Original Austro-Hungarian WWI Trench Raiding Club - Medieval Type
Original Item: Only One Available. This totally original incredible example has a massive 22 1/2 inch wood shaft with a 5 inch barbed iron head. The head of the club is encircled with five rows of four Mountain boot hobnails, which would shatter a soldier's skull with ease. Reminiscent of a medieval design, this was a must gruesome weapon. Purchased from a collection used in a new publication on weapons of the Great War titled At Arm's Length Trench Clubs and Maces Vol. 2 by David F. Machnicki. We were told this example is in the book but do not know which page (a copy is on the way to us!).
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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