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Questions on the design, the whereabouts, why the cost is so high and the question of where the their fate are the most common inquiries I hear.  In this newly revamped section I will try  in brief with photos and some text, to explain and answer these inquiries about some of the most elusive bayonets used during the second world war by Finland.

 

 

The Finns made wide use of the captured Russian m/1891 bayonets. These were in stockpiles after the Finnish Civil War and many thousands more were captured during the Winter war and Continuation War. Finnish forces used these m/91 bayonets for reissue with the domestically produced m/91 rifles from both VKT and Tikkakoski. They were also issued to rifles purchased or traded for abroad by the firm Trans Baltic Oy. m/91 bayonets that were to be used on the Finnish produced m/24 rifle underwent additional modifications to allow them to clear the higher front sight blade properly. There is also a rare variation of this 1891 bayonet known as the m/91 RV for use by the Finnish Cavalry with their Dragoon rifles. These were m/1891 bayonets that were modified from full length examples Here you see 5 different m/91 bayonets used by Finland. There are also five different scabbards issued to them that are fairly typical of finnish use. The top scabbard is a simple cloth version copied from Russian designs. The second from the top and third from the top are basically the same scabbard/frog but by different makers. These subtle variances are very common in Finnish leather works-one being tanned in a brown finnish by the Astrom leather works and the other being tanned in a green finish by the Friitala leather works. The fourth bayonet from the top going down is a m/24 civil Guards bayonet in a reissued German metal scabbard. The Finns then painted these green which was common place in the Civil Guard. The bottom bayonet and scabbard is a Finnish produced version of the cloth bayonet at the top. Just a simple leather sheath with a belt loop for attaching it to the soldiers tunic belt. Finnish soldiers often referred to the m/1891 bayonet as a "rat tail" bayonet for obvious reason-the shape.

The m/91-30 bayonet and the rare Finnish m/91rv bayonet below. These bayonets were shortened m/1891 bayonets that were 12.5cm less in overall length and had the tip and fullers reshaped. The modifications took place from 1925-1935 with 3000 being made. This is one of the most obscure bayonets made by finland for its armed forces. It is rarely encountered today as it served a purpose only with the m/91rv rifles. When the rifle was removed from cavalry service in 1935 most of the bayonets that were issued with it were scrapped. Very few examples survive today.

 

 

. . The Russian m/91/30 bayonet was also put to use by the Finns as many thousands of these bayonets were captured in the Winter and Continuation Was. Most were not [SA] marked but many had the original Russian rifles serial number ground off and the Finnish replacement added. These bayonets often are not easy to interchange between rifles as the tolerances are tight and many times the slot for attaching the bayonet to the front sight base is to narrow or binds, thus not allowing the bayonet to seat properly. For this reason the bayonets were often mated to a specific rifle necessitating the rifles serial number to be stamped on the spikes housing.  In some cases the m/91-30 bayonet was stamped with the army's [SA] marking to identify it as army property. These m/91-30 bayonets [SA] stamped are rather uncommon today along with other Finnish bayonets as the average Finnish soldier was not prone to keep his issue bayonet very long, finding it cumbersome and not worth carrying . Instead he favored the individual or privately made puuko knife for "in close" fighting.

 

 

Three different examples of the m/91-30 bayonet reissued to finnish forces and thus marked as army property. The top bayonet is marked twice-once on the shank that is highlighted and again on the attachment tube of the bayonet just in front of the front reinforcement ring. The "A" and the corner of the box can be seen. The middle bayonet is a good example of showing the original serial number of the Russian rifle being ground off and the Finnish replacement issue rifles serial number added. This bayonet is also [SA] marked on the body of the tube. Unfortunately the round surface of the tube and the lighting makes the [SA] hard to distinguish in the picture. The tops of the S and A are just visible under the push button locking assembly. On the bottom a m/91-30 bayonet that was in all probability reissued to the rifle it was captured on. it shows no grinding of the Russian serial number. Instead it is marked not once but twice right next to each other [SA] [SA] on the body of the bayonet.

Bayonets were made by both premier arsenals in the m/91-30 style. By 1930 the Sestroyetsyk arsenal had been closed to new production leaving the Izhevsk and Tula arsenals as the primary producer of weapons and bayonets. Here you can see the Izhevsk makers mark on the left of a triangle enclosing a fletched arrow and the familiar five pointed star of the Tula arsenal on the right. The bayonet on the left is a Panshin bayonet made by the Soviets for use on the m/91 Dragoon rifle. It has had its protective front sight hood removed by Finnish forces to allow it to be used on a m/1891 or 91/30 rifle with a globe front sight assembly . Notice it lacks the reinforcement rib of the later m/9130 bayonet on the right. It also has had its original Russian issue serial number removed as the picture shows the grind marks to the left of the arsenal stampings.

