Original WWII U.S. Navy Custom Mark 2 KA-BAR Fighting Knife with "Hula Girl" Decorated USN MK2 Scabbard
Original Item: This is a very nice service used example of the legendary WWII Production USN Mark 2 "Ka-Bar" fighting knife with a MK2 Scabbard. Overall length of this Mk2 is 12 inches, with a 7 inch clip-point blade. The marking on the blade ricasso is just KA-BAR.
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 first production order went out to Camillus Cutlery Company, who produced the largest number of knives during WW2. 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.
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 a custom brass guard. It features a custom stacked leather washer grip, which is in very good condition with minor cracks and no splitting. There is some light wear, but it still has much of the original "polished" finish. It has a custom brass pommel with a single cross pin, correct for 1944-1945 manufacture. The handle and pommel are still tight on the blade, with no wobble.
The blade has lost almost of the finish due to cleaning and use. Still, much of the original factory grind marks can still be seen, so it does not look to have been arsenal reconditioned. The blade has definitely been sharpened a few times, but not enough to really change the blade profile. It is still slightly sharp, and has a great patina only achieved from real use.
The scabbard is the 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. No markings can be found on the scabbard due to the Marine or Sailor covering the scabbard with leather. The best feature of the scabbard is in fact the leather, which has a lovely Hula girl image on the front. The scabbard is in good used condition, with light oxidation to the metal components, and wear to the canvas frog. The securing strap is non functional.
A very nice example of the hard to find USN-marked "KA-BAR" knife, in good service used condition. No knife collection is complete without an example of a "Ka-bar".
Blade Length: 7"
Blade Style: Clip-point "Bowie" Style
Overall length: 12“
Crossguard: 2 1/4”
Scabbard Length: 8" with Belt Loop
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