Mle 1886 bayonets and variants
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Thread: Mle 1886 bayonets and variants

  1. #1
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    Default Mle 1886 bayonets and variants

    Here are a few pictures for your entertainment

    Mle 1886 early production, notice the riveted blade and the locking lug covering only 1/3 of the tenon's surface.

    Mle 1886 late production, screwed in blade, larger locking lug.

    Mle 1886M15

    Mle 1886M15 private industry production, brass handle

    Mle 1886M15 Remington contract, plus 2 detail of the Remington handle junction vs. "normal" profile, note the "pinker" brass on the Remington, as well as the almost straight junction.

    Cheers,

    JH

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    Remington Bayonets

    Guys: Unless I am remembering wrong, the Remington Bayonet was made of alloy, not bronze. All I have seen had the handle made of this aluminum alloy, with the spanner nut.

    I have never seen a bayonet that I could know for sure was Remington otherwise....

    The Remingtons have no marks on them at all, not even a letter, and the scabbard is the same, totally un-marked..

    Also: The locking lug was not lengthened, the slot in the collar was....simple expedient to provide more engagement of the locking tenon...

    Dale
    Last edited by vonmazur; 10-06-2009 at 02:43 PM. Reason: Add BS
    "If those sweethearts won't face German bullets, Then they'll face French ones!"

  3. #3
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    Dale:

    I'll have to dig out through my references, but I do recall that one to be documented as a Remington variant. Indeed, there is not a single proofmark or stamp on that one. The private contract one had the letter C&P stamped on the base of the blade (you can see it on the picture from my previous post). I have another one, shortened i.e. the so-called "cycliste" also a private-contract made one and it has two letters on the base of the blade. I forgot to grab the list of codes while at the cottage, I will try to remember this upcoming week-end.

    Cheers,

    Jan

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  5. #4
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    I would be intrested in that code listing mon ami to help me get more information on an article I am working on these bayonets, I found a few of them but always interested in more of them. I will also edit this later to include the locking lug differences, I never paid attention to this before you brought it up, it is quite different, I learn something new all the time.


    Épée-Baïonnette Modèle 1886 and Épée-Baïonnette Modèle 1886 Modifié 1915

    The standard Épée-Baïonnette Modèle 1886 was developed starting in January of 1886 for the new revolutionary smokeless powder rifle the Fusil d'Infanterie Modèle 1886 "Lebel" which would be the first French rifle to have the bayonet mounted directly underneath the barrel. These bayonets are 640mm (25.20) in overall length with a straight, bright steel 520mm (20.47) long 4-edge cruciform blade, 14mm (.55) diameter muzzle ring, metal grip, hooked quillion, steel crossguard with a rounded checkered press-catch locking mechanism which weighed 400 grams (14.1 Oz.). The scabbards called fourreau for these were made of blued steel, tubular in shape with a rounded tip and weighed 200 grams (7.05 Oz.). The first bayonets had a false steel endcap on the back of the handle which did not allow for the bayonet to be easily disassembled, in August of 1890 these were eliminated and a rounded nut with 2 small square holes was used so that the bayonet could be disassembled by the regimental armorer or regional support unit for parts replacement. There was some Épée-Baïonnette Modèle 1886 that were shortened to a blade length of 340mm (13.39) prior to the Great War for Troupes Cyclistes (Bicycle Troops).

    The standard bayonet, the Épée-Baïonnette Modèle 1886 was modified for “trench” warfare starting in January of 1915 with the complete removal of the quillion during the manufacturing process, not cut-off as has been rumored, and simplifying the bayonet latch release with a semi-rounded type, these new bayonets were to be called Épée-Baïonnette Modèle 1886 Modifié 1915. Sometime very late in WWI or during the 1920's or 30's some of the bayonets blades and cross-guards were blued.

    Grips for these bayonets were made in many different metals, prior to the war these were made in German nickel silver (bronze de nickel) or what is referred to as maillechort. On the 25th of October of 1914 German nickel silver was substituted with brass (laiton) or aluminum bronze (bronze d'aluminium) normally called tambak or jaune (yellow) and in July of 1917 steel (acier) or iron (fer) substituted all previous metals.

    These bayonets were called "Rosalie" by the French Poilus in honor of the Virgin of the Southern French town of Bayonne where supposedly bayonets were first used in 1655. The legend is that during the mid-17th century irregular military conflicts of rural France, the peasants of the Southern French town of Bayonne, who were Basques, having run out of powder and shot, rammed their long-bladed hunting knives into the muzzles of their muskets to fashion impromptu spears and, by necessity, created the Baïonnette.

    In 1915 a steel wire breaker attachment was made for the bayonet which was slipped on to the blade of the bayonet that could cut barbed wire using the bullet of the rifle as it was fired. This device was called coupe barbelé système "FILLOUX" which was designed by Artillerie Lieutenant-Colonel L.J.F. Filloux who worked at Atelier de Construction de Bourges. These were marked with the month, the last two digits of the year and a circled capital letter B which showed these were made by Atelier de Construction de Bourges.

