. Searching it for cutlery related quotes is extremely tough.
The Screaming Eagles Bayonet
Lan-Cay has produced M9 bayonets with the 101st Airborne Screaming Eagle stamped into the blades ricasso. At this writing I do not know the exact amount produced but they were made and are currently in the hands of some of the 101st men going into harms way. When I find out the details we will have them written up right here for all to see. Can anybody add to this discussion, let me know!
More on VII Corps LRRPS V-42's
The fellows forwarded me a few more photographs of the V-42's they carried and used in the 1960's. Here they are for all to see. I am currently working on an article for Knife World on these knives and warriors. Stay Tuned!
This is Jim Handlin's V-42 he mounted and added a few shoulder patches to. Super display Piece!
Theo Knaack brought home two V-42's from his tour with the VII Corps LRRP's in the 1960's. Another super Group!
Thanks Guys, keep us in the loop with any more V-42's or any other knives you dig up!!
This past week I was manning a booth at a trade show for my real job. Set up next to us was the Cutco Cutlery booth. Most of you reading this also know of Cutco Cutlery. It is very good cutlery but so are a number of others. This is not about the knives or scissors them selves as much as it is about the sales techniques I observed. Most Cutco sales people are college age students. They are given a sales class and a few ways to over come just about any answer the people will throw out to them. I am telling you these kids were good. Aggressive but not to the point of being rude to the people walking by. They thought they knew everything there was to know about knives and they looked and talked like they did. I just kept my mouth shut and watched, it was great. On the last day there the factory man arrived to help with the last day and the closing up of the booth. I struck up a conversation with him on his sales force and told him what a good job they had done. We then spoke a little about some knives. He tried to throw the sales pitch on me but I stopped him short. Again we chatted a bit about the company history and the ownership of Ka-Bar. He tried selling me again with the "440 Surgical Steel" story. I asked him what grade, A B or C and he hesitated a bit. I asked him what manufacturer made the famous "Surgical Grade Steel" and he stopped again. When he regained his sales composure and tried again I finally broke down and told him that I had first class kitchen cutlery before he was born, I have collected knives my entire life have owned thousands and wrote a monthly column for Knife World he kind of came to a halt. It was the only time all week I noted that a sales person at that booth did not have an answer. They really train those kids good let me tell you, I had a blast just watching all week. If they would have just had a few bayonets there to sell that would have been real interesting!!
Get a calculator or paper and pencil when you have time. Don't scroll to the bottom till you
do it all.
DON'T CHEAT BY SCROLLING DOWN FIRST! It takes less than a minute....... Work this out as you read. Be sure you don't read the bottom until you've worked it out! This is not one of those waste of time things, it's fun.
1. First of all, pick the number of times a week that you would like to have chocolate. (try for more than once but less than 10)
2. Multiply this number by 2 (Just to be bold)
3. Add 5. (for Sunday)
4. Multiply it by 50, I'll wait while you get the calculator................
5. If you have already had your birthday this year add 1752.... If you haven't, add 1751 ..........
6. Now subtract the four digit year that you were born. you should have a three digit number .....
The first digit of this was your original number (i.e., how many times you want to have chocolate each week). The next two numbers are ........... YOUR AGE!
M3 Trench Knife Discussion
While at the National Archives last week I looked up the basic notes on the M3 Trench Knife, or I should say I tried to. It seems some collector beat us to them. Many are listed in the file indexes but missing from the files. It seems that quite some time ago a collector found them and removed them, they are now lost to future generations. One that was missed by the previous thief was an Ordnance Committee Technical Meeting memo listing the minutes. In this page and a half sheet took place a fascinating discussion. We shall reproduce it here.
Ordnance Technical Committee Meeting Minutes on Item # 19494
Mr. Gray: With the experience that has been gained in the field in various theaters, there seems to be a necessity for reviving the trench knife. The Ordnance Department had a considerable number left over from World War I, and these have been and are being issed to troops. However, The supply was inadequate to meet the requirements, and a replacement for the trench knife as used in World War I was developed. This subcommittee report recommends the adoption of the trench knife M3 with Scabbard, M6; and that the Trench Knife, M1918 Mk I be removed from the Table of Basic Allowances.
Colonel Borden: Are there any comments? This is a rather important item, although it is an individual piece of equipment. Has the Marine Corps looked the knife over?
Colonel Hussa: Yes, Sir. They Have. However, the Marine Corps have already adopted a type of trench knife. We gave it a very careful study. It doesnít conform exactly to the design that is recommended here. We found that the production of the Marine Corps type in the quantity we want, which will be something in the neighborhood of 90,000 per month, would be delayed by the reason of the stock required to be used in the blade. The type of steel, not the type, but the basic stock dimensions in the Marine Corps type of knife is not standard. What we have here is something we can obtain in the mills right now.
Colonel Borden: The Infantry has looked this knife over and it is satisfactory?
