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1942-dated field expedient machete scabbards

Started by tsellati , Aug 29 2009 04:36 PM

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#1 tsellati

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Posted 29 August 2009 - 04:36 PM

I recently won the following machete and scabbard on auction and was hoping to learn more about them - specifically the scabbard which may be U.S. made.

The scabbard appears to be a field expedient modification of what I understand to be a canvas carry case for a spare machine gun barrel.

http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p248/tsellati/Knife%20Collection/sheathedleftside.jpg

http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p248/tsellati/Knife%20Collection/sheathedrightside.jpg

Is this ID correct and, if so, what machine gun barrel was carried in these carry cases? Anyone have a picture of the full-length carry case?

The scabbard has attached to it a belt loop and brass hanger, the former of which is ink stamped "US Hinson (or Minson?) MFG. 1942" -

http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p248/tsellati/Knife%20Collection/USHinsonMFG1942.jpg

Now here are pictures of the machete that came with the scabbard -

http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p248/tsellati/Knife%20Collection/unsheathedleftside-2.jpg

http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p248/tsellati/Knife%20Collection/unsheathedrightside-2.jpg

Might this have been a machete acquired by a U.S. soldier in the ETO and then traded to someone that perhaps used it in the PTO? Or, was there terrain encountered within the ETO that would have required the use of a machete? I cannot think of any other reason for the existence of a Czechoslovakian made machete (as indicated by the maker mark) other than the presence of local terrain wherein it would be handy -

http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p248/tsellati/Knife%20Collection/MadeinCzechoslovakiaSstamp.jpg

Another interesting feature of the machete is that the blade is painted black and the handle is made of plastic identical that found on my German byf 44 P-38 pistol - namely, the grip set.

http://i130.photobucket.com/albums/p248/tsellati/Knife%20Collection/handle.jpg

Does this plastic differ from that used on U.S.G.I. machetes of the same time period? Who was likely to have used these machetes and scabbards and where? Does anyone have pictures to share of a soldier toting a machete in one of these unique non-issue scabbards?

Thanks for the education and any comments on the origin/provenance of the canvas scabbard.

Tim

Edited by tsellati, 29 August 2009 - 04:48 PM.


#2 LtRGFRANK

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Posted 29 August 2009 - 06:18 PM

Can't tell you anything about the Machette but I have a scabbard like yours. Spare barrel cover for 30 cal machine gun. Robert

#3 doyler

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Posted 29 August 2009 - 07:39 PM

I believe these fall into the post war surplus made items.There were thousands of these spare barrell covers.I have seen these even sold for fly fishing rod covers.

Yours appears to have the loop made from a piece of canvas that was off the 36 suspenders..

RON

#4 gunbarrel

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Posted 29 August 2009 - 08:57 PM

Czechoslovakia was in the hands of the Germans throughout WWII. After WWII it fell into the hands of the Russians, who also ruled it with iron fists until the fall of the Iron Curtain. That, plus the fact that it's marked "Made in Czechoslovakia" for the export market suggests that the machete is not a WWII item picked up by a GI in the ETO. IMHO, it was probably made in the 1970's or early 80's. Sometimes after it made its way to the US market, it was probably mated with the makeshift scabbard typical of what you would find at an Army Navy store.

#5 tsellati

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Posted 30 August 2009 - 04:43 AM

Czechoslovakia was in the hands of the Germans throughout WWII. After WWII it fell into the hands of the Russians, who also ruled it with iron fists until the fall of the Iron Curtain. That, plus the fact that it's marked "Made in Czechoslovakia" for the export market suggests that the machete is not a WWII item picked up by a GI in the ETO. IMHO, it was probably made in the 1970's or early 80's. Sometimes after it made its way to the US market, it was probably mated with the makeshift scabbard typical of what you would find at an Army Navy store.


Yes, the "Made in Czechoslovakia" stamp indicates manufacture for subsequent export. It was suggested by a collector on the Gunboards that these Czech made machetes actually were US Vietnam era issue. I would be interested to hear more on this point to either confirm or refute this suggestion.

As for the scabbard it was brought to my attention that one such scabbard is shown in one of M.H. Cole's books. The scabbard is probably WWII vintage as spare barrel covers were very commonly used to fashion machete scabbards. D.E. Henry's Collins machete book states that lots of machetes were issued in the Pacific, sans scabbards and that the Sea Bees fashioned wire hangers and scabbards from whatever was at hand.

If the machete is in fact Vietnam era I likely will not hold on to it since I want to concentrate my collecting on WWII era machetes. If anyone is interested in the machete send me an email (tsellati@earthlink.net) or a PM.

Tim

Edited by tsellati, 30 August 2009 - 04:51 AM.


#6 tsellati

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Posted 30 August 2009 - 04:56 AM

I believe these fall into the post war surplus made items.There were thousands of these spare barrell covers.I have seen these even sold for fly fishing rod covers.

Yours appears to have the loop made from a piece of canvas that was off the 36 suspenders..

RON


Ron,

So you do not believe the scabbard may have been a field expedient rig made, perhaps, by an industrious SeaBee or other soldier needing a scabbard for a machete issued in the PTO? Reason I ask is because if neither the scabbard nor the machete have WWII provenance (and I agree the latter does not) then I likely will part with the pair. If, however, the scabbard might have WWII provenance then I will keep it and sell or trade away the machete.

Tim

#7 gunbarrel

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Posted 30 August 2009 - 09:15 AM

Yes, the "Made in Czechoslovakia" stamp indicates manufacture for subsequent export. It was suggested by a collector on the Gunboards that these Czech made machetes actually were US Vietnam era issue. I would be interested to hear more on this point to either confirm or refute this suggestion.