    Both type of French made Épée-Baïonnettes and scabbards were marked with the serial number and either a script or block letter prefix which showed what Manufacture Nationale d'Armes made the bayonet. These will be marked on the left side of the quillon on the Épée-Baïonnette Modèle 1886, on the bottom of the cross-guard of the Épée-Baïonnette Modèle 1886 Modifié 1915 and on the frog strap bale of the scabbards.
    1). Manufacture Nationale d'Armes de Châtellerault (MAC) ... A,B,C,D,E
    2). Manufacture Nationale d'Armes de Saint Étienne (MAS) … F,G,H,J,K,L,M,N,P,Q
    3). Manufacture Nationale d'Armes de Tulle (MAT) ... R,S,T,U,V
    4). Letter code X was used for instruction purposes only

    The bayonets were also marked with a small quality control and the mark of acceptance into military service called Contrôleur Poinçons (controllers stamps) which was stamped on the bottom or side of blade and just above the frog strap bale on the scabbard. There were three different type of acceptance marks used: Directeur de Manufacture (Armory Director), Contrôleur Généraux Principaux (Principal Arms Inspector) and Contrôleur de 1ème, 2ème y 3 ème Classe (1st, 2nd and 3rd Class Controllers). Both the Directeur de Manufacture and Contrôleur Généraux Principaux marks will be found with a letter within a circle and Contrôleur de 1ème, 2ème y 3 ème Classe will be found with a letter within a shield. Other letters and numbers are marked at various places on the bayonet in which some of these are the private companies that made parts for these during the war and others are most likely are some sort of inspectors markings, more research is needed into this. There are some bayonets that are marked with what appears to be naval anchors which meant that these were issued to the French Colonial Forces called Troupes Coloniales, which were military forces that garrisoned and were largely recruited from the vast French Colonial Empire.

    Some bayonet parts were made by private companies during the Great War such as:
    1). L. Delage & Cie which made grips and were marked with code: LC on the grip
    2). M. Guinard which made the springs for the rotating collar latch
    3). Établissement Malicet & Blin which made cross-guards and were marked with code: M
    4). Société des Anciens Établissements Panhard & Levassor which made the rotating collar latch and were marked with code: PL on the part
    5). Société des Automobiles & Cycles Peugeot which made the blades, grip screw and scabbards and these will be marked with code: P on those parts
    6). Automobiles Renault which made grip and were marked with code: R on the handle

    During WWI Remington Arms Company which was based in Ilion, New York was contracted to make Épée-Baïonnette Modèle 1886 Modifié 1915 for the French military, most of these bayonets will not have any markings on them at all as very few of these were sent to France during the Great War. The grips on these bayonets were made of a type of German nickel silver which had a slightly less pronounced contoured grip closer to the cross-guard.

    After WWI both the Épée-Baïonnette Modèle 1886 and Épée-Baïonnette Modèle 1886 Modifié 1915 blades were shortened to a blade length of anywhere from 265mm to 400mm, these were to be called Épée-Baïonnette Modèle 1886 Modifié 1915 Raccourci 1935. These were mostly used on the Mousqueton de Artillerie Modèle 1886 Modifié 1893 Raccourci 1935, Mousqueton de Cavalerie Modèle 1886 Modifié 1893 Raccourci 1935 and Fusil de Infanterie Modèle 1907-1915 Modifié 1934.
    Many of the other countries during the Great War or after such as Belguim, Bulgaria, Finland, Greece, Italy, Serbia, Russia who had been sold or used various French rifles also used these bayonets. After WWI ended the newly created nation of Poland was sold, by the French, many of both type of these bayonets which were used during the Polish-Soviet War (1919-1921) and later during the Polish Invasion of 1939. These bayonets were called Bagnetowy Wzor 1886/93 and were usually marked at the back of the pommel with following markings: Wz86/91 or Wz86/93. Germany also used many of these from captured stocks or from enemy prisoners of war during both World Wars, these bayonets are usually marked with the regimental unit which used them on the side or inside the top groove of the grip.
    In all of the photographic evidence seen by myself and other French Firearms Collectors the Épée-Baïonnette Modèle 1886 was only really used on the Fusil d'Infanterie Modèle 1886 Modifié 1893 "Lebel" and the Épée-Baïonnette Modèle 1886 Modifié 1915 was used on both the Fusil de Infanterie Modèle 1907-1915 and Fusil de Infanterie Modèle Modifié 1916.

