Updated December, 2005
Bayonet Points #30 - Dec, 2005
After my book was published, I received several comments from edged weapon collectors that I had misused the terms obverse and reverse ricasso. After some research I found that indeed the common standard used by knife collectors was exactly opposite to what I had written. Knife collectors commonly have the point to the left with the true edge down, while most bayonet collectors show bayonets in the opposite direction, that is, point to the right with the true edge down.
Bayonet collectors have traditionally oriented their bayonets the way they would be if they were displayed on the weapon. Since most small arms have the action oriented for the right handed user, the arm naturally points to the right when displayed on a horizontal rack. Most bayonet books show the bayonets in this orientation.
However, to avoid confusion I have since used the terms left ricasso and right ricasso, as these seem to be more generally understood by most "blade" collectors regardless of what particular field they collect. To those that I have confused in the past, I apologize and hope that using left and right will result in a better understanding by all.
The M1905 Reproduction Bayonet Revisited
Awhile back I received an email from a collector wanting to know if I had any information on a Utica Cutlery M1905 bayonet dated 1942 with a blue finish rather than being Parkerized. I had to say that I did not, but I have learned to say that few things are impossible so I asked for more information. After another email or two, the collector realized that he had one of the current reproductions as offered by IMA and possibly other sources. After he realized what he had, he proceeded to find a correct specimen and then was kind enough to offer the repro to me at a reduced price. Normally I donít put much of my hard to come by money into these, but since his had the scabbard and I did not have one of those in my reference collection, I purchased it from him.
Overall view of the reproduction M1905 bayonet and M3 scabbard
I mentioned these in some detail in Bayonet Points #13, but feel it might be worth another look as these are commonly turning up on Ebay and at shows, often being represented as originals. Unfortunately I recently examined one at a show that had been apparently recently Parkerized. The odd "Ordnance" marking on the right ricasso had been partially removed so it was no longer obvious at first glance. I inquired as to the price, thinking I might buy it to illustrate in one of these articles, but the price was too high. It was not identified as a reproduction, and I would not swear that the seller was aware that it was. If this becomes common, it may be pretty hard to tell one of the new ones from originals.
The first of these that I purchased had the "fantasy" maker mark of M.D.C.O., and most of the finish had been removed, possibly to make it look old and used. Since then I have seen a few, but did not have the opportunity to inspect them in detail. When I received this one, I looked carefully at the finish, which was about 98%. It did look very much like a smooth glossy dark blue, almost black. Looking with a magnifier at some small areas where the finish was worn or missing, I discovered that the finish is actually an enamel or lacquer. With a little oil, it can easily pass for blue unless examined closely.
Interior of the M1905 reproduction. All that I have examined have numbers on both grips and the lower tang. This is an assembly number to keep these parts together, not a serial number. All that I have seen have been three digits or less. The "Ordnance Escutcheon" mark on the right ricasso is a quick way to identity this as a reproduction, but fakers may begin removing it and refinishing the bayonets to make them more difficult to identify.
The U.C. marking is quite close to the original, and is well stamped and centered. Unless you are very familiar with the mark, it would be easy to mistake it for an original. The interior cuts are different enough not to be mistaken for WW2 production.
Above is an original WW2 production Utica Cutlery M1905 bayonet, below is the current reproduction. The markings are similar enough to fool the inexperienced collector, although in a side by side comparison they can easily be told apart.
The scabbard is very similar to an original M3, with the exception that the body is a solid plastic material, while the originals had a cotton duck body impregnated with a thermosetting plastic. In the originals, this weave of this cotton material may be seen in the plastic, while the reproduction is perfectly smooth. The throat is very much like the original, lacking only the B-N or VP mark under the lip. The US in the Shell and Flame is quite close to the original. On the two or three reproductions that I have seen, the metal throat is painted in the same color OD paint as the body.
On the left is an original WW2 production M3 scabbard, on the right the modern reproduction. Note the weave of the fabric visible in the original. The markings are not identical, but are quite similar.
A "Personalized" M1 Bayonet
Although military knives are often found that have been modified by their owners to suit their personal tastes, it is uncommon to find a bayonet that has been modified. This is probably due to the fact that knives were generally considered more personal equipment than the bayonets, and the rules against modifying the bayonets were more strictly enforced,
Sometime back I found this M1 bayonet on Ebay and found it interesting. I was fortunate enough to be able to buy it rather inexpensively and was glad to be able to add it to my "curiosities" collection.
The M7 scabbard has had two white diamonds in white cloth tape, and the throat has been painted white. The paint is thick and roughly brushed on.
The Personalized M1 Bayonet and M7 Scabbard
The bayonet is a 1920 Springfield cut to 10 inches. The interior of the tang and the upper and lower exterior tang is also painted white. The grips have been replaced with a clear Plexiglas, quite possibly from an aircraft canopy. The back of each grip has had photographs attached, and then were painted white on the back. The photos are of a young woman and appear to be of the World War Two period, based on hairstyle and the dress she is wearing. Presumably this is the wife or girlfriend of the serviceman.
Photo under the right grip
Photo under the left grip
Although a bayonet such as this is not common, it is of little interest to most collectors and does not command a high price. But to "historical" collectors such as myself, it is a very personal reminder that those who fought the war were men with girlfriends or wives that they left behind. One of the reasons that I collect militaria is that items such as this are artifacts of history which bring us closer to those who made it.
An Early Danish M5 Bayonet
While browsing at a local gun show recently, I noted a totally unmarked M5 bayonet on a dealerís table. I looked it over carefully, and with permission, removed the grips. The grips are also unmarked, but differ only in very minor details from the early "fat" M5 grips. It is a pure M5 without the later M5A1 modifications. The dealer told me that it had came in a shipment of Danish M/62 bayonets such as described by Bill Porter in Porterís Report #4 and was the only unmarked one it the batch. Presumably it is early production by Horster, but why it is unmarked is unknown. The scabbard is the wood grained type marked crown over HTK associated with the Horster M5s. As it was inexpensive, I picked it up as a curiosity.
Unmarked M5 Bayonet
The bulk of the Danish bayonets that have been imported recently are as new condition M5A1 bayonets by Eickhorn, mostly dated in the early 1990s. As Bill mentioned, these were really never intended to be used as bayonets by the Danes, but were instead issued as Trench Knives to troops not armed with the bayonet. It should be noted that since these were not required to be used as bayonets, they will not always fit on an M1 rifle.
Eickhorn Made Danish M5A1 Bayonet and Scabbard
Guard Marking on Danish Contract M5A1 by Eickhorn
Pommel Marking on Danish Contract M5A1 by Eickhorn
The Eickhorn version is considerably different in construction than the US model. While US M5A1 bayonets used two pieces pinned to the tang to great the undercut groove and a separate pommel (called butt plate) peened to the tang. Eickhorn developed a single piece containing the undercut groove and a pommel, which was then attached by two roll pins to the tang. The piece appears to be a casting, and certainly simplifies construction.
Above Ė US M5A1 Bayonet by Imperial
Below Ė M5A1 Danish Contract Bayonet by Carl Eickhorn
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