German WW1 Mauser S84/98 a.A. Bayonet, Converted from S71/84, 16th Reserve Infantry
Single-fullered spear-pointed knife blade measuring 25cm, wood scale grips with cleaning hole, held by two screws. Scabbard of black leather with steel locket with frog hook and chape with oval finial.
This example is unit marked on the hilt with ’16.R.7.114’ and on the scabbard with ’16.R.7.171’, indicating that the blade belonged with rifle number 114, 7th Company, 16th Reserve Infantry regiment, which formed part of the 14th Reserve Division. The scabbard has been swapped from another rifle within the same unit – perhaps a replacement during service. The leather scabbards of this pattern were prone to wear and breakage in the field, and are not often a perfect match. The scabbard also has the cancelled unit mark ’62.R.5.135’, meaning it was actually first issued with rifle number 135, 5th Company, 62nd Infantry regiment (3rd Upper Silesian).
On the ricasso of the blade the bayonet is maker’s marked ‘C. G. Haenel Suhl’, one of eight makers of the 71/84 pattern blade. The monogram stamp on the spine of the blade looks to be ‘W88’, which would indicate that it was manufactured in 1888, a year in which three different kings ruled in Germany – Wilhelm I, who died on the 9th of March, his son Frederick II, who died on the 15th June, and his son Wilhelm II. The scabbard has some small crown inspection marks to both locket and chape, and the bayonet has the same on the spine of the blade and on the pommel.
These bayonets were produced from 1910 to fit the Mauser M98 rifle. While they were a new type they made use of surplus or converted blades from the previous standard pattern bayonet, the 71/84, fitted to a new hilt and with the muzzle ring removed. These were issued with surplus scabbards of the previous model. As seen with the 71/84, the blades come in two variations with a long or short fuller – this example has the long fuller, extending almost to the tip of the blade.
Once blade stocks ran dry the more abundant second model of 84/98 was produced, with a very similar knife blade and redesigned hilt. The 84/98 was the shortest bayonet to see use in WW1, and the same overall design continued through to the 84/98 bayonets for the Kar 98k of WW2.
The 14th Reserve Division was formed in August 1914 and fought exclusively on the Western Front, participating in the opening German offensive, the capture of Namur and Maubeuge, the Battle of Verdun from February to September 1916, the Second Battle of the Aisne in April and May 1917, and the Spring Offensive of 1918.
Some small patches of pitting to the blade, but otherwise clean. Pitting and patina to the hilt and scabbard parts. The wood scales have some dark stains and small dents on the locking button side, the other side is clean. The leather of the scabbard has many dents but no structural damage. It is very hard and stiff with age but the blade sheaths and draws well from it.