    Épée-Baïonnette Modèle 1886
    L’épée-baïonnette se divise en trois parties principales: la lame, la monture et le forreau.
    1. Dans la lame on distingue: La lame quadrangulaire proprement dite; le talon, les quarte arêtes, les quatre gouttières, la pointe.
    La soie prolongée dans toute la longueur de la poignée, filetée à son extrémité et maintenue dans la tête de la poignée par un ecrou.
    2. La monture comprend: La poignée, en bronze de nickel; la tête, qui pénètre dans le logement de l'embouchoir, le corps, la rainure pour le grand tenon; l'emplacement de la virole; le tenon qui pénètre dans le collet de la croisière; les trous pour la vis de poignée; l'evidement intérieur; l'ecrou.
    La vis de poignée, qui assure l'assemblage de la poignée et de la soie, et dont la tête sert à limiter les mouvements du poussoir.
    La croisière, en acier; le corps, le quillon, la douille, les deux fentes de la douille, l'une pour guidon, l'autre pour le petit tenon; le trou de la soie; le collet qui reçoit le tenon de la poignée; les trous du rivet de croisière, le logement du poussoir et son ressort.
    La virole, en acier, qui sert à fixer la baïonnette au canon. Il comprend: le corps; le poussoir quadrillé; le logement du ressort de poussoir; l'échancrure pour la tête de la vis de poignée; le taquet et son plan incliné.
    Le ressort à boudin de poussoir.
    3. Le fourreau est en acier bronzé; Il comprend: Le corps de fourreau, l'entrée, le trou du rivet de cuvette;
    Le bracelet-pontet, brasé sur le fourreau;
    Le bouton, brasé sur le fourreau; le bouton proprement dit, la tige qui pénètre dans le fourreau, son évidement conique;
    La cuvette; le corps, le trou du rivet, les quatre battes, pour maintenir l’épée-baïonnette dans le fourreau;
    Le rivet de cuvette.

    Épée-Baïonnette Modèle 1886 Modifié 1915
    L’épée-baïonnette se divise en trois parties principales: la lame, la monture et le forreau.
    1. Dans la lame on distingue: La lame quadrangulaire proprement dite; le talon, les quarte arêtes, les quatre gouttières, la pointe.
    La soie prolongée dans toute la longueur de la poignée, filetée à son extrémité et maintenue dans la tête de la poignée par un ecrou.
    2. La monture comprend: La poignée, en bronze de nickel ou en laiton; la tête, qui pénètre dans le logement de l'embouchoir, le corps, la rainure pour le grand tenon; l'emplacement de la virole; le tenon qui pénètre dans le collet de la croisière; les trous pour la vis de poignée; l'evidement intérieur; l'ecrou.
    La vis de poignée, qui assure l'assemblage de la poignée et de la soie, et dont la tête sert à limiter les mouvements du poussoir.
    La croisière, en acier; le corps, la douille, les deux fentes de la douille, l'une pour guidon, l'autre pour le petit tenon; le trou de la soie; le collet qui reçoit le tenon de la poignée; les trous du rivet de croisière, le logement du poussoir et son ressort.
    La virole, en acier, qui sert à fixer la baïonnette au canon. Il comprend: le corps; le poussoir quadrillé; le logement du ressort de poussoir; l'échancrure pour la tête de la vis de poignée; le taquet et son plan incliné.
    Le ressort à boudin de poussoir.
    3. Le fourreau est en acier bronzé; Il comprend: Le corps de fourreau, l'entrée, le trou du rivet de cuvette;
    Le bracelet-pontet, brasé sur le fourreau;
    Le bouton, brasé sur le fourreau; le bouton proprement dit, la tige qui pénètre dans le fourreau, son évidement conique;
    La cuvette; le corps, le trou du rivet, les quatre battes, pour maintenir l’épée-baïonnette dans le fourreau;
    Le rivet de cuvette.
    Les baïonnettes fabriquées pendant la guerre sont, pour la plupart dépourvues de quillon.
    Last edited by 1886lebel; 10-06-2009 at 12:18 PM.
    Co-Author of the book:
    Banzai Special Project No. 1, The Siamese Mauser, A Study Of Siamese / Thai Type 45 & Type 46 Long Rifles and Type 47 Carbines, Including An Overview Of Siamese/Thai Weapons 18602014


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    Both of y'all missed something....

    Patrick and Mezigot: You have missed something, the Lebel pattern shortened for the Mle 1886-R35......This one has a pin added to the crossguard, internally, that guides the latch spring and prevents binding of the locking latch on the bayonets that have had the notch lengthened to provide more engagement of the tenon on the barrel.....I have two of these, both shortened, and both have the lock modified for more engagement and both have the pin installed to guide the lock spring.....

    Dale
    "If those sweethearts won't face German bullets, Then they'll face French ones!"

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    I have not ever had the need to take a bayonet apart yet and I do not own a Épée-Baïonnette Modèle 1886 Modifié 1915 Raccourci 1935 one so I had no idea they modified it internally, I will add this to the above article. Can you get me some pictures of this modification Dale I would appreciate it.
    Patrick
    Co-Author of the book:
    Banzai Special Project No. 1, The Siamese Mauser, A Study Of Siamese / Thai Type 45 & Type 46 Long Rifles and Type 47 Carbines, Including An Overview Of Siamese/Thai Weapons 18602014


  8. #7
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    Just to change the focus here a bit... But not much, as this is a derivative from the 1886 Lebel, as I understand it...

    Does anyone here have a photo of a Daudeteau bayonet? ...The 6.5 mmm modified Mauser 71...

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    Very similar to the Mle 1890 bayonet, i.e. a 1886 blade with a Maillechort handle with a cut for the cleaning rod, and a locking mechanism identical to that of the Mle 1892... I'll try to dig out more information over the week-end.

