Original German WWII Luftwaffe Gravity Knife by SMF with Waffen Proof & "Skull & Crossbones" Grip Carving

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. This is a very interesting example of an 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 Solinger Metalwaren-Fabrik Stöcker & Co. GmbH, also known as SMF, who were one of the major producers of this knife during WWII. Their "Seated King" over Solingen trademark is seen on the blade, as well as ROSTFREI (rust free) indicating stainless steel construction of the 4 inch long blade. Solingen is known as the "City of Blades" and has a centuries-old history of edged weapon production.

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 number 5 inside of a 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 130 on both parts of the blade release. Both leaf springs are intact and show no signs of cracking, which is unfortunately common with these knives. They were mainly designed for cutting through parachute rigging, so long term durability was not of a major concern. The knife is fully functional: the blade release functions properly, and the marlin spike locks into place.

The blade of this knife is in very good condition, with a visible trademark logo, and some of the original factory final grind crossgrain visible. It has however been sharpened and cleaned several times, which has made part of the SMF logo faint, and slightly changed the shape of the blade. The blades are relatively thin, so long term use would quickly wear away the blade.

The grip plates are of walnut with the standard four retaining rivets, with a lovely aged look to them. The left side grip has some lovely personalization on it, though it is now very faint and hard to photo graph. There looks to be a name or other writing in the middle of the upper portion, and right by the hanger ring, a faint "Skull & Crossbones" carving. We unfortunately do not have any story to go along with the carving, but given the history of the symbol, it definitely makes it a compelling piece.

A very good condition rare Luftwaffe gravity knife by SMF with some great grip carving!

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

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