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That WWI German & occasional Austrian Trench Knife Thread

Article about: Hi guys, My latest trench knife :-) ERN mm and imperial stamped . The complete knife is in fair to good condition, with some rust pitting on the blade :-/ Unfortunately the tip is broken ! I

  1. #1

    Default That WWI German & occasional Austrian Trench Knife Thread

    Greetings all,

    One of the challenges of any collecting hobby is finding solid/reliable information about the items that you wish to collect. Fellow collectors are a great resource, yet there are many collectors who simply repeat old wives’ tales (like the one about the gap/notch in U.S. WWII ID (Dog) Tags… Let me google that for you). Reference Books and Internet web sources are (of course) flawed too, but tend to be more reliable because (at least in the case of books) there has been (ideally) some credible research done in their creation. That said, the level of research varies in each publication.

    I felt it would be worthwhile to share some resources on WW1 German/Austrian knives for anyone interested in these weapons (specifically, for those who collect or wish to start collecting them). Most of “us” have a limited collecting budget and while it would be fortunate to own every reference book in print, clearly some have more value (to a collector) than others. Usually, you don’t know what book is worthwhile until it’s either too late and you have purchased it (especially online) or it’s no longer available in print and now costs a small fortune to own.

    I’ve divided the 20 relevant reference books (I currently own) into three categories Great, Good, and OK. This compiled bibliography is by no means a complete one and I happily look forward to hearing from fellow forum members who wish to add other or share neglected resources towards this endeavor (especially, non-English language examples). My intent of rating these books is not to insult their authors, it’s to provide an opinion on their value to fellow or prospective collectors of WWI German & Austrian Trench Knives.

    I will then post a German or Austrian Trench Knife weekly (ideally) and link it (when applicable) to the appropriate reference book it may be found in. I collect British, American WWI knives too, but there’s not many German/Austrian examples shown/discussed (on English Language sites) so that’s why I’ve gone with this particular flavor.

    Please, feel free to post your own knives as well. I’ll attempt to discuss, share pictures/links of some of the more common reproductions one may encounter. I’m not operating a free cost estimation service, so I’ll allow others to answer your questions pertaining value of particular knives you may choose to post. If you have something you wish to sell, I’ll happily hear from you, simply PM me. If you don’t have an asking price in your message…I’ll simply assume you are just trolling for a free valuation. I’m not interested in trading for or selling any of the knives pictured, so there’s no need to PM me about them.

    Lastly, I’m not by any means an “expert”. In my opinion, “experts” have published books/articles, operate reputable websites, consult for major auction houses, or conserve at museums, I’ve done none of those things. Perhaps someday, but I’m not actively attempting to do so. I enjoy “the chase” of acquiring new pieces and would like to share knowledge with those who also appreciate these historical weapons. I’m bound to make the occasional/unintentional mistake (I’m human), please allow me to publically apologize up front, for any trouble or frustration my mistake(s) may cost/cause you. I’m posting here, because I enjoy the hobby and not to “disturb the stillness of your pond.” (The Frantics - Boot to the Head - 16. Ti Kwan Leep - YouTube)

    Thank you, for taking the time to read my thread’s lengthy introduction.



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    Last edited by militariaone; 12-03-2013 at 11:54 PM.

  2. #2

    Default Great, Good, & OK; WWI German/Austrian Trench Knife Reference Book’s Bibliography

    Greetings all,

    As discussed in my first post, what follows are the three categories of various Books that apply towards the collecting of WWI German & Austrian Trench Knives. These grading selections reflect my personal opinions alone and I realize will upset/displeasure some (perhaps many?). I fully embrace a diversity of opinions on this thread, so please feel free to share your own opinions too. If you are the author of one of these books and I have offended you in any way please, accept my humblest of apologies.

    It has been previously stated by fellow long-time collectors, when starting in a collecting hobby “spend your first thousand dollars on purchasing quality reference books”. You may think that is a bit much, but when you get stuck with a few well-crafted fakes/repros; you will find it’s actually quite sound fiscal advice. A $1000.00 would put a serious dent in the following lists.

