Original WW2 era American fighting/utility knife manufactured during the war by Western Cutlery in Boulder, Colorado as Western model L71 – this type is commonly known as the “Seabee” fighting knife. Although it looks similar to MK1 utility knife, this scarce WW2 era “Seabee” knife has a distinctive flat-ground blued 5″ blade and a large flat and round steel pommel. This exact type is illustrated on page 53 of the US MILITARY KNIVES, BOOK TWO by M.H. Cole – a well-established expert and the author of a number of books on the subject of the US military edged weapons (see the book’s scan attached).
The USN Seabees were actually Naval Construction Battalions typically staffed by older men with specific skill sets; these were not the frontline fighting units. The Seabees repaired military equipment, built runways, roads, bridges, base camps and operated heavy construction equipment while the the Marines and the Army were concentrating on the actual fighting. While technically not the frontline fighting force, the Seabees did take part in some of the fighting during the war and took a considerable number of combat-related casualties.
This specimen is in rare practically unused condition – most of the blade bluing is intact, original factory edge, the scabbard looks pretty minty, as far as original WW2 era irems concern. The knife is about 9-1/2” / 24 cm overall; gun-blue blade is about 5-1/8″ / 13 cm. The edge is razor-sharp still; the tip is intact. Ricasso is stamped with the WW2-era vintage Western logo on one side. Stacked leather washers handle with black-n-red fiber spacers at the ends, solid steel half-hilt and hammer-like round iron pommel. The handle is tight with no play, all parts are solid; leather washers are in great condition without the typical “saltwater rot” so many of the WW2 era USN knives are suffering from. The long-forgotten GI’s initials TS are lightly carved on one side near the guard. Original early-war leather scabbard is near-excellent; the leather is soft an supple still. A rare type – after 1943 Seabee knives were issued with composition scabbards.
This WW2 Ka-Bar USN Seabee fighting-utility knife is scarce in general and rare in good condition nowadays – most of these “Seabee” utility knives were used as intended during the war and relatively few specimens survived to this day in good condition. This specimen is in great shape overall, considering the age; you will not be disappointed!
This attractive WW2 Western L71 Seabee utility knife / fighting knife and its original leather scabbard have not been cleaned or tampered with in any way, they are in 100% original “as is” condition. These are the actual photos; spent brass is not included with the lot 😉 I have a few more American WW2 era combat knives and bayonets, as well as several scarce WW1 and WW2 fighting daggers and trench knives from other countries available for sale – please take a look in the Militaria section.
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