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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Koeller Knife-Bayonet.


Michael Haselgrove

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I have a small collection of German bayonets (eleven to be precise) and I thought I would share some of them. The first is the

Koeller knife-bayonet.

Franz Koeller & Cie of Solingen was founded in 1855. During the Great War it supplied the German army with the 1898/05

and 84/98 bayonets and ersatz bayonets as well as the knife-bayonet. The knife-bayonet had a 149mm blade, a swept back

quillon of almost round cross-section and a pressed steel hilt fitted with a round, spring-loaded press stud. The hilt was

secured to the blade tang by two recessed domed rivets. Three further rivets held the pommel in position. The hilt had a

round clearing hole. A leather washer was fitted beneath the crossguard to protect the mouth of the scabbard.. The hilts were

painted fieldgrey and the scabbards black.

It appears all the Koeller knife-bayonets have acceptance stamps consisting of a crown over Gothic letter J indicating they werefit for issue. Some of the knife-bayonets have no maker's mark. Some are marked F. Koeller & Co. whilst others are marked with

the two storks trademark of Robert Klass & Co. In his excellent book German Combat Knives 1914-1945 Christian Mery says that a

knife-bayonet has been found with the Robert Klass trademark over a partly erased Koeller mark. He considers that all the knife-bayonets were made by Koeller with some being supplied to Klass who added their own mark.

The Koeller knife-bayonet appears to have been issued on a fairly limited scale as surviving examples are fairly scarce.

Photographic evidence is also scarce but you will see below a photo from my postcard collection showing Saxon troops, six of

whom are carrying the knife-bayonet. Of interest in that photo are the grenades as several different models are visible.

The information above was mostly taken from German Bayonets Vol. 111 by Anthony Carter and German Combat Knives 1914-1945 by

Christian Mery.

Regards,

Michael.

post-53132-0-01049000-1394634791_thumb.j

post-53132-0-27315600-1394634820_thumb.j

post-53132-0-02554300-1394634839_thumb.j

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A very eye-wateringly example of this one! I will just respectfully add something you already know but which might be of interest to others, namely that this is Carter's EB 2.

Interesting point about the fraktur letter but there is one Koeller with a crowned Z mark, on the crossguard and the ricasso, and examples of EB 2's are known (I think with no maker's mark) with a crowned Z on the rivet.

That same type of recessed rivet slot is found on the EB 47 and 48, and it has been suggested that these may have been Koeller products as well.

Trajan

PS: have you willed your copy of Carter volume III to anyone yet...??? I know someone who would give it a good home :thumbsup:

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Hi Trajan,

Thanks for your reply. I did, in fact, think of mentioning EB 2 etc. but was uncertain whether collectors use that system of numbering. I agree EB 47and 48 are probably made by Koeller. Have you got one? If so, it would be interesting to know what inspector's stamp, if any, it has.

Will keep an eye out for a Carter Vol.111 for you but I am afraid many of the privately published reference books are now hard to get and very

expensive.

Regards,

Michael.

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A lovely example Michael, I've not seen one of these before. Lots of feldgrau paint remaining which is always nice.

I'm looking forward to seeing the other ten bayonets if this one is anything to go by!

Cheers, Jonathan

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I think bibs on in advance of 'Slaver, slaver, slaver, drool, drool, drool' might be in order Jonathan!

Julian

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Hi Trajan,

I agree EB 47and 48 are probably made by Koeller. Have you got one? If so, it would be interesting to know what inspector's stamp, if any, it has.

Will keep an eye out for a Carter Vol.111 for you but I am afraid many of the privately published reference books are now hard to get and very

expensive.

Michael, I have only a single EB 47, missing its quillon, and no visible marks... And yes, if you do see a vol III then please let me know!

Best,

Julian

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Michael

Attached is a photo of the crowned Z on the crossguard of my Koeller knife bayonet, the same mark on the blade is visible. I have an example of EB 47 and it has the same crowned Z mark on the back of the blade (sorry but no pic as I haven't got round to photographing all the marks on my collection yet.)

Mike

post-97-0-23467200-1394644043_thumb.jpg

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That's a nice example Mike! Even got the paint!!! Hardly ever seen anything over here with the paint still on...

Now, there may have been something just like that mark on the somewhat pitted crossguard (but not the ricasso) of the EB 47 I have - a squirl that is in just about the right place...

That said, :blush: I just opened the drawer to look for that one and check the crossguard, and I got the wrong drawer and discovered that I do have a EB 47 with an intact quillon... Somebody not putting things back in the right place ( :blush::blush: - surely no connection with ma-in-law here for 10 days?). This second one certainly need some TLC (up to now I have collected what I saw at the time rather than conserved what I have - the latter something to do with little time thanks to a young family!?). But, I can't see any markings on that one at all, crossguard or ricasso.

I'll try to get a photograph of the first one though as it could well be that there are the remains of a Z marking there.

Julian

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Greetings Michael,

Here’s a few more EB2s for you to peruse on post # 22 of this thread http://www.warrelics.eu/forum/imperial-germany-austro-hungary/wwi-german-occasional-austrian-trench-knife-thread-370751-3/

Regards,

Lance

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Lance, that's a nice and very informative site! I think there may have been one or two of these wooden-handled non-fixable jobs around in Ankara in the past but to be quite honest I knew nowt about them and so never looked at them. Thanks to you I now know what to keep an eye open for!

