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Plug bayonet question.

 
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R. Blanchard
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Real Name: Robert Blanchard

PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2007 3:29 pm    Post subject: Plug bayonet question. Reply with quote

Does anyone know if the French used plug bayonets in smaller gage fusils? To get right to the point I have a 24 gage/ 58 cal. Tulle, all iron with a walnut stock. Its one of Anthony's French fusils that I ordered some years back. I have heard the French used plug bayonets in their hunting and was thinking about making one but wanted to be sure it really could have existed. Also does anyone have a copy of the plug bayonet book and if you do is it worth the big bucks they want for it?
Bob

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Jim Cunningham
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2007 4:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

To th best of my knowledge, the issuance of plug bayonets ended in the 17th century, about the time that muskets were generally issued to infantry. I have been told that when fusiliers were formed in the 17th century, plug bayonets were part of their equipment, but by the time the basic infantry arm switched from pike to flintlock musket, socket bayonets were issued. In the French army I believe socket bayonets were issued from at least the first decade of the 18th century.

All that said, I have read that at the battle Kings Mountain some troops modified knives to function as plug bayonets in their rifles.

Certainly plug bayonets wouldn't have been common in the 18th century, but if you like the idea of one, why not.
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Morgan
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2007 4:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Granted that I have already in a previous post declared my "ignorance", but a couple of questions.

First, why would a civilian have need of a bayonet?

If serving as milice, and if they were bringing their own arms from home, would not most of these be civilian hunting arms not equipped for a bayonet? Therefore if a bayonet was required or desired a plug type would seem to be the most logical option.

Would milice be involved in a bayonet charge? Was the milice not mostly used for stealth and ambush tactics rather than regular front line troops?

I know that these are just questions, not answers.

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Fitzhugh Williams
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2007 6:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There was one reference about milice being ordered to modify knives to make them plug bayonets, and I have seen this reference used in a number of places. It turns out that it is actually a mistranslation of the original French, and what the knives were used for was to fashion a pike for use on sentry duty. The expression, if I remember correctly was "bout du bāton" and was translated as if it were "bout du canon". So there is no reference for milice using a plug bayonet. But I do carry one to Fort Toulouse in April so that I can spear the swinging melon with my fusil fin.
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R. Blanchard
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2007 11:26 pm    Post subject: plug bayonet Reply with quote

Let me elaborate on my initial post. I have seen a fair number of antique French plug bayonets described as hunting or sporting bayonets. Supposedly used to dispatch wounded game ( deer? or boar? a bit large for rabbit me thinks). They are sometimes a little smaller than the military versions. I am trying to determine if this is in fact what they are or if this is just a common antique dealers fantasy. I know, as has been stated ,that most military plugs were 17 th century but the dates given on the hunting specimens run from late 17th to first half 18th century. Now if they truly did exist did does anyone know if the practice ever crossed the water to New France. Any comments will be appreciated.
Bob

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Jim Cunningham
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2007 8:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've never heard of a hunting bayonet. The purpose of a bayonet is as an aid to combat. I can't imagine the usefulness of a bayonet in a hunting application. I have seen European hunting swords used for boar hunting, but never plug bayonets. ( The idea of shooting a boar, and plugging up the muzzle to receive "the charge" with a smallish knife doesn't strike me as a very useful tactic.)
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R. Blanchard
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2007 9:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is a quote from the Evans book that I came across last night. I do not have access to the book.

Originating in the late 16th Century, the plug bayonet has been in virtually continuous production until modern times - longer than any other type of bayonet.Finding acceptance as a military weapon amongst European armies for a period which extended from about 1650 to 1720 it remained popular on the hunting field for a far longer time span.

I am a little reluctant to order it without seeing a copy as it runs about 50 Pounds British currency. I may have to break down and take a chance on this book.
Bob

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Joe H
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2007 11:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

In the book "The Bayonet in New France 1665-1760", Men at Arms Series No. 35 by Erik Goldstien he shows plug bayonets as being used by the Compagnies Franche until at least 1705 when production at Tulle of the plug bayonet ceased. According to the same source the first socket bayonets shipped to New France was in 1708, Louisiana in 1712. According to the same source, Canada did not recieve muskets fitted for the socket bayonet until 1720. Sounds like thier government worked a lot like ours. Another book in the same series, "The Fusil de Tulle in New France 1691-1741" by Russel Bouchard, shows in the section on bayonets that the bayonet was originally used by hunters for defense against wounded game ( wild boar likely) or to finish the animal. Soldiers began using it later. The article also says the plug bayonet was popular as it could be used as a knife or the plug end used to knap flints. One other interesting note on page 40 says that the plug bayonet was used by the soldiers, militia, and by the indians of Acadia for war AND utilitarian purposes. The primary sources for they used are listed in the books, so I wont list them all out here, Id recommend reading them as they are great resources. Just my 2 livre. Joe
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R. Blanchard
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2007 4:31 pm    Post subject: plug bayonet Reply with quote

Joe,
Thanks much for the info. That is basically what I was looking for.
Bob

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