CZECHOSLOVAK  Bayonets and Variations.

 

 

On this page I have outlined the various VZ24 and VZ33 pattern bayonets available to the collector and have used my own collection and photographs from other collectors to illustrate the variations. The information below has been gleaned from books and discussions held by the BCN, any mistake, correction or additional information will be gratefully received. Many thanks to Brian Conkle for the information he provided me based on his knowledge and collection of the VZ bayonets

98/22 

Czechoslovak manufactured version of the Austrian 1895, for use on the 1895 Mannlicher originally used by the Czech military. These blades can be found with both Austrian and Czech markings.

VZ23 

With the increase in the prominence of the Czech arms industry the VZ23 bayonet was made for export with it's Mauser rifle. Made with the Blade edge upwards as per the Austrian pattern these blades can also be found with a more normal edge down blade. During WWII the Germans used large numbers of Czech blades and removed the muzzle rings, as per standard German practice - the very long hilt groove proving to give sufficient support for the mounted weapon. A shorter version of the 23 can be found with a length of 384mm as opposed to the 540mm of the long blade version. Collectors call the two versions the VZ23 Long and VZ23 short respectively. Some refer to the short as the 98/22, but I have taken this as the designation of the Mannlicher bayonet.

It is thought that the 23 was primarily for export and was used on the VZ23 rifle, the short being used on the 98/22 rifle.

VZ24 

The 24 was the standard issue blade for the Czech army, it has a total length of 430mm and the reversed blade edge, these were made for the VZ24 rifle. Large numbers of these blades were captured by the Germans at the beginning of WWII and these had their muzzle rings removed, to varying degrees - some have large ears remaining from the only partial removal of the ring. 

The Belgian FN company had links with the Czech BRNO company and produced an almost identical rifle an blade for export. It is thought that when necessary the Czech's supplied the Belgians with weapons to help complete orders, even though they were in direct competition for the same contracts. This further complicates the identification of users etc. As it may be that Czech blades will turn up that were used by countries that were not supplied with Czech weapons officially. Belgian blades do not have the CSZ or Circle Z markings. 

GUNBEAR on one of the bayonet forums has indicated that the following years are readily available 1924, 25, 26, 27, 36, 38, & 39, with the intervening years being difficult to get hold of, either through a lack of production or very low production numbers, it is reported that these years may be available in Slovakia itself. My idea would be that Czechoslovakia only came into being after WWI so there would have been a lot of early production to build up supplies, after this production would be slow or non existent, remember the late 20's saw the great depression, which lasted well into the 30's - part of the reason Hitler came to power - it would only be in the late 30's as Germany was seen as a threat that production would be restarted to refill warehouses or increase the size of the army, this may well account for the non availability of some years.

MARKINGS

Czech manufactured models are stamped with a ricasso mark CSZ over a letter. Czech issued blades are typically marked with a stamp consisting of  "letter number LION STAMP number number", details of Czech markings are on a separate page to allow adequate cover without making this page too large. 

Export versions of the bayonet were typically marked with a Z in a CIRCLE marking, one circle Z is for Zbrojovka Brno , plant Brno in Protektorat Boehmen und Maehren, two circles is for plant II of Zbrojovka Brno which was was located in northwest Slovakia - Povazska Bystrica. It is however it is possible to find exported blades with CSZ stamps and for Czech blades to be found with the Circled Z mark. This was probably due to the requirements to meet export orders, i.e. Czech bound blades were taken out of production to fulfil export orders and then replaced with export aimed blades. This can make it somewhat confusing, additional problems come from the fact that many countries did not mark the exported blades with identifiable marks to indicate the end user.

Rumania used large numbers of the VZ24, and these are marked with various CM markings, i.e. the C over a curved M in a circle, the M in a larger C, C over straight M , etc. It is possible to find blades and scabbards showing both stampings. Brian Conkle has allowed me to post his page on Rumanian markings here.

