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#1
Old 03-19-2010, 11:27 AM
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Triangle Bayonets and Wounds

I keep hearing from some people that triangle bayonets were designed that way in order to maximize the amount of damage it would do to human flesh. Supposedly, it would cause a jagged wound that was difficult to sew up. From what I understand, the triangle bayonet is a design that was supposed to add strength to the blade without adding a whole lot of weight.


So what's the straight dope? Do triangle bayonets cause more severe wounds than other types of bayonets? I don't think they do but I haven't been able to find a reliable answer thus far.

Thank you.
#2
Old 03-19-2010, 11:35 AM
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Since before Roman times, it has been known that slashing wounds are bloody, but stab wounds kill. So weapons that lend themselves to stabbing are deadlier. But most soldiers usually use their bayonets as camp knives for general housekeeping. As a result rat-tail and triangular bayonets are not well-liked.

Does that help?
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#3
Old 03-19-2010, 11:43 AM
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Years ago with re-enactments, we were told the purpose of a triangular bayonet was to stab (deeply), twist and then pull out. The triangular shape often meant the innards are held by the bayonet when you twist so when extracted, out comes the bayonet, dragging some of the innards as well. Makes death a rapid certainty.
#4
Old 03-19-2010, 11:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Duckster View Post
Makes death a rapid certainty.
Gut wounds can take a long time to finish off the victim.

ETA: 'line-through' added for effect (i.e. not in original)

Last edited by KarlGauss; 03-19-2010 at 11:54 AM.
#5
Old 03-19-2010, 12:00 PM
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At my historic fort, we have Martini-Henry rifles that have the triangular bayonet type (there was also a "sword" bayonet, but our research indicates that the Royal Marine Artillery at this station carried the triangular).

When I started here, the old soldier who was superintendent told us that he had been trained (circa 1937) that the "slit" wound from a knife-type bayonet might close up from abdominal muscle action (hence the need for the "thrust-twist-remove" taught to British & Commonwealth soldiers). His contention was that the Victorian triangular blade bayonet created a hole that, due to its shape, was far less likely to close up due to muscle action, and hence bleed more freely.

His personal opinion was that soldiers preferred a "sword" bayonet, as being a far more useful tool overall for multitasking. He recalled the dismay early in WW2 in the Canadian army when the old 18-inch sword bayonet for the Lee-Enfield was withdrawn in favour of a 4-inch "pigsticker," essentially a short round spike.

I don't contend that his 1930s instructors had the actual hard facts--the military tends to repeat a good story ad infinitum--but it seems to have been the perceived truth at the time.

Last edited by Rodd Hill; 03-19-2010 at 12:01 PM. Reason: Capitalization.
#6
Old 03-19-2010, 12:58 PM
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I have also heard that a triangular blade doesn't tend to get stuck in the wound - anyone who's prepared meat will tell you that a flat blade can get a kind of suction going.
#7
Old 03-19-2010, 01:07 PM
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From my military experience, bayonets are primarily used as camp tool. Being that they don't give you anything to sharpen them with, and they come to you as dull as a crowbar, they don't even serve that purpose well.

The modern weapons are full automatic, use small caliber and high velocity ammo, are very light, and are short carbine style rifles. This makes them pretty useless for bayonet fighting anyway. Bayonets are now an archaic tool from the days of semi-auto/bolt action long guns and trench fighting.
#8
Old 03-19-2010, 02:10 PM
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The use of bayonets has changed quite a bit over the years. Back in the flintlock days (1600s through the mid 1800s) bayonets were shoved on the end of muskets. If you look at Hollywood movies they seem to think that flintlocks were used a lot like modern rifles, but they weren't. Toe to toe fighting with bayonets was extremely important in those days, to the point where bayonets caused easily a third or more of all casualties on a typical battlefield.

At that time, muskets were used as pikes. The musketeers would fire off a volley, and then would advance in formation like pikemen. A flat bayonet on the end of a six foot musket could easily be bent. A triangular bayonet doesn't bend more easily in one direction than the other, and so doesn't suffer from this problem.

The fact that triangular pointy things make a more jagged wound was just a side benefit.

Fast forward to the days of the percussion lock and the rifled musket (U.S. Civil War era) and the changes in musket accuracy and design, combined with different tactics takes bayonets from causing roughly a third of all battlefield casualties to causing less than 1 percent of battlefield casualties. Now you finally see muskets being used more like modern rifles, and bayonets move from a primary position on the battlefield to becoming the much more rarely used last ditch type of weapon that they are today. Instead of being used in pike formations, bayonets in modern warfare are much more likely to be used in one on one type situations, where tactics and techniques are much different.

I don't know enough about modern fighting techniques to say which type of bayonet is better these days, but back when triangular bayonets were first invented they were a replacement for pikes, and they were designed to be good at pike style formation fighting.
#9
Old 03-19-2010, 03:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by engineer_comp_geek View Post

I don't know enough about modern fighting techniques to say which type of bayonet is better these days, but back when triangular bayonets were first invented they were a replacement for pikes, and they were designed to be good at pike style formation fighting.
When was the last time a bayonet was used for its intended purpose (i.e. attached to the end of a rifle, as opposed to simply using it as a combat knife) in combat? I would be surprised if it was after WWII. (A little searching indicates that there was one in the Korean War.)

ETA: My point being that the bayonet is obsolete and totally irrelevant in the context of modern fighting techniques.

Last edited by AmunRa; 03-19-2010 at 03:14 PM.
#10
Old 03-19-2010, 03:19 PM
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I was guessing some time in Vietnam, but I found this:

Quote:
the Army conducted its most recent bayonet charge in Iraq in 2004, when 20 soldiers of the 1st Battalion The Princess of Wales Royal Regiment attacked 100 insurgents in the Battle of Danny Boy
From here:
http://timesonline.co.uk/tol/new...cle7066237.ece
#11
Old 03-19-2010, 03:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Cat Whisperer View Post
I have also heard that a triangular blade doesn't tend to get stuck in the wound - anyone who's prepared meat will tell you that a flat blade can get a kind of suction going.
Could that be why some flat bayonets have a large lengthwise groove? One doesn't generally see that kind of groove on knives made for cutting as opposed to stabbing.
#12
Old 03-19-2010, 03:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by engineer_comp_geek View Post
I was guessing some time in Vietnam, but I found this:

From here:
http://timesonline.co.uk/tol/new...cle7066237.ece
I'm sure you heard of the recent announcement that the US Army is dropping the bayonet drill as part of basic training. End of an era.

I heard once that a drill instructor was telling his charges that if their bayonet ever got stuck in their victim, all they needed to do was shoot a round or two and that would free it up. To which one recruit replied, "If I had a round or two, I sure as hell wouldn't have used my bayonet!"
#13
Old 03-19-2010, 04:17 PM
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Originally Posted by PatriotGrrrl View Post
Could that be why some flat bayonets have a large lengthwise groove? One doesn't generally see that kind of groove on knives made for cutting as opposed to stabbing.
That groove is called a "fuller". It's purpose is to make the blade stronger so that it can't be as easily bent from side to side. I beams are I shaped for the same reason.

Fullers are commonly called "blood grooves" because a lot of folks don't really understand what they are used for. A lot of folks say they are to let the blood out or they are to prevent suction from grabbing the blade, but that's not their purpose.
#14
Old 03-19-2010, 06:42 PM
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I'd heard that the major reason for bayonet training (as well as hand-to-hand training) in modern armies was not for using those weapons at all, but simply for fostering aggression. A guy who's had a lot of practices stabbing, gouging and goring targets while screaming bloodthirstily will have an easier time pulling a trigger or throwing a grenade than someone who hasn't so trained.
#15
Old 03-20-2010, 04:20 AM
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From what I have heard triangular bayonets were no longer allowed to be used after WW1.
#16
Old 03-20-2010, 05:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AmunRa View Post
When was the last time a bayonet was used for its intended purpose (i.e. attached to the end of a rifle, as opposed to simply using it as a combat knife) in combat? I would be surprised if it was after WWII. (A little searching indicates that there was one in the Korean War.)

ETA: My point being that the bayonet is obsolete and totally irrelevant in the context of modern fighting techniques.
The bayonet became obsolete in the 1800s. The introduction of repeating rifles meant that cavalry could no longer get to within lance or sabre range.

The demise of the bayonet as an anti cavalry tool coincided with the rise of belief in the insane idea that the bayonet was the key infantry weapon. Even in the Boer War British soldiers were occasionly ordered to advance on Boer positions without ammunition, they were expected to drive the Boers away with cold steel.
#17
Old 03-20-2010, 05:36 AM
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Technically speaking, a bayonet-armed soldier is essentially an unarmored spearman - which means that technologically, he lags far behind a Greek Hoplite of 2200 years earlier, and would be torn apart by one in battle.
#18
Old 03-20-2010, 06:10 AM
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I used to collect bayonets, and came to a few conclusions.

They seem to have started off as a form of cutlass, then there was the mutation along the lines of the Lebel needle (initially with and then without a handguard), the ultimate form of that was the Enfield spike mentioned by another poster.
Good for poking when mounted, but totally useless 'in the hand'.

Along the way you see 'triangular' stabbing devices without handles, but long enough to get in the way when on the belt.

My guess was that the designers were trying to provide something single function, but the 'clients' (troops) wanted something multifunctional - preferably something useful for brawling as well as for use in official combat.

Personally I reckon that the USA is making a mistake dropping bayonet training, except they aren't totally dropping it as the Marines are keeping them.
#19
Old 03-20-2010, 09:44 AM
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I post without a cite that just a few months ago after an ambush, a US soldier was rifling the dead bodies for intelligence when one 'came back to life' and had to be dispatched with a knife. I bet they both had an amazing look of surprise on their faces.
#20
Old 03-20-2010, 10:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by engineer_comp_geek View Post
That groove is called a "fuller". It's purpose is to make the blade stronger so that it can't be as easily bent from side to side. I beams are I shaped for the same reason.

Fullers are commonly called "blood grooves" because a lot of folks don't really understand what they are used for. A lot of folks say they are to let the blood out or they are to prevent suction from grabbing the blade, but that's not their purpose.
Nitpick: the fuller itself does not make the blade stronger; rather, it allows use of a heavier blade by reducing weight in the portion of the blade which is not subject to high tensile stress. For the reason you mention, of course.

A friend of mine believes that some of the inspiration for triangular blades was due to a misguided belief that leech bites (which are triangular) bled so much because of the geometry, rather than the anticoagulants in their mouth parts (which of course folks didn't know about in early times). I find that guess to be a bit of a reach, but not impossible.

Leech bite example: http://research.amnh.org/~siddall/me...hics/Bite.jpeg
#21
Old 03-20-2010, 03:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Paul in Qatar View Post
I post without a cite that just a few months ago after an ambush, a US soldier was rifling the dead bodies for intelligence when one 'came back to life' and had to be dispatched with a knife. I bet they both had an amazing look of surprise on their faces.
Why couldn't he have been dispatched with a rifle?

Last edited by Alessan; 03-20-2010 at 03:36 PM.
#22
Old 03-20-2010, 06:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Alessan View Post
Why couldn't he have been dispatched with a rifle?
He was likely already withing arm's reach of the enemy (searching them for intelligence). In that situation it takes less time to pull a knife and stab the other guy than it would to get the rifle pointed in the right direction and pull the trigger.
#23
Old 03-20-2010, 07:06 PM
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Originally Posted by yendis View Post
The bayonet became obsolete in the 1800s. The introduction of repeating rifles meant that cavalry could no longer get to within lance or sabre range.

The demise of the bayonet as an anti cavalry tool coincided with the rise of belief in the insane idea that the bayonet was the key infantry weapon. Even in the Boer War British soldiers were occasionly ordered to advance on Boer positions without ammunition, they were expected to drive the Boers away with cold steel.
Read the link in post 10.
#24
Old 03-21-2010, 03:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Odesio View Post
I keep hearing from some people that triangle bayonets were designed that way in order to maximize the amount of damage it would do to human flesh. Supposedly, it would cause a jagged wound that was difficult to sew up. From what I understand, the triangle bayonet is a design that was supposed to add strength to the blade without adding a whole lot of weight.


So what's the straight dope? Do triangle bayonets cause more severe wounds than other types of bayonets? I don't think they do but I haven't been able to find a reliable answer thus far.

Thank you.
I used to have an AK-47 acquired in Cambodia when I was in Viet Nam. It had a triangle shaped bayonet. The bayonet was triangular in cross section . I asked the sainted Dr. Laubengayer about the reason for the shape of the bayonet. He said that it would cause an angular shaped wound (three angular shaped wounds, actually) which would not get blood supply and would lead to sepsis.
#25
Old 03-21-2010, 08:44 AM
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If saw-tooth bayonets are illegal, I guess those C02 knives used by divers are out of the question.

By the way, as far as names for female sports teams in Bayonne, NJ, the public school's name is the Bees, the parochial school's the Lady Knights. They just didn't opt for the obvious choice.
#26
Old 03-21-2010, 09:24 AM
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Originally Posted by AmunRa View Post
He was likely already withing arm's reach of the enemy (searching them for intelligence). In that situation it takes less time to pull a knife and stab the other guy than it would to get the rifle pointed in the right direction and pull the trigger.
A handgun would have done the job just as well, or even better - the guy should have had a squadmate covering him with a rifle while he searched.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lust4Life View Post
Read the link in post 10.
Well, I read it, and it provided no information on as to why the incident in question required the use of bayonets. All it says is something about "closing with the enemy". Well, duh - of course you have to close with the enemy. My own infantry training emphasized that a firefight isn't over until you've charged the enemy's positions, after sufficient softening. It's just that I don't see why you need bayonets to charge.
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Old 03-21-2010, 09:43 AM
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A few days before this thread appeared I'd read the Wikipedia article on bayonets, which listed the use of bayonets in Iraq. Most of them were done by the British.

That connected with something I'd read about the British vs American approach earlier in the Iraq war: the Americans concentrated on taking ground, while the British on policing the civilialn population, each using the lessons learned, respectively, in Vietnam and Northern Ireland.

If that's so, it may explain the use of bayonets. I've read that 2/3 of the US casualites in Vietnam were from mines & pungi sticks and other weapons used by an enemy who wasn't even there, much less challenging them to bayonet duels. Whereas in Nothern Ireland...

Last edited by Slithy Tove; 03-21-2010 at 09:44 AM.
#28
Old 03-23-2010, 08:41 AM
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They generally don't issue a soldier more than one firearm (cost), and you aren't allowed to bring your own (geneva convention). So an average enlisted soldier isn't going to get a pistol, period. They won't even let you loot fallen enemy for weapons and ammo. Perhaps things have changed since the first Gulf War, but PC in combat is maddening. I got yelled at for using a butt pack I bought myself, but wasn't issued and told to get in the correct uniform!
#29
Old 03-23-2010, 09:12 AM
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I appreciate the answers people have provided in this thread. I don't think anyone has come up with a concrete answer to the question though.


ODesio
#30
Old 03-23-2010, 12:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alessan View Post
A handgun would have done the job just as well, or even better - the guy should have had a squadmate covering him with a rifle while he searched.



Well, I read it, and it provided no information on as to why the incident in question required the use of bayonets. All it says is something about "closing with the enemy". Well, duh - of course you have to close with the enemy. My own infantry training emphasized that a firefight isn't over until you've charged the enemy's positions, after sufficient softening. It's just that I don't see why you need bayonets to charge.
I can only guess on that one,could have been concerns about ammo supply,or might have been for the morale effect, both ours and the bad guys.
#31
Old 08-19-2011, 05:39 PM
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triangular bayonet caused a wound that was difficult to deal with.

Hi. This bayoner causes a triangular wound which is difficult to deal with. Think of how your soft tissue reacts as you breathe and move. The movements would constantly open up the wound. Two closely sited side might begin to knit, but movement will open that up again. Remember they did not have stitches then so not much could be done. Plus the poor blood supply to the sides and tissues would swiftly cause further problems. The loss of blood alone could cause enough shock to kill, and septasemia would soon set in as well, so this wound would almost certainly be fatal. Hope this helps. I heard the same and it makes sense to me. HS

Quote:
Originally Posted by Odesio View Post
I keep hearing from some people that triangle bayonets were designed that way in order to maximize the amount of damage it would do to human flesh. Supposedly, it would cause a jagged wound that was difficult to sew up. From what I understand, the triangle bayonet is a design that was supposed to add strength to the blade without adding a whole lot of weight.


So what's the straight dope? Do triangle bayonets cause more severe wounds than other types of bayonets? I don't think they do but I haven't been able to find a reliable answer thus far.

Thank you.
#32
Old 08-19-2011, 09:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by henryshrapnel View Post
Hi. This bayoner causes a triangular wound which is difficult to deal with. Think of how your soft tissue reacts as you breathe and move. The movements would constantly open up the wound. Two closely sited side might begin to knit, but movement will open that up again. Remember they did not have stitches then so not much could be done. Plus the poor blood supply to the sides and tissues would swiftly cause further problems. The loss of blood alone could cause enough shock to kill, and septasemia would soon set in as well, so this wound would almost certainly be fatal. Hope this helps. I heard the same and it makes sense to me. HS
The above is roughly what I read some years ago in relation to the cruciform section bayonet (essentially "triangular"), most commonly found today on older Chinese Type 56 (AK 47) assault rifles. This bayonet is permanently attached, swings in a semi-circle to fix, and is folded back into a groove in the lower front handguard when not in use. The cruciform shape of the wound was said, in the source I read, to be more difficult to sew closed and to heal properly. Still, I doubt that is the INTENTION behind this style of bayonet. I suspect convenience of use or manufacture in the Chinese case. Russia used the same style of bayonet from at least the late 1800's to post WW II.

I like the posts suggesting the triangular shape was originally intended to replace a particular pike-style weapon (used to ward off cavalry, I believe), or rather to graft that useful older weapon onto the more effective "modern" firearms that were coming onto the battlefield to get a two-weapons-in-one advantage.

As several posters have said, bayonets aren't given the same emphasis and function as in the past today, so their modern design is not much more than a tool with a secondary function as bayonet.

Can I state any of this with authority? No. It comes from my reading.
#33
Old 08-19-2011, 09:30 PM
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Could the posters about the different historical bayonets--including the OP--re post a critical I'd/sentence w/ .jpg links? I can't follow what the heck is going on....
#34
Old 08-20-2011, 01:22 AM
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Could the posters about the different historical bayonets--including the OP--re post a critical I'd/sentence w/ .jpg links? I can't follow what the heck is going on....
A triangular bayonet is the type commonly found on muskets through the 1700s and 1800s. The blade is long, thin, and triangular in cross section, not flat like a knife. Here are some examples:

http://img.kansasmemory.org/thumb500/00259254.jpg
http://media.midwayusa.com/productim...487/487220.jpg
http://jarnaginco.com/artwork/ca...harbayonet.jpg

A typical example would be the British land pattern musket, also known as the Brown Bess musket. Here's a picture of a Brown Bess with the bayonet attached:

http://gunsofold.com/images/fd1054.gif

In contrast, here are some sword bayonets, which have a flat blade (some literally were swords that you would stick on the end of a rifle):
http://nzaaawgtn.org.nz/images/a09/it09_038.jpg

And here is a sword bayonet attached to a musket:
http://cmhg.gc.ca/cmh/book_image...02_ss00_14.jpg

Triangular bayonets were used on main infantry muskets like the British Brown Bess and the French Charleville. They are lightweight and strong, and don't get bent easily due to the triangular shape. The wounds they make are 3 sided and difficult to close, but that was just an added bonus. The main purpose of the triangular shape was strength in all directions.

Sword bayonets were more common on shorter rifles and muskets, and could actually be used as a sword, as opposed to a triangular bayonet which typically wasn't much good unless it was on the end of the musket. Shorter rifles and sword bayonets were used by cavalry. Infantry, in contrast, would line up in long lines, and after shooting, would affix bayonets and charge. A long line of infantrymen with pointy things at the end of their muskets is a very formidable force, and George Washington got his butt kicked up and down the battlefield by the British doing exactly that until he went into Valley Forge and got some decent bayonet training. (as well as some good army discipline training). Triangular bayonets are good at stabbing, and aren't so good at slashing. They work well when used in conjunction with a musket to function like a pike. A row of pikemen doesn't need to slash. Stabbing works just fine in that situation. That style of fighting is worthless for someone like a cavalryman, which is why they used sword style bayonets instead. Each type of bayonet had its purpose.

Triangular bayonets were used up through the U.S. Civil War. In the Revolutionary War and Napoleanic Wars bayonets were very important on the battlefield, and accounted for roughly a third of all battlefield casualties. In the Civil War, improvements in weapons and tactics made bayonet fighting pretty much obsolete. Bayonets changed from being a primary battle weapon to being a tool used around the camp that could be used as a last ditch weapon if necessary.

Since the end of the 1800s, knife style bayonets such as these have been the most popular:
http://mosinnagant.net/images/svt_40...net_series.jpg

Triangular bayonets have still found some use even up into fairly modern times, but the primary infantry bayonet these days is usually the knife style.

Early bayonets were "plug" type bayonets. You literally plugged them into the end of the barrel. These were relatively quickly replaced by socket bayonets. The advantage of a socket bayonet is that you can still fire the weapon with the bayonet attached. In the musket days, you could load the weapon, affix the bayonet, wait for the enemy, then shoot and charge without stopping in between to affix the bayonet like you had to with the plug style.

Plug bayonet:
http://webprojects.prm.ox.ac.uk/arms...1884.28.35.jpg

Socket bayonet:
http://worldbayonets.com/Bayonet...onet_terms.jpg
#35
Old 08-20-2011, 01:40 AM
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Originally Posted by engineer_comp_geek View Post
[snip entire humongous reply to me, of benefit to many]
Goddamn. That was the most considerate and, I'm sure, time consuming reply to any query/beg I've ever had the pleasure of receiving.
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#36
Old 08-21-2011, 09:41 AM
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Originally Posted by AmunRa View Post
When was the last time a bayonet was used for its intended purpose (i.e. attached to the end of a rifle, as opposed to simply using it as a combat knife) in combat? I would be surprised if it was after WWII. (A little searching indicates that there was one in the Korean War.)

ETA: My point being that the bayonet is obsolete and totally irrelevant in the context of modern fighting techniques.
Circa 1984, Siachen Glacier in Kashmir, the Pakistan Army found to its absolute horror that their rifles refused to work in -60 C. They had to resort to bayonet charges on several occasions. So did the Indians. My father who was a staff officer recalled that they got complaints from the Indian side saying that the Pakistanis were mutilating bodies.
#37
Old 08-21-2011, 10:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Odesio View Post
I keep hearing from some people that triangle bayonets were designed that way in order to maximize the amount of damage it would do to human flesh. Supposedly, it would cause a jagged wound that was difficult to sew up. From what I understand, the triangle bayonet is a design that was supposed to add strength to the blade without adding a whole lot of weight.


So what's the straight dope? Do triangle bayonets cause more severe wounds than other types of bayonets? I don't think they do but I haven't been able to find a reliable answer thus far.

Thank you.
a triangular spike stuck into your vitals will produce a small wound channel that will stay partly open. that's not the bad news. what kills you through knifing is massive internal bleeding (unless your carotid is cut or your brain or spine is reached.) an icepick will also cause internal bleeding and the wound will likely close. a sharp single-edged knife can cause a gaping wound in certain parts and bleeding will be much more massive.

so damage-wise, it's no worse. a triangular section is indeed stronger and sturdier. as a tool, it is limited to bayonet use.

i know the m-4 is a bit fragile for serious bayonet application.
#38
Old 08-21-2011, 10:38 PM
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I was under the impression cruciform bayonets were easier and cheaper to make, and easier to fix to the end of your rifle than flat blade designs. I think people are paying too much attention to the 'killyness' of one bayonet wound over another - if you are unlucky enough to get bayoneted, your chances are never good regardless. Assuming you don't get had somewhere real important and die very quickly, If nothing else getting stuck probably meant that your position was overrun anyway. It's really up to how nice the other guys are as to surviving or not.
#39
Old 08-21-2011, 11:23 PM
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Yes, in the days of serious bayonet warfare (basically pre-American Civil War--although some commanders in the ACW tried traditional frontal charges with a mind toward slamming into an entrenched position with bayonets, almost invariably these charges were massively defeated with huge casualties by repeating riflemen firing in multiple ranks) once you're stuck you're probably dead. When you're pushing into the enemy in that style of warfare your goal is going to be to continuously kill the person in front of you until you've broken their lines and then the cavalry was supposed to try to inflict large casualties on more dispersed infantry.

Sabers also had some usage in the Napoleonic wars as well, I believe it was the 1796 British Cavalry Saber that was often protested as creating wounds that were unnecessarily grievous, its design was influenced by swords the British encountered in India.

While it was months ago, the Battle of Danny Boy involved a bayonet charge because the British soldiers had run out of ammunition. I read the AAR at one point, but it's been some years. Essentially the insurgents in question had taken to sending out younger recruits to harass convoys with small arms fire, the goal wasn't so much to get involved in a protracted battle but to give young, new recruits in outfits like the Mahdi Army some experience firing a weapon in anger at a hostile force.

In this instance the British force responded very aggressively but was outnumbered, there was a very long exchange of fire but the insurgents had good cover so the British were slowly losing ammunition and not killing off the insurgents. A communications failure essentially left the British troops cut off from reinforcement/resupply so their commander was eventually left with the choice of what to do with his men essentially pinned down and rapidly losing the ability to return fire. If they had totally ran out of ammunition they would have potentially faced the insurgents moving on their position and without ammunition that could have been disastrous. The decision was made to fix bayonets and charge, it is my understanding no British were killed in action during the charge and over 20 insurgents fell to the British bayonets.

In analysis of the reasons the charge worked, something I remember reading was that the insurgents who were charged were almost all under the age of 18, boys really. They had been told by the older guys who trained them that coalition troops were more or less cowards who hid behind technological superiority/gear, and that they were not tough on a close up and personal level. The truth was the British were trained soldiers given an order to charge a position with bayonets, they were extremely aggressive--a bayonet charge is an extremely aggressive, violent thing, and while it would seem easy to stop with bullets they happen very, very quickly and it's easier said than done to stop a bayonet charge especially if they are coming up on uneven terrain and have cover they can use to get very close to your position (it's a different story if you've established a firing line and they are advancing over flat, open terrain.)

The wounds caused actually lead to this battle being investigated as a war crime. I do not know what came of it but there were allegations of mutilation and etc, which may have happened but the truth is killing someone with a bayonet is never going to be pretty and the corpse will not be pretty, either.
#40
Old 08-21-2011, 11:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wotdazog View Post
I was under the impression cruciform bayonets were easier and cheaper to make, and easier to fix to the end of your rifle than flat blade designs. I think people are paying too much attention to the 'killyness' of one bayonet wound over another - if you are unlucky enough to get bayoneted, your chances are never good regardless. Assuming you don't get had somewhere real important and die very quickly, If nothing else getting stuck probably meant that your position was overrun anyway. It's really up to how nice the other guys are as to surviving or not.


I have a recollection of some British general or another saying that during WWII the only people killed with the bayonet had their hands up.

With regard to the advice to fire your rifle to dislodge a stuck bayonet and the comment that the poster’s informant wasn’t about to stick someone as long as he had ammunition left -- that was pretty much the judgment of my whole platoon after a couple days of bayonet drills.
#41
Old 08-22-2011, 12:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by henryshrapnel View Post
Hi. This bayoner causes a triangular wound which is difficult to deal with. Think of how your soft tissue reacts as you breathe and move.
A zombie thread I started! With respects, what is the source of your information? I've never come across a medical text detailing how much greater in difficulty it was to patch up a triangle bayonet versus a knife bayonet. I know that people seem to think triangle bayonets cause greater wounds, but, so far as I've been able to tell, nobody has offered up decent evidence to demonstrate this.

The reason I asked the question in the first place was because I heard a Civil War "living history" enthusiast (reenactor). About the only interest I have in military history was the medicine. I can recall surgical instructions for treating puncture wounds but I don't recall anyone bothering to note that triangle bayonets were different or worse than knife bayonets.
#42
Old 08-22-2011, 07:53 AM
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This is what medical texts of the era have to say about bayonets:

"Lessons on hygiene and surgery from the Franco-Prussian war" By Charles Alexander Gordon (sir.) 1873
Quote:
The Prussians have only the triangular bayonet, a weapon which produces wounds of much less severity than those by the French sword-bayonet. Wounds by either were comparatively rare, however, during the Franco-Prussian war.
"Manual of surgery" By William Rose 1898
Quote:
Wounds resulting from the modern sword-bayonet, though very serious from their size and depth, are not so difficult to heal as those inflicted by the old triangular blade.
"The practice of surgery: a treatise on surgery for the use of practitioners and students" By Henry Redwood Wharton, Benjamin Farquhar Curtis 1898
Quote:
Bayonet Wounds.—These wounds vary with the shape of the bayonet with which they are inflicted—either the triangular-shaped or the swordshaped bayonet. Bayonet wounds are said to be especially liable to be infected and cause deep-seated suppuration. The wound produced by the sword bayonet is of the nature of an incised wound, and heals more promptly than that produced by the triangular-shaped bayonet.
#43
Old 08-22-2011, 01:32 PM
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There's a tendency with military technology perceived as "old" for some people to insist that it absolutely has not been used despite clear historical records showing same.

I've read numerous incidental accounts of bayonet use in the American Civil War and WWII, and I've read many assertions that "no" bayonet use took place in those wars. Same thing with surface-ship actions: one can read about the repeated naval battles off Guadalcanal, which include a battleship sinking another battleship/battlecruiser (depending on how one would rate the older ship) and then read assertions that NO surface actions, and certainly no battleship actions, took place after Pearl Harbor.

