Original Rare Japanese WWII Early SNLF Marine Issue Arisaka Type 30 Bayonet by Kokura with Scabbard

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Item Available. These are extremely rare, and this is the only example that we have ever had! At first glance this looks like a very good condition WWII issue First Pattern Japanese Model 30 Arisaka rifle bayonet with a hooked quillon cross guard, complete with its steel scabbard. The bayonet bears the arsenal markings of Kokura Arsenal in the Kyūshū Island of Japan, one of the major manufacturers of this type of bayonet.

However, closer examination shows that there is a small spring catch by the muzzle ring that secures the scabbard. This type of attachment is common on other Japanese issued edged weapons, but very rarely seen on the Arisaka Bayonets. This indicates that it is a very early issued design, intended for Imperial Japanese Navy Marines, known as the Special Naval Landing Forces (SNLF). It was felt that during amphibious invasions the bayonets needed extra securing, so they added the latch. Please see Watts and White , THE BAYONET BOOK page 208, illustration 463 for bayonet & scabbard, and page 203, for the text description.

Aside from the latch, the bayonet conforms correctly to the earliest Pre-WWII design from Kokura, with a fullered bright steel blade. The hilt has a contoured crossguard bearing a hooked quillon and a contoured "bird's head" pommel. The screw-retained wooden grips are the contoured type and do not wrap around. Serial number 34682 is stamped onto the bottom of the pommel, above the series marking.

Condition of the bayonet and scabbard is very nice, showing light overall wear from use during service. The blade is still in great shape, with just a bit of light staining, and the hilt still looks great. The scabbard still has most of the original blued finish, with some wear where a frog used to be. There is a dent on the scabbard, but it does not interfere with sheathing the blade.

A fantastic chance to pick up a very rare SNLF Arisaka bayonet in great shape! This is definitely not something we'll have again anytime soon!

Blade Length: 15 3/4"
Blade Style: Single Edge Bayonet
Overall length: 20 1/4“
Crossguard: 3 3/4”
Scabbard Length: 16 1/2"

History of the Type 30 Bayonet-

The Type 30 bayonet (三十年式銃剣 sanjunen-shiki juken) was a bayonet designed for the Imperial Japanese Army to be used with the Arisaka Type 30 Rifle and was later used on the Type 38 and Type 99 rifles. Some 8.4 million were produced, and it remained in front-line use from the Russo-Japanese War to the end of World War II.

Type 30 Bayonet was a single-edged sword bayonet with a 400 millimeters (15.75 in) blade and an overall length of 514 millimeters (20.24 in) with a weight of approximately 700 grams. The Type 30 bayonet is also known as the "Pattern 1897 bayonet". Early Type 30 bayonets usually sported a hooked quillon guard that gave it a distinct look, but later models had a straight hand guard. 

The design of the bayonet was originally intended to give the average Japanese infantryman a long enough reach to piece the abdomen of a cavalryman. However, the design had a number of drawbacks, some caused by the poor quality of forgings used, which tended to rust quickly and not hold an edge, and to break when bent.

These bayonets were manufactured from 1897 to 1945 at a number of locations, including the Kokura Arsenal, Koishikawa Arsenal (Tokyo) and Nagoya Arsenal, as well as under contract by private manufacturers including Matsushita, Toyoda Automatic Loom and many others, including Jinsen Arsenal in Occupied Korea. Towards the end of the war, production was so rushed that markings could be left off.

History of the SNLF:

Before the late 1920s the IJN did not have a separate marine force, instead it used naval landing forces or rikusentai formed from individual ships's crews, who received infantry training as part of their basic training, for special and/or temporary missions.

In the late 1920s the navy began to form Special Naval Landing Forces as standing regiments (albeit of battalion size). These forces were raised at — and took their names from — the four main naval districts/bases in Japan: Kure, Maizuru, Sasebo, and Yokosuka. These SNLF units saw action in China from 1932 in the January 28 Incident and at the Battle of Shanghai in naval operations along the China coast and up the Yangtze River and its tributaries during the Second Sino-Japanese War. Soon, they became involved in successful Japanese seaborne assaults throughout South East Asia.

Other SNLF were later raised from IJN personnel in China, at Hankow, and Shanghai, for service in Canton and on the Yangtze River. On 7 December 1941 there were 16 SNLF units, this increased to 21 units during the war. The strengths of each SNLF ranged from the prewar peak of 1,200 to a later 650 personnel. There was also a special detachment in the Kwantung area, garrisoning the ports of Dairen and Ryojun.

Initially, the SNLF were not a marine force, but was instead sailors who had basic infantry training and were employed in landings during the Russo-Japanese War and the Boxer Rebellion. Soon their training and equipment were improved upon drastically, and their forces were given a variety of other operations as well. In 1941, the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Yokosuka SNLF were converted to parachute units. They conducted more combat drops than Japanese Army parachute units during World War II. The SNLF paratroopers were used during the attack on Celebes and the Battle of Manado, to much lauded success by the Imperial government. Aside from the paratroopers, there were also elite squads who conducted reconnaissance and raid operations.

Since then, the Landing Forces has been influential in Japan's expansion of territories, and their tactics of surprising their enemies through sea invasions proved effective. The original SNLF personnel were well-trained, high quality troops with good morale and they performed well against opposition across Southeast Asia. However, like all landing forces they often experienced heavy casualties when faced with determined resistance, such as at the invasion of Timor and the Battle of Milne Bay. This is due to their unwillingness to surrender, and when completely out of ammunition, they would often resort to hand-to-hand fighting with their swords and bayonets. To combat highly defended positions in the Pacific, the Landing Forces created new tactics and techniques in order to overcome them that would later be adopted by the Allied in their sea-borne invasions.

In a well known last stand in 1943, 2,619 men of the 7th Sasebo SNLF and 2,000 base personnel at the Battle of Tarawa accounted for over 3,000 U.S. Marine Corps casualties.

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