Gary Cunningham's

Bayonet Point's

Updated Dec, 2004

Bayonet Points #24 - December, 2004

Section 3 - The Bayonet, M1

Background

Following the First World War there was an interest expressed in a shorter bayonet than the 16-inch blade of the Model 1905 or the 17 inches of the Model 1917. During the fighting, it had been found that the longer blades were not well adapted to the close-in combat often encountered in the trenches.

By 1920 authorization was given for a test of shorter bladed bayonets to be carried out by the Department of Military Arts at the Infantry School, Fort Benning, Georgia. These tests were carried out in early 1921, and involved three styles of bayonets. The three were the Model 1905 16 inch blade, the Model 1892 (Krag) bayonet with an 11 1/2 inch blade, and an experimental 8 1/2 inch double edged blade model generally identified as the Model 1921 due to the blade date although it was never officially adopted.

The test results can best be summarized by the general statement that the short bayonet was proven to be better in the hands of a trained bayonet fighter and more useful in confined areas such as trenches or buildings. However, the overall feeling was that in most cases the soldier was not well enough trained in the use of the bayonet for the length to be a significant factor, and in the hands of the unskilled soldier the morale effect of the longer blade was much greater. It was also mentioned that the recorded combat usage of the bayonet in WW1 had been quite low. The Army preferred to emphasize the use of the rifle in both attack and defense rather than a dependence on the bayonet. A full copy of the report can be had from Frank Trzaska for those who are interested.

Some of the following information was covered in earlier editions of this column or in my book, but I am repeating it here so that those of you who are interested donít have to go back and look it up. I apologize for the repetition, but I think it will add to the clarity of this article.

The US entered World War Two using the Model 1905 bayonet for both the Model 1903 series rifles and the new M1 rifle. Contracts were issued to six companies for the M1905, and production began in the summer of 1942. In the later part of 1942, a request was made by the Cavalry Board for the length of the bayonet blade to be reduced to 10 inches. This modification was requested to meet the demand for a bayonet which could more readily be carried on the belt by individuals mounted on horses, and in vehicles, and which would at the same time lend itself to emergency use as a hand weapon. An unknown number of M1905 bayonets were modified to a ten-inch blade in response to this request, and designated as Bayonet M1905E1 for testing.

Tests were conducted by various units including the Infantry Board. The responses were quite positive, with comments including the following from the 1st Cavalry Division: "The modified bayonet has been tested over a period of two months. The short bayonet is perfectly balanced and on the rifle makes a well-balanced weapon, easier to handle, hence fast in combat. It is preferable to the long bayonet, which makes the rifle muzzle heavy. As a hand weapon, it was found to be perfectly balanced, a fast thrusting and cutting weapon, and a strong weapon for hitting with the butt. It is an excellent hand weapon, suitable for use by all personnel for hand-to-hand combat and in the dark." Similar endorsements were expressed by all the testing units.

The Infantry Board recommended that all bayonets M1905 and M1917 now on hand be modified to conform to the design of the 10-inch bayonet. Several reasons were given for the decision to adopt the M1905E1 bayonet (some of which are mentioned above in the Cavalry tests):

  1. The bayonet was lighter and made the rifle quicker and more responsive in combat.
  2. The bayonet was more useful in areas where space might be limited such as trenches and house to house fighting.
  3. The bayonet was more useful as a weapon off the rifle in hand to hand combat.
  4. The bayonet could serve as a general-purpose knife.
  5. The savings in steel would amount to nearly 25% over that of the M1905.
  6. It was noted that many of the European nations had adopted a shorter bayonet than what they had used in the 1st World War.

 

The Bayonet, M1905E1 was recommended for standardization as the Bayonet, M1 on February 11, 1943 and this was approved on March 4, 1943. The makers were ordered to shift production to the 10-inch blade length as quickly as possible. Since the only modification was to the length of the blade, and a corresponding reduction in the length of the fuller, no problems were anticipated in making the changeover. In April, production of the M1 bayonet reached 94,869. Delivery of M1905 bayonets ended with those "in the works" finished with 98,632 delivered in April and 4,300 in early May.

