The Bolo knife is a large cutting tool of Filipino origin, a peasant's tool turned rebel weapon. It was the Close-Range weapon of Pancho Villa.
The bolo has a long blade that widens near the tip, with a hardwood handle and a full tang.
- Length: 18 inches
- Weight: 1.5 lbs
The bolo is primarily used for cutting through vegetation, but can also be used as a melee weapon, much like the similar machete. Because the blade widens near the tip, the center of gravity is further forward than blades of similar size, giving the weapon greater momentum when chopping.
The Mexican Revolution erupted due to the poverty hitting Mexican peasants. Unable to afford quality tools; the peasants would create their Bolo Knives out of any kind of scrap metal. Making a Bolo Knife was relatively simple; hammering out the steel to make a round yet sharp edge.
One of the most famous examples of the Bolo Knife use in warfare was WWI American soldier William Henry Johnson (The Black Death). On May 14, 1918 in The Forest of Argonne; Henry's rifle jammed while he was fending off German sappers. He pulled out his Bolo Knife (along with other melee weapons and even his bare fists) and killed 4 soldiers. He was able to fight long enough to be assisted by reinforcements. Despite suffering at least 21 injuries; Henry survived and was posthumously awarded The Medal of Honor on June 2, 2015 by President Barack Obama (he gained very little recognition during his life however, due to being African-American).
The Bolo knife was pitted against the Inyakapemni club of Crazy Horse. Both weapons were tested against ballistics gel torsos to see how much damage they could do. The Inyakapemni club caused a skull fracture, but broke while the Bolo knife caused a decapitation. The edge was given to the Bolo knife due to it's durability and flexibility.
- In the beginning of the simulated battle against the Crazy Horse, Pancho Villa can be seen slicing and eating a pomegranate with his bolo knife; as it was commonly used for non-combative utilities.
- The bolo was introduced to Mexico by the Spanish from the Philippines.