Trench Knives and Personal Weapons
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Many soldiers would carry small personal weapons to be used if they were subjected to hand to hand combat. Such items would be trench knives, brass knuckles, and trench clubs. The close confine of the trenches or machine gun positions often made use of the rifle unwieldy and thus smaller weapons were ideal in the case of hand to hand combat. These weapons were also favored by trench raiding parties and assault troops.
M1917 Trench Knife
The first US issue trench knife was the M1917 which had a wood handle, triangular blade, and leather scabbard. The spikes along the hand guard served as brass knuckles and could be used to subdue an enemy soldier. Carl Panak Collection
M1917 Trench Knife
Variation of the M1917 Trench Knife with a double row of spikes on the hand guard, manufactured by American Cutlery. GWS Collection
M1918 Aulion Trench Knife
The M1918 Trench knife had a double edged blade, cast brass one piece handle with integral brass knuckles and a stamped metal scabbard. This 1918 model was made by AuLion in France and features the company's logo of a reclining lion. GWS Collection
M1918 L.F. & C. Trench Knife
Here is variation of the M1918 Trench Knife made by L.F. & C. GWS Collection
Another weapon some soldiers carried was the trench club. Soldiers of all nations were able to procure these, many being made at the front as this example. The trench club seen here is a rather simple, but none the less deadly example of a close combat weapon. Other examples were extremely brutal and resembled medieval weapons-some have spikes on the striking end made from nails; or a spike used to impale; and short, blunt spikes mean to fracture skulls. Carl Panak Collection
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