Military Review

Dirk, the origin and development of the blade


Dirk - the history of the blade

A modern dirk has a thin faceted diamond-shaped, double-edged, not sharpened blade, 215-240 mm long. Today it is personal cold weapon, worn with the dress and dress uniform of officers in the naval fleets, land army units and police of some states.

The short, not sharpened blade, intended mainly for stabbing, causes controversial feelings regarding the effectiveness of the dagger as a melee weapon. Why, then, was the dirk, and not a more functional dagger, so caught on the fleet, became a symbol of the honor and courage of its owner? The heroes of the 17 naval battles of the century died in battle, but did not part with the dirk.

Dirk, the origin and development of the blade

There are several versions of the origin of this blade. According to one of them dirk was a weapon for the left hand in a pair of rapier, or a heavier sword. According to another, it occurred in the process of shortening the rapier, which is extremely inconvenient in close hold-up battles, which are inevitable during boarding. In the third dirk is a type of dagger.

Anyway, история This glorious weapon began in the middle of the 16 century.

In the course of the confrontation between the Spaniards and the Turks on the sea, a rapier was widely used in the navy, known among Spanish nobility from the end of the 15 century as “espada” - a dress sword. The long (up to 1300 mm) thin blade of a military rapier gave a great advantage in battles with the Ottoman pirates with their short curved scimitars.

The civil “espada” had a lot of variations of execution: it could be either double-edged or with one-sided sharpening, and not sharpened at all, as a piercing-cutting and exclusively piercing weapon. Received great popularity as a duel weapon. As the art of fencing developed, it became shorter, lighter, and finally gave way to a piercing-chopping sword. But that's another story.

All in the same half of the 16 century in the battles for the sea routes between Spain and England, the latter received the captured espada. Elizabeth 1's nationals appreciated the trophy for the fact that the straight blade of the rapier perfectly hit the enemy, passing through the articulation of the armor of the Spanish armor.

But if the long-bladed weapon gave an indisputable advantage in battles in open space, then in the ship’s premises, which did not differ in breadth, the long blade was only a hindrance. The knife or dagger, by virtue of its small length, was not a serious weapon against the same sword or scimitar.

This is where our hero appears on the scene - a dirk!

The exact parameters of the first dirks are not known, their length ranged from 500 to 800 mm, and they called him the hunting cleaver, then the bukanerny dirk. There were both sharpened double-edged blades for butchering, and faceted, exclusively for piercing beats. By the beginning of the 17 century, combining in themselves the attacking and defensive properties, convenience and outstanding efficiency in battle, dirks gained extraordinary popularity not only among the military, but also among civilians. Nobles preferred a short, light and elegant dirk to a heavy and long sword.

At first, the dirk was used by combat officers and sailors who had to travel a lot around the ship, and the long blades of sabers were constantly clinging to something in narrow hold spaces. But by the second half of the 18 century, they were armed with command personnel. Dirk was not just a weapon, but a symbol of honor and courage.

In the Russian fleet, the dirk first appeared in the time of Peter 1, as the official naval weapon, an element of the parade uniform of the officer corps.

The length and shape of the blade of the Russian dagger throughout the 17-19 centuries changed many times. There were double-edged diamond-shaped blades, and tetrahedral needle-like. Blade decoration was most often associated with a maritime theme. The dagger blade of the 1913 sample of the year was 240 mm long, and in 1945 a diamond blade 215 mm long was adopted with a latch on the handle from falling out of the sheath. In 1917, the wearing of a dirk was canceled, and only in 1940 was it re-approved as a personal weapon to the fleet command.

Now admiral, officer, combined arms, army or maritime dirk can be a wonderful gift for a person whose profession is in any way connected with the army or fleet, for a historian or collector.

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  1. andrei332809
    andrei332809 10 October 2013 21: 28
    sat at the table, drank. Captri took out a dagger made in 1986. found a Soviet ruble "coin". put it on the table. the captri stuck in a dagger and ruined the table. very easily pierced the ruble. it was in 1995 drinks
    1. The comment was deleted.
      1. Misantrop
        Misantrop 10 October 2013 22: 40
        Quote: Colonel
        Nailed to the coffin under the cap at the funeral of officers of the Navy, but before descending into the grave, it is removed and transferred to the family ...
        In Ukraine, they no longer risk doing this. Officers from military registration and enlistment offices at the funeral were confiscated from confiscating daggers from already heartbroken relatives, explaining that he was a weapon and had a number. Well, then they sell it, of course. Now a dagger of the USSR Navy, depending on the state, costs from $ 300, than no extra work ... wink
        1. mirag2
          mirag2 11 October 2013 08: 22
          Can not be?!!
          In the sense, it cannot be that they are confiscated there.
    2. Col.
      Col. 10 October 2013 22: 38
      Quote: andrei332809
      Kaptri took out a dagger 1986 year of production.

      I keep my dagger compiled in the 70's. Thing!!! The ivory handle, the blade is gorgeous, if you put the tip vertically on the finger, it will pierce the skin with its own weight! A work of art and a symbol of officer honor!
      PS Nailed to the coffin under the cap at the funeral of officers of the Navy, but before descending into the grave it is removed and passed on to the family ...
    3. 505506
      505506 11 October 2013 09: 23
      Did this Captri then with a microscope hammer nails into a bad head?
      1. 505506
        505506 17 October 2013 16: 48
        The one who minus, apparently does not understand, a dagger is not a punch, and a microscope is not a hammer. Boast with the fact that "my knife will chop you," you foolish man. Each thing has its own purpose. And if you found out that the dagger is a symbol, be proud that you killed a pig with it, n
  2. Knizhnik
    Knizhnik 10 October 2013 21: 36
    Not enough ... still let's
  3. shitovmg
    shitovmg 10 October 2013 21: 41
    An interesting, informative article. I understand that the dagger replaced the checker.
    1. Col.
      Col. 11 October 2013 09: 05
      Quote: shitovmg
      I understand that the dagger replaced the checker.

