Argentine Type C Socket Bayonet for the FN FAL, Falklands War
Tubular steel one-piece bayonet with flash ports and spear-pointed blade with semicircular profile. Blade length 6½ inches (16.5cm), 11.4 inches (29cm) overall. Black plastic scabbard with eyelet chape, circular frog stud, steel throat piece and attached steel frog piece.
The bayonet is faintly stamped on the blade with the serial number ’02-73479’. The scabbard is stamped with the serial number ’02-66615’. This is partly obscured by the metal frog but this can be slid off after unscrewing the circular stud below it.
The FN FAL infantry rifle and its bayonet were adopted by Argentina in the late 1950s, initially purchased from FN in Belgium but later made domestically by Argentine manufacturers. Several types of bayonet and webbing attachments were used by the Argentinean Army and Marines during the Falklands conflict: the tubular model was the ‘Type C’, compatible with later models of the FAL (post 1962) which had a 22mm muzzle device. This was used side by side with the ‘Type A’ knife bayonet, which fitted to the early FALs. The scabbards are not interchangeable between Types, the blades being of different shapes.
Belt frogs for these bayonets are made of either leather or nylon fabric: the ‘Correaje Argentino de Cuero’ (Green Leather Belting) load-bearing system was introduced around 1970, but incorporated some preexisting elements including leather frogs and pistol holsters, which were then painted green to match. The nylon ‘Correaje Tempex’ (Tempex Belting) was introduced in the early 1980s to replace it which included a new frog. Both forms of load-bearing system were still in use by 1982 so both were carried in the Falklands. Either frog will fit either Type of bayonet.
After Argentine forces surrendered to the British on June 14 1982 their small arms were piled up by the thousand in the Islands’ capital Port Stanley, where most Argentine forces had been deployed or driven back to. A large quantity of arms had also been captured earlier at Goose Green, which was a key ammunition dump for the Argentine forces. The FAL rifles became British government property and were either brought to the UK or dumped at sea, while bayonets and the short machete-like officer’s sidearms frequently became personal trophies or souvenirs for British soldiers as they would not be illegal to own in civilian life. This example is almost certainly one such ‘bring-back’.
The bayonet has a parkerised finish, with some rubbing and discolouration on the tubular section. The steel frog piece has a similar finish and lacks the wire hanger that would attach it to the belt fabric. The bayonet is missing its spring-loaded locking catch – it should still attach to a rifle but will not lock in position. Some minor rubbing and scratching to the plastic scabbard body, one dent near the chape on the reverse side.