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Luftwaffe Gravity Knife: Weapon, Tool, Tradition; 2nd Edition Hardback Book by Jan-Peter Brüning

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Luftwaffe Gravity Knife: Weapon, Tool, Tradition; 2nd Edition Hardback Book by Jan-Peter Brüning

Worldwide, this is the second book in English language on the Luftwaffe Gravity Knives used by German WW2 air crews and paratroopers.  The auther does not unnecessarily concern himself with random information on the Luftwaffe etc. but comes straight to the point and describes the design and development of this legendary edged weapon in detail.

The company SMF is undoubtedly indentified as the manufacturer, which designed this rescue and fighting knife for the Armament Office of the Luftwaffe in 1936 and still supplied the new German Army with the upgraded take-down version in the 1950's and 1960's.  Many collector's actually possess one of these knives without even knowing that they are post-war items.  The book shows some very rare trial versions which were given to members of the German Airborne School's Ranger Training Center in 1959, among them also the mysterious dagger version which so far is falsely identified as a 1943 Army trial knife.  Unpublished photographic material shows the SMF factory and also the owner Ernst Stocker.  A detailed analysis of the production process and the development steps of the knife's design from 1936-1960 by using detailed explosion drawings complete this part of the work.

The book also focuses on the WW2 manufacturers Paul Weyersberg & Co. and F&A Helbig.  The analysis of the author suggests that there was a close cooperation between the two Solingen firms.  A fact which was definitely not the case in Steinbach as it is vlearly proven that Malsch & Ambronn only picked up production after the war.  This second Steinbach manufacturer did not only produce its own knife but actually started by repairing defective Wehrmact stocks for the East German paramilitary organizations.  Afterwards the production of the first offical East German paratrooper knives was shifted to the GML Leegebruch located close to Berlin.  But also in the western part of Germany suddenly type II Gravity Knives of the companies Carl Eickhorn and the trading firm "Gebruder Weyersberg"  turn up in the 1950's; though the OEM behind this business is again the Solinger Metallwarenfabrik of Ernst Stocker.

The October 1943 Army trials of three different fighting knives incl. the Luftwaffe Gravity Knife gave rise to many myths.  The auther proves that the dagger version was not used during these trials; as mentioned before, any existing originals (among the many fakes) were indeed part of a field trial which took place around 17 years later in the southern part of Germany.  For the first time ever information on the outycome of these 1943 trials is revealed to the collector.  By the turn of the year 1943/44 a 14,000 men Army Special Force is fully equipped with the best German weapons and equipment, among those the Luftwaffe Gravity Knife.

The author furthermore concerns himself with the Polish and so far undiscovered Czech fakes, which include the WW2 Daffer Model and the Anton Wingen Knife.

At the end of the book, the way this legendary edged weapon was by tyhe troops during the war is described.  Reports of pilots and paratroopers, who use the knife e.g. hand to hand fighting against their4 Allied counterparts as well as 14 extremely rare original WW2 photos conclude this unique chapter.  The book only describes the family of M37 Luftwaffe Gravity Knives (so-called types I &II); the new German Army's type III and IV models are not part of this analysis.

The author presents the findings of his more than one year long, intensive research on more than 190 pages with more than 160 figures and photos (thereof >70 colored pages).  He was supported by German, Belgian, Czech and American collectors as well as experts from Solingen and Steinbach.  This book leaves no questions unanswered and is the most comprehensive document on the worldwide collector's market.

Published: 22nd January 2018

Jan-Peter Brüning, a paratrooper (reserve) himself, who served 12 years actively (1998-2010) recently released the second edition of his book Luftwaffe Gravity Knife: Weapon, Tool, Tradition

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