Original Austro-Hungarian WWI Trench Raiding Club - Featured in Book At Arm's Length on Page 21
Original Item: Only One Available. Purchased from a collection used in At Arm's Length Trench Clubs and Maces Vol. 1 by David F. Machnicki where this very club is featured on page 21! Please note that the attached page image and copy from the book is copyrighted material and the use of the page is done solely by permission of the author.
This Austrian trench club was manufactured by using a single piece of turned wood and a die cast iron bead. The club's length is approximately 12 inches and has a mass of 1.8 pounds. The handle has some minor damage with a long crack two-thirds the way along the length of the club, but this does not effect its stability as the crack is shallow and does not run through the shaft. The club's head was affixed to its handle by using two, 11 mm diameter flat-headed nags hammered through the center of the iron head and into the handle's base. Twelve blunt pyramidal-shaped points were symmetrically arranged in a pattern of three alternating rows (4 points per row) around the circumference of the head. The handle tapers toward its rounded pommel to form a smooth surface grip. Approximately 146mm above the pommel is a 9mm drilled hole that was drilled for the attachment of a lanyard.
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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