Instructions were also sent to the Victory Plastics Division of the Beckwith Manufacturing Company to modify the M3 scabbard to accept the 10-inch blade length. The new scabbard was to be designated the M3A1, and was simply the M3 with a shorter body. Due to the feeling that the M3A1 designation might be a source of confusion, the scabbard was renamed the Scabbard, Bayonet, M7 on April 15, 1943.. At approximately the same time that the changeover was made from the M3 to the M7, retaining springs were added to the throat of the scabbard to keep the bayonet from falling out if it was not firmly latched to the stud on the scabbard.

 

Production

As mentioned above, the 5 remaining makers were in production of the M1 bayonet by mid-April 1943. Wilde Tool was dropped from the bayonet program at the completion of their initial contract for 60,000 M1905 bayonets and did not manufacture the M1 bayonet.

Initially, contracts for the M1905 bayonet were modified to specify the M1 bayonet. How many M1 bayonets actually supplied on these revised contracts is unknown. As these earlier contracts were completed, new contracts for the M1 were issued. A list of the contracts and their revisions follow, abstracted from the Ordnance Department Digest of Significant Purchase Actions (available from Frank Trzaska).

 

American Fork and Hoe - Cleveland, Ohio (Plant at Ashtabula, Ohio)

Contract #

Contract Date

Quantity

Unit Price

Deliveries

Notes/

Comments

           

Cleveland District

S-5851

08/20/1943

74,421

2.85

Spare Parts

.05

 

13% of the dollar value subcontracted. Lowest price on record for this item.

Cleveland District

S-5851

S-5960

09/21/1943

343,000

2.85

Spares

.05

   

Cleveland District

S-5851

S-5960

04/15/1944

140,000

3.165

Spares

.075

To be delivered from March 1944 to December 1944

Price increased from 2.85 to cover increased costs due to curtailed production. Schedule cut from 33,000/month to 14,000/month

Cleveland District

W33-019-

ORD-378

06/28/1944

56,493

2.59

Spares

.0683

To be delivered from January 1945 to March 1945

Additional award for 1945 delivery. Current price from this facility for 1944 deliveries made under a reduced production schedule is 3.165 for the bayonet and .075 for the spare parts.

Cleveland District

W33-019-

ORD-378

07/26/1944

224,811

2.59

Spares

.0683

To be delivered from July 1944 to December 1944

Price decreased from 3.165 and spare parts .075 because of increased production schedules

Contract #

Contract Date

Quantity

Unit Price

Deliveries

Notes/

Comments

Cleveland District

W33-019-

ORD-378

07/26/1944

224,811

2.59

Spares

.0683

To be delivered from July 1944 to December 1944

Price decreased from 3.165 and spare parts .075 because of increased production schedules

Cleveland District

W33-019-

ORD-378

07/26/1944

224,811

2.59

Spares

.0683

To be delivered from July 1944 to December 1944

Price decreased from 3.165 and spare parts .075 because of increased production schedules

Cleveland District

W33-019-

ORD-2700

09/11/1944

123,264

2.665

Spares

.0693

To be delivered from March 1945 to June 1945

Price decreased from 3.165 and spare parts .075 because of increased production schedules

Cleveland District

W33-019-

ORD-378

10/10/1944

281,304

2.59

To be delivered from July 1944 to March 1945

No spare parts to be delivered as per letter of September 30,1944

Cleveland District

W33-019-

ORD-2700

10/10/1944

123,264

2.665

Spares

.0693

To be delivered from March 1945 to June 1945

No spare parts to be delivered

Cleveland District

W33-019-

ORD-3417

12/16/1944

317,789

2.425

To be completed July 1945

New award. Previous award price was 2.665

Cleveland District

W33-019-

ORD-2700

01/10/1945

123,264

2.425

To be completed April 1945

Voluntary reduction in unit price from 2.665 to 2.425

Cleveland District

W33-019-

ORD-3417

03/27/1945

356,500

2.425

Deliveries from May 1945 to October 1945

New award. No change in pricing.

