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  #76  
Old 07-26-2017, 12:56 AM
jeepster jeepster is offline
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Two of the best Threads on any of the forums has been this one and the one by Wally on the other forum. Interestingly both involved Gen. Westmoreland to some degree.
I've said all along that I thought the handle was wood and I'm sticking with that. I don't believe it's pinned but as Jack has said...the knife handle could be grimy and the pin covered a bit. Being Gen. Westmoreland I doubt that the handle is dirty. I also said I thought this was a Heiser sheath at the beginning. I must say that these clearer shots do make me think on the one hand that it is a Johnson. Then on the other hand the keeper strap says Heiser.....not definitive but....
Finally I think it's a 6" knife. I'm not technical like Jack but the brown buttons had a diameter of 1/2" maybe just a tad larger but a half inch at least. Looking at the brown buttons and adding them up it appears the sheath is just over 6" from the throat to the tip.
Do we know where this knife lives? Did Lt. Col Moore say his brother has this knife? If so Jack you need to beg for photos. Keep this one going.
Ronnie
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  #77  
Old 07-26-2017, 07:37 AM
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My opinion is that the sheath is a brown button Heiser, based on the very blunted stone flap. I believe all 3 primary makers Moore, Heiser and Johnson, had their own style of finishing the end of the tab. This one speaks Heiser to me.

Moore style



Heiser style slightly rounded/blunted



Johnson style more blunted



I know that there are exceptions always between Heiser and Johnson tabs but this Heiser sheath below IMO is a dead ringer to the subject sheath



The back of the Heiser above



Regards, Sam
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  #78  
Old 07-26-2017, 09:41 AM
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Jacknola Jacknola is offline
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Ronnie, an earlier post told how this knife was stolen from Gen. Moore in 1971 when he was returning to the US from Korea. He always expressed regret losing this knife when he would see it in pictures..and would relate how Gen Westmoreland had given it to him.

This is an interesting study. I see the "point" Joe and Ronnie are making about the sheath tip. But the horizontal keeper, brown buttons etc., could indicate an earlier sheath. So how do we rationalize contradictory data? My problem is the spacers. They just are not looking like typical 7-spacer stack, but look to have the thicker white spacer that was used briefly in the mid-50s. But is this fact?



Here is a picture of a bunch of 7-spacer stack, pinned handles, with all pictures reduced to black and white for comparison (Joe E-mailed me noting B&W photos can distort whites because of the comparative bright reflections). No ... looking at this comparison, the spacers of Moore's knife do not look like those 7-stacks.

Also included in the picture is a '50s m2 with leather handle and 5-spacer stack, and a 1943 m2 also with standard 5-stack. To me, the spacers in Moore's knife look most like a standard 5-spacer stack though not perfect. But the handle does not appear to be leather, but does look like wood. OK, there is a disconnect, but there are examples of 5-stack on non-leather handles.

My current conclusion: The sheath and knife features we can see make it likely to be pre-1963 (it has brown button, horizontal keeper), post about 1954 (it has narrow stone flap). For the purpose of the article, I'm probably going to finesse the issue, calling it "'50s," or perhaps "late 50s." We could debate this until everyone's position hardened.. but for literary purposes that will do.

Of course if we could see the back of the sheath, blade, etc., bingo. But that will sadly never happen. The good news is that thanks to this line and everyone's participation, this little piece of history, and bigger piece of Randall history has been discovered and preserved. The military history of Randall knives is the reason I came to collect and a big reason for the lore of the Randall. This line has made a contribution here, and the article I'll write will share it with a larger military community. Thanks all...

Ciao

Last edited by Jacknola; 07-26-2017 at 10:54 AM.
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  #79  
Old 07-26-2017, 10:55 AM
crutchtip crutchtip is offline
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Jack -

I would say that those most recent photos used as examples are relative close-ups with the knives being the subject of those photos, with better lighting, giving us a much better look, and offering much better contrast. In comparison we are using 50 year old photos taken at some distance, the knife is not the subject of the photo but an ancillary item, and they are very grainy upon enlargement. I don't know if those are a valid comparison.

To sam,

I see a wholey different sheath. No throat flair at all like your Heiser example, a rounded toe unlike the "point" of your Heiser example.

The flap of the Johnson you use is also more pointed and is not really "blunt".

Different eyes I guess.

I still can't post photos but will send some more to Jack on a later 2-8 sheath that is most likely early 60's HKL imo, and it has the same shape as your Heiser example. Nothing like Col. Moore's sheath that I can see. I sold this 2-8 sheath to the buyer not too long ago to put together with the knife. So I don't know if the knife could be slightly earlier. I hope he will post one or two of them for comparison.

Not to get into a debate, but I think we can all agree there was an overlap of time, albeit short, of concurrent HKL and Johnson BB sheath availability.