      No, not a saber, but a broadsword. Broadsword (blade length about 70 cm, if not mistaken) was awarded upon graduation from the school until the beginning of the 70's, but then it was replaced with a dagger. By the way, somewhere at the turn of the 60's - 70's the broadswords (and afterwards the daggers) began to be removed from the young officers for a while before the graduation banquet in order to avoid drunken stabbing (and there were such cases).
  4. kirpich
    kirpich 10 October 2013 21: 58
    I don’t remember which of the writers of Moreman read how the newly made lieutenant got in the face for deciding to cut the sausage with a dagger at the general Sabantui
    1. Alex 241
      Alex 241 10 October 2013 22: 00
      Baranets: "Notes of the General Staff Officer"
      1. kirpich
        kirpich 10 October 2013 22: 08
        Oh sure! Thank.
  5. Misantrop
    Misantrop 10 October 2013 22: 07
    The modern sea dagger is not only a part of the full dress. The person on duty parted with him in the outfit. Only the sword belt then dresses not in the front door, but in black, everyday
  6. Taoist
    Taoist 10 October 2013 22: 20
    I don’t know how now, but they gave us daggers from Zlatoust damask steel and they really easily pierced a coin ... so we can’t say that it was a purely ceremonial weapon. A dagger appeared and took root in the Navy precisely as a boarding weapon. On low decks of sailing ships there is nowhere to swing a long blade (you can’t do much of the same sword.) So there was a shortened version that could be effectively chopped and chopped in cramped conditions. The most interesting thing is that if a sword or broadsword remained the parade weapon of the officers of the Russian fleet for quite a while, the dagger was an everyday weapon. It was much later that he replaced the parade uniform ...
    Mine is hanging on the wall ...
    1. Misantrop
      Misantrop 10 October 2013 22: 57
      Quote: Taoist
      I don’t know how now, but they gave us daggers from Zlatoust damask
      Now this plant is called LLC "Zlatoust Steel Engraving" and continues to produce, among other things, daggers. The technology has changed a little, instead of ivory, plastic was used already in the early 80s, but the detailing and dimensions are completely the same. By the way, now there is an opportunity for those wishing to order a navy dagger of several versions, with an inscription on the blade (name, school and year of issue). The blade is of good steel, but tempered to 29 units (not to be considered a melee weapon). In fact, such hardness is quite enough, if you do not try to open safes lol
  7. Locksmith
    Locksmith 10 October 2013 23: 12
    Quote: Misantrop
    but hardened to 29 units

    Probably a mistake, the state of supply of steel was about 40 units, somewhere around 55-58 units just right, oil quenching with deep tempering. wink
    1. Misantrop
      Misantrop 11 October 2013 00: 00
      Quote: Locksmith
      Probably a mistake, the state of supply of steel was about 40 units, somewhere around 55-58 units just right, oil quenching with deep tempering.
      Alas, with such a shape and size, everything that is 30 units or more is already considered a weapon and requires special clearance. So 29 units are chosen precisely from the calculation of free acquisition and transportation. It is clear that license plates are issued with a standard hardened blade, for which they are license plates
  8. svp67
    svp67 10 October 2013 23: 54
    THANKS to the author - "+". It was more interesting to read the history of the Russian dagger, if anyone in the "topic" write, I know that this story is quite interesting. By the way, it was when the first German emperor saw the Russian naval officers that he was very surprised by the brevity and masculinity of the form and he especially liked the Russian naval dagger, which he ordered to take as a model when creating the form of his "Kriegsmarine" ...
  9. alex-cn
    alex-cn 11 October 2013 04: 40
    the author tried, though not everything in his article is indisputable. I can only say that all the ceremonial daggers of the army officers were only decorative weapons, steel is clearly not military.
  10. serezhasoldatow
    serezhasoldatow 11 October 2013 08: 16
    produced in 1976. Then only daggers of a new sample went. The officers at the school changed theirs for new ones, and I got a dagger in 1954. My peer. Great personal weapon. When you get the hell out of the mood, you will stroke and it gets better.
  11. individual
    individual 11 October 2013 08: 17
    The captain’s dagger is an attribute and symbol of the officer honor of the navy.
    1. Col.
      Col. 11 October 2013 09: 07
      Quote: individ
      The captain’s dagger is an attribute and symbol of the officer honor of the navy.

      Why "captain's"? Just a "sea dagger".
      1. Misantrop
        Misantrop 11 October 2013 16: 03
        Quote: Colonel
        Why "captain's"?
        Because every officer to whom he was handed over, before the captain (captain-lieutenant) will be promoted in every way laughing
  12. Witold
    Witold 11 October 2013 12: 42
    Dirks were issued not only in the Navy. From the father of the colonel of the Ministry of Internal Affairs there was a dagger with a lanyard.
  13. xomaNN
    xomaNN 11 October 2013 18: 16
    My father served in naval aviation, starting in the 50s, in Pärnu (Estonia). Then, when Khrushchev abruptly began to reduce the air force, their flight division was disbanded and some of the officers moved north in a mess and in a hurry. Then he left the first dagger (similar to a sea dagger, but with a different pattern) And with complete demobilization, he would also inherit the usual sea dirk, as he had promised in advance. In the ship we were not given :)
  14. D_L
    D_L 13 October 2013 10: 34
    Good article. Thank. Dirk - a great weapon in the right hands!