In 1943, when the United States gave its soldiers the M3 combat knife, a project to renew the M1905/1942 bayonet was launched. A new model whose blade is shorter than its predecessors is developed and production begins immediately. The M1905/1942 bayonets are recalled at the factory and their blades are shortened. The new bayonets have the name M1 whereas the modified M1905 are called M1905E1.
The M1 bayonet is compatible with the Garand and M-1903 Springfield rifles. It was manufactured from 1943 to 1945 by UFH (Union Fork and Hoe), PAL (PAL Blade Company), AFH (American Fork and Hoe), UC (Utica Cutlery) and OL (Oneida Limited).
These bayonets were deployed for the first time during the Battle of Normandy in June 1944. They were also used on the Pacific front and opposed to the long Japanese bayonets-swords: many American soldiers chose to keep the old model M1905 in order to fight on equal terms.
The M1 bayonet is also used after the Second World War during the Korean War. It was replaced in 1953 by the M5 model.
When the Americans develop the principle of airborne troops, new equipment is devised to respond to situations that paratroopers may face. With the problem of parachute hangers, which are regularly tangled with weapons, bags and sometimes parachutists themselves, they ask to be equipped with a small knife allowing them to cut these links, if necessary .
Several knives were presented to parachutists in 1940, and one of them was unanimous: a small knife created by the Schrade Cutlery Company in Walden, New York, which the Americans quickly called “Knife, Pocket, M2″. It holds in a pocket of the M2 combat jacket which allows it to be easily accessible by its user. Unlike a conventional knife, it works with the locking system which saves time in an emergency. It also has a metal ring to hold a wrist strap.
Several models are designed by various American companies and delivered to parachutists, such as the Presto M2 curved blade.
In 1942, the Americans sought to replace the old Mk I Trench model dating from the First World War. Two combat knives are then competing in December: the M3 Trench Knife and the 1912C2 developed by the Marine Corps. The imperatives of design are the speed of production and the use of few raw materials which are becoming more and more expensive with war. It is also the lowest cost of production of the M3 that allows it to be selected in relation to its competitor.
The M3 Trench Knife, also known as Fighting Knife, entered service in March 1943. Initially, the Americans wanted to distribute it to all non-bayonet soldiers (including those armed with the Thompson gun and the USM1 rifle) , But they primarily equip units likely to face hand-to-hand combat such as airborne troops and Rangers.
The knives come with a M6 riveted leather sheath that can be attached to a belt or directly at the calf. Paratroopers are used to placing them along their boots so that they can be used quickly after the jump.
In 1944, enough knives were available to equip the entire armed forces of the United States. In fact, no fewer than nine companies are responsible for their production (see the manufacturers’ list and the copies on the right). The production ends in August 1944 but its use is still authorized in the American armies.
When the Americans defined the distribution of bayonets for their soldiers in 1942, it quickly became apparent that some of them were not equipped with bayonets. This is particularly true for personnel equipped with the Thompson gun and the USM1 rifle.
Initially, the US Army gave its soldiers without bayonets the M3 combat knives that was delivered during the year 1943. But at the same time it was preparing the development of a bayonet specific to the rifle USM1. This one is available in May 1944, a month before the launch of Operation Overlord in Normandy.
The guard is covered with leather, which differentiates it from the guards produced after the war and which are plastic (cf picture above). The M4 bayonet is equipped with a model M8A1 sheath that is identical to that used by the M3 combat knife.
However, very few USM1 rifles are equipped with the adapter needed for the bayonet and few soldiers use this weapon in its original function.
During the Korean War, the M1 bayonet and M1905 bayonet which mount to the M1, were proven difficult to remove with gloves on. As a result, the U.S. M5 Garand bayonet was designed and issued in 1953. This was a total redesign based on the M4 bayonet used by the M1 carbine. The M5 bayonet looks nothing like the original M1905 or M1 bayonets for the M1 Garand. The M5 is the only U.S. bayonet without a barrel mount ring on the crossguard, making it look more like a fighting knife than a bayonet.
The M6 Bayonet is a bayonet used by the U.S. military for the M14 rifle. It was introduced in 1957, at the same time as the rifle itself. It is the only type of bayonet made for the M14, and the only other rifle it fits is the civilian version of the M14, the M1A. Like its predecessor, the M5 bayonet for the M1 Garand rifle, the M6 was intended to serve additional roles as a combat knife and utility knife. The basic blade design was like the M4, M5, and later M7 bayonets, based on the World War II designed M3 Trench Knife. The overall length of the M6 is 11 3/8 inches, with a blade 6 5/8 inches long. Contractors who manufactured the M6 included Aerial Cutlery Co., Columbus Milpar and Mfg. Co. and Imperial Knife Co.
The M7 bayonet is a bayonet that was used by the U.S. military for the M16 rifle, it can also be used with the M4 carbine as well as many other assault rifles, carbines and combat shotguns. It can be used as a fighting knife and utility tool. It was introduced in 1964, when the M16 rifle entered service during the Vietnam War.
The M7 bayonet very similar to the older M4 bayonet with the Korean War era plastic grips for the M1/M2 carbines except that the M7 has a much larger muzzle ring. The M7 has the same two-lever locking mechanism as the M4, that connects to a lug on the M16 rifles barrel. The M4 (M1/M2 carbine), M5 (M1 rifle), and M6 bayonet (M14 rifle), all derived from the World War II M3 fighting knife.
The M7 differs from M6 bayonet for the M14 rifle. Most notably, the diameter of the muzzle rings, and the locking mechanism. The M7's release mechanism is on the pommel, while the M6 has a spring-loaded lever near the guard that when depressed releases the bayonet. Both models are approximately the same length, have the same black finish, and use the M8A1, or later M10 sheath.
