All About Knives Used in Wars

As far as knives are concerned, they may be arguably the oldest tool the human has ever used. For many generations, and even when mankind mostly started roaming the earth, knives were already used as the main tool. Back then, knives were either used for hunting or crafting other items. Mankind has then continued adapting the use of knives as time passed on. 

Evolution of Knives

  • Stone Age: Knives did evolve and are still being improved up to this day. But back then, knives were simple and unrefined. Since, of course, most knives were already recorded back to the same Paleolithic era, wherein mankind is starting to emerge from caves and crafting their tools. Mainly, knives during that time were made of stones or flint. The edges were always rough and would make jagged cuts rather than smooth cuts. But, it continued to evolve with a more distinctively arrowhead with leather-covered handles. It primarily remained the same throughout the stone age; it started to improve after that.
  • The Bronze Age: One of the main reasons that 3,000 B.C.E is named The Bronze Age is because that’s where simple metalworking came into place. It’s where the face and looks of knives changed entirely. Mankind almost abandoned the use of stones as a primary material in making blades, as metal like copper and bronze became the new face of knives. Copper and bronze were much effective and durable than stones; they can sustain much longer during hunting or even crafting other tools. It’s also a good note that during the bronze era, people used knife crafting as an art. Knives during that time were still simple, and they had a flat triangular copper blade with oblique edges, pointed tip, and riveted handle. Eventually, the copper used in blades was replaced with much durable bronze material, making knives more effective.
  • The Iron Age: With the creation of steel, this is where mankind’s progression came across with the use of tools for the development of wars. Though tagged as the first golden age, it’s also the time where Romans were violent and started using tools for war. They began creating different knife-style weapons such as Seax; a long dagger-style knife, Rondel and, Bollock; a needle-like knife used mainly for stabbing. But the most used by Romans back then is their standard-issue, Gladius, a short sword mostly used as a combat tool.
  • Pre-Industrial: When Roman Empire eventually fell, the creation of a large number of fighting blades was crafted. Mainly, the blades crafted took inspiration from the recent warfare and developments in culture. Most of the blades crafted during this era are also the most recognizable knives made. Most blades used today were made during these times, and some have their clear origin as well.

Karambit – Made during the 11th century and mainly originated from Southeast Asia – mostly amongst the Minangkabau people of West Sumatra. The people who crafted the knife took inspiration from the Tiger Claw. The Karambit became sharper and more curved as it improved, and now, some can be folded for better concealment.

Kukri – This is the main weapon used by the infamous Gurkha Soldiers during the 16th century. This combat knife has its resemblance with a machete – by having a larger side. This is also the first blade that was noticed by westerners due to its appearance in the famous horror novel Dracula. 

Dirk – Mainly, this knife was associated with seafaring warriors back in the 17th century. It was used as a sidearm for boarding enemy vessels. It became so effective that it was standardized as a piece of equipment for midshipmen and officers in the Navy.

Navaja – During the 17th century, the Spanish were able to craft a knife that we could say a pretty big jump for them. Spaniards were able to incorporate this knife into a martial art called ‘esgrimas de navaja’ – and it was taught at schools in several parts of the country.

Pesh-Kabz – This Persian Blade of the 17th Century was created for a much more specific approach in battle – to pierce through chain mail armor. The blade was often created of a long, curved, dagger-style blade. The design helped in adding strength for the stabbing.

Bowie – Named after the late James Bowie, a famous knife fighter that died in Alamo during the 19th century. This was said to be the basis of most modern fighting knives. The craftmanship may be simple, but it was durable and laster longer, making it a utility blade as well.

Faca/Facon – Also created in the 19th century, this blade became the middle-ground between the Bowie and the Faca. This blade was adorned with designs both on the blade and the sheath. Though used to settle disputes, it still proved to be lethal.

Douk-Douk – Made during the 20th century, this supposed utility blade was used as a weapon during the FLN-led Algerian revolt. It was inexpensive and can be easily concealed; that is why it was used as a weapon to assassinate during the revolt.

Modern Era

The difference between the past eras and the present is still because of how the knives are used. In the past, it was just mainly used for hunting and crafting other tools. Then, it evolved to be used as a tool for war and utility. Today, knives are still used for wars and battles, but they can be used as a survival tool when in the wild or just to protect yourself. Knives continue to evolve as time goes by, its either mankind craft better blades or improve the ones we already have. Either way, we all hope that we can steer away from tools of war and go back to the simple uses of these blades.