Poland has a rich tradition of parachute troops dating back to Free Polish paratroopers who jumped at Arnhem during World War II. This tradition continued throughout the Cold War when Polish airborne forces were considered one of the better units in the Warsaw Pact. Today, the Polish 6th Air Assault Brigade (Airborne) was the first Polish unit to achieve full operational readiness within NATO and remains a key element in Polish rapid deployment capability. Poland has other elite units that are airborne qualified including GROM, the Polish antiterrorist unit; FORMOZA, the Polish combat swimmers; and the Polish 1st Commando Regiment. However, these are special forces rated units. The 6th Air Assault Brigade remains the primary airborne striking force.
Polish paratroopers also have a long tradition of special combat knives. During World War II, Polish paratroopers used various Fairbairn-Sykes knives, including the smooth-handled one often designated as “Polish Paratrooper F-S.” OSS/SOE-type escape knives and gravity knives were used by Polish paras and commandos as well. During the Cold War, Polish paras used a combat knife similar in design to World War II Russian examples. There was also the Polish airborne issue canopy knife that had a blunt tip and double edge. The most interesting Polish paratrooper knife of this period was the automatic knife, which combined a button-deployed blade with various tools inside of the handles.
Today’s Mod 1992
Currently, Polish airborne troops are issued a simple but quite effective combat knife that evolved from the “Noze 62 Ks.” This knife is designated the “Mod 1992” (or Mod. 92). The Mod 92 bears similarities to the U.S. M3 Trench Knife. The blade is just under 7 inches with a 6.5-inch cutting edge. The top of the blade has a 3.5-inch false edge. It has a spear point. At the ricasso, the M92 is stamped with a crown and the name of the manufacturer, “GERLACH.” The crossguard is .16-inch thick and curved on both sides. A rectangular opening in the crossguard is used to retain the knife in the sheath. The handle is ribbed hard rubber with a pommel cap.
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(Featured image courtesy of tactical-life.com)