Bayonets
of the Marine Infantry- Seebataillone

 
 

 

     
 

The first rifles issued to the Prussian Seebataillon were 1841 Needle Guns. The bayonet to fit was a socket bayonet so the 1852 Faschinenmesser was used as a side arm. From 1862 the Marine Infantry were issued the Füsiliergewehr 1860 rifle and its accompanying Füsilier-Seitengewehr 1860 bayonet (often abbreviated to "Füs S60"). Period photographs from the 1890s and early 1900s show them carrying Hirschfänger 1871 bayonets. They have also been described (in Anthony Carter's "German Bayonets Vol.4") as using the S71/84 bayonet, however no surviving examples have been found in modern collections and no period photographs prove its use either. With the introduction of the G98 rifle to the marine infantry overseas between 1900 and 1904, photographs show the Marine Infantry carrying the S98aA and its later variants the S98nA and S98/05aA bayonets. Marine Infantry units on the Western Front were issued S98/05nA bayonets from 1915.

The bayonets of the Marine Infantry were usually unit marked with "S.B." for Seebataillon. Company numbers were usually added in Arabic numerals. After the formation of a second and third Seebataillon (in 1889 and 1898 respectively), battalion numbers were also added in Roman numerals. A weapon number usually followed. As can be seen from the examples below, variations existed with some bayonets listing the company number before the battalion number, while most had it after the battalion number. Some had no company number (no bayonets from the I. Seebataillon have so far been recorded with company numbers). Some had no Marine Infantry bayonets had neither company nor weapon number. 

The depot unit of the III. Seebataillon based at Cuxhaven, had the letters "St" before "S.B." for "Stamm" or depot (for example "III. St SB. 342"). The East Asian Marine Detachment of Marine Infantry troops based in Peking and Tientsin from 1909 to 1914 had bayonets marked "O.M.D." for "Ostasiatische Marine Detachment", followed by the company number and a weapon number (for example "O.M.D.1 124"). The Marine Detachment Skutari were for a time issued Austro-Hungarian Mannlicher rifles, and therefore may also have had Austro-Hungarian Mannlicher 1895 bayonets (see the Arms2Armor website).

The Imperial monogram and date of manufacture markings appear on the blunt side of the blade as usual on most Marine Infantry bayonets. However S98aA and S98/05aA bayonets made by Simson & Co in Suhl specifically for naval issue do not appear to have date markings from the few examples that have been noted.

 


Seesoldat, Germany c1914
He carries the G98 Rifle and has the S98/05 bayonet on his belt.
Photo © Joe Robinson

 
 

 

     
 
FM 52 from the Prussian Seebataillon Photos © Vincent Koch
 
The markings "S.B.271" show this 1852 Faschinenmesser to have been issued to the Prussian Seebataillon, weapon number 271. Prior to the formation of the II. Seebataillon in 1889 no battalion numbers were needed to be marked. The makers mark cannot be read on the aged blade. It is date marked "FW60" on the reverse side of the hilt for King Frederick William IV of Prussia 1860.
     
FM 52 from the II. Seebataillon Photos © Chris Wood
The markings "II.S.B.56" on this Prussian 1852 Faschinenmesser show it to have been issued to the II. Seebataillon, weapon number 56. On the other side is a Prussian crown and W (for Wilhelm I) and "7_" with the last digit of the date missing and cancelled markings for previous issue "4.15".

Füs S60 Bayonet from the Prussian Seebataillon Photos © Roy Williams, the author of The Collectors Book of German Bayonets

  The markings "S.B.3.36." on the hilt and scabbard show this Füsilier-Seitengewehr 1860 bayonet to have been issued to the 3rd company of the Prussian Seebataillon, weapon number 36. The company number 3, is accidentally stamped upside down on the scabbard. Prior to the formation of the II. Seebataillon in 1889 no battalion numbers were needed to be marked. It was made by F Hörster of Solingen. It is date marked "FW61" for King Frederick William IV 1861. The curious point here is that Frederick William IV died on 2nd January 1861, so it seems likely that bayonets were still being marked with his monogram posthumously. This bayonet has a brass grip (not very clear in this monochrome photograph) and a leather scabbard.
 