The m/91-30 bayonet mounted on a rifle. Notice how the cut out allows the bayonet to be seated then "twisted" to the right locking it behind the front sight base. Then the spring loaded plunger snaps back to lock the bayonet on the rifles muzzle and not allow it to be twisted off unless the plunger is depressed and the bayonet rotated 60 degrees to the left. In the top picture the protective globe front sight of the m/91-30 rifle is depicted with the reinforcing lug of the bayonet just behind the front sight base.

Here are two "Panshin" Dragoon bayonets. The  bayonet is so named for its creator Col. Panshin who developed it for the mounted troops of the Soviet cavalry to protect the front sight blade from damage during a bayonet charge while mounted. The top bayonet is complete with its protective hood. The bottom bayonet has had its protective hood removed to allow its use on all m/1891 and m/91-30 rifles with a globe protected front sight. The development of the protective enclosure which the author refers to as a 'globe" front sight rendered the Panshin bayonet obsolete. It was discontinued from manufacture in 1930. The protective hood of the Panshin bayonet was affixed to the body of the spike by two raised ledges. Each was undercut to allow for a corresponding dovetail in the hood to be slid on. the hood was then locked in place by the use of a screw in the forward seating section. The screw hole is apparent in the bottom bayonet shown.

The Panshin bayonet with its distinctive protective housing mounted on a  Dragoon rifle. Notice how it effectively protects the front sight blade from damage. The front and rear also have the "windows" as shown in this side view to allow for sighting of the rifle.

 

Here is a  top and side view again for comparison of the Panshin while mounted on a rifle m/1891 Dragoon.

 

 

In 1940 Italy supplied Finland with a number of Carcano m/38 "short rifles" or carbines in 7.35 Carcano. These rifles were shipped to Finland as war aid for the Winter War of 1939-1940 but arrived to late for issue in that conflict. With the odd caliber these short rifles were destined for use in rear echelon units such as air defense and coastal artillery units. The rifles were shipped with accessories such as slings and and a special folding bayonet. These folding bayonets are not very common today and especially so with [SA] markings showing they were part of the Finnish contract. These are a prime collectable for the Finnish bayonet collector and demand a high price if found today.

 

The Italian m/38 short rifle with its unique folding bayonet. These fixed sight 7.35mm rifles/carbines were not very well liked by finnish troops and were often replaced with a domestic weapon or Russian captured rifle whenever possible. Why this was is not known but the author has a Finnish veteran friend who was issued a Carcano m/38 rifle while serving in the Radio and communications unit and then later on with a AAA unit and he found the rifle to be very favorable. Light to carry and short in length made handling easy. perhaps the caliber and lack of ammunition supply made the rifle unfavorable with some field troops.

m/38 Italian manufactured short rifle bayonet and scabbard. This bayonet is one of several Finnish issued versions in the authors collection and is in excellent shape.

 

Top view of the m/38 Italian folding bayonet. The bayonets serial number is stamped at the forward end of the body of the bayonet between the grip panels on the top. The boxed [SA] is clear towards the rear of the bayonet indicating Finnish army issue and property.

The m/38 folding Italian bayonet mounted on the rifle and folded into the locked position for carry. The bayonet has two push buttons. the button at the rear of the bayonet is depressed for removing the bayonet from the rifles mounting lug. The push button at the front of the bayonet behind the ricasso is used to unlock the folding mechanism. Once depressed the bayonet is pulled forward and then swung down allowing it to be rotated to the rear. Once it is folded the button engages  once again locking it in place. The rifle has a recess groove in the bottom of the stock that allows the bayonets blade to be seated into smoothing the profile.

 

 

 

The makers markings of the m/27 series of bayonets. On the left is Fiskars Oy a world renowned maker of knives and bayonets and on the right Hackman & Co who's marking appears on the blued m/35 bayonet made from an updated m/27 bayonet.