Colonel Oseth: Yes, Sir. I might say for the benefit of all, whenever we find any two anywhere that agree on the exact characteristics of such a knife, we tried the Ordnance, and the Infantry tried all the different ideas of getting an all purpose knife. They were all unsuccessful. This knife is an attempt to embody all the best characteristics of all of them. It is quite close to what is known as the commando knife. It is a sample of a straight fighting knife with a possibility of some slight general utility use, but it is not an extension to, a can-opener, or a bayonet. It is a straight blade knife with a sturdier point then the commando knife, a larger and firmer grip.
Colonel Borden: I imagine that this meets the requirements that were indicated in the report from Guadalcanal?
Mr. Gray: Well it is pretty hard to come down to cases of essential figures. This investigation has included conferences with the British who had experience in the commando type of fighting, and it is pretty hard. I can assure you it is pretty hard.
Colonel Borden: It is a 12" knife, and it is already in the report?
Mr. Gray: It is a 12" Overall knife
Colonel Borden: That is what I interpreted they wanted.
Mr. Gray: As a matter of fact I was very much amused. Everyone said, well you can make a knife, and after the men get it you can gamble, it isnít going to be what it was. They are going to modify it when they get it.
Colonel Borden: Gentlemen, I extend this, because of the fact that there is considerable interest in this item, not only among this group, but throughout the War Department. It appears to be a very satisfactory solution. I am glad to hear it is quite satisfactory to the Infantry. Perhaps the Marine Corps will look upon it with favor when there supply is exhausted.
Colonel Hussa: It is very little difference between the knives.
Colonel Borden: Any other comments? If not this item is approved. Next item.
So we can see from the minutes from this meeting that the M3 was adopted, with M6. The M1918 Mk 1 was removed from the basic allowances. The M3 was a design compromised due to steel availability and it was copied from the F/S but is a sturdier design. It was not to be a bayonet or a can-opener. Col. Hussa was a representative on the Board from the Marine Corps and knew the 1219C2 Fighting / Utility knife well. The part I like the best was when the fellow assured the rest of the fellows that the troops will modify it regardless of what type of knife they selected! Theatre Altered knives here we come.
In the box, what a find!
While on the subject I also found the notes from the Ordnance Technical Committee meeting on the T2 scabbard recommendation to become standardized as the M8 scabbard. Item number 20467 dated April 24, 1943 recommends such action but one area I found interesting, list it hear for your reading pleasure.
b.) The proposed scabbard is constructed of laminated fiber filled thermo plastic similar to that used in the bayonet scabbard, M3. This scabbard is a friction type and is provided with a fabric web loop which allows the scabbard to be carried on any type of belt and it is considered anti rattle. The small hole in the tip of the scabbard and a thong provided make it possible for this scabbard to be held tightly to the body or to the leg.
The italics and underlined section is mine and not in the original but it is to point something out. Well it seems that somebody was fibbing or uninformed as the web loop did NOT fit any type of belt or in fact most worn by combat personal. This very well be the reason for the M8A1. A simple mistake like this created a recall of existing scabbards to be converted and a new specification to be drawn up to make the longer frog and M1910 belt hangar added. I have observed many modification of the M8 scabbards over the years, a few are listed here:
M8 with hooks sewn in (both colors, khaki and green)
M8 with oval ring added and a short piece of webbing added to attach a hook , an extension of sorts.
M8 metal throat and body with longer frogs ala M8A1
M8 metal throat with M8A1 body and short frog
M8 metal throat with M8A1 body with metal tip and short frog
It seems with the urgency needed and the extremely easy repairs to be made the M8 / M8A1 scabbards can be found field modified in any sort of configuration. That's just a few examples so it seems that many were "rebuilt" or "altered" to fit the urgency they were then in. Just my observations. It also seems that knives were not the only thing modified by the soldier living in the field."
One of the sad signs of our times is that we have demonized those who produce, subsidized those who refuse to produce, and canonized those who complain.
Thomas Sowell 2002
The Red Spacer Ka-Bar Revisited.
In an article I wrote several years back for Knife World I listed the red spacer knives as made by the Union Cutlery Co. In that article I also listed what I had thought, at the time, to be a freak or anomaly version. As the one I had and used for the photos, was, up to that time, the only one I had ever spotted I concluded that point. Well it is time to eat crow and make a retraction. Other collectors have contacted me with the double thin red spacer knives. Not many but enough to know that mine was not a "one of a kind" knife. Since then I have recently seen two on ebay in a two week time span. While these knives can in no way be considered common seeing two in that short time span leads me to believe that it is more then just a few. To date I can count about half a dozen known examples. Our good friend John Fischer contacted me that he had two prime examples in his collection. These red spacer knives are notoriously hard to find in any condition and can be a real bear to find in excellent shape. Early knives were issued to landing troops who took enormous casualties and used their knives on a daily basis. The survivors of those knives are true war trophies having been there, done that. While not knowing the exact path to follow as all the records are long gone I would place the double thin red spacer in the number three position of production. First generation would be the thick red with the red, black, red spacers at the pommel, Second generation would be the thick red with the triple black spacers at the pommel and then in third would be the double thin red with the triple black at the pommel. This may be due to the fact that Union ran out of thick red spacers or were in the process of ordering more or a worker who just used the thin red as he didnít want to walk over and get the thick ones, perhaps that small point we will never know. It could be that the fellow doing the hafting just liked the look of them better. We do know it was never a specification change officially so for what ever reason it was only known to Union Cutlery. As for numbers made... your guess is as good as mine, remember that the entire red spacer production run of all three generations didnít last more the 60 to 75 days, lets just say few and leave it at that.
