Updated Jan, 2005
Bayonet Points #25 - January, 2005
I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas and my sincere best wishes for a most Happy New Year of 2005. I trust my sentiment has not offended anyone. I am employed by the State of West Virginia, and we have always been instructed to wish any of those we serve a Happy Holiday Season, which I suppose in this time is a necessity.
I am saddened by the loss of two old and good friends in the past two months. Back in the early 1960s, I participated in a Civil War Re-enactment and shooting team, the 22nd Regiment Virginia Infantry. The original 22nd was formed as a Confederate regiment from militia in the Kanawha valley of what is now West Virginia. This unit was originally called the Kanawha Rifles, and was commanded during much of the Civil War by Col. George Patton (grandfather of the WW2 general) until his death at Winchester, VA in 1864.
With our shared interest in the Civil War, gun and militaria collecting and so on many of the members remained good friends long after the breakup of the unit itself in 1965. Six of us went to shows together, traded among ourselves, and in general enjoyed each other's company for over 42 years. Now we have lost two of the six in two months, and my life has a void that cannot be filled. God bless and keep you, Bert and Ed.
Between these losses, the Christmas season, and some other work that kept me pretty busy, I don't have much to say this month. I am working on a short article on socket bayonets that I hope to have ready next month. I get questions from time to time on these, and thought that it was time to jot down a few comments for those that might be interested.
With everything going on, I really haven't had time to do much research/writing this month. I will just mention a couple of things, and hope that you all will wait until I get my socket bayonet article put together.
M1905E1 Cutdown Numbering?
While I was going through my reference collection to do the photos for the M1 parts and markings, I ran into a marking that I have seen two or three times but really am not too sure of what it really is. The marking has been seen on shortened M1905 bayonets. On the upper tang it is stamped UFH002846. I have seen two others, one I did not write down the number and the other was UFH0012079. Now the question is, what does the number represent? The number is neatly stamped and shows every sign of being a factory job. I will assume that the UFH refers to Union Fork and Hoe, and that it was the company that did the shortening. It is known that UFH marked their early production in the same area before they went to the larger stamp on the right ricasso. Possibly they were going to serial number the bayonets as they shortened them and then abandoned the practice after a few thousand were done. Does anyone have any better ideas?
A marking found on the upper tang of a shortened 1943 dated OL M1905 bayonet.
Runout or Backcut
Some time ago I did a short article on the shape of the runout (commonly called the backcut by collectors) of the M7 bayonet. At various times since, the question has come up on some of the other bayonets on one or the other of the forums that I visit from time to time, so I thought I would mention it here so I can refer questions to this site.
Specifications for the runout on the M4, M5 (and M5A1), M6 and early M7s stated that the backcut would be at a sharp angle to the true edge, normally nearly 90 degrees. The July 1, 1974 specifications for the M7 blade stated: "Configuration of runout may vary - Sharp corner not permissible." It is possible that the specification was changed earlier than that date, but that is the earliest that I have available. Does anyone have any of the earlier drawings to check that?
Different runout shapes found on the M5 and M5A1 bayonets.
In the photo, the upper left is an Aerial M5 with the standard runout as specified at the time. This was the same as had been used on the M4 and would be used on the M6 and earlier M7s. It will vary somewhat from maker to maker, but will be fairly sharp and at a nearly 90 degree angle to the true edge.
The upper right is the M5 as made by the J&D Tool Company. It is a very distinctive curve with tool/machine marks visible that show the cutter actually curved in its travel to complete the runout. No other maker used this particular method of cutting the true edge and running it out. It is assumed that they had a proprietary process and received a variance from the specifications to use this particular shape.
The lower left is the type commonly found on the various commercial versions of the M4, M5, M6 and M7 bayonets. This particular one is a Milpar. The degree of slope changed from time to time and maker to maker, but it is normally a long sloped or curved runout. It is almost certain that any M4, M5 or M5A1, or M6 with this runout shape is a commercial product, or possibly for sale to another country.
The lower right is the later type M7 runout. It is somewhat more curved and less of a slope than most of the commercial style, but it is going to be nearly impossible for the collector to determine if a late M7 is military or commercial.
The M5, M5A1 and some of the M6 military contract production was normally marked with the DAS. I have been asked what a DAS is, and I guess we all forget that not everyone has been a collector for years and is aware of the meaning. DAS is collector speak for (Department of) Defense Acceptance Stamp, a very stylized eagle with open wings and three stars over its head. It was used as a final inspection/acceptance stamp from about 1953 to about 1965. On bayonets, it is usually on the blade side of the lower guard. It is often small and poorly stamped and sometimes hard to find. The photo shows one on an Imperial M5A1, and is about as clear as they get.
Any M5 or M5A1 bayonet lacking this stamp is suspect as to not being a US military contract piece. Early M6 production used this stamp, but it appears to have been dropped prior to the end of M6 procurement. M6 bayonets from packages dated in the early 1960s all seem to have this stamp, but those from late production do not. It is possible that the use of the mark was discontinued about 1966-67. It has been suggested that the mark was no longer used when Springfield Armory shut down and inspectors were no longer sent from that facility to inspect Ordnance Contract procurement. Does anyone have any firm information?
Defense Acceptance Stamp (DAS) on a Imperial M5A1 bayonet.
One thing I do want to say concerns those who take the time to email me. It seems that my ISP has installed spam killers as well as the one that I personally use, and I am finding that some emails are not getting through that should. It would help greatly if you would use at least one of the words bayonet, knife, scabbard or sheath in your subject line. Along this line, thank all of you for your kind words about my article on the markings of the M1905 and M1 bayonets - I am glad you found it helpful.
E-mail me at email@example.com
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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