The m27 bayonet was the first designed by the Finns on their own. These were later replaced with another variant known as the M35. The m35 was designed with a sharper point that was shaped much like a spear. The M35 bayonet is not common by any means, but the earlier unmodified m/27 bayonet is quite a find. It is virtually impossible to differentiate a m/27 from a m./29 from the exterior view as the change was made internally to facilitate an easier blade replacement if need be.  There were only 57,600 m/27 bayonets produced by Fiskars Oy and Hackman Co.

 

The m/27 was issued three bayonet types. The initial m/27 bayonet with riveted grip panels and a rounded point. It was fit into a ribbed scabbard and retained on the belt by a frog with a hilt cross strap as seen on the far left. The next type was made as a correction to simplify the replacement of a damaged blade. It is exteriorly the same as the m/27 bayonet but differs internally as to how the blade is attached to the handle. It is the second from left and is called the m/29. The third from the left is the m/35, an improved bayonet in shape and the ability to oil the locking mechanism. Some m/27-29 bayonets were modified to this type later on. The last bayonet on the far right is a m/35 in the new pattern smooth scabbard issued from 1936 to 1938.

Each m/27 bayonet was mated to a  rifle. This rifles serial number is stamped on the bayonets handle between the grip panels on top of the bayonet for easy identification.

 

 

 

The model 1927 bayonet of the Army is pictured above the Civil Guards model 1928 bayonet for comparison. These bayonets are essentially the same shape and style but for the markings and the way the grip panel;s are affixed. The differences in the grip panels attachment method is clear here. The raised domed rivets of the Army's version as opposed to the Suljeluskunta's smoothly polished rivets. The scabbard of the Civil Guard bayonet is also painted a dark green over the standard blued finish of the army.

 

The =S= acceptance proof of the Civil Guard headquarters found on the cross guard of the m/28 bayonet.  Most m/28 bayonet will bear this =S= marking denoting acceptance by the Civil Guard for service.

 

 

A close up of the model 1928 bayonet and its identifying markings. Hackman&Co. was the only maker of the bayonets for the Civil Guard m/28 rifle. The primary Civil Guard inspectors marking of (KE) is found on the cross guard. These initials stand for Kosti Eakola who was the chief inspector of the Civil Guard at the SAKO facility until 1933. Most if not all m/28 bayonets will bear this inspectors proof.

The three versions of the m/28-30 bayonet. The top is a Hackman made version in its true m/28-30 configuration. In the center is a Hackman m/28-30-35 with is refined blade shape and the addition of the oil hole in the pommel. This was done to lubricate the mechanism and allow oil to flush out any debris in the slot. On the bottom is a rare Fiskars made version with its own slightly different style of m/35 blade shape.


Two m/28-30-35's made by the two bayonet makers to the Civil Guard-Hackman on the top and Fiskars on the bottom. Note that the bayonets are reversed as each maker marked their logo on opposite sides of the bayonet Notice the beautiful apple wood or burled birch grip panels of the m/28-30 bayonets. These are in the authors opinion the most attractive of the Finnish bayonets and frankly of all bayonets in the authors collection.

 

The factory markings of the two bayonet makers for the armed forces. Fiskars on the left with the Sk.Y ownership marking above and the Hackman Co. marked bayonet on the right. It bears the Sk.Y marking above as well indicating Civil Guard contract. The =S= marking of the General Headquarters' acceptance of the Civil Guard is placed on the cross hilt.


The district that the bayonet was sent to from the general staff was marked on the bottom of the bayonet between the grip panels. This was the same as on the rifles and most m/28-30 bayonets will bear this "S" number. The pommel would also bear the last two digits of the rifle it was issued with.

Here you can see the standard pattern m/28-30-35 bayonet with its smooth m/35 pattern scabbard with a round "frog" button to hold the scabbard in the leather belt hangar. Below is the trials pattern m/42 bayonet. This bayonet was fashioned in this manner by shortening the blade and modifying the tip to be of a similar shape and length to the Sk.Y contracted m/39 bayonets. With the contracted company Veljekset Kulmalan Konepaja unable to produce enough bayonets of the m/39 type to meet requirements, the m/28-30 bayonet was modified in a trials program in 1942 to see if it was feasible to use existing stocks of bayonets to meet the need. Only 150 of these predominately m/28-30 and 28-30-35 bayonets were so modified making these truly one of the holy grails of Finnish bayonet collectors. The special short m/42 scabbard is below the bayonet and even rarer than the blade in the authors opinion.