    Cheers,

    JH

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    Quote Originally Posted by vonmazur View Post
    Patrick and Mezigot: You have missed something, the Lebel pattern shortened for the Mle 1886-R35......This one has a pin added to the crossguard, internally, that guides the latch spring and prevents binding of the locking latch on the bayonets that have had the notch lengthened to provide more engagement of the tenon on the barrel.....I have two of these, both shortened, and both have the lock modified for more engagement and both have the pin installed to guide the lock spring.....

    Dale
    Dale,

    I just did not have one to illustrate. Reportedly the real ones have a blade length of exactly 400 mm, and it's blackened (i.e. not in the white as all the other 1886 variants). Anything else is a "cycliste" or a forgery...

    Cheers,

    Jan

    PS: More information to come once I get my hands back on the article that has been eluding me for a while. If if find it, after positive ID, I may have a real rarity to show you guys...

  11. #10
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    These were used for the Uruguayan "Dovitis" Infanteriegewehre M.1871 Mauser as well as the "experimental" French Fusil Daudeteau Modele B both in 6,5x53,5SRmm called Cartouche No. 12.
    The biggest differences in this bayonet was the diameter of the muzzle ring and of la tête (part that goes into the front barrel band) and it had a featured a groove that extends down the left side of the bayonet grip to allow clearance for the brass-tipped clearing rod.



    Here is the Épée-Baïonnette Modèle 1890 and 1902 variant
    The main difference in these was that locking mechanism was located in the pommel which connected with the bayonet bar to attach the bayonet to the weapon. The 1890 version had a 520mm (20.47) long 4-edge cruciform blade and in 1902 the bayonet was found to be too long for these smaller stature soldiers of the Indochinois troops and was shortened in 1912 from 520mm (20.4 inch) to 420mm (16.5 inch) to better accommodate them. Both of these had a 13mm diameter muzzle ring compared to the Épée-Baïonnette Modèle 1886 14mm (.55) diameter muzzle ring.

    Last edited by 1886lebel; 10-06-2009 at 06:06 PM.
    Co-Author of the book:
    Banzai Special Project No. 1, The Siamese Mauser, A Study Of Siamese / Thai Type 45 & Type 46 Long Rifles and Type 47 Carbines, Including An Overview Of Siamese/Thai Weapons 18602014


  12. #11
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    Doody-Toe Bayonet

    Same as Mle 1886, relocated and reduced circle in the back, channel cut for clearing rod. Does not have a latch at the rear like the Mle 90....Has a tenon on the bottom of the barrel I am going to make one for my Dauteteau out of an early Mle 1886....

    Patrick I will get the modified Lebel out of the hoard tonite and make pix for the board...This is the only real un-mentioned mod that I know of....

    Dale
    "If those sweethearts won't face German bullets, Then they'll face French ones!"

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    Épée-Baïonnette Modèle 1890, 1902 and 1907

    These bayonets also featured a long, straight, bright steel 520mm long 4-edge cruciform blade and a hooked quillion. The main difference in these was that locking mechanism was located in the pommel which connected with the bayonet bar to attach the bayonet to the weapon.

    1890 … These were to be used for the Carabine de Gendarmerie Modèle 1890, these featured a groove that extends down the left side of the bayonet grip to allow clearance for the brass-tipped clearing rod. All grips were made of German nickel silver (bronze de nickel) or what is referred to as maillechort. These have a 13mm diameter muzzle ring.
    1902 … These were to be used for the Fusil de Tirailleur Indochinois Modèle 1902, these featured a groove that extends down the left side of the bayonet grip to allow clearance for the brass-tipped clearing rod. The bayonet was found to be too long for these smaller stature soldiers and was shortened in 1912 from 520mm (20.4 inch) to 420mm (16.5 inch) to better accommodate them. All grips were made of German nickel silver (bronze de nickel) or what is referred to as maillechort. These have a 13mm diameter muzzle ring.
    1907 … These were to be used for the Fusil de Tirailleur Sénégalais "Colonial" Modèle 1907, these did not have the groove that extended down the the left side of the bayonet grip. All grips were made of German nickel silver (bronze de nickel) or what is referred to as maillechort. These have a 14mm diameter muzzle ring.

    I own a 1902 in the picture in previous post and here, seen Dale's 1890 and only have seen a 1907 in pictures, these are super hard to find as is the rifles themselves.

    Épée-Baïonnette Modèle 1902
    Co-Author of the book:
    Banzai Special Project No. 1, The Siamese Mauser, A Study Of Siamese / Thai Type 45 & Type 46 Long Rifles and Type 47 Carbines, Including An Overview Of Siamese/Thai Weapons 18602014


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    Super pix of the Dovitis Daudeteau bayos!!!

    Thanks for this information and education.

    If anyone stumbles across a cache of these, I need one for my Dovitis!!!

    Thanks Mezigot, Dale, and 1886Lebel for the wonderful info...

    Be safe all...

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    Mle 1886 R 35 Bayonet

    Patrick et Mezigot; Here are the shots of the bayonet with the guide added....

