11/13/2011 11:55am, #1
I wanna learn how to use a bayonet!
For a long time I've really been interested in bayonets. I feel like bayonets have such a heritage and history.
We're talking about real primal origins, going back to the time that someone figured out that a spear is an outstanding weapon that gives a strong initial advantage to the spear-user if he engages an enemy equipped with a shorter weapon while requiring minimal training in order to be effective, and decided to simply equip large groups of people with spears in order to form an army.
Much later, we're talking about the role of pikemen on the battlefield, which remained relevant, if I recall correctly, up through the 1700s.
And certainly we're talking about the emergence of gunpowder weapons, the development of muzzle loaders and muskets and the tactic of massing musket-users into ranks in order to project firepower, and then the integration of the pikeman role into these units with the development and refinement of bayonets, starting with the plug bayonet, and proceeding from there.
I feel like as far as European martial arts go, the bayonet has a long and illustrious history, and probably as we go back into the 1700s and 1800s we are going to see the highest level of sophistication in bayonet techniques, because that was the era when hand to hand combat was more important and more military professionals would have been spending more of their time either working on it or engaging in it, the era when muskets and the like were longer and thus made better spears than today's military pattern rifles, and the era when infantry would have really needed to rely on spear and pike-type skills in order to have a chance of surviving a cavalry charge.
To start out, though, I figured that a World War 1 bayonet manual would be of the era when cavalry still existed and commanders probably anticipated more hand to hand combat, but at the same time would have the benefit of clear photographs and modern English, as opposed to looking at some woodcut in German from the 1700s and trying to puzzle out the meaning.
So, last night I was trying to research World War 1 bayonet training. I found "The McLagen System of Bayonet Fighting" from World War 1, as well as that old Army combatives manual at globalsecurity.org that everyone has seen.
Although the guidelines are similar, I noticed a few key differences between the World War 1 manual and the contemporary one.
*The World War 1 manual assumes you're using a big, long old fashioned bolt action rifle with a really long bayonet on it that almost resembles a small sword. The contemporary one assumes an AR with a camping knife on the barrel. I also note that in the McLagen manual the rifle is canted and gripped differently when it's going to be used for bayonet fighting whereas in the modern manual it's straight.
*The contemporary one has you use a boxing stance as your basis for bayonet combat. The McLagen manual has your feet wider and your lead foot pointing straight ahead and your back foot pointing off to the side; it's more like a karate stance. Be that as it may, however, my personal experience from historical fencing is that old style deep "karate" stances are better than boxing stances for attacking with big, heavy weapons, and will give you more effective reach with said weapons. Also, the McLagen bayonet thrusts are very committed and have maximum reach.
*Finally, the old school manual is slightly more detailed in terms of techniques and counters, including disarms, sweeps, and takedowns. I also noticed there's a picture in the beginning of the McLagen manual showing an infantry unit with bayonet sparring gear, i.e. masks and padded training rifles. So there's some evidence they spent time and took pride in the fact they sparred a lot with bayonets.
While I was looking all this up, I found a very fun set of videos someone put on YouTube called "The Spirit of the Bayonet". The uploader states that the US Army discontinued bayonet training in 2010? Is that true? That seems pretty shocking to me.
Man, those contemporary bayonet courses look like so much fun! Run, scream, grimace, and take out your frustration on some bags of hay and tires. It makes me want to set up some tires in my back yard, fix bayonet on my mosin, and go to town on them for a cardio workout. But, there's no representation in those videos of the modern people working on bayonet vs. bayonet sparring. There's no "aliveness" to the bayonet training, at least not in terms of what is being shown in the above videos.
Now here's the kicker...I found an old Soviet bayonet propaganda piece that shows how Soviet bayonet training from 1939 specifically does have "aliveness", along with a tournament structure, and some "junior lieutenant" who won the bayonet championship that year. So it appears to me that as we go back in time, and the bayonet sparring was more important, you in fact did have "alive" bayonet training: http://youtu.be/ZDzz00OANAk
Well, in December, my historical weapons group is planning to work on historical spear and poleaxe. At the same time I'll be researching historical bayonet fighting.
