Original German WWII Early Luftwaffe Gravity Knife by Paul Weyersberg & Co. with Parachute Cord Lanyard

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. This is an example of a early-war produced Type I version of the legendary Luftwaffe Fallschirmjäger-Messer, or German air force paratrooper knife (FJM or FKm). It was produced by Paul Weyersberg & Co. of Solingen, who were one of the major producers of this knife during WWII. The company "Sword-and-Wreath" logo is etched into the blade, as well as ROSTFREI (rust free) indicating stainless steel construction. Solingen is known as the "City of Blades" and has a centuries-old history of edged weapon production.

These knives utilize a four-inch (100 mm) telescoping (OTF), gravity-propelled locking blade. First produced in 1937, the FJM was issued to German flight crews and paratroops, primarily for the purpose of cutting a trapped parachutist from his rigging in case he landed with a tangled parachute, or became entangled in trees with the shroud lines. Though not intended for use as a fighting knife, the FJM's blade could be and was used as a close combat weapon when necessary.

The Luftwaffe Fallschirmjäger-Messer uses a sliding blade inside a metal grip frame, which was originally fitted with smooth wood scales, usually of beech or walnut. The blade itself is a relatively blunt spear-point, and the profile is flat ground, tapering to a utility edge. To open the blade, the user points the FJM downwards while flipping up the fulcrum-style operating lever, allowing gravity to draw out the blade to its fullest extent. Releasing the lever locks the blade into position. The FJM may also be opened by flipping the blade release lever while flicking the wrist holding the knife, causing the blade to extend. The FJM was also equipped with a folding marlinspike or awl. Primarily intended for untangling rope knots, it can also be used as a prying tool. The FJM's spike does not lock when opened and was never intended to be used as a combat weapon, though individual German paratroopers may have employed it as such.

There are three principal types of wartime-era Luftwaffe Fallschirmjäger-Messers. The Type I FKm has wood scales (handle), was made from 1937-1941, and unlike successive models, has no 'takedown' capability. The Type II FKm is the same knife, but with takedown features, and was produced from 1941 to the end of World War II.

This example of a Type I FJM has fine, stainless steel components. There is a very small number 5 and also a partial Waffen Eagle on the base of the marlin spike. This is the standard Luftwaffe inspection stamp style used throughout the war. It also is marked with assembly number 553 on both parts of the blade release. The knife is functional, with most parts intact. The spring for the blade lock did crack at one point, and was then repaired with what looks to be a rivet or pin. It still locks open, but the blade sometimes can partially slide out even when not using the blade release. The marlinspike spring is intact, and the spike locks into place correctly.

The blade of this knife is in very good condition, though it definitely has been used and sharpened. There has been some damage done to the tip, and it is currently relatively dull. The original factory cross grain on the blade surface is faint. The grip plates are of walnut with the standard four retaining rivets. These plates are in good condition throughout, with denting and other marks on the grips from use and storage.

Attached to the bail at the end of the knife is a very nice lanyard, made from braided parachute cord. We do not know if the cord was braided and added by the owner, or by the USGI that brought it back. It is about 3 feet look, and does show some staining and wear from use.

A great condition Luftwaffe Gravity Knife from the storied "City of Blades"! Ready to display!

Blade Length: 4"
Blade Style: Single Edge Knife
Overall length: 10 1/8”
Crossguard: 1 7/16”

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