Double horse head ricasso marked specimens are believed to be made by Cugir of Rumania for their own use. Cugir had a long tradition in weapons manufacture (since the end of the 18th century). During WW II Cugir arsenal was named "Uzinele Metalurgice Copsa Mica-Cugir" (in Romanian language), which can be translated as "The Metallurgic Plants Copsa Mica-Cugir (Information on Cugir via Liviu Stoica)

During German Occupation the Germans supplied the puppet Slovak government with Czech made bayonets, these are marked with a mark similar to the Czech marking but using a stamp with 3 hills with a cross on it, later versions do not have the numbers either side of this stamp. Most of these bayonets also have the Rumanian CM marking.

The Germans took over production of the VZ24 bayonet during WWII, and the markings changed:

WaA only. The first production blades after the occupation were marked with a WaA stamp on the one ricasso and the circle z on the other

WaA Inspection markings - (thanks to Brian Conkle)

Brno: (with M/R) single circle/Z with Eagle/WaA63; (no M/R) dot with small size Eagle/63 (end of production for Germany in 1943) 

Bystrica: (with M/R) double circle with Eagle/607; (no M/R) double circle/Z with Eagle/A80 (circa 1941 and possibly a little later) 

All scabbards: (M/R bayonets and a few A80's) large size Eagle/WaA63; (A80's) medium size Eagle/63 or blank; (German "dot42/43") small size Eagle/63.

945 this mark was initially used on Czech produced blades with the 945 indicating the BRNO factory. Blade was produced without the muzzle ring. Production started at the end of 1940

DOT marked blades can be found with 42 and 43 date stamps on the spine of the blade. These form the predominant VZ24 blades made by the Germans, blades were produced either blued or in the white, and typically without muzzle rings. Ringed DOT blades can be found these were made for a Rumanian export contract. There are rumours of 41 dated blades but these are unconfirmed.

After the war production was resumed and the markings changed to tgf, these can be found with dates of 46,48 and 50. The 50 dated blades were the final VZ24's produced and were made under the Russian occupation period, the Lion being replaced with  crossed swords.

VZ33 

Between 1933 to 1938 30,000 bayonets were made for the use of the Financial guards and Police units. This blade was for a carbine and uses a different mounting system from the VZ24 and has a smaller pommel  and blade (355mm long with 228 blade). This are all marked CÉTN for police. There are versions of this blade available without the muzzle ring, converted by the Germans, since the smaller mounting would not be adequate for "use" these are thought to be used as "dress" blades or hangers, and not as a military weapon.

NOTES

Many of these blades have been refinished during their life, either by the Germans during the war (during ring removal), or post war to clean up for sale. Blades can be found Blued, White, Shot blasted or phosphated. Pristine looking blades may have been refinished for sale and not original manufacture. It is not my intention to cover the minutia of these blades, but give a good basic grounding on the blades.

The Turkish took many of these blades and used them both on the original Czech Mauser and later modified them to suit the 1935 pattern Turkish rifle. I have included both variations below, as well as Czech, Rumanian, Slovak and blades made/converted during the German occupation. I have not got any export blades that I have provenance for so have not included any other countries. A modified hilt version of the VZ24 with a long VZ23 style blade with a "normal" cutting edge was used by Iran, who purchased VZ24's between 1930 to 1934 to fit the 98/29 export rifle.

There are many slight variations to these blades, which unfortunately are difficult to identify due to the lack of markings. I have one that is tentatively identified as Peruvian, and another unknown variation, probably for another South American country. A third has a stylised Swan imprinted on the hilt

Israel used these blades during the 1949 war and after

 

CZECHOSLOVAKIA

1895 with OEWG and unknown ricasso mark

 

 

Unknown ricasso marking

 

Austrian OEWG marks on opposite ricasso

 

Czech acceptance marks on pommel

 

czech austrian 1895.jpg (81895 bytes)

Austrian 1895 with Czech markings

Austrian 1895 NCO model  Issued to Czech unit

 

Pommel Marking shows 3 Cavalry issue (3J) pre 1936

Original Austrian makers mark

 

