Object Title

Modèle 1916 Trench Dagger

Modèle 1916 Trench Dagger


From 1915 the French begun to develop trench weapons at the Châtellerault arms factory, with Lieutenant-Colonel Coutrot experimenting by converting existing military swords and bayonets into combat daggers.  Several designs were decided upon and then sent to be manufactured by private firms.

Despite such variety of knives being issued to French troops during the War, there was only one, the Modèle 1916, that received an official military designation.  Given this fact, it is strange that the dagger was in fact devised by the cutlery manufacturer Astier-Prodon of Thiers, rather than Châtellerault.  It was subsequently produced by a number of other civilian manufacturers to keep up with demand.

Early models lack the metal reinforcing ferrule, to strengthen the connection of blade to hilt.  All versions have a strong, doubled-edged blade of diamond-shaped cross-section.

Some of the Modèle 1916 daggers are marked 'Le Vengeur de 1870' on the blade, referencing the fall of Paris and French defeat in the Franco-Prussian war.

Use and effect

In addition to being issued to infantry, the Modèle 1916 proved popular with members of the 'Special Artillery', the first tank crews of the French military.

After testing a series of allied trench weapons, the American's settled on copying the Modèle 1916's blade for their new trench dagger.  The Model of 1918 Mark I Trench Knife was produced too late for use in the War, however it was in service with the US military from December 1918 until 1945.


Blade length 16.9 cm (6.65 in)
Country of manufacture France
Date entered service 1916
Manufacturer Astier-Prodon of Thiers
Overall length 28.2 cm (11.1 in)
Primary operator France
Weight 200 g (7.05 oz) (without sheath)


Henry Yallop