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Posted: 3/26/2009 4:01:44 AM EDT
First let me thank all of you whole heartedly for your service and sacrifice that you and your family have given to this country. God bless you all. My question is this: I have a question about the usage of M-16 style rifles in "Hand to hand" combat about the durability of the weapon in such a role. I am a civilian so i am limited in my knowledge of such things. I never see pictures of m-16 rifles with the bayonet attached and was wondering if a rifle so equiped is because of the rifles lack of durability in such a role. If that is the case is it mainly used for "shoving Prisoners around" or maybe the "saluatory" effect? I have seen many pictures of WW2 soldiers with a bayonet attached even in situations where it was doubtful that the bayonet would be used. Anyone who has ever held a m1 garand would know that it is a rather large rifle that gives the user a feeling of confidence that if you had to Club someone or "stick" someone with it that the rifle could handle that kind of usage. Is the M-16 style rifle at a disatvantage in such a role ? I hope this is not too stupid a question and I thank you for any comments you might share.... Peace
Link Posted: 3/26/2009 4:05:13 AM EDT
WWII was a different type of combat. Up close and personal trench warfare.
Link Posted: 3/26/2009 4:16:20 AM EDT
Originally Posted By bearybear:
WWII was a different type of combat. Up close and personal trench warfare.


The vets from the War on Terror that I know say other than a few situations, they never got close enough for a bayonet. In the times clearing houses, their knives were better because of the close quarters. It is an interesting question and I look forward to the responses.
Link Posted: 3/26/2009 4:23:05 AM EDT
I have four sons who now serve. two marines and two soldiers. three have been deployed. taking falluja 1 and two it was roof top warfare, and kicking in doors and killing with m4s, m16's and m249s. They softened up targets with armor, grenades, apache's, missles, and aircraft prior to most of it. I had one son who slit the throat of a combatant but that was the only time he was close enough to do it.
Link Posted: 3/26/2009 4:25:58 AM EDT
Originally Posted By bearybear:
I have four sons who now serve. two marines and two soldiers. three have been deployed. taking falluja 1 and two it was roof top warfare, and kicking in doors and killing with m4s, m16's and m249s. They softened up targets with armor, grenades, apache's, missles, and aircraft prior to most of it. I had one son who slit the throat of a combatant but that was the only time he was close enough to do it.


God bless you and your sons sir.
Link Posted: 3/26/2009 4:28:41 AM EDT
Thank you. The war has had profound effects on them. three of them were married, now two of them paid with the sacrifice of losing their wives and children due to the stresses of deployments, and the effects on the personalities of my sons. killing, and seeing your fireteam members killed takes a major toll on a human being.
Link Posted: 3/26/2009 4:32:19 AM EDT
In 1973 when I was trained by uncle sam, we did no training with a bayonet at all.
Link Posted: 3/26/2009 5:05:26 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/26/2009 5:06:12 AM EDT by jcrowl]
Get the book "My Men are my Heroes" by Sgt. Brad Kasal, about the battle for Fallujah in November of 2004. There are some combat photos of the Marines with M-9 Ontario Knife Bayonets fixed on their M-16A4s.
Link Posted: 3/26/2009 5:56:10 AM EDT
Originally Posted By bearybear:
WWII was a different type of combat. Up close and personal trench warfare.


There wasn't much trench warfare in WW2. Look back 20-25 years from WW2, and that's where you'll find trench warfare...
Link Posted: 3/26/2009 6:17:10 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/26/2009 6:17:56 AM EDT by Combat_Diver]
Not a Marine but a soldier who been there 5 times.

Some reasons for the lack of attached bayonets today are:

1: M16/M4 are realiable
2: Large capacity magazines, ie you're not out of ammo after 5/8 rds in a room
3: Speed of magazine changes
4: No human wave attacks
5: Very limited hand to hand contact today

That said last bayonet charge was by the Brits in Basra in 03 or 04', and I still carry my M7 every deployment down range except in 91' my M9 bayonet won't readilly attach to my M16A2/M203 version (would have to remove the 203 bbl to mount).

