Thoughts on the military and military activities of a diverse nature. Free-ranging and eclectic.

Monday, September 24, 2007

A la baionnette!! I.

This is coolbert:

Regarding the use of the bayonet in both historical and modern terms, here are various excerpts from the web site:

[my comments in BOLD!]

"An Introduction to Training in Rifle-Bayonet Fighting in the US Military"

"During the 1590s the Republican Dutch started developing military musket drills. Mostly a form of industrial safety – accidental discharges pose a serious threat to closely- packed ranks of armed men"

Right. NOT necessarily to teach how to fire the muskets quicker or more accurately. WAS TO MAKE SURE THAT THE TROOPS, IN RANKS, MORE THAN ANYTHING ELSE, DID NOT KILL ONE ANOTHER!!

[in the PBS series about Vietnam, an American soldier stated that half of his squad became casualties EVEN BEFORE THEY HAD MADE CONTACT WITH THE ENEMY!! Weapon accidents was the main culprit!!]

"During the eighteenth century bayonet training continued to be mostly a form of industrial safety. Most soldiers drank a gallon of beer or wine a day, and fought and moved in closely packed squares. Unsurprisingly, accidents were common and considerable effort was expended to keep soldiers from cutting, sticking, or shooting one another."

Several comments here. AGAIN, THE TRAINING WITH THE BAYONET WAS NOT NECESSARILY TO TEACH PROFICIENCY WITH THE WEAPON AS MORE TO TRAIN TROOPS IN CLOSELY PACKED FORMATIONS NOT TO KILL OR INJURE ONE ANOTHER. That enormous consumption of wine or beer on the part of the troops was usually part of the enlistment contract the soldier would sign. Prevent water-borne diseases from killing the troop and also at the same time providing calories for a person who generally at an early age HAD NO TEETH LEFT IN THEIR MOUTH!!

"Eighteenth-century musketry training was equally rudimentary . . . [more than anything else] it had to do with safety. First, the flash from a flintlock's pan was so fearsome that soldiers were taught to close their eyes and turn their heads away to prevent eye injuries. Second, not all accidental shootings on the battlefield are accidental, and for the safety of officers and NCOs, supply sergeants only issued ball and powder after ranks had been formed and the enemy sighted . . . most European armies considered it good shooting if a battalion could consistently put half its shots into a target six feet high and a hundred feet long from a range of fifty yards."

"Originally, the British and the Japanese were the main proponents of rifle-bayonet fencing."

"While the Japanese turned to their own martial art traditions for fighting methods, the British turned to a Florentine system designed by Ferdinando Masiello."

Right, each culture adopts methods and techniques that are appropriate and familiar. NOT slavishly copying what someone else is doing!!

"in 1904, a Japanese Army rifle-bayonet fencing team that kicked, shouted, and screamed trounced a Royal Marine team in Shanghai."

This had to be an traumatic experience for the British. The Japanese were using a form of bayonet fencing recognized today as jukendo!!??

"During World War II the Detroit journalist and Army historian S.L.A. Marshall found only a couple of documented uses of Americans using their rifle-bayonet combination in combat – and all of those involved soldiers killing unarmed prisoners."

Right, the American infantryman in training for combat in WW2 was probably told he had to be ready to use that bayonet in an instant!! BUT IT NEVER HAPPENED EXCEPT IN THE MOST EXTREMELY RARE OF INSTANCES!!

"During the Vietnam and post-Vietnam eras, the US military generally kept bayonets in supply rooms . . . the reason was fear that troops would use the knives against one another during interracial brawls."

Please recall what I have said previously about troops having in their possession unauthorized weapons. Departing oversea from the Oakland Army Terminal [OART] in 1966, Army troops were cautioned not to carry unauthorized weaponry with them. An amazing number of troops DID turn in firearms and a LOT of edged weapons of all varieties. YOU DO NOT WANT YOUR OWN TROOPS IN ENCAMPMENT CUTTING THEMSELVES UP IN BRAWLS AND "DISPUTES"!!

"It is also my belief [that of the author] that in most combat situations US soldiers would be better off carrying an extra canteen of water or an extra 30-round magazine for their M-16."

There it is in a nutshell. Get rid of the bayonet and carry extra ammo or water. This is not, however, what folks want to hear.




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