    I will begin with the “Great” books first. I have listed the following books in APA Citation style and have (at times) placed a hyperlink where the book may be purchased. I’m not advocating the businesses hyperlinked. It’s just an easy means to assist you in finding the correct book and nothing more. Many of these books may be purchased significantly cheaper on various online auction sites when they are offered for sale. The 20 books listed are entered alphabetically (by author) in each category and do not have an “order of merit” within each category. I collect reference books too, so if I’ve missed one you feel has relevance to WWI German/Austrian Trench Knives, please share it with the rest of us and provide a short paragraph on your thoughts about its value. Any hyperlinks to where the book may be obtained/viewed are appreciated too.


    1.) Halasz, H. v. (1996).Deutsche Kampfmesser: Band I. Norderstedt: Militar-Verlag Klaus D. Patzwall.
    Deutsche Kampfmesser: Eugen von Halász: Bücher

    2.) Halasz, H. v. (2009). Deutsche Kampfmesser: Band II. Melbeck: Verlag Klaus D. Patzwall.
    Deutsche Kampfmesser: Band II: Eugen von Halasz: Bücher

    The above are the first two volumes of a German Language three volume set and an excellent resource due to the diversity of examples pictured within them (B & W Photos). These two volumes are purpose made for German WW1 Trench knife collectors they provide dimensions and manufactures (When known). Each volume alone has more pictured examples/variants of these knives than seen in any other single work I have had the chance to peruse. If you wish to collect WWI German Knives do not hesitate to own these books while they are still affordable you will not regret it.

    3.) Halasz, H. v. (20??). Deutsche Kampfmesser: Band III. Melbeck: Verlag Klaus D. Patzwall.
    Deutsche Kampfmesser, Band III: Kampfmesser im Spiegel zeitgenössischer Fotografien: Eugen von Halasz: Bücher

    The above book is the unpublished (as of yet) German Language third volume. This volume will focus on a study of contemporary pictures of German Soldiers wearing trench knives. I’ve no idea when it will actually hit the market, but it does look like a pretty interesting work. If it’s as well done as the first two volumes it will definitely be a worthwhile book to own.

    4.) Hughes, G. A., & Angolia, J. R. (2006). German military fighting knives, 1914-45. Lancaster: Imperial Publ.
    German Military Fighting Knives, 1914-45: Gordon Hughes, J.A. Bowman: 9781871498158: Books

    The above work, is the latest evolution of several earlier books/pamphlets that the author Gordon Hughes has created (Over 30+ years). Black line drawings clearly show the knives’ lines and markings. It’s an older format (Black line drawings) as far as collector books go, but I feel it’s definitely a “must have” if you are interested in collecting these knives. I own his earlier books/pamphlets as well and while good in their own right, I’d recommend you obtain this readily available work in lieu of the expense of getting them all.

    5.) Johnson, T. M. & Wittmann, T. T. (1988). Collecting the edged weapons of Imperial Germany Vol. 1. Columbia, S.C.: T.M. Johnson.
    Collecting the Edged Weapons of Imperial Germany: 1: Thomas M. Johnson, Thomas T. Wittmann: Books fkmr2&keywords=collecting+the+edged+weapons+of+imp erial+germany+volume+one

    The above book is authored by the two biggest American names associated with German swords and daggers. Has a nice chapter’s worth of pictures and text referencing WWI Trench Knives. Possesses a few examples not seen in any other reference books. Could just as easily go into the “Good” category, yet remains a well-executed “older” book by some long term noted experts.

    6.) Méry, Christian. German combat knives: 1914-1945. Paris: Histoire & Collections, 2011.
    German Combat Knives 1914-1945 (Militaria Guides): Christian Mery: Books

    The above, is my favorite book (by far… so much for not having an order of merit, eh?) it comes in either English or French Language versions too. Color photos of knives (scabbards also) interspersed with contemporary photos of German Soldiers wearing the same style knives. This book does not try to be “deep” in terms of specifics. It’s a nice easily digested look at these knives with a format that is very eye appealing. While it does not go into the weeds over details, it does capture the diversity of these knives and does so in a modern format. This is a book I refer back to very often when I need a quick refresher on what “right” looks like. If you are just starting out in the hobby, this is the book that will “hook” you into wanting to know more.


    1.) Brett, H. (2001). The Military Knife & Bayonet. Tokyo: World Photo Press.

    A dual Japanese/English Language book, which possesses several pages of pictured German WWI (& WWII) knives and even a few WWI Austrian ones. Really a general pictorial guide to the world’s early to modern military knives, not a WWI specific work. It does have several German knives pictured not seen in other publications.

