Discussions about the need for bayonets have long ceased to be relevant in our era of the widespread use of automatic weapons. But back in the 19th century and even at the beginning of the 20th century, many copies were broken on this issue. Even the appearance of magazine rifles did not immediately send the bayonet to the scrap. And the biggest controversy unfolded over the type of bayonet. Should it be of the saber type, as, for example, among the Prussians, or is the only piercing option more relevant, like the square bayonet of the Mosin rifle.
History of Creation
Russian faceted bayonets have a rich history. The first needle bayonet was used on the Berdan. At first it was triangular, and in 1870 a stronger four-sided needle bayonet was designed. A slightly modified version of this bayonet also ended up on the legendary Mosin rifle, which became the main Russian weapon of both world wars. The bayonet was fired along with the rifle and did not need to be removed during firing.
It should be noted that it was attached to the right of the trunk, since in thisposition, it had the least effect on the trajectory of fire. The four-sided bayonet was used in various versions of the Mosin rifle of the 1891 model - in the infantry, Cossack, dragoon.
Standard was the bayonet tie-down design with an L-shaped tube that thickened at the rear end.
But more complex and, therefore, expensive options with a spring latch were also produced, which pursued the goal of quickly removing and putting on the bayonet.
The four-sided blade had valleys in all sides. The total length is 500 mm, of which the length of the blade is 430 mm. The blade width is 17.7mm and the inner diameter of the tube is 15mm.
The four-sided bayonet knife was traditionally condemned by Europeans for "inhumanity". The needle blade penetrated much deeper than the wide saber bayonets of European rifles. In addition, wounds inflicted by faceted weapons practically do not close, since they have a rounded, and not wide, but also a flat section. Therefore, the wounded with a Russian four-sided bayonet was much more likely to bleed to death. However, in the era of the proliferation of mines and chemical weapons, any claims to edged weapons about inhumanity seem meaningless.
The Russian bayonet was technologically advanced in production, light and cheap compared to European counterparts. Due to its low weight, it created less interference when shooting and made it possible to work faster with a rifle in the actual bayonetbattle. Under the conditions of the classic bayonet attack of a unit against a unit, a faceted bayonet looked preferable to a saber bayonet.
In a drill fight, the needle bayonet wins, but in the case of a one-on-one duel, when two fighters maneuver and try to fence, the saber bayonet has the advantage, which allows you to deliver sweeping chopping blows.
The main drawback of the Russian bayonet is the lack of the ability to fold it without separating it from the weapon, or at least the ability to quickly take it off and put it on. This became especially evident during the trench confrontations of the First World War. There is not enough space in the trench, and the bayonet constantly clings to something. It was not uncommon for it to break down.
The second drawback is the small applicability of the four-sided bayonet outside of hand-to-hand combat. And knife-shaped and saber-shaped bayonets always retain the applied function.
By the beginning of the 20th century, bayonets began to be used quite rarely. Therefore, in the advanced European armies, they increasingly began to pay attention to the convenience of bayonets, relying on shooting and preferring to produce light and short quick-release models that minimally interfere with the shooter. And the countries of the Triple Alliance were the first to produce cheap "ersatz bayonets" made of low-quality steel, which, however, fully justified themselves in the conditions of the predominance of small arms rather than hand-to-hand combat.
The Russian command stubbornly held on to the high piercing qualities of a faceted bayonet in hand-to-hand combat, although shooting suffered from this. Only in 1916In the year a new bayonet was created, which made it possible to make chopping blows that were more effective in trench warfare. Also, this model was easier and cheaper to manufacture.
In the USSR
However, after the revolution, the leadership of the Red Army left in service the old four-sided bayonet of the 1891 model, despite a number of attempts to switch to bladed bayonet-knives.
In 1930, a modified version of the weapon was created, designed for the modernized Mosin rifle of the 1930 model. The most interesting modification of the old Russian bayonet was the folding bayonet for the Mosin carbine, which was put into service in 1943. This bayonet was shorter than the standard one and had a protrusion on the base, which tightly fixed the weapon in the firing position. Later, a second protrusion was added, which fixed the bayonet in the stowed position. It was fixed with a spring latch-sleeve, which was put on the barrel in the combat position, and moved forward in the stowed position, allowing the bayonet to be folded back to the forearm.
The Russian needle bayonet left a very noticeable mark in the history of wars, ending the era of the famous bayonet attacks of the Russian infantry, for which it has been famous since the time of Suvorov. And even though the legendary weapon left the stage a little later than it should have, it still left a significant mark on the history of military affairs. In its intended purpose - hand-to-hand combat, there was no equal to the Russian four-sided bayonet.