Bayonets: An Illustrated History uses current colour photography, with over 500 photographs, in a landscape-format, to examine Bayonets from the 17th century to date. First there is a short, general introduction that examines the history of the bayonet - named after the French town of Bayonne, where it is thought to have been devised around about 1650. The introduction examines the way that weapon development and technological advances during the period led to changes in the size, shape, manufacture and style of bayonet. This section is illustrated by images from contemporary sources. Next, there are sections on the various types of bayonet - including Plug, Socket, Sword, Yataghan, Knife, etc. - covering the most important bayonets of each type with photos and text identifying: Physical details - length; weight; attachment mechanisms Manufacturing details - who made it; where it was made; how many saw service; variants and modifications Service history - when it entered service; where it saw service; who used it; how it was used Effectiveness - what was it like to use; what were the problems, if any; what were the characteristics; did it do the job.
Lesser examples (Trowel, Pistol, Cutlass, Ramrod, Practice) are covered in shorter sections, giving an overall total of some 300 bayonets and 500 photographs. Finally, a short reference section points the reader to other reading, museum collections and websites of interest. It is, without doubt, the biggest such colour book on the market and provides a splendid reference.
Martin J. Brayley works as a professional photographer and freelance author after many years' service with the Royal Navy. He is a long-time collector and researcher of militaria, and his published books include World War II British Women's Uniforms (1995); The World War II Tommy - British Army Uniforms, European Theatre 1939-45 (1998); and Khaki Drill & Jungle Green - British Tropical Uniforms 1939-45 (2000). An expert marksman, Martin Brayley has represented Great Britain at international level.