    2.) Machnicki, D. F. (2012). At Arm's Length Trench Clubs and Knives. UNK: Machnicki.
    Trench Club Reference Books? - Arms - Great War Forum

    A self-published book of only 100 copies, David’s book is an excellent primer on Trench Clubs employing some amazing photography. The trench knives are very well photographed, but are a slice of many nations’ knives’ examples and not a stand-alone German/Austrian Knife affair. Either case, if you do obtain a copy of this book you will not be disappointed. There’s a lot of WWI hand weapons’ information rarely displayed/found in an English language’s format. The author has created a very professional style of presentation in this book carried over from his other work TO THE HILT The Austrian Bayonet.

    3.) Méry, C. (2013). Les baïonnettes ersatz allemandes. Brazey-en-Plaine: Christian Méry.
    Les baïonnettes ersatz allemandes. - Site officiel de l'Union Française des amateurs d'Armes

    English language version planned, but not yet available. URL below shows a few pages in English.

    Nouvelle page 0

    Recently published book primarily focused on German ersatz bayonets. This work covers some of the Trench Knife-Ersatz Bayonet combos and it’s from the same author who created German combat knives: 1914-1945 (more excellent photos in this book too). If you collect WWI German Bayonets, this is an excellent book to add to your reference collection. It currently comes in only French language version, but the author may release an English version in February of 2014. If the book was not so well produced, I’d have placed it in the “OK Book’s” category.

    4.) Williams, R. L. (2010). The Collector's Book of German Bayonets 1680-1945 Part Two. South Witham: Roy L. Williams.
    The Collectors Book of German Bayonets

    Those who collect German Bayonets should be very familiar with Mr. William’s two books. If not, it’s your loss. In Roy’s second volume he has multiple examples of some of the rarest Trench Knife-Bayonet combos, regimentally marked, Turkish variants etc. Not German/Austrian Trench Knife specific enough to make it on the “Great Book’s” list, but just the same a helluva reference work to own. The author has a passion for his subject and it shows in his books. There’s pictures of Trench Knife-Bayonet combos in this work you won’t see anywhere else.

    “OK” BOOKS:

    1.) Carter, A. (1976). German ersatz bayonets. Brighton: Lyon Press.
    German ersatz bayonets: J. Anthony Carter: 9780904256109: Books

    This is the original “bible” for those collecting WWI German Ersatz Bayonets. Carter’s name in the field Bayonet Collecting is the stuff of legends. Old format line drawings were the old-school means of ensuring an affordable option to expensive photographs to keep publishing costs down and (at the time) they better captured small markings. While a dated book, yet remains the standard by which collectors identify the myriad of Ersatz Bayonet types. Has a few of the Trench Knife-Ersatz Bayonet combos drawn. As with the rest of the books on this list not a real show-stopper if you don’t own it, but a nice addition to the diehard collectors’ reference library.

    2.) Flook, R. (1990). A Photographic Primer of Military Knives. Bath: R.E. Flook.

    You can’t have a list of books about military knives without at least one of Mr. Flook’s books mentioned. Has about 10-13 photos of German Knives (Not all WWI) shown, some are WWI variants I have not viewed in other books. No depth in the text, but the book (More pamphlet than book actually) has a place in any advanced collectors’ library.

    3.) Hughes, G. & Buerlein, R. A. (2006). Knives of War: An International Guide to Military Knives from World War I to the Present. Boulder: Paladin Press.
    Knives of War: An International Guide to Military Knives from World War I to the Present: Gordon Hughes, Robert A. Buerlein, Barry Jenkins: Books

    Below is a free downloadable .pdf of some of the pictures/text of the book.

    Another Gordon Hughes’ black line drawing effort. A book that covers many countries’ knives and there’s nothing pictured in this book that isn’t already covered in German military fighting knives, 1914-45 (see the “Great Book’s” list). I’ve included on the “OK Book’s” list simply because someone not familiar with Gordon Hughes’ earlier/aforementioned work will surely bring it up as a book missing from the list. Purchase his earlier mentioned work and pass on this one, unless you want info on other nations’ military knives.

    4.) Ortner, M. C. (2005). Storm Troops: Austro-Hungarian Assault Units and Commandos in the First World War Tactics, Organisation, Uniforms and Equipment. Vienna: Militaria Verlag.
    Storm Troops: Austro-Hungarian Assault Units and Commandos in the First World War Tactics, Organisation, Uniforms and Equipment: Mag M. Christian Ortner: Books

    One of a series of large format books published featuring the Austrian Army’s Museum’s (Heeresgeschichtliches Museum at HGM) artifacts. Great photos of Austrian Army equipage and several pages of Austrian Trench Knives (Trench Clubs too). Not a “Trench Knife” specific book, but does picture examples of various customized trench knives from the museum’s collection, which you won’t see anywhere else. No German knives are pictured for obvious reasons (hint, look at the tittle).

