Bayonet History

By | Jun 7, 2009

Bayonet History

The history of the bayonet is full of adventure and mystery. The origination of the bayonet has many theories. For instance, Cotgrave’s 1611 Dictionarie, portrays the bayonet to be a small, flat pocket dagger. However, Pierre Borel expressed in 1655 the ‘bayonette’ was created in Bayonne(a French City). There is a myth that the peasants of Bayonne ran out of ammo, and in desperation, jammed their hunting knives into their muskets using them as spears. Another story for the birth of the bayonet comes from hunting. In the 1600′s, rifles did not load the quickest, so hunters needed a way to quickly defend themselves. A knife would be a safe bet, but if it was attached the to end of their gun; it would be an even better one. Whatever the origination, it became very popular and was seen in nearly every European army by the 1660s.

The bayonet was perfect for warfare in the 17th century. There were two main branches of the army at this time. The cavalry, which were armed with pistols and sabers; and the infantry, which were armed with muskets. The infantry also included men with spear like weapons to guard the musketeers. They were needed because the muskets took so long to load the enemy could advance and the musketeers be defenseless. With the introduction of the bayonet, these spear man were no longer needed. The musketeers could simply attach their bayonet to their gun and defend themselves.

With time the bayonet has evolved through many stages. It began with the “plug” type. These bayonets plugged directly into the barrel of the gun and prevented them from being fired. This posed an obvious problem and in 1678 the ring bayonet was invented. This allowed for the gun to be fired. The “socket” bayonet was next in line and made it possible for the bayonet to be offset from the muzzle of the gun.

As you can see bayonet history is something that is pretty interesting. The bayonet has been used in many wars since its creation and has evolved with each century. In today’s time, the bayonet is still in use. The bayonets you see today are known as knife bayonets. These bayonets can be used as utility knives or for fighting.

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