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Old 01-08-2018, 12:29   #16
Team Sergeant
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I just spent 20 minutes of my life looking for 1TH. references, and can’t find any. If it was a “new” knife I’d call it a bad Chinese fake and the "1st" translation was also bad. I mean we have used 1st for decades, 1st Special Service Force for example formed in 1942. I can find no examples of “1TH.”

Might be easier to ask who was doing the Randall engraving?

And could it be a fake?
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Old 01-08-2018, 13:59   #17
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TS,

The collector has been asked this question, he's willing to bet the farm the knife is real. The collectors group is trying to determine what the story is with the mark, so far it is standing up to scrutiny. I will be posting my fathers Randall to compare markings from 1967, style size and type for comparison. It is very rare to find markings that cannot be identified but I imagine that it happens. I am unaware of any Randall marked from the shop that was in error, the knife would have been sent back, in the off chance it made it out the doors in the first place.

Would SFG/UDT have been somewhat obscure or not common? Between PS.com and a worldwide Randall collector club I believe if there is an answer we'll find it.

Respectfully,

Bob
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Old 01-08-2018, 14:25   #18
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Knowing the knifes provenance would help. And I hope you understand what I’m saying, it looks strange and if someone wanted their group on the knife that should have been very easy to do and unmistakable. 1st SFG or 1st SFG(A).

My specialty was Military Free Fall, sometimes referred to as MFF or HALO. In my years I’ve only heard of the dive teams (in Special Forces) referred to as SCUBA teams, dive teams, or combat dive teams, but not UDT. If you google UDT it all comes up Navy UDT and I’ve not heard of “Special Forces UDT”.

My guess, it was made for a “civilian” that asked for Special Forces engraving and didn’t know what to ask for…… I now doubt it was made for a “real” SF soldier.

I'm sure my SCUBA brothers will chime in soon.
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Old 01-08-2018, 14:55   #19
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Thank you TS, I understand the terminology and I think that is why this knife was listed on the collector site with questions. The collector could not make heads or tails of the mark and out of all the observations made no one could figure them out. I asked one of the admins, in this case he was also the collector of the knife, if he would mind if I reposted. This knife has flummoxed folks who have a great deal of knowledge about almost every aspect of Randall knives. The next place to find information out about the mark is here, with the wealth of knowledge about Special Forces. If information exists about, "SFG/UDT it is here.

The collector will think long and hard about sending it back to Randall to be refinished. It is not an expensive job but, the knife is worth much more with a story.

Respectfully,

Bob
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Old 01-09-2018, 11:07   #20
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I didn't originally view the picture because I don't do Facebook. After you re-posted the image on the forum, I looked at it. It's a puzzler.

My Randall 16 was ordered to my specs back in '78. The only engraving I had added to the blade were my initials. On my knife, they do not look like the letters on your depicted blade. Specifically, mine were not filled in with that contrasting light color. Thinner font as well.

Perhaps somebody besides the Randall shop added that lettering at a later date?

"Ith."? It might mean something to the person who ordered that engraving... and no one else on Earth.

Nothing SF-related comes to mind concerning "Ith." or "1th." Other than Group numerical designations. All of which likely permutations would require an error in engraving (11th, 5th, 7th, 10th, etc.). And none of which would require inclusion of a "period" as ending punctuation.

The reason I brought up the part about hand filled order forms is because I can distinctly remember filling mine out (little single letter squares on the order form) with a ball-point pen... then sending it off with a check via snail mail. If the customer was a sloppy or careless printer, his desired letters might have been misinterpreted. Maybe he never bothered to send it back for re-work. I waited 5 or 6 months for my blade to show up in the mail. It wasn't a day and age of instant gratification cell-phone & e-mail.

Alternatively... if a previous owner had the engraving done somewhere else, who knows if the local engraver didn't just screw it up? Or that the effort was an attempt at adding false provenance by someone unfamiliar with SOF.

Last edited by Astronomy; 01-09-2018 at 11:31.
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Old 01-09-2018, 11:19   #21
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Astronomy,

Thank you for your insight! It seems the trail has gone cold. The origin may never be known. Any of the items could have happened thats for sure. One thing that came up during my research was in the early 60s frogmen trained SF for SCUBA sometimes and in return the frogmen would be trained by SF for parachute insertion, per the SEAL/UDT museum records. Thank all of you folks for your help!

Very respectfully,

Bob
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Old 01-30-2018, 13:16   #22
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I received a response regarding the engraving on the Randall Dive knife. I have copied and pasted with the permission of the respondent. V/R Bob

David A Manning
Small Arms and Ordnance Curator
Curator Branch
Naval History and Heritage Command

Your request for information regarding the Randall knife was forwarded to me to answer.


The engraving on the knife in question is confusing and, based on my experience, rather questionable. "Ith." appears to be an attempt to write 1st, but by someone unfamiliar with the English language. The combination of SFG and UDT would also point to someone who is unfamiliar with the actual organization and history of the US military. As you may know, the correct abbreviation for an Army Special Forces Group would be SFG(A), as in 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne). However, UDT is an exclusively Navy abbreviation for the Underwater Demolition Teams formed during WWII as a result of the difficulties encountered during the Tarawa invasion in 1943. There is no connection between the two organizations that I am aware of. Finally, I know of no instance of the Army ever having used the term UDT. Army special operations units use the term UWA for Underwater Operations Team, or colloquially SCUBA Teams.


My opinion would be that the engraving is much more recent than the 1960's and that it was likely done in Asia. There is quite a bit of "fake" material coming out of Vietnam that is intended to represent material from the war, but is modern in manufacture. An example would be cigarette lighters with engraving for various US military units and locations within Vietnam that have similar mistakes in grammar and unit designations as this knife.


I hope this is useful information.


V/R

Dave Manning
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Old 01-31-2018, 13:49   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RCummings View Post
I received a response regarding the engraving on the Randall Dive knife. I have copied and pasted with the permission of the respondent. V/R Bob

David A Manning
Small Arms and Ordnance Curator
Curator Branch
Naval History and Heritage Command

Your request for information regarding the Randall knife was forwarded to me to answer.


The engraving on the knife in question is confusing and, based on my experience, rather questionable. "Ith." appears to be an attempt to write 1st, but by someone unfamiliar with the English language. The combination of SFG and UDT would also point to someone who is unfamiliar with the actual organization and history of the US military. As you may know, the correct abbreviation for an Army Special Forces Group would be SFG(A), as in 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne). However, UDT is an exclusively Navy abbreviation for the Underwater Demolition Teams formed during WWII as a result of the difficulties encountered during the Tarawa invasion in 1943. There is no connection between the two organizations that I am aware of. Finally, I know of no instance of the Army ever having used the term UDT. Army special operations units use the term UWA for Underwater Operations Team, or colloquially SCUBA Teams.


My opinion would be that the engraving is much more recent than the 1960's and that it was likely done in Asia. There is quite a bit of "fake" material coming out of Vietnam that is intended to represent material from the war, but is modern in manufacture. An example would be cigarette lighters with engraving for various US military units and locations within Vietnam that have similar mistakes in grammar and unit designations as this knife.


I hope this is useful information.


V/R

Dave Manning

So he said what we said earlier........
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Old 01-31-2018, 14:33   #24
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Absolutely TS!

In further conversations it seemed that the gentleman who responded had seen this particular work before almost the exact shop. I thought it a good idea to post his response. The collector does not agree, but as far as the collectors involved the knife is at most an example of a correct Randall Dive knife from the mid '60s no more or less. Since this knife has been researched and logged it should not show up for sale as anything but what it is. Thank you all for your insights!

Respectfully,

Bob
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