If you’re a knife collector and enjoy history, you should brush up on your knowledge of the military knives used during World War II. The Second World War marked the advent of total war: battles were fought both on and off the battlefield. Political and ideological components increased the importance of war for everyone, even those on the home front, as technically and increasingly rapid communication brought war into the public’s living rooms.
During World War II, military members were much more visible than they had been in the past. Manufacturing efforts evolved to match the military needs more quickly as this all-encompassing war made those needs easier to see and understand.
While World War I was all about trench warfare and the trench knife, combat during WWII was different. The knives used by service members reflect the changing battle tactics.
Fairbairn-Sykes fighting knife
This dagger by creators Fairbairn and Sykes features a 7-inch-long dual-edged blade atop a foil hilt. The stiletto-style knife delivered optimal performance during close-quarters fighting.
This knife was issued to British military Commandos, Airborne troops, and Special Air Service. This knife was specially crafted and issued for use during the landings at the beaches of Normandy due to high expectations for close-quarters combat.
Even today, this popular fighting knife is still in use.
The V-42 stiletto, inspired by the Fairbairn-Sykes fighting knife, was a thin, double-edged blade designed especially for close combat. The blade, just over 7 inches long, is similar to the F-S fighting knife in purpose and style. The addition of a pommel capable of crushing an opponent’s helmet makes this blade especially deadly. This blade was issued to the First Special Service Force of the United States and Canada.
Both edges of the blade were hollow ground to improve utility purposes. Despite the attempt to improve the knife’s slicing ability, the V-42’s thin blade rarely stood up utilitarian tasks such as cutting through rope.
Unlike the previous two knives, the Ka-Bar was crafted with two purposes in mind: combat and utility. This popular knife, first used by American Marines during World War II, features a much broader blade than the thin stiletto style favored for combat alone. The 7-inch blade is suitable for combat as well as common field tasks like slicing wire and forcing open tough annunciation crates without buckling under pressure.
The Ka-Bar is still in use by American military forces today.
M3 fighting knife
This trench knife was standard issue for American Army service members. The bayonet-style blade replaced the trench knife used in World War I. The fighting knife was produced in high quantities because it was more economical than the Ka-Bar. Like the stiletto-bladed variants, this blade was designed for one purpose only: combat.
For any collector wanting to expand their military knives of World War II collection, searching for military knives for sale online is an excellent way to source knives such as these.