As you can see from the above photos the double red spacer knives are in the "triple black" pommel spacer family. This is the actual knife I just purchased on an ebay auction. Nice photos Chris!
To fight with a sword may be brutal, but honorable. To fight with a germ is merely disgusting.
Jeff Cooperís Commentaries Vol 10 No. 3
Crozier Technical High School
Who can help me with this one? Anyone live in the Dallas Texas area? It seems that the Crozier Technical High School in Dallas Texas wanted to help out in the war effort. As it was a vocational type school and metal working was on the curriculum it made sense to use that talent in the best way possible. In response to the call for knives for departing servicemen the school under took the mission to supply them, by the middle of 1944 they had supplied over one thousand knives for the war effort. Now for the tricky part, what did they look like? Has anybody seen one? Can you share it with us? As the school has since been closed they can not be contacted directly for information. I called the Dallas Public Library and spoke with the Texas History Department. After a short conversation and a few ideas I wrote out a letter and forwarded it to Amy who promised to run it down with the information available to her in that department. Letís hope she can find it. Perhaps a few year books with the graduating class of 1943, 44 or 45 would show us an example? With over one thousand made by school boys this would be an awesome item to find and to make a high profile example out of. Perhaps those turned wooden handled sword blade knives were made by the school or the cast aluminum handles? Perhaps they made knives with black hose handles and knuckle guards, that would be a pisser wouldnít it?? Knuckle knives made in a high school and attributed to the OSS! In todayís school a student would be suspended for carrying a set of nail clippers and in 1944 they were producing fighting knives in bulk. Says a little bit about society doesnít it? This is one we need to run down.
Last Months Trivia Question ....
Who was the World War Two era owner of Robeson Shuredge? For extra credit what did the fellows middle initial stand for?
The wartime owner was Saul S. Frankel. His middle initial "S" actually stood for nothing at all as he did not have a middle name. He added it as it looked better that way.
No one answered correctly so I will keep the T-shirt to wear it myself.
This months question...
On the M6 leather scabbard for the M3 Trench Knife one version is marked L&C, what does the L&C stand for??
E-mail me the answer and win a US Military Knives .Com Tee shirt like this one Tee_Shirts
Cutting Down Bayonets and Scabbards
During World War Two we had the M3 plastic scabbard and the cut-down M3A1 to fit the M1905E1 and the M1 bayonets. Why then did the Ordnance Department change the name to M7 when they made the new scabbards in the M1 length? The question bothered me for a few years but I could never find the answer. Actually the change from M3 to M3A1 should never have occurred as did the M1905 to M1905E1 nomenclature which stuck. When the M1905 was cut down it officially became the M1. It was not an improvement on the M1905 basic design it was different altogether. They could interchange but that alone is not enough to justify it as an A1 nomenclature. The same is true of the M3 to the M3A1 switch. It was a change but not a product improvement based on the current design, it was a specification change which deviated from the original beyond the point of product improvement. Trouble started almost immediately when the M3A1 was announced. Supply folks needing scabbards for the M1905 bayonets ordered what they thought to be the newest product improved items. Much to their surprise they werenít of much use when they arrived, being 6 inches too short! Perhaps we are getting a bit ahead of ourselves here, lets go back to the beginning.
It actually all began on August 22, 1942 when the Cavalry requested their bayonets be shortened. It had nothing to do with saving steel or shortages or better balance or any of the other hundred reasons given as fact, it was because the long bayonets kept poking the horses when the riders mounted the horse or got hung up when trying to enter a tank. The Cavalry requested a shorter bayonet to alleviate those problems. It was only for the Cav not the rest of the Army as that would have posed too large a problem to deal with in war time. It was just a request. The Cavalry Board tested the short bayonet over a two month period and recommended they be issued to all Cavalry officers and men whether armed with the M1, M1903 and those not armed with the rifle at all. It seems they even liked it as a hand weapon for self defense.