    Old Smithy had his Dauteteau bayonet in backwards ..... should have the quillion on the other side....where the leather is cut for it.

    Dale
    "If those sweethearts won't face German bullets, Then they'll face French ones!"

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    Dale,
    Ok I see it now where they did the modification, thanks for the pictures.

    TnDoc,
    Last Épée-Baïonnette for the Daudeteau I saw for sale sold for over $800 which was sold by Stephan Juan of AntiqueFirearms.com.
    Patrick
    Co-Author of the book:
    Banzai Special Project No. 1, The Siamese Mauser, A Study Of Siamese / Thai Type 45 & Type 46 Long Rifles and Type 47 Carbines, Including An Overview Of Siamese/Thai Weapons 18602014


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    Dale,

    Thanks for the picture. Actually, if memory serves, that modification was incorporated in the updated construction tables, except that it is not showing up on the other side. I had a nice article detailing all the variants, etc. but God know where my father hid it after "re-organizing" the booksheves. I may have it in Chatellerault's book. If I can get my hands on the article, that would answer the questions of the modification, the Remington "salmon" brass, etc. better than my memory can.

    I just found a hobby for the (long) week-end.

    Cheers,

    Jan

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    Here is a dead one who saw some action..Bullet pierced and broken...Serial number simply 51

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    Remington Bayonets

    Guys: I neglected to mention, that if one was indusrious enough, it is possible to change the handle on a Rem bayonet....All one needs is a good spanner to remove the nut, and a good padded vise and the appropriate files to make the fit exact....

    Dale
    "If those sweethearts won't face German bullets, Then they'll face French ones!"

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    TnDoc,
    Last Épée-Baïonnette for the Daudeteau I saw for sale sold for over $800 which was sold by Stephan Juan of AntiqueFirearms.com.
    Patrick


    Thanks, Patrick... Looks like that will not be possible then! I have known Stephan for years and have many fine pieces due to his efforts. I have always found him to be fair and his items conservatively described... My Daudeteau came from him (but was half the price of the bayo!) and is an excellent rifle...

    Maybe one will turn up at a gun show one day!

    Thanks again for all the info!

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    OK guys, put my act together and dug out some reference material. To keep things short and sweet, I'll use the following abbreviations: ABC = Atlas de la baionnette de collection, K = Keisling (sp? don't have that one) and GA = Gazette des Armes (special baionnettes) followed by the number of the specific record.

    Those interested in the Daudeteau bayonets: ABC 998, K 413, GA 413

    Variants around the Mle 1886 in original length ABC 982-997

    More specifically:

    Remington 1886-15: Maillechort + brass handles, no marking, shape of the handle near the locking ring (virole) ABC 992. "salmon colored brass", shape of the handle, no markings, GA No 152, p.25. The bayonet in my earlier picture is definitely a Remingon-made one.

    Mle 1886-15 R35: 40 cm blade, all metal is "bronzee", i.e. blued, made only from pure Mle 1886-15, i.e. not from those with a shortened quillon ABC 523. 40 cm blade, ball shapened end of scabbard 12,7 mm diameter instread of original 11 mm. No mention of finish but appears to have been blued in the past from illustrations GA No 161, p.57 Therefore anything non-40 cm blade is NOT an R35. There is a DM from 1930 ordering the shortening of blades to 30 cm specifically for the use with (semi)-automatic rifles (most probably the FA-18) That was cancelled in 1933.

    Mle 1886-15 private contracts: Blades marked with (not exhaustive list) P, SG, S.C, C&P, CF. Handle with intertwined B and M Ref. ABC988.

    General evolution article on the Mle 1886 bayonet by Pierre Renoux GA No 152 p.22:

    June 15th 1888: Elimination of the axis guiding the spring of the locking ring, spring lengthened from 6 to 7 spires. (Dale, I apologize, I got it all reverted in my previous message). BTW the bayonet in the picture of the early Mle 1886 posted has the post, is a G-series and bears the Navy anchor on the guard.

    1890 lenghtened "soie" (part of the blade inside the handle) fixed to the handle by means of a screw cap at the pommed of the bayonet.

    1893 widened locking lug (taquet de virole), notch on the locking ring (echancrure de virole) enlarged, thickness of the press button slighly diminished to keep the protusion constant despite the longer travel

    October 1914, brass handles authorized

    July 1917, grey cast iron (fonte grise) handles authorized mainly beause of easier castability to help the private industry (process tested at Chatellerault in March).

    That's all for now.

    Cheers,

    JH

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    Sp....

    Mezigot: I think "Kiesling" is correct...Good info, glad to see that the guidance pin is a real thing, I thought some collector might have done it.....

    All of the steel hilted bayonets I have are for the 07/15, and none are shortened.

    I have never seen a Gray Iron hilt, just the fine grained steel models...

    No problem on the Remington Pink hilt, I am sure that they did not control the alloy that precisely, or they just changed the color for some reason...

    Dale
    "If those sweethearts won't face German bullets, Then they'll face French ones!"

