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U.S.M.C. knife
Old 07-02-2016, 11:29 AM   #1
Don Bible
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Default U.S.M.C. knife

Can anyone here say if this USMC knife is of WWIII vintage...or Korean War vintage. The knife was given to me by the son of a former owner of a War Surplus store, which he started in 1948...but operated for many years.
He often took home a few items from the store. He had a few knives like this and identical knives with U.S. ARMY on the side plate.
Thanks for any information or idea of collector's value..if any.
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Usmc knife
Old 07-02-2016, 11:44 AM   #2
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Another picture of USMC KNIFE
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File Type: jpg USMC KNIFE 4.jpg (23.2 KB, 190 views)
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Old 07-02-2016, 12:44 PM   #3
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Hi Don,
These are referred to as MIL-K or demo kit knives and were made between late WWII up until the mid-80s. I understand that pre - early 70s versions had a small stud sticking out of the side of the screwdriver. I believe these were made by Schrade, Camillus, Imperial, Queen, Kingston, & Ulster. Post WWII versions are still very collectible. The consensus is (in regards to Marine) those marked " U.S. Marine Corps" are the earlier, possibly issued, and those marked "USMC" are later. What markings are on the blade of your knife? Best, Zach
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Old 07-02-2016, 12:53 PM   #4
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Looks like there might be a date at the base of the main blade.
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Old 07-02-2016, 01:03 PM   #5
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I clearly recall these. They were issued to us in limited quantities in the early 80's under a unit/company level property book basis as non expendable items.

Just as Zachb asserts; it is a demolition knife primarily for engineers. however, as an Infantryman in the Ranger BN we applied an extensive use of demolitions and routinely attended demo qualifications courses. I did mine from the 7th SF group in 84.

Most members preferred their own versions of edged weapons/tools over these as they were not too highly regarded with limitations

-Ray-

Last edited by -Ray-; 07-02-2016 at 01:13 PM.
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Old 07-02-2016, 01:44 PM   #6
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Thank you Zach, A Bogan, and Ray. You have all added information to these knives.

This knife has U. S. M. C. on the side-plate...but the gentleman who gave it to me...had one or two others that has U.S. Army...but appeared to be otherwise identical. Both types appear to be all stainless steel. The example I have is marked Camillus with the date 1978 under the name...which I had not seen. The only other markings on it is the word can opener. Both the large and small screwdrivers have straight sides with no protrusions. The gentleman had four or five examples that his Dad had carried home from the war surplus store over the years. None of them had any rust...but any blade on any of them is extremely hard to open...which I can imagine brought on a lot of cussing from any potential user. I can see why they were never very popular. I can only open any blade on this one with a screwdriver.
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Old 07-02-2016, 04:13 PM   #7
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Definatly post WWII .
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Old 07-02-2016, 05:32 PM   #8
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In the 60s these were quite popular in SF. With rigger made pouch.
One of the unofficial qualifiers.
These included Star Sapphire Rings, Rolex Watches, sports car and at least one divorce.

Anybody not having one would be regarded with suspicion.
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Old 07-06-2016, 11:31 AM   #9
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Don, here's an example of the earlier WW2 version. As Zach noted, it is marked "U.S. Marine Corps" and has the stud on the screwdriver. Also, the blade is unmarked (no maker and no date). Regards, Fred
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Old 07-06-2016, 11:33 AM   #10
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Here's a closer view of the mark on the side and the stud:
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Old 07-06-2016, 12:53 PM   #11
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Thank you Fred, for your reply and the two pictures of the WWII version. This is very helpful as I can't remember ever seeing either version before.
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Old 07-06-2016, 01:36 PM   #12
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You're more than welcome Don. I should have mentioned that I believe all the WW2 versions were made by "Kingston". They come without a maker's mark (like my example) and with a maker's mark. The marked examples have "Kingston" stamped on the bail. The blades are always unmarked. The blade & instruments on mine are as hard to open as on your example. I've broken my thumb nail a couple of times opening them and have resorted to using a screwdriver (as you mentioned you are doing). Regards, Fred
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Old 07-06-2016, 05:09 PM   #13
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Thanks again Fred, for this additional information. I have never been a collector of military knives except for a few German daggers. I just happened to be in the right place to see these USMS and US Army examples that the owner of a war surplus store had brought home with him over the years. His son gave me this knife and another that I have learned is a German Wehrmacht issue after the reunification. It has very dark green plastic grips.
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Old 07-11-2016, 05:29 PM   #14
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WW2 era will also be brass lined.You will see the brass bolsters on the bottom side
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Old 07-22-2016, 03:06 PM   #15
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For what it's worth, I'll add my 2 cents. Most of this information is from talking to local knife collectors and a couple of books. Please correct me if you know I have something wrong and fill in some blanks.

WWII knives had unmarked stainless steel handles, unless they were USMC knives. The WWII USMC knives had "U. S. Marine Corps" stamped on one side of the handle. WWII knives are not dated, or at least I've not seen a dated example. WWII knives had brass bolsters between the springs. Other parts are carbon steel. The handle was the only stainless steel part used in WWII knives. Some were marked "Kingston" on the bail. Others were maker marked on the blade ricasso, or just "USA".

I suspect WWII knives were issued until the military ran out of them, sometime in the mid 1950's. Then they let contracts for more knives. Post WWII knives are all stainless steel. One side of the handle is stamped "U.S." These were issued to army, navy and air force personnel.

Here is where my information gets a little fuzzy. It is my understanding that the marine corps is also issued the generic "U.S." marked knife, and that the knives with the large "U.S.M.C." stamped in the handle (like Don's knife) were PX items. However, I have a knife in my collection with a much smaller "U.S.M.C." stamped in the handle and 1974 on the ricasso. I'm not sure if the marines began issuing the small "U.S.M.C." marked / dated knives and later switched to the "U.S." marked ones, or if the undated "U.S.M.C." marked knives are issue pieces and are what they switched to after the small "U.S.M.C." marked / dated ones.

Can anyone shed some light on this?

I doubt the army issued any marine corps marked knives, but I could be wrong.
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