Yataghan is how it is spelled...Hello everybody.
Yes, sergents in the British infantry as well as the Indian were issued yataghan bayonets and volunteers were PROBABLY given seargeant issued yataghans. In fact, whole units of Infantry, Indian, and volunteer units were issued the yataghan for EVERYBODY. But if you, Martin, are going to incorporate this feature in some of your soldier models, you need to know a little about the Snider rifle to be correct in your portrayal of the firearm.
There are three different types of Sniders, long rifle with three barrel bands holding barrel to stock, short rifle with two band holding things together, and the stubby carbine. We will ignore the carbine and just talk about the long and short rifles.
The long rifle is the rifle that was most issued and it had no accomodations for a yataghan bayonet. The sergeants were issued the short rifle with two bands and that utilized the bladed yataghan. So the seargent not only had a different bayonet than the other ranks, he had a shorter gun by six inches and only two bands on the barrel. The Indian troops were treated the same . I have a picture of the 28th Bombay Native Infantry, Suakin, Sudan, and the three cheveroned, cross body sash seargent has the shorter rifle. I cannot say if the volunteer sergeants were issued the short rifle. But eventually, the short rifle and yataghan bayonet were prefered over the long rifle with socket bayonet and were produced in large numbers and issued to ALL the troops, regular, volunteer and native forces. That is why there are so many two band short rifles on the collector market today. They really did not replace the long three band, they complemented it. The long three band snider is a tall gun. I own one and I actually have to tilt the gun at an angle to get it into the gun safe...it's too long for the door opening. The two band is a much more 'handy' gun and rifles were getting shorter in this second half of the 19th century. Both short and long guns were approved in the last months of 1866
Having said all this, I do have to cover my backside about this posting and let you know that 1800 short rifles with socket bayonet were produced for Indian troops and issued, That is a very small number and probably very few are in the hands of collectors. Also, a contract for New Zealand called for 2000 short rifles with a sawback bayonet. The Navy two band brass mounted short rifle had a hilted cutlass sword bayonet that was a wopping 32.7 inches long! That is a short sword that had a cutlass type hand guard.
See: ".577 Snider-Enfield Rifles & Carbines" by Ian Skennerton