As a footnote, and after scanning the databank, I seem to recall a couple of mid 60's #2's with handle keepers. If I am not mistaken, you could order a handle keeper on that model if desired. Not saying for sure, but I seem to recall a couple of examples.
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  #80  
Old 07-26-2017, 12:21 PM
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I see your point on the throat flair and shape of the foot Joe.
Thanks, Sam
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  #81  
Old 07-26-2017, 10:00 PM
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In an investigation, the biggest mistake is to try to prove your case and excuse the evidence. I've done considerable searching and Joe's point about Heiser m2 sheaths with a more pointed toe seems to be a pretty solid rule.

What that means is that this could be a very unusual "A" type Johnson brown button horizontal keeper sheath. There have been only about 10 Johnson brown button sheaths identified of all kinds, and no m2s that I can remember...though there have been some "B" types. If this is a Johnson brown button, it would be fair to call it rare on many accounts ... if the frontal shape is accurate. Unfortunately, with no diagonal keeper, and no view of the back, we don't have a comprehensive confirmation in my opinion. However, the shape is different from the Heiser-west (HKL) sheaths which were also not usually equipped with a horizontal keeper. The package is made more unique by the spacer arrangement in conjunction with the wood handle.

If this is accurate, we can probably identify the age of this knife with great precision. It was made in about an 8-month period between mid-1962 and very early 1963, which is the documented time Johnson used brown buttons.

I think that is the date that is most accurate from the data to adopt for this purpose. However it is peculiar in context. Westmoreland was Superintendent of the United States Military Academy from 1960 to 1963 and Commander of XVIII Airborne Corps from 1963 to 1964. He went to Vietnam in late 1963 and took over MACV command from Gen Harkins in Mid-1964.

I'm not sure why he would procure a RMK m2 in late'62 early '63 or so. Perhaps it was given to him when he left West Point, or took command of the XVIII Corp, or even when he reported to Vietnam ... Perhaps the m2 blade didn't fit his likings so a year later he acquired the m1/5 ivory that he carried thereafter. It is a confusing story that requires inserting some assumed data... we will see. It would be a much easier story if this were a mid-50s blade.

Last edited by Jacknola; 07-27-2017 at 03:43 PM.
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  #82  
Old 08-13-2017, 12:11 AM
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I received a truly hi-res picture from the family and I think I can now agree this is probably a seven-spacer model 2. The sheath is unusual... horizontal keeper brown button "A" probably made by Johnson. He did make "B" sheaths with horizontal keepers and made quite a few "A" sheaths for small knives using that retaining method.. While Heiser made a lot of these combat "A" type sheaths with horizontal keeper, this is the only possibly Johnson-made large combat-knife sheath I've seen that used the horizontal keeper, especially with brown buttons.

BUT... I notice the stone pocket seems to be a lot higher than normal- it would have been very hard to set the male button end to secure a diagonal keeper on this sheath. As a matter of fact, I suspect the stone pocket position is why they opted for a horizontal keeper or perhaps Johnson installed the pocket higher when using that retaining method. Heiser seems to have done that occasionally when using the horizontal keeper, but I just haven't seen any Johnson examples to compare. It makes me wonder just a little if this was made by Stockman or "other?"

The article about Gen. Moore's Randall for publication as been written and approved. When it is published, I'll link it and post it here.

Last edited by Jacknola; 08-13-2017 at 02:04 PM.
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  #83  
Old 08-13-2017, 03:59 AM
jeepster jeepster is offline
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I would agree. I believe that's a seven spacer.
Ronnie
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  #84  
Old 09-01-2017, 02:46 PM
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The article about Lt. Gen. Hal Moore and his Randall knife has been published in the "Sentinel," the news letter of the S. Cal. Chapter 78 of the Special Forces Association. The initial hard copy distribution is limited. However, the electronic distribution will go to all chapters of the Special Forces Association, the National chapter, the Special Operations Association, and many veteran, airborne, and unit associations. It is estimated that this issue and article will be distributed to over 10,000 individuals as a direct E-mail. When posted on Facebook in Gen Hal Moore's site, many others will view it.

When I receive the hard copies, some will be forwarded to Lt. Col. Steve Moore for his family. And I'll forward two copies of this issue of the Sentinel, and also copies of the issue with the article entitled "The Vietnam Randall" (see link below) to the shop on the chance they might be interested.

http://www.knifenetwork.com/forum/sh...ad.php?t=63851

Thanks to all the people who contributed to the research. Here is a link to the story which will have a sharper image and print than the copy below:

http://specialforces78.com/wp-conten...tinel-News.pdf

Here is the full September issue. The article begins on page 4.


