Why were German bayonets called a side gun?
It had a blade with a cruciform cross-section and an all-metal hilt with a cross-guard.
The first model had an internal attachment for the handle that was not visible from the outside.
The second model then had a handle attachment, the screw connection of which was visible at the end of the handle.
In 1915 it was decided to drop the cross guard, as it only hindered in the tangle of barbed wire.
This led to the 1886-15 model, in which the handle was also simplified.
Both hooks were removed from old bayonets and the new products were produced without hooks.
There were a total of 3 different handle metals for the Lebel bayonet.
The original is white metal or nickel silver. The 1886 1st mod. Is only available with a nickel silver handle.
The 1886 2nd model is available with both a nickel silver and a brass handle.
The 1886-15 is available with nickel silver, brass and steel handles.
All versions, in turn, were ground to a short size when they were broken off in use, and then generally all from 1935, and stored in a sheath that was also shortened.
During the Second World War, the Lebels Seitengewehr were shortened as Seitengewehr 102 (f) (Lebel with parrying hook) or Seitengewehr 103 (f) (Lebel without parrying hook) by the Wehrmacht and police.
The lengths of the newly sanded, broken pieces are naturally different.
The pieces that were shortened in French from 1935 (model 1886-15 CR 35) were 518 mm long (blade 400 mm).
The German side guns 102 (f) and 103 (f) measure 460 mm (blade 342 mm).
The manufacturers of the Lebel bayonets can be recognized by the prefixes of the serial numbers, but this is not easy as these are in cursive. The meaning of the prefixes after 1870-71:
1. Manufacture Nationale d'Armes de Châtellerault (MAC) -> A, B, C after 1874 also D, E
2. Manufacture Nationale d'Armes de Saint Etienne (MAS) -> F, G, H, J, K, L, M, N, P, Q
3. Manufacture Nationale d'Armes de Tulle (MAT) -> R, S, T after 1874 also U, V
4. X -> weapons rejected during the test, for training purposes only
5. Z -> bayonets that were worn purely as a sidearm without a rifle
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