Not to be outdone the Infantry Board also tested the short bayonet and recommended that all M1905 bayonets be cut down to 10 inches for the entire Army and that the M1917 bayonets also be shortened! To top it off they recommended that a hand guard be installed to make a knuckle of sorts for fighting. In a report issued February 10, 1943 when Ordnance ordered the change from Bayonet, M1905E1 & Scabbard M3 to Bayonet, M1 and Scabbard, M3A1 for the set they also recommended another study for the adoption of the hand-guard. Their recommendations were as follows:
a.) That the Bayonet, M1905E1 be approved as: Required type, Adopted type, Standard item and be assigned the nomenclature Bayonet, M1.
b.) That the Bayonet M1905 be reclassified as Limited Standard.
c.) That the Scabbard, Bayonet, M3, now designed to accommodate the M1905 bayonet be modified by shortening to sheath the Bayonet, M1 and that is be assigned the Nomenclature Scabbard, Bayonet, M3A1
d.) That the Bayonet, M1 with Scabbard, M3A1 be put into production as rapidly as possible, consistent with no reduction in scheduled deliveries now required.
e.) It is further recommended that a study be initiated to design a detachable hand guard for the bayonet, in accordance with the recommendation of the Infantry Board.
So we can see that the M1905 became the M1905E1 and then progressed on to become the M1 bayonet. The M3 scabbard went directly to the M3A1 scabbard. I donít know what happened to the order for cutting down M1917 bayonets but I have never seen it stated or listed anywhere other then in this report. As the Cavalry Board and the Infantry board tests were forwarded to the Ordnance Board for approval perhaps Ordnance put the hold on the M1917 cut down procedure and stuck with the M1905 shortening program only. In either case it was April 6, 1943 when the next report appeared to correct the earlier mistake.
A memo from the Ordnance Committee on the sunject of scabbards is brought to our attention.
Subject: Scabbard, Bayonet, M3A1 - Change in Nomenclature to Scabbard, Bayonet, M7.
In short it recommends that: The designation M3A1 was furnished since it was intended that the scabbard be a shortened M3 scabbard; however, this designation implies that the M3A1 modified scabbard could be used with the M1905 bayonet. This is not possible. This change in designation will associate the M3 scabbard with the M1905 bayonets and the M7 scabbard with the M1 bayonet.
So we have the M3 scabbard officially recommended changed to the M3A1 on 2/10/43 and officially changed on 3/1/43. The official change from M3A1 to M7 was recommended on 4/6/43 and presumably adopted in May of that year, I didnít find the actual paper. So the official scabbard lineage for the M1 bayonet was the M3A1 and then the M7 regardless of whether they were cut down or newly made. Just wanted to state that for the record.
Hospital Corps Knives
One of the most often asked questions is "What did the Hospital Corps do with the large boloís?" And the most often given answer is amputation and / or circumcision. I guess it just sounds good for I too have given that answer often just to evoke a response. Another answer is to make stretchers with. This is a good answer as it was one of the uses but not the specific one in mind. First a little exploration of casualties is in order to see why they needed knives in the first place. OK, we could understand scalpels but bolos, what would a medic need one for? The answer is that it wasnít for the medic at all but still a Hospital Corps man.
It is stated that during World War Two over 17 million patients were treated by the armed services. Of these the Army treated 640,000 combat casualties, so who were all the others and why were they treated? Well who ever they were they were 20 times more likely to visit the doctor they somebody wounded in battle. V.D. was a big problem, so large in fact they made training films and booklets about it. But we all know they wouldnít need a knife that large to cure that problem, more like that scalpel would do the trick, ouch! The real need was created by a disease but not one caught so pleasurably, these killers would come from the environment created by nature and aided by man.
On Guadalcanal it was estimated that over 70% of the combat forces had Malaria. It put 648 of every 1,000 men out of commission in the China, Burma, India theatre. On Okinawa there were 300,000 men in a 600 yard front line, it is said you tell where the front was with your eyes closed just by the smell. You see there werenít any "johnny on the spots" to run to, you went where you could and hoped you didnít get shot. Combine that with Lice, Fleas, Flys and Rats and you can see where this is heading. The boloís were made to clean up the environment to help stop the proliferation of disease. They could help in the cleaning of downed trees causing water to puddle, drain swamps created by massive shelling and build hospitals and shelters for the sick. It was created as a general purpose tool and that it was. The rounded tip of the Model of 1905 was to express that the bearer was not a combatant but a relief worker. The same applied to the USMC machete made much later. This was supposedly to coincide with a treaty or convention that preceded the large one in Geneva but I have not found the name of it. Pity the Japanese didnít really care as a prisoner to them was worse then a dead person so even the highest ranking officer or Doctor was presumed dead and made to work as a slave.
So there we have it, the short answer on why the HC knives were made.
Here is a dandy photo of the M1905 Hospital Corps Knife from our good friend Carter Rila's archives
A priest walked into a neighborhood pub. The place was hopping with music and dancing but every once in a while the lights would turn off. Each time after the lights would go out the place would erupt into cheers.
However, when the revelers saw the town priest, the room went dead silent.
He walked up to the bartender, and asked, "May I please use the restroom?"
The bartender replied, "I really don't think you should."
"Why not?" the priest asked.
"Well, there is a statue of a naked woman in there, and her most private part is covered only by a fig leaf."
"Nonsense," said the priest, "I'll just look the other way."
So the bartender showed the clergyman the door at the top of the stairs, and he proceeded to the restroom.
