Monday, December 19, 2011

Nazis And Recycling: A Sort of Hitler Youth Knife - Part 3

Ok, so, this knife we have been talking about...or rather, I have been talking about....ok, ok....I have been TYPING about about...(You happy Ms/Mr Fussypants???)

ANYWAY, this knife is termed a "Ridgeback"...and also commonly called a "sawback".

Story goes that this style of back was meant for inflecting the worst damage possible and entry and exist of a human body part...

Who knows what the true facts are...they may be lost to history, or maybe someone out there has official paperwork that will clarify the facts, who knows.

It is noted in Wikipedia that:  "One of these multipurpose designs was the sawback bayonet, which incorporated saw teeth on the back spine of the bayonet blade. The sawback bayonet was intended for use as a general-purpose utility tool as well as a weapon; the teeth were designed to facilitate the cutting of wood for various defensive works such as barbed-wire posts, as well as for butchering livestock. It was initially adopted by Great Britain in 1869, followed by Switzerland in 1878, and Germany in 1905. The sawback proved relatively ineffective as a cutting tool, and was soon outmoded by improvements in military logistics and transportation; most nations dropped the sawback bayonet feature by the turn of the century. The German army discontinued use of the sawback bayonet in 1917 after protests that the saw-toothed blade caused unnecessarily severe wounds when used as a fixed bayonet."

So, what ever the real story is on "sawbacks" this one is still an oddball....why does this post WW2 knife, with NOS Hitler Youth grips have a sawback blade?  Again, who knows. One can surmise that there were WW1 era surplus bayonet blades lying around this particular factory, or perhaps there was active production of sawback blades for some other purpose in the Nazi military or other Nazi organizations of the period.

Whatever the reason, this sawback blade makes this knife an oddball. It has obviously been ground down from a longer blade, as the sawback notches continue right to the point of the point where they disappear with what the blade has been re-ground.

Now, just to throw another bit of confusion in, the Nazi German Red Cross EM Daggers also had the sawback.What its purpose really was is thus far unknown, and it seems, as happens during/shortly after wars, documentation has been lost, destroyed, misplaced, hidden, etc. There is lots of speculation out there....this thread happens to cover it a bit. I suspect that the answer lies in the the far more mundane idea that it was intended for use as a saw in making splints, crutches, etc on the field.

PLUS, the sawback feature seems to appear on other "dress" bayonets of the period...German Firemen's Dress bayonets, and more than likely others.

So, that is where I have ended my research. Thus, I have decided to price it at $125, seeing as it is an unusual example of what it is, but not a "real" Hitler Youth knife.

At this point, I am tempted to keep it, and start collecting these not quite Hitler Youth knives...but, I already have one knife collection going, and one that is more Canadian....fur trade/pioneer knives.

That is another blog post all on its own!

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