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    OK, I updated the article I was doing on these with information provided by both Mezigot and vonmazur. Hope fully I got this all correct




    Épée-Baïonnette Modèle 1886 and Épée-Baïonnette Modèle 1886 Modifié 1915

    The standard Épée-Baïonnette Modèle 1886 was developed starting in January of 1886 for the new revolutionary smokeless powder rifle the Fusil d'Infanterie Modèle 1886 "Lebel" which would be the first French rifle to have the bayonet mounted directly underneath the barrel. These bayonets are 640mm (25.20) in overall length with a straight, bright steel 520mm (20.47) long 4-edge cruciform blade, 14mm (.55) diameter muzzle ring, metal grip, hooked quillion, steel cross-guard with a rounded checkered press-catch locking mechanism which weighed 400 grams (14.1 Oz.). The scabbards for these were made of blued steel, tubular in shape with an 11mm (.43) rounded ball tip and weighed 200 grams (7.05 Oz.).

    During the years these bayonets were in service a few significant modifications took place and were as follows: On June 15th of 1888 the guidance pin for the spring of the locking ring was eliminated and the spring was lengthened from 6 to 7 spires. Prior to August of 1890 the bayonets had a false steel end-cap on the back of the handle which did not allow for the bayonet to be easily disassembled by the regimental armorer or regional support unit for parts replacement so these were eliminated by lengthening the blades hilt and using a rounded nut with 2 small square holes to help hold the grip to the pommel of the bayonet. In 1893 the locking lug was widened, the notch on the locking ring was enlarged and the thickness of the press button was slightly diminished to keep the protrusion constant despite the longer travel. There was some Épée-Baïonnette Modèle 1886 that were shortened to a blade length of 340mm (13.39) prior to The Great War for Troupes Cyclistes (Bicycle Troops).

    The standard bayonet, the Épée-Baïonnette Modèle 1886 was modified during WWI for “trench” warfare starting in January of 1915 with the complete removal of the quillion during the manufacturing process, not cut-off as has been rumored, and simplifying the bayonet latch release with a semi-rounded type. These new bayonets were to be called Épée-Baïonnette Modèle 1886 Modifié 1915. Sometime very late in WWI or during the 1920's or 30's some of the bayonets blades and cross-guards were blued.

    After WWI the Épée-Baïonnette Modèle 1886 Modifié 1915 blades were shortened to a blade length of 400mm (15.75), all white metal parts blued, the scabbard was shortened to fit the new length of the blade and the rounded tip at the end of the scabbard was increased to 12.7mm (.50) instead of the original 11mm diameter. These new bayonets were to be called Épée-Baïonnette Modèle 1886 Modifié 1915 Raccourci 1935 and were mostly to be used with the following weapons: the Mousqueton de Artillerie Modèle 1886 Modifié 1893 Raccourci 1935, Mousqueton de Cavalerie Modèle 1886 Modifié 1893 Raccourci 1935 and Fusil de Infanterie Modèle 1907-1915 Modifié 1934. Note: Any other shortened bayonet that has less than a 400mm blade is not considered to be a R35 modification.

    There is a Décret Ministériel (ministerial decree) from 1930 ordering the shortening of the Épée-Baïonnette Modèle 1886 Modifié 1915 blades to 300mm (11.81) specifically for the use with the two semi-automatic rifles (Fusil Service Automatique Modèle 1917 R.S.C. and Fusil Service Automatique Modèle 1918 R.S.C.) but was cancelled in 1933. There are some Épée-Baïonnette Modèle 1886 and Épée-Baïonnette Modèle 1886 Modifié 1915 that have blades anywhere from 265mm (10.43) up to 400mm (15.75) and at this time it is not sure why these were done.

    The grips for these bayonets were made in many different metals, prior to The Great War these were made in German nickel silver (bronze de nickel) or what is referred to as maillechort. On the 25th of October of 1914 German nickel silver was substituted with brass (laiton) or aluminum bronze (bronze d'aluminium) normally called tambak or jaune (yellow) and in July of 1917 steel (acier) and grey cast iron (fonte grise) handles substituted all previous metals. Cast iron was tested by Manufacture Nationale d'Armes de Châtellerault in March of 1917 and was authorized because of easier cast ability by private industry companies.

    These bayonets were called "Rosalie" by the French Poilus in honor of the Virgin of the Southern French town of Bayonne where supposedly bayonets were first used in 1655. The legend is that during the mid-17th century irregular military conflicts of rural France, the peasants of the Southern French town of Bayonne, who were Basques, having run out of powder and shot, rammed their long-bladed hunting knives into the muzzles of their muskets to fashion impromptu spears and, by necessity, created the Baïonnette.

    In 1915 a steel wire breaker attachment was made for the bayonet which was slipped on to the blade of the bayonet that could cut barbed wire using the bullet of the rifle as it was fired. This device was called coupe barbelé système "FILLOUX" which was designed by Artillerie Lieutenant-Colonel L.J.F. Filloux who worked at Atelier de Construction de Bourges. These were marked with the month, the last two digits of the year and a circled capital letter B which showed these were made by Atelier de Construction de Bourges.

