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Remembered Today:

Belgian Bayonet for Fusil Mle 1889


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Sometime back I started a thread on trench knife conversions of the Mle 89 bayonet. In this I said that unmodified examples seem rarer than the knives. So, shortly afterwards, lo! - I found one. Does anyone know the maker ? The cartouche on the ricasso is a Royal Crown above the letters 'HF'. SW

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Hi Sommewalker,

A very nice example of a rare bayonet. I suspect you have already looked it up in Anthony Carter - German Bayonets Vol. 111 where he deals with captured bayonets. However, in case not, he says at page 191 that the Belgian Modele 1889 rifles and bayonets were captured in large numbers and issued unaltered to the German troops garrisoned in Belgium. Some Belgian Mle 1889 bayonets were surplus to the requirements of the units armed with the Belgian rifles and these were modified to fit the German Gewehre 71 and 88 and then usually issued to the Landsturm.

Anthony Carter gives details of quite a number of Belgian bayonet manufacturers. He illustrates a bayonet with the same marking as yours but doesn't say who is the manufacturer. I wonder if the marking is, in fact, an acceptance stamp rather than the maker's mark?

Regards,

Michael H.

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Michael, - I did consider that this may be an acceptance mark, but Carter in Vol.3, page 195 describing the Mle 1889 sabre bayonet says 'the blade has a crowned JD maker's mark'. This appears to describe a variant of the mark on mine. There are some other examples in which the Initials are identified, generally a Liege manufacturer.The bayonet serial no. stamped on the crossguard and scabbard frog stud is K 266, and on the obverse the letter 'A' which is also repeated on the scabbard stud. We need a Belgian collector! -SW

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Not a Belgian collector, I'm sorry ... but I did have a quick look in my best Belgian reference book - which is actually more concerned with the Belgian Mauser rifle.!

I would think the crowned letters are inspection markings, and the reference book tends to support this theory with photos of stock cartouches with the same letters.

The book states these gothic style letters in the cartouches are inspectors stamps, showing one which is clearly JD and another which appears to be a conjoined HF.

The letter A is an easy one, standing for King Albert I who reigned from 1909 till production ceased in 1914. Sorry nothing more to add, but Belge is under-researched.

Cheers, S>S

PS. An excellent example of the M1889 by the way ... and one which I would be happy to add to my collection in a heartbeat. They don't often turn up in that condition. :thumbsup:

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Can't argue with you S<S, as information on Belgian bayonets is pretty scanty in English language publications. Carter has it that they are manufacturer's marks, and gives an example of a Crowned Cartouche with AF in it, as Auguste Francotte et Cie, noted Liege gunmakers. Like any other person going forward in the darkness he made mistakes, of course. It may be if we keep this thread ticking over we may all learn something. As you say, these knife bayonets for the Infantry Mauser 7.65 mm rifle, although commonly seen in photos of Belgian Infantry during the GW seem very rare on the ground; much more so than say, '07 HQs, although the latter command prices ten times higher. Speaking of which, next time I get my camera out I will post another eye-popper of an '07 for you. Thank you for your input. - SW

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I agree ... with the lack of information available, perhaps it would be a good idea to compile a listing of the known makers of the M1889 rifle and/or bayonets.

Here is a start from my Mauser reference book.

1. Fabrique National d'Armes d'Guerre (FN) of Herstal, Liege

2. Manufacture d'Armes de L'Etat (MAE) of Herstal, Liege

Cheers, S>S

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I agree ... with the lack of information available, perhaps it would be a good idea to compile a listing of the known makers of the M1889 rifle and/or bayonets.

Here is a start from my Mauser reference book.

1. Fabrique National d'Armes d'Guerre (FN) of Herstal, Liege

2. Manufacture d'Armes de L'Etat (MAE) of Herstal, Liege

Cheers, S>S

As previously I have a crowned AF in a cartouche as August Francotte et Cie, Liege on a Mle 1889. Crowned JA in a cartouche as Jules Ancion et Cie, Liege on a Sabre- Baionette Mle 1889. Crowned M? in a cartouche as possibly PJ Malherbe et Cie, Liege on a Yataghan-scie Mle 68. GB in a cartouche (no Crown) is said to be Gouvernement Belge, equivalent to our W.D. This is on a Yataghan-scie Mle 80. Bit shaky I think as it was actually made by Alex Coppel et Cie, Solingen as has a crowned FL in a cartouche on the obverse. This suggests they could be inspection stamps. We really need to know whether these initials are makers or merely Inspectors. I know that Carter was in contact with Belgian collectors at the time all this was compiled. Not much, but a start. Come on all you Belgians! - SW
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Some more background information on the Belgian inspection marks used during that period. The M1889 rifles made by the FN/MAE firms had 4 inspection cartouches.

These are found stamped into the timber of the stock in various locations, and all feature the 2 letters in a circle. This possibly reflects the usage of the inspectors initials.

The rifle that is well photographed in the book that I have, was made by MAE, so these 2 letter marks cannot be related to the rifle maker or manufacturer in this instance.

I know that we are seeking information on the bayonets, however they are closely related equipment, and the methods used in their manufacture took place concurrently.

Cheers, S>S

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It is only the marks in a cartouche where we have a Royal Crown over block letters that I think may be the manufacturer, I entirely accept that letters in a circle are Inspection marks. Carl Woods has a photograph on his site of a Mle 89 bayonet modified by the Germans to fit the M.1888. This has the same Crowned HF as mine and Carter shows the same mark on another Mle 89. These marks are not simply stamped but are embossed into the steel of the blades. Seems a lot of effort for an inspection mark..... I'm thinking that so many of these letters are L or F, it could stand for Liege, the arms making centre and Freres ( Brothers). I won't nail my colours to the mast just yet tho' - SW.

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This is the best reference site that I can find concerning Belgian weaponry on the net. Click on this link HERE to see the M1889 bayonets.

There is some related info but it is in Flemish.? or Dutch.? There used to be an English language page but that has been ditched, too bad. :(

Cheers, S>S

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Great pictures but it is in Dutch. I can make out that the Upper Case Letter usually followed by a serial number stamped on the crossguards, relates to a unit (Garde Civique?) depot and identifies the town, but that is about it. The Mle 89 it shows does not have any marks on the ricasso which is a bit of a puzzle. Alas having now read the text with a translator it doesn't throw any light on our Crowned letters! However we did learn something. U in a circle is Fortress Artillery units garrisoning Antwerp. E is Garde Civique units in Brussels. O is Vilvoorde. L is Saint Gillis. The A stamped on the crossguard of my example is most probably the Antwerp garrison and the K266 represents later service with the Garde Civique. - SW

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Here is the closeup of the ricasso of the M1889 bayonet shown in the link above. Looks like the crowned letters JD in a stamped marking.

Cheers, S>S

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Yep, that is the Garde Civique model with the longer blade. I did go through all the bayonets of that period on the site which is where I got the letter stamps for the depots from. Alas, no script on the crowned stamps we are looking at. Interestingly on a couple of them a tiny square 'n' stamp can be seen, in different positions for each bayonet, but all on the crossguard. Mine also shows this on the crossguard. This I think may be the inspector's approved stamp. But just a guess. SW

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Yes, here is where the cross-referencing between bayonet examples and rifle manufacturers gets interesting. As I indicated above there are links.

I've seen that same 'N' on the Mauser rifles in my reference book ie. "The boxed letter 'N' mark seen on many Mauser components made by FN."

The boxed letter 'V' is another that is seen on FN made rifles, while the letters JD in a timber stock cartouche are found on M89 rifles made by MAE.

Just looking through all those linked photos again I think we are seeing centralised manufacturing of key components by FN, such as the crossguards.

You can see those boxed letters V and N stamped on the crossguards and also on the press catch bolt of the different bayonets shown ie. trickier jobs

With simpler processes such as the forging of the blades being subcontracted out to different suppliers. Those examples have different blade 'runouts'.

Cheers, S>S

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I'm not sure that the manufacturers would regard forging blades as a simpler process. However I've just noticed that the Mle 89 Infantry bayonet (No cartouche on blade) has two of those upper case N in a square stamps on the crossguard. Going back to my own example it is the same, with one on the tip of the finial of the crossguard and the other on the central section. I think you may well be right about this indicating FN inspection. - SW

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  • 2 months later...

Looks like what we needed - I'll have to dig out my translator. - SW

Okay - all translated. For me this throws entirely new light on such previously published information on Belgian bayonets that has been available to the British collector. It has cleared up a number of questions and misunderstandings about the Mle.1916 series for one. Many thanks. - SW

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  • 9 months later...

Hi all

I've been looking for an example of the Belgian Mle. 89 bayonet for a while now and was lucky to stumble on this one recently. This thread has been very helpful in trying to decipher the markings. My understanding is that the "1R" marks the bayonet to the 1st regiment of the Regiment Karabiniers. I'm not sure whether the further "R" on the other side of the cross guard further identifies it to some subset of this regiment (i.e. Kompagnie Vuurwerkmakers).

Anyway, here are a few photos.

Cheers, Jonathan

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Hi Jonathan,

I believe the R 2367 is the rifle serial number, R being a coincidence.

Cheers,

Tony

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Hi Jonathan,

Rifle number is R 2367 I think. However have just looked up my single 1889, and it is 2R and R 5863, which seems a further coincidence!!!

Cheers,

Tony

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Hi Tony

Sounds like the 2nd regiment Karabiners then (if I'm interpreting the table on the link posted by RMLI 1914 correctly?) Do you have any photos of your bayonet that you are able to post?

Cheers, Jonathan

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Hi Jonathan,

Will take some photos when I'm next with my hoard!

Cheers,

Tony

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... I've been looking for an example of the Belgian Mle. 89 bayonet for a while now and was lucky to stumble on this one recently.

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Jonathan, is that a letter stamp on the ball at the end of the quillon?

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Trajan, - The small markings on the ball finial of the crossguard are viewer's marks I think. Mine has an 'N' in a square and this is repeated on the crossguard itself near the unit letter which is 'A' (1st Line Infantry Regt.) On the reverse is the rifle letter & number . Both these latter markings also appear on the scabbard frog stud. There can be no doubt that these bayonets are scarce in good condition although recently I have seen two which have been refurbished and modified to fit the Mauser 98 bar: muzzle rings removed. - SW

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