Original U.S. WWII USN Mark 2 KA-BAR Fighting Knife by Robeson Cutlery Co. with USN MK2 Scabbard
Original Item: This is a great example of the legendary WWII Production USN Mark 2 "KA-BAR" fighting knife by Robeson Cutlery Co., with a MK2 Scabbard. Overall length of this Mk2 is 11 7/8 inches, with a 6 7/8 inch clip-point blade. The markings on the knife crossguard are as follows:
Below the blade is marked:
The Mk2 Knife was developed as an improvement over the Mk1 design, which had issues with blade snapping due to the thinner design. Working with Union Cutlery, USMC Colonel John M. Davis and Major Howard E. America contributed several important changes, including a longer, stronger blade, the introduction of a small fuller to lighten the blade, a peened pommel (later replaced by a pinned pommel), a straight (later, slightly curved) steel crossguard, and a stacked leather handle for better grip. The knife was officially known as the 1219C2, but it was commonly called the "Ka-Bar" after the trademark of Union Cutlery that was on the blades of early examples. The design was subsequently adopted by the Navy as the US Navy Utility Knife, Mark 2, and the USMC adopted it as the USMC Mark 2 Combat Knife, or simply the Knife, Fighting Utility.
Camillus Cutlery Co., the first manufacturer to supply the Ka-Bar Combat Knife under contract, also produced the largest number of such knives, producing over one million examples marked "Camillus.N.Y." on the knife's crossguard before the war ended. Besides Camillus, the Union Cutlery Co., Robeson (ShurEdge) Cutlery Co., and the PAL Cutlery Co. all produced the KA-BAR knife under military contract during World War II.
In 1944, the US Navy put through a change order to have the markings moved from the blade to the cross guard, so this knife was produced after that change. The cross guard is straight, as on early and mid war issued examples, though part of the cross guard has been bent. It features original leather washer grip, which is in great shape with no cracks or splitting, with only a bit of wear, and no rounding.
The blade does have wear on the finish and edge, so it did see some use. It was sharpened enough at the tip to reduce the length slight, and cleaning has removed virtually all of the original finish. Still, most of the original factory machining marks can still be seen, so it does not look to have been cleaned to remove rust. It has a heavy steel pommel with cross pinned tang. The blade is in very good condition, and is still somewhat sharp.
The scabbard is the Navy Mk2 version, very similar in construction to the M8 scabbard for the M3 fighting knife, with a thermoplastic impregnated cotton fabric body, metal throat, and canvas frog and securing strap. The front of the throat is marked U.S.N. / MK 2, and the rear is marked NORD - 6581 / B.M. Co. with a stylized V P logo. The NORD number is for the US Navy contract it was produced under, which was delivered between July 1944 and February 1945. It was manufactured by Beckwith Mfg Co. a division of Victory Plastics. Scabbard is in very good condition, with just a bit of staining on the canvas from use, and some wear to the blacked brass finish of the retaining strap.
A great example of the hard to find USN-marked "KA-BAR" knife, in very nice condition with an original scabbard. No knife collection is complete without an example of a "KA-BAR".
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