Thursday, June 9, 2016

Kat K55K Mercator Knife, WW2 Captured Knife, Veteran Bring-Back, D.R.G.M.

This post is an update to a previous post that I made back in 2011, about my Kat K55K Mercator pocket knives.  I had mentioned that I had learned that my uncle had an original, WW2 vintage, Kat pocket knife that was brought home by my Grandfather after his WW2 service in France and Germany. Well, the knife was passed on to me and now it has found it's way onto the blog.

Here is a link to that original post:

To get things started, here is the "short-story" behind this knife:

This knife was picked up in Germany or France by my Grandfather, William R. Spannaus, while he served with the 405th Q.M Company in Patton's 89th Division.  I am guessing that he most likely took it from a German prisoner towards the end of the war.  Some time after the war, the knife was given to my Uncle, who carried it as his "daily carry" knife as a kid.  My Uncle kept the knife all these years and passed it to me a while back.  It is now in "My Grandfather's WW2 Time" part of my greater collection.

You can read about a couple of other items he brought back at these blog links:

This knife is marked "D.R.G.M.", which means Deutsches Reichs Gebrauchs Muster.  In English, this means "Protected Patent under the Reich Government".  The D.R.G.M. markings were used from 1891 until 1952.  In 1952, the patent stamping was changed to "D.B.G.M."  The "B" in the post-war patent stamping means "Bundes", or Federal, in English.

There were some interesting variations of these knives through the years that can help us date them to a particular era:

WW1 era:  "multi-tool" style, often with a corkscrew.
WW2 era:  Marked Mercator D.R.G.M, often with the single name of Mercator or Soligen.
Post-War 1953 on:  Mercator Germany, sometimes with D.B.G.M.

These Kat knives were not officially issued to German soldiers, however they were wildly popular with the German troops and most of them had a private purchased one in their pocket.  They were quite coveted by the US soldiers and many of them found their way back to the US after the war as souvenirs.

Mercator is still producing these knives for modern sale, using most of the same old equipment and in the old hand made way.  The older WW2 Kat knives were a bit larger than the currently produced knives though.  You can read more about the modern produced Kat knives in my previous blog posting.

Here is the photo album of this knife.  I have taken most of the photos side-by-side with a modern version of the Kat knife for comparison.  The WW2 knife is all bare metal finish and the new Kat knife has the black paint.  Originally the WW2 version would have had black paint as well, however it has all worn off.