The later m/35 pattern scabbard on the bottom is pictured in its leather hangar made at Frittla. The earlier m/28 and m/28-30 fluted scabbard is pictured on top and was typically painted an olive green over the blued finish of the scabbard. This green hangar was made at AV3 in Kupio and features the leather retention strap that prevented the bayonet from being accidentally removed from the scabbard. This is a typical feature on the earlier bayonet frogs of pre 1936 make.


The maker markings of the leather bayonet hangars or "frogs". The left is one made at F. Niskalan Nahka and marked Sk.Y over 36 below the makers marking. On the right is a later m/28-30 frog fashioned at a depot level at AV3 located in Kupio. This frog as you can see is marked Sk.Y and dated 1938. Some leather goods of the Sk.Y were painted or dyed green as this one.


The m/39 bayonet is one of the rarest accessories for the rifle. The bayonets were produced starting in 1941 to fulfill a Civil Guard contract for 10,000 pieces. The bayonet was a new design that was to allow its use as a fighting knife or pukko and in a traditional role when affixed to the rifle. Veljekset Kulmalan Konepaja was contracted to produce the blade. There were plans for an army contract as well but the small firm was not able to meet the Civil Guards initial contract of only 10,000 bayonets and the Army soon canceled their pending order. The bayonet was issued with a green leather scabbard with a metal reinforced tip and edge. The bayonet’s contract was not completed until the later half of 1942. The blade shape is very much like that of a hunting knife in design and appearance. Most of these bayonets were put into storage until they were eventually destroyed for scrap. The m/39 bayonet is pictured in its green leather sheath above and the below the blade removed from the sheath. In the inset box you see the markings of the Civil Guard impressed into the leather of Sk.Y

 

The markings found on the bayonet for the m/39 rifle. On the left is the Civil Guards markings of Sk.Y stamped on the base of the blade and the acceptance proof of the organization =S= on the ricasso. On the right is the blade makers name-Veljekset Kulmalan Konepaja.

The Army did experiment with a shortened version of the m/27- m/28-30 bayonets to the new m/39 shape and configuration and designated the modified bayonets the m/42 for the year of project. The project was then canceled in 1943 with only 150 blades being converted. These are extremely rare and hardly ever encountered.

The hard black rubber training bayonet for the m/39 rifle. This bayonet was also used with modified m/91 rifles post war which had been shortened and fit with a screw on blank firing device for wooden bullets. These are not often encountered today.

 

Finnish forces captured many different types of Russian bayonets during the war with most being for the Mosin Nagant rifle. There was however a significant amount of bayonets for the automatic rifles captured. The most prevalent is the bayonet for the SVT-38 and SVT-40 rifles. The Finns did not mark these bayonets in any fashion with a property marking of [SA] as they did with the m/91-30 bayonet. It is the authors opinion that the knife like Tokarev bayonet was favored over the cruciform bayonet as a personal prize and kept for a trophy rather than turned in to the depot during arms collections. Many times the author has encountered bayonets with Finnish carved names, hakaristi's (Finn Swastika) or dates of capture on the grip panels. The bayonets also show signs of being sharpened to a knife like edge. Finnish soldiers liked their knives and the Tokarev made a good example of one with a sharp cutting edge. The bayonet above is a Finnish captured one with the grip panels marked as described above.

A close up of the grip panel on the bayonet above. This bayonet was purchased from a veterans estate while on a research trip to Finland.  Notice that the soldier marked the grip panels with the date of his capture of the rifle and bayonet during the early stages of the Continuation War on August 20th, 1941.

 

 

 

Here a SVT-38 bayonet lost by a Russian soldier in the Winter War of 1939 is shown with its scabbard. Notice the rusted and rough finish on the scabbard as it was buried in the soil of the battlefield. This is in stark contrast to the perfect condition of the bayonets blade and grip panels. This is due to the bayonet being covered in heavy grease as issued with the rifle from the factory. So many of the rifles were lost during the war or thrown done because the guns did not "function properly" but in reality the guns were covered in heavy factory grease as they were rushed to the front. There the coldest temperatures in modern times froze the grease rendering the guns useless. Finnish forces captures thousands of SVT-38's and some of their bayonets during the Winter War but overall numbers of the SVT bayonet are small-less then 90,000 made total and Finnish captures number less than 7-10% of that at most.

 

 

Swedish m/96 bayonet issued as a presentation piece by the SFK to Mannerheim.

