Survival Knives

The large bowie style knife which is incorrectly known as a "V44" was made in Australia by various manufacturers. It appears to have been mainly issued to Air Crews from the US and the RAAF as a survival knife. This knife was essentially a copy of the Collins #18 machete from the US.

Known makers are:

  • GregSteel
  • Mars
  • Marsden
Some unmarked examples have been found. Many "Theatre" made copies were also produced.

MARS Survival Knife
Courtesy of the Bill Walters collection

Markings on the above knife
MARS Survival Knife MARS Survival Knife

V44 Knife
This knife was owned by Trooper JJ Dann who was a member of 2/6 Commando Squadron
This knife is 14 1/32'' (358mm) long and weighs 1 lb 11/2 oz (500gm)
The sheath pictured is not the correct issue sheath but is most likely contemporay to the knife.

2/6 Commando Squadron Patch

Trooper Dann
Trooper Dann prior to transfer to the Commandos
(courtesy the Dann family)

Trooper Dann's Service Medals
Trooper Dann's Service Medals
(courtesy the Dann family)

Markings on the above knife
Marsden Mark  Marsden Mark

Markings on other knives
Marsden Mark
Some Marsden Knives were marked on the blade

W Mark  W Mark
These knives only have an Inspectors acceptance mark of a W and /I\

The name V44 applied to this knife is actually a misnomer. This type of "knife" originally came in to service in US Army Air Corp Survival kits as the Collins #18 Machete from 1934. Along the way, it was "appropriated" by fighting men. It came in to service in WW2 with US Marine Raiders when its suitability was recognised when needing to pack light. One tool that could fulfill several functions, machete, entrenching tool and fighting knife.

The name V44 actually applies to a non folding machete with walnut handles and blued blade made by Case for the US Navy in 1944. Somewhere over the years this name was applied to the Collins #18 and it stuck. (Acknowlegement to Frank Trzaska for this information on the history of the V44.)

Unknown Australian Maker

This is an example of the Survival knives that were attributed to Australian makers during the war. None of this pattern knife are known to have makers marks. Some are known to have Inspectors Marks which is proof that at least some were an issue item. Unmarked examples like this one are believed to have been produced for the Private Purchase market both amongst Australian and US troops.

Unknown Maker Australian Survival Knife
A fine example of this pattern knife

Post WW2 Survival Knives

Jet Pilots Survival Knife

Up until about 2005 the RAAF has issued the Jet Pilots Survival knife to air crew.

RAAF issue Courtesy RAAF Museum Point Cook

The JPK was also on limited issued to some Army units for "Survival Training" and specialist tasks.

Jet Pilots Survival Knife This knife was isued to soldier in 1990 as part of his kit to attend a Survival Training course

Type "D" Survival Knife

The British Type D Survival Knife has had limited issue with the ADF for several decades, both in the Army and the Air Force. So far the knives observed have no additional markings on them to denote use by Australian Forces.

The British Type D Survival Knife is currently part of RAAF Pilots Escape and Evasion Kit with the F18 fighter.

Type D Survival Knife

Type D Survival Knife This knife is by Wilkinson sword. It is very weakly marked.

The Type "D" Survival knife also had limited issue to some Army units. The Armoured Corp had them in the 1990's. Probably because they could be carried in armoured vehicles. They are a big heavy knife and not something I would expect an infantry soldier to carry.
Type D Survival Knife

Type D Survival Knife This knife is by Joseph Rodgers. It is very strongly marked.

I would be very interested to find out if any other units were issued with the Type "D" Survival Knife. If you have any information on their use, please .