Very cold, very old steel, via Solingen/Suhl, Brazil and the Keystone State
So I took advantage of some of the recent freak snowfall on the Gulf Coast to get some shots of two of my newest additions to my bayonet collection. Behold, I give you a pair of pre-WWI stickers for the M1908 Mauser rifle produced for Brazil by DWM in Imperial Germany:
As a bit of a backgrounder, the Brazilians loved them some Mauser bolt guns. They started with the M1904 Mauser-Vergueiro rifle then went all-in with the Model 1908 rifle, similar to the Gew.98 with a 29-inch barrel. After WWI, in the 1930s Brazil bought the unlicenced Czech 08/34, a K98k clone with a 22-inch barrel chambered in 7mm as well as genuine Oberndorf-built M1935s.
They continued their love affair well into the 1950s with the locally-built (Itajuba Arsenal) M1954, a .30-06 rifle made with parts of all of the aforementioned Mausers to complement M1903A3s and M1s picked up from the U.S. during WWII.
With the exception of this group, however, the Brazilian Army kept using their Mausers for decades as their primary infantry arm.
Take this image of a Brazilian Army soldier talking with local children during the 1964 Military Coup in Rio de Janeiro, for instance.
Though the Brazilians adopted a homegrown variant of the FAL made by the Itajubá-based IMBEL in 1964, some of the older 7mm Mausers went up for grabs on the surplus market then while others were only recently released from “just in case” reserves after decades in arsenal storage. Further, in the 1950s a large number of M1908s were sold to the Dominican Republic under strongman Rafael Trujillo, where they were reconditioned by his San Cristobal Arsenal, ran oddly enough by Hungarian ex-pats, and continued to serve into the 1980s. (More details on this at the bottom of post)
Further, a number of Mausers still show up in images of the Brazilian military.
Which brings us to these particular M1908 bayonets shown at the top.
Some 17-inches overall (18 when in the scabbard) with an 11.75-inch blade, M1908 Brazilian-contract export bayonets were made by three firms for DWM: Weyersberg-Kirschbaum & Cie (W.K. & Cie) and Alex Coppel (ALCOSO) of Solingen as well as Simson & Co. of Suhl, Germany.
The two examples I have are made by W.K. & Cie and Simson & Co., respectively with “β” (beta) inspection marks on both blade and pommel. Still looking for an ALCOSO!
They were grimy with storage but cleaned up very nice with some Ballistol (what else?). The leather body wood scabbard has brass fixtures and is serial numbered to the blade as per contract.
I picked them up for a song from Springfield Sporters of Penn Run, PA and they had “hundreds in stock” for $30 bucks each. As orders of $65 or more ship for free, I added a Canadian No. 4 Long Branch SMLE bayonet to the mix for $5 to finish it out and I am tickled pink.
And finally, here is the footnote on the surplus Mausers bought by the Dominican Republic from Brazil in the 1950s, and liquidated as surplus sometime in the late 1980s/early 1990s after reconditioning them. Details on said reconditioning here from Ian McCollum with Forgotten Weapons: