World War II Folding Wire Cutters

A very long time ago I covered a pair of wire cutters on the blog, an Australian example here and a folding British set here. There were also a number of other patterns of wire cutters in service and today we are taking a look at another set of British wire cutters:

This design seems to have been introduced towards the end of World War II and would continue in manufacture well into the post war period. It is another folding design and a small hook is fitted at the base of the handles to hold them together when not in use. This also features a split ring to allow a lanyard to be attached so that if the soldier drops the cutters they are still attached and not lost:

Undoing this latch allows the arms of the cutters to spring open ready for use:

When cutting wire with a pair of wire cutters longer arms are very useful as they help make it easier to cut through thick wire, the arms magnifying a small force by the user into a much larger force at the jaws. Obviously long arms are not very practical when the cutters are being worn on a waistbelt, so this set of wire cutters has folding examples that tuck inside themselves. Unfolded the wire cutters look like this:

Despite being produced for decades, this example is from the Second World War and has a date of 1944 and a /|\ mark stamped into the metal near the jaws:

To use the cutters, the wire was placed between the jaws and pressure exerted on each handle, this then worked like a pair of giant scissors and cut the wire in two. This was a slow process and although barbed wire was not impregnable, the length of time it took to cut it with a pair of wire cutters greatly slowed down any operation.

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