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WWII – USN MKII 7" Combat/Utility Knife

Discussion in 'Non-Firearm Weapons' started by rcmodel, Nov 5, 2012.

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  1. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    Known collectively throughout the military as the Ka-Bar, the most typical one you find was very likely made by Camillus who made the first ones, some of the last ones, and most of them in between.

    Various WWII contracts went to Camillus, Ka-Bar, RH-PAL, and Robeson.
    Post WWII versions were made by Camillus, Conetta, and Utica.

    It seems the Marines got the biggest share of actual Ka-Bar made knives and they are stamped USMC one side of the ricasso, with Ka-Bar & address on the other side.

    Knives from all the companies will be found blade stamped, or later, guard stamped, as it was found to be cheaper & possibly stronger then stamping the blade ricasso on both sides.

    Knife on the left is a very early red/black spacer USMC marked Ka-Bar.
    As is often found, the butt cap was broken off and re-peened, which lost the rear red & black spacers and shortened the handle 1/4".

    This was very common on the first Ka-Bar’s, because the butt cap was welded on the tang, then ground smooth in keeping with the military specs.
    Unfortunately, it was soon found the tang broke when the butt was used as a hammer.

    At about the same time, Camillus first used a threaded tang and counter-sunk nut attachment method.
    It also often broke the tang when used for pounding.

    Shortly after, Camillus redesigned the tang attachment to a pinned-on butt cap with a little “give” to it when used to beat on things.
    And Ka-Bar soon follow suit.
    Then the Mil-Spec was changed to the pinned on butt cap.
    As we know now after close to 70 years of GI combat use, that design proved to be nearly indestructible.


    IMO: The MKII is one of the all-time great combat knife designs.
    It is small enough for most utility use, yet big enough for chopping firing lanes or brush for cammo.
    And easy to sharpen with primitive methods.
    Yet it is very strong, but still light and easy to carry 24/7 if you have to.


    Knife on left is a very early red spacer USMC marked Ka-Bar Fighting / Utility
    Second from left is a USMC blade marked Camillus, N.Y. Some Marine scratched USMC in the sheath.
    Third is a guard marked Camillus MKII.
    The one on top of the pile is a guard marked Camillus MKII in a NAVY MKII marked gray fiber scabbard.

    MKII1.jpg

    MKII2.jpg

    rc
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2012
  2. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

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    The early USMC Fighting/Utility knife became the USN MkII. Early ones were marked USMC and subsequent USN MkII knives were marked as USN.

    Some of the Camillus were marked on the ricasso and others on the guard. KaBar had these same mixed markings, but I don't know if it was based on when they were made in the war. I've only seen RCCs with the guard marked, but that doesn't mean they didn't also mark the ricasso. RH37s made by PAL may have only marked the ricasso.
     
  3. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    I'm still not perfectly clear on which was the Chicken, and which was the Egg.

    The earliest Navy MK II manufacturing specs were dated May 1942.

    Ka-Bar submitted the first set of specs for the USMC Fighting/Utility knife to the Marines in December 1942, near as I can find out so far.

    Both knives were in production and entered service in early 1943.

    The fact of the matter is however, they are both the same knife with different markings.
    The early USMC Ka-Bar was better finished with a polished & blued blade though.

    Numerous changes made to the MKII design, such as the weak butt cap attachment, were made to the Ka-Bar Marine Fighting/Utility knife at about the same time. And visa versa

    rc
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2012
  4. Coop45

    Coop45 Member

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    Did the Raiders have the same knife?
     
  5. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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  6. Certaindeaf

    Certaindeaf member

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    I've got one of those with the hard Navy sheath. I prize that rig.
     
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