Trajan

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Lance, that's a nice and very informative site! I think there may have been one or two of these wooden-handled non-fixable jobs around in Ankara in the past but to be quite honest I knew nowt about them and so never looked at them. Thanks to you I now know what to keep an eye open for!

Trajan

Greetings Trajan,

Thank you for your compliments, I was trying for something a bit more in depth than the typical "look at my stuff" thread. It is fairly straightforward affair to purchase the knives, but it is much harder to find contemporary images of specific variants being worn.

Regards,

Lance

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Thanks very much to all who have responded. Mike, your example is surely the best I have seen and the crowned Z is very interesting - any chance of seeing a photo of the whole knife-bayonet? Previously I thought that the Koeller knife-bayonet was rare but seeing so many on a single thread has me wondering.

Regards,

Michael.

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Previously I thought that the Koeller knife-bayonet was rare but seeing so many on a single thread has me wondering.

Don't know about rarity, but collectable certainly! Lubbe and Carter had these priced at GBP 120-150 in 2000, but the EB 1 'Crank handle' job (2nd type) was only priced then at GBP 80!

I checked my EB 47's again. The one certainly has no clear markings, but the other, the one with the broken crossguard... Well, I was so busy looking for a crossguard mark on that one that I completely failed to see this mark hiding in clear sight on the ricasso... :blush: Blame it on my poor desk light or whatever, but here it is, and I'd say it is a Z, presumably once with a crown above, so fits into what has been observed above.

Trajan

post-69449-0-25990900-1394803158_thumb.j

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Here is my EB 47 - Crown over '2' or possibly 'Z' on the heel of the blade. Nothing visible on the ricasso. Very sharp blade and retains most of it's finish - SW

post-47661-0-29539200-1394806763_thumb.j

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Nah, :devilgrin: you don't make me ONE BIT JEALOUS... That is to say, just compare that with the detail of the one I posted... About usual for what generally turns up over here... :(

The other EB 47 I have is somewhat better but not by much, and certainly no paint, although it does have a better-looking blade.

By heel of the blade I take it that you mean the ricasso? Sounds like a crowned Z - I haven't seen any crowned numerals used as official inspectors marks on these things (and that's what the mark is), but I am happy to be corrected.

Nice scabbard as well - there are supposed to be 'thick metal' and 'thin metal' versions of this type but I have never seen any actual thickness quoted... Must measure the one I have one day...!

Trajan

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Nah, :devilgrin: you don't make me ONE BIT JEALOUS... That is to say, just compare that with the detail of the one I posted... About usual for what generally turns up over here... :(

The other EB 47 I have is somewhat better but not by much, and certainly no paint, although it does have a better-looking blade.

By heel of the blade I take it that you mean the ricasso? Sounds like a crowned Z - I haven't seen any crowned numerals used as official inspectors marks on these things (and that's what the mark is), but I am happy to be corrected.

Nice scabbard as well - there are supposed to be 'thick metal' and 'thin metal' versions of this type but I have never seen any actual thickness quoted... Must measure the one I have one day...!

Trajan

By 'heel' I mean the rear edge of the blade opposite the 'cutting edge' - SW

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By 'heel' I mean the rear edge of the blade opposite the 'cutting edge' - SW

OK, that's what I (and I think most others) call a spine marking (but in the USA it's sometimes called a blade-back marking?).

The regular issue bayonets have the ruler's crowned initial over the year of issue there, and then the fraktur mark, the inspector's mark, a Gothic letter below a crown. On the ersatz bayonets these fraktur marks are usually found on the ricasso, but they do occur on the crossguard and the spine as well. My guess is that you have a crowned Z - but, I am ready with parachute to be shot down in flames! And still not jealous about the condition of that one... :wacko:

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OK, that's what I (and I think most others) call a spine marking (but in the USA it's sometimes called a blade-back marking?).

The regular issue bayonets have the ruler's crowned initial over the year of issue there, and then the fraktur mark, the inspector's mark, a Gothic letter below a crown. On the ersatz bayonets these fraktur marks are usually found on the ricasso, but they do occur on the crossguard and the spine as well. My guess is that you have a crowned Z - but, I am ready with parachute to be shot down in flames! And still not jealous about the condition of that one... :wacko:

Even using a jeweller's glass I can't make out more - it' s very heavily punched - the crown is clear but the letter beneath is not. I have another all steel bayonet in similar condition which has the Inspection mark on the 'spine' and another on the flat of the ricasso but the gothic letters differ, so two inspections? -SW

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Even using a jeweller's glass I can't make out more - it' s very heavily punched - the crown is clear but the letter beneath is not. I have another all steel bayonet in similar condition which has the Inspection mark on the 'spine' and another on the flat of the ricasso but the gothic letters differ, so two inspections? -SW

Well, the one on my EB 47 was difficult to make out - like I said, it was hiding in full sight, and then I got it when I went out on the balcony and got the light at the right angle. (To be honest, though, it always pi**es me off a tad when I see other bu**ers show their lovely fraktur and other markings (you guys know who I mean!) and I then look dolefully at my rather scruffy ones...)

I have never checked up on the German marking system, but UK bayonets often have multiple (well, at least two!) inspector marks on them. I would not be surprised if that was the case for the Germans also, and there is a hint that this was the case in Carter's original (ie., the first) Ersatz volume, for he indicates what may be different markings on the spine and the ricasso of the same bayonet. There again, most of these ersatz jobs and the regular issues seem to have just the one fraktur marking - pressure of work and insufficient inspectors?

Trajan

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