The Imperial German S14 type-I and type-II (variously called the S15 and Gottscho) bayonet played an extremely important role in equipping German troops in the first half of 1915 and then, throughout the war. Incorrectly termed everything from the “South American export bayonet” through to the “machine gunners bayonet”, the S14 bayonet is more accurately described as the “Berlin wood-gripped Ersatz bayonet“.
The urgent need for military equipment at the start of the war resulted in the German military ordering the production of over one million temporary bayonets (Aushilfs-Seitengewehr) bayonets in 1915. These so-called Ersatz bayonets included rapidly-produced all metal bayonets designed to fit the Gew.88 and Gew.98 rifles as well as the somewhat superior wood-gripped S14 model bayonets for the Gew.98. The S14 type I and type II bayonets were made almost exclusively by a Berlin-based group of small metalwork manufacturers that included important figures such as the Swedish gramophone and recording giant Carl Lindström, the entrepreneur and inventor George Rothgiesser and his associate the patent lawyer Lucian Gottscho. The production of these S14 model bayonets by small commercial companies, and the recently acquired Bayard factory in Belgium, was intended to take pressure away from the established Solingen and Suhl arms factories so they could concentrate on production of the “proper” S84/98 and S98/05 bayonet. Although the production of Aushilfs-Seitengewehr was over by the end of 1915, it is clear from photographic evidence that the S14 bayonet had a much longer life than intended and was carried by front-line troops until the end of the war.
There are eight known manufacturers of S14 type I bayonets with Samsonwerk in Berlin and the Belgian Bayard company being the largest manufacturers. The next most common were made by Beka Rekord (B.K.), Firma Parlophon (F.P.) and Odeon, all Berlin-based gramophone companies owned by Carl Lindström that turned their hand to making bayonets. The least common S14 type I were made by unknown “SD” or under the direction of Rothgiesser and Gottscho and stamped with the smelting crucible mark of Lucian Gottscho alongside “SD” or “SM”. The “Gottscho SD” bayonets were manufactured for Württemberg and the “Gottscho SM” for Bavaria. Each company made a highly distinctive type I S14 type using one of three different manufacturing patterns. Samsonwerk, B.K., F.P. and “Gottscho” all made a sawback version of the type I S14.
The S14 type II bayonet was patented by Rothgiesser and Gottscho in 1914 and had a unique style rather unlike any other Imperial German bayonet. The blades were probably made by Mundlos and crudely assembled into functional bayonets by several unidentified subsidiaries. These bayonets almost always have the crucible G (Gottscho) or crucible GR (Gottscho-Rothgiesser) stamp alongside a series of nine unidentified letter codes (BI., CS, D, DB, DS, KS, S, SS, SW,). As with the Type I bayonet, sawback versions of the S14 Type II were also made, although nearly all sawbacks were made by “GR CS.”. The S14 type II was sold to the Prussian, Bavarian and Württemberg military.