 

 

Oneida, Ltd. - Oneida, New York

Contract #

Contract Date

Quantity

Unit Price

Deliveries

Notes/

Comments

           

Rochester District

S-5725B

ORD 3742

06/12/1943

15,000

3.30

Spare Parts

.057919

 

Facilities valued at $195,650.70 from previous contract to be used on this order

 

Oneida was selected to be dropped from further production in September 1943, as the other plants were able to maintain a sufficient production level to supply Ordnance requirements. Oneida was allowed to continue to shorten M1905 bayonets to maintain their work force while they transitioned to the production of the M4 bayonet. They asked to be released from that work in November 1943, as the supply of M1905 bayonets to be shortened was too intermittent to allow them to operate economically.

 

Pal Blade Company - Holyoke, Massachusetts

Contract #

Contract Date

Quantity

Unit Price

Deliveries

Notes/

Comments

           

Springfield

District

S-1813

07/16/1943

318,124

4.0579

Spare

Parts

.069

 

Price subject to change when costs have been assembled. Price range for this item,

3.16 to 3.30

Springfield

District

S-5853

08/03/1943

162,000

3.50

 

Estimated price.

Actual prices with other

Facilities range from

3.16 to 3.30

Springfield

District

S-5853

09/20/1943

162,000

3.38

Spares

.035

 

The price range for this item is from 2.85 to 3.38

 

Due to a lowering of requirements for the M1 bayonet, Ordnance analyzed the four remaining production facilities in February 1944 based on factors such as availability of labor and other government contracts. As a result of the evaluation, it was decided to cancel the Pal Blade contracts effective March 31, 1944.

 

 

Union Fork and Hoe - Rome, New York

Contract #

Contract Date

Quantity

Unit Price

Deliveries

Notes/

Comments

           

Rochester

District

S-5725A

07/10/1943

179,864

3.16

Spare

Parts

.04891

 

Lowest price in effect for

this item.

Rochester

District

S-5962

10/26/1943

250,951

3.01

Spares

.05

 

Additional order at reduction of 0.15 in price

Rochester

District

W-30-115-

ORD-1855

12/14/1944

150,000

2.847

 

New award.

Last price from this facility was 3.06. Price of 2.847 is subject to periodic adjustments under

P.R. 360.2

Rochester

District

W-30-115-

ORD-1855

03/29/1945

250,000

2.81

Deliveries from March 1945 to October 1945

New award for 100,000 units.

Price on previous 150,000 units reduced from 2.847

 

Production ceased in June 1945 after delivery of 25,000

Rochester

District

W-30-115-

ORD-4028

04/19/1945

100,000

1.42

Modification of Bayonet M1905 to M1. To be completed December 1945

New award. Previous award price was 1.36

Rochester

District

W-30-115-

ORD-4028

05/21/1945

200,000

1.42

Modification of Bayonet M1905 to M1 to be completed December 1945

Additional award for

100,000 units

 

 

 

Utica Cutlery Company - Utica, New York

Contract #

Contract Date

Quantity

Unit Price

Deliveries

Notes/

Comments

Rochester District

S-5852A

09/18/1943

257,223

3.235

Spare Parts

.055

 

National Price ranges from 2.85 to 3.38

Rochester District

S-5672

09/23/1943

185,000

3.235

Spares

.055

   

Rochester District

W-30-115-

ORD-1474

08/11/1944

182,503

2.845

To be delivered from January 1945 to June 1945

New award. Price reduced from 3.085 spares .055 which is the current price for deliveries June to December 1944

Rochester District

W-30-115-

ORD-53

09/02/1944

56,000

2.945

spares

.055

Was delivered from March 1944 to June 1944

Voluntary price reduction due to revised delivery schedules and additional quantity of bayonets contracted for under ORD-1474

Rochester District

W-30-115-

ORD-53

09/02/1944

46,350

2.845

spares

.055

Was delivered from July 1944 to August 1944

Voluntary price reduction due to revised delivery schedules and additional quantity of bayonets contracted for under ORD-1474