After a few minutes, he came back out, and the whole place was hopping with music and dancing again. However, they did stop just long enough to give the priest a loud round of applause.
He went to the bartender and said, "Sir, I don't understand. Why did they applaud for me just because I went to the restroom?"
"Well, now they know you're one of us," said the bartender. "Would you like a drink?"
"But, I still don't understand," said the puzzled priest.
"You see," laughed the bartender, "every time the fig leaf is lifted on the statue, the lights go out in the whole place.
Now, how about that drink?"
Sent to me by Sam Rodriguez, a VII Corps LRRP and V-42 admirer.
Collins No 18 Machete
I just watched an Ebay auction end with the prize going for $666.59 and I thought that was a great deal. Now you may ask what kind of Collins No 18 machete is worth that much?? One of the many things to watch for, as we all know, is the markings. What becomes tough is that Ebay lists thousands of knives, bayonets and machetes every day. What made this one different you ask... It was a "Sword Stamped" model not the typical Legitimus, Arm and Hammer marked model. Perhaps I have seen 6 of them in excellent plus condition sold in the last 20 years, if that many even. They all had Green Horn handles as they were made prior to the molded Bakelite handles. Although they all may be made from the same substance many look quite a bit better then others. Look for streaks of white in the horn to add flair and color. All had the red brass guards and pins, again common as this was the only offering in 1934. So there are not many variations to this model except for the markings, and it is still a tough one to find. It may not have been a steal but I thought it a great price. Lucky is the collector who can find one of each model and marking in nice condition. Just goes to show you that the nice ones are still out there. Item number was 1082988455 if you want to take a peak.
Three highly important documents in our lives...
1. The Ten Commandments - 75 words
2. The Declaration of Independence - 176 words
3. The Constitution of the United States - 275 words
Then we have our current group of officials...
1. The restrictions on the sale of cabbage to Russia - 259,000 pages!!
2. In 1913 the first income tax form was 3 pages, today there are 650 forms with instruction booklets for each one. I havenít found an estimate on word or page count. Several million would be conservative.
The officers will take all proper opportunities to inculcate in the mens' minds a reliance on the bayonet; men of their bodily strength and even a coward may be their match in firing. But the bayonet in the hands of the valiant is irresistible.
Lieutenant-General Burgoyne, General Orders, 20, June 1777
Black Hawk Down
Our good friend Miguel Carillo from the Canary Islands writes:
"Recently, I did read the book entitled Black Hawk Down written by Mark Bowden about the Battle of Mogadishu of October 3 & 4, 1993. Well, a SEAL's member called John Gay saved his life when a AK47 bullet was stopped by his Randall knife. When he returned to the States, Gay hoped to make some money endorsing the edged weapon for the manufacturer. Not many people could say their knife blade stopped a bullet. The manufacturer expressed no interest. I have not heard this story. Do you know something about it ?. I do not know if the Ridley Scott's last movie shows this fact."
I do remember reading this when the book came out and in fact saw the complete story in the footnotes but failed to follow up on it. Recently I posted to a few on line forums to see if I could get any additional information on the story like "is it true?" and if so where is the knife. So far not a single reply with information has come my way. So we ask here if anybody could contribute to the story with additional facts. The book was great and the movie was great but did it in fact really happen this way?
IDF Choice of Knives
Again our good friend Miguel writes to us:
"I hope everything is going well on that shore of the Atlantic Ocean.
Enclosed is a little photo of two IDF soldiers at Belen. It was taken yesterday or so . The soldiers that appears at the right side seems to be taken a Mk-2 knife with his right hand. I am not an expert in photo matters so when I try to increase the size of the picture it tends to be distortioned. I suppose that you or your webmaster knows how to do it correctly as if you apply a magnifying glass.
Is the IDF using the Mk-2 as a Official Issue Knife or only as a private purchase ?. The one that appears on the photo seems to be a commemorative one made by Kabar."
Ever the astute observer Miguel pointed out in a photo two IDF soldiers manning what looks to be a check point using a K-Bar knife. While I do not know what the official knife of the IDF is, many letters sent to the Israeli Consulate have not provided an answer, we can see that "Americaís Knife" is well intrenched in other armies. I call it Americaís knife as the profile is known the world over. Any Special Ops folks wanting to work sterile had better think twice about using the Mark 2 pattern knife, it is known well enough, even to a non knife person, to be identified with the United States even in a backwater type place. How many other nations use the Mark 2 pattern knife? We know that Argentina had a direct copy made for their forces as did Thailand. Can you tell me about any others??
Britain Awards the Victoria Cross?
And last but not least from Miguel, who has been busy spotting for us this month:
"A soldier of the British SAS -called Booty, 41, an ex-Royal Marines member- has been secretly awarded with the Victoria Cross on late April or March. During the assault to the Tora Bora caves in Afghanistan he was seriously wounded by AK47 bullets but he continued killing members of Al-Queda provided with his night-vision glasses and with his .... K-Bar. I did read an article of Ted Verity on a Spanish newspaper (A translation from the British newspaper The Mail on Sunday) telling this story. Also, as he says, it seems that the SAS has stopped using their Fairbairn-Sykes daggers and now they widely use the K-Bar."
