The M3 Fighting knife or M3 trench knife was an American military combat knife first issued in March 1943. It was originally designated for issue to soldiers not otherwise equipped with a bayonet. However, it was particularly designed for use by elite forces in need of a close-combat knife such as Airborne troops and Army Rangers whose units received priority for the M3 at the start of production. As more M3 knives became available in 1943 and 1944, the knife was issued to other soldiers such as Army Air Corp crewmen and soldiers not otherwise equipped with a bayonet, including soldiers issued the M1 Carbine or a submachine gun.
The first version of this knife was blade-marked and dated. The second version was also blade-marked, but did not have the year included in the stamping. The 3rd version was blade-guard marked. The first version of this knife was blade marked and dated. The second version was also blade-marked, but they did not have a year date included. The 3rd version was blade-guard marked.
There were nine companies that produced the M3 fighting knife: Aerial Cutlery, H. Boker & Co., Camillus Cutlery, W.R. Case & Sons, Imperial Knife Company, Kinfolks Inc., Pal Blade & Tool Co., Roberson Cutlery Co., and Utica Cutlery Co. The M3 trench knife was discontinued in August 1944, after the M1 Carbine was modified to accept a knife-type bayonet.
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