    5.) Rest, S., Ortner, M. C. & Artlieb, E. (2002). The Emperor's coat in the First World War uniforms and equipment of the Austro-Hungarian Army from 1914 to 1918. Vienna: Verlag. Militaria.
    The Emperor's Coat in the First World War: Uniforms and Equipment of the Austro-Hungarian Army from 1914-1918: Mag M. Christian Ortner, Erich Artlieb: Books

    The same review of this book goes for this book as the previously listed book. Still more variants of the Austrian Trench Knives are pictured, but not enough to justify the book’s purchase price for that information alone (Just my 2Cts). That said if you have any interest in collecting WWI Austrian Uniforms and equipment this is a “no brainer” book to own. Note: these two books are available in German Language versions too.

    6.) Somers, J. (2005). Imperial German uniforms and equipment, 1907-1918. Atglen, PA: Schiffer Military History.

    Like the previous two listed books, this is a large format very well photographed book. There’s a few (a very few) German Trench Knives pictured. I only mention this book in order to place it in proper perspective. Definitely not a show-stopper if you do not own it…unless you are into collecting German WWI “kit” as well.

    7.) Stephens, F. J. & Boxall, M. (1980). Fighting knives: an illustrated guide to fighting knives and military survival weapons of the world. New York: Arco Pub.
    Fighting Knives: Illustrated Guide to Fighting Knives and Military Survival Weapons of the World: Frederick J. Stephens: Books

    This was a great book in its day. It’s a generalist book with many nations’ fighting knives pictured (not the highest quality pictures) and some line drawings too. If you just need to quickly identify the nation a particular fighting knife comes from, this book is good for that (but not much else). Used to be my “go-to-book” for that task alone, but has been surpassed by many later authors’ efforts. Nice general fighting knife reference book, but not a “must have” tome for the German/Austrian Trench Knife collectors’ reference libraries.

    8.) Walter, J. (1973). The sword and bayonet makers of Imperial Germany, 1871-1918. London: Arms and Armour Press. The sword and bayonet makers of Imperial Germany, 1871-1918: Books

    John Walter is another legend amongst bayonet collectors (firearm’s collectors too). This is a nice reference book to quickly decipher the various maker marks as seen on some of the WWI Knives. He’s recently updated the “German Blade Markings” genre with the below linked work (which, as of yet I do not own)

    9.) Wolfgang, M. (2011). Grabendolche: Militärische Kampfmesser des Ersten Weltkriegs (1., neue Ausg. ed.). Norderstedt: Books on Demand.
    Grabendolche: Militärische Kampfmesser des Ersten Weltkriegs: Wolfgang Peter-Michel: Bücher

    A small sized German Language generalist work on various examples of WWI Combatant Countries’ Trench Knives. More of a quick reference for identifying a country of origin. I only mention it as it deals directly with WWI Trench knives. Not a “must have” book by any means. A decent beginner’s book, but not much more.

    Honorable Mention:

    1.) Calamandrei, C. (2011). Del pugnale il fiero lampo. Enciclopedia dei pugnali italiani militari 1915-2010 e politici 1920-1945. Tuttostoria: Albertelli. Del pugnale il fiero lampo. Enciclopedia dei pugnali italiani militari 1915-2010 e politici 1920-1945 - Cesare Calamandrei - Libri

    This is an Italian Language book dedicated to Italian Military Knives. I have included it as an “Honorable Mention” because it has a few pages of the Austrian M1917 Sturmesser as personalized/used by Italian forces. Large numbers were captured by the Italians and the design in large part was copied for later Italian Knives.

    Well, that concludes my list of relevant reference books. Again, please share your unmentioned/overlooked reference titles too.


    Last edited by militariaone; 12-09-2013 at 05:10 PM.

  3. #3

    Default Austrian Sturmmesser Model 1917 (JURIŠNI NOŽ M17)

    Greetings all,

    Let’s discuss/share the ubiquitous Austro-Hungarian Sturmmesser Model 1917 knife. There are over 15 known manufactures of this style of knife. Those manufactured within Austria were stamped with an Austrian Eagle acceptance stamp typically on the underside of the cross guard. Those manufactured in Hungarian Regions of the Empire have a Hungarian Crest as the acceptance mark in the same general location.

