World War II witness: archaeologists have found a knife bayonet from a soldier rifle

May 12

A weapon of the Great Patriotic War was found in the east of the capital. The knife bayonet from a rifle was found in a trench near house 9 in Malaya Semyonovskaya Street during archaeological observations during the laying of utilities.

“On the eve of Victory Day, Moscow archaeologists found a real combat witness of wartime — the knife bayonet of the Tokarev SVT-40 self-loading rifle, model 1940, in a scabbard. Now it is difficult to say how exactly the weapon got into the cultural layer. After the end of World War II, Tokarev self-loading rifles and their modifications were considered obsolete, a significant number of weapons were adapted for civilian use. Researchers have yet to figure out this issue, and also try to find out at which plant the knife bayonet was produced. It was not possible to do that immediately due to poor preservation”, commented the head of the Moscow Department of Cultural Heritage Aleksey Emelyanov.

The found knife bayonet could be used in close combat not only with a self-loading rifle and a carbine of the Tokarev SVT-40 system, but also with an automatic rifle of the Tokarev system of the AVT-40 model.

The total length of the knife bayonet is 360 millimeters, the length of the blade is 240 millimeters, and the width is 24 millimeters.

Experts suggest that it could have been produced at one of three factories: in Tula, Izhevsk or Kovrov. Bayonets produced by the Tula Arms Plant, evacuated to Mednogorsk in 1941, are marked with a stamp in the form of a five-pointed star; bayonets manufactured by the Izhevsk Machine-Building Plant — with a stamp in the form of an arrow in a triangle; for a short time, bayonets were also produced at the Kovrov Mechanical Plant with a stamp in the form of an arrow in an oval. The restorers will have to examine the knife bayonet, remove the rust and try to find the production mark.

It is noteworthy that the scabbard in which the weapon was located turned out to be not Soviet-made. Archaeologists suppose that the scabbard was made in Europe for the type of knife bayonets which were widely used by the German army and their allies during World War II. Such a scabbard could have got in the USSR after 1945. This means that this item was most likely a trophy.

The finds will be restored in laboratories. After that, the knife bayonet and scabbard can be transferred to the museum funds.

Preservation of finds is an important part of the capital’s archaeologists work. The process is divided into two stages. The soil is removed during the office processing. The restoration itself can take from a week to several years (depending on the complexity of the artifact and its condition). Last year, more than 15 thousand artifacts of past centuries were found in the capital.


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