German brothers Peter and Wilhelm Mauser sold the Mauser Model 98 (1898), otherwise known as the Gewehr 98 chambered in 7.92x57 mm, to the German Army in the spring of 1898. And with that sale, earlier and subsequent Mauser military rifle sales, a lucrative trade for bayonets began.
The Mauser brothers developed their first rifle, the M1871 infantry with a barrel length of 33.5 inches. A successful export, the Model 71/84 features an eight-shot tubular magazine and represented the first German metallic cartridge rifle. Chambered in 11x60R mm, shells had to be removed by hand.
The M1871 had an 18-inch, single-edge blade bayonet with brass handle, muzzle ring and a leather scabbard sporting a brass tip. The M1871 Pioneer bayonet has a neat, 20-inch saw-back blade.
The M71/84 Mauser rifle was fitted with a round ejector and carried a wooden grip bayonet with a muzzle ring. This German pig sticker was 10 inches long and sported a single-edged blade complete with a steel scabbard. The M71/84 Mauser represents the first standard-issue knife bayonet.
Representing the culmination of years of Mauser innovation, the Mauser Model 1898 set the bar for bolt action guns up to and including fine rifles made today. A ton of Mausers have been produced.
The Mauser Model 1898 has a beefed up receiver and is capable of coping with the increased pressure of its 7.92x57 Spitzer cartridge. This gun made a significant battlefield difference for the troops that carried it with its improved magazine and bolt action and enhanced downrange accuracy.
The Model 98 has a solid wood stock that runs nearly the length of its 49-inch-long frame, and the barrel measures 29 inches. At the business end of the M98, combatants could mount a 20 1/2 inch, single-edged bayonet. This first M98 bayonet featured a wooden grip and did not have a muzzle ring. Like the M1871 Pioneer bayonet, it had a saw-back and a steel-tipped leather or all-leather scabbard.
But this bayonet, the first fitted to the Mauser 1898, soon fell on the scrap heap of war.
Combatants quickly discovered that its thin blade was too fragile for the rigors of war.
World War I proved a heyday for Mauser guns and a whole new generation of bayonets.
The Mauser Gewehr 98 and Karabiner 98 rifle were fitted with many bayonets. At the outset of the Great War, Mauser gun bearers carried the 1898/05 butcher blade style of bayonet with a long blade. As the war raged, combatants opted for smaller, more maneuverable bayonet types and lengths.
Bayonet warfare began with fighting systems as long as their operators (i.e., 49-inch rifles and 20-inch pig stickers), to more maneuverable carbines with foot-long, bladed bayonets mounted atop.