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Original U.S. WWII 91st Infantry Division Theater Made Crude Knuckle Knife With Scabbard

Item Description

Original Item: One-Of-A-Kind. This is a crude, yet effective WWII knuckle knife! It appears that the design of this knife was modeled after the M1917 Trench Knife but with a regular double sided blade and not the triangular stiletto.

These knives were made by the armorers and engineers, usually in the Pacific theater. The large capital ships needed to have skilled fabricators on board to make repairs and modifications to weapons and gear. Usually the blades were made from existing weapons or from steel components, and the hilts were cast from metals such as aluminum or zinc.

This knife is attributed to the 91st Infantry Division who’s major theater of operation during WWII was the Mediterranean, meaning they had access to a ship and or materials to manufacture knives such as this one.

The knife features a large D guard with 4 pointed studs on the outside of the guard. The handle is made of wood and held on with 2 brass rivets. It would appear that the would was clear coated in order to prevent further chipping and decay, giving it a lovely deep dark red color. All components except for the rivets and grip scales are steel and very crudely and hastily welded together. This is a heavy duty “ugly” yet attractive knife.

The original leather scabbard is very well made with all stitching and rivets intact. The only thing missing is the female fastener on the retaining strap. The face of the scabbard has faint etching on it and from what we can read is as follows:


The most significant part on the scabbard is the 91st and their Pine Tree insignia. “Powder River Let’er Buck” was an expression originating from the Cowboys driving cattle in the late 1800s along the Powder River.

It was at Camp White, in the heart of the Rogue River Valley in Oregon, that the 361st Infantry Regiment of the 91st Infantry Division was reactivated on 15 August, 1942 after 23 years on the inactive rolls of the United States Army. The 361st, as part of the 91st Division, had served its country well during the First World War. It was one of the best units in the A.E.F. During the last months of the war, it had met and defeated the best of the German Army in the Lorraine, Meuse-Argonne and Ypres-Lys campaigns. In the 39 days it was in combat, it was credited with having permanently gained fifteen and one half miles of enemy territory. In a war where little real estate changed hands, this was a major accomplishment. After the armistice, the Regiment patrolled the Franco-Belgian border for a short period. It was here that the division adopted a green fir tree as its insignia and gave itself the battle cry, "Powder River, Let `er Buck!" The fir tree symbolized the Northwestern United States, for the personnel of the division had come from seven western states. By the time the division arrived back home, the battle cry had become official.

This is truly a wonderful example of a theater made knuckle knife used by a soldier of the 91st Infantry Division during WWII. Comes ready for further research and display!

Blade Length: 7 ¾”
Handle Length: 4”
Guard Length & Width: 4 ⅜” x 4 ½”

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