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The plug bayonet

Online lecture
14th October - 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm

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Mark Shearwood, Postgraduate Researcher, University of Leeds

The lecture takes a new look at the plug bayonet – an early model of bayonet inserted directly into the barrel of the musket, later supplanted by socket bayonets that fitted to the outside of the musket. It will look at the physical characteristics of the plug bayonet, dispelling a number of myths in the process. Rather than an abject failure, as claimed by General Mackay after his defeat at Killiecrankie in 1689, this humble weapon actually had a lasting impact on European armies. The lecture will examine how the plug bayonet changed the structure and tactics of the English army between 1660 and 1705, increasing the firepower of a regiment by up to a third. It will discuss how the plug bayonet was introduced earlier than traditionally thought and was still in service at the start of the eighteenth century, and how the plug bayonet was instrumental in the acceptance of the socket bayonet.

The lecture will be of interest to anyone interested in the history and development of weapons or infantry tactics during the late seventeenth and eighteenth century. A large part of the research for this lecture was conducted using the Royal Armouries reference collection at Leeds.

Please register in advance. A link to the lecture will be sent in due course.

This is a free event. Donations support our work as guardians of the national collection of arms and armour.