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dustin

5" Air Corps Knives

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Part of the great thing about knives is the variety and variation. There are many flavors to be had and with me it is edged implements more directly associated with aeronautical. For this topic I thought I would zero in on the 5" hunting knives that are known to have been procured by the USAAF. Pictured are the 5 principle pattern types and manufacturers for the USAAF.

top to bottom

Marbles Ideal #45

Camillus pattern 5679 L36

Kinfolks #925

Western G46-5

CASE pattern 322-5

post-56-0-97965900-1395872230.jpg

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There are variations within each manufacturer. This is the Kinfolks family.

Top is pre-war procured knife blade tang stamped Kinfolks INC. followed by the two war time procured knives illustrating the use of alternate materials first switching to a plastic guard with aluminum pommel then plastic guard and plastic pommel tang stamped Kinfolks USA.

post-56-0-13863900-1395872525.jpg

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Next is the Camillus family. From the top is the first production strait tang markings followed by the second production arced tang stamp. The third production not pictured has a black plastic pommel. Also pictured is the AAC procured pattern 5665 with stag and rosewood handles.

post-56-0-43221600-1395872709.jpg

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The Western procured knife by the USAAF was only known to have the brown bakelight guard and pommel but there are two variations in the sheath with a low and high throat retaining strap. CASE has one other variation only prevalent at end of the pommel.

these are the typical sheaths for the knives in post #1. The CASE sheath is not pictured as I do not know what it looks like so if anyone does please share.

Marbles

Camillus

Kinfolks

Western

post-56-0-84014700-1395872948.jpg

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Dustin- Nice collection!! An area I have not as yet delved into. Thanks for showing, peaked my interest. SKIP

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Yep, more nice eye candy and good story thrown in for free.

 

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My father-in-laws Case knife he brought back from the ETO.

The sheath looks like the one you show from Camillus. I know Camillus had the one style sheath for 5"knives that seems to be unique to them, but I kind of wonder if sheaths weren't generally a sub-contracted item and often shared between different manufactures. With Western being so far off in the hinterland, maybe their sheaths tend to be more unique to them. Certainly Western didn't have facilities to make sheaths in factory before the 50's.


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As usual Dustin, a fine writeup on a field often overlooked by collectors.

 

Although I don't seriously collect knives I do have a small collection of Camillus sheath knives. I note that you say that there is a third variation of the #5679 L 36 that has the black plastic pommel (presumably of the Mark 1 style).

 

Some time back I picked up one of the curved marking version with the plastic pommel and no colored washers in the grip. It came from the estate of a Navy aircraft mechanic on a carrier, but no other information about it.

 

I have presumed that it was a 5679 L 36 that some one had replaced the grip and pommel with those from a USN Mark 1. The sheath has been stamped U S N but again I don't know by who or when. Does the one you mention have the colored spacers at each end of the grip like the ones you illustrate? As stated, I presume mine is a rebuild but find your comment interesting.

 

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Gary Cunningham - Bayonetman

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I know of examples of the fullered Camillus 5" knife missing the thin brass spacers too. Gary I wonder if your knife is a transitional example were the fullered blade transforms into the saber grind variety more like the Mark1.


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Great Knife Collection. Thank you for sharing. Danny


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Forum Member #1691 since September 2007

Served in the US Army from 1960-80

First Sergeant (Retired)

Vietnam 1967 with 7-15th FA ~ [8"/175mm Gun] First Field Forces

Vietnam 1968 with 1-30th FA ~ [155mm] 1st Cavalry Division [AIRMOBILE]

President & Historian 30th FA Regiment Association ( WWW.HardChargers.Com )

Celebrating the 100th Anniversary of the 30th Field Artillery Regiment in 2018

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Dustin

 

Excellent collection ! Thank you for your interesting post. Great information on a very overlooked fighting knife.

 

Tony


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My father-in-laws Case knife he brought back from the ETO.

The sheath looks like the one you show from Camillus. I know Camillus had the one style sheath for 5"knives that seems to be unique to them, but I kind of wonder if sheaths weren't generally a sub-contracted item and often shared between different manufactures. With Western being so far off in the hinterland, maybe their sheaths tend to be more unique to them. Certainly Western didn't have facilities to make sheaths in factory before the 50's.

Sactroop, I saw yours in a previous post and it does indeed have the unique sheath supplied with Camillus AAC knives. My thought was A- at some point the two were mated or B-CASE acquired the sheaths from the same supplier as Camillus, I lean towards A. Overall very cool ID'd item

The sheaths were indeed a sub-contracted item manufactured by Mosser Leather , however made to AAF specifications

Can you post a picture of the end of the pommel?

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As usual Dustin, a fine writeup on a field often overlooked by collectors.

 

Although I don't seriously collect knives I do have a small collection of Camillus sheath knives. I note that you say that there is a third variation of the #5679 L 36 that has the black plastic pommel (presumably of the Mark 1 style).

 

Some time back I picked up one of the curved marking version with the plastic pommel and no colored washers in the grip. It came from the estate of a Navy aircraft mechanic on a carrier, but no other information about it.

