Original German WWII Late War Luftwaffe Take Down Fallschirmjäger Gravity Knife with Solingen RB Number
Original Item: Only One Available. This is a lovely example of a late-war produced Type II "Take down" version of the legendary Luftwaffe Fallschirmjäger-Messer, or German air force paratrooper knife (FJM or FKm), with a Solingen RB Nr on the blade. 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 gripframe, 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 the Type II FKm (FJM) is in very good condition, and is has a fine carbon steel blade, with anodized and plated steel components making up the rest of the knife. The number 688 is stamped on bottom of cross guard, with 668 on the blade base, 698 on the lever, and just 68 on the end of the blade slot. Whether this is just a mistake or parts were swapped out, we do not know. There is also arrow on cross guard and interior to indicate the correct orientation when reassembling the knife.
The "take-down" ability allows the cross guard to be removed, and the body/sheath opens with the end ring as a hinge. The blade can then be removed for servicing, and the interior can be cleaned to ensure the blade moves freely. On this example, the take-down ability functions perfectly, and the release and marlinspike springs are intact with no cracks. This is a fully functional example, and the blade of this knife is in very good condition. It retains some of the original cross grain, and is still partly sharp, though it has been sharpened after production. It has light staining, and the tip is bent slightly.
The grip plates are of walnut with the standard four retaining rivets on each side. These plates are in very good condition throughout, with a very attractive wood grain. The base of the marlinspike has an additional marking on it, indicating the manufacturer of the knife:
German RB Numbers, or Reichsbetriebsnummer, also known as the National Business Number, were an alternative to the 3 letter codes in use late in the war. The first number 0 is the prefix for "industry", while 0561 is the location code for Solingen, the largest and best blade producing city in Germany. From what we can tell from records, contractor 0019 is thought to be Paul Weyersberg, a well known name in Solingen. There is unfortunately not much information out there on the RB number system.
The take-down version of the gravity knives are becoming extremely difficult to locate. This is the first example that we have had in decades of business. Ready to display.
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