French Model 1866 "Chassepot"
Yataghan Sword Bayonet

This is the most widely copied of all the sword bayonets. Many countries - including the United States, Egypt, Belgium, and Argentina - have manufactured or used very similar bayonets. The French model was designed to fit on the French Model 1866 Chassepot Rifled Infantry Musket (the musket was revolutionary in itself). It was manufactured from 1866 to about 1874 and was replaced by the French Model 1874 "Gras" Bayonet.
This bayonet is brass-hilted with a spring steel latching arrangement on the right side. The crossguard is iron (steel) and has a screw-type tightening arrangement on the muzzle-ring. The lower quillon is a hooked "blade-breaker" type.
The blade is steel, single-edged, fullered (both sides), with a re-curved or "yataghan-shape." The blades are usually marked on the back-edge (opposite the cutting edge) with the arsenal, month, and year of manufacture; this is done in engraved cursive fashion and will appear something like, "Mre d' Armes de Chatellerault Janvier 1866" or perhaps "Mre d' Armes de St. Etienne 8bre [October] 1868". Contrary to novice speculation, these inscriptions are not the name of a lieutenant or major, nor is it a presentation date.
Additionally, these were not used during the American Civil War.
Arsenals encountered may be such as Chatellerault, Mutzig, St. Etienne, Paris-Oudry, Tulle, and perhaps Steyr (not confirmed on the 1866).

There are numerous variations of this bayonet and they were produced in the many-many thousands. The scabbards are usually blued sheet-rolled steel with a ball finial.

These bayonets replaced the French Model 1842 Sword Bayonet and - in turn - were replaced by the French Model 1874 "Gras" Bayonet (and corresponding infantry rifle).

These bayonets are very similar to the Argentine 1879, Bavarian 1869, British 1856, Danish Model 1867, Turkish 1874, and various American saber bayonets.

French Model 1866 "Chassepot"
Yataghan Sword Bayonet
  • The French wars during the useful "life-span" of this bayonet were:
    • French Intervention in Mexico (1861-1867);
    • Franco-Prussian War (July 19, 1870 May 10, 1871)
    • French Indo-China (1873-1874, 1882-1883);
    • Sino-French War (1883-1885);
    • Madagascar Wars (1883-1885, 1895);
    • 1st Mandingo-French War (1883-1886);
    • 1st Dahomeyan-French War (1889-1990);
    • 2nd Dahomeyan-French War (1892-1894);
    • Franco-Siamese War of (1893)
    • 2nd Mandingo-French War (1894-1895);
    • Conquest of Chad (1897-1914);
    • 3rd Mandingo-French War (1898);
    • Moroccan War (1907-1912);
    • The Wadai War (1909-1911);
    • World War I (early).
  • These conflicts obviously overlap periods of use for other French bayonet models, such as the 1874, 1886, 1892 and 1914.
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