Sword Bayonet

The sword bayonet was based on a German model. Henry Osborne in Birmingham was responsible for the first prototype and consignment. The sword bayonet was 23 inches long and was clipped on to a metal bar attached just behind the muzzle. With the bayonet attached it makes the rifle quite awkward to handle, but there were reasons for having such a long blade. The rifle was much shorter than the standard infantry muskets therefore if a rifleman was ever involved in a bayonet fight this additional length was vital. During battle once a rifleman had finished his skirmishing duties he would quite often fall into line with the rest of the redcoat infantry men, when repelling enemy cavalry from a square it was essential that all men had the same bayonet reach to form an effective square.

As the rifle bayonets were effectively short swords, it follows that bayonets in the 95th Rifles would be termed "swords", and the regular infantry command of "fix bayonets" was changed for riflemen to "fix swords".

1st or Pattern 1800 Sword Bayonet

Between 1800 and 1837, there were four differing patterns of bayonets issued for the Baker rifle. The first, known as "Pattern 1800" was a sword bayonet with a flat blade of 23 inches long, one and one quarter inches wide by one quarter inch thick at the hilt. It was double-edged for about six inches at the spear shaped point. The hilt measured four and one quarter inches and had a squared off corner where the knucklebow met the crossguard. A cord hole was drilled through the pommel. The knucklebow had weak points at the extremities, causing its obsolescence the following year.

2nd or Pattern 1801 Sword Bayonet

The second "Pattern 1801" sword bayonet had the same blade, but with the double-edged section of the point only five inches long. The hilt used the same locking method as the first pattern, but its overall construction was much stronger. Slightly longer in hilt at four and a half inches, the weak squared knucklebow was replaced with a rounded, more robust D shaped knucklebow. The early pattern long sword bayonets, when fixed to the short Baker rifle, gave an overall length close to that of the Brown Bess and bayonet. This presented a uniform wall of steel, when riflemen joined other regiments in square, to receive a cavalry charge.

Pattern 1815 Socket Bayonet

A totally revised pattern was introduced in 1815. This third model, or "Pattern 1815" was a conventional triangular bladed socket bayonet. Its blade was only 17 inches long, it was hollow ground on two edges, being flat on the third edge. This bayonet could only be fitted to altered rifles. Although approved earlier in 1815, they were not delivered to riflemen until after Waterloo.

Pattern 1825 Hand Bayonet

In 1823 a revised bayonet was approved. Known as the "First Pattern Hand Bayonet", it consisted of the triangular blade combined to a second pattern sword hilt, but without the knucklebow. The final change for Baker rifle bayonets came two years later, when a "Second Pattern Hand Bayonet" appeared. It was similar to the 1823 Hand Bayonet, but with a smaller and lighter hilt.

Sword Bayonet, Colonial Variant
Sword Bayonet, Volunteer Variant

Other variant models of the sword bayonet was manufactured over the years for volunteer units and troops in colonial outposts


British Military Firearms, 1650 - 1850 by Howard L Blackmore