Again we see the K-Bar profile crop up in a foreign service. As to whether the VC was actually awarded is a subject for disagreement but the knives in use are fairly well spelled out. Perhaps it is a hoax or perhaps it is true, maybe we will never know. If anyone could contribute to this issue with facts we would all like to hear from you.
"Deny your soldiers a proper bayonet and you will find a foreign one at your throat."
Attributed to an "old soldier saying." Can anyone tell me where it originated?
More on the USMC Bayonet Design
The designs are flowing in as the deadline appeared two weeks ago. Many innovative ideas are being brought forth in the blade, handle and mounting systems. Donít expect it to look anything like you have seen before. Perhaps in an outward appearance it may remind you of something but the whole system is possible to be revamped as the requirements are different this time around. Here are a few of the items the USMC Lists:
The Marine Corps Systems Command (MARCORSYSCOM) has a requirement for a Multipurpose Bayonet (MB). This procurement is 100% set-aside for small business concerns. The NAICS code for this procurement is 332211 with a size standard of 500 employees. This notice is a combined synopsis and solicitation for the MB in accordance with FAR 12.6 for commercial items as defined in FAR Part 2.1. Proposals are being requested and a written solicitation will not be issued. The subject Request for Proposals (RFPs) incorporates provisions and clauses that are in effect through Federal Acquisition Circular 97-27 and Defense Acquisition Circular 91-13. Scope: This purchase description establishes the design and performance requirements for the USMC MB. Intended Use of MB: MB will attach to the M-16 and M4 series rifles functioning as a bayonet, as well as possess the secondary function of a fighting knife. References: MIL-STD-810F, FED-STD-595B, MIL-STD-129N, MIL-STD-171E, ASTM-E18; Environmental Test Methods and Engineering Guidelines dated 01 Nov 2000; Colors Used In Government Procurement, dated 11 Jan 1994; Military Marking, dated 15 May 1997; Finishing of Metals and Wood Surfaces, dated Jun 1989; Test Methods For Rockwell Hardness and Rockwell Superficial Hardness of Metallic Materials, 2000.
OPERATIONAL EFFECTIVENESS: Unless otherwise specified, the design, material composition, and manufacturing processes associated with the MB are the prerogative of the offeror. Any resulting product submitted to the government shall fully comply with performance parameters, functional interface requirements, and design characteristics specified herein. All parameters specified as "objective" are subject to the offerorís discretion for design/performance consideration, or tradeoff. Design shall facilitate intended employment of the MB as both a bayonet, and when separated from the rifle, a fighting knife. Characteristics: All physical characteristics of the MB, inclusive of design, test methods, etc., shall be compliant with best commercial practices. Physical Dimensions: The MB blade shall have an objective length of 8-10 inches and shall extend not less than 4 inches past the rifle muzzle when attached to the M16 or M4 series rifle. The MB shall have an objective width of 1.25 to 1.75 inches. Finishes/Coating: The MB shall be corrosion resistant to the maximum extent possible. Cleaning methods, surface treatments, metal coating, or other forms of corrosion protection shall be in accordance with MIL-STD-171E, or commercial equivalent. Weight: The objective total weight of the MB, inclusive of scabbard shall be 2 lbs., or less. Hardness. The MB blade shall have an objective Rockwell Hardness (C scale) between 53 and 58. Ergonomics: The handle of the MB shall have an ergonomic design to allow the bayonet to be used as a fighting knife. Interface Requirements: The MB shall firmly affix to the bayonet lug of the M16 and M4 series rifles and illustrate no unnecessary play or movement. The MB shall not interfere with the day and night sights that are employed by either rifle. The MB shall be compatible with the Modular Light Weight Load Bearing Equipment (MOLLE) system and other load bearing equipment. The MOLLE system may be viewed on the Marine Corps Systems Command web page athttp://iis.marcorsyscom.usmc.mil/. Considerations for ease of use, safety, and overall compatibility with Marine Corps weapons and personal equipment (MOLLE) are paramount. In addition, the MB shall have a quick release mechanism that allows the bayonet and scabbard to be detached from the load bearing equipment. Firing: The MB shall be capable of withstanding the maximum firing rate of both the M16 and M4 without damage, wobble, or loss. The MB shall be painted with a flat, non-reflective finish on all of its components. Verification: Unless otherwise specified, the offeror is responsible for the execution of all inspections and certifications related to conformance and performance of the MB and all components. The government intends to accomplish limited testing, relying instead upon offeror data to substantiate design quality, manufacturing processes, and performance of the weapon. As appropriate the offeror will provide evidence of, and warrant conformance and compliance with, applicable standards and practices. The government reserves the right to validate conformance through independent analyses, inspections and/or testing should such action be deemed necessary. Packaging: Best commercial practices. Commercial Warranty: The MB shall be warranted to comply with all design and performance criteria established as a result of this specification as incorporated into the offeror's conforming product. Any additional warranty provisions or exclusions shall be clearly stated in the offerorís proposal submission. The Government anticipates issuing an ID/IQ Firm Fixed Price (FFP) commercial contract to the successful offeror. Orders will be issued in accordance with the selected offerors ability to produce and deliver the quantities specified herein. Quantities and period of performance are as follows: CLIN 0001, Base Year, Qty: 1 Ė 50,000. CLIN 0002, OY1, Qty: 1 Ė 50,000. CLIN 0003, OY2, Qty: 1 Ė 50,000. Offerors may delineate their pricing based upon their own determination of economic production lots (e.g., 1 Ė 25,000, $xx; 25,001 Ė 50,000, $xx). The government will use an average unit production price associated with the offeror's price delineation to establish an overall evaluated price.
