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Spike Bayonets? Outlawed by the Hague/Geneva Conventions or not?

Background:

I’m in the process of making a “theater knife” from an SKS spike bayonet.  My goal is “crude but effective.”  The plan is to use common items such as nuts, bolts, washers, and perhaps a metal strap, all common things found in an army motor pool or local hardware store and make something similar to the US Army M1917 trench knife (the one with a d-guard, not the brass knuckles).  The difference is, I’m thinking this will be a homemade pig sticker possibly made by “Charlie” or a bored American Soldier at a Fire Base. (Or just a post apocalyptic Zombie poker)

This brings me to the question.  Are spike or triangular blades banned by Geneva Convention or not? I’ve read several posts saying they are but then I’ve also read that the Geneva Convention doesn’t ban ANY specific class of bayonet or weapon;  it only speaks in generalities about weapons inflicting “unnecessary suffering.”  See: http://h-net.msu.edu/cgi-bin/logbrowse.pl?trx=vx&list=h-war&...

The British used a spike bayonet with the No 4 Mk 1 Enfield Rifle  during WWII, Korea, and well into 1960s by some Territorial Forces. The Chinese used a folding spike on the SKS and AKM well into the 1970s and the bayonets are still encountered in some areas and within the Chinese reserves. The French also used spike bayonets in WWII and in 1950s. Even the Swiss Army employed a spike bayonet after WWI!


One post I read said that triangular blades longer than 14 inches were banned. Has anyone read a definitive answer?  My general impression is the ban is a myth created by books like Slaughter House 5 but the real demise of the spike bayonet was due to its lack of being used as anything other than a pig sticker.  Another source claims that a ban was considered but over riled by to principle signers, the French and Russians

Has anyone actually read an official document outlawing the use of spike or triangular bayonets in war or is this just a well distributed myth?

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Like this M.1898/05 Seitengewehr

Yep.  That's the one that is often called the "Butcher Bayonet.

Sorry to get into a way old thread, but there's some inaccurate information here.

If you look at that bayonet, the saw teeth are crosscut FORWARD, just like the Swiss bayonets. They will in no way "bind up" being withdrawn. (I have several and have done tests, so have others.)  Nor do they violate any kind of Hague convention (Hague predominantly deals with weapons, Geneva with treatment of prisoners, civilians, partisans, combatants).  It was simply concluded that they weren't very effective at being saws and dedicated saws should be carried instead. The sawteeth COULD get stuck on all kind of things when walking through brush, or bind a bit on gear when stabbing, and there was also plenty of misinformation at the time about what was legal or not, so most were eventually ground off.

These myths persist today, including such things as "shotguns violate Geneva." (It would be Hague, and no they don't.) and the classic, "You can't shoot personnel with a .50 cal, but you can shoot their equipment, like their web gear, wink, wink. (Also wrong, exactly the same as above.)

The reason for putting accessories on a bayonet even if they aren't efficient (such as the Russian wirecutter) is that a grunt will toss away anything he thinks he doesn't need, or hasn't used in a few days or even hours. But if it's part of a weapon, he'll be more likely to hang onto it.

Tobias Gibson said:

Shlomo,  reagrding saw back knives --First let me say,, I'm not doubting what you wrote because I have also read the same thing and believe it to be true.

The Imperail German Army actually had an official butcher knife bayonet that had saw teeth.  They were in production well before the war and remaining in production until around 1916.  The bayonet were intedned for pioneers but became general issue. The saw back was intended for use in  cutting through timber.  

The problem with the sawbacks was they would get  snagged on the heavy wool great coats and internal parts of a body making it damn near impossible to extract them, leaving the soldier with out a knife or rifle and a most crucial moment in time!

German soldiers started grinding away the teeth as they realized the fatal flaw.  Initially front line soldiers were court martialled for willfully damaging their equipment!  As the problem became more widespread and documented the German Army recalled them and took most of the existing stock and ground the teeth off. 

I guess the poinst I'm trying to make is  1) saw back design can be as deadly for the user as the victim and 2) sometimes there is more than one reason soldiers opted to get rid of the saw back bayonets.

Thanks for the info. I’ve also read numerous reports that the teeth were ground of the bayonets because the British and French formerly protested them as being cruell. Because of thisGermans feared they would be shot if captured with such a bayonet.  Not sure if this is truth or myth but have seen it written in many sources. 

The British were grinding teeth off in the mid 1800s. The Germans used them through WWI at least.  They can actually be very good sawteeth, it's just that a bayonet makes a terrible grip for a saw.

The Germans likewise tried to claim that shotguns violated Hague. Both sides seem to have made in-theater accomodations to avoid angering the others. It doesn't matter who's legally right when you're in front of a firing squad of angry men who are positive they're right.

Tobias Gibson said:

Thanks for the info. I’ve also read numerous reports that the teeth were ground of the bayonets because the British and French formerly protested them as being cruell. Because of thisGermans feared they would be shot if captured with such a bayonet.  Not sure if this is truth or myth but have seen it written in many sources. 

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