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Camillus MC-1 Question


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Hey fellas does anyone know right off hand the issue dates for the MC-1? My Grandfather was in The 101st in 59 through 62 and I wanted to know if he would have been possibly issued this knife. Thanks again o gurus of grunt gear...

" It is well war is so terrible, lest we grow too fond of it."

 

General Robert E. Lee

Battle of Fredericksburg, 13 December 1862

 

 

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As mohawkALSE stated these were issued to air crews. Not an issue item to airborne troops. Occasionally guys got their hands on them through trades, etc., but not through issue.  SKIP

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Hi Folks,

Part of the confusion comes from the fact that in WWII, switchblade knives (M2) were issued to airborne troops. They were also issued the M3 trench knife.  They had a pocket on their shirt specifically used for the M2 knife. After the war, the military started to transition away from M2 use in favor of a "regular" fixed blade knife for use by airborne troops.  That being the case, the Pilots and the rest of the crew still needed a knife that was small, fast, and easily deployed just in case they needed to bail out of the plane. In 1957, the MC-1 was born.   I don't know who said it first, but I like the statement,  "These knives were issued to the guys who DID NOT want to jump out of a plane".  Starting in 1957, the aircrew flight suits had a long pocket on the left inner thigh used to carry the MC-1 with the HOOK BLADE OPEN and ready. There was a string attached to the pocket and the knife.  That way, they could grab the string and pull the knife straight out, ready to cut the parachute lines if they got hung up.  Some pilot's would employ additional safety measures, like taping the auto blade closed.

  Skip...... did I get anything wrong? If so, please correct me. 

Marv

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Marv- It's all correct to me. I don't personally know any aircrew men who taped the knife blade closed, but it does make good sense. Saw a lot of guys in flight suits with the inner thigh pocket over my 20 years in the army.  A bailout and a nasty tree landing could result in a blade opening, and compound a survival situation. SKIP

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When I jumped I had a pocket knife on my web gear to use if I got tied up in a tree (a Bucklite).  I also had a fixed blade knife on my rucksack, but did not have it on a lanyard.  If I had to use it, I wanted to be able to throw it far away from me when I landed so I couldn't land on it.

As for the knife to use for cutting the lines, I have two of the cutters without the auto-blade (basically the MC-1 with only the hook).  I wonder when the MC-1 was replaced by those.

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That MC-1 is mine above.  The Navy is one who did the practice to taping them like that.  It came in an original packed MA-2 torso harness I got from the mid 90s that had all the rigger mods to it with survival gear pockets sewn on.   Never saw a USAF or US Army MC-1 using the tape like that.  Ive seen more than just mine, that were Navy with that done though.  Id like to look up in one of the NAVAIRs if this is something actually standard or just a practice people started doing for an extra measure of safety.  Those slide locks are very easy to unlock inadvertently.   Hell in another discussion here about these knives, I recently mentioned about one of my friends who currently flys ANG F-16s has one of the newer Colonial M724's in his G-suit.  He took it out one day to take a pic for me and found his snap blade was actually deployed and the only thing holding it mostly shut was the dummy cord wrapped around the handle.  So maybe the USAF should look into adapting the tape as an extra safety measure.

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8 minutes ago, thorin6 said:

When I jumped I had a pocket knife on my web gear to use if I got tied up in a tree (a Bucklite).  I also had a fixed blade knife on my rucksack, but did not have it on a lanyard.  If I had to use it, I wanted to be able to throw it far away from me when I landed so I couldn't land on it.

As for the knife to use for cutting the lines, I have two of the cutters without the auto-blade (basically the MC-1 with only the hook).  I wonder when the MC-1 was replaced by those.

Both the fixed shroud cutters and the MC-1 were used around the same times and also seemed to originate from the late 50s as well.  Originally those fixed ones where mounted in special pouches on the parachute risers of back style and ejection seat parachute assemblies.  Seems at times people took them from those pouches and started carrying them in survival vests (USN) and also G suit pockets.   Even today with the MC-1 officially gone and the fixed hook is still around, they have the new Colonial M724 which is the MC-1 replacement.  As I stated above, pilots do carry these new auto knives currently, but Im sure its still a mix of stuff out there.  Even though MC-1s were cancelled around 92 or 93 I think, they kept trucking on in service like the one I have that is pictured above.  The harness it came in was placed in service in the mid 90s.  I know the Army kept using them for OV-1 Mohawk aircrews as well and those didnt go away til 1996.

 

Totally different knives, but the Army recently has authorized a couple of pocket knives for use in Aircraft Survival Kits and both are actually equipped with a hook blade, mostly for cutting webbing vs shroud line thought.  One is a Benchmade Triage, the other Gerber Safety Auto Hook.  Both knives have been assigned a NSN, thought I saw the Gerber got discontinued by the Mfg.  These are the 2 knives below,  The Benchmade has a manual open hook, the Gerber is spring loaded "Auto"

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mohawkALSE

I didn't remember who posted those pictures I used. Both of those pictures are yours.  I renamed them to give you credit the next time I post them.

Thanks for the info in the above posts.  Great information.

 

As far as the M724 safety slide moving too easily, your F-16 pilot friend must have had a loose one.  On mine, there is no way to inadvertently slide it back, it is very tight.

I love that Benchmade knife.  It certainly is a hard duty knife, as are most of the good quality modern knives today.

 

I have a pet peeve when knife reviewers on youtube get a hold of an MC-1 and go on and on about how flimsy and useless the knife is.  The MC-1 was made like most of the auto knives of the era.  The MC-1 was made for one purpose; and that, for the most part, was a "one time use". The aircrew usually did not jump out of too many planes in their career.   It served its role.  The WWII M2s were better made, but they weren't originally made for the military.  They were a commercial product, and sold as an all purpose pocket knife.

The M724 is a great improvement.  It's lighter and stronger.  It would never compete with the Benchmade Triage, but it's smaller, lighter and doesn't cost $200.

 

Thanks again for the info, I really appreciate it. 

Marv
 

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Marv its all good, wasn't trying to bust ya on using my pic.  Only the Navy MC-1 is my pic, that pocket from the FRP-1 flight suit wasn't mine.  I just thought it was funny seeing it posted and wanted to explain the tape again.   Im pretty sure it was you in 1 or 2 other tops the Ive also posted in about the MC-1 and M724 etc.

 

In regards to the Viper used 724, not sure if the AFE tech didnt engage the lock or not when they installed it in the G-suit or if it somehow snagged but when he found it it wasn't engaged and knife actually opened a slight bit under all the dummy cord wrapped around it.  If not for the cord it probably would have gotten stuck trying to open in the G suit pocket.   I can post the pics he sent me of it again, its the latest style with the redesigned hook blade and the handle is marked Colonial Made In USA.  I have an earlier first style M-724 like yours with that hook.  Id say my slide lock is pretty tight but isnt anything that would be very tight that would be impossible to inadvertently slide if it got caught on something.

 

Totally agree with regular knife folks reviewing about then being flimsy.  It was never designed to be and shouldn't ever be some kind of everyday carry kind of pocket knife or regularly used tool.  Its strictly for emergency use only.  I think even the original pieces of paper that came with the knives in the 60s stated that it was for emergency use.  A pilot I know back in the 60s accidentally deployed half of his Mk2 life vest while flying and had to use his MC-1 to cut and deflate it fast so it didn't interfere with the flight controls.

 

The Benchmade is a very nice knife, that Gerber is pretty good to, but the release lever on it for the main blade is super tight right now.  Not sure if I can lube it more and try to break it in to work better or not.  I love the lock release, I think they call Axis on the Benchmade, so easy to use.

 

Ive started my own little collection of these various aircrew used knives.  I have a couple Camillus MC-1s, 1 Logan Smyth,   have a Shrade Walden incoming via trade.  have an early M-724 but working on getting a late style one and then the 2 newer Army knives Ive posted so far.   All I ever wanted to begin with was 1 MC-1 to put in a OV-1 pilots survival vest.

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