Product Description: This 1917 US Trench Knife is an outstanding, unissued example of the very first pattern of government issue fighting knives designed and issued to US troops. The triangular blade shows no damage and retains most of its original bluing. The handle is beautiful, complete and sound, with a pleasant, mild patina from age. The spiked hand guard retains most of its original factory applied bluing and is maker marked “LF&C,” indicating manufacture by the firm of Landers, Frary & Clark, and dated 1917. The wood grip remains in unissued condition, with no chips or cracks, and no apparent wear. It has what appears to be a rack number or catalog number penned in small numerals in black ink on one side. This scarce and desirable 1917 US Trench Knife is complete with its original scabbard. The leather body of the scabbard retains nearly all of its original green paint, and is not deformed or separating as is often the case with these after over 100 years. All of the metal scabbard fittings are intact and without damage. The upper fitting retains the suspension system and is stamped with “M.5.” The condition of this well-preserved and impressive piece rates a strong excellent plus.
Historical Description: The first official U.S. trench knife adopted for service issue was the U.S. M1917 trench knife. It was designed by Henry Disston & Sons and based off examples of trench knives that were in service with the French Army at that time. The M1917 featured a triangular stiletto blade, wooden grip, metal knuckle guard, and a rounded pommel. The M1917 proved unsatisfactory in service, and a slightly improved version, the M1918, was adopted within months. Despite this, the M1918 is almost identical to the M1917, differing primarily in the construction and appearance of the knuckle guard. Usable only as stabbing weapons, the M1917 and M1918 frequently suffered broken blades. Their limited utility and general unpopularity caused the AEF to empanel a testing board in 1918, to test various trench knives and select a replacement.
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