Here's my 08 rifle carried down range



CD
Link Posted: 3/26/2009 6:22:03 AM EDT
Rifles still make passable impact weapons. A good hit with a flash hider(human core sampler) or stock will take the fight out of someone.

The day and age of the bayonet is over, however that doesn't make them any less effective at killing people.

The M16A2 and A4 rifles make a plenty fine club, the M4 less so.
Link Posted: 3/26/2009 6:24:52 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/26/2009 6:49:58 AM EDT by USMC-Helo]
The first Gulf War I flew a Helicopter, but it was so short I didn't get to see any real action, this time around I got activated out of the reserve and I had a Staff Billet over in Iraq, so I did NOT see up close combat, other than having the base rocketed a couple of times a week, even then it was so light and scattered I would yawn my way through it.

I would see and hear the reports, granted as they went up through the chain of command, NOT directly from the guys in the field. SO, you definitely want to take the word of the guys in field that post in the thread over mine, I'm sure we all can imagine how the story morphs as it goes up the chain.

1st the reason for the Bayonet, the purpose is to change the rifle into a spear. The spear was the primary weapon of Armies before firearms were refined to enough to replace them, so if you run out of ammo you go back to the style of fighting that was the pinnacle of Armies meeting on the field of battle before firearms. True, in modern battle, most soldiers have carried that bayonet around and never used it their entire tour/tours in combat. The fear is, the moment you give it up, that will be the moment you'll need it. The last Bayonet "Charge" was Korea, decades after people thought the need for Bayonets were long over. I could be wrong on that, as well, I'm sure there are accounts of bayonets being used/needed at smaller levels in every war since then. The Korean example was an entire company that fixed bayonets and charged the enemy killing them with bayonet as their primary weapon.

2nd, Iraq and Afghanistan is a different kind of battle than the U.S. has seen in a long time, its Urban Warfare as we fight Insurgents in the cities. This is the brutal house to house clearing and fighting in close quarters battle, room to room. NOT to mention, in those desert areas, the primary construction material for all buildings, including family homes, is concrete. So every room is almost a fortress.

SO, you are NOT seeing Hand to Hand Combat like you hear about in WWII or earlier, and it was pretty darn rare even then, something that entire units resort to hand to hand because of running out of ammo or some other reason.

You're seeing the nature of close quarter battle in Urban terrain, trying to clear/attack enemy hole up in a single room, with our fighting men moving in group room to room. It creates scenarios where you have to switch from a perfectly good primary weapon to a secondary weapon like a knife. Things like, you encounter an enemy that surprises you so close that you can NOT bring your weapon to bear before you're hands on each other and trading blows. There is also lots of accounts of the foreign fighters being high on all sorts of drugs, and taking several shots at point blank range to bring them down. As well, since the enemy hides amongst the civilian populace, I've seen reports like an Iraqi jumped out of the crowd and grabbed the rifle of a Marine and tried to take it away from him. The report was followed up with, that Iraqi is dead now. So, before he shot him, they were in a hand to hand struggle to regain control of the weapon.

Using bayonets in this scenario, maybe, maybe NOT, that is why you probably see some bayonets mounted and sometimes NOT. In that close of quarters, maybe a bayonet can help, at the same time, in that close of quarters moving quickly in crowds of your own men, I can see it being easy to have an accident and hurt yourself or fellow servicemen with the mounted bayonet. So maybe there was some experimentation, maybe it was left up to the discretion of small unit commanders, maybe it was a case by case basis according to the conditions/terrain. I think you'd find a bayonet mounted would be more a hindrance/danger to yourself than having a knife ready, but every situation is different, maybe there was a few cases that fighting men decided to mount their bayonets.

