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PRESERVING THE ITEMS THAT WITNESSED HISTORY

Yugoslav Paratrooper M48 Knife

Yugoslav Paratrooper M48 Knife

This is possibly the rarest Yugoslavian combat knife, manufactured for the specific needs of the Yugoslav People’s Army 63rd Paratrooper Brigade. In the years following the Second World War, the Yugoslav People’s Army was equipped with a large quantity of trophy German weapons. Considering that, YPA’s officials had decided to arm the 63rd Paratrooper Brigade with captured German assault rifles Sturmgewehr 44 (StG-44). However, a problem emerged because the StG-44 lacked bayonet installation, and a knife was essential for performing parachutist tasks.  Paratroopers needed a reliable knife for cutting belts, ropes and nets, but with the possibility of use and for hand-to-hand combat.  YPA’s officials made the conclusion that the scout knife М1951 fully meets these requirements, but the members of the brigade wanted to own weapons that are better suited for the requirements of Airborne Forces
 

 

This knife loosely resembles the Hungarian M1950 Paratrooper knife, and it was designed and produced by the members of the 63rd Paratrooper Brigade itself. The knife is hand forged and used by the officers and non-commissioned officers of the unit. The exact place of its manufacture can not be precisely determined, it was either produced by the inmates of the Niš correctional facility or by the paratroopers themselves in the military barracks workshop. The exact number of manufactured daggers is unknown, but the estimations are that several hundred were made.

 

 

The knife has a double-edged, polished blade, which is 15 centimeters long and 5 centimeters wide. The guard is made out of burnished steel, it is 5.5 centimeters long and bent towards the hilt. The 10,5 cm long handle is manufactured out of black painted wood, with four widely spaced finger grooves, screwed onto the hinge with a nut. The entire knife is 25.5 cm long.
 

 

The scabbard of the 63rd Brigade's knife is made of burnished steel, it was made of two separate panels, which are carefully assembled and the edges were then folded over. The throat is a separate component from the rest of the scabbard. The scabbard has a frog stud that fits with the leather belt frog of the Yugoslav M48 bayonet. The knife is very light, it weighs just 100 grams without the scabbard, and the scabbard weighs 60 grams. The main function of this knife was fast cutting the parachute ropes if unpredicted situations occur during a parachute jump.

 

 

The knife was unsuitable for the challenges of the modern paratrooper units. However, it represented the status symbol in the Yugoslav People’s Army and it was worn by officers in Bosnia after the outbreak of the Yugoslav civil war.


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