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M5 bayonet prototype....who knew?


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Hi Folks,

When I first posted this bayonet some months back, I was looking for info about this unusual unmarked “foreign” M5.  Search: "unmarked M5 bayonet very different".

 Since then, I have scoured google and ebay looking for another one like it in hopes someone would identify it.  I posted it on The Society of American Bayonet Collector’s facebook page.  No one had ever seen one like it. 

A few days ago I changed my focus with the thought that this might be a US prototype M5.  Naw…couldn’t be.

I checked out all my books that had M5 bayonets in them, looking for a hint that samples were submitted before the final design was approved. 

 

Then I found it!  In some of Gary Cunningham’s information, there is a patent drawing which was submitted December 11, 1952 and also in December 27, 1955. 

The drawing was of a bayonet which looked like an M5.  The patents were secured by Michael A. Mirando, who assigned them to Imperial Knife Co.

During this time, the bayonet was called the T-10.  It had the exact same features as my bayonet.  I was pleased.

 

I’ll show some of the same pictures as before. The bottom bayonet in the pictures is an Aerial M5 for comparison.

You’ll be able to identify the similarities of the drawing to the prototype bayonet.

 

First, take notice of the checkered pattern in the grip panel.  Also, notice that the grip screws are closer together by about 1/4 inch, than on the regular M5.

 

Second, notice the shape of the cross guard.  Swelled in the middle and more narrow on the ends.

 

Third, look how much larger the “retaining plate” is (No. 22 in the drawing) which holds the cross guard against the blade.

 

Fourth, this is the most distinctive feature of this bayonet. The release/latching lever is much wider than the standard.  It is bent outward on each side.  This results in a much larger press button, but the main reason the lever is so wide,  is that both sides of the lever must pass over the longer retaining plate when the button is depressed.

 

Overall, I think I found a T-10 prototype. 

Thanks for letting me share this unusual bayonet.

Marv

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Great detective work Marv!  

Michael A. Mirando is more significant to U.S. military knives than most of us collectors are aware of.

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Great info Marv!  Now I'm wondering if the top bayonet you pictured is maybe a prototype for the M5A1 which had the improved, and wider release. Most interesting topic. SKIP

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Congrats on landing this one!

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The bayonet cannot be abolished for the reason, if for no other, that it is the sole and exclusive embodiment of that willpower which, alone, both in war and everyday life, attains its object.General M. I. Dragomirov

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On 7/30/2020 at 9:01 AM, SKIPH said:

Great info Marv!  Now I'm wondering if the top bayonet you pictured is maybe a prototype for the M5A1 which had the improved, and wider release. Most interesting topic. SKIP

 

Skip, you might be right.  However, the first patent drawing was made about 8 months before the adoption of the M5 bayonet.  According to Gary’s info, with the first drawing, Mr. Mirando patented the retaining plate which holds the cross guard in place, and he patented the stud that goes into the gas plug of the M1 rifle.  With the second submission of the drawing, he patented the release lever.

 

I suspect, that after his original design (T-10) was rejected, (and the new US M5 had problems with the release lever), he resubmitted the drawings to the patent office on December 27, 1955, and patented his earlier release lever, which he believed had already solved the problem.  Of course it too did not make it to the finish line.  The new redesigned M5A1 was officially adopted in April 1956.

I subsequently learned that Michael A. Mirando was co-owner of Imperial.

Marv

ps,  Sorry, but the M5A1 does not have a wider release,  just improved.

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Marv

 

    Great work!  And thank you for helping everyone. Nice to learn something new every day.

 

Thank you

 

Tony

 

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Yes the brothers Felix and Michael Mirando founded Imperial Knives.  Around the time the U.S. entered WW2 they had made a deal with Albert Baer and his brother Henry to combine Imperial with Ulster.  The Baer's had only recently made the acquisition of Ulster.  

Besides the patented innovations that Michael made to the M5/M5A1 some of which went over to the M6 later,  Michael also created the new style safety can opener blade some call the eagle beak can opener we see on so many pocket knives towards the end of WW2.

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