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WWI - WWII – M-1917 Bolo

Discussion in 'Non-Firearm Weapons' started by rcmodel, Nov 14, 2012.

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  1. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    A revision of the M-1910 Bolo, the M-1917 was issued to units for use in brush clearing around camps, clearing firing zones by machinegun crews, and in trench warfare fighting.

    This one is blade marked on the right side U.S. MOD 1917 C.T. and on the left side A.C. CO. CHICAGO 1918 (American Cutlery Co.).

    Beginning with the M-1910, the M-1917 was the same heavy knife (1 lb. 5 oz.) with a 10 ¼” convex / flat ground blade.
    Walnut scales are attached with two slotted through-bolts and countersunk serrated nuts in the left scale.

    The rear 3" of the blade is V-ground forming a short section of double-grind edge, but from there foreword it is flat ground on the left side of the blade and convex ground on the right.
    Why? I have no idea, unless it was for use cutting up close to the ricasso as a draw knife for stripping bark, or for detail cutting when whittling stake points and such

    Whereas the Springfield M-1910 Bolo had a push button sheath catch similar to the M-1905 Springfield bayonet, it was dropped on the later M-1917 models shortly after production begin.
    It really wasn’t needed to retain the heavy Bolo in it's sheath, it cost more to produce, and it wore holes in your hand when the Bolo was actually used as intended.

    The M-1910 Bolo was made at Springfield Armory to very high military standards, and was very highly fit & finished.

    It was found by Plumb Tools that they could produce the same knife to less than Springfield Armory finish standards for less cost, and the less expensive Bolo would be just as good a tool for a solders use.
    Thus the M-1917 Bolo was born.

    Then another change soon followed.
    In all prior models of the M-1910 and M-1917, the pommel was made separate from the blade.
    Then after the guard was slipped on, the pommel was double-pinned and brazed to the tang.

    The M-1917 C.T. model skipped all that. (C.T. = Commercial Tolerances)
    Instead of a separate pommel, it was forged integral with the blade & tang.
    Then the guard was stamped out with a split on the right side, slipped over the tang, bent shut, and welded back together.

    That reduced the cost still further from $4.92 per unit for the M-1917 to a low of $1.65 ea. for the M-1917 C.T. as shown here.

    M1917Bolo1.jpg

    M1917Bolo2.jpg

    M1917Bolo3.jpg

    Various sheaths and scabbards were used over the years.
    A typical one would be made with a wood liner, covered in O.D. canvas, and tipped with leather. The top had a Canvas loop with a pistol belt hanger wire attached.
    By 1918 a sheet-metal scabbard painted O.D. green was often used.
    This one was missing the scabbard when I bought it at a flea market for $5.00.

    Still in use early in WWII, it was soon found the M-1917 Bolo really wasn’t very good at chopping through jungle at all, and it was replaced with the M-1942 18” Machete.

    rc
     
  2. jeepnik

    jeepnik Member

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    Hey RC, you might be able to answer this one.

    I recall that at one point (maybe for WWI) some swords or cutlass' were shortened and reground to be used as long fighting knives/machette's. Do you have any info on this?
     
  3. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    Yes, there was a cottage industry here making fighting knives out of M-1913 Patten Cavalry swords in WWII.

    Even advertisements ran in the WWII sporting magazines selling surplus Patten swords for as little as $4.95, and stating "there is 35" of blade, enough to make three good Commando knives for yourself or your friends overseas".

    They were even made commercially by Anderson, Glendale CA., and others.
    The Anderson had an plastic handle cast directly on the blade, and were sold for $10 ea., with "Finest custom-made leather sheath". And that was about double the going rate for most commercial knives made by the big cutlery companies.

    The thing was though, they couldn't get steel allotments from the war department to make or sell commercial knives during the war. About everything they made went to military contract obligations, or to direct military sales through PX's & ships stores.

    Anderson:
    http://antiqueswords.com/product-21...ing-Knife-with-Original-Sheath.htm#ad-image-0

    San Antonio Ironworks
    http://antiqueswords.com/product-28...ront-Made-U.S.-Fighting-Knife-.htm#ad-image-0


    rc
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2012
  4. Gordon

    Gordon Member

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    I love the 1917 Bolo ! I have a like new Plumb one.
    Patten sabers for $4.99 to chop up? No wonder they are so hard to get nowadays!:banghead:
     
  5. rondog

    rondog Member

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    I've been PM'ing back and forth with RC about a 1917 bolo I have, I might as well toss it in here too. We figure it's a "Bubba Blade" that someone put together from a 1917 bolo and a bayonet handle, but it's actually done pretty well and I think it has a high cool factor. Definitely plan to keep it in my collection. At least I'm the only kid on the block that has one.....

    bolo02.jpg

    bolo01.jpg

    DSCN3038.jpg

    DSCN3036.jpg
     
  6. jeepnik

    jeepnik Member

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    RC, that's the one. My uncle had one that went to his son when he passed. He was a merchant marine in WWII (from an all Navy family for generations, Navy would take him because of a heart murmur). He said he picked it up after he ended up spending some time in the water. Apparently, the knives on rafts weren't worth much. Swears he always carried it at sea, slept with it.
     
  7. kBob

    kBob Member

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    You guys are aware that the bolo knife was based on a bolo bayonet, right?

    For the Krag.

    Filipino troops being trained by the US army. Those that could not even come close to qualify with the rifle were issued only a bolo......thus the use for the term for unqualified marks men ."You are a BOLO!"

    First I ever saw was a bayonet so that when I saw the 1910 I thought it was some sort of cheap copy.

    Was one made for the M1903 rifle? if so that one above might be such that has had the wood grips replaced by bakalite.

    -kBob
     
  8. rondog

    rondog Member

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    Naw, that M1903 belonged to the guy I bought that bolo/bayo from. My blade isn't a factory-made one, it's a Bubba-made, but I still think it's cool.

    What you're referring to is one of these, I believe. This is NOT mine! I should be so lucky to have something like this.....

    bolobayonet.jpg

    bolobayonet2.jpg

    bolobayonet4.jpg

    moroscouts.jpg
     
  9. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    I'm not so sure about that one either.

    Here is what the Krag Bolo bayonet is supposed to look like.
    Notice the difference in the pommel shape.

    100_5214429x640.jpg



    There were supposedly an additional 6,000 made in 1914-15-16 for the Philippine Scouts, so maybe they changed the design???



    No, just for the Krag.

    And the one Rondog has is blade stamped U.S. 1917 C.T. which were Bolo's made with the integral forged pommel.

    My opinion is, it's a M-1917 C.T. Bolo somebody cut off and welded a M-1942 Springfield / Garand bayonet handle on.

    rc
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2012
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