Selected Passages from Hungarian-Ottoman Wars between 1372-1699

Bayonets in the Hungarian fights

a ring-bayonet

Bayonet: it played a huge role in the anti-Ottoman wars in Hungary as early as 1686…
The bayonets were first used in Hungary by the western soldiers at the siege of Buda Castle in 1686.

A plug-bayonet in the National Museum of Hungary

It gave them a huge advantage over the enemy as it was not known in the Ottoman army at that time. I dare say that the bayonet was the „miraculous weapon” that helped greatly to liberate Hungary for the Habsburgs…
The bayonets were invented as early as 1575, first in Bayonne, in France. These weapons were plugged into the barrel of the rifle so they were hard to remove once they have been fixed. (they were called “plug bayonets”.)

At the first time, it was just a long dagger that could be fixed like that, mainly preferred by hunters.

Bayonets appeared in the army only 100 years later and we know that they have revolutionized the entire warfare.
As for the Imperial army, the bayonets were first used in the Heister- and in the Scherfenberg regiments in the 17th century. These bayonets were adjustably fixed under the barrel, they looked like long iron spits, they could be folded out. There is one of them in the Hungarian National Museum from about 1660, its length is one meter. Those bayonets which were fitted into the barrel were usually 48 centimeters long, their width was 3.5 cm. The grip (handle) of the bayonet was 22 cm.

At the end of the 17th century, there was a significant change when the bayonets were fixed onto the barrel instead of into it. However, the problem occurred that after each successful thrust, the blade got stuck easily in the enemy’s body and came off the barrel.

Yet, the Saxon regiments fighting in Hungary in 1694 were already supplied with an improved version where the bayonets remained steadily on the barrel.

modern bayonets

However, in the last decade of the 17th Century, pikemen still continued to make up 20 to 25 percent of infantry formations.
As for the Habsburg army, they introduced bayonets only in 1705 but these bayonets were still the old fashioned ones that got stuck into the barrel. Not much later, they modernized them, though.
Hungarians began to produce bayonets during the War of Independence of Ferenc Rákóczi between 1703-1711.

(Source: Sugár István and: Gróf Marsigli, a “katona és tudós” egy talján polihisztor emlékezete )

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