    Both type of French made Épée-Baïonnettes and scabbards were marked with the serial number and either a script or block letter prefix which showed what Manufacture Nationale d'Armes made the bayonet. These will be marked on the left side of the quillon on the Épée-Baïonnette Modèle 1886, on the bottom of the cross-guard of the Épée-Baïonnette Modèle 1886 Modifié 1915 and on the frog strap bale of the scabbards.
    1). Manufacture Nationale d'Armes de Châtellerault (MAC) ... A,B,C,D,E
    2). Manufacture Nationale d'Armes de Saint Étienne (MAS) … F,G,H,J,K,L,M,N,P,Q
    3). Manufacture Nationale d'Armes de Tulle (MAT) ... R,S,T,U,V
    4). Letter code X was used for instruction purposes only

    The bayonets were also marked with a small quality control and the mark of acceptance into military service called Contrôleur Poinçons (controllers stamps) which was stamped on the bottom or side of blade and just above the frog strap bale on the scabbard. There were three different type of acceptance marks used: Directeur de Manufacture (Armory Director), Contrôleur Généraux Principaux (Principal Arms Inspector) and Contrôleur de 1ème, 2ème y 3 ème Classe (1st, 2nd and 3rd Class Controllers). Both the Directeur de Manufacture and Contrôleur Généraux Principaux marks will be found with a letter within a circle and Contrôleur de 1ème, 2ème y 3 ème Classe will be found with a letter within a shield. Other letters and numbers are marked at various places on the bayonet in which some of these are the private companies that made parts for these during the war and others are most likely are some sort of inspectors markings, more research is needed into this. There are some bayonets that are marked with what appears to be naval anchors which meant that these were issued to the French Colonial Forces called Troupes Coloniales, which were military forces that garrisoned and were largely recruited from the vast French Colonial Empire.

    Some bayonet parts were made by private companies during the Great War such as:
    1). L. Delage & Cie which made grips and were marked with code: LC on the grip
    2). M. Guinard which made the springs for the rotating collar latch
    3). Établissement Malicet & Blin which made cross-guards and were marked with code: M
    4). Société des Anciens Établissements Panhard & Levassor which made the rotating collar latch and were marked with code: PL on the part
    5). Société des Automobiles & Cycles Peugeot which made the blades, grip screw and scabbards and these will be marked with code: P on those parts
    6). Automobiles Renault which made grip and were marked with code: R on the grip
    7). Maison Vichard et Conge: 30,000 blades
    Blades also have been encountered with the following codes: CF, C&P, S.C. and SG and handles also have been encountered with an intertwined B and M. It is unknown at this time whom these private contractors were.

    During WWI Remington Arms Company which was based in Ilion, New York was contracted to make Épée-Baïonnette Modèle 1886 Modifié 1915 for the French military, most of these bayonets will not have any markings on them at all as very few of these were sent to France during the Great War. The grips on these bayonets were made of a unknown type of German nickel silver as well as brass that was “pinkish or salmon” in color. The grips on the bayonets had a slightly less pronounced contoured grip closer to the cross-guard.

    Many of the other countries during the Great War or after such as Belgium, Bulgaria, Finland, Greece, Italy, Serbia, Russia who had been sold or used various French rifles also used these bayonets. After WWI ended the newly created nation of Poland was sold, by the French, many of both type of these bayonets which were used during the Polish-Soviet War (1919-1921) and later during the Polish Invasion of 1939. These bayonets were called Bagnetowy Wzor 1886/93 and were usually marked at the back of the pommel with following markings: Wz86/91 or Wz86/93. Germany also used many of these from captured stocks or from enemy prisoners of war during both World Wars, these bayonets are usually marked with the regimental unit which used them on the side or inside the top groove of the grip.
    Co-Author of the book:
    Banzai Special Project No. 1, The Siamese Mauser, A Study Of Siamese / Thai Type 45 & Type 46 Long Rifles and Type 47 Carbines, Including An Overview Of Siamese/Thai Weapons 18602014


  24. #23
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    Patrick,

    Nice job. I can add that the German captured bayonets usually had Deutche R. stamped on the handle and that there is a Greek variant that had the virole suppressed and the muzzle ring and handle tweaked to fit on the Mle 1892 mousqueton. It seems that those were sent to Greece but due to a mess-up, with Mle 1886 bayonets instead of the Mle 1892.

    JH
    Last edited by Mezigot; 10-19-2009 at 08:42 AM. Reason: Verified info over week-end and updated accordingly.

  25. #24
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    Really excellent job, Patrick.
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  26. #25
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    New to the forum here - just found it researching a bayonet left when my grandfather died last year on Google which led me here. He served in USMC in the Pacific during WWII so we all just assumed it was his bayonet, but on doing research it looks like it's one of the earlier models of the Lebel that patrick describes.

