Original British WWI Trench Raiding Club - Featured in Book At Arm's Length on Page 29

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. Just purchased from a private collector, this is a trench club that was used as an example in At Arm's Length: Trench Clubs and Knives by David F. Machnicki. This very club was photographed and described, and is featured on page 29! 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.

The British trench club illustrated on this page lacks a true offensive feel and appears to be a hybridization of a swagger stick with a trench club. Historically, the swagger stick originated with the Roman army and was used to direct military maneuvers, identify and individual's rank, and to administer punishment. This example was most likely carried by an officer or senior non-commissioned officer in the armed forces. The club appears to have been constructed by sanding and varnishing a single piece of hardwood. The shape for the club is more oval than around and has a length of 394 mm and has a mass of 295 grams. Adding parts from four Mk IV .303 British Service cartridge cases (headstamp; B IV J) improved the effective weight for the head of the club. And as one can see, the club's handle tapers gradually along its entire length, away from its head toward the pommel. Wrapping a type of twine or cord around the cutout portion for its handle and varnishing the twine in place created the grip on the club. There is an 8.0 mm hole drilled through its pommel for the placement of lanyard.

Total length: 394 mm
Head dimensions: 78 x 35 x 42 mm
Grip diameter: 28 x 31 mm
Pommel diameter: 23 x 27 mm
Lanyard: 8.0 mm hole
Mass. 295 grams
Other: (4 cartridges) 1.0 x 13 x 13 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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