 

Added Czech  marking on opposite ricasso of S Lion 8 for an Oppava based infantry unit

VZ23 short, with blade edge in reversed configuration

 

Blade ricasso marked CSZ, scabbard frog stud F XXXXX, the scabbard is not original to blade

 

 

Pommel marked 00036, making this an early one in the run. I am unsure as to the end user of this blade so have left it in Czechoslovakia as the maker

Czech 23 made VZ24.jpg (83448 bytes)Austria 23 made VZ24 markings.jpg (95598 bytes)

1923 marked VZ24 bayonet

 

 

Circled lion mark on VZ24

Czechoslovakiwa M1924 .jpg (55071 bytes)

VZ 24

Czech vz24 export version scabbard stamps.jpg (91646 bytes)

Scabbard and hilt markings on Export VZ 

czech vz24 marks.jpg (16044 bytes)

VZ24 with markings showing manufacture by BRNO (tgf) under Russian control (crossed swords) in 1950 

Heavily blued post war manufactured VZ24 marked E3 46

Marking on tang and not ricasso as pre war models

CSV over E on blade ricasso

Z1 30 scabbard frog markings of pre war scabbard

VZ24 Variation, probably for a South American country Has slightly different pommel and muzzle ring shapes

N block CSZ marking

Comparison of standard VZ24 (top) to variation

1924 dated VZ24

1924 date on Ricasso

8HN unit pommel marks 

VZ33 in white, rather than the German reworked blued finish. The S in the CSZ on the ricasso has been struck out, was this done by the Czechs or the Germans. Tang and frog stud are marked E Lion 35

czech vz33 ringed.jpg (78320 bytes)

VZ33 with CÉTN markings 

czech vz33 ringed cetn ,arks.jpg (37904 bytes)

Pommel CÉTN  markings 

 
Total length = mm                 Blade length = mm             Blade width =  mm             MRD =  mm                           
VZ24 without pommel rifle mounts, came in a FS marked scabbard 
 

 

GERMAN OCCUPATION

CZ24 made under German occupation WaA63 marks only

 

WaA63 stamp on frog stud

 

WaA on tang as well, note dark black grips

WaA 607 marked blade showing Bystrica production around 1941

 

WaA 607 ricasso stamp, opposite face shows the Circled Z Czech marking

 

Pommel marking 7.S, meaning of this is currently unknown

VZ24 manufactured under German occupation, blade is Circle Z marked on one ricasso and has the German WaA stamp A80 on the other

 

WaA stamp A80 predates 945 and DOT coded German made VZ's

czech vz33 de ringed cetn.jpg (85847 bytes)czech vz33 de ringed cetn ,arks.jpg (86346 bytes)czech vz33 cetn markings.jpg (41848 bytes)

VZ33 de-ringed by Germans in WWII 

 

VZ33 markings 

 

Pommel marks 

VZ24x2.jpg (17412 bytes)

WaA stamped VZ24 courtesy of Brian Conkle circa 1940.

Eagle607.jpg (14552 bytes)

Close up of WaA ricasso stamp Eagle 607.

yugoslavia 945 stamped close up of stamps.jpg (93550 bytes)

VZ 24 made under German occupation by BRNO factory, marked with 945 manufacturer code on ricasso 

VZ24 manufactured under German occupation, blade is Circle Z marked on one ricasso and has the German WaA stamp A80 on the other

czech VZ24 DOT code blued.jpg (86474 bytes)czech VZ24 DOT code blued scabbard marks.jpg (102513 bytes)

VZ24 DOT 42 coded with blued blade 

 

DOT 42 scabbard marks 

czech VZ24 DOT code polished.jpg (88004 bytes)czech VZ24 DOT code polished marks and waa.jpg (116019 bytes)

DOT42 coded VZ24 with blade in white 

 

WAa stamp on scabbard stud 

czech vz24 DOT ringed.jpg (65466 bytes)czech vz24 DOT ringed markings.jpg (117195 bytes)

VZ 24 DOT 43 coded, with muzzle ring Rumanian export contract

 

DOT markings and muzzle ring.

czech vz24 de ringed high eared.jpg (95450 bytes)czech vz24 de ringed high eared marks.jpg (91668 bytes)

VZ24 de Ringed leaving very high "ears" 

 

Ricasso markings on VZ24, crossguard has circled z marking 

VZ24 Ricasso marks and scabbard with German style side screw. 

