Fix Bayonets!

I was just reading the article by Mosby “Bayonets, Bloodshed, and that Bastard, Reality…..”:

Mosby on Bayonet Fighting Here

I really enjoyed it, good article. A link to the story of the recent British Army bayonet charge in Helmand Province is here:

Telegraph Article on the Recent British Bayonet Charge

Mosby mentions: “If bayonet training was taught that way, and combined with pugil stick pummeling, and some boxing “milling” training (as they call it in the British Army), to build physical courage and aggressiveness, it would probably (maybe) have some actual value.”

When I was in the British Army, in the Parachute Regiment, it was only The Parachute Regiment and broadly Airborne Forces that still retained ‘milling’. It was institutionalized as part of pre-parachute selection (Pegasus or ‘P’ Company). In that format, it was one minute with 16oz gloves, straight punching your opponent. You were not allowed to box or defend yourself and the idea was to develop, and select for, aggression. Can you keep your head up and deal it out while receiving it in equal measure? This was combined with other aspects (there were 10 ‘events’ total on ‘test week’) on P Company that were not purely physical, such as the ‘Trainasium”, designed by psychologists, which incorporated heights to check on the ability to respond to orders while experienceing fear. All to select and train paratroopers.

But then again, The Parachute Regiment was the only organization to retain ‘The Shell’ (or ‘being put on the shell’) as a form of discipline to avoid the official disciplinary process. Progress was deferred to by re-classifying ‘the shell’ as extra PT, rather than a form of punishment, and helmets were to be worn while doing it, for safety.

But I really wanted to add something about the whole bayonet thing. It is the psychological factor that is often overlooked. Clearly, bayonets were a lot more useful when you had a muzzle loading musket or rifle and had to fight with something, particularly when the enemy was likely to have edged weapons too. So what relevance on a modern battlefield with rapid firing automatic weapons and endless rapid magazine reloads? Clearly you are not going to forgo the opportunity to shoot a man in order to try and close with him and bayonet him? Perhaps you have run out of ammo?

If you have the capability to utilize bayonets on your assault weapons, then do not underestimate it. If used in thr assault, bayonets should be fixed in the FUP (Forming Up Point) as a ritual prior to crossing the line of departure. Once in the FUP the leader will look left and right at the line, draw his bayonet and hold it up prior to fitting it to his rifle; the assaulting riflemen will follow suit. Statistics from wars show that actual numbers of deaths and wounds from bayonetting are very low. However, the secret to this is that the enemy will usually break and flee if they see you forming up to assault with the bayonet. The great thing about bayonets is that if you fix them and begin to prosecute an attack, you will likely not get close enough to actually have to use it because the enemy will flee. That is the secret of the bayonet. Bayonet training is usually conducted as an activity all on its own. It is a form of conditioning in savagery. Recruits will undergo a bayonet assault course which will be as muddy and horrific as possible, preferably utilizing any actual animal blood and guts you can get hold of. The recruits will run the assault course under a barrage of abuse from the instructors, with as many battle simulation explosions as possible. They will be crawling under wire and over obstacles and through mud. Think “tough mudder” with bayonets. They will have to assault and stab both hanging and prone realistic dummies as they go, while preferably having to crawl through actual animal guts and have those guts hanging out of the dummies. Horrific, extremely tiring, great fun and training value! Gurkhas from Nepal, who have served the British Army faithfully as mercenaries for centuries, do not use bayonets: They have their traditional curved and wicked kukri on their belts and will charge with extreme ferocity when in close contact with the enemy. This does not advocate the use of mechanical weapons over the use of your assault weapon or backup handgun at close range, but it’s something to think about in sowing fear amongst your enemies. The Native Americans back in the Revolutionary period utilized standoff weapons such as bows and muskets/rifles but I am sure their adversaries such as the British redcoats and the French had nightmares about a close range assault with a tomahawk?
Just some thoughts….

Edit: @ Disciple of Night’s comment:

Elaborating: sure, let me get some thoughts together and do that soon. Briefly, fixing bayonets, unless it has changed, used to be standard with British infantry in any kind of assault mode. The idea was to: ‘close with and destroy the enemy with bullet, bomb and bayonet’. The Falklands war was pretty old school in that bayonet assaults took place once the Paras got into the enemy positions. The way it was taught for infantry assault onto a defended position such as a trench or bunker was for a grenade to be ‘posted’ in and then the assault man would follow up by jumping or crawling into the bunker and finishing off anyone using either rifle fire and ultimatelyy the bayonet if it got that way.