Bayonet, a sword-like blade adapted to be affixed to the muzzle of a musket or rifle and used by infantry. It was invented in France (at or near Bayonne, whence the name) about the year 1640. Up to that time the musketeers were mixed with pikemen to protect them from a closing enemy. The bayonet enabled musketeers to withstand cavalry or pike-men, and thus gradually superseded the pike. Originally the bayonet was fastened to a stick for insertion into the barrel of the musket; the socket bayonet, fastened by a tube passing round the barrel, was a later invention. The French did not do away entirely with the pike till 1703, nor the Russians till 1721. At the battle of Spire, in 1703, charges of infantry were first made with fixed bayonets. The bayonet has been variously modified in form, the better to adapt it to its original purpose or to collateral uses. Among recent improvements is the trowel or spade bayonet, calculated both for offensive use and for digging intrenchments.