Bayonets. You know, those pointy things that people hang off the end of rifles that you use to poke things with. While not the most romantic piece of military hardware (or the most relevant these days) the bayonet was once incredibly important to a soldier. In this video, we quickly run through 5 of the neatest ones ever produced.
Thanks to our sponsor Ventura Munitions. Without them TFBTV Would not be possible.
– [Voiceover] Hey, guys, it’s Alex C. with TFB TV.
Today I’m going to run down my top five favorite bayonets, and I’m going to do it pretty quickly.
I say quickly, because firearms are mechanically complex objects with moving parts and are often feats of engineering that are very complex, with lots of history that I can delve into, but bayonets are pointy steel rods with handles on them, and the technology hasn’t changed for hundreds of years.
Countless amounts of research has showed that your enemy’s ability to fight back is directly proportional to their aorta leakage, and really the form of the bayonet has changed very little relative to firearms.
In the black-powder era, they were more important as they allowed line infantry to fend off cavalry attacks, and a longer bayonet meant that you had a better chance of sticking your opponent before he stuck you.
But as the presence of horse-mounted cavalry and saber-wielding soldiers disappeared, and fighting occurred less and less in open fields, changes were made.
But the principle of operation is still the same: the bayonet is a pointy thing you hang on the end of your gun to induce a stab wound.
So first up, we have the Gewehr 98 bayonet, named “the Butcher Blade” by the Entente as a provocative move to make the Germans appear savage and ruthless.
Also, the name just sounds bad-ass.
The Butcher Blade is heavy as hell.
And when you have one in your hand, it feels less like a bayonet and more like a short sword.
The handle is sized right and the user’s fingers would be well protected by the guard.
While a shorter, handier blade might be better suited for a trench raid, the Butcher Blade has enough heft to double as a machete, and are almost always exceptionally well made.
They also look cool.
Next we have the Bulgarian AK-74 bayonet.
I have a thing for orange Bakelite and these bayonets have plenty of it.
The pommel is reinforced by steel, as soldiers less-than-effectively used the old bayonets as a hammer, and this was found to be a suitable upgrade.
The blade features serrations that make it suitable for sawing and the point itself is quite sharp.
However, that isn’t the neatest feature.
This bayonet, when used with the scabbard, can cut wire, even electrified wire.
There’s also a retention strap to make it more effective as a combat knife.
Really this bayonet is just great looking and well thought out.
Third, we have the Swiss K31 bayonet.
Really, the Swiss rifles and their bayonets are beautiful and second to none in aesthetics.
The K31’s blade bayonet is a gorgeous piece of finely forged and extremely well crafted steel.
The scabbard is solid, well made, and the frog is of excellent quality as well.
These are also very sharp bayonets.
Generally, bayonets are not the sharpest blades out there because they generally don’t need to be.
When the force of a grown man is thrusting even the dullest of blades, it really doesn’t matter how sharp said blade is, as it will pierce clothing and skin pretty easily.
The Swiss, however, in typical Swiss fashion, went above and beyond, and made a bayonet that a sushi chef could take to work.
Next, I like the Enfield sword bayonet.
When the Long Lee was in service, and even early Short Lees, features like magazine cut-offs and volley sights were still present.
The incredibly industrialized warfare that WWI introduced to the world had yet to really be shown.
And the major powers of the world did not see these things as obsolete.
As such, the sword bayonet was still in vogue.
These things are very long, and could be used in a duel if need be, but on the end of the gun they look very intimidating.
While this is a reproduction, it is quite a good one.
The British ditched the sword bayonet on the number four for short-blade bayonets and then spikes, but the old sword is just cool.
It’s a weapon that had heft and some authority, but carrying one on your web gear must have been a pain.
And many soldiers in the field ground them down into trench knives, or just for compactness.
Either way, to me, an SMLE equipped with a sword is a very cool symbol of the British Empire.
Lastly we have the MAS-36 bayonet.
This one isn’t particularly special in any way.
But it’s the design that gets it some points.
The MAS-36’s bayonet stores well within the rifle itself, which makes carrying it unnoticeable and easy.
The Germans copied its design on their FG42 rifle as well, noting its cleverness.
While it is short, it gave the trooper carrying it more length than the British spike bayonet.
And it is of a cruciform design, to make your enemy more dead-er.
Deploying the bayonet is easy, and it does not hang off the barrel so as not to affect accuracy, a problem that plagues many rifles.
Anyways, I hope you all enjoyed this quick run-down of five interesting bayonets.
There are a ton of them out there and while I’m not a bayonet collector per se, each nation’s approach to how to poke their opponents to death often reflects their grander military strategy, so that’s pretty interesting when you think about it.
Big thanks to Ventura Munitions and we hope to see you next time.