So we can see that just by the new requirements the bayonet will be different then the current Army offering of the M9. What will the USMC designation be?? Any guesses? M9A2?? M12??
"What is scary about our times is how easy it is to get Americans to give up our most basic rights if you just use some pretty words. You can violate the "equal protection of the laws" provided by the 14th Amendment if you use the word "diversity" and you can violate the free speech protections of the First Amendment if you call it "campaign finance reform."
Thomas Sowell April 2002
Western Parachutist Knife
At a recent show in Baltimore I had the pleasure of viewing, holding and examining a mint condition Western Parachutist knife. The asking price.... $5,000.00. Is it worth it? You decide. I am sure it is to someone. Few were made, it is perfect and it is stamped USMC, everything you need to be collectable in this day and age. What will the price be in another ten years of these items? Well considering the knife cost the USMC $1.30 in 1942 that is a pretty good earnings statement and the future potential is very prominent. You can be assured the top knives will continue to increase in value. I am in the process of writing an in-depth article on these knives now. Stay Tuned.
The Answer to Last Months Trivia Question
On the M6 leather scabbard for the M3 Trench Knife one version is marked L&C, what does the L&C stand for??
Lyon & Coulson of course answered by Bill Reilly. You get the free pocket Tee shirt this month Bill, Who will next month??
This Months Trivia Question
What was the first year Gerber made their gray handled Mark II fighting Knife?
The first correct answer wins a US Military Knives Tee Shirt. Let the world know you know your military knife trivia!
email@example.com E-mail me here with your answer.
More Questions and Answers on the USMC Bayonet
Right from the USMC web site we find this tidbit of information. I wish we could find more information like this on the older knives the military has used in the past. This is the type of informal information that often goes un-saved in archival type storage. Not being the official specification or procurement sheets these are often relegated as trash and disposed of. For your viewing pleasure...
|Questions & Answers for Bayonet Draft Solicitation Ė 11 FEB 02|
What are the color requirements for the bayonet? What parts need to be painted?
The paint requirement will be removed from the final solicitation. Normal chemical treatments that produce a flat, non-reflective finish are acceptable. The manufacturing processes, such as direct injection into the molds, etc., are the discretion of the Offeror.
What is meant by a "quick release" mechanism?
The Marine Corps is seeking a means for quickly detaching the scabbard from the MOLLE vest. It is the discretion of the vendor to select and offer a suitable "fast-release" mechanism, such as the FASTEX clip, or comparable product.
What is the appropriate color spec (FED STD 595B) for the bayonet?
The only requirements currently incorporated into this effort are those stated in the solicitation.
Are small foreign businesses allowed to compete in this offer?
See Federal Acquisition Regulation Part 19, Small Business Programs.
Can the specification for a minimum blade length be modified from eight inches to six-to-eight inches?
The final solicitation will specify a blade length of <9-in. As this is an objective requirement, the Offeror has the discretion to offer a product that conforms.
What is meant by the objective width of 1.25 to 1.75 inches? Is this only the blade, or does this also include the scabbard?
This is specified as an objective parameter and does not include the scabbard. The Offeror has the discretion to offer a product that conforms.
What will be the delivery time for the bayonets from receipt of the first delivery order?
The Government is allowing Offerors to provide, as an element of their proposal, a delivery schedule, quantities, and associated pricing. The final solicitation will identify the locations for shipment of production units. The current solicitation identifies a maximum number of bayonets to be purchased annually. The entire production run is expected to be completed NLT three (3) years following contract award. Accordingly, Offerors should provide their optimal production and delivery schedule based upon the annual quantities.
Where can I find copies of the referenced Military Standards?
The referenced standards can be downloaded at the following DoD web site: http://dodssp.daps.mil/.
Ref "Firing." Should the MB be painted with an additional corrosion protection on the blade?
No. The Offeror has the discretion to apply any treatment or covering that is typical of their manufacturing processes. Ref. answer to Q1 regarding "painting."
Ref "Dimensions." Should the MB statement refer to the blade width and scabbard, i.e., the MB shall have an objective scabbard width of 1.5 to 2.5-inches?
