25 thoughts on “About Last Night

  1. Charles Lovejoy October 23, 2012 / 1:42 pm

    If Mitt elected , just wait he will bring bayonet charges back. Yep if Iran don’t dismantle their nuke program Mitt will do a beach landing and a bayonet charge. That will teach Iran a lesson 🙂

  2. rcocean October 23, 2012 / 2:15 pm

    Sorry, I want some “Women in Binders” with my horses. You keep the Bayonets.

  3. M Rogers October 23, 2012 / 3:28 pm

    Now that’s funny

  4. tonygunter October 23, 2012 / 4:36 pm

    I think the point has to be raised: our brown-water navy currently has less firepower than it had in 1862. Refloat the Cairo!!!!

  5. wgdavis October 23, 2012 / 4:47 pm

    Unfortunately, Obama neglected to realize the US Marines still use bayonets.

    • Ned B October 23, 2012 / 6:12 pm

      Are more or fewer bayonets used now than in 1917? Thats what was claimed; not no bayonets but fewer bayonets.

      • John Foskett October 24, 2012 / 6:49 am

        Technically, most of the bayonets in use by us in 1917 were probably made of wood – similar to the dummy rifles and dummy artillery we had to cook up for training after Woody declared war. So we probably have more steel bayoets today.

        • Ned B October 24, 2012 / 9:42 am

          In 1917, as part of mobilizing for World War 1, the US Department of War purchased over 2 million steel bayonets.

    • Lyle Smith October 23, 2012 / 6:59 pm

      … and he forgot our people who have fought in Afghanistan on horses. What a knucklehead. 😉

      • Ned B October 24, 2012 / 4:27 am

        So you believe the US military currently uses more horses than when we were mobilizing for World War 1. Fascinating.

    • Noma October 23, 2012 / 7:40 pm

      Hmm… Not sure that is correct. He said that we have “fewer bayonets and fewer horses” — not “no bayonets and no horses.”

      Clearly we have some bayonets, and also — probably? — some horses.Here’s a clip from the Washington Post:


      Last night the Post’s Rajiv Chandrasekaran noted U.S. Marines still train on bayonets in boot camp and Marines still are issued bayonets as standard equipment, though the Army discontinued bayonet training at its basic training facilities in 2010.

      This 2009 article from the Washington Post Magazine followed a platoon of Marines battling insurgents in Now Zad, Afghanistan. The first words of the article: ”Fix bayonets.”

      Not long after giving that order, 1st Lt. Arthur Karell was hunched in a dirt trench crowded with Marines. The hushed darkness bristled with eight-inch blades fitted beneath the barrels of dozens of M-16 assault rifles.

      You fix bayonets when you expect to need the aggressive combat mind-set that’s produced by the primal sight of massed blades. You fix them when you expect to search hidden places. You fix them when you expect the fight could push you within arm’s reach of your enemy — gutting distance. In modern warfare, that’s extraordinarily rare.

      Slate’s Explainer has more on the modern use of bayonets. While incredibly rare, there have been a couple notable bayonet charges in the past decade.

      Of course, President Obama never said that bayonets were nonexistent — only that they are far less prevalent than they used to be.



      • Noma October 23, 2012 / 7:57 pm

        Possibly one small reason that we use *fewer* bayonets than were used in ol’ Joshua’s day is because the guy who ended up running that war thought they were — in general — more of a botheration than a benefit:


        There was a sham fight with infantry, all the incidents of a real battle—moving on the flank, in skirmish line, firing and retreating, firing and advancing. Then came the order to fix bayonets and charge at double quick, the soldiers shouting and cheering as they advanced, with that ringing cheer which somehow no one hears but in Saxon lands, and which stirs the blood like a trumpet. The General was attended by Major Igel, an intelligent officer. The General complimented the movement of the troops highly, but said he questioned very much whether in modern war the saber or the bayonet were of use.

        “What I mean,” said the General, “is this: anything that adds to the burdens carried by the soldier is a weakness to the army. Every ounce he carries should tell in his efficiency. The bayonet is heavy, and if it were removed, or if its weight in food or ammunition were added in its place, the army would be stronger. As for the bayonet as a weapon, if soldiers come near enough to use it they can do as much good with the club- end of their muskets. The same is true as to sabers. I would take away the bayonet, and give the soldiers pistols in place of sabers. A saber is always an awkward thing to carry.”

        Major Igel did not think the experiences of the Prussian army would sustain the General’s view. He knew of cases where effective work had been done with the bayonet, and that the Prussians were not likely to abandon it. The General said no doubt war showed instances when the bayonet was effective. but those instances were so few that he did not think they would pay for the heavy burden imposed upon an army by the carrying of the bayonet. In any army he commanded he would feel like taking away the bayonet, and telling the men to trust to the but-ends of their muskets.

