Original German WWII Service Worn Late War Luftwaffe Take Down Fallschirmjäger Gravity Knife with Solingen RBNr.
Original Item: Only One Available. This is a nice service worn 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 good service worn condition, and definitely was exposed to water and the elements during service. The rust was cleaned away at some point afterwards, but it definitely has left pitting scars and stains on most of the components of the knife. The "anodized" finish on the exterior is all but gone, still preserved on the inside of the blade channel and other protected areas. The carbon steel blade still retains the original shape well, with all of the oxidation ground away and the blade polished.
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. In this example, the take-down ability functions well, 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 a solid but used condition, with the previously mentioned oxidation issues. The edge is still in good shape with no major damage, but is definitely a bit blunt. 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 6 is stamped on bottom of the cross guard, the blade base, and on the outside of the blade slide by the arrow, so this knife has not had parts replaced. Due to the oxidation and cleaning, we cannot see any markings on the latch components. There is also an arrow on the cross guard and interior to indicate the correct orientation when reassembling the knife. 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.
The grip scales on this example are in solid condition, with the rivets still present, and showing staining from exposure. There are no major cracks or damage that we can see. The marlinspike is also in very good condition, and does not appear to have been altered from the original size.
The take-down version of the gravity knives are becoming extremely difficult to locate, even ones with this amount of service wear. With a great "been there" look to it, this knife is ready to display!
Blade Length: 4"
Blade Style: Single Edged Knife
Overall length: 10 5/8“
Crossguard: 1 1/2"
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