    It has a cruciform blade, ~25 1/2" overall length with a blade length about 20 1/2". It has a quilloin that sweeps in a curve to the front, almost like you could hold the handle and wrap your index finger around it. On the left side of the quilloin is a stamp that is hard to read out, what looks like a cursive letter followed by a series of numbers. Based on Patricks description I think it might be one of the earlier models, because on the back of the handle is a single solid round facing that looks like it is actually molded into the handle. We can't tell without cleaning what metal the handle is but it looks like old brass to me. There are lots of stamps and markings at various places around the blade and handle, but they are hard to make out. The scabbard also has a very slight curve to it, which we thought was wear over time, but it appears from some of the pictures. There's also a bulb or ball at the end of the scabbard, and some twine tied around it, though the twine looks to be in very good condition so it might be a newer edition.

    A few questions - what can be used safely to clean the metal and get a better read on the markings or to take pictures and post here? Is there any special handling instructions (it has apparently been in a box for decades and appears in very good condition except for it needs a cleaning)? Is there anyway through the stamps and serial numbers to find out where it was used and how it found its way into the hands of my grandfather? We don't think anyone in our family served in WWI, but are not sure - we're just doing the geneology research now. Again we just thought it was his Marine bayonet he had in the Pacific so are now intrigued as to how he got a hold of it - was it a hand me down from within his family or just an antique he picked up in a store somewhere. Any idea where he might have picked this up - if it was a French bayonet was it distributed anywhere in the Pacific through the French colonies or just in Europe?

    Thanks for any help!

    Tim C.

  27. #26
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    Also forgot to add, it came with a very old leather scabbard or frog. It has two straps that hang down form the belt with what look like stitched chevrons pointing down towards the frog that holds the bayonett. The frog itself is hard leather, with two sets of double stitch lines, one pair along either edge. There is a strap and buckle on the front, and what looks like what used to be the leather strap coming out of the hole that the bayonet would go in but it appears that the remainder of the strap was ripped off, though there is still a buckle on the face. The leather is oranged at this point, and I'm afraid to even try and clean it for fear it'd fall apart.

    Tim C.

  28. #27
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    what can be used safely to clean the metal and get a better read on the markings or to take pictures and post here? .... You can use a hand metal polishing compound to clean the metal or just wipe it as best as you can with some CLP if you do not want to have it highly polished. I personally only did this on one bayonet that I use for reenacting.
    To post pictures ... use photobucket.com, it is a free site that you upload your pics from your pc directly to photobucket, then copy and paste the photobucket provided URL into the picture URL button... It's the yellow square with the mountain on it. I think by doing it this way you don't take up space on the gunboards server so you have more room to post larger pics. There are other websites that offer the same thing as photobucket. I just mention photobucket since that is what I use.

    Is there anyway through the stamps and serial numbers to find out where it was used and how it found its way into the hands of my grandfather? ... No way to tell you who, what, where, how and why it was used and by whom, records are not that complete. All we can do is really tell you approximate date it was made and by which armory.

    Any idea where he might have picked this up - if it was a French bayonet was it distributed anywhere in the Pacific through the French colonies or just in Europe? ... These bayonets were definetley in French Indochina but the chances he got this bayonet from there is very remote, he probably bought it somewhere after the war. Not to say he did not get in the Pacific but very, very few American soilders, sailors and marines went to Indochine after the war to occupy it until the French forces returned to re-occupy it.

    The frog you have is the Porte-Baïonnette Modèle 1886 - 1914 which was in natural leather been adopted in 1914 as a cost-saving measure. These frogs were made for the Mle.1886 Épée Baïonnette. The left side of the flap is extended so that the quillion of the bayonet rests on the leather instead of the overcoat. The "Y" shape of the bayonet frog allowed its use with the overcoat and/or tunic tab, which buttoned upwards between its branches and over the belt to help support the weight of the bayonet -- a feature of French military jackets and coats since the later 19th century.
    To better preserve it I personally would use some LEXOL on it.
    Patrick
    Co-Author of the book:
    Banzai Special Project No. 1, The Siamese Mauser, A Study Of Siamese / Thai Type 45 & Type 46 Long Rifles and Type 47 Carbines, Including An Overview Of Siamese/Thai Weapons 18602014


  29. #28
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    Thank you for the rapid response! I'll get to cleaning and post up pictures of the results, though it may be a few days. Thanks again!

    Tim C.

  30. #29
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    Finideach... Welcome to a great site!

    Your post reminded me of a product that I stumbled across somewhere on Gunboards (I think in the blackpowder section) - Ballistol! (ballistol.com)

    Though of German origin, this stuff is superb for restoring/cleaning all sorts of tools, firearms, household items... Have used it on everything from my antique cartridge firearms (metal, wood, leather) to garden tools and the wood on my desk!

    I have re-ordered from these folks several times... It will make clean-up post black powder shooting easier, too! All natural organic ingredients will allow you to get in touch with your earth-friendly side, but it smells pretty bad... Ballistol will remove tarnish from brass and copper surfaces without etching - it will also "soak" centuries of crud loose without damaging delicate wood, leather, etc. Oh... It also speeds healing of cuts!!!

    Anyway, great stuff and it really does work well...

    I have no monetary interest in this product!

  31. #30
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    Great info. I got one of those.

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