The new OKC3S;

The Marines have finally gotten what they asked for, for years. A bayonet patterned after their trusted and proven Combat/Field Knife. Marines for years carried both a Bayonet and Ka-Bar, because the GI Bayonet fell way short of what they wanted for a fighting and field utility knife, but they could NOT mount their Ka-Bar as a bayonet. They wanted to dump the bayonet and have a Ka-Bar they could use and mount as a bayonet if the situation ever arose.

BTW, it might have changed over the years, but when I was active duty, the military would only issue you one knife, that was the bayonet, Marines went out and bought their own Ka-Bars and carried them. An entire unit, you would NOT see a single Marine without a Ka-Bar on his field gear.

The M-16/M-4 is very reliable, reports otherwise are grossly exaggerated. There is some evidence that the M4 does suffer more stoppages than the M16, but even in tests its like 1 in every 1300 rds. The desert dust/sand in the mid-east is unlike any in the world, it is finer, harder and the particles sharper than any other in the world. It gets into everything and creates damage, NOT only weapons, the rate of parts replacements on helicopters over there is ten fold, because of the damage from the sand/dust. The leading edges of rotor blades wear all the way through in a year over there, because of the abrasive sand/dust. So, in this scenario, some sloppier more rudimentary weapons may be handling the environment a little better than the precise M16/M4 that does require a lot of cleaning to maintain its reliability.

Bayonets mounts on military rifles are a provision that is almost never used, but the military doesn't want to give up because they know there may some day be a scenario where some solider/marine somewhere may need it and they rather have it on there and NOT need it, then left it off and ended up needing it. I'm sure you'll see provisions for bayonets for years to come on military rifles.
Link Posted: 3/26/2009 8:21:31 AM EDT
This is spot on(bit about may need it one day). Someone earlier mentioned human wave attacks, which is the most likely method of attack that the larger nations that are poised to be our enemies will use (China, etc). They will doubtfully train their civilian soldiers very well and will likely use an attack much like the Soviets did in WWII, as well as the way they themselves did in Korea, massive waves of people running with the hope of some of them making their way to their mark.
Link Posted: 3/26/2009 8:29:13 AM EDT
Very definitely not a combat vet, though I did deploy once.


What Combat Diver, etc have said. War is different now, and having 30 bangs before a click is a bit different than 8 bangs to a click if some people rush you. Given the American propensity to bomb the crap out of a target, or shell it, then hit it with grenade launchers, mortars, rockets, THEN send guys in (at least, when things work the way they should) simply getting into range can be interesting.


And in room to room work, sometimes, it's just TOO close for a bayonet. Read House to House by David Bellavia. One guy in his unit (possibly him, can't remember) got into a fight so close in he was going hand to hand, pulled out his ESAPI plate and beat him to death with it as he was on top of the guy.

The last real full blown bayonet charge was the Brits back in '03 or '04, they got hit by about 100 guys, they had around 20 in a couple Land Rovers. They were running low on ammo as they had a basic load and hadn't been looking for trouble. 20 guys (less, some wounded) fixed bayonets and charged 80+ that were left. The Iraqis broke and ran, and the Brits got close enough to bayonet some guys.

Considering the Brit rifle is the bullpup SA80 (shorter than a collapsed-stock M4), and the bayonet they use is basically a glorified knife.... they got REAL close.

It takes some balls to bayonet charge anyone. Doing it with a rifle barely longer than an outstretched arm (compared to a five foot long musket with 2.5 foot long bayonet like back in the day, or a WW1-length rifle an 16" bayonet) takes some great big ones.
Link Posted: 3/26/2009 8:31:46 AM EDT
Thank you all for your input and I found it most interesting...
Link Posted: 3/26/2009 8:47:33 AM EDT
A little off topic.....but keep in mind that a bayonet is NOT just a knife affixed to the end of a rifle barrel. It is a completely different weapon, employed in totally different ways, and with different construction

A "classic" bayonet is, as mentioned above, really a glorified spear point, and does not necessarily need an "edge", just a point, as it's normally employed as a thrusting weapon, not a slashing or cutting weapon. A bayonet is also made of softer metal than is a knife blade, in order that the bayonet, when THRUST into the enemy, will bend if necessary instead of breaking (as the "stickee" does his best to wiggle off of the sharp end, while the "sticker" is firmly holding on to the "blunt" end).

