German Bayonets (Photos)

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sylvieK4
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German Bayonets (Photos)

Post by sylvieK4 » 29 Nov 2004 16:23

I understand that, at the beginning of the First World War, the German Army used a variety of model bayonets - many of these varying by design and maker and differing from State to State within the Empire. In the five pictures below, we can see a sampling of the different size, shape and length bayonets used early in the war.

Was there a point during the First World War that Germany standardized its bayonet designs? If so, which design became the standard and when?

Was there a primary/ dominant manufacturer that turned out standardized bayonets, or did production remain in the hands of a wide variety of makers?

Another question: About the notched bayonets - when did this practice stop among German troops?

Thanks.

From: http://www.bajonett.de/WK1-Galerie/weltkriegfoto.htm

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Xavier
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Post by Xavier » 29 Nov 2004 17:07

hello sylvieK4

I myself collect german bayonets at amateur level, and I have never seen the one pictured in the first phot..what is it/model/what fits?

regards

Xavier
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Post by sylvieK4 » 29 Nov 2004 19:05

Hi, Xavier. According to the site, it is a "SG M98nA Säge", for Gewehr 98. It is remarkably long!

Here is another of a different type. This shorter blade is used by a Hessian soldier. It is listed as a "SG 88/98", for Gewehr 88 and 98.

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Post by gewehrdork » 05 Dec 2004 02:36

Firstly one must understand that the germans were frufgal beyond belief. When it came to bayonets - amazingly so. That is the gewehr 88 rifle was still in limited service throughout WW1 and it utilized the M71 through M71/84 bayonets. As well the germans did in a pinch manufacture a bewildering variety of ersatz bayonets for the gew88 and gew98 rifles to include the modification of captured bayonets to fit their service rifles.
By 1916 though the predominate bayonet of manufacture was the S98/05 ( butcher bayonet ) and the S84/98. Both solely intended for use with the gew98 and the kar98a.
The first bayonet pictured is a sawback version of the S98 "quillback" bayonet for the gew98.The typical S98 was made from 1898 until very early 1915 when it was discontinued.
Collecting imperial german era bayonets by model, variatons of those models , and by maker/date combinations would require a lifetime devotion and mucho $$$$. For example the germans captured enough belgian M1889 rifles that they actually made an ersatz bayonet for it alone.These particular bayonets are 99.9% sawback and start at about $1k and up from there depending on condition.Oh and such an ersatz non swaback for the belgian 89 rifle..don't ask it's that expensive !.

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Post by sylvieK4 » 05 Dec 2004 14:51

Thank you, gewehrdork, for that interesting and informative reply.

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Post by Frontkampfer » 08 Mar 2005 23:59

Frugal by wartime necessity. Most nations have reused bayos & firearms to a greater or lesser degree. Many unaltered older arms were issued to second line troops.

Probabl the ultimate reusers were the Turks, who got an amazing variety of bayos to fit their export-type Mausers, usually by no more than replacing the crossguard. I even have a Mint Rework Peabody yataghan bayo cut down & altered to fit the M-95 Mauser.

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Post by TNT » 06 Jun 2005 16:52

I just wanted to add, I'm fairly certain the bayo in your 4th picture is from the Franco-Prussian era, and while it may have still been issued at the outbreak of WW1 it would not have been manufactured for quite some time.

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Post by sylvieK4 » 06 Jun 2005 18:28

Thanks for your post, TNT. That is interesting to know. As the military rushed to expand its ranks early in the war, I imagine a lot of surplus was pressed into service at that time to fully equip each soldier.

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German Bayos

Post by Seitengewehr98 » 27 Sep 2007 05:49

Well, I don't know if anyone is looking at this thread anymore, but since Imperial German bayonets are my forte, I'll put in my two cents.

All manner of bayonets were used by the Imperial Germans, even through WWI. Those that fit the G98 rifle were generally issued to the line units. Earlier bayos, like the S71 shown in the 4th photo, and the 71/84 shown in the second, were issued to replacement or Ersatz units of the line units. It is interesting to note that several 71/84s were also issued to MG units as SIDEARMS only. The Landwehr/Landsturm units often carried captured french bayos, specifically the Mle.1866 Chassepot.

In the 3rd photo is a 98/02, a very rare bayonet often mistaken for the 98/05. When the S98/05 came out in 1906, the sawback versions were for Pioneer units, and the plain bladed were for artillery. It is a common misconception that sawback bayos were only for NCOs, as the majority of Pioneer troops carried sawback bayonets.

Prior to WWI, this was the standard:

S98s-Infantry
S98/02 and S98/05 sawbacks- Pioneer units
S98/05 plain-Artillery
KS98 (Kurzes Seitengewehr 98)-Originally designed for MG troops, but later issued to "prestige" units, such as the Schutztruppe of Africa, Telegraph units, and so on.

