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Knives have been a key fighting weapon in every war. No matter how advanced the technology, a good knife always has a place in battle.
A special breed of knives saw extensive development during WWII. Known as the "fighting knife". While it could be employed for the uses of a regular knife, its primary goal was for hand-to-hand combat. The design, balance and materials employed varied from the run of the mill knife.

This page provides a sample of the various theater made knives used during WWII . The samples displayed here cover various theaters of operation. The items depicted here are not for sale. however, you may visit our website to see similar items that are available for purchase.

A theater made knife is one that was manufactured in a country other than the US. During WWII these knives were produced in the European and South Pacific theaters.

The knives served a variety of purposes. Some were created as weapons of war while others had a less militaristic aspect. They were manufactured as letter openers or souvenirs. The general anatomy of the theater made knife follows:

The theater made knives are hard to catalog because there are so many variations for them. The lack of standards is another variable that makes them difficult to classify. Any person or company could make a knife and sell it to a soldier in the field.

The knives were almost never marked on the blade or anywhere else in the body. The following are some examples of the handles that were employed by theater made knives.


The handles of the Theater made fighting knives took on a variety of shapes, many of which reflected the purpose intended by the maker.

The edge weapons developed for the trench warfare during WWI provided inspiration to the designers of knives in WWII.

The handles shown here serve the purpose of holding the weapon as well as that of being a weapon that can be used to strike the opponent and cause a considerable amount of damage.

Other handles found in theater made knives of World War Two included those made of celulloid. A plastic like material that came in clear or colored (green, red, etc.). This material was very popular because it was easy to work and made very attractive handles.

Here are some example of the handles found in other theater made knives. The handles in the photos above are an illustration of the use of Celulloid. Some are see-through while others show color applied in a decorative fashion.

The handle to the left is made of brown hard plastic. Three large aluminum rivets are employed to secure the handle.

The bottom left knife has an aluminum handle. The bottom right is another celulloid type.


The knives had a variety of blades. some were very refined while others were more basic and crude. This is a sample of some of the blades employed.

This is a double edge blade. Very wide and not intended for fighting purposes.

This blade is thin and not-sharped. It was designed to be a letter opener.

This is a single edge blade. Designed very much like that of a regular knife.

This is a sleek, double edge blade. Definetely meant for fighting.

If you have an interest is seeing other fighting knives, you can do so by going to our Military Fighting Knives Price Guide identification page. Where we cover Army, Navy, Army Air Force, USMC and other military groups.

This information is provided to you courtesy of MilitaryItems.com a premiere provider of military collectibles to museums, educational organizations and the general public.

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