An ISIS terrorist was dispatched by a British commando from the Special Boat Service (SBS) using a Fairbairn-Sykes battle knife from the Second World War. Almost 50 years have passed since the last fatality using a Fairbairn-Sykes fighting knife, according to speculation.
The weapon was carried by the commando as a good luck charm. He received the knife when he enlisted in the regiment about 16 years ago, and he has used it on numerous operations.
Fairbairn–Sykes fighting knife
The SBS team was reportedly ambushed by Islamic State members while escorting an Afghan commando force that was looking for a terrorist cell.
During the melee, the British commando got into hand-to-hand combat with two ISIS fighters he mistook for friendly civilians.
The commando entered a room and was greeted by two men, according to an anonymous source. He was then attacked and injured with a spade, forcing him to fight for his life.
When his gun was knocked from his grasp, he grabbed his knife and stabbed one of the attackers. The second man escaped and was later captured.
Civilians later identified the two men as ISIS fighters who took part in the initial ambush on British and Afghan soldiers.
William Fairbairn, a former Royal Marine, designed the Fairbairn-Sykes dagger in 1941. In 1942, he wrote in a book that there is no weapon more lethal in close-quarters combat than a knife.
According to an SBS source, the Fairbairn-Sykes knife is still as useful today as it was then.
The Royal Navy’s counter-terrorism unit is the SBS. It is made up of the most elite and capable soldiers in the British military. They specialise in daring undercover raids that take advantage of the element of surprise.
Because the majority of the work they do is highly classified, little is known about the members of the unit. The majority of them are Royal Marines Commandos. The SBS is only open to those with exceptional physical and mental abilities.
During WWII, they were formed as a small commando unit for amphibious operations. They sabotaged high-value targets in two-man teams.
Sergeant Stan W Scott, No. 3 Army Commando, demonstrates the use of the Fairbairn-Sykes fighting knife.
The SBS has been the primary UK Special Forces unit in Afghanistan since 2006.
The emphasis there is on assassinating key Taliban and ISIS figures and disrupting the drug trade, which the Islamic State uses to fund its operations.
SBS troops are well-versed in close-quarters combat, as well as diving, parachuting, arctic operations, and demolitions.
The British War Office ordered the first version of the Fairbairn-Sykes Commando knife in November 1940. The order was for 1500 knives, which Wilkinson Sword made by hand while they set up their machinery. Wilkinson Sword was the sole manufacturer of the first pattern of the F-S knife.
As certain metals became scarce due to the war effort, changes had to be made to the knife’s design. Changes were also made to make machine production of the knife easier.
In order to meet demand, other manufacturers were brought in to produce the knife for the War Office. From August 1941 to October 1943, this “second pattern” knife was in use.
The “third pattern” is still in use today and has been since October 1943, though some modifications were made until 1949.
The current design has become so synonymous with the British Commandos who wear it that it is prominently displayed on their badge.