US M1915 Bolo Bayonet – Dual Purpose Gear That Worked!
The M1915 bolo bayonet was originally the brainchild of US Army Captain Hugh D. Wise, Quartermaster with the 9th Infantry in the Philippines. In 1902, he recommended the implement in a letter to his superior officers, noting that a bolo style of bayonet (ie, one with a widened machete-like blade) would have several advantages over the standard knife bayonet then being issued with the Krag-Jorgenson rifles the US Army was using. Specifically, the wider bayonet would be easier to recover after a thrust (he noted several instances of troopers being killed while trying to extricate their bayonets from enemies) and also (and more significantly) make an excellent and necessary bushwhacking tool in the jungle environment of the Philippines.
Wise’s idea was taken with interest and Springfield produced a series of experimental bolo bayonets, but the project ended there as the 1903 Springfield was adopted with a rod bayonet instead of a blade. Of course, the rod bayonet would be shortlived, and the blade bayonet would come back. The bolo bayonet ideas resurfaced in 1911 when a commission was formed to look into special equipment for the Philippine Scouts. After another series of experimental designs, the M1915 Bolo bayonet was formally adopted on May 22, 1915 and an order was placed for 6,000 of them to be made at Springfield Armory.
Delivery of these bayonets took place in 1915 and 1916, and they proved to be extremely popular tools with the soldiers in the Philippines. They would remain in service on the islands until World War Two, serving at last as a replacement for the M1913 cavalry saber for the 26th Cavalry.
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