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"Soldier Knives"

Discussion in 'Non-Firearm Weapons' started by Goblin, Jul 25, 2013.

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  1. JShirley

    JShirley Administrator Staff Member

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    kbob, if you've already posted a picture here, you can link to it in a current thread. You can either link to the image, or have the actual image appear by using the code [-i-m-g]address of picture[-/-i-m-g-]. (Take out the hyphens, of course.)

    John
     
  2. Willie Sutton

    Willie Sutton Member

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    "Did the US ever really issue those orange-handled el-cheapo switchblades to paratroopers?"

    Dunno about paratroopers but definately for aircrews. In fact there's one in the knife-pocket of my flightsuit I am flying with later *today*, with the hook blade open and the switchblade blade taped shut with black tape and a folded 'tab' of tape there so I can pull the tape off with gloves. The thing has a six inch streamer of yellow nylon tape sewn to the bail, with a 3/8 inch diameter hole heat-seared into the webbing. That webbing comes up out of the pocket and the snap of the pocket snaps down THRU the hole in the tape, leaving a 3 inch yellow webbing "tail" sticking up out of the pocket. Pull on that and it unsnaps the pocket and pulls out the knife. Naturally the entire thing is attached to my flightsuit with a four foot long "idiot string" rubber banded into a bundle and also pushed down into the pocket.... can't lose the cheap switchblade... :eek:

    Nowadays "they" (the USN) generally issue a fixed blade hook knife that is rigged the same way.

    (Segue: I have never seen a USAF pilot with anything at all in their flightsuit or G suit knife pocket, BTW, nor have I ever seen a USAF pilot who even knows what the pocket is even for, probably because they are not afraid of drowning after being strangled by their parachute shroud lines in the water....).

    Even so, I just carry my old hook-switchblade "because it's an old friend" and as a contractor nobody really cares what I carry. (I also carry a Randall "Fireman" on my torso harness in a pocket that was supposed to accept the el-cheapo Camillis "aircrew survival knife", but that's another story). As`far as "pocket knives" there's a silver-handled Camillis 4 blade "boy scout knife" utility folder also stashed in every torso harness that I've ever seen... just to the side of the day/night flare and a little to starboard of the pencil flare launcher. I think it's right on top of the mirror. Everything is tied in with a 4 foot idiot-string... Many of the guys carry a private-purchase utility folder either in a partially zipped leg pocket or in their boot-top as well, mostly for being able to cut webbing "post impact" to extricate oneself from harnesses, etc. When you are strapped in, getting your hands on much of anything "up high on the body" is nearly impossible. Many versions carried... that's all just personal gear. Mine is a Benchmade auto, can't remember the exact model.



    Willie


    .
     
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2013
  3. rklessdriver

    rklessdriver Member

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    John-
    My last MOS was 0659 (Data Chief) USMC. I left active duty in 2007.

    I do know what your talking about with the Army MOS designators.... as I spent some time in the Army National Guard. While not as varied as yours, I did manage to have a pretty varied military career.

    USMC 0331 1994-1998
    ANG 11B 2000-2003
    USMC 0651 2003-2007
    USMC 0656 2007

    Will
     
  4. JShirley

    JShirley Administrator Staff Member

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    Will,

    I see you've been around, too. :D

    I think 0659 = 25U.

    John
     
  5. Dirty Bob

    Dirty Bob Member

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    In the Navy we were not issued knives as surface sailors, but a lot of us carried them. Mine was a Gerber LST in my right hip pocket. If you've ever put on a Navy "kapok" and jumped into the water with it on, you find that those crotch straps are too tight to be allowed to stay in place while you're floating there after going in. Unfortunately, wet straps are hard to undo, especially if you're tired, cold, scared, so I kept my little Gerber sharp and handy, just in case.

    All my best,
    Dirty Bob (former tin can sailor)
     
  6. Willie Sutton

    Willie Sutton Member

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    ^^ that works well until you need to sleep... or become unconcious due to hypothermia. Then you slip down out of your kapok and drown..... :eek:

    There's a reason the Navy uses a crotch strap on it's PFD's.

    Cutting your crotch strap is suicide in cold water. You might as well cut your throat.


    Back to knives now...


    Willie


    .
     
  7. wideym

    wideym Member

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    I always lost out when supply was issuing Gerber multitools during my time in Iraq, but I did get the supply sgt to to issue me a Benchmade switchblade though.
     
  8. rklessdriver

    rklessdriver Member

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    John,
    Not really.

    0659 is a follow on MOS once you reach E-6/SSGT. There are a few "feeder" MOS's (I was an 0651 but also 0656's and 0653's) that that turn into 0659's when we get promoted to the SNCO ranks. Because the feeder MOS's are very specalized in work scope the Marine Corps has a follow on school for 0659's in 29 Palms CA that covers all the feeder MOS's.

    It's more of a supervisor MOS of the Data Platoon in Communications as there is only (1) 0651 by Table or Organization in each Platoon and he is resposible for all the 0651/0656/0653's in the platoon.

    Will
     
  9. JShirley

    JShirley Administrator Staff Member

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    Gotcha. I thought they might be similar, because the Uniform is the "super 25 series" (except Mike: that's an illustrator). I was assigned to a battalion of 25-series trainers, 3-108, in Augusta when I first got back into a TPU.

    John
     
  10. MikeJackmin

    MikeJackmin Member

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    I have read that one purpose of those orange-handled switchblades was to allow a pilot to puncture an accidentally-inflated flotation device, if it opened in the narrow confines of the cockpit. No idea how true any of this is of course.

    I can say that they are remarkably poor knives, I've handled a few and none would open reliably - the blade tends to bounce back and escape the locking mechanism.
     
  11. bubba in ca

    bubba in ca Member

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    In the 2 field units I was in in Vietnam we were not allowed to have knives or bayonets or hand grenades for fear we might kill somebody. I carried a SAK, which was quite handy, until a junkie stole it while we were on a weapons cleaning duty in a warehouse. From then on I got cheaper SAKs that were easier to replace.

    At one time I saw a usaf pilots knife that somebody had and I vaguely remember the Sargent on our APC having a machete, but we used the APCs for brush clearing.

    A knife of some sort is a great field tool, but subject to company politics. It would be unimaginable for the Army to issue knives to line troops, cost plus politics.
     
  12. JTQ

    JTQ Member

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    The Strategic Air Command (SAC) flight crews carried them in a left leg knife pocket in their flight suits with the hook blade open. The stories that floated around the life support training was the knife was supposed to have the hook blade as the spring actuated blade. My issue knife was a Camillus product. It wasn't great, but it worked fine.
     
  13. Lone Star

    Lone Star Member

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    I can speak from my and my son's experiences.

    I was a USAF cop in the 1960's and was never issued a knife. I think our personnel in SE Asia were provided with M-7 bayonets. I provided my own. I carried an I*XL scout knife (bought from Randall) in my parka or flight jacket and a Swiss Army Spartan in my right trousers pocket. Those were all I had on duty. We couldn't carry sheath knives stateside, but I bought a Gil Hibben (then called Ben-Hibben) Jungle Fighting Knife in case I was sent to Vietnam. I had a Randall Model 3 with the usual leather handle and a Buck Pathfinder Model 105 and a Solingen - made (Bavarian pattern) knife by Anton Wingen (Othello marked) for hunting and fishing while off duty. I still have the Othello knife and the scout knife by I*XL. The Buck was lost or sold as was the Randall, but replaced ASAP. The Hibben was also sold to pay college expenses. Thankfully, I now have ample knives.

    My son did three tours in Iraq in the Army as both infantry and as an artillery fire control specialist, and as a division staffer. In the latter capacity, he often led raids looking for senior Iraqi officials and also escorted and advised dignitaries and media personnel.

    I offered him a Fallkniven S-1 with the black Ceracoated blade. I thought it would prove effective as a multi use knife with combat capability, if needed, and small enough to conceal, if required. He took it as a gift, but decided that it was too nice and too expensive to risk in a combat zone, where an aggressive commander or customs bureaucrats might have it confiscated. He took instead a Camillus-made "K-Bar" USMC knife, a Leatherman tool, and carried a cheap Chinese one-handed folder on the last tour, where he was a security contractor. Someone he knew passed out some, and he cherishes it for nostalgic reasons. His EDC now (out of the Army) is a Benchmade with a four-inch (?) tanto blade, with which he defended himself from an attack by a large coydog. The dog ran off after being stabbed as it went for his throat, but was probably mortally wounded.

    He was often in very heavy fighting and had to resort to a pistol at times, but was glad that he never had the enemy get so close as to require use of a knife. But the Ka-Bar was there, if needed, and a comfort.

    I think many commanders now frown on the carrying of large sheath knives, outside of the elite special ops people. I believe some of this is due to pressure from liberal social values and a desire by commanders to avoid any injuries that would damage their safety records. There are also ethnic/demographics reasons that I'm afraid to address on most message boards. And many commanders come from liberal areas where knife laws are strict or have gone to public schools where they "learned" that even basic pocketknives are evil.

    I know of an El Salvadoran soldier in Iraq whose unit was all killed by insurgents and he was out of ammo. He drew a lockblade folder and charged the advancing enemy, killing and wounding several and routing them. For this , he received the El Salvadoran equivalent to the Medal of Honor. Some of you may have seen a photo of him on the Net, showing him displaying that knife. I couldn't determine the brand. It looked to have about a four-inch blade, a spear or drop point shape. There was (if memory serves) a large brass or nickle silver forward bolster. This is the only case that I have personally encountered of a knife being used in battle recently, but I may well have missed some, and some may never be reported.

    For over 30 years, I wrote professionally about knives, for cutlery magazines.
    One day, I was in the late G.W. Stone's shop interviewing the custom maker for a profile story. He showed me a letter from a Special Forces guy in Vietnam who said that he took off the head of a VC soldier with one hard whack of his Stone Model A, with either a seven or eight-inch blade; I forget which. I'm sure there are unpublicized combat uses of the knife in most wars.
    But by far the most common use of a military knife is in normal utility roles.

    For the record, if I was able to carry whatever I wanted in a combat zone today, it'd probably be a Fallkniven A-1 and a Victorinox pocketknife, either a Spartan, the older Swiss Soldier knife with silver Alox scales, or a Bundswehr knife of the sort once made for Germany by Vic. and a number of other contractors. Someone posted a link to see one of those on Amazon.com. See the above posts. Actually, I'd want that Bundeswehr folder in a jacket pocket and the Spartan or former Vic. Soldier on my person. If I couldn't afford a Fallkniven or a Randall Model 5 or 14, I'd want a Buck Model 119. The brightly polished pommel and guard might prove too reflective, but tape can cover those parts in a combat zone.

    In a conversation with a Gerber PR man, he mentioned that they sell a lot of their Applegate-Fairbairn folders to troops in Afghanistan. Some carry them in pouches on their vests. I like them a lot, too, but mine came so dull that I had a custom knifemaker reprofile the edge bevels and hone them.
     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2013
  14. Sam Cade

    Sam Cade Member

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    That word doesn't mean what you think it means.

    Samuel Toloza in 2004.

    toloza.jpg
     
  15. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

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    More likely,
    , and
    , and in the modern mobile warfare larger knives on LBE get hung up easily in the vehicle when speed is of the essence exiting and getting into the fight/pursuit.

    John and a couple of others who actively served in Iraq and Afghanistan have talked about the utility of a good folder and an under 5" fixed blade vs. the problems 5"+ fixed blades represented.
     
  16. Lone Star

    Lone Star Member

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    Sam-

    Thanks. That is the photo to which I referred. I see that the knife has a clip point instead of the spear shape that I remembered. Thanks for the photo.
    Toloza seems to have used it well.

    Possibly I should have said Politically Correct instead of "liberal." Is that your point?

    Also, I have seen your board name elsewhere. Was Sam Cade the name of the sheriff played by Glenn Ford on a TV show? I think the name may have been, "Cade's County". I think he was in northern CA.

    And as long as you're here...is the red paint on some machete blades just a protective coating, and is it intended to remain there after sale, or cleaned off before use? I much enjoy your machete posts and the links to your articles on that subject.

    BTW, re Toloza's gallantry, I think it is a sad thing that the US media almost ignores our allies in battle. About all I hear on the news is when Prince Harry kills some Taliban. Most members probably know that he is a combat helicopter pilot, and there is also a video of him manning a machinegun on the ground in Afghanistan. He seems to carry not only a Browning 9mm pistol, but one of those bullpup rifles the UK uses. I saw a video of him with the rifle on the wall of his quarters and one of him with it in his helicopter.

    Oh: we forgot to mention that Ghurka troops are still isssued khukris or whatever the current spelling is. This holds, I believe, for both the remaining Ghurkas in the British Army and those in the Indian and Nepalese forces. There's a video on YouTube showing some parade where Ghurka troops in the UK were dancing with their khukris, twirling them. I worried that one would lose a thumb, or worse.
     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2013
  17. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    It was no different in 1968-69-70.

    A belt knife was used 99.99999% more of the time for chopping cammo brush, or opening C-Rat cans then for fighting.

    An ax or machete worked better for chopping brush & clearing fire lanes.

    A P-38 can opener or SAK worked better for opening C-Rat cans.

    A Buck 110 folder, or 119 belt knife worked better then anything else I found or could afford at the time.
    And weighed little of nothing on an already overloaded pack harness.

    And a SAK could clean your fingernails, pull splinters, and pick your teeth clean of those nasty C-Rat mystery meat fragments!!

    Don't try that with your 7" or 8" Randell Model 1 fighting knife!!

    rc
     
  18. JShirley

    JShirley Administrator Staff Member

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    Yup.

    And Spyderco will hopefully be bringing out towards the end of the year a knife Sam and I worked on while I was on my last deployment. It was specifically designed to address the most common close-range threat a US service member in Iraq or Afghanistan is likely to face: sexual assault. It's a very small fixed blade in non-rusting H1 steel, so it can be worn in the shower.

    John
     
  19. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    Geeze!

    What has the military come too!!

    Back in the day, that would have resulted in a Blanket Party in the middle of the night, involving a whole bunch of good guys, a whole bunch of OD green boot socks, and a whole bunch of bars of soap & pocket change!!

    And a whole bunch of moaning from the offenders bunk the rest of the night & into the next day sometime!

    rc
     
  20. Sam Cade

    Sam Cade Member

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    The word you are looking for is "Statist".
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Statism


    I use the same name on TFL and very infrequently on Bladeforums. Sam Cade is actually my (first and middle) name. ;)

    The Glen Ford Series:
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0066635/





    For the sake of organization, I'm going to copy-paste your question over to the Machete thread and answer it there.;)

    http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=723835&page=5

    Thanks! :D

    I'll have another one up in a couple days, also a couple other knife work outs.
     
  21. JShirley

    JShirley Administrator Staff Member

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    rc, you misunderstand. The threat is at least as likely to come from Third Country Nationals (TCNs) or Local Nationals (LNs) as it is US forces*. I even know of cases where Allied troops have been the ones raping- for a while, the Romanian security forces on Kandahar seemed to kidnap and rape someone every holiday. No, I'm not joking.

    Further, rapists are going to catch a lot more than a beat-down if they're caught.

    *all US bases have a large number of TCNs working on base. Kandahar, for instance, has thousands.

    John
     
  22. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    I see!

    Said the blind man!!

    rc
     
  23. JShirley

    JShirley Administrator Staff Member

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    In a lot of the world, people don't think in terms of "gay", "straight", or "other": they take whatever's available. Thus, the Active Resistance Knife, meant to slash the bejesus out of a would-be rapist in the shower.

    John
     
  24. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    Mmmm?

    Stay out of the shower with the TCN's or LN's then??

    Or do they just come running through the showers raping & pillaging when no other U.S. troops are around, and a single lone U.S. troop is taking a shower by him or her self??

    I guess I still don't understand the way U.S. wars are conducted anymore???

    rc
     
  25. Gordon

    Gordon Member

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    Me neither RC, glad I won't be around much longer and my kids are too old to serve.
     
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