 

The Swedish m/1896 rifles that were "loaned" to Finland by Sweden were issued with the metal handled m/96 bayonet. The author has never encountered a [SA] marked example but has heard of a few in collections and has observed an intricately detailed example in the Sotamuseo in Helsinki given to Marshal Mannerhiem as a presentation piece from the commander of the Swedish volunteer force or SFK. I always keep looking but the chances are slim a [SA] marked example will turn up. As the m/96 rifle was not a standard arm of the army it is improbable that many bayonets would have been marked with the army's property stamp. The bayonet is included in the section based upon the numbers of Swedish rifles sent to Finland-some 77,000 of which almost all were returned when Sweden deemed them to be necessary for their defense in the later stages of the war.

The model 1895 Winchester bayonet in its 14" length was issued to troops in Russia who purchased the rifle under contract to fill lagging supplies for its army during WW1. many of the rifles ended up in Finland after the Liberation War in 1917-1918 and were used by Finnish forces in rear area duties such as prisoner of war guard duty and war material installation patrol. The bayonets are quite scarce today-especially with its scabbard and hanger. No known examples are [SA] marked even in Finnish collections the author has researched. This bayonet in the author's collection was purchased in Finland and bears no identifiable Finnish markings.

The Finnish rk-62 assault rifle bayonet and sheath. The FDF moved from the m/39 bayonet- designed to be a bridge between a puuko knife and bayonet, to a modern version for the assault rifle that replaced the m/39 bolt action rifle. Pictured is the puuko sized and shaped bayonet that acts both as a fighting knife and bayonet when attached to the rifle. It is housed in its leather belt sheath of a slip fit design for quick access.

 

The bayonet is made by FISKARS who has had a long association with military knife and bayonet fabrication for the Finnish government. Here the clear design shape is of a fighting knife that doubles as a bayonet. The locking button can be seen in the middle of the phenol ic grip panels. The finish of the blade is a non reflective dark gray phosphate.

 

These are not bayonets but the famous Finnish fighting knives called "puukko's" were and are a fixture with every Finnish soldier. Often handmade as a youth and carried for life or until replaced these knives earn respect from anyone who has faced its razor sharp edge. The blades are often engraved and signed by the maker and town they are from in the blood groove. They can be very beautiful knives indeed in presentation pieces or commercial production. The soldier's puukko was often a personal weapon of his own design and vary greatly by function and need. These two puukko are from the Continuation War period (1941-1944 ) and of a soldiers own production. The top one is a more fancy version probably being made during the lull in fighting in 1942-1944 and bears a fancy grip and an applied decal of the Finnish national emblem of the rampant lion called the "vaakuna".  Its unknown if the "X" on the bottom blade denotes a sinister count made by the owner.

 

Here are examples of puukko's in their scabbards. The traditional scabbard was a form fit leather with a belt loop. During the war leather was in short supply and pressed and lacquered cardboard was used often with stitching or rivets to act as a scabbard. They are tough and often times very well made. Since embossing or any kind of engraving would damage the material a decal was often applied as adornment. The shape of the scabbard is very distinctive and is a shape denoting the outline of Finland and the 7 "points" representing areas of Finland. The metal butcher knife in the middle is a large trench art knife made from the aluminum scavenged from a downed Soviet aircraft in 1943. The soldier was stationed on the Isthmus and must have recovered the metal to fabricate his prize from the wreckage of a downed aircraft. It is engraved with this inscription: "A souvenir to Hilkka from father". Hilkka is a Finnish girl's name, and v. is short of word "vuosi" or "vuonna" meaning a year as in 1943.

 

I hope that this section has proved to be an add in identifying and recognizing Finnish bayonets and what weapons they were used on. After 1942 most bayonets were consolidated and used on all weapons when the army took control of the Civil Guards weaponry under a central command. Thus a m/28 bayonet could have been used on a m/27 and a m/27 on a 28-30 for example. One thing is for sure, the m/39 bayonets were issued and used almost exclusively with the m/39 rifles- so that rule is exempt on that model. There are many reasons that the Finnish bayonets are so hard to find and are so costly. One is that the overall production totals were quite low, as the Finnish military was quite small. Another reason is that many were lost in the Winter, Continuation, and Lapland Wars. I have a Finnish friend who told me that many Finns threw away their bayonets in the field , as they served no real use as a knife. The Finns seemed to prefer their puukko knives to the bayonet for up close encounters. The Finnish military is also to blame for the low numbers as many bayonets were scrapped after peace was declared in 1944.

 

Best regards in collecting!

Vic Thomas

 

If you have any questions or something to add to this section please don't hesitate to contact me at Vic@gunboards.com

 

 


 
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