S98aA Bayonet from the III. Seebataillon Photos © Chris Wood

The markings "III.SB. 2.66." show this bayonet to have been issued to the III. Seebataillon based at Tsingtao, 2nd company, weapon number 66. It was made at Erfurt and is date stamped "W00" for 1900. Like all S98aA bayonets, it has a wooden grip and a leather scabbard. Note the fold marks on the scabbard. This tendency to damage when the bayonet was unsheathed was one of the reasons that that led to later bayonets such as the kS98 having steel scabbards.

S98aAS Bayonet from the III. Seebataillon Photos © Dow Cross

The markings "III SB 5.133" show this bayonet to have been issued to the 5th (Mounted) Company of the III. Seebataillon based in Tsingtao, weapon number 133. Being mounted infantry rather than cavalry, the 5th Company carried bayonets rather than swords. This bayonet has a sawback blade, a wooden grip and a leather scabbard. This bayonet was made at Erfurt in 1910 (marked "W10").

S98aA Bayonet from the East Asian Marine Detachment  Photos © Chris Wood

The markings "O.M.D.1 124" show this bayonet to have been issued to the 1st Company of the East Asian Marine Detachment ("Ostasiatische Marine Detachment") based at Peking and Tientsin, weapon number 124. This bayonet was made by Simson & Co in Suhl and has no date marking though it was probably made around 1900-01. The one piece wooden grip on this S98aA was discarded in favour of the two piece grips of the S98nA in 1902. As the bayonet has no signs of previous issue markings it may well have been kept in storage for sometime before being issued: the East Asian Marine Detachment was only formed in 1909. This bayonet has a leather scabbard.

S98aA Bayonet from the I. Seebataillon  Photos © Joe Fishpaw

The markings "1.S.B.3300" on the hilt and scabbard, show this bayonet to have been issued to the I. Seebataillon, weapon number 3300. As is typical for I. Seebataillon bayonets it has no company number. This bayonet was made by Simson & Co in Suhl and has no date marking. This is a shortened bayonet with the leather scabbard shortened to match. Period photographs further confirm the use of shortened S98 bayonets by the imperial navy.

Privately Made S98nA Bayonet from the I. Seebataillon  Photos © Chris Wood

This bayonet has no standard unit, date or manufacturer's markings. Like many officers and NCOs edged weapons it is privately made for dress purposes, this one does not actually fit a rifle. It has a flat blade with a decorative engraving reading "Kaiserl. I. Seebataillon" (with "Kaiserliche" or imperial abbreviated). Other privately made naval bayonets and swords had even more elaborate blade engravings, often showing ships, anchors and other nautical themes, sometimes with blue and gold panels. It has wooden grips and a leather scabbard.

More S98 Bayonets from the Marine Infantry

  This S98aA bayonet has the markings "I.S.B. 4102" on the hilt showing it to have been issued to the I. Seebataillon based at Kiel, weapon number 4102. The scabbard is marked "I.S.B.4130" showing it originally to have been issued with bayonet number 4130. Non-matching bayonet and scabbard combinations are quite common and while some may have been put together by post-war collectors many may also have been in use by the Marine Infantry when one or other was damaged or lost. The scabbard also has cancelled markings "I.M.D. 1003" from a previous issue to the I. Matrosen Division of the Imperial navy. Another set of cancelled markings above it cannot be clearly read. The bayonet was made at Erfurt in 1900 (marked "W00").
Photo © Roy Williams
  This S98aA bayonet has the markings "I.S.B. 651" on the hilt showing it to have been issued to the I. Seebataillon, weapon number 651. It was made by Simson & Co in Suhl and has no date marking. As can be seen, it is missing its wooden grip. The one piece wooden grip on the old style ("alter Art") S98 bayonets was prone to splitting as may have happened here.
Photo © Shawn Gibson of Bayonet Connection
  This S98aA bayonet has the markings "II.S.B. 3092" on the hilt and scabbard showing it to have been issued to the II. Seebataillon based at Wilhelmshaven, weapon number 3092. It was made by Simson & Co in Suhl and has no date marking.
Photo © Dow Cross
  This S98nA bayonet has the markings "III.S.B.2.209." on the hilt and scabbard showing it to have been issued to the III. Seebataillon, 2nd company, weapon number 209. It was made Simson & Co of Suhl in 1906 (marked "M06", the "M" standing for Marine). The new style ("neuer Art") of S98 bayonet had two piece wooden grips, which solved the problem of the one piece grips used on S98 "alter Art" bayonets splitting.
Photo © Roy Williams
 

