Are soldiers still piped into battle?

British soldiers were piped into battle in several battles during WW2 (see this picture for instance, courtesy of Wikipedia, during Operation Epsom, as well as during the D-Day landings). Does this practice still occur? Are soldiers still being piped into battle in Iraq and Afghanistan? If not, when did the practice die out?

It died out in WWI. The order went to the trenches that pipers could not lead the charge, but had to remain behind. They were targeted by the Germans and were being killed faster than new ones could be trained.


Use of pipers in battle after WWI has been rare, though the pipes are important for ceremonial purposes.

Oddly, ninjas have never adopted this tradition.

Oh, that kind of “piped.” You really had me puzzled there for a minute. Given the usual, everyday meaning of the phrase “piped into,” I had visions of fighting men sliding down a long pipeline to deliver them onto the battlefield. Maybe it would be more cost-efficient than APCs.

I found this to be a fascinating obituary of Bill Millin, who apparently stormed Normandy Beach armed with nothing but a ceremonial dagger and bagpipes.

The OP included a link to the New York Times obit for Bill Millin. And I was amused that the only reason that the Germans didn’t shoot him when he was playing his bagpipes on the beaches of Normandy was because they were sure that he was insane.

Now days they use the internet instead, and call it ‘tubing’.
Soldiers are tubed into battle.

And I thought the OP was referring to pitch-pipes like you see officers use in WWI movies.

The Navy still uses bosun’s pipes to pass information in battle conditions - it is generally used as a signal preceding an announcement, but can stand alone.

And here I was picturing them being launched from a bagpipe-cannon to the front lines.

If they aren’t, they damn well should be. It put the fear of God into Johnny Hun, so why wouldn’t it do the same to Johnny Afghan? :slight_smile:

See, I was picturing a boy playing a fife, like in the paintings of Revolutionary & Civil war times…

After some searching, it appears that the US Marines have at least one war piper on the frontline in Iraq. The article is a little ambiguous as to whether he plays the pipes when his fellow marines are in battle, though.

It’s simple: bagpipes were used when marching, and outside of parade grounds, soldiers simply don’t march anymore. They run, they ride, they patrol and they sneak, but they don’t march. No soldier walks in when he knows the enemy can see him.

My God! Of course!

Welsh Battle Bards to the attack! CHARGE!

I wonder, if any such soldier were to desert and join the other side, would he be going from Bard to Würst?

I hate you.

That was hilarious.

I hate you.

Me too. I thought, “oh, that’s why they were digging all those trenches… for the pipes!”

Thank you. I aim to please. :slight_smile:

Or for dead pipers? :frowning:

Have a picture in my mind of a piper with kilt flapping in the wind, sprinting desperately in a vain attempt to keep up with a Challenger II.
Captions would be welcome for what the Tank commander is saying.