A German Army paratrooper knife is a gravity knife invented during the Second World War, with the main purpose of enabling paratroopers to cut themselves out of parachutes that get stranded while landing. Read our guide for more facts and information
Gravity knives are unique in the sense that they use gravitational force or the force of inertia to open. The main advantage of a gravity knife over a folding knife is the facility of operating it single-handedly. Most of the knives that were invented later, such as stiletto knives, sliding knives or butterfly knives, are not inertia operated, though they are at times mistaken for gravity knives. An automatic switchblade knife – a clip point jack knife also serves as a paratrooper knife.
Description of German Army paratrooper knife
The 1940 paratrooper knives usually had olive-drab handles made of Bakelite in trap door models. The mechanical details were intricately designed and may have a folding spike arrangement along with the primary blade. The most popular gravity knife of World War II is the Fallschirmjäger-Messer, which is a German military paratrooper made in the OTF (Out The Front) model, and can be locked open with the aid of gravity accompanied by a salute movement of the wrist.
Working mechanism of a German Army paratrooper knife
The standard model of this paratrooper knife comprises a hinge on its side. The knife has to be pointed downwards to allow the gravitational force to pull the blade. Upon flipping the lever that secures the blade, the paratrooper or user has to just flick the wrist backwards, and the inertia of the twist pulls out the blade. The lever now locks the blade in the open position. Holding it with the blade upwards, flipping the lever for the second time causes the blade to slide into the handle.
Superiority of German Army paratrooper knives over others
As a gravity knife, it is legitimate when compared to spring-operated knives. Though there are modern knives that can be flicked open with a thumb-operated pin single-handedly, functioning like gravity knives, they are still prone to problems from stiff hinges. Therefore, drawing open this German Army gravity knife is much faster than any other knife. Knives that can lock open with the aid of gravitational force, but cannot lock back in the closed position are called false gravity knives.
Original German Army knives are known for their flawless, precise craftsmanship. The blade not only stays closed in a secure manner but also opens with a slight flick of the thumb. They have laces to strap on securely. Avid collectors consider them as priced possessions.
German Army paratrooper knives of the German Bundeswehr are made of laser-cut steel blades that are ice hardened. They have distinct serial numbers which allow them to be traced accurately, and possess ergonomically-designed handles for safe grip.