A knife is made of harder, more brittle, metal so as to take and HOLD a good sharp edge. A knife blade won't bend as it would likely need to when employed as a bayonet - it will break.

I suppose a knife can be made to double as a bayonet, with the understanding that it will almost always be employed as a knife, and only used as a bayonet in the most dire of circumstances.

Link Posted: 3/26/2009 8:48:18 AM EDT
God Bless al The Families impacted by this. Our Heartfelt THANKS go out to ALL of you!
Link Posted: 3/26/2009 9:36:21 AM EDT
What it comes down to, is the old;

Better to have it and NOT need it, then to need it and NOT have it.

That is why you see military rifles still have provisions for bayonets and bayonets are still issued and carried. The fact that modified weapons, like mentioned, the M203 and Navy SEAL special brew M4's don't have bayonet provisions, shows how needed they actually are. When the choice is give up the bayonet or give up the grenade launcher, they give up the bayonet.

AFA, knives being used as bayonet, there is point to the factors that make a good knife will NOT make a good bayonet, true. At the same time, its a reasonable compromise to multi-purpose a knife as a bayonet, which would be more desirable than carry both a bayonet and knife that happens to have the attributes to make a fair bayonet. Just carry one to do all the jobs.

I can't speak for the OKC3S bayonet, never used it in the field (I did get one off eBay for my AR though). The Ka-Bar has a great reputation for quality and durability, might be why that simple, mass produced, although large knife, goes for as much as $80 or more. The blade is tempered and extends all the way through the grip where it is welded on the butt plate, and the Legend is, that they can be tested by being put in a vise and bent 90° and will NOT break and still return to straight. The edge holds fairly well, it does need to be sharped with use, maybe NOT as much as a survival knife, but more than most hard edged knifes, that is probably the compromise for having the durability and temper to prevent it from snapping from heavy use and fighting. If the OKC3S bayonet is of the same temper it may work well for a bayonet, it does include a sharpening stone in the scabbard, and it is used, which could be because the blade has some temper to it.
Link Posted: 3/26/2009 9:50:05 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/26/2009 9:50:56 AM EDT by d5griffin]
Originally Posted By Combat_Diver:
Not a Marine but a soldier who been there 5 times.

Some reasons for the lack of attached bayonets today are:

1: M16/M4 are realiable
2: Large capacity magazines, ie you're not out of ammo after 5/8 rds in a room
3: Speed of magazine changes
4: No human wave attacks
5: Very limited hand to hand contact today


CD

I agree
Last bayonet charge

British bayonet charge

More recent than you might believe...

Also, as far as the durability of the rifle goes in a bayonet scenario... if I'm in a melee range fight to the death, I'm no longer concerned with breaking my beloved black rifle... if i hit them hard enough to break it, hopefully some part of them will break too

Link Posted: 3/26/2009 6:04:11 PM EDT
Originally posted by bearybear:

In 1973 when I was trained by uncle sam, we did no training with a bayonet at all.


Same here. I don't believe, however, that this was driven by a change in doctrine. I believe that it was driven by a desire to cut training time and cost.

When I returned to active duty in '83, bayonet training was again mandatory for all Army Infantry soldiers and officers, and I believe it continues to this day, although I will defer to those who have gone through the training more recently to confirm.

There have in fact been bayonet charges executed by small units since the Korean war. IIRC, one such actual event was portrayed in the movie "We Were Soldiers".

You don't see or hear about bayonet use in Iraq because most operations there are conducted in an urban environment, and are usually vehicular mounted. Neither of these are conducive to bayonet use. It has nothing to do with the M16/M4.
Link Posted: 3/26/2009 6:19:34 PM EDT
We trained with bayonets in boot camp and for the next 20 years it was always issued but seldom used on the end of a rifle. Plenty of other uses though.
Link Posted: 3/26/2009 6:20:41 PM EDT
Originally Posted By bearybear:
Thank you. The war has had profound effects on them. three of them were married, now two of them paid with the sacrifice of losing their wives and children due to the stresses of deployments, and the effects on the personalities of my sons. killing, and seeing your fireteam members killed takes a major toll on a human being.




