M-1 Bayonet

Early experience in World War II showed military planners that the long-style bayonet of World War I was no longer militarily useful. Static trench warfare was now history as WW II became a war of mobility. This change had implications for all types of equipment including the bayonet.

A shorter blade was determined to be the answer, one that would replace the overly long M-1903 Springfield Rifle bayonet but use the same mounting point that was common to both the Springfield and M-1 Garand rifles.

Cpl. George W. Page lunges at Lt. Daniel B. Hopkins during hand to hand combat training with M-1 bayonet, Camp Patrick Henry, VA, 5 April 1944.
Cpl. George W. Page lunges at Lt. Daniel B. Hopkins during hand to hand combat training with M-1 bayonet
Camp Patrick Henry, VA, 5 April 1944.

Today in WW II: 22 May 1939 Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany sign the Pact of Steel, a declaration of trust and cooperation that also included secret provisions on military and economic matters.   

M1 Bayonet for the M-1 Garand and M-1903 Springfield

M-1 Bayonet and M-7 Scabbard from War Department TM 9-1275 dated June 1947
M-1 Bayonet and M-7 Scabbard from War Department TM 9-1275 dated June 1947.

In the early 1940s, the M-1905 bayonet, used on the M-1 Garand and the still-issued M-1903 Springfield, had a full 16 inch blade plus 4 inches of handle. The decision was made to change to a 10 inch blade plus 4 inches of handle.

As a first step, in 1943 many of the M-1905 and "M-1942" bayonets in service were recalled and reground to a 10" blade. When this length proved effective, the new M-1 bayonet design was authorized in mid-1943, very similar to the M-1905 production in World War II but with a 10" blade.

In official military nomenclature, all of these ten inch bayonets were called the M-1 whether produced from a reground 16" M-1905 or made new with a 10" blade. However, collectors now refer to the reground bayonets as M-1905E1, their designation when in experimental production, to distinguish them from the new ten inch M-1 bayonet. [The close-up to the right shows the M-1 from the 1944 photo at the top of the page.

As is the case with the M-1905 bayonet, the M-1 will fit both the M-1903 Springfield and the M-1 Garand rifle. The correct scabbard is the M7 fiberglass model, essentially the same as the M3A1 scabbard, a shortened M3, made for the M-1905E1. There was a latch hook on the scabbard mouthpiece that engages with a scabbard catch on the bayonet to hold the bayonet firmly in the scabbard.

Under the watchful eye of the drill instructor, USMC 'Boots' receive instruction in bayonet fighting with M1 bayonet affixed to M1 rifles, Parris Island, SC, 1952
Under the watchful eye of the drill instructor, USMC 'Boots' receive instruction in bayonet fighting with M-1 bayonet affixed to M-1 rifles, Parris Island, SC, 1952.

Speficications for the M-1 Bayonet

The dimensions of the M-1 bayonet are:

  • Blade: ten inches
  • Overall length: fourteen inches
  • Fuller length: 7 inches (does not extend through tip)

Markings on the M-1 Bayonet

M-1 Bayonet Markings

The M-1 bayonet was marked with the initials of the manufacturer, US, and the Ordnance mark. Unlike the M-1905 bayonets there are no serial numbers or dates. The M-1 was manufactured in 1943-1945 by UFH (Union Fork and Hoe), PAL (PAL Blade Company), AFH (American Fork and Hoe), UC (Utica Cutlery), and OL (Oneida Limited).

Bayonet Field Manuals

Starting before World War II and continuing into the 1950s, the field manual covering bayonet training was FM 23-25. It gave training instructions for bayonet use in combat. Depending on the date of FM 23-25, different bayonets were illustrated. The photo to the right is from page 17 of FM 23-25 dated June 1953, showing the M-1 bayonet. Another manual, FM 21-150 "Unarmed Defense of the American Soldier" described methods and techniques of bayonet disarming. TM 9-1275 covers maintenance of the M-1 rifle with a few paragraphs and illustrations of the M-1 bayonet in later editions.

Find More Information on the Internet

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