Mark 2 'KA-BAR' Blade

Country of OriginUnited States
Length302.000 mm
Blade Length180.000 mm
Weight0.560 kg


ww2dbaseAfter the Pacific War had began, the United States Army and the United states Marine Corps were both still using the same fighting knives as they had in WW1; both branches viewed this as an inadequacy. The US Marine Corps authorized a limited production run of the Marine Raider Stiletto (patterned after the British Fairbairn-Sykes Fighting Knife), but this capable fighting knife design faired poorly as a general utility knife for cutting wires, opening ammunition crates, and other non-combat tasks on the front lines. After working with knife manufacturers, the United States Marine Corps adopted the 1219C2 design developed by Camillus Cutlery Company (of Camillus, New York, United States), Colonel John M. Davis, and Major Howard E. America; their design was initially rejected by the Marines Quartermaster, but the decision was overruled by the Marine Corps Commandant, accepting the design in Nov 1942. The United States Navy soon adopted the 1219C2 design for service, designating it as "US Navy Utility Knife, Mark 2" and "USMC Mark 2 Combat Knife". The first deliveries went to elite Marine units, and by late 1943 the Mark 2 knives had replaced the Marine Raider Stiletto. As production numbers increased, the US Marines began distributing the Mark 2 knives to resistance fighters.

Camillus Cutlery Company was the first and largest supplier of Mark 2 knives at over 1,000,000 examples. Union Cutlery Company (of Olean, New York, United States), Robeson (ShurEdge) Cutlery Company, and the PAL Cutlery Company also manufactured Mark 2 knives under contract during WW2. Union Cutlery Company was the owner of the trademark "KA-BAR", a name loosely based on the testimonials of a customer who mentioned that he had used his Union Cutlery Company knife to kill a bear ("kill a b'ar") which had been attacking him, and had stamped that trademark on the about 1,000,000 Mark 2 knives it had produced, thus securing "KA-BAR" as a nickname for all Mark 2 knives regardless of manufacturer. After the war, in 1952, Union Cutlery Company reorganized itself as the KA-BAR Cutlery, Incorporated in order to capitalize on the popularity of the KA-BAR name. Utica Cutlery Company, Conetta Cutlery Company, and a number of other knife manufacturing companies joined the war-time manufacturers in supplying the US military with Mark 2 knives. Mark 2 knives are still in service with the United States Marine Corps today.

Source: Wikipedia ww2dbase

Last Major Revision: May 2012

Mark 2 'KA-BAR' Blade Interactive Map


US Marines taking cover behind a barricade on Private First Class H. L. Miles and Corporal C. V. Corley of US Marines rested during a lull in battle, Iwo Jima, Japan, 15 Mar 1945

Mark 2 'KA-BAR' Timeline

23 Nov 1942 The 1219C2 fighting utility knife was adopted by the United States Marine Corps.
27 Jan 1943 The Camillus Cutlery Company of Camillus, New York, United States shipped the first production examples of the 1219C2 fighting knife design to the US military.

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Visitor Submitted Comments

1. s, Bennett says:
21 Sep 2015 12:37:10 PM

Mine is an original WWII with OD sheath, leather washer handle, marked U.S.N. Mark 2 on one side of the base of blade with Robeson(something very faint) Edge?

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