Rochester District

W-30-115-

ORD-53

09/02/1944

156,482

2.845

spares

.055

For deliveries from August 1944 to January 1945

Voluntary price reduction due to revised delivery schedules and additional quantity of bayonets contracted for under ORD-1474

Rochester District

W-30-115-

ORD-412

09/25/1944

156,482

2.845

For deliveries from August 1944 to January 1945

Spare parts terminated

September 30, 1944

Contract #

Contract Date

Quantity

Unit Price

Deliveries

Notes/

Comments

Rochester District

W-30-115-

ORD-1474

09/25/1944

182,503

2.845

For deliveries from

January 1945 to June 1945

Spare parts terminated

September 30, 1944

Rochester District

W-30-115-

ORD-1474

02/24/1945

414,835

2.78

For deliveries from

January 1945 to Oct. 1945

To reflect the incorporation of a forward pricing agreement based on periodic price adjustment (PR 360.1 and 360B) for 1945 and to reduce the unit price from 2.845 on a sliding scale shown as follows:

25,000 to 30,000 /month

2.78

30,001 to 40,000 /month

2.73

40,001 to 50,000 /month

2.69

Rochester District

W-30-115-

ORD-1474

04/27/1945

269,835

2.81

For deliveries from

January 1945 to Oct. 1945

To reflect new price scale as follows:

20,000 to 30,000 /month

2.81

30,001 to 40,000 /month

2.65

40,001 to 50,000 /month

2.53

50,001 to 60,000 /month

2.48

Price of 2.81 per unit is used to establish the total contract price only.

Contract #

Contract Date

Quantity

Unit Price

Deliveries

Notes/

Comments

Rochester District

W-30-115-

ORD-412

06/12/1945

139,850

2.60

06-45

Reduction in price from 2.845

 

After the end of the war in Europe, it was determined that American Fork and Hoe had sufficient capacity to supply all requirements for the M1 bayonet, and Utica's contracts were terminated on June 30, 1945.

 

 

Deliveries of the Bayonet, M1

Month

Quantity

Cumulative Deliveries

April, 1943

94,869

94,869

May

184,320

279,189

June

175,800

454,989

July

186,711

641,700

August

151,659

793,359

September

147,320

940,679

October

154,131

1,094,810

November

138,480

1,233,290

December

132,408

1,365,698

January, 1944

132,910

1,498,608

February

132,910

1,631,518

March

76,000

1,707,518

April

73,927

1,781,445

May

24,418

1,809,863

June

28,032

1,837,895

July

50,000

1,887,895

August

75,000

1,962,895

September

74,907

2,037,802

October

80,000

2,117,802

November

83,000

2,200,802

December

90,000

2,290,802

January, 1945

102,000

2,392,802

February

95,000

2,487,802

March

142,000

2,629,802

April

135,000

2,764,802

May

87,500

2,852,302

June

67,650

2,919,952

July

17,873

2,937,825

August

10,824

2,948,649

     
     

It is nearly impossible to give accurate figures for quantities delivered by each maker. Although the above charts indicate the number contracted for, some of the contracts were modified and cancelled, so the numbers are not correct. Also the number produced under the change order to the M1905 contracts is not known.

As was done with the M1905 production (see Bayonet Points #22), an estimated production will be given, mostly to give a sense of rarity of the various makers. This number is rounded off and certainly not accurate - only a guess based on the contracts and other official information.

American Fork and Hoe     1,100,000     38%

Oneida, Limited     20,000     .68%

Pal Blade     450,000     15.5%

Union Fork and Hoe     600,000     20.5%

Utica Cutlery     750,000     25.5%

For some information on the shortened M1905 bayonets, see Bayonet Points #2 at:

http://www.usmilitaryknives.com/bayo_points_2.htm

 

E-mail me at bayonetman@suddenlink.net

To purchase a signed copy of Gary's awesome book, American Military Bayonets of the 20th Century click here American Bayonets Book All of the above reports referred to and the books are available on our Books For Sale  and or Documents page.

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