For their sake I hope this war will be won soon.
Link Posted: 3/26/2009 6:38:59 PM EDT
I served in Iraq's Anbar Province in 2005, we had plenty of combat action but we never affixed bayonets. It is issued because it is part of the T/O kit, and you better not lose it, but I don't believe our fighting men and women are using bayonets nowadays.
Link Posted: 3/26/2009 6:39:23 PM EDT
Originally Posted By jcrowl:
Get the book "My Men are my Heroes" by Sgt. 1stSgt, now SgtMaj Brad Kasal, about the battle for Fallujah in November of 2004. There are some combat photos of the Marines with M-9 Ontario Knife Bayonets fixed on their M-16A4s.


Link Posted: 3/26/2009 6:52:43 PM EDT
A guy in C. Co 1/4 had a Ka-Bar kill in the battle of Najaf, Aug 2004.
He rounded a corner in a stairwell and ran right into a Haji. Stabbed the fucker a few times, Haji retreated into the basement.
The rest of the Marines in the team placed several grenades into the basement, which took care of Haji and his friends.

Hand-to-hand still happens, atleast earlier in the War.
Link Posted: 3/26/2009 6:56:41 PM EDT
I recieved boynet training at Ft. Sill in Basic Combat Training in 1998. However, I was never deployed.

God Bless all who serve our country. My thoughts and prayers go out to you and all of your families
Link Posted: 3/26/2009 6:56:56 PM EDT
I was in the USMC for ten years and was medically discharged in 2004 after Iraq. It was a case of the wrong place at the wrong time. I served in Afghanistan twice and Iraq twice. In boot camp we did training with the bayonet but that was about it.

I think the main reason is because we have many more weapons at our disposal. We as a military have learned a lot since WWII. You will see a Marine unit carrying all sorts of different weapons now to get the job done from M249 SAWs, M4s, M16's, M240G, shotgun, M9, hand grenades (all different types), 203's, claymores, and many more.

Marines are trained to shoot proficiently at 500 yards with open sites (M16A2). So when fighting in open terrain like a desert we're going to be engaging a target well before it gets within hand to hand range. Not to mention we're usually going to soften it up with arty or air support and if needed there's usually a sniper team somewhere in the area. We also have weapon systems supporting us such as a .50 cal or MK19 that can cut down just about anything not on tracks.

Going in a building is when shit gets close. When we do this we're usually deploying tactics that prevent anyone from ever getting close. We're also using weapons such as shotguns, M9 pistols, M4 version of the M16, and grenades to prevent anyone from getting in arms reach.

Lastly.....if its me I"ll carry more ammo than anything else. If I can get the enemy close enough to stick them with a bayonet then I'm pulling the trigger to spread some cherry pie joy. Most of the bayonet usage was done because of lack of ammo or human waves attacking so fast you couldn't reload. 30 round magazines with 3 second reloads prevent this.
Link Posted: 3/26/2009 7:19:03 PM EDT
Originally Posted By docmcb:
I served in Iraq's Anbar Province in 2005, we had plenty of combat action but we never affixed bayonets. It is issued because it is part of the T/O kit, and you better not lose it, but I don't believe our fighting men and women are using bayonets nowadays.


Whenever we came over to your Dam, we fixed bayonets. I recall Quick Strike,New Market and a few others. We pretty much ran bayonets whenever we were clearing houses over there. I don't recall any bayonet kills but I'm sure more than a few guys got poked.
Link Posted: 3/26/2009 7:26:40 PM EDT
Well then I stand corrected. Apparently we are still getting kills with bayonets and kabars. Rock on devil dogs!
Originally Posted By southfloridaguns:
Originally Posted By docmcb:
I served in Iraq's Anbar Province in 2005, we had plenty of combat action but we never affixed bayonets. It is issued because it is part of the T/O kit, and you better not lose it, but I don't believe our fighting men and women are using bayonets nowadays.