As for the scabbard it was brought to my attention that one such scabbard is shown in one of M.H. Cole's books. The scabbard is probably WWII vintage as spare barrel covers were very commonly used to fashion machete scabbards. D.E. Henry's Collins machete book states that lots of machetes were issued in the Pacific, sans scabbards and that the Sea Bees fashioned wire hangers and scabbards from whatever was at hand.

If the machete is in fact Vietnam era I likely will not hold on to it since I want to concentrate my collecting on WWII era machetes. If anyone is interested in the machete send me an email (tsellati@earthlink.net) or a PM.

Tim


Tim,

I seriously doubt that the US military was buying machetes from a communist country during the Viet Nam War while we had Collins in Production until 1966 and Ontario Cutlery cranking out all the machetes the military wanted. The problem with trying to refute an absurd suggestion such as this is that it is almost impossible to confirm that something did NOT happen; you just have to use good judgement. In this particular case, if you know how things were between the US and the Iron Curtain countries during the Cold War, you can understand how minimal the chances were that we were not issuing Commy Pinko machetes (to use Viet Nam War era slang) to our boys as they were fighting Communism in the SE Asia jungles.

Your scabbard obviously has WWII provenance, as it was made in 1942 for MG barrels. Whether it was turned into a machete scabbard during WWII is another thing. More than likely, this was done by an enterprising individual to get rid of unused WWII surplus barrel covers in the 1950's or 60's, but trying to prove that it was NOT done by a Seabee in Guam in 1945 is (again) impossible.

#8 OD MAN

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Posted 30 August 2009 - 09:21 AM

Another thing I thought was odd is that out of all the pieces of the suspenders the person chose the dated part. This seems like something a surplus dealer would do to make it seem more "WWII". I think its to much of a coincidence. Also the work seems really sloppy like the person was making 20 of these things a day. A GI would probably have reinforced the edge on the top with leather or cloth and wouldn't have left it freying like that. :unsure:

Thats my thoughts...

#9 tsellati

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Posted 30 August 2009 - 12:46 PM

I seriously doubt that the US military was buying machetes from a communist country during the Viet Nam War while we had Collins in Production until 1966 and Ontario Cutlery cranking out all the machetes the military wanted.


The idea that machetes imported from Czechoslovakia for use during the Vietnam war did not make sense to me either. However, I have been collecting long enough to never discount any explanation (however bizarre) and instead seek information that supports or refutes what someone has to say about the provenance of militaria and/or firearms.

Tim,

Your scabbard obviously has WWII provenance, as it was made in 1942 for MG barrels. Whether it was turned into a machete scabbard during WWII is another thing. More than likely, this was done by an enterprising individual to get rid of unused WWII surplus barrel covers in the 1950's or 60's, but trying to prove that it was NOT done by a Seabee in Guam in 1945 is (again) impossible.


Not sure I buy the "enterprising individual" explanation simply because it would take some degree of effort to convert so many MG barrel carry cases into machete scabbards (and poor quality ones at that) and I cannot imagine they would sell so much better or for so much more money as machete scabbards as opposed to milsurp carry cases for whatever might fit in them (such as fly fishing rods, as suggested by another board member).

Now mind you, I am not wed to the idea that these definitely have WWII provenance, but, I do not think one could firmly argue that they do not (as you correctly point out). This is why I was curious to know whether anyone had a period photograph of might be a field expedient scabbard. It is generally accepted that machetes were issued throughout the PTO (many without scabbards) and so they had to get scabbards from somewhere. As such, I think it more likely they were made without whatever materials were on hand rather than acquired from companies that specifically manufactured canvas scabbards that were distributed through the existing supply chain. If they were in the supply chain why would they not be paired up with the machetes that were being issued?

Tim

#10 gunbarrel

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Posted 30 August 2009 - 03:29 PM

Not sure I buy the "enterprising individual" explanation simply because it would take some degree of effort to convert so many MG barrel carry cases into machete scabbards (and poor quality ones at that) and I cannot imagine they would sell so much better or for so much more money as machete scabbards as opposed to milsurp carry cases for whatever might fit in them (such as fly fishing rods, as suggested by another board member).
Tim


Tim,

I'm not trying to "sell" you on anything. :) When you posted this, you said "Thanks for the education and any comments on the origin/provenance of the canvas scabbard." I wasn't throwing you a sales pitch; I was giving you the comments you asked for. There are plenty of instances on record of military surplus dealers (starting with Bannerman) that have modified hard to sell stock so that they could sell it. Some alterations and explanations for how the item was legitimate border on the ridiculous. OD MAN offers above some food for thought through his excellent observation. As I said before, it is very difficult to say that something did NOT happen; in this case, we cannot disprove that the scabbard was not rigged up on the field any more than we can disprove that it was not made in the back of an Army Navy surplus store. In the end, we are going to choose to believe what we want to believe. Good luck with your machete and scabbard.

Edited by gunbarrel, 30 August 2009 - 03:32 PM.


#11 OD MAN

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Posted 30 August 2009 - 06:19 PM

Bottom line is no one can prove this was done by a Seabee 60 years ago or by a surplus dealer 60 days ago. If you want to believe its from WWII good for you, if not thats fine also. I have a lot of things in my collection that I know probably weren't actually used for certain purposes but I want to think they were. I have an old boy scout pocket knife that I thought would never have been used in WWII, but I actually saw a period picture of one in a GIs kit, and another board member found one in a fox hole on a WWII battlefield. :thumbsup:

#12 OD MAN

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Posted 12 September 2009 - 01:56 PM

I found pretty much the exact same scabbard on Ebay, so yeah this was probably done by surplus stores back in the day...

LINK

Posted Image

Edited by OD MAN, 12 September 2009 - 01:56 PM.



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