The bayonet has been a significant weapon for most of the last four centuries, and has been used all around the world. This reference work looks at over 300 different types of bayonets produced or used by thirty-seven countries.
We start with a history of the bayonet and the development of the fitting mechanisms. There is a brief section on collecting and preserving historical bayonets before we move onto the individual country chapters. Each of these starts with a quick overview and table of bayonets, before moving onto to a description of each bayonet, covering its main features, the guns it was intended for and its use, including notes on the advantages or problems of many of the types.
Each chapter is beautifully illustrated, with at least one colour photograph of just about every bayonet mentioned in the text and multiple pictures of the more important or unusual bayonets and detailed photos of particular features (especially the fitting mechanisms, in many ways the key part of the bayonet, making sure that it remains attached to the weapon). As a result this is a very attractive book.
I would say this book is firmly aimed at two markets. Its main target audience will be collectors of bayonets and it will be a perfect reference work for them. It will also be useful for someone who needs a reference guide to this topic - I can see it being useful when I have to attempt to identify particular items of equipment in the future. The general reader might find it a bit over-focused, with a stream of descriptions of fairly similar items but for those with a more specialist interest it will be of great value.
Chapters - organised by country
Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, East Germany, Great Britain, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, North Korea, South Korea, The Netherlands, Norway, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Sudan, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand (Siam), Turkey, United States of America, Uruguay, Yugoslavia
Author: Martin J. Brayley
Publisher: Chartwell Books
Year: 2012 edition of 2004 original