Epic Artifacts

Bayonets

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The bayonet was an important part of the combat equipment of the German soldier in both World Wars. The first pattern of German combat bayonet was the Mauser model 1898 which had a long, slender blade. As a result of experiences in combat use in WWI, it was soon decided to shorten the blades on these weapons. This 1898 pattern bayonet was used early in WWI alongside the 1898/05 and the S84/98 bayonets, which were initially shorter, and stronger, than the unmodified 1898 type. Both of these types were made with and without a saw-backed blade. Due to the challenges faced by German industry and the shortages of raw materials, a variety of “Ersatz” (replacement) types were introduced during WWI. After the war, the S84/98 bayonet became standard issue in the Reichswehr and later, in the Wehrmacht, for troops armed with the K98 rifle (the standard WWII German infantry weapon). The bayonets made for issue with the K98 rifle initially had wooden grips. Later, some bayonets were made with Bakelite grips. The bayonets were worn on the belt by means of a leather frog, of which there were a number of prewar and wartime variations including a short bayonet frog for use with the folding shovel, and a webbing frog for tropical use. In 1942, a new model of bayonet was introduced, knows as the SG42. This was a very modernized bayonet, with a comfortable Bakelite grip, and a relatively short blade that made it ideal for use either as a bayonet or a fighting knife. Within the grip was a removable multi-tool insert with a folding knife/bottle opener, awl and screwdriver. Although the SG42 was proposed as a replacement for the S84/98, few were manufactured. German combat bayonets were made in countless variations and all are very collectible today, with some rare variants being very avidly sought-after.

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