 

I have presumed that it was a 5679 L 36 that some one had replaced the grip and pommel with those from a USN Mark 1. The sheath has been stamped U S N but again I don't know by who or when. Does the one you mention have the colored spacers at each end of the grip like the ones you illustrate? As stated, I presume mine is a rebuild but find your comment interesting.

Hello Gary, that is the knife I was referring to.

The knife you have is the third pattern manufactured under amendment 5679 L36A eliminating the aluminum pommel replacing it with a Resinox plastic type and eliminating the spacers to reduce cost making this model a late war expedited lower costing knife. How yours ended up in navy hands is anyone's guess. I presume the stamp USN was added by the individual as personal enhancement.

5679 L36-1942

5679 L36A-1943

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Interesting,educational,and nice knives too


High Flight

Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth

And danced the skies on laughter-silver wings;

Sunward I've climbed and joined the tumbling mirth

Of sun-split clouds - and done a hundred things

You have not dreamed of - wheeled and soared and swung

High in the sunlit silence. Hovering there

I've chased the shouting wind along and flung

My eager craft through footless halls of air.

Up, up the long delirious, burning blue

I've topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace,

where never lark, or even eagle flew;

and while, with silent, lifting mind I've trod

The high untrespassed sanctity of space,

Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.

 

John Gillespie Magee, Jr.

June 9, 1922 – December 11, 1941

 

 

 

" And each man stands with his face in the light of his own drawn sword. Ready to do what a hero can." - Elizabeth Barrett Browning

 

 

Don't let the B@stards wear you down -"Vinegar" Joe Stillwell

 

 

Reasonable people adapt themselves to the world.Unreasonable

people attempt to adapt the world to themselves.All progress,

therefore, depends on unreasonable people.

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" Don't piss down my back and tell me it's raining" , Fletcher,from the movie "The outlaw Josey Wales"

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Dustin, thanks for the information about my third pattern knife. I have no idea how it ended up in the hands of an aircraft mechanic on an aircraft carrier. I agree that he probably was the person who hand stamped the USN mark on the sheath. The knife was obtained from his family and they stated to the best of their knowledge it had been stored with his memorabilia since he returned in 1946. Unfortunately I was unable to obtain any other items related to his service as they had been bought by an antiques dealer and sold prior to my getting the knife.


Gary Cunningham - Bayonetman

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PLEASE NOTE: THIS COMMUNITY MEMBER, SADLY, HAS PASSED AWAY

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dustin, here are 3 similar Case knives. The specific one you asked about is the one on the top or the left.

 

IMG_0542_zps3a10fed7.jpgIMG_0543_zpsa2b7849b.jpg


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excellent! Thanks! The middle one is the other variant with oval shaped liked filler. The two with fullers or blood grooves are the known AAF procured types. Also note the top two with brass guards are with and without brass spacers. The third (bottom) one is interesting as it seems to have a fuller but barely and steel guard

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Always assumed the pommels were secured like the MK1s. WOW! Didn't know they were filled that way. Thanks for showing, once again learned something. THX SKIP

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dustin, all I can say is the guard is not magnetic. I posted the lower knife on another thread from Gary recently.

http://www.usmilitariaforum.com/forums/index.php?/topic/200448-questions-on-a-bright-blade-camillus-mark-1/

 

The middle knife has the chrome plating on the blade that Case was known to do. I've pretty much assumed that it is likely not a War production piece, but whether it's pre or post war I have no idea as Case used the chrome plating for a long time. It maybe that some knives with the chrome plating were used to fill orders, but I just don't know.

 

Back to one of your earlier posts. I can never really be sure where or when a blade gets it's cover unless I open the box from the factory that the knife came in. I have a 1970 Ontario marked JPSK I got from a reconnaissance pilot I was stationed with in Texas in 1976. The sheath with this knife was marked Camillus on the back.


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The CASE 322-5 are suppose to have plated finished blades. The top two you have are right as rain for war time production AAF knives. After looking at the lead filler on the pommels of yours it is even tough to say that they could make those variations. From mine and your two they are all slightly different which would suggest the milling process was not precise, however it is distinctive one uses brass spacers and the other does not.

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Dustin, nice to get your input on this.

My FIL's knife definitely isn't plated. I remember when I got the middle knife, him commenting that it looked just like the knives they had in the ETO except for the finish. Certainly the Camillus and the Westerns are just finished bright, I've never seen any examples that were plated, (only referring to the 5in knives here). I know that Case was plating some of their knives as early as the 1930's and marketing them as corrosion resistant. I've talked to other collectors who are convinced that a few of the Case models are correct for WW2 with a chromed finish, but non of them were sure about the 322-5 being one of them, before now.

Do you think that the Government would have specifically requested the chrome plating, or that the manufactures supplied them from their existing stock to fill orders?


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For some reason I am unable to figure out what FIL stands for ... Brain fart I suppose.

I'm not sure exactly but I would assume they requested some sort of corrosion resistance this would leave the door wide open. As long as the treatment passed the series of tests that were required of it it would been accepted.

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