This S98aA bayonet has the markings "III.S.B.3.141." on the hilt and scabbard, showing it to have been issued to the III. Seebataillon, 3rd Company, weapon number 141. It was made by Simson & Co of Suhl and has no date marking. It has previous cancelled markings "183" above "Ku" on the scabbard. These "Ku" markings have been noted on other III. Seebataillon bayonets and may possibly have been for "Gouvernment Kiaotschou" personnel such as the Tsingtao Polizeitruppe.
Photo © Roy Williams

  This S98aA bayonet has the markings "III. St SB. 342" showing to have been issued to the depot unit ("Stamm") of the III. Seebataillon based at Cuxhaven in Germany, weapon number 342. This bayonet was made at Erfurt (the factory's mark can be seen in the photograph) in 1900 (marked "W00").
Photo © Dow Cross
   

S98/05aAS Bayonet from the III. Seebataillon Photos © Chris Wood

The markings "III.SB. 5.51." on the hilt and scabbard show this bayonet to have been issued to the 5th (Mounted) Company of the III. Seebataillon, weapon number 51. This bayonet also has the cancelled markings "Ku 1616" from a previous issue. No known German unit has been identified with the Ku marking although it has been suggested that it might represent the German Government in Kiaochow ("Gouvernment Kiautschou") and was therefore issued to troops of the Naval Authorities such as the Tsingtao Chinese Polizeitruppe. This bayonet was made at Erfurt in 1909 (marked "W09"). It has wooden grips, a sawback blade and a leather scabbard. The frog is of an older pattern originally for a larger bayonet and has been altered to fit this bayonet.
 

S98/05aA Bayonet from the II. Seebataillon Photos © Chris Wood

The markings "II SB 3.113." show this bayonet to have been issued to the 3rd Company of the II. Seebataillon, weapon number 113. As can clearly be seen from the markings on the blade, this bayonet was made by Simson & Co in Suhl and has no date markings. The bayonet can however be dated somewhere between 1906, when the S98/05 was introduced and 1915 when the new variant S98/05nA came into production. It has wooden grips, which may have been re-fitted from another bayonet as they appear ill-fitting and a steel scabbard.
     
S98/05aA Bayonet from the II. Seebataillon Photos © Chris Wood
   
  The markings "II.S.B.4.236" show this bayonet to have been issued to the 4th Company of the II. Seebataillon, weapon number 236. It has wooden grips, an unmarked steel scabbard and was made at Erfurt in 1914, marked W14.
     
S98/05aA Bayonet from the II. Seebataillon Photos © Shawn Gibson of Bayonet Connection
The markings "II SB" show this bayonet to have been issued to the II. Seebataillon. This bayonet has neither company nor quite unusually a weapon number. This bayonet was made by Simson & Co in Suhl (as can clearly be seen from the markings on the blade in the left photograph) and has no date marking. It has wooden grips and a steel scabbard.
 
S98/05nAS Bayonet from the I. Seebataillon  Photo © Chris Wood
The markings "I. S.B. 1145" show this bayonet to have been issued to the I. Seebataillon, weapon number 1145. The manufacturer's mark (which can clearly be seen in the photograph on the left) is for Simson & Co of Suhl.  It is date marked "W15" for 1915 by which time the I. Seebataillon had been expanded into the 1. Marine-Infanterie Regiment of the Marinekorps Flandern on the Western Front. This bayonet is a curious transitional version of the S98/05 with the low muzzle ears of the S98/05nA whilst not having a flashguard like the S98/05aA. It has a sawback blade, wooden grips and a leather scabbard.
   
 

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