US Army Special Forces practice clearing rooms in a kill house near Kabul Province, Afghanistan, May 9th, 2014. US Army photo by Spc. Connor Mendez
The Model 1903 Springfield Rod Bayonet,
In 1903 the US military adopted the new Springfield Model 1903 bolt action rifle as a new service arm to replace to older, flawed 30-40 Krag. Chambered in .30-06, the new rifle used a stronger and more accurate Mauser type action as well as a more powerful cartridge, and was loading using stripper clips, which was much faster than the Krag loading system. Production of the new rifle began in earnest around mid to late 1904, however the rifles were issued with a strange new bayonet called the “rod bayonet”. The rod bayonet was basically the cleaning rod, with a deadly point placed on the end. The rod could be locked into place in such a way that a foot or more projected beyond the muzzle, supposedly creating a deadly bayonet.
In 1905, President Theodore Roosevelt personally examined the new rifle and was impressed with what he saw. However Springfield Armory representatives were dismayed when Roosevelt easily bent the rod bayonet in his hand, showing that the new bayonet was too flimsy and impractical for combat use and stating, “I must say I think the rod bayonet about as poor an invention as I ever saw.”
Roosevelt ordered production of the rod bayonet to end in 1905. By then around 74,000 Springfield rifles had been produced by the Springfield Armory with another 1,500 produce by the Rock Island Armory. Afterwards, production of the Springfield rifle included a blade bayonet with a proper bayonet mounted. Older rifles were converted from rod to blade bayonet as well. As a result there are very few original rod bayonet Springfields in existence. The rifle pictured above sold at auction for $7,500.