Fighting Knives

Discussion in 'Weapons, Technology & Equipment' started by Jedburgh22, Aug 21, 2011.

  1. Jedburgh22

    Jedburgh22 Very Senior Member

    The Fairbairn-Sykes Fighting Knife used by the Commandos and SOE (not forgetting that Commando offshoot the Airborne) during WWII became one of the icons of WWII - the even named a comic after it! Perhaps the only other knife that is as iconic is the Khukri used by the Gurkhas.

    As the war progressed elite units were supplied with weapons which today are collectors pieces.

    Here is a short list of the main ones

    Fairbairn-Sykes Fighting Knife - Mks 1-III
    ME Commando Knuckle Duster Knife

    US Marine Raider Stiletto (FS Copy)
    Carlson's Raiders 'Gung Ho Knife'
    V-42 Stiletto used by US/Canadian First Special Service Force
    John EK Commando Knife
    USMC Ka Bar
    US Mk 1 Trench Knife (Knuckleduster Knife)
    US Everitt Knuckle Knife (issued in Pacific Theatre)

    The Nahkampf Messer (Close Combat Knife)
    Fallschirmjager Gravity Knife

    Attached Files:

  2. Jedburgh22

    Jedburgh22 Very Senior Member

    Some images

    Attached Files:

  3. Jedburgh22

    Jedburgh22 Very Senior Member

    The fighting knife used to be quite collectible in UK however the ban on knives on eBay and the current PC culture regarding them has made it almost as heinous a crime as having a gun! A couple of years back I was going to a function and had a small penknife 1.25" blade on my keyfob - it was impounded by the police doing security!
  4. Jedburgh22

    Jedburgh22 Very Senior Member

    The DLI were meant to have had a Bell-Bowie pattern dagger that was used by the Durham Territorial Bn, dagger type blade, leather washer hilt with an aluminium pommel, 6" blade and made in Sheffield - these would have been private purchase items.

    The Royal Welch Fusiliers used a sword in WWI and I believe it saw limited use in WWII - in WWI it was carried as a side arm by Machine Gunners and used on raiding parties. Called a Welsh Knife these were provided by Lord Howard de Walden.

    Attached Files:

  5. Jedburgh22

    Jedburgh22 Very Senior Member


    The psychological reaction of any man, when he first takes the smatchet in his hand, is full justification for its recommendation as a fighting weapon. He will immediately register all the essential qualities of a good soldier-confidence, determination, and aggressiveness.
    Its balance, weight, and killing power, with the point, edge, or pommel, combined with the extremely simple training necessary to become efficient in its use, make it the ideal personal weapon for all those not armed with a rifle and bayonet.
    Note. - The smatchet is now in wide use throughout the British armed forces. It is hoped that it will soon be adopted by the United States Army.

    Carrying, Drawing, and Holding

    The smatchet should be carried in the scabbard on the left side of the belt, as in Fig. 113. This permits one to run, climb, sit, or lie down.
    Note.-Any equipment at present carried in this position should be removed to another place.
    Pass the right hand through the thong and draw upwards with a bent arm (Fig. 114).
    Grip the handle as near the guard as possible, cutting edge downwards (Fig. 115).
    NO. 29 - THE SMATCHET (cont.)

    Close-In Blows

    Drive well into the stomach (Fig. 116).
    "Sabre Cut" to right-low of neck (Fig. 117).
    Cut to left-low of neck (Fig. 118).
    Smash up with pommel, under chin (Fig. 119).

    NO. 29 - THE SMATCHET (cont.)

    Close-In Blows (cont.)

    5. Smash down with pommel into the face (Fig. 120).

    Attacking Blows

    "Sabre Cut" to left or right wrist (Fig. 121).
    "Sabre Cut" to left or right arm (Fig. 122).

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  6. shaft284

    shaft284 Junior Member

    Hi I have recently come across an OES Smatchet which I believe to be from the second world war, I was wondering whether you could give me a value and any other information about it. The sheath has been inscribed "St, Nazaire, march 27/28 1942", and appears genuine.
    I have attached 3 photos for you to look at.
    Many thanks

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  7. Jedburgh22

    Jedburgh22 Very Senior Member

    I am not an expert on the value of WII militaria - the best thing would be to look at some of the Militaria Auction sites for a value.
  8. Cee

    Cee Senior Member Patron

  9. Swiper

    Swiper Resident Sospan

    In regards to the RWF blade. I have never come across any evidence that it was issued or carried by anyone during WW2.

    However, I would be very, very happy to be proven wrong. It was actually issued to only one entire Bn of the RWF in WW1 and used at Mametz Wood. But will need to confirm that 100% with my excellent tame WW1 expert...
  10. Cee

    Cee Senior Member Patron

    Stan W Scott, No. 3 Army Commando, demonstrates how best to use the Fairbairn-Sykes Fighting Knife:

    14/264 and von Poop like this.
  11. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    Browsing old threads - always worth it.

    That's a most enjoyable little film.
  12. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Cheers Cee, not seen that before.
    Most excellent.
  13. canuck

    canuck Closed Account

    Mr. Scott conveys the distinct impression that he was an advanced user back in the day. Looks like he could handle himself.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 18, 2021
  14. sapper

    sapper WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    The Assault teams were issued with commando knives, like the one on the right of your thumbnail..Worn in a holder on the left side of the uniform trousers, next to the large trouser pocket. The worst thing I ever did with mine was to break the tip off opening a tin of soup..I posted this before. No one wanted to get captured with a commando knife. The Hitler edict that all commandos should be summarily executed in the field was in operation.
    The commando knives were not for cutting. only for stabbing. They had no sharp edge.
  15. SDP

    SDP Incurable Cometoholic

    That video was shot in the Art Gallery at the National Army Museum in Chelsea: I recognise the surroundings and it is where we used to hold the 24th Lancers Old Comrades Association Annual Reunions! Small World...
  16. Blastmaster1972

    Blastmaster1972 Junior Member

    Interesting video! Great to hear somebody talking who was actually trained in the use of it.

    Kind regards,

  17. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin

    An excellent video.

    Thank you for posting.

  18. RgrGirl

    RgrGirl New Member

  19. Rabid Grandpa

    Rabid Grandpa Member

    All German WWII vets I knew, had an utter dislike for the use of fighting knives. In hand to hand combat, they prefered their entrenchment tools. I think most german soldiers, estimated fighting knives as something only used by "Banditen" - Gangsters.
    I just recently read in a book, where a german soldier said to an officer, who gave the order to use knifes : We do not use knifes. We are no gangsters !

    Because the germans connected the Fairbairn-Sykes - especially in Normandy - with british Commandos any allied soldier caught with a Fairbairn-Sykes knife would've faced serious trouble. Allthough from the operational perspective the Commandos where higly effective and did a great job, many low ranking german soldiers had no sympathy for the devils with the black faces.

    Until now, I never have read or heard that a german soldier in WWII actually used a fighting knife to kill someone.

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