WW2 Ka-Bar vs bayonet

Discussion in 'General Knife Discussion' started by MBG, Jun 25, 2020.

  1. cbrstar

    cbrstar Gold Member Gold Member

    Sep 7, 2015
    I know my Grandfather kept a knife in WW2 but he was in the British Army so it might not be relevant. My Father told me the reason was that my Grandfather said the bayonets were too dull and they were extremely difficult to sharpen. And having a regular knife was more useful for day to day.
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  2. eveled

    eveled Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 11, 2016
    The English bayonets for Enfield rifles did not have handles some were blade shaped some were spikes.

    The Enfield Jungle Carbine has a knife bayonet.

    I’m not sure if they had any other bayonets with handles.

    But the point @cbrstar ’s grandfather made is a valid one. What makes a good knife is different than what makes a good bayonet. A bayonet is not a knife even if it has a handle.
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2020
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  3. MBG


    May 21, 2020
    @cbrstar, I would have expected the Marines who did carry bayonets to carry some kind of smaller knife as well. It would be interesting to know the type of knife that your Grandfather carried.

    @eveled, I agree that a bayonet isn't really a knife, though some try to be. The premise of my original question was to challenge the ubiquity of the Mk2. Primarily, I assumed that anyone issued a weapon with a bayonet lug would be required to carry a bayonet. I also assumed that a bayonet wouldn't be paired with a Mk2. Several people have posted that it was up to the individual's choice, which I could believe. Also, as you and others have pointed out the Mk2 wasn't the only knife issued and it wasn't even present until later in the war. I think this last point alone indicates that the Mk2 really wasn't even close to being THE USMC knife of WW2 and the idea that all Marines carried one is fiction.

    I generally don't see edged weapons as being very valuable on the battlefield other than in use as a tool. However, the Pacific Theater in WW2 was somewhat different. The Japanese used tactics that made hand-to-hand combat much more likely, and even if this was tactically and strategically inconsequential it surely had a psychological effect.
  4. The Whip

    The Whip

    Jan 28, 2007
    You are right, that appears to be the Shark, also known as the G46-6. I'm surprised that your grandfather bought his rather than receiving it as a Seabee. Western produced them throughout the war for Navy issue. In fact, the company stopped civilian sales during the war to focus entirely on military supply.

    As you say, the Mk2 definitely was not the only knife issued to Marines in World War II. By my count, there were at least six, probably more. And the notion of claiming that "everyone in [fill in the name of a military unit] carried a [fill in a knife]" has never been true. Supply limitations, mission specialization, and personal preference have always been determining factors.

    But I can't agree that the Mk2 "really wasn't even close to being THE USMC knife of WW2." The knife was designed by Marine officers during the war as a fighting/utility knife for Marine issue. Ka-Bar alone produced more than one million Mk2s before the war was over.

    While it may be wise to question the validity of everything that Hollywood does, I think the Mk2 has more than earned its status as the quintessential Marine Corps knife.



    Last edited: Jun 28, 2020
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  5. eveled

    eveled Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 11, 2016
    This a screen shot I captured from a video about the flag raising on IwoJima.

    It’s John Bradley, showing his medical supplies and his KA-BAR. This video was part of the proof that Bradley was not one of the 6 men in the iconic photo.
    He had raised a different flag earlier.

    At least 1 of the men in the photo also had a KA-BAR.
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  6. zzyzzogeton


    Feb 17, 2013
    Definitely a WW2 G46-6, "Shark". They were made for government contract sales, for individual unit sales and for private sales through the PX system.

    The OP's grandfather could easily have bought his - possible scenario, he's getting ready to deploy, the supply system is behind getting so he might have gone down to the PX and gotten one there.

    Or same scenario, but rather than going through the PX, the CBs units getting ready to deploy put in an order directly to Western. On more than one occasion, Harlow Platts (Harvey's son, Harlon's father) "escorted" knife shipments on the train from Boulder to San Diego to prevent shipments from "going astray", as a box of knives sitting around would grow legs in a heart beat. OP's GF could have considered this "buying it".
  7. cbrstar

    cbrstar Gold Member Gold Member

    Sep 7, 2015
    I'm afraid that he got captured when they landed in Greece. But interestingly it was the Italian guards that taught him fencing etc. But he actually had a book written about him because he managed to escape! He actually made it all the way to Switzerland for the rest of the war where he taught Fencing and Skiing lol.

    My Father said that he had some kinda fancy German Officers knife that he brought back from the War. But he traded it for a electric razor in the 1950's.
    Instead he bought a set of William Rodgers "I cut my way". Knives and gave them to my Dad. I have the dagger and my Brother has the hunting knife that looks similar to the "a couple of cats" pic in this post.
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