Last edited by Jacknola; 09-06-2017 at 10:43 AM.
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  #85  
Old 09-01-2017, 04:44 PM
Ta2bill Ta2bill is offline
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Fantastic article Jack!
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  #86  
Old 09-01-2017, 05:32 PM
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For those interested, the editor of this award winning news letter is Dr. (ret) Lonny Holmes. He served 44 months in SE Asia, Vietnam and Thailand, in Special Forces as a SF medic, in combat with the MIKE force, on A-teams, etc. When he got out of the service, he went to Yale Medical School and became one of S. California's leading heart surgeons. He is retired from medicine but collects everything from duck stamps to pistols and is a recognized authority on SF history. He may be attending a special event in the White House later this year.

In addition to diverse wide ranging intellectual interests, Lonny has become an authority on flora and fauna, especially lichens, of the upper Nevada desert. He currently has about five RMKs.

Here is a picture of Lonny Holmes (rt) and me in 1968 in Vietnam. This was taken after he forcible hospitalized me for malaria when I visited the B-Team in Kontum en route to a new assignment to the SF A-team at Ben Het. The picture was taken when he finally let me out of the hospital in Kontum, Vietnam, so I could return to my A-team.

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  #87  
Old 09-01-2017, 09:27 PM
dirty water dirty water is offline
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Jack, the article/magazine will be most appreciated...Thank you for all your time and research...
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  #88  
Old 09-03-2017, 11:57 AM
crutchtip crutchtip is offline
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Well written Jack.

I am not settled on the manufacture of Compton's knife being 1942 as I stated previously. It could be, but without the journal stating a 6" stag fighter between June and Dec 1942, we may never know for sure. Switching to leather almost exclusively in Nov 1942 could lend itself to the knife being made in that time frame, but again, it is difficult to say for sure as there are a few examples of two pin fighters we know of made later. The blade grind, a style that disappeared in the earlier part of 1943 definitely points to an earlier knife, but the blade length could be a sign of 1943 based on what we know was being made at the time which apparently were larger blades.

To me, one thing against 1942 is the shallow finger relief. Most if not all extant examples of the " Zach style" blades from that period I have seen all had a deep finger relief, some equal or close to the choil depth, but, it is the only one with a 6" blade I have seen that with the possibility of being 1942 made and perhaps the deep finger relief didn't work with that blade length. I don't know, so this is a tough one determine.

I have an approx. 8" Zacharias style (blade grind) fighter with leather and finger grips with what appears to be the identical spacer stack as Compton's knife. My guess is it was early 1943, primarily because of the thong link, which my other one, the 28th knife delivered jan 1943 does not have. I surmised the pre-thong link knife predated the thong link knife.

I have a 6" Commando with leather that came with one of those tags with a string attached to the brass thong link that states 1942, that I presume was put one there by the original owner. It is old. I don't know if it was made in 1942 unless in Nov/Dec of 1942, so I suppose it is possible, but I thought 1943 because of the thong link. In any case it would give some insight into the use of the thong link earlier than thought. It also has a shallow finger relief, like the Compton knife, but it isn't a Model 1 and really designed a slashing type of knife fighting, again no "a ha" moment.

So, I don't know exactly where the wrist thing link falls into the equation in dating one of these few knives from late 42 to earlier 43.

Anyway, the point of all this is I don't think we can say for sure the Compton knife was made in 1942 and that there is some grey area from this time period, prior to the beginning of the onslaught of orders.
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  #89  
Old 09-03-2017, 09:25 PM
jeepster jeepster is offline
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I enjoyed the article Jack. For a Randall military history lover it is a keeper. I would like a copy of the Sentinel. How can I go about acquiring one.
Thanks.
Ronnie
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  #90  
Old 09-05-2017, 01:47 PM
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Ronnie, the SFA only prints a limited number of hard copies for the members because they are high- gloss, high-quality thus somewhat costly. I E-mailed Lonny about your request and told him there may be others in the collecting community that also would like an original copy. Currently there is no procedure to handle such requests, but he said he would send me 20 hard copies for my use.

I plan to forward 10 to the Moore family, and 2 to the shop, keeping 2-3 for myself. This leaves about five copies I can forward to collector friends. I told Lonny they may end up with some value in the collecting community but his response was a shrug, and a comment… “good.” I’ll send one to you.. I think I have your address but PM me to make sure. Of course others can access the web site and print their own copies, but from my experience the published hard copy is superior quality.

Lonny has transformed this SF Chapter 78 Newsletter into quite a widely anticipated mini-magazine with feature historical articles related to Special Forces in every issue. The publication has won quite a few awards and is very widely forwarded and read. As a historian, you might be interested in this article I wrote earlier this year about the historical Pathfinders… written upon the disbanding of the last 82nd Airborne Pathfinder company.

http://specialforces78.com/wp-conten...tinel-News.pdf
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