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1917 LF&C knuckle knife

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No expert here but I don't believe they were issued. However you certainly see their use along with the 1918's in WW2. I'm assuming there was a USS Tuna. I like anything customized. Probably need pics of the maker's name and better shots of the knife overall to show it's legit.

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Dad was issued one when he joined the National Guard in 1940. He was told to turn it in sometime in 1942 but sent it home instead.


A trench knife on a sub? That thing has some 'splainin to do.




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I’m not sure why, but knuckle knives were popular trading items within the U.S. Navy. I own several examples just like yours that came directly from Navy Veteran’s families. None have any personalization or attributions as your example, but they all possess leather scabbards made from scraps (no, I won’t be posting examples of them). Of course, they were great fodder for trading with Marines or Soldiers, but there was a genuine level of affection for knuckle knives within the Navy’s ranks.


I think that whether made on board ship, by Seabees on an island, or a once issued piece such as your example; knuckle knives were just another traded for commodity. I don’t believe it was a case of obtaining these for their original intended purpose, but more for their “cool” factor and too, as a souvenir to send back home to demonstrate to the folks back home that they in fact were in the $!&T.


If you have a young man raised on Errol Flynn movies and you put a MkII and a knuckle knife in front of him he’s going to pick up the knuckle knife even though the MkII is a far more useful knife. So, to me it is not a case of a Submariner, who is needing/using it, it’s more a case of something neat the Sailor traded for as a souvenir/memento of their tour. A neat knife, thank you for posting it. Thoughts complete.




V/r Lance

“With a gentleman I am always a gentleman and a half, and with a fraud I try to be a fraud and a half.”

Otto von Bismarck.

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I was taught that the 1917's and any other knife with a tri-sided blade was removed from U.S. inventory and released to the consumer market in the 1920's, due to the various international treaties signed after WW1. It wouldn't surprise me that some stray examples might still be found occasionally in dark corners of some supply rooms. However I have a hard time imagining there would be much of a presence of these around in any theater of operation during WW2. Personally I wouldn't want to end up having one on my person if I happened to be captured.


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As sactroop stated they were released in the 1920's from government storage. Would love to know what they sold for. Maybe they're listed in some Bannerman's Catalog of the time. I know I only paid $10 for my original "OCL" w/ correct "Jewell" scabbard in 1972. I digress. I could see a whole bunch of servicemen carrying these in WW2. SKIP

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Given Franks comment on this post, http://www.usmilitariaforum.com/forums/index.php?/topic/197222-a-usmc-m1917-knuckle-knife/page-2&do=findComment&comment=2553642

It is possible the 1917 was available in WW2 for issue and use.

I did make the purchase and am pleased with it. Much better in hand. The seller started collecting as a kid, very surprised he never played with it in the yard. He has a child on the way and needed funds. His other pieces were foreign, no interest to me.

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