The V-42 “Force Knife” was a combat knife issued to the U. S. First Special Service Force during World War II. The FSSF was a joint US/Canadian top secret service force created under the auspices of the Commander in Chief.
Designed by Lt. Colonel Robert T. Frederick and manufactured in the United States by Case Cutlery, the knife featured a low profile 7-5/16” double-edged blade made of blue, high carbon steel with distinctive “thumbprint” on the obverse ricasso. Other prominent features are a skull cracker butt cap and a stacked leather washer grip. The stiletto was primarily intended for use as a combat or fighting weapon that would kill enemy soldiers silently, as its narrow construction was prone to breakage when used as a utility knife.
While all of the Special Service Force was trained in use of the V-42 stiletto, it was exclusively issued to the Force’s Combat Echelon starting in 1942, with only about 3,400 produced and distributed during 1942 and 1943. The low production number made this is the rarest knife issued during WWII, and one of the most sought-after collectible knives on the market today.
The W.R. Case & Sons Cutlery Co. did manufacture a post-war version from 1989-1993. However, originals from WWII are very rare to find today.
The U. S. Green Berets currently use the V-42 in their decorative insignia. In addition, it appears in the insignia of the U. S. Army Special Operations Command, a testament to the importance that this knife retains in elite U.S. military history.