• Provision for a grenade launcher sight. His rifle grenade launcher is in the vertical pouch behind his canteen, on the other side of the trench knife.

  1. Watch it! If that Marine isn’t careful, he’ll get return fire from a Type 89 Grenade Discharger with very disastrous results! Did he make sure there was no ammo in the crates before sitting on them? Or even worse, he could get hit by a triple mount of 25 mm Type 96 naval AA guns, which were particularly devastating for anyone not smart enough to check before jumping out from behind cover… Iwo Jima was a disaster for the US Navy in terms of making sure there wasn’t any resistance to the landing of Marines bigger than a glass marble. By the way, Ian, typographical error alert!!
    Anyone got better ideas?

    • Considering the terrain on Iwo, he could also be employing direct fire on a target within effective range but uphill of his position. If so, he’s too exposed.

      Incidentally, the Mark 1 or M1918 trench knife, with its cast-brass “knuckleduster” hilt, was made by Landers, Frary & Clark. Most are marked “U.S.1918” with “L F & C” in smaller type below the inscription, which was machined into the mould.

      The full-tang blade was 6″, double-edged, spear-pointed with a slight taper along its length, and blued. It was anchored with a crown nut that screwed onto threads at the rear end of the tang (which went right through the cast hilt) that made a very efficient “skull-cracker” for silent takedowns in trench raids.

      It was an Army-issue weapon, and seeing one with the Corps on Iwo Jima is unusual, to say the least.

      Collectors please note; the M1918, in either original or reproduction form, is illegal in many jurisdictions, because its hilt is classed as a set of “brass knuckles”.



      • It isn’t a M1918 in his belt, rather it looks like a privately produced fighting knife. The guard is reminiscent of the Civil war style ‘D’ guard bowies.

        • The M1918 knife saw very little action in WWI if any – production was too slow. Some say it was used some say it wasn’t. It did become somewhat standard after the war and was issued during WWII.

          This Marine is wearing the L.F.&C U.S. Model 1917 Trench Knife.

    • I doubt there was any amusement to be had on Iwo Jima. A Rifleman could use a Garand against targets that were 500 or more yards distant.

      • Some folk enjoy these “episodes” more than others, besides… “Bang! I dropped Japan” see.

  2. Looks to me like a staged shot for the photo to be used in a war magazine or commercial. The ammo boxes are japan made and the other marine looks to relaxed!

    • I doubt there were many ‘staged’ photos -in the sense of preplanned or orchestrated- taken on Iwo Jima. An exception is the famous flag raising on top of Mt. Surabachi which was.a recreation of the original flag raising.

  3. I would guess he’s not actually aiming at something. The photo looks posed to me. Still a great shot of a great American Marine…Wonder if that trench knife was a gift from a WWI vet?

  4. Did Marines normally blouse trousers over top of leggings? I thought the usual way was for the trouser leg to inside the legging.

    Cleaning kit is handy on the side of his pack.

    By the lack of shave on this guy and his buddies I doubt they were far removed from hostilities. Add to that that the buddies are relaxing, but deep in the hole and weapons in hand.

  5. The knife looks like a model 1917 US trench knife, which was before the cast-handle brass-knuckle 1918 style knife came along. It had a narrow blade, I suppose to more easily stab with. It was not as fearsome in appearance compared to the later knife, but probably a lot more practical in that one could more quickly get it into and out of action (just pick it up versus sticking one’s fingers into each of the four holes in the cast-handle knife). As some one else said, it would be easy to think that an uncle from WWI gave it to him.

    The sleeping giant quote attributed to Yamamoto (that he was worried that the Pearl Harbor attack would waken a sleeping giant and fill it with a terrible resolve) can be summed up in that Marine. Fighting knife at the ready and a bandoleer of ammo across his chest, and not passing up a chance to score a hit, he must have been one seriously gung-ho Marine out to help as many Japs as possible die for their country.

    Elbow is well supported by the knee, but he did not loop up with the 1907 sling on his M-1–was the sling still being taught to WWII recruits, or in the heat of the fight one would rarely think to use it? Seems like his face is somewhat forward on the stock, for whatever reason.

    • Agreed, it could be a 1917, it is difficult to tell from this angle. Although, I can’t see any finger grooves and the guard is not as upturned as I would expect. That said, it could also be a privately produced/purchased fighting knife. The guard is reminiscent of the primitive ‘d’ guard bowies.

      • Enlarge the pic….it’s obviously the M1917 – you can see the pyramid indents. It looks just like the one I have.

  6. By the time these guys got where they are the sling was a carry device. A sling set for carry would have to be set differently for marksmanship and even at that, the settings are different for different shooting positions.

  7. The entire general posture and stance of the Marine in question as well as the way he is holding his Garand would possibly indicate a posed photo op of sorts. However, I am perfectly willing to concede the point that there is still a possibility that he was conducting actual live fire under battlefield conditions because said conditions often gave rise to soldiers adopting firing stances outside of what they had been taught due to the stresses of the moment, and also improvising their firing positions in ways very different from accepted practice. A close examination of candid battlefield photographs of soldiers of every nation under the same sort of duress will frequently bear this out.

  8. Next to the marine’s feet you can see a reising smg. Were they still in use in 1945 at Iwo Jima?

      • It looked like a Reising to me too when I first looked at it (the bit visible above the Marine’s boot), but the bit visible below the book is pretty clearly a Thompson (as PV notes) as the magazine is too close to the pistol grip to be anything else.

  9. BTW – the Marine is Plt. Sgt. Rinaldo Martini, of the 27th Marines, 5th Division. He received the Silver Star for service on Iwo Jima.

    Rinaldo Martini (MCSN: 306732), United States Marine Corps, was awarded the Silver Star for gallantry in action at Iwo Jima, Volcano Islands on February 19, 1945.
    Action Date: 19-Feb-45

    Name: Rinaldo Martini
    Birth Date: 14 Feb 1920
    Death Date: 26 Aug 2003
    Service Start Date: 27 Mar 1941
    Interment Date: 15 Sep 2003
    Cemetery: Riverside National Cemetery
    Cemetery Address: 22495 Van Buren Boulevard Riverside, CA 92518
    Buried At: Section 55a Site 2509

    Source: Veterans Administration, National Cemetery Administration: U.S. Veterans Gravesites, ca.1775-2006 (via Ancestry.com)

    • The citation I found online:

      The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Silver Star to Sergeant Rinaldo Martini (MCSN: 306732), United States Marine Corps, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity while serving as a Machine Gun Section Leader of Company C, First Battalion, Twenty-seventh Marines, FIFTH Marine Division, during action against enemy Japanese forces on Iwo Jima, Volcano Islands, 19 February 1945. Acting on his own initiative when his company was halted in its advance by an enemy blockhouse, Sergeant Martini took his machine gun and worked his way forward to a shell hole in front of the hostile emplacement. Standing up and firing from his hip, he managed to pin down the Japanese occupants until a demolitions man could move forward and destroy it. His courageous devotion to duty was in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.
      General Orders: Commanding General, Fleet Marine Force Pacific: Serial 47152

  10. Gosh, guys ! this is a wonderful photo and….look at his name on the helmet..he is itaaahlian…

  11. It’s a Reising…the Thompson barrel would extend further past the handguard…Marines as were/are ALL GIs – scroungers and hoarders – especially of weapons they ‘might’ need down the road…I’m sure the trench knife was still in the inventory somewhere – prolly courtesy of some old Marine vet – prolly a ‘China’ Marine…

    Broz…just read WEB Griffin’s ‘The Corps’ series

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