Whenever we came over to your Dam, we fixed bayonets. I recall Quick Strike,New Market and a few others. We pretty much ran bayonets whenever we were clearing houses over there. I don't recall any bayonet kills but I'm sure more than a few guys got poked.


Link Posted: 3/26/2009 8:43:10 PM EDT
Originally Posted By docmcb:
Well then I stand corrected. Apparently we are still getting kills with bayonets and kabars. Rock on devil dogs!
Originally Posted By southfloridaguns:
Originally Posted By docmcb:
I served in Iraq's Anbar Province in 2005, we had plenty of combat action but we never affixed bayonets. It is issued because it is part of the T/O kit, and you better not lose it, but I don't believe our fighting men and women are using bayonets nowadays.


Whenever we came over to your Dam, we fixed bayonets. I recall Quick Strike,New Market and a few others. We pretty much ran bayonets whenever we were clearing houses over there. I don't recall any bayonet kills but I'm sure more than a few guys got poked.




lol.. If anyone died from a bayonet it was most likely later due to infection. If someone was killed with one on the spot I would have heard about it. But I guess anything is possible with 100 pissed off Grunts kicking in doors and bashing heads.
Link Posted: 3/27/2009 3:37:33 AM EDT
One last thought that kind of came to me. I have spent my whole life hunting with many different rifles and calibers and I have shot ground hogs with a .223 FMJ's which might not be the best choice but I did get enough "complete penetrations" that I would think that In "house to house" fighting with a bunch of MY buddies I would be concerned about shooting "Haji" at close range with a rifle and not accidently hitting one of my own. I know you men are trained professional warriors and that it probably seldom happens but any thoughts on that?

P.S. i understand a ground hog is no where near as thick as a man and that a .223 exspends its energy quickly but considering the ranges encountered in "house to house" fighting is this still not a concern?

Once again, God bless everyone of you for you service and especially your family who suffers greatly for your service. Thank God that I live in a country where we have men like you..

........ Be not so sad that men such as these has died but be thankful men such as these lived.......
Link Posted: 3/27/2009 6:41:01 AM EDT
A friend, retired Special Forces who during the Clinton administration did some work in a unnamed country that on a map looks astonishingly like Columbia "advising" local troops going after the narcos nearly got whacked by friendly fire a few times because of 5.56mm going through walls, etc.

Granted, these were thin local huts, and not the heavy duty construction more typical of the ME, and also from a lack of training on the local troops parts (M16s and Galils firing everywhere) but it is something to think about I guess.
Link Posted: 3/27/2009 12:37:37 PM EDT
We trained with bayos in 1970, of course with A1s. We thrust and buttstroked; never damaged a rifle as I recall. My VietNam-Vet DI counsled 'stick 'em on, shoot 'em off.'
Moon
Link Posted: 3/27/2009 12:59:15 PM EDT
.308 HOLES LEAVE LONLEY SOULS. NO NEED FOR HAND TO HAND WHEN UR ENGAGING TARGETS OF OPPORTUNITY FROM CONCEALED POSITIONS IN SUPPORT OF COMBAT OPERATIONS. NEVER HAVE GOTTEN A KNIFE KILL, STILL DREAM ABOUT IT TILL THIS DAY.

SEMPER FI
Link Posted: 3/27/2009 1:12:17 PM EDT
It's impossible for every deployed service member to be in every fight at once & therefore know how many enemies are getting poked. The current wars have nothing to do with the perceived lack of baynettings. Perhaps there just haven't been many opportunities that have been public knowledge. The Marine Corps trains every recruit to use a bayonet & has done so for many many decades. As has already been said, bayonets are issued for a reason & I can guaruntee that they would be used when the opportunity presents itself. I cannot speak for the other subordinate services.
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