The M7 1095 carbon steel blade is 6 3/4 inches long, with an overall length of 11.9 inches. Blade width is 3/16 inch and it weighs about 9.6 ounces. One edge is sharpened its full length while to opposite side of the blade has approximately 3 inches sharpened. There are no markings on the blade itself. The manufacturer's initials or name along with "US M7" will be found stamped under the crossguard (see photo, right). The non-slip grips are molded black plastic. The steel parts have a uniform dark grey/black parkerized finish.
The M7 bayonet NSN is NSN 1095-00-017-9701. The initial contractor was Bauer Ord Company. Colt (manufacturer of the M16) and Ontario Knife Company made many of the M7 bayonets for the military and continue to make and sell them commercially. Other manufacturers included Carl Eickhorn [for Colt], Columbus Milpar & Mfg. (MIL-PAR), Conetta Mfg., Frazier Mfg., General Cutlery (GEN CUT), and Imperial Knife. The M7 was also manufactured in Canada, West Germany, the Philippines, Singapore, Israel, South Korea and Australia.
The M7 has been replaced by the M9 bayonet in Army service, and the Marine Corps replaced it with the OKC-3S bayonet. The Army, Navy, and USAF still use M7s and may do so for years to come.
The M9 Bayonet, officially known as the M9 Phrobis III, is a multi-purpose knife and bayonet officially adopted in 1986 by the United States. It has a 7-inch (18 cm) blade and is issued with a sheath designed to double as a wire cutter.
The M9 bayonet was designed and developed by Charles A. "Mickey" Finnat his R&D company, Qual-A-Tec. It is a refined copy of the Russian AKM Type I bayonet.He later produced it under the Phrobis III name, filling a military contract for 325,000 units. Buck Knives was contracted to make 300,000 units and sold a commercial version under their own name. Finn's designs proved extremely popular, and were widely counterfeited and sold illegally by other makers. In 1986, Finn received U.S. Patent 4,622,707, however they continued to flow unchecked into the United States from Asia and Mexico, cutting into legitimate sales.
After the Phrobis III bayonet contract was completed, rights to the M9 reverted to the United States Army and there were many subsequent versions from other companies. It is issued by the armed forces of the U.S. and other countries, and has also been sold commercially in various versions.
Some production runs of the M9 have a fuller and some do not, depending upon which contractor manufactured that batch and what the military specs were at the time. The M9 Bayonet partially replaced the older M7 Bayonet, introduced in 1964. Although it has been claimed that the M9 may be more prone to breakage than the older M7, the M9 bayonet has a 20% thicker blade and tang (0.235" vs. 0.195") and a 75% greater cross-sectional area of steel in the blade than the M7.
The OKC-3S is a bayonet developed by the United States Marine Corps to replace the M7 bayonet and M9 bayonet as its service bayonet for the M16 family of rifles and M4 series carbine. This multipurpose bayonet provides greater durability than the M7 and also functions as a fighting knife.
The OKC-3S is part of a series of weapon improvements begun in 2001 by Commandant of the Marine Corps James L. Jones to expand and toughen hand-to-hand combat training for Marines, including training in the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program and knife fighting. In the Multi-Purpose Bayonet program, 33 different knives were evaluated. The OKC-3S performed best, or next to best, in nearly all testing categories. A contract for OKC-3S was made in December 2002 and production and distribution began in January 2003
The OKC-3S is manufactured solely by the Ontario Knife Companyand identical civilian versions are available for purchase. It bears a resemblance to the Marines' iconic Ka-Bar fighting knife, though it is not fullered. It is larger, thicker and heavier than the M7 although slightly thinner and lighter than the current U.S. Army-issued M9. A sharper point helps penetrate body armor that many modern adversaries wear; while serrations near the handle help improve its function as a utility knife. In one demonstration, a prototype was able to pierce a punching bag covered with aircraft aluminum and a ballistic vest. The entire weapon is designed to be corrosion resistant, and weighs 1.25 lb (0.57 kg) with its sheath. The scabbard and grip are colored to match the Corps' coyote tan gear, compatible with both woodland and desert camouflage. The NATO Stock Number is 1095-01-521-6087.
The OKC-3S features an 8 in (20.32 cm) long, 1.375 in (3.49 cm) wide, 0.2 in (0.51 cm) thick blade. The serrations measure 1.75 in (4.4 cm) of the blade length on the true edge. The blade is made from high carbon steel rated at HRC 53-58 and is capable of functioning without breakage in operating temperatures of −25 to 135 °F (−32 to 57 °C). The blade also has a non-reflective phosphate finish.
The grip is made of Dynaflex, a synthetic non-slip material, is ergonomically grooved, and is more oval than round. This design helps prevent repetitive-strain injuriesand hand fatigue during training. It also features an embossed Eagle, Globe, and Anchor molded in to allow a user to identify the direction of the blade in the dark. The full tang connects the cross guard/muzzle ring (which is .165 in (0.42 cm)) and pommel latch plate that clasps the barrel lug; both are phosphate coated like the blade. Former Ontario Knife Company president and chief executive Nick Trbovich Jr. said of it: "We spent a lot of time making sure the handle was ergonomically correct… There are no blister points on the handle."
The polyester elastomer scabbard, designed by Natick Labs, offers a weight and noise reduction from the previous M7 Scabbard and is ILBE compatible. It has a fitted internal stainless steel spring and friction device at its throat to secure the bayonet. A ceramic-coated aluminum honing rod is located on the back of the scabbard. The scabbard is compatible with the MOLLE/PALS modular attachment system. The scabbard lacks the wire cutter of the M9 for use when assaulting beaches or other concertina wire–fortified obstacles.
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