Original U.S. WWI/WWII Model 1918 Mark 1 Trench Knife “Paratrooper” Modified with M8 Scabbard
Original Item: Only One Available. The U.S. Model 1918 Mark I Trench Knife was the second major "Knuckle Knife" to be officially adopted and issued to the US military. It was developed for use in the horrific trench warfare that typified the stalemate on the Western Front during the latter part of World War One and saw use not only there, but during World War Two as well. The knife was manufactured in the United States by Henry Disston & Sons (H.D. & S.) as well as Landers, Frary & Clark (L.F. & C.) and Oneida Community Ltd (O.C.L.). The U.S. M-1918 Mark I Trench Knife is easily identifiable due to its large "brass knuckle" style guard and grip. The knives were 11 ¾" in overall length, with a 6 ¾" dagger style blade. The brass grips were marked U.S. 1918 and with the makers name or initials.
As originally issued, the knives were entirely blackened; both the blades and the brass knuckle hilts. These knives remained in use with the US military, classified as limited standard (secondary issue) through January of 1945, when the knives were officially classified as obsolete. Many of the knives issued during World War II ended up in substitute leather scabbards of various designs and styles, many of which were "theater made", however in this case its use was a bit different.
This example of the U.S. Model 1918 MkI Trench Knife was modified in WWII for paratrooper use, and reissued. The knife was originally produced by the Landers, Frary & Clark company of New Britain, CT. L.F. & C. was established in 1865 and produced a wide variety of housewares, cutlery and event appliances. Many of their products were marketed under the trade name "Universal". The products of L.F. & C. included everything from scales, mousetraps and ice skates to electric ranges and toasters. L.F. & C. also produced the triangular blade US M-1917 Trench Knife as well. The assets of the L.F. & C. company were purchased by General Electric in 1965. This Mark I Trench Knife is clearly marked in two lines in the brass grip:
U. S. 1918
L. F. & C - 1918
The brass grip and knuckle guard no longer have any of the original finish, but instead a nice brass patina. The grip was also modified, having the cross guard arsenal cut down to allow it to fit in the scabbard, which also made it less likely to catch on rigging.
The steel dagger blade is smooth but does have oxidation and staining present, as well as sharpened (it is still quite sharp!).
Comes with an OD green thermoplastic impregnated cotton fabric body scabbard marked U.S. M8 / B.M. CO, also in offered in good condition. This design features a fiberglass body, metal throat, and canvas frog and securing strap with a steel pistol belt hook. The plastic inside the throat has been cut out on the sides to accommodate the slightly wider blade of the Trench Knife. Unfortunately the bottom tip of the scabbard is broken off. This break appears to have been done long ago and may have been done intentionally to find a way to have a drain hole in the scabbard.
The scabbard was manufactured by Beckwith Mfg Co. a division of Victory Plastics, whose BN logo is present on the scabbard body. The canvas is in worn shape, as are the metal fittings and snap though there is wear and oxidation to the finish on the brass. The secure strap is torn and the male end is not present.
Overall this is a good example of the very popular and collectible World War I era US trench knife, modified and re-issued in WWII as a paratrooper knife. A wonderful collector's item, and sure to become a great part of a collection.
Blade Length: 6 5/8"
Blade Style: Double Edged Dagger
Overall length: 11 1/2“
Guard: 4 1/2" long x 3 3/4" wide
Scabbard Length: 7 5/8" + Belt Frog
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