18 19Th Century version of a KABAR

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Marinekayak

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SO, I'm a Marine deal with it. What would have been the 18th and 19th Century equivalent of a 20th century KABAR? Its a Marine and his rifle, (and his KABAR) but what was the knife in the past?
 

Coot

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My best guess would be that in the last half of the 18th century, most common would likely have been an imported trade knife with slab handle & a simple butcher blade. In the first half of the 19th century, a bowie type knife either imported or made here. "A sure defense".
 

Loyalist Dave

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SO, I'm a Marine deal with it. What would have been the 18th and 19th Century equivalent of a 20th century KABAR? Its a Marine and his rifle, (and his KABAR) but what was the knife in the past?
Alright, so...,
18th century, since the KBAR is an issued knife for most of its history, what were the Continental Marines and then the Marine Corps "issued"...

The first thing would be a socket bayonet. Since formations were used instead of individual fighting holes (which are 20th century) there was no slashing. You thrust, or you parried, and you could butt-stroke or smash. A socket bayonet may be held in the hand when one is not armed with a musket at the time it is needed.

Although an officer would've been armed with a short sword, and a Sergeant might have had a "hangar sword"..., aboard ship, an enlisted Marine might also have been armed with sword, with a naval cutlass... or a boarding axe. (The Mameluke for officers was not adopted until 1825)

An actual battle knife, would not have been issued, and might not have been that common as most of the Corps' early history was as ship defenders and as raiding parties. Long expeditions on land needing a camp/utility knife were not carried out by Marines at that time. So as suggested, a simply butcher knife, which would also have been common among the sailors on the ships, was likely. In fact it has been argued by reenactors that Continental Marines should not be seen with packs of any sort, since they were used as hit-and-retire troops when they left ship.


So there isn't an issued knife...,
This would be true up through the first half of the 19th century. Until, in 1840 there was the "AG Hicks Knife".
AG HICKS KNIFE.jpg
Some sources say the above was the "first government adopted knife", but other sources say the "Ames" knife of 1849 is the first contract knife...,
AMES CONTRACT KNIFE.jpg

So there you have it....of the two, the Hicks knife is more utilitarian and closer to what the KBAR was usually used for...

Semper Fi,

Loyalist Dave
3rd Bn 6th Marines
2nd Recon Bn
1985-1989
 

Artificer

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As LD noted, most 18th century Continental and then U.S. Marines did not carry knives that could have been used for fighting. The one major exception to this would have been Captain Willing's Marines. The knives almost certainly would have been "Trade Knives" in either Butcher or Scalper patterns. While these knives were not designed as fighting knives, rather general purpose knives, they were used for fighting when needed.

In January/Early February of 1778, a group under Navy Captain James Willing left Pittsburgh, traveled down the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers, captured a ship and in conjunction with other Continental Marines brought by ship from the Gulf of Mexico raided British Loyalists on the shore of Lake Ponchartrain

The Waterhouse painting representing these Marines.

Semper Fi

Gus
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bud in pa

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As LD noted, most 18th century Continental and then U.S. Marines did not carry knives that could have been used for fighting. The one major exception to this would have been Captain Willing's Marines. The knives almost certainly would have been "Trade Knives" in either Butcher or Scalper patterns. While these knives were not designed as fighting knives, rather general purpose knives, they were used for fighting when needed.

In January/Early February of 1778, a group under Navy Captain James Willing left Pittsburgh, traveled down the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers, captured a ship and in conjunction with other Continental Marines brought by ship from the Gulf of Mexico raided British Loyalists on the shore of Lake Ponchartrain

The Waterhouse painting representing these Marines.

Semper Fi

Gus
MGySgt of Marines 1971-1997 (ret)
I noticed that some of the Marines had two powder horns. Anybody care to guess why>
 

Loyalist Dave

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Waterhouse,(the painter) is a modern artist. The painting is representative of his modern interpretation of the events and the extra horns may or may not have been carried during the original expedition.
I'd pretty much bet dollars vs. donuts that the artist thinks that everybody back in that time period carried two horns when operating a rifle. Hence the depiction.

LD
 

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I'd pretty much bet dollars vs. donuts that the artist thinks that everybody back in that time period carried two horns when operating a rifle. Hence the depiction.

LD
Then Major (later Colonel) Charles Waterhouse indeed painted this and a number of paintings in the early 70's used to illustrate the 1975 book, "Marines in the Revolution," that celebrated the Corps' Bicentennial.

Colonel Waterhouse was loaned items from the Marine Corps Museum to assist in his paintings; but back then, it was commonly and erroneously thought that two powder horns were commonly carried, one for priming and the other for the main charge. So, that's the way the Colonel painted them in some of the paintings.

More info on Colonel Waterhouse:


Gus
 
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