I ran across this (almost prohibitively expensive) very collectable U.S. Collins & Co. V-44 Legitimus survival knife over at Snyder’s that was used by Marine Raiders in the Pacific in WWII. The green horn grip is sweet and has some chips and slight cracks from combat use. Contrary to popular belief, not all Marines carried a K-Bar.
The Raiders of course were elite units established by the United States Marine Corps during World War II to conduct amphibious light infantry warfare, particularly in landing in rubber boats and operating behind the lines.
“Edson’s” Raiders of 1st Marine Raiders Battalion and “Carlson’s” Raiders of 2nd Marine Raiders Battalion are said to be the first United States special operations forces to form and see combat in WWII and were famous for the raid on Makin Island, where some 211 Devils landed from the submarines USS Argonaut and USS Nautilus (a past Warship Wednesday alum).
The 14-inch long (9 3/16″ Clip style blade) carbon steel V-44 was first used back as early as 1934 as a survival machete for the Army Air Corps and Capt. William F. Schwerin of Carlson’s Raiders ordered six Collins # 18 machetes and showed them to FDR’s son Major James Roosevelt who felt the big splitter could boost morale of the Raiders they were creating.
This turned into an order for 1000 which had the distinctive green or greenish black horn handles shown above with a tang marked Collins and Co. over a arm holding a hammer arising out of a crown over Legitimas over Made in the U.S.A. over No. 18.
The Marine Raiders and Navy Corpsmen of WWII earned 7 Medals of Honor, 136 Navy Crosses, 21 Distinguished Service Crosses, 330 Silver Stars, 18 Legions of Merit, 6 Navy & Marine Corps medals, 3 Soldier Medals, 223 Bronze Stars, and 37 Letters of Commendation in their brief service and in 2014 the Marines re-branded their post-9/11 MARSOC units as Raiders.
If you ask me, they should bring back the V-44 for those units. Just saying.