Original U.S. WWII 1941 USN Custom Made 1918 Mark I Trench Knife USS Oklahoma
Original Item: Only One Available. Original Item: One of A kind. This is a fantastic custom made Model 1918 Trench knife that is inscribed on the brass grip US NAVY 1941. It has been documented that During WWII numerous US Naval shipboard foundries made custom theater fighting knives. The most well known of these knives are perhaps the E.W. Stone Skull knives. This incredible example is the first we have seen of a WWI 1918 Mark I Trench Knife.
The cast brass knuckle grip has a lovely, un-cleaned dark bronze patina. The blade is in very good condition, and shows only some light sharpening marks along the edge and some light scattered patches of minor age discoloration. The blade is free of any rust or pitting.
Scabbard is a high quality custom leather version that is beautifully embossed USS OKLAHOMA BB 37.
Overall this is a really outstanding example of a US Navy shipboard foundry produced World War II Custom knuckle knife.
The USS Oklahoma (BB-37) was a Nevada-class battleship built by the New York Shipbuilding Corporation for the United States Navy in 1910, notable for being the first American class of oil-burning dreadnoughts.
Commissioned in 1916, Oklahoma served in World War I as a part of Battleship Division 6, protecting Allied convoys on their way across the Atlantic. After the war, she served in both the United States Battle Fleet and Scouting Fleet. Oklahoma was modernized between 1927 and 1929. In 1936, she rescued American citizens and refugees from the Spanish Civil War. On returning to the West Coast in August of the same year, Oklahoma spent the rest of her service in the Pacific.
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 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 knives were also produced in France and are marked with the usual 1918 and US marks, as well as a reclining Lion and the words Au Lion on the blade. Whether this mark was a maker’s mark or simply a motto is not known. 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 the US made knives were additionally marked with the makers name or initials. As originally issued, the US made 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. As originally issued, the knives were carried in a blued sheet metal scabbards that were typically maker marked by the US makers, and was equipped with a pair of wire tabs that were intended to engage the US pistol web belt in use at that time. 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. To my knowledge none of the US made M-1918 Mark I knives ended up making it to Europe in time to see use during the Great War, but the French made AU LION knives did make it in time to see service during the war. As a result, fining the Au Lion knife today is much more difficult as many never made it back to the United States after the war. Those that did were often in heavily used condition.
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