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27th March 2003bent bayonets?
By glynne
Hi there,
Just finished reading "uniforms and weapons of the Zulu War"
In it, it says a newspaper source at the time stated that the bayonets used at Rorkes Drift were of such poor quality, that by the end of the battle, most were bent double.
Is this an exageration?
If not, are there any examples in the Museum at Brecon?
29th March 2003neil aspinshaw
There were several reports about bending bayonets, I believe it also manifested itself in the sudan campaign, the martini socket bayonet was a triangular section , hollow in the middle, the models at rorkes drift museum have been snapped off showing thier hollow section. (the lunger!) was subcontracted to a french firm I believe, there was a suspected conspiracy thoery. the army tested them, thier findings proved no such theory, and that they stood up to all tests easily. The NCO's carried a 22" sword bayonet and would have possibly had no real complaints.
30th March 2003Bill Power
Neil,which Pattern of bayonet was used? P1853 or P1876? The 53 had a blade of 17in.,the 76 of 21.75in.! The 53 was,originally,for the P53 rifled musket with the blade curved out,so on loading a muzzlestuffer,"Tommy" would not do a nasty! These were busher for use on the MH! The P76 were straight & of equilateral cross section! The"Lads" were fighting over a mealie bag barricade so,assume, the thrust was downward into the upper torso. This presents a problem as the blade could wedge twixt the ribs & have to be levered out,thus bending the bayonet. Easy enough to do,as the MH with fixed bayonet was 6ft.! This problem was why trenchraiders in WW1 preferred using entrenching tools[spades] as a battle one had to put the boot in[wasting time]to get the blade out! Apology for being a bit graphic,but as Sherman stated,quite correctly"War is all Hell" As regards the problem in the Soudan.the bayonets had been in Stores & had some surface rust. Some bright boyo decided to polish this off,thus removing the case hardening[Nitriding,done by firing the steel in bonemeal]leaving only the soft metal! The "Lads" were not amused! Bye&Bye,the sword bayonet was p1860,22.7in."Yataghan"blade,a right nasty bit c' kit! PS;If anyone knows which Pattern of bayonet was issued to the 24th @ RD,it would be appreciated as I need one to "Fix Bayonet" on a MH!
30th March 2003neil aspinshaw
not sure, my guess would be the P76, the 24th b company were late arrivals in the cape, compared to the 1st battalion, you would suspect these were armed with the lastest weopanary. I have personally held a martini mark 1 (dated 1874) with a mark 2 upgrade at fugitives drift lodge. David Rattray insists it is authentic to Isandlwana. Most most of the 1st/24th had 4 years overseas service under thier belts, With this gun being a Mark 2 upgrade one would surmise that even the battalions on long overseas service had thier rifles (and bayonets?) regulally upgraded. If you are after a good example I suggest, this is micheal d.Longs place in Nottingham, a veritable shop of delights!!!. happy hunting.
31st March 2003glynne
I've got the 1853, 17in bayonet and it was bushed, but when I tried to "fix bayonet" with my Martini it wouldn't fit. I had to remove the bush.
Now there's a mystery.
Are you there Barry????
1st April 2003Bill Power
Glynne,assume the MH was a 577/450? Perhaps,a MkIV Pattern"C"wirh the ramp front sight,as opposed to all the previous barleycorns?! Then,there was a second bush inside the 1st,for the Martini Enfield .303! Probably issued to Colonial Troops! Check the markings!
1st April 2003Adrian Whiting

The only surviving bayonets that I have seen that the owners (in SA) purport to have come from the war have been bushed P53's. This would particularly make sense for the 1/24 since they were armed with their MHs in 1873 and would already have been issued the P53 for their Sniders, and were on foreign service at the time.

This, incidentally, would indicate that they were issued with the MHR MkI, which would have been capable of upgrade locally by the armourer's - as would be the fitting of the bush to the P53 bayonet.

The 2/24 may well have been issued the P76 before sailing overseas - perhaps the RRW museum can assist on any bayonets in their collection ?
2nd April 2003glynne
Yes, it's a 577/450, not sure of the mk but it's short levered, no Imperial marks, Belgian marks on the breech and Turkish on the bands
Thanks for your input Adrian