During the beginning of WWI, the S98 and KS98 were discontinued, and as Gewehrdork says (great name!) the standardized bayonets became the S98/05 "butcher blade" and the S84/98. However, there was a great lack of numbers of these bayos, thus the production of the Ersatz bayonets, of which there is a HUGE variety, ranging in price from $100 to $4000. The S84/98 was issued to prestige units if possible, like Cavalry, Flieger, and MG units. After 1918, the official bayonet of the Weimar republic became the S84/98, though 98/05s and other bayos were still reworked and issued.

Now, the officers also carried bayonets, especially after they were ordered to return their swords to the rear in 1915. They were supposed to wear the S98/05, but photographic evidence suggests that very few did. Officers preffered knife bayonets, especially the KS98. In truth, officers wore whatever they wanted to, including a large number of private purchase bayonets, most of which were based on the KS98. The love of the KS98 was such that it became the standard dress bayonet of Germany for the next 50 years.

Boy, I hope someone reads this!

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Post by lugerku » 29 Sep 2007 17:56

Here are three different types of Imperial German fighting knives. Their are even more variants. The KS98 is at the top.
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Post by CNOCK » 05 Oct 2007 15:03

more fighting knives, left a trench dagger/bayonet


cnock
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Post by Seitengewehr98 » 06 Oct 2007 05:34

Sylvie, regarding "notched" bayonets (sawbacks), the manufacture of sawback bayonets ceased completely in 1917. Those troops on the front line who had sawback bayonets and couldn't find replacements often had their sawbacks removed from the blade by simply grinding them down. I noticed you use the term "notched" to describe the sawbacks. There is a misconception, though not a common one, that the soldiers themselves added the sawback to their bayonets. There was a scene in "All Quiet on the Western Front" where Ernest Borgnine's character lectures a soldier for having "notched" his bayonet while in training (incidently that bayonet, which was a 98/05aAS, was the only actual German bayonet in the whole movie, as the rest of the time it appears that they are carrying something which looks like a Japansese T30, and you'll notice that the muzzle ring of these bayonets doesn't even go over the muzzle of the rifles they are carrying). These are GLARING errors.

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Post by Seitengewehr98 » 06 Oct 2007 06:00

Here are some examples of the private purchase "KS98" as often worn by Officers both in the field and in dress (also called walking out, or extraseitengewehr, meaning extra sidearm).

The example on the right is made by Carl Eickhorn, and is specifically for dress. All metal parts are plated and the metal used is of a cheaper quality, often called pot metal. The example in the center is by Ernst Pack & Sohne, a seldom seen maker of PP KS98s in WWI. This example has had the hilt darkened, which was a common practice for those PP KS98s used in the field. The blade on this example, however, is plated. The example on the left is by WKC. This example was specifically made for field use. The metal is of a better quality, the hilt is darkened, the blade is finished bright, and there are oil cleaning holes in the grips. There is some BS spread by some dealers that these were often used by Machine Gun troops, but this is not the case. Officers carried these primarily, and it stands to reason the senior NCOs did as well.

The term "KS98" is often applied (mistakenly) to many dress bayonets, especially in the 3rd Reich. This is because the original issue KS98 had the birds head pommel that became very popular, and off of which many dress bayonets were based.
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Post by Seitengewehr98 » 06 Oct 2007 06:12

Two other types of bayonets used in limited numbers by the Imperial Germans were the S14 and S15 "Gottscho." The Gottscho was only issued to Bavarian and Wurttemburgisches troops.

Here are pics of an S14 sawback by Samsonwerk on top, and an S15 Gottscho on bottom.
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Post by Seitengewehr98 » 06 Oct 2007 06:34

The ERSATZ (means substitute or replacement) series of bayonets, sometimes referred to as the Sg88/98, applies to a series of bayonets who's numbers of variety are in the hundreds. Some were manufactured using existing blades, and others were not. These were thought to have been produced by "Ma and Pop" bicycle shops and other small companies capable of metal working. It is also thought that in many cases the blade blanks were manufactured by larger companies (many varieties use blades identical to the S14) and then supplied to the smaller companies for assembly.

The first example is of a series generally referred to as the ERSOC (a combination of Ersatz and Socket). These used existing socket blades married to hilts manufactured to fit the G98 rifle. The more common socket blades used were English P.1853, Belgian M.1867 or Swiss M.1847, though there are several others used. This example is one of the most highly sought after of all Ersatz bayonets, using an Austrian cruciform socket blade married to a very uncommon hilt. Anthony Carter's book on ersatz bayonets assigned numbers to each variety, though this one doesn't have one, it fits in the EB67 series. I really miss this piece, as I recently traded it for a boatload of KS98s, as I am working on a reference book covering the KS98 bayonet.

The second example is another highly sought after Ersatz bayonet, the EB55. These are very well made, and are the only Ersatz bayonets that use wood. This example is in beautiful condition, showing the original machining, a point that you could cut your finger on, and most of the feld grau paint on the scabbard.

The last example is a much more common ersatz. This type, and types like it, make up the majority of ersatz bayonets found. This is the EB9. What's unique about these is the open muzzle ring, desinged to take both the Gewehr 98 and 88 commission rifle.
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