About Excellent WWII Murphy Combat Fighting Knife & Scabbard
- Product Code: EWSK-GB129A
- Availability: In Stock
The Murphy Combat Fighting Knife was produced during World War II by David Z Murphy and his son David M Murphy. Murphy was a custom knife maker who first came to fame as the maker of the knives sold by the Gerber Legendary Blade Knife Company. The “Murphy” fighting knives are often categorized loosely as “Theater Knives”, even though they were not manufactured in a wartime theater of operations. They were, however, fighting knives manufactured for the explicit use of US military forces in combat during the Second World War. Murphy manufactured the knives in Gresham, OR and according to knife maker, researcher, and author M.H. Cole (who interviewed David M Murphy), approximately 90,000 knives were produced during the war. This seems to be a very high number, considering the rarity of these knives on the market today. Several knife researchers and authors have postulated that either the younger Murphy was simply incorrect in his estimate of total knives manufactured, or that somewhere along the line the production figures inadvertently received an extra “0” at the end, turning a much more believable total production of 9,000 into 90,000! However, David M Murphy stand behind that statement and even references that production figure in authentication letters that he has written.
The majority of the knives were produced in two sizes, a standard sized fighting knife with a 6 1/8” blade and a smaller 5” bladed “Jr” combat knife. The smaller knives are much less often encountered than the larger ones, although both are hardly common and in fact tend to be quite scarce, particularly in higher states of preservation. A much smaller number of specialty knives were also produced, like a “skinner” blade on the standard Murphy Combat hilt and some variant narrow “Bowie” bladed knives produced with the smaller Murphy Combat Jr. hilt. These rarities are almost never seen in collection and rarely appear on the market for sale today.
The knives were produced with cast aluminum hilts that were made from Ford Motor pistons and bright polished blades, which were manufactured from power hacksaw blades. The larger knives had the words MURPHY COMBAT cast into the obverse grip and U.S.A. cast into the reverse grip. The smaller knives were marked MURPHY COMBAT JR on the reverse grip and U.S.A. on the obverse. Some of the smaller run custom knives did not have any markings on them at all and were essentially “sterile”. The knives were usually supplied complete with a leather scabbard that was contoured to the guard of the knife and had a grip-retaining strap, which was secured with a snap. Several companies apparently manufactured the scabbards for Murphy, with Hamley’s Saddle Works of Pendleton, OR providing the bulk of the scabbards. M.H. Cole identifies at least four known WWII era scabbards for Murphy combat knives in his books, and assigns the variants numbers “1” through “4”.
This Murphy Combat Fighting Knife is in VERY FINE to NEAR EXCELLENT condition. This is one of the larger knives, with the 6 1/8” long clip-point Bowie style blade and an overall length of 11 ½”. The blade is truly about mint and shows about 85%+ of its original polish and retains its untouched factory edge with no indications of having been sharpened after leaving the Murphy manufactory. The cast aluminum hilt is marked MURPHY COMBAT on the obverse and U.S.A. on the reverse, although the casting is somewhat weak and blurred. As the aluminum hilts were cast, with the markings on them, they are often difficult to read (or photograph) clearly, in particular the “U.S.A.” mark. Crisply marked Murphy knives are definitely the exception and not the rule. The blade shows some minor dulling and very lightly scattered surface oxidation that has left some very minor discoloration here and there on the blade, but this is really not particularly noticeable. Knife authority M.H. Cole has identified at least four “factory” variants of the Murphy Combat scabbard. This scabbard is shown as #4 which was identical to #3, except that it has a smooth snap, instead of a flower pattern snap on the hilt retention strap. Like all four versions, the leather is fairly thin and sewn with a single line of stitching with three reinforcement rivets, two at the throat and one at the tip. The scabbard is in VERY FINE to NEAR EXCELLENT condition, like the knife. All of the stitching remains tight and intact, and the three original blackened reinforcement rivets are in place. The retaining strap is in fine, fully functional condition as well. The leather shows some minor age discoloration and some minor surface scuffing and marks, but shows no damage or abuse and the condition of the scabbard is appropriate to the condition of the knife, matching it perfectly.
Overall, this is really an outstanding example of a very scarce and desirable Murphy Combat World War II fighting knife. The knife is really about excellent, as is the original scabbard. It would be difficult to improve on the condition of the set. This knife would be a wonderful addition to any collection of World War II era fighting knives and really deserves a place in a very advanced WWII edged weapons collection.