Identify these blades?
April 21, 2005 11:06 PM   Subscribe

Can anyone identify the country of origin of these bladed weapons, approximate age, and who what military units would have used them?
posted by keswick to Grab Bag (15 answers total)
Look like cavalry sabers to me.
posted by planetkyoto at 11:33 PM on April 21, 2005

Blade 2 is certainly a bayonet. Blade 1 looks much like one as well. That little hole is part of how it mounts onto the rifle. My Father has one for a German Mauser rifle with a scabbard kind of like that. I'm not saying yours is German, I'm just saying that that's how I recognize that it's a bayonet.

There's a guy on here called balisong that seems to know a whole lot about knives.
posted by redteam at 11:44 PM on April 21, 2005

Number one looks very much like an early 1870's pattern British army bayonet for use with the Martini-Henry rifle, as used in (for instance) the Anglo-Zulu Wars. Sadly my work firewall precludes me checking, but I'm sure they'll have more info for you on it there.
posted by timpollard at 1:38 AM on April 22, 2005

A great place to ask about these would be, in their Forum section. They are used to such requests, and experts are always on hand :) You'd probably be looking at the Antique & Military Swords forum. They probably could identify what those numbers mean, too.
posted by splice at 3:54 AM on April 22, 2005

Second blade looks like the WWI German bayonet I have.

The first one looks sorta like the French bayonet I have from the Franco-Prussian War, except that its blade is curved and mine is straight.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 4:32 AM on April 22, 2005

An educated guess: The first one is a French bayonet from the early 1900s. It's similar to one that I have from 1877, with the exception to the curved blade and the patterned handle (my blade is straight, and my handle is wooden).

Are there any engravings on the blade itself? They are sometimes hard to see, but would be located on the base of the blade, near where it meets the handle.
posted by NotMyselfRightNow at 5:48 AM on April 22, 2005

Bayonets, definitely not cavalry swords, as redteam has already pointed out. They would have been used by infantry units, to answer your second question.

Your first one seems to look a lot like a French Chassepot 1866 except for the entchings on the handle. But perhaps the photo I linked to was a ceremonial one, or there could have been different batches.

The last photo appears to be a Japanese type 30 bayonnet (look at the top one).

Hope that helps.
posted by furtive at 6:37 AM on April 22, 2005

Do bayonets have other uses than to be affixed to a rifle? Because the first one looks mighty long for that.
posted by kenko at 8:35 AM on April 22, 2005

Do bayonets have other uses than to be affixed to a rifle? Because the first one looks mighty long for that.

As a simple rule of thumb, the longer a bayonet is, the older it is. When rifles weren't very accurate , when it took a long time to prepare a shot between volleys and when combat was much more close the bayonet wasn't a backup but one of the primary weapons of a soldier. It only made sense for a bayonet to be longer to allow a faster parry (deflecting the enemy's weapon), a longer slashing arc, and shorter thrusting distance (the parry, slash and thrust are the three main elements of using a bayonet).

A bayonet could be used as a knife, and perhaps another reason the for the longer ones was to also be able to use it as a sword if need be, but probably not much more than one would use a broom handle since during napoleonic times a bayonet had a regulation length of no more than 17 inches, making it no match for a real sword. The hole in the guard of the above knives lets us know they are certainly bayonets.

As time went by and rifles became more accurate the bayonet became somewhat less relevant, and so the length of the bayonet became more of a cumbersome characteristic than an advantage. Try sitting down with a two foot bayonet hanging from the back of your webbing, and try the same with a eight inch bayonet and you'll know what I mean. Shortening the bayonet also meant a savings in metal and weight.

In this modern age soldiers are still issued a bayonet, and trained how to use it, but it has just as much to do with instilling a warrior spirit, as it does to having a weapon to fall back on if out of ammo. Having someone shout at you "fix bayonets!" and seeing everyone put their bayonet on their rifle sure makes you think about what you're about to get yourself into, namely fighting someone from a distance anywhere between 800m to <1m.
posted by furtive at 11:46 AM on April 22, 2005

The First one resembles a French model 1866 Sword Bayonet
(Yataghan), but with a steel and wood grip instead of the brass castings typically found on French bayonets from that period.

The trapping guard date it a little later than the 1840 pattern, which had a short, straight guard.

After 1874 the blades were made without that swooping, double curve.

It is probably a British Pattern 1856 c. bayonet, as at least one other person suggested, which does typically have the composite steel and wood handle like this one, but that particular type doesn't usually have the hook on the guard.

The Second bayonet is tougher, as we can't see the blade to establish geometry, and most WWII bayonets fit this general pattern.
posted by Crosius at 11:53 AM on April 22, 2005

Okay, here's another of the second that shows the blade.

As for stamping on the blade of the first, yes, there is. Unfortunately, I didn't get a good pic of it.. All I can read is:

[unitelligible] Weyergen
posted by keswick at 11:41 PM on April 22, 2005

Hmm.. That blade looks like it's reversed. The little bulge on the handle usually points towards the belly of the blade, since your fingers catch on that when making drawing cuts. The fuller (that scalloped groove that people call "blood groove") on the blade is usually close to the back, which suggests that the sharp edge on this bayonet is pointed towards the ring on the guard.

This is a strange configuration for a bayonet, which helps when figuring out its origin

Czech VZ24 bayonets have reversed blades like this, and they have grips and scabbards identical to your find. They go on a Mauser 98/22 rifle.

The quillon (that hook on the guard) isn't common, so this is probably a variant, possibly Turkish.
posted by Crosius at 8:41 AM on April 23, 2005

How likely is it that German troops would be using these bayonets in WWII?
posted by keswick at 10:03 AM on April 23, 2005

Highly unlikely with the first bayonet (unless you want to romanticise a French farmer pulling an old rifle out of the garage to defend his family).

For the 2nd blade, I take back my previous comment about it possibly being a Japanese type 30, now that I've seen the blade I would have to agree with Crosius's assesment that it is Check, in fact I found this image while searching for VZ24, under the following heading:

(see also Colombia, Germany (NAZI), Israel, Peru, Romania and Slovakia for contract and capture VZ24 variants)

6958 Czech reissued Austrian M1895 Steyr NCO bayonet with scabbard. Hooked Quillion + Pommel Lanyard Loop intact. "S(lion)8" Czech marking overstamped on top of original OEWG ricasso mark. Austrian eagle intact on obverse ricasso.

posted by furtive at 3:39 PM on April 23, 2005

Thanks for the help. The reason I ask about German use is, according to family history, my grandfather got these in Europe when in WWII. I knew the second blade was a bayonet; but I had no idea about the first one. I figured if they were German, they'd have swastikas, so I assumed their origin got garbled in a generational game of "telephone." Allegedly the stains on the first blade are blood, but they don't look like dried blood to me.
posted by keswick at 7:33 PM on April 23, 2005

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