Fighting knife made from a cut down czechVZ24, came in early pre 1940 production 84/98 scabbard with 1940 marked frog

 

 

 comparison of fighter with full length un modified bayonet

 

 

 

Interestingly the scabbard is only marked with a serial number on the back face for the throat

 

 

 

 

1940 dated frog

VZ24 without pommel rifle mounts, came in a FS marked scabbard 
  

 

ISRAEL

Czechoslovak VZ24 with Israeli army acceptance marks on crossguard and frog stud. Israel bought large numbers of weapons from Czechoslovakia during the original 1949 war of independence

 

PERSIA (IRAN)

22/98

 

Early Persian contract used ex Czech blades with markings deleted

 

 

Makers marks left intact

 

Czech pommel stamps not removed but you can just see the Persian Crest lightly over striking the 14P Czech mark

 

 

Original L frog stud has been removed and  French style strap added. I have another blade with the scabbard having original Czech marks struck out on the L shaped frog

 

 

I am unsure as to the relevance of the tang marks and as to whether they are Czech or Persian

Persian 98/22

 

Scabbard is ex Czech VZ23 which indicates this bayonet is one of the first contract blades

98-22 for Persia

 

Pommel Markings

 

PERU

czech vz24 unknown.jpg (140983 bytes)czech vz24 unknown hilt mods 2.jpg (105946 bytes)czech vz24 unknown hilt mods.jpg (140564 bytes)

Same size as a VZ24 but with larger pommel and normal edge down blade

 

Modifications to tang and grips Probably due to damage and subsequent re shaping

 

modified grips and serial on the frog stud, which is the only marking

 

RUMANIA

bcn_numbers.jpg (80940 bytes)

Summary of Rumanian markings, supplied by Brian Conkle

rumania czech vz23 long.jpg (88300 bytes)

Czech VZ24

rumania czech 1924 markings.jpg (103050 bytes)

Rumanian markings on Czechoslovakian VZ24 bayonet 

rumania czech vz23 long double horse head.jpg (117840 bytes)

Czech VZ24 with double horse head ricasso stamp 

 

SLOVAKIA

SLOVAK T series VZ24.jpg (73843 bytes)SLOVAK T series VZ24 mountain mark.jpg (73177 bytes)slovak czech vz24 markings.jpg (109354 bytes)

Slovak issue VZ24 with shot blasted finish to blade

 

Slovak Mountain stamp without dates and Rumanian marks on tang

 

 

Bayonet supplied to puppet Slovakia government during German occupation in WWII detail of scabbard markings - only distinguishing feature 

 

TURKEY

1926 the obtained 98/22 rifles and bayonets further blades with VZ24 handles on VZ23 blades were obtained in 1936 these are undated

turkey czech vz23 short modified.jpg (81960 bytes)

Modified Czech 1895,crossguard has been modified 

 

Markings and modified crossguard detail 

Turkey Czech vz23 short.jpg (76938 bytes)Turkey Czech vz23 short ricasso stamp.jpg (123251 bytes)

Czech VZ23 unmodified 

 

Ricasso marks on VZ23 

 

UNKNOWN

 

VZ24 Variation, probably for a South American country Has slightly different pommel and muzzle ring shapes

 

N block CSZ marking

 

 

Comparison of standard VZ24 (top) to variation

czech t block export.jpg (60727 bytes)czech t block export serial.jpg (63978 bytes)czech t block export grips.jpg (81567 bytes)

T block VZ24 with oversize grips

 

Serial under Pommel and along tang, and oversize grips

 

 

Swan (?) mark on hilt of VZ24