Original U.S. WWII First Pattern OSS Drop Knife with Scabbard made from Springfield Trapdoor Bayonet
Original Item: Only One Available. This is a very good example of the scarce OSS Drop Knife, 1st pattern. These knives were manufactured inexpensively and quickly during WWII, and were intended to be dropped from airplanes behind enemy lines to provide weapons for resistance fighters.
This OSS Drop Knife is in very good condition, and looks to have been made from a trapdoor bayonet that had seen service and wear. The original finish is worn, with spotted staining and surface rust throughout. The stamped D-guard has some of its original black paint, and four “knuckle” ridges stamped into it. The guard is in fine condition, with no major damage or dents. There were many of these available as rifles were converted to take the "rod" bayonet used with the model 1888. The rubber grip is now relatively hard, due to the age, but it still has all of the texture and no cracks that we can see.
The end of the bayonet that projects through the stamped metal D-guard has been fashioned into a skull crusher, as is typical of these knives. There is even still the "rainbow" color created from heat when the blade was originally cut. The blade is 8 7/8” in length and the overall length of the knife is about 14 1/8”, from the tip of the skull crusher to the tip of the knife. These were made by hand without much measuring, so every example we have seen is a bit different in length.
Scabbard is in great shape, and fits the blade well. It does show signs of past pitting, but it is unclear whether this is from before or after it was converted to a drop knife scabbard.
Overall this is a really wonderful example of a classic American fighting knife made during World War II from surplus bayonets. These knives are relatively scarce and are a great example of the ingenious way in which many obsolete bayonets and swords were altered into useful weapons for American troops and allies. The knife would look equally good in a display of edged weapons that focuses on the re-worked and remanufactured knives of World War II, a display of OSS and early CIA weapons and memorabilia or any collection of American fighting knives of the World War II era. The knife is in good shape, displays wonderfully and its interesting construction and design is sure to spark many questions when the weapon is displayed.
Blade Length: 8 7/8"
Blade Style: Triangular Socket Type
Overall length: 14 1/8“
Guard: 4 1/4" long x 3 1/4" wide
Scabbard Length: 9"
The OSS (Office of Strategic Services) was formed by the US Government during World War II, as an intelligence agency that was tasked with performing and coordinating espionage activities behind enemy lines. The agency was the predecessor of today’s Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). The OSS not only coordinated and assisted local resistance fighters, but also provided weapons from time to time. Some of the more commonly known OSS weapons are the single shot “Liberator” .45 ACP pistol and the “Sterile Drop Knife”.
The OSS Drop Knife was manufactured in two patterns. The first, which this one is, was made from surplus US M-1873 Trapdoor rifle bayonets, and used their metal scabbard bodies as well. The second pattern, used surplus M-1913 Patton Saber blades. The knives were built using the original blades, which were cut down to size. A stamped metal, D-shaped handguard with 4 stamped spikes was attached around a hilt that utilized rubber hosing for the grip. The knives were unmarked (thus the “sterile” nomenclature), and were essentially inexpensive copies of the US M-1917 Trench Knife. The bayonet blade extended through the grip, forming the hilt, and extended out the back of the D-guard, where it was shaped into a point to form a skull crusher. The original metal scabbards were shortened and then crimped closed, and the scabbard was intended to be suspended from a leather belt frog.
There is some dispute among researchers as to the accuracy of the OSS association for these inexpensively produced “knuckle” fighting knives, but they have been referred to by this name by the most notable of US edged weapons researchers and authors including M.H. Cole, Michael Silvey, Homer Brett and Robert Buerlein. One way or the other the knives were produced in the US during World War II and appear to have been intended to provide cheap weapons to resistance fighters.
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