War is ugly. It's more hidden today because we kill at longer distances, but it's just as ugly and just as lethal as it always was. With that in mind, I've always been interested in what, to me, is the embodiment of that ugliness in the Trench Knives of WWI. These are simply dirty back-alley killing tools made for the hand. The "knuckle dusters" are obvious, and if you look at the hilt you'll see it's equipped with a "skull crusher" (yeah, that's the official technical term). The United States produced at least three different versions of this knife, most of which never made it across before the war ended. Following WWI, they were put in storage and then issued to various units (the Airborne for one) in WWII. Kurt Vonnegut wrote about his actual capture in WWII within the 'novel' Slaughterhouse Five. The soldier captured with him had one of these knives on his person and was summarily executed for possessing such a weapon. An authentic Trench Knife is very expensive, but this below is a pretty close replica (at least in heft and balance) of the most common type, the M1918 Trench Knife. I got it from the BUDK catalog for twenty bucks. This Chinese copy would not qualify as a good fighting knife (mostly because the blade is made of soft 984 steel), but even so, since the dimensions and weight are right, it feels like dirty business in the hand... In this copy, the handle is made of some pot metal colored to look like the original brass, though I doubt anyone struck with it would complain about that lack of authenticity. Paperweight for my man-cave.