The army dagger was designed by Paul Casburg and was allowed as a side arm option in
place of the Army sword in 1935.
The grip came in white, yellow or orange and had a carved groove format, running
clockwise, on the grip. Grips could also be acquired in solid ivory as well as other
materials at extra cost. One type is the Amber glass grip that is twice as heavy as real
amber. Early grips are found being a solid plastic material, by 1939 the grips changed to
being plaster filled and wood base with a plastic coating.
The very early cross guard and pommel were made from brass with a thick 4 microns of
silver plating. Later issued fittings range from nickel based to an alloy plated with 1-2
microns of silver, as well as nickel plating. The last daggers made had a dull gray oxide
finish. It should be noted that early daggers were finished with a dark burnishing in the
reassess of the fittings, that was to make the dagger look like an antique.
Cast onto the cross guard was an eagle with wings wide open holding an oak leaf wreath
in its talons. At the centre of the wreath was a swastika. The pommel had a ring of oak
leaves rising vertically from the grip to the pommel top, with the pommel screwed onto the
blade tang to secure the grip, cross guard and blade. On early daggers there was a clear
lacquer applied over the fittings.
The blade was 25.5 to 26.5 cm long and had no motto or engraving as standard. Many
blades were cross-grained polished, a few makers used a nickel plating that is highly
prized today by modern collectors. Etching as well etched presentations, or applied
presentation Damascus or just plain damast blades were available at extra cost. Its rare
to find real damast blades with a trademark on them as this cost the buyer extra to have
Early Army daggers had a brass based scabbard, that after 1936 went to a steel
based scabbard that was covered in a simple "pebble dash" finish. Again the very
early brass based had 4 microns of silver plating where as the later were reduced to 1-2
microns of silver finish as well as the nickel finish and late issues with the gray oxide
finish. Pressure fitted to the scabbard were two hanger suspension rings with oak leaf
patterns onto which the hanger was clipped. The early daggers had a clear lacquer applied
over the finish.
Two hanger straps, Silver coloured face with field grey velvet backs were used. The
fittings range from base material of silver-plated brass to a natural aluminium finish.
The fittings are as follows; oval buckles with oak leaf patterns with matching slides and
clips and an upper open clip loop were used to suspend the dress dagger from the
officers belt or in pocket hanger. The fittings on some hangers can be found
with a gold finish that is perhaps for the rank of General.
A Silver 42-43 cm Portapee was tied around the dagger grip to complete the dagger
accoutrements. Again these portepees can be found in many materials as well as a
gold Portapee, but is very rare. The insert is plain and not twisted in a circle like the
Navy style of Portapee.
The Army dagger ceased production in May 1943 possibly earlier. Just as a side note on
Army daggers, variations can be found with Gold finished hilt fittings and scabbard, this
extra cost item would have been for perhaps a General. This is a very rare variation and
is seldom encountered. The gold finish has a dull gold look.