There was a back and forth between wood and man made materials on the grips for German Army items that technically began late in WW I with some swords. But more to the point with bayonets, it started very late in 1937, with 1938 IMO a better overall reference point for service bayonets and the transition to the black Bakelite grips from wood (here and there some exceptions are seen for a brief period). Something that roughly coincided with the transition from the solid European Walnut rifle stocks to laminated Beech because the German forests had once again been depleted (but not completely exhausted).
by Larry C
Bakelite - all of them being made by specialized third parties other than the blade makers. Advantages over wood: elimination of the strict requirements for the quality of the wood, drying time, testing, rejection as unsuitable for mil spec purposes wood (too acidic prone to corrosion etc.). No machining to shape, fitting and finishing etc. etc. Bakelite: it comes out of the mold ready to go with maybe a minuscule amount of fitting at the two ends, not acidic, doesn’t easily retain moisture.
That said, as early as sometime in 1941 the continued use of the black Bakelite grips was placing more stress on the chemical industries production of chemicals needed even more urgently for the war effort. The result being the reintroduction of wood grips on a limited basis in 1942. With very early in 1943 seeing the formal adoption of the Typ 41 red/orange Bakelite plastic that used a considerable amount of wood byproduct filler material. With both types wood and plastic seen on late production bayonets that varies by maker. Best Regards, Fred
04-24-2016 05:50 PM