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Will the real “Iraqi” AK Bayonet please stand up!

Article about: Greetings all, There are a lot (and I do mean a lot) of “Iraqi” AK Bayonets that have since departed Iraq as GIs' souvenirs. Most are originally of Romanian, Soviet, or even of Polish origin

  1. #1

    Default Will the real “Iraqi” AK Bayonet please stand up!

    Greetings all,

    There are a lot (and I do mean a lot) of “Iraqi” AK Bayonets that have since departed Iraq as GIs' souvenirs. Most are originally of Romanian, Soviet, or even of Polish origin. A quick survey of “Iraqi Bayonets” on a certain internet auction’s site will usually turn up one (or more) of the Romanian variants (perhaps with original Iraqi military rack numbers painted on them).

    There are two variations of Iraqi domestically produced Type II AK bayonets; I’ve never observed the first variation. This post refers to the second Iraqi made variation. The Iraqis actually did at one time in the 1980s manufacture their own bayonets on equipment they purchased from Yugoslavia. The bayonets appear for all purposes to look like the standard Yugoslavian made AK Type II bayonets, but made in various shades of reddish orange instead of the standard black colored Yugoslavian made variants. There’s too a similar font used where the scabbard’s and bayonet’s matching serial numbers were impressed into the phenol-plastic.

    During my first deployment to Iraq, I was aware of the Iraqi produced bayonets. Unfortunately, all I seemed to ever encounter were the Romanian made variants. Not one to turn my nose up, I collected/liberated what was available. At that time, 2004-2005 operations were quite frenetic and there was no time or opportunity to build any relationships with locals who may have had access to the Iraqi made variants I was after.

    Two years later, my second deployment to Iraq was much more sedate. Things had quieted down quite a bit. I was able to make friends with one particular Iraqi vendor who would visit our base with various curios to sell from a small shop (really more of a glorified shack). He had a lot of touristy baubles and no shortage of small wooden faux antiques. Of course the ubiquitous Romanian AK Type I Bayonets were much in evidence and in varying conditions (usually, about five of them on a shelf). Initially, I attempted to ask him about other AK Bayonets he might have to offer for sale. All I received in response were blank stares. Clearly my ability to communicate what I wanted was lost due to the language barrier.

    Fortunately, I had a copy of Martin Ivie’s Kalashnikov Bayonets along with me (I was much better prepared this deployment!) and I made a color copy of the page referencing Iraqi bayonets. When I went back with the copy, the vendor nodded and clearly grasped what I had failed to communicate earlier. Several days later when I visited his shop he greeted me like we were old friends and we sat for some chai tea. After some awkward silence he proffered a bayonet wrapped in some paper and he handed it over to me. I opened the wrapping and quickly saw that it was a Soviet made AK Type II bayonet. While it was in very nice shape it wasn’t what I had been hoping for.

    Seven US dollars later I had purchased the Soviet bayonet as it was well worth the price, but I felt awkward about appearing overly disappointed towards the vendor less he dry up as a potential source for the illusive Iraqi made AK bayonet variant. He then pulled out the color copy scan I had him given several days earlier and made the motion of opening a book. I shortly realized he wanted to know more about the book this picture had come from. I had an inspiration and quickly excused myself from his shop. I returned to my quarters and grabbed the book (hey, it was a slow day). I returned with the book and made it a gift to the vendor. Man, after giving him the book gratis, I quickly rose to “rock star” status in his eyes.

    Over the next few months, the vendor evolved into quite the discriminating connoisseur of AK bayonets. Piece by piece, he brought in all the variants you see pictured (with the exception of the Black Yugoslavian variant shown for comparative purposes). He even scored a few real Iraqi oddballs too. Several were unfinished examples that probably failed the manufacturer’s quality control checks and even a Russian Izhevsk AK 74 “modified pommel” bayonet with the same specific Iraqi font stamped matching serial numbers as seen on the Iraqi made variants. Though not pictured, I own a few Iraqi made variants that have no serial numbers (the rejected Iraqi variants are all un-numbered).

    I’m very thankful I had a copy of Ivie’s book to provide the vendor and it really cemented my buyer-seller relationship with him. So next time you find yourself with a language/culture issue bust out a reference book and try your own luck!

    Please note, none of these bayonets are for sale, so no need to PM me about them. I don’t sell my personal bring-backs...period ;-)

    Regards,

    Lance

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    Last edited by militariaone; 01-07-2014 at 08:35 PM.

  2. #2

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    Left to right, Yugoslavian black variant, red Iraqi variant, orange Iraqi variant, unfinished/rejected Iraqi variant, Soviet Izhevsk AK 74 “modified pommel” variant.

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  3. #3

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    Yugoslavian and Iraqi fonts compared.

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  4. #4

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    Close up of unfinished/rejected Iraqi variant. Note how the mounting mortise has not been milled out.

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  5. #5

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    Close up of the Soviet Izhevsk AK 74 “modified pommel” variant. Note the exact same Iraqi fonts impressed on this one (Yes, not technically “Iraqi made,” just Iraqi marked).

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  6. #6
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    Great work on an informative and interesting thread. I think I'll be on the look out for an Iraqi model now.

  7. #7
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    I have one I got from a 1st Div vet that is a battlefield pick up from the 1st gulf war. The handle grips and scabbard appear to be a reddish brown color. There is a number 541 etched into the grip and scabbard. I'll dig my camera out later and post a picture. If I can find my damned camera.
    I love my Great Grandkids. I do get a little annoyed when they play hide and seek with grandpas stuff though.

  8. #8

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    Unfortunately, I'm the one who seems to break my own cameras, sunglasses, and drops the occasional Bayonet:-( Yes, please post your bayo when you have a chance Steve. I'd enjoy seeing it.

    Regards,

    Lance

  9. #9

    Default Comparison between Yugoslavian M70B1 (c. 1982) and Iraqi Tabuk (c. 1983).

    Greetings all,

    Yes, I know this is slightly off topic “blade-wise,” but instead of starting a new thread, I felt it would be better to just add this addendum here. Below is a comparison shot of a Yugoslavian M70B1 and below it, an original Iraqi Tabuk, which is the weapon meant for the bayonets being discussed in this post. Note both weapons are fitted with grenade launcher sights. Also, on the bottom of the image, there are some close up shots of the Tabuk's unique markings.

    Regards,

    Lance

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  10. #10
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    lovely story. anything else interesting have you liberated when deployed?

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