Junior Ganymede
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No More Bayonet Drill in the Army

September 29th, 2010 by G.

The Army has taken bayonet drill out of basic training.

I disapprove.

Nothing else in basic training came close to conveying the soldier’s truth: the purpose and design of your existence was killing people.

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September 29th, 2010 11:08:23

September 29, 2010

Even after the egghead explains it to him (“Bayonet training is, in short, used to undo socialization – to ‘basically to try to mitigate or eradicate the reluctance of human beings to kill each other'”), the general still doesn’t get it. “‘What’s interesting,’ he says, ‘is if bayonet training is that important and it’s the centerpiece of everything we do, why is it the only place it’s taught is at basic training? If it’s that important, you’d think all the operational units would have bayonet assault courses.’”

The answer is that what’s being taught isn’t how to fight with a bayonet, but how to be a killer. That is taught in basic training like no other place.

September 29, 2010

Or, as the playwright put it:

What they got you teaching here, young sergeant?

Edged weapons, sir. Knife fighting.

Don’t you teach them knife fighting. Teach them to kill. That way, they meet some sonofabitch who studied knife fighting, they send his soul to hell.

September 29, 2010

Heinlein has his Starship Troopers being taught knife fighting in basic training, for precisely these reasons. Never mind that in actual combat they wear powered armor and carry incendiaries and tactical nuclear charges.

September 29, 2010

If I remember correctly, bayonets played a part in one of the battle scenes of “We Were Soldiers”, an account of the battle at Ia Drang Valley in the Vietnam war. (Book name was “We Were Soldiers Once, and Young.)

In any fight, you always run the risk of running out of ammo and grenades. (And your batteries could run out, for the modern battlefield.) Real life battlefields don’t have ammo/battery packs laying around like games do.

So it’s still entirely possible that any given soldier will need to use an edged weapon or a pointy stick.

And for that eventuality, one needs to know how to properly place the edge or the point, and what the likely outcomes of various placements are. For the quickest and surest, think of pithing a frog:
(There’s a “pithing” scene in Spartacus, where a Roman uses his personal knife against a rebellious slave. There’s also the red paint scene. “This kills, this wounds.”)

In cases where the central nervous system or skeletal system is not disrupted, and incapacitation will eventually be caused by exsanguination or suffocation, the brain can generally maintain consciousness and control the body for 30 seconds after its blood supply (or oxygen supply) is cut off.

September 29, 2010

Of course, you also remember the Salvadoran Corporal Toloza, who one day in Iraq proved that when the going gets tough, the tough get stabby. http://www.blackfive.net/main/2004/05/el_sals_profess.html

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