Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Killing them softly, The Fairbairn Sykes Commando Knife

The Fairbairn Sykes Commando Knife is a fine toast amongst collectors as a weapon that embodies the finest fusion of form and function. Built on the classic dagger design lines, it is both functional and visually appealing. There is a perfect balance in the knife’s design that the collector’s eye loves, the way all the individual parts come together to create an aesthetically pleasing composition in gleaming metal . A tribute to aggression coexisting with beauty and grace wedded to deadly purpose.

This British Commando knife was first designed in 1940 by close combat legends William Fairbairn and Eric Sykes, who established and taught the combative training methods for wartime special forces such as the independent companies, SOE, Commandos, U.S Rangers and OSS. A favorite commando World War II weapon for both the U.S and British Commonwealth Forces, its high quality reproductions are much in demand and sought after with top quality selling for thousands. The 1st pattern knife was originally manufactured exclusively by Wilkinson Sword Company, and was in great demand from first production. Today, reputed companies such as Windlass Steelcrafts offer high quality heat tempered, hand forged high carbon steel blades with hand fitting ferruled blackened metal gripwhich look, handle and perform as the original. The Fairbairn-Sykes Commando knife is considered the Spitfire of the knife world and accorded an all-time combative classic status. It is an object of beauty which when held in trained hands becomes an utterly deadly weapon.

The Commando Regiment is known to have been formed in 1940 at the behest of Winston Churchill himself. Britain’s humiliating defeat at Dunkirk made it clear that it was not well placed to launch a large scale military attack against Germany. Churchill’s strategy was to counter this weakness by installing a new group of fighting men within British forces dedicated to causing maximum disruption to the German army through well prepared, surprise attacks on enemy installations. Churchill famously said “There ought to be at least 20,000 Storm Troops or 'Leopards' drawn from existing units, ready to spring at the throats of any small landings or descents." After the end of the World War these Commando units were disbanded but the remaining Royal Marines 3 Commando Brigade continued to participate actively in military action. The F-S knife remains as popular as ever and a vital part of the commando kit taken everywhere by Commandos in significant military interventions – the Suez crisis, the Falklands War, the Gulf War and the War in Afghanistan.
Though known as the FS Fighting knife, it was not designed to be a knife fighting knife, but primarily designed to be used in silent killing actions such as sentry take-outs. The techniques of effective use were taught to various special forces at Highland training centres such as Lochailort Special Training Centre (STC) and Achnacarry, which was the Commando Basic Training Centre (CBTC) from 1942-1945.

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