1918 WWI Trench Knife - NEW - Solid Brass Version

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You've been asking for a solid brass version of the 1918 Trench Knife and now it's finally here! Check out the beautiful nautical brass handle and pommel. Enjoy watching the natural brass change over time. It will develop a nice, antique-like patina in just a couple of years. This is a wonderful addition to any collection of war paraphernalia.




Replica of the famous WWI U.S.1918 Trench Knife

The Most Legendary Knife of the 20th Century...


In 1916, when the battle lines of WWI became a trench war, there was a growing need to supply the infantryman with a functional close combat dagger. The job went to American weapons inventor Major Eugene McNary of the Air Expeditionary Force (AEF) who designed the M1918 Mark I Trench Knife which incorporated the same popular spear point blade design as the French M1916 Trench Dagger.



A Perfect Top Quality Replica...


Just like the original our SOLID NAUTICAL BRASS replica has a 6.5" sharpened and polished double-edged spear point blade made from 420 J2 stainless steel that is incorporated in a full tang construction. The handle is heavy and solid with 300 grams of REAL BRASS knuckle guard and includes the distinctive "skull crusher" pommel on the butt end of the handle.


REAL BRASS 1918 trench knife


Important Specs:


  • Black metal sheath is included.
  • Measures 12" overall.
  • 1918 is cast into the handle, not screen printed like most on the market!
  • Full tang blade screws into head crusher pommel
  • Solid Nautical Brass Handle! Over 300 grams of top quality brass
  • Overall weight approx. 1.5 pounds.


Warning: There are many cheaply made replicas on the market.

Please be sure to buy a product that has "1918" MOLDED into the handle not just screen printed with ink. Also be sure the blade connects fully through to the handle and screws into the pommel.


This new version featured a REAL SOLID BRASS handle made of beautiful nautical brass.


Additional History:


The M1918 Mark I Trench Knife arrived too late in the war to have any effectiveness - in fact there is some debate as to whether any American made Mark I's even saw combat in the first war. The French version made by Au Lion definitely did see action in WWI. WW2 was different. The US entered the war with only one issued knife, a parachutist's jump knife. US Armed Forces seemed to keep forgetting that knives are necessary in war. The Mark I was issued to paratroopers and Army Rangers in WW2 as well as many other soldiers. The McNary pattern was widely used in WWII and up to the Vietnam War.


Col. Jeff Cooper remarked recently in a magazine article with regard to fighting knives that this would be his choice. Some soldiers dislike it because it is heavy enough to hammer nails with but it leaves little to the imagination as to the sort of savage mayhem that it could bring to an enemy.


Original Manufacturers


The original manufacturers of this knife were Au Lion in France and Landers, Frary and Clark (L,C&F) in America. They were one of the largest manufacturers of kitchen and camping goods from about 1880 to 1965 when they went out of business. It was also manufactured by US firms H.D.S., or O.C.L


When it became clear that many more combat knives were needed, it was decided to design a more modern knife that didn't use brass or bronze since this metal was expensive and in short supply.


Therefore, the US Mark 3 combat knife was designed and issued and the era of Combat Knuckle Knives faded out.


Additional Historical Facts regarding this knife


When the US entered WWI, the military knew it needed to issue a fighting knife, and the first model issued was the US Model 1917 Knuckle Duster Trench Knife. It really wasn't a knife as much as a dagger since the blade was a 9 3/4" triangular "ice pick" type dagger. The handle was walnut, and the guard was made of steel, formed into a knobbed knuckle bow. The US Model 1917 Knuckle Duster Trench Knife was not popular with the troops because it couldn't be used like a normal knife to cut open rations, cut rope, etc. and it was large and bulky and did not feel comfortable and solid in a soldiers hand. It simply was not versatile enough to be an effective combat knife


In 1918, Major Eugene McNary of the AEF designed and patented a new knife named the US Mark One. Many people call this knife the "1918", since the 1918 date is cast into the handle, along with the makers initials. This was an actual knife, with a 6 3/4" double edged dagger blade, and a handle made of cast brass with knuckles. The butt of the handle had a conical nut that both held the blade in the handle, and acted as a "skull crusher". The knuckles were formed into individual finger stalls, which were intended to prevent the user from dropping the knife if he was wounded or knocked unconscious. The knuckles had small spikes on each bow, both to improve the damage done to an opponent, and to prevent the opponent from grabbing the knife hand.


The Unique Scabbard


The Mark I's scabbard was a two piece iron scabbard, with two prongs riveted on the back, which were used to attach the scabbard to the cartridge belt. In order to attach the scabbard to the cartridge belt, the upper prong is bent upward. The prongs were the weak point of the scabbard, since if the prong was bent down to attach the scabbard to a pistol belt, or if the scabbard was given a jerk, the prongs would break off. For this reason, most surviving scabbards are missing one or both prongs. The scabbard was copper plated then chemically blackened to prevent rust. The scabbard is much rarer than the knife.


Since it took time for the American makers of the Mark One to tool up for production, Major McNary contracted with the French company of Au Lion to make a version of the Mark One in France. This Au Lion version has a handle made of bronze, not the brass used on the American version. The knuckles have a more rounded shape with spikes, and the handle often has two grooves running the length of the handle on the upper side to provide a better grip. The French version is noticeably poorer quality than the American made version, and is slightly smaller. The blade was the same blade used on a French issue trench knife, and is marked with a reclining lion, and the name Au Lion.


It's uncertain if the American version saw action, since by the time shipments arrived in Europe, the war ended. The French version definitely was used in combat. In the 1920's, the US 1917/18 spike blade knives were sold off as surplus, and many of the Mark One models were also sold.


When WWII started, the Mark One was the only combat knife available, and it was heavily issued to early paratroopers and Rangers. It was a common practice in WWII to modify the Mark One by cutting one or both sides of the round guard off so the knife would lie flatter against the side. Individuals also would cut the knuckles off, leaving finger grooves. Occasionally, the handle was thrown away, and the blade was fitted with a new handle.


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