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DateOriginal Topic
7th April 2004Unfix bayonet.
By Jim
Hi there
We see in film Zulu,the way to fix bayonets.
Apart from Pte Hitch!
Is this correct and what is the procedure to unfix bayonets,please
7th April 2004John Young

From the Manual of 'Rifle & Carbine Exercises':

Fix Bayonets.
Fixing Bayonets - Seize the socket of the bayonet with the left hand, knuckles to the front, thumb to the rear, fingers pointing to the ground, left elbow to the rear; push the muzzle of the rifle a little forward; at the same time draw the bayonet, and as soon as the point clears the scabbard turn it up, keeping the elbow close to the body. Place the socket of the bayonet on the muzzle (flat part of the blade to the front), and when it falls on the foresight turn it with the thumb from left to right, and press it home; then turn the locking ring in the same direction, and come to "The Order."

Unfixing bayonets.- Place the rifle between the knees, guard to the front, and, seizing it with the left hand under the top band, with the second joint of the forefinger of the right hand turn the locking ring to the left, and remove it from the muzzle. Drop the point of the bayonet towards the scabbard, bend resting on thumb, little finger on the top of the socket; at the same time seize the scabbard with the left hand, and guide the bayonet into it, glancing the eyes to the left in so doing. Lastly, seize the rifle with the right hand between the bands, and taking the time from the right, come to "The Order."

Hope that answers your question.

John Y.
8th April 2004Jim
Many thanks for your detailed reply.
Just what I wanted.
Would there be a date to your manual?
Thanks again
8th April 2004John Young

Certainly, the Manual is from 1879.

John Y.
10th April 2004Adrian Whiting
Jim, John,

Of some interest - to me at least ! - is the fact that in the 1874 edition of Rifle exercises, both fix and unfix are two part drill movements. For example, on fixing bayonets, the command "Fix" would cause the soldier to take the motions of the left hand, as described above, up to the point in the second line before the muzzle is inclined forward. The command "bayonets" would then cause the remaining movements to be completed.

I entirely agree with John that the 1879 edition has both the fix and unfix as one part movements, albeit that the timing is from the right to complete the unfix.

The 1874 exercises were used upon the introduction of the MHR, and were also applicable to the Snider. The method of fixing the socket bayonet was essentially the same for both rifles.

The drill movements reverted to being two part with the introduction of the Lee Metford as I recall.

Since the 1879 Exercises were published in July (I believe) I would interested if anyone has a version in between 1874 and 1879 to confirm when the change occurred.