Some readers may be surprised to find that the image shown is actually modern British army issue. It is issued to one of the most feared units in the British army: the Gurkhas.
It is their weapon of choice in close combat, rather than the bayonet.
The story of the Gurkhas is a long and historically complicated one.
Succinctly: Gurkhas hail from Nepal which was part of India. In its Empire building days, Britain made India one of its colonies. The Gurkhas were seen as brave and heroic fighters who were recruited into the colonial Indian army as a “Martial Race”, a term which meant that they were not classed as mercenaries.
With the independence of India in 1947 four regiments became part of the British army. Prior to this they have fought in both World Wars and latterly were part of the forces that in the 1980’s defeated the Argentine army in the Falklands and also served in the Middle East.
The Kukri shown above is the standard army issue with karda and chakmak.
Traditionally the blade is 12-15 inches (30-38cm) long. The karda is a small accessory blade used for many tasks. The chakmak is unsharpened and is used to burnish the blade. It can also be used to start a fire with flint.