My guess would be that we're too eager to "debunk" what we perceive as older "myths."
#44
Old 08-23-2011, 03:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sailboat View Post
I've read numerous incidental accounts of bayonet use in the American Civil War and WWII, and I've read many assertions that "no" bayonet use took place in those wars.
I wish I could remember where I found this cite. According to Union medical records, during the Civil War less than 1/2% of the battlefield wounds treated had to anything to do with lacerations or puncture wounds inflicted during hand to hand combat. I have three theories for why this might be true.

#1. By the time we get into hand to hand combat I am more likely to kill or be killed rather than just wounded.

#2. By the time the enemy closes in for hand to hand combat I am already fleeing.

#3. Firearms are so effective that bayonet charges are of limited use.
#45
Old 08-23-2011, 03:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by engineer_comp_geek View Post
This is what medical texts of the era have to say about bayonets:
Thanks! So at least some surgeons were of the opinion that the triangle bayonets caused wounds that were more difficult to heal.
#46
Old 08-23-2011, 08:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Odesio View Post
I wish I could remember where I found this cite. According to Union medical records, during the Civil War less than 1/2% of the battlefield wounds treated had to anything to do with lacerations or puncture wounds inflicted during hand to hand combat. I have three theories for why this might be true.

#1. By the time we get into hand to hand combat I am more likely to kill or be killed rather than just wounded.

#2. By the time the enemy closes in for hand to hand combat I am already fleeing.

#3. Firearms are so effective that bayonet charges are of limited use.
It's also worth noting that the bayonet is traditionally the weapon of choice for finishing off wounded foes. It's also possible that in close combat, bayonet strikes on a given opponent were repeated, thus increasing the likelihood of lethality and decreasing the number of cases showing up at dressing stations.
#47
Old 12-31-2011, 02:39 PM
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Oooorah!!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by FRDE View Post

Personally I reckon that the USA is making a mistake dropping bayonet training, except they aren't totally dropping it as the Marines are keeping them.
OOOOOOOOOOORAH!!!!!!!!!!!!! and THATS part of why i decided to be a Marine over all others! political correctness will eventually swallow the whole military, Marine Corps included) but i know in my heart that they will always be the last to give up their time honored traditions to a bunch of bleeding heart mothers whining about their "baby boys" (who, coincidentally are signing up to volunteer to kill people, knowing that they risk injury or death themselves) and people who join and then complain that the military is "too hard on them" *tears*tears*. I think the Marines keeping bayonet training is a GREAT idea because as one guy above me said, it makes a person more aggressive as well as more confident. you cant expect people to be successful in combat if they are so scared and insecure of their own physical abilities that they simply freak out and run the second their weapon jams or runs out of ammo. they need to be confident that they can kick ass withOUT their rifle. and THAT is what makes MARINES, MARINES!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Chris Nanney
#48
Old 12-31-2011, 02:43 PM
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It's been proven triangle bayonets aren't very effective against zombies, this threads gotten up a second time now.
#49
Old 01-01-2012, 08:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alessan View Post
A handgun would have done the job just as well, or even better - the guy should have had a squadmate covering him with a rifle while he searched.



Well, I read it, and it provided no information on as to why the incident in question required the use of bayonets. All it says is something about "closing with the enemy". Well, duh - of course you have to close with the enemy. My own infantry training emphasized that a firefight isn't over until you've charged the enemy's positions, after sufficient softening. It's just that I don't see why you need bayonets to charge.
I checked it out, the incident in Iraq was because they were running out of ammo.

British troops also used bayonets in the battle of Mount Tumbledown during the Falklands War.

The last time apparently Brit troops used a bayonet was in Afghan, when Lieut Adamanson ran out of ammo and killed a Taliban with it.

I understand your viewpoint as it is pretty gobsmacking that they're being used at all, and the present ones used by the Brit Army aren't IMO anything much.
#50
Old 11-10-2015, 06:10 AM
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I read somewhere that the use of a triangle bayonet was thought to be too harmful to mend as opposed to a knife type bayonet and a "gentlemen's" war agreement was decided, somewhat like the "Geneva convention" rules of war that a triangle bayonet would not be used in order to allow the sewing or mending of a the wound. As war goes, this of course is not written.
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