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Boker Applegate Fairbairn Fighting Knife — Short History

Posted by admin on Feb 10th 2014

Boker Applegate Fairbairn
Boker Applegate Fairbairn knife model 120543AF

The Boker Applegate Fairbairn combat knife has been a steady favorite of our customers for several years here at BladeOps.  The history of this knife goes back to before WWII.  At that time, William Ewart Fairbairn and Eric Anthony Sykes got together and discussed what they thought were critical characteristics of a classic fighting knife.  What they came up with was the F-S fighting knife.  This knife gained popularity when it was issued to several different British fighting forces during WWII–specifically it became popular when it was used extensively during the Normandy Landings.

The knife was designed with an acute taper to the sharp pointed blade and was perfect for thrusting cuts as well as slashing cuts as long as the edges were sharpened as suggested by Fairbairn and Sykes.  This design was used throughout WWII and still has adherents to this day.  Fairbairn may have said it best in his book entitled GET TOUGH! (1942)

In close-quarters fighting there is no more deadly weapon than the knife. In choosing a knife there are two important factors to bear in mind: balance and keenness. The hilt should fit easily in your hand, and the blade should not be so heavy that it tends to drag the hilt from your fingers in a loose grip. It is essential that the blade have a sharp stabbing point and good cutting edges, because an artery torn through (as against a clean cut) tends to contract and stop the bleeding. If a main artery is cleanly severed, the wounded man will quickly lose consciousness and die.

Colonel Rex Applegate was a student of Fairbairn.  During his study, he came up with a few modifications to the classic F-S knife that included most prominently a different handle.  The original modified handle had adjustable lead weights that changed the balance point of the knife.  This new variation of the original F-S combat knife became known as the Applegate Fairbairn fighting knife.  Boker produces several different variations of this knife with most of the variety coming from different handle colors, materials or blade steels.  Check out our full line of Applegate Fairbairn knives here or check out the applegate knife pictured above here.