Ref. answer to Q6. No specific width will be placed on the scabbard. The Offeror has the discretion to propose a scabbard that is complementary to the blade width of their MB product.
Ref "Weight." It is recommended that the weight objective be specified as 1.3-lbs, or less, inclusive of the scabbard.
The requirement stands as stated. Recognize that this is an objective and there is no prohibition on offering a product of lesser weight.
Does the MB have a requirement for electrical insulation up to 1000 volts?
No. There is no stated requirement for electrical insulation. The Offeror has the discretion to propose a product that does provide for electrical insulation.
The multi purpose bayonet (MB) blade length proposal of 8-10" could cause some concern in regards to possible excess length limiting fighting and utility capabilities. We would suggest that the requirement be modified to include a blade 7.5 - 9" in length.
Reference answer to Q5.
Regarding Rockwell Hardness (C scale) we would request that a modification be enlarged to 53-60 as a result of advances in metal heat-treating technologies.
The Purchase Description states an objective hardness. Offerors have the discretion to propose a product that does not fall within those "objective" parameters. This element of design will be considered in the context of "overall" product capability and price.
Also, we would like to be able to add the wire cutting capabilities to the system as long as it does not interfere with or decrease the functionality of the fighting knife capability.
No. There is no stated requirement for wire cutting capability. However, Offerors have the discretion to propose a product that does provide for wire cutting capability.
Will Offerors be allowed to submit multiple bids based on different configuration of the weapons system? In other words, may we price options separately?
Multiple proposals are acceptable. However, if more than one proposal is being offered the offeror must submit separate proposals including pricing for each submission.
Wonderful information to store in the old memory banks.
Although they are not military knives I have been fascinated by many of the knives used by NASA is the space craft programs over the years. The Randall Model 17 Astro, The Case Machete, the MC-1 automatic knife and the Swiss Army Knife. The standard for the shuttle today is the Swiss Army Knife P/N 528-40807-1, made by Victorinox and Wenger. I recently read the instruction sheet on how to change a clock in the control panel of the shuttle while in space. It is the most thorough step by step manual I have ever seen. The knife is used to cut a piece of tape in the procedure and a thought occurred to me that I had not realized before, you have to be careful with a knife in space as it could just float away and cut something else. In the instructions they tell you to "stow" the knife after each use to prevent such accidents. I donít know how much trouble you could get into with the Swiss Army Knife but could you imagine a Randall or a Case Machete floating around the cabin and hitting some turbulence! Ouch. We can also track the change in the usage of the cutlery through the years. Originally the Astronauts were worried that you could not steer the capsule so perfect planning was needed to touch down in the assigned grid. If a slight malfunction were to occur and the capsule were to veer off course could the Astronauts be stranded in a jungle somewhere for any length of time while NASA found them? That was the original purpose of having a knife along for the ride, survival. Today it is part of the tool kit for minor repairs. Sure it could be used in a survival situation but with the navigable shuttle they could, in most cases, just choose another runway to land on. The early astronauts had to undergo jungle survival training in Panama. The knives got their workout in these camps and shelters quickly made as part of the training. Today they cut tape, thatís progress for you!
Official NASA Photo showing astronaut trainee Harrison Schmidtt constructing a shelter using the Case machete in Panama
Tell Me This Didnít Happen?
The National Air Traffic Controllers Association confirmed that Prince Abdullah requested no women work as air traffic controllers for his flights. But thatís not the outrage. The outrage is that we compliedóthat our FAA rolled over and did as he asked, then lied about it to us.
Debbie Schlussel, How the Saudiís Run America. May 2, 2002
I am still trying to collect any and all information on Hard Hat Dive Knives. Come on folks you must have something tucked away somewhere on these things. Help!
Above is an expertly redrawn copy of the original Hull Standard Plan Blueprint. Drawn by our friend Bryce Dilger. Thanks Bryce!
Lan-Cay Supplies the 101st Airborne
Pictured here for the first time anywhere is the new marking for the M9 bayonet used by the 101st Airborne. After the USMC requirement for the Eagle, Globe and Anchor on their new bayonet the troops in the 101st wanted their own bayonet too. The Screaming Eagle was stamped into the blade and the desert tan bayonets were shipped out to the "one oh one" over fighting ragheads in Afghanistan. I hope they get the chance to try them out! Also planned is a 82nd Airborne stamping and one for the 10th Mountain Division. This could be quite a boom to the collector of the M9 bayonet series. You seen it here first... again!
The latest and greatest...
MIL-K Collector Cards
A neat new item we just received from fellow collector Michael Wiedemann is the MIL-K collectors index card. Printed on front an back are the various versions of the MIL-K all metal knife for your collection. This is a handy wallet size card to keep with you. Next time you stop at an unexpected yard sale or antique shop and spot a MIL-K knife you can pull out your handy pocket card and see if you have that one or need it still. I have a few available at 1 buck a piece plus $0.50 postage.
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