Horses can be useful for crowd control (think NY police) and for locomotion in places like Afghanistan where they are less conspicuous than internal combustion engine vehicles and don’t require fuel.
When I was in the military, we had a bayonet but received no training in its use (I was a combat engineer). It was more of a general purpose tool which might be used as a weapon in the very unlikely event that we’d have a melee mano-a-mano fight with an enemy. I remember reading a press account of bayonets being used in by British soldiers in the early phase of the Iraq war.
More recently in Afghanistan too…
sounds very like lunacy. But it seem to have worked. “… Cpl Jones ordered three of his men to fix bayonets before breaking cover and leading them across 80 metres of open ground raked by enemy fire. …”
Ah, the Brits are such traditionalists!
There were some pretty well publicized photos a few years ago of Special Forces soldiers on horseback in Afghanistan. They were using them as transportation, same as the natives with whom they were embedded, rather than functioning as cavalry.
Bayonets never went away. They have morphed from a device to turn a rifle into a sort-of spear into a general purpose heavy field knife that can still be attached to the end of a rifle.
Here is an article about Army training and bayonets. Basically, the Army has acknowledged that the “run screaming across a field and jab a sharp stick attached to a rifle into a sandbag” course wasn’t very practical.
it was fun though.
Apparently at least one rogue CIA agent uses horses.
I got taught how to use a bayonet in 2002, but aside from Basic Training we never used them again.
When I deployed to Iraq in 2009, we got issued bayonets. Then halfway through the deployment someone realized we had no use for the damn things (in a non-combat arms branch) and they took them all back.
Horses sometimes get used for ceremonial purposes and, as above, SF units.
Isn’t bayonet training still a part of basic training in the US Marine Corps?
Bayonet charges aren’t (usually) useful. But not every engagement takes place across an open field. Or even a broken, but half-way open terrain. Fights these days are as likely to take place in close-quarters combat in a city as anything else. I’ve heard numerous stories of fights that actually got down to hand-to-hand combat. You may or may not be using the bayonet as a spear, but it’s still good to have at hand.
That’s because “They don’t like it up 'em”
Coincidentally, from this week:
“[…]Only one [in this guy’s team] had ever been on a horse before.”
Honestly, infantry has no business fighting in open fields. That’s what tanks are for.
At the height of the Iraq War, the Army put a lot of emphasis on hand-to-hand combat. They were shoveling Soldiers through their “combatives” classes, because a lot of people were storming buildings and getting into hand-to-hand combat.
The real change for bayonets occurred during the Civil War. Before then, bayonets played a huge role on the battlefield, generally accounting for roughly a third of all battlefield casualties. One thing George Washington learned the hard way was that if you weren’t good enough at bayonet fighting, the British were going to kick your butt all up and down the East Coast (at Valley Forge, besides starve, Washington’s men also learned proper military discipline and bayonet fighting, and only after that could he go toe to toe with the British).
They expected the Civil War to be pretty much the same thing, and you can see it in the design of the bayonets. The bayonets of the Civil War were still these long spiky things that were really good for poking holes into people, but weren’t practical knives at all. However, in the Civil War, changes in weapons and tactics made the bayonets pretty much obsolete, accounting for less than one percent of battlefield casualties. There were still occasions when bayonets were important, such as when one group ran out of ammo at one point during the battle at Gettysburg and out of desperation did an old fashioned bayonet charge, but that was pretty much the end of bayonets as a major battlefield weapon. You can see it in the design of bayonets after the Civil War. They very quickly changed from long spiky bayonets to knife style bayonets that were more useful as a tool around the camp. Bayonets have been used on occasion all the way up to the present day, but ever since the Civil War they have been last-ditch weapons that are only used in an emergency, and not main battle weapons.
It is my understanding that bayonet training was finally dropped from the U.S. Army basic training in 2010.
Close order drill has had no utility on the battlefield since the mid/late 19th century but is still a basic part of training for most (all?) militaries. It teaches discipline, conformity, being a part of a whole rather than an individual, all of which are still vital things to instill in soldiers even if they are never going to maneuver in these now archaic formations on the battlefield. The bayonet is similar; it will almost never be used on the modern battlefield, but training in its use teaches physical aggressiveness, still a vital thing to instill in soldiers.
The last major bayonet charge conducted by the US Army was in the Korean War led by Lewis Millett who was awarded the Medal of Honor for leading the charge, but was also reamed out to never do anything that stupid again.
The 8 man infantry section in the British Army is composed of the following:
1x Section commander, rifle.
1x Section 2IC, rifle.
2x Grenadiers, rifle with underbarrel grenade launcher.
2x L86 LSW, a longer, heavier barreled version of the standard rifle with a bipod.
2x Minimi LMGs.
The rifle with the grenade launcher cannot physically mount a bayonet, the grenade launcher is in the way. IIRC the LSW cannot either, the bipod is in the way and I don’t think it has a bayonet lug. The Minimi obviously does not have a bayonet lug. So basically if the modern British army gave the order to fix bayonets it will apply only to the section commander and 2IC, the 2 people who should really be worrying about other thingsmore important than bayonet duels.
Maybe bayonets are useful for rear echelon troops who don’t receive regular marksmanship practice.
True and in addition, the idea of using a bayonet with a bullpup rifle is a bit funny. You would have about as much reach by putting the bayonet in your hand.
I didn’t know the L86 was that widely deployed anymore. Wasn’t it supposed to be a halfway measure between a standard assault rifle and a proper LMG? If they’ve got two LMGs per section, why have two L86 LSW too?
Well, sometimes you don’t happen to have one, and air support isn’t conveniently available.
Fortunately, you’ve got a goddamn bayonet, so you don’t need tactical support by fast arnmored fighting vehicles loaded with explosive ordnance and high-vee machine guns.