The East Asian Expeditionary Corps were issued brand new
S98 bayonets (later known as the S98aA) for their new Mauser G98 rifles. The bayonets of the East Asian Expeditionary
Corps (and later the Occupation Brigade and Detachment) were
unit marked depending on the arm of service. The cavalry and other mounted
units did not carry bayonets but were armed with swords instead.
The bayonets of the East Asian infantry were
marked with their regimental number, "O.R." (for "Ostasiatische
Infanterie Regiment"), followed by the company number and a weapon
number. For example "2.O.R.5.15.", see below.
The bayonets of the
light infantry (or "Jäger") were marked with the company number, 1,
"O.J." (for "Ostasiatische Jäger"), followed by a weapon
number. For example "1.O.J.98." has been reported on a W99 Erfurt S98aA.
So far no examples of the bayonets of
the East Asian field and foot artillery have been found. Other weapons however have
been found with their markings and it is reasonable to speculate that
may have been marked in a similar way- "O.F.A." for "Ostasiatische Feld-Artillerie"
and "O.A.F" for "Ostasiatische Artillerie zu Fuss".
A surviving K98 carbine
has been seen with "O.F.A.1.21." (East Asian Field Artillery,
1st Battery, weapon number 21). An 1883
Reichsrevolver pistol has been seen with the markings "O.A.F.2.13"
(East Asian Foot Artillery, 2nd Battery, weapon number 13). Another
1883 Reichsrevolver pistol has been
seen with the markings "OA1 MK1" (East Asian Artillery, 1st
Drivers of the field artillery were mounted,
so carried swords rather than bayonets.
The "Pionier-Faschinenmesser 71/98" (or Pfm71/98) was a unique
bayonet created only for the three companies of the East Asian Pioneer Battalion. German army pioneers used a bayonet with a
wider, heavier saw blade than the infantry.
infantry S98 bayonets had been made to fit the new G98 rifle by
the time the East Asian Expeditionary Corps had been formed, no
pioneer equivalent had yet been produced. The solution was for
Pfm71 blades to be fitted to S98 hilts at the Erfurt factory, thus
creating the Pfm71/98 hybrid.
They were unit marked "O.P" ( for "Ostasiatische
Pionier"), a company number and a weapon number. For
example "O.P.2.103", see below. Examples issued after May 1901 when
two of the three pioneer companies were disbanded, omit the company
number. For example "O.P.23", see below.
Other Branches of Service
Bayonets have also appeared with the
markings "O.E.". This was identified by the late Major Rudolf
Stein, an expert in the field, as belonging to troops attached to the Command of the Expeditionary Corps ("Oberkommando des Ostasiatischen
Expeditionkorps"), for example "O.E. 2.241" for the 2nd
Company, weapon number 241 or simply "OE." with no further unit or
weapon numbers both seen on S98aAS bayonets.
General consensus among authors and collectors (including
Anthony Carter, Chris Wood and Roy Williams)
is in agreement with him. I personally have my doubts on this one
simply because I cannot find a reference in the organisation of the
East Asian Expeditionary Corps to one let alone two command companies.
It is my suspicion that "O.E." represents the Train battalion
("Ostasiatische Eisenbahn Batallion") consisting of three
companies. I must admit though that I have no further evidence to back
up my hunch.