POTD: Very Rare WWII OSS ‘No. 5’ Standard Issue Escape Knife

   08.30.21

POTD: Very Rare WWII OSS ‘No. 5’ Standard Issue Escape Knife

Welcome to today’s Photo of the Day! Secret agent stuff, man! Here we have a rare OSS Number Five Escape Knife issued to secret agents, insurgents, and French resistance fighters in World War II. Escape tools like this one were precursors to common multitools found in almost every sporting goods store today.

“This is an original example of a super rare “No. 5 OSS” standard issue, escape knife as described on page 158 of book III, “U.S. Military Knives” by M.H. Cole. These knives obviously were issued to the OSS/SOE and probably French resistance fighters during WWII as a general purpose escape and evasion knife. You could probably consider these as a forerunner of the current Leatherman’s tools in that they incorporated several types of knife, and small saw blades as well as being equipped with a small wire cutter all in one handy combination tool…

They carried five different types of blades as follows; a small thick/heavy two-inch stabbing or piercing type blade with a small stub on the side that allows you to quickly open it with a flick of you thumb, a three-inch traditional style pocket knife blade with one side sharpened, and then 3, 3″ type saw blades with a course serrated type cutting edge on each one. Similar to what you would typically see on a hack saw blade. Each one of these serrated blades on the back edge (or reverse side of the blade) has a small measuring scale inscribed in 1/4″ increments. Then on the other side of the handle is a larger wire cutting/pliers with a single locking loop at the base of the handle, in addition to this there was a small screw driver tip on the hinge end of the blades/handles.”

Lot 3753: Very Rare WWII OSS ‘No. 5’ Standard Issue Escape Knife [Photograph found in Auction Catalog #52, Rock Island Auction Company]. (n.d.). Retrieved August 26, 2021, from https://www.rockislandauction.com/detail/52/3753/very-rare-wwii-oss-no-5-standard-issue-escape-knife

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