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    “V & N” markings found on some Scabbards are for the Hungarian firm of Vogel & Noot.

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    Here are the four variations of scabbards to be found with these knives.

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    My internet/book search's efforts have indicated the following manufactures. Unfortunately, there is a lot of contradictory information as to which trademarks are associated with which manufactures and there are existing trademarks for which I could not find any manufactures associated. These are my best guesses/assumptions as it is a confusing endeavor to “prove” correctness versus just a fellow collector’s opinion/hunch. If any readers have specific information on what manufactures definitively go with which marks please share it. Please too, share your original source of your info as I’d rather see the information then just read yet another unfounded “opinion”. There are plenty “opinions” to be found already, I’d rather see it in print or have a primary/secondary source linked. Many apologies for the rant, I just wish to be clear.

    1. “AB” August Bickel (this is in the maybe it is or maybe it isn’t category).
    2. Stamped “Gerasser” but referred to as “Carl Grasser” in several online postings.
    3. “Komporday Hugo Stósz” Hungarian variant has a larger crossguard than the Austrian made examples.
    4. “MA” (unknown manufacturer).
    5. & 6. “Simon Redtenbacher Sensenwerke” (this is in the maybe it is or maybe it isn’t category).
    7. “Resicka” (this is in the maybe it is or maybe it isn’t category).
    8. “S” (unknown manufacturer).
    9. Double “W” Wiener Waffen Fabrik.
    10. “Kneeling Archer” Joachim Winternitz Neffe
    11. “Wlaszlovits Stoćsz
    12. “Z” (unknown manufacturer), perhaps “Zeitler” or perhaps not.
    13. “Heinr Zelinka

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    Other manufacturers NOT PICTURED

    14. “K” (unknown manufacturer).

    15. “Ompordhayh Stósz

    16. Georg Roth (unknown manufacturer’s marking, may easily be one of the above “R” trademarked variants that I’ve misidentified).

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    Please, share your un-pictured trademark’s photos and corrections for my poor assumptions/guesses on tying trademarks to their correct manufactures. Again, please share your proof too, as by no means am I positive on all of the trademarks I have identified/collated.

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    P.S. I'll post one of my favorite Sturmmesser M17s tomorrow
    Last edited by militariaone; 12-04-2013 at 05:21 AM.

  4. #4

    Default The Sturmmesser M17 that roared!

    Greetings all,

    Here’s an example of an Austro-Hungarian Sturmmesser M17 that has been period modified with a carved wooden lion’s head, personalized “J & S” monogram, “1916” date on one side, and a poppy flower on the other. This style of modification/personalization is similar to a series of knives shown in The Emperor's coat in the First World War uniforms and equipment of the Austro-Hungarian Army from 1914 to 1918 as seen on page 476 and page 142 of Storm Troops: Austro-Hungarian Assault Units and Commandos in the First World War Tactics, Organisation, Uniforms and Equipment. This example has an “R” trademark stamped on the ricasso. Whoever carved the replacement Lion's Head handle did an amazing job. This was the second Strurmmesser M17 I've owned and the one which sparked my interest in collecting this model of trench knife. It's too bad the knife can’t talk, I’d love to know more about who carried it and on which front it was carried.



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  5. #5


    Fantastic reference material.

    Have bookmarked it.


  6. #6


    Not much of a knife guy but used to own a beautiful WWI stag handled trench knife by Anton Wingen Solingen. Aside from its cool quality look, Wingens logo, as I remember, was a small spike helmeted soldier throwing a potato masher. Very nice thread underway here.

  7. #7


    Quote by Allegra View Post
    Fantastic reference material.

    Have bookmarked it.


  8. #8

    Default “Mein Lebensretter” = My Lifesaver

    Greetings Nigel,

    Here’s a link to the one I posted a while ago I still own it and look forward to acquiring some of the other variants they manufactured like this one Manion's Realized Price Guide



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  9. #9


    Yes indeed! I love it! Thanks for posting....I'm kicking myself for selling.

  10. #10


    Great Thread. I have an unissued and original Trench Dagger made by the firm, ERN.
    Last edited by buellmeister; 01-13-2014 at 01:26 PM.

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