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Your second guess is the correct one. Bayonets were originally developed to give the infantry something to defend themselves with after firing the one shot available in their flintlock while being charged and something to fight with while attacking after they had fired their one shot. Since it took less time for an attacking force to charge than it did for the defending force to reload bayonets were developed to turn the muzzleloaders in makeshift pikes and the muskets were fired with the bayonets mounted. Given the tactics of the time a phalanx of pikemen,either attacking or defending, was perhaps the most difficult of formations to break. The Mauser is only about 100 years removed from the Brown Bess and the military tactics in use when it was developed were much closer to those used during the time of the Brown Bess than those of today. Mass bayonet charges were still common as recently as the Korean War. Since then as the use of the bayonet as a weapon became less common both the bayonets and the rifles they are mounted on became shorter. Bottom line is that the longer the barrel is the farther the reach of the person wielding the bayonet. Didn't mean to write a book.
 
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