Greetings all,

For your consideration, we have an unmarked 144mm bladed German Trench Knife. It is well-balanced and an excellent, all-purpose design. This knife possesses the same blade style as the standard Infanteriemesser 42, but is mated with a differing cross guard’s form and too, bears nine-diagonal cuts in the wooden slab handles for additional grip.

What is vaguely familiar about this knife’s form is, it’s the same design, which appears in the famous “Ambush at Poteau” series of German images regularly encountered in print and film documentaries discussing the Battle of the Bulge. Anyone, who possesses even a passing interest in the Battle of the Bulge a.k.a. Unternehmen Wacht am Rhein has viewed this picture at least once. The image below shows an SS Machine Gunner who may or may not be Hans Tragarsky depending on various online posts’ declarations (for those interested in going down that rabbit’s hole visit here) Mr Battle of the Bulge...... Hans Tragarsky??

Notice, the machine gunner has the same style of this trench knife tucked in his chest area (between his lapels). Additionally, he’s carrying an MG 42 with a belt of ammunition; a 9mm Browning Hi-Power Pistol; wearing wet weather gear over his uniform; has a shovel tucked under his belt; wears a steel helmet,; sports a balaclava, and bears the standard German machine gunner’s leather accouterments. His seemingly odd choice of location for his trench knife’s wear enables him to quickly access the knife without having to maneuver around all of his gear “fishing” for it.

The pictured trench knife’s scabbard (i.e. with the metal clip) is a standard WWII variant, which provided more options for wear than a standard WWI era’s belt-worn scabbard would have. That said, these scabbard’s spring clips are not particularly strong in terms of tension that they create with their clipped-to surface (usually, a high-topped boot). As such, when withdrawing the blade; our pictured machine gunner (likely) would have had to hold the scabbard in-place with one hand while withdrawing the knife with the other. However, due to the knife’s centrally worn location he’d be able to do that quite quickly/easily.

Whenever I see this historic image, I find myself wondering where his trench knife may have gone off to. I suppose that is the curse of all blades’ collectors, look past everything else for the steel. Yes, color me guilty there.


V/r Lance

Double click to enlarge images.

The same make/model of “Mr. Battle of the Bulge’s” private purchased German Trench Knife.
The same make/model of “Mr. Battle of the Bulge’s” private purchased German Trench Knife.