Last edited by Wounded Ronin; 11/13/2011 12:00pm at .Best Vietnam War music video I've ever seen put together by a vet: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oDY8raKsdfg
11/13/2011 12:07pm, #2
- Join Date
- Jul 2002
- Rhineland Pfalz, Der Vaderland
Fix bayonet on appropriate weapon. Put pointy end into bad guy. Know what makes the grass grow green.______
Xiao Ao Jiang Hu Zhi Dong Fang Bu Bai (Laughing Proud Warrior Invincible Asia) Dark Emperor of Baji!!!
Didn't anyone ever tell him a fat man could never be a ninja
You can't practice Judo just to win a Judo Match! You practice so that no matter what happens, you can win using Judo!The key to fighting two men at once is to be much tougher than both of them.
11/13/2011 1:18pm, #3
- Join Date
- Mar 2010
Not sure if you're interested in contemporary bayonet training, at least as a matter for base comparison to historical training, it should be relatively easy to find some videos of the US Marine Corps' bayonet training. Its done in the MCMAP program. Off the top of my head; forward/reverse slash, thrust, close-disrupt-thrust (1 on 1, 2 on 1, 1 on 2, etc), defense against grabs, butt-strike/slash, sparring with padded sticks, etc etc etc.
11/14/2011 8:52am, #4
11/14/2011 10:22am, #5
The physical act of pushing a blade into someone is the easy part.
Having the fortitude to actually do it, that's another matter.
Bayonet training (as least in the British Forces) is delivered in a particular fashion which is specifically designed to create the emotions, physical demands and psychology involved in this form of warfare.
The last time I undertook this training as part of my last pre-deployment package, and the one before that.. all the way back to my basic recruit course in the army in '83, the format hasn't altered much. Roughly 4-6 hours of arduous physical activity - Battle PT - being screamed at by the instructors - marking time shouting KILL KILL KILL repeatedly while you wait in line - and all the rest of the stuff which pisses you off, winds you up so that when you "On Guard" and "Advance" you go in like a fucking unstoppable Spartan.
And it works too.
We're required to have a "decompression" period afterwards so that those highly strung, don't go off and chin some civvi **** later in the day. That's happened too BTW.
Last edited by Rock Ape; 11/14/2011 10:39am at ."To sin by silence when one should protest makes cowards out of men".
11/14/2011 10:28am, #6
And just for the comedic element -
"To sin by silence when one should protest makes cowards out of men".
11/14/2011 10:39am, #7
An excerpt from the pamphlet I teach from:
The bayonet is designed to produce good penetration when thrust point first into the body, it is shaped to part the ribs without embedding into the bone.
It has a curved part on the back of the blade, this must not be sharpened as this will reduce the blade's rib parting ability, there is a serrated edge which is used for rope cutting. The channels along the sides of the blade reduce the suction effect and allow for a clean withdrawal from the body."To sin by silence when one should protest makes cowards out of men".
11/14/2011 11:25am, #8
incidently Dave, the "suction effect" is unproven. Its not in any of the standard medical examiner guides so just take that with a grain of salt.
11/14/2011 11:52am, #9
11/14/2011 11:53am, #10
- Join Date
- Mar 2006
Damn, WR...What the ****'s up with you and bayonets? We had this discussion like three years ago and you've still got a hardon for bayonets? Do you have a fetish or something? lol.
Like it has already been pointed out, bayonet training is about aggression. Put the bayonet on the rifle and stab **** while screaming and not giving a **** if you die. Mix it up with a butt stroke and a parry every so often for funsies. That's it.
There's nothing complex or interesting about bayonet training. It's a last resort and is basically trained as a side note, if at all. Also, stabbing a tire with a rifle equipped with a bayonet hurts like ****.
If you want to simulate bayonet training in an alive fashion, try pugil sticks. There's not much more to say about bayonets.