Original German WWII Luftwaffe Take Down Fallschirmjäger Gravity Knife with Solingen RB Number
Original Item: Only One Available. This is a very nice 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 blued steel components making up the rest of the knife. The blade has traces of the original crossgrain, but has been cleaned and sharpened, which have made it very faint. The other parts of the knife have a lovely worn lightly oxidized finish from decades of repeated cleanings, which look to have worn off most of the original blued finish.
The the blade of the knife has an RB Number marking on it, indicating the manufacturer of the knife:
R B Nr.
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 0020 is thought to be SMF or possibly Paul Weyersberg both well known names in Solingen who were known producers of these earlier in the war. There is unfortunately not much information out there on the RB number system.
The number 736 is stamped on the bottom of the cross guard, the blade base, and on the end of the blade channel. The catch and spring are both marked with number 736 as well. These are assembly numbers so that the various components can be matched during production and after cleaning. There is also arrow on cross guard and interior to indicate the correct orientation when reassembling the knife. The marlinspike has a different RBNr. on it, beginning with 0 / 0878, however there is no way to see the rest of it. Most likely it is from a subcontractor.
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, with no issues in blade extension. The grip plates are of walnut with the standard four retaining rivets on each side. These plates are in good condition, though they do look to have been cleaned repeatedly as well, which has worn them down a bit. There is also a crack on one near the bail on the end.
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!
Blade Length: 4"
Blade Style: Single Edged Knife
Overall length: 10 5/8“
Crossguard: 1 1/2"
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