bayonet


bayonet
/bay"euh nit, -net', bay'euh net"/, n., v., bayoneted or bayonetted, bayoneting or bayonetting.
n.
1. a daggerlike steel weapon that is attached to or at the muzzle of a gun and used for stabbing or slashing in hand-to-hand combat.
2. a pin projecting from the side of an object, as the base of a flashbulb or camera lens, for securing the object in a bayonet socket.
v.t.
3. to kill or wound with a bayonet.
[1605-15; < F baïonnette, after BAYONNE in France (where the weapon was first made or used); see -ETTE]

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Short, sharp-edged, sometimes pointed weapon, designed for attachment to the muzzle of a firearm.

According to tradition, it was developed in Bayonne, France, early in the 17th century and soon spread throughout Europe. The earliest design, the plug bayonet, was inserted into the muzzle of a musket, thus preventing the musket from being fired until the bayonet was removed. Later designs, including the socket bayonet invented by Sebastien Le Prestre de Vauban (1688), slipped it over the muzzle. Repeating firearms greatly reduced its combat value. By World War I it had become an all-purpose knife.

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weapon
      short, sharp-edged, sometimes pointed weapon, designed for attachment to the muzzle of a firearm and developed, according to tradition, in Bayonne, Fr., early in the 17th century. The Maréchal de Puységur described the earliest bayonets as having a straight, double-edged blade a foot long with a tapering wooden handle, of equal length, that could be inserted into the muzzle of a musket. The new weapon, considerably shortened, spread through Europe and supplanted the pike.

      The plug bayonet, as this first type was called, had some serious defects; once it was inserted into the muzzle, the gun could not be fired, and if driven in too tightly, it could not easily be removed. Before 1689 a new bayonet was developed with loose rings on the haft to fit around the muzzle. This design was in turn superseded by the socket bayonet that the military engineer Sébastien Le Prestre de Vauban (Vauban, Sébastien Le Prestre de) introduced into the French Army in 1688. Vauban's bayonet had a sleeve that slipped over the muzzle and was held in place by a stud on the barrel that locked in a right-angled slot in the socket. The blade was normally triangular in cross section. With minor alterations, Vauban's socket bayonet remained the basic form. In the 19th century some were equipped with saw teeth and could be used as engineering tools. Others were designed for use as entrenching tools.

      The development of repeating firearms greatly reduced the combat value of the bayonet. Nevertheless, it was retained through World Wars I and II, though shortened into an all-purpose knife, equipped with a hand grip and carried in a scabbard when not affixed to a rifle.

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Universalium. 2010.