        — John Russell Young – Around the World with General Grant – Vol. 1, p. 420

        • Andy Hall October 24, 2012 / 6:59 am

          Paddy Griffith argues (correctly, I think) in Battle Tactics of the Civil War that the bayonet was very effective as a shock weapon, and that the small number of battle casualties caused by it — I recall reading that CW surgeons treated more bayonet wounds caused by accidents and fights in camp than from the battlefield — was actually a measure of its success: while a coordinated, mass bayonet charge was hard to pull off, when it did come together it worked very well, almost invariably causing the enemy to break and run. The objective of the bayonet charge was not specifically to kill or incapacitate, but to shock, and for that purpose the bayonet was very good.

          That said, the faux outrage over the president’s comment is migraine-inducing.

          • BorderRuffian October 24, 2012 / 9:35 am

            Don’t know how many bayonets, horses, ships, planes, etc, we have. But the sad fact is – the CIC sat around for seven hours and didn’t use a bit of it at Benghazi.

          • Buck Buchanan October 24, 2012 / 10:54 am

            “That said, the faux outrage over the president’s comment is migraine-inducing.”

            Amen, brother, Amen.

            And the USMC are not the only ones who train and use the bayonet….the US Army Infantry very much still trains in the use of the bayonet.

            As for the shock effect of the bayonet charge….that was and is an effective tactic which was not always teh result of desperation but could also be used as a way to be a combat multiplier in some cases.

            Just Google Lew Millett and the Wolfhounds from the Korean War.

  6. 1864bummer October 24, 2012 / 8:07 am

    Bayonets, Binders and Tomahawks!

    As has been mentioned, the Marines still train with bayonets.
    I might think that heaving a binder, full of women’s CV’s, might break up unruly mobs in Iran.
    Many of our troops, since Vietnam, have had access to tactical tomahawks.
    Many of the border state raiders, on both sides, carried tomahawks or hatchets on their forays.
    If Mitt would have brought that weapon up, his opponent may have been at a loss for words.

    “Politics is supposed to be the second oldest profession. I have come to realize that it bears a very close resemblance to the first.”
    Ronald Reagan

    “It is enough that the people know there was an election. The people who cast the votes decide nothing. The people who count the votes decide everything.”
    Richard J. Daley and others including Josef Stalin


  7. Al Mackey October 24, 2012 / 10:23 am

    I think we ought to remember first of all it was the President who brought up bayonets, not Gov. Romney. And the President said we had fewer bayonets than in 1916, if I recall correctly, which would be prior to mobilizing for WWI, and he said the reason for that was because the nature of war had changed, clearly implying the bayonet was no longer useful, which is not true.

    The infantry is still the backbone of the military, and every rifleman in the infantry has a bayonet. So if there are fewer bayonets, it means there are fewer riflemen, and the President’s argument would be that it’s okay that the backbone of the military is weaker because the nature of warfare has changed. Of course, this neglects asymmetric warfare where you have to go in with a lot of troops on the ground to stabilize the situation. A rifleman doesn’t have an unlimited supply of ammunition, so there is still a role for bayonets. According to ABC News, the US military (all branches) has around 600,000 bayonets. I don’t know how many the US had in 1916.

    • Ned B October 24, 2012 / 11:23 am

      I think we should remember that it was Mr Romney who is arguing that military policy ought to be driven by the fact that in 1917 (the year Romney referred to) there were more ships in the Navy than now. Romney picked 1917 because the navy had grown that year due to the mobilization for WW1; using 1916 wouldn’t allow Romney to make his argument because the navy had fewer ships in 1916 than it does now. Thus the mobilization for WW1 is a part of the data point that Romney relies on. As I pointed out earlier in 1917, the US purchased over 2 million bayonets, well more than the current inventory.

      Seems to me that using the number of navy ships in 1917 as an important benchmark is a silly way to make defense policy. Likewise I disagree that large infantry commands is the key force capability for the 21st century US military.

      • Al Mackey October 24, 2012 / 12:38 pm

        Romney may have said 1917, but Obama said 1916:

        “You mentioned the Navy, for example, and that we have fewer ships than we did in 1916. Well, Governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets, because the nature of our military’s changed. We have these things called aircraft carriers, where planes land on them. We have these ships that go underwater, nuclear submarines.”

        1916 is the year used by the Heritage Foundation, whose January, 2010 report was the basis of Romney’s claim. Romney misspoke the year.

        Click to access Military_chartbook.pdf

        See Chart 6 on page 17 of the document, which is page 21 of the .pