WWII US Army Paratrooper Switch Blade Knife -
Paratroopers are soldiers trained in parachuting and generally operate as part of an airborne force.
Paratroopers are used for tactical advantage as they can be inserted into the battlefield from the air, thereby allowing them to be positioned in areas not accessible by land. It is one of the three types of "forced entry" strategic techniques for entering a theater of war; the other two are by land and sea. This ability to enter the battle from different locations allows paratroopers to evade fortifications that are in place to prevent attack from a specific direction, and the possible use of paratroopers forces an army to spread their defenses to protect other areas which would normally be safe by virtue of the geography. Another common use for paratroopers is to establish an airhead for landing other units.
The entire paratrooper concept was brand new for WWII. The United States had to develop a series of techniques
and equipment to support the execution of this strategy.
One of the new pieces of equipment that was developed was the paratrooper switch blade. The idea behind the
knife was to provide the paratrooper a way out in the event that he had an injured or trapped arm and his
parachute was hung on a tree. The knife needed to be readily accessible and have the ability to be opened
with one hand.
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clearly defined points that should be noted.
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The item featured on this page is a schrade switchblade. This knife was issued to US paratroopers during WWII.
The knife had a brown wooden handle. An opening in the handle provided access to the opening button and the
safety lock mechanism. Pushing the button activates the spring that opens the blade. The button had to be
puched again to close the blade.
The safety lock consisted of a slider switch. Moving it in one direction locked the blade in the closed
position. Even pressing the release button would not open the paratrooper knife. Sliding the lever in the
other direction released the lock.
The blade was of single edge design. The base of the blade has the following information written:
"Schrade, Cut Co, Walden N.Y.".
The paratrooper knife was carried in a small pocket near the breast area of the
paratrooper tunic .
This edge weapon is currently being reproduced.
It is becoming more difficult to be able to tell the fake ones from the real ones because
the quality of the reproductions is improving. The collector must become familiarized with
the construction style and materials employed in the manufacturing of this item.
Attention to the details is critical in order to be able to determine the authenticity of
If you have an interest is seeing other fighting knives, you can do so by going to our
Military Fighting Knives Price Guide
identification guide. Where we cover Army, Navy, Army Air Force, USMC and other organizations.