Original Austro-Hungarian WWI Rastremato Model Trench Raiding Club - Featured in Book At Arm's Length Volume 1

Item Description

Original Item: One-of-a-kind. Purchased directly from David F. Machnicki, the author of At Arm's Length Trench Clubs and Knives (Vol. 1), where this very club is featured on page 8! Please note that the attached page image from the book is copyrighted material and the use of the page is done by permission of the author. A printed copy of the page will accompany the purchase of this club.

This example of an Austrian trench club illustrates a radically different approach to the design for a club than those typically encountered. And due to its tapered profile, this type of club has been identified in current references as the rastremato model (Italian: rastremato - tapered). This club's shape is reminiscent of the style of architecture (Doric order) for the supportive columns in the structure located at the Parthenon in Athens, Greece.

The club's length approximates 24.25 inches (616mm) and has a mass of 3.6 Lbs (1618 grams). Its robust iron head was constructed out of a long cylindrical shell that tapers to a massive four-edged terminal spike and is attached to its wood handle by using four nails.

Four rows (4 spikes per row) of 1.33 inches (34mm) long spikes are firmly anchored into its metal head. The handle retains its original varnish and tapers away from its head towards the bulbous pommel. There is an .33 inch (8.5mm) hole drilled in the pommel for attaching a lanyard. Darkening of the wood on its handle near the iron fixtures is attributed to a chemical reaction between the iron and wood over time.

Total length: 24.25 inches (616 mm)
Head dimensions: 230 x 101 x 101 mm
Grip diameter: 29 mm
Pommel diameter: 42 mm
Lanyard: 8.5 mm hole
Terminal spike: 65x41 x 41 mm
Mass: 3.6 lbs (1618 grams)
Other: (16 spikes) 34 x 9.5 x 9.5 mm

Trench raiding clubs were homemade melee weapons used by both the Allies and the Central Powers during World War I. Clubs were used during nighttime trench raiding expeditions as a quiet and effective way of killing or wounding enemy soldiers. The clubs were usually made out of wood. It was common practice to fix a metal object at the striking end (e.g. an empty Mills bomb) in order to maximize the injury inflicted. Another common design comprised a simple stave with the end drilled out and a lead weight inserted, with rows of large hobnails hammered in around its circumference. Most designs had some form of cord or leather strap at the end to wrap around the user's wrist. Bosnian soldiers serving in the Austro-Hungarian army were fond of using maces. They were also used by officers to finish enemy soldiers wounded by poison gas attacks.

Trench clubs were manufactured in bulk by units based behind the lines. Typically, regimental carpenters and metal workers would make large numbers of the same design of club. They were generally used along with other "quiet" weapons such as trench knives, entrenching tools, bayonets, hatchets and pickaxe handles – backed up with revolvers and hand grenades.

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