I love mail...especially from the CMP...
Got a couple of boxes in from FedEx a couple of weeks ago from the CMP...wonder what might be in them?
First the smaller box…
Ah ha! A cleaning rod section kit and bag for the trap door holes in the butt of the stock. It comes with the M10 combo tool (bottom pic) which in addition to being the handle for the cleaning rod sections once assembled, also does duty to take off the cap of the gas tube, adjust the sights and also help disassemble the bolt. I felt kinda of bad breaking open that green tube and silver bag, the date on this item shows its over 50 years old. Surplus or not, its just a good and serves the same purpose for the same item now as it did when produced in 1960.
And for that bigger box....hell yeah, a M1 bayonet!Stabby stabby thingy.....M1 Bayonet for the M1 Garand!
Bayonets for the M1 are a tricky thing to nail down. The design was originally designed to use the 16” long M1905 bayonet that was used on the 1903 Springfield. That bayonet was designed in an era when the rifleman still used a bolt action rifle and horse ridden cavalry still roamed the battlefield. The usefulness of a 16” blade on the end of his rifle to turn it into a short pike to dismount a rider or protect against a horse charge (see Braveheart) made sense then. Fast forward 30+ years to a new mechanized age when the troops had a state of the art semi-automatic rifle and a shorter, more manageable blade makes sense. They opted on a 10” length blade and called it the M1 bayonet, to go along with the new rifle the Army adopted. The military’s first option was to cut down existing M1905’s to a 10” length and reshape the point. These bayonets are sometimes called M1905E1 models, which is technically incorrect. Once cut down they were called M1 bayonets and issued along side of newly manufactured 10” bayonets. Some of these early models had the blade sharpened to a spear point but this practice was eventually changed to more of a clip or drop point style (depending on the manufacturer) to keep the point of the blade away from the thinner metal in the area that had been the fuller (“blood groove”) that ran down the length of the blade. Because most were cut down, original M1905s are rare and draw a premium price for collectors.
With WW2 in full swing, the supply of older M1905 bayonets waning, and the economic worries of the Great Depression behind them, the government ordered massive amounts of new M1 bayonets to be produced by a bevy of companies both large and small. These newer bayonets can be identified by the spear point solid tip without a fuller grove present. The blades themselves were 10” as I mentioned before, which is longer than the bayonets that have come after. If you think about it not many people have their vital organs located much deeper than 7” – 10” in their body (at least the fit types you would expect to fight against on a battlefield) so the length makes sense. The bayonets did not come very sharp from the factory as that took additional skilled tooling time to accomplish, the spec for sharpening one to standard was hard to nail down and most of the bayonets would either be issued to new troops training that may not of necessarily warranted a razor sharp blade or for general issue it was just easier to get a general blade formed and let the troops in the field sharpen their own. The bayonet is generally a thrusting weapon so the point provided was adequate for that purpose. Some types of bayonet attacks do use a slashing motion so the blade was generally sharpened by the soldier or marine to a usable edge and also used as a general purpose tool as well..as have all bayonets in the past.
Top to bottom, M1905 bayonet with 16” blade, “M1905E1/M1 with 16” blade cut to 10” with a drop point, “M1905E1/M1 with 16” blade cut to 10” with a spear point and M1 bayonet made with a 10” blade in a spear point.
Fighting with a bayonet is a up close, personal and bloody ordeal. Its one thing to shoot somebody from a distance through an ACOG or iron sights, its another to plunge a blade in them so close you can smell their breath and hear them gasp for air. Aggressiveness is the key so most training with the bayonet is designed to install confidence and ferociousness in the trainee. I am sad to say the Army sucks at this on the whole. The training I got in 1987 was woefully inadequate other than teaching us the basic moves against an opponent, we only went “full contact” once and generally it was secondary (as is expected) to the rifle in terms of training. Today the army has all together dropped it from the training cycle being that everyone carries short carbines and they want to focus on other “warrior” tasks. Never mind the fact that there have been documented cases going back over the conflict in Iraq where fighting has been so close that the bayonet, either fixed on a rifle or used as a knife, has settled some engagements. The Marines – God Bless their little over-motivated hearts – are still doing it to instill esprit de corps in their recruits. Matter of fact, the Marines even have their own martial art now that teaches hand-to-hand fighting with a knife….when you have fewer troops you can train them to a higher standard, when you are huge like the Army I guess you bring more to the party but with a little less to offer in some ways.
The bayonet I received from CMP is pretty typical of surplus blades available on the market today, except that buying from the CMP you get it at a good price. I paid about $60 for this one which is less than a lot of places on the internet. The blade shows its age. The edge is gone and the metal is heavily pitted. It does not secure to the rifle as it once did and it rattles like a SOB on there. Still I was able to get one that was made by Union fork & Hoe right here in Columbus and its for show, not use on my rifle. The plastic hand guards are in decent shape and after a good degreasing and cleaning to get rid of the thick layer of goopy cosmoline on it, it looks decent. The scabbard is a plastic impregnated fiber deal with a metal tip and old webbing clips on the pommel end of it to attach to pistol belts. Its in decent shape and I doubt its as old as the bayonet itself, but it shows its age as well also.
Bayonet stripped down to its parts for some cleaning with degreaser...seems to have worked...really basic and simple design...I like that.
I chose this model of bayonet from the available ones at CMP for the U.F.H. on it. That stands for Union Fork & Hoe (a company that now makes hand tools under the name Union Tools). It is based out of Columbus, Ohio (here!) and made tens of thousands of bayonets for the war effort. Thought it would be a good idea to let one come home to its birthplace.
The latch button that served to help detach it from the rifle served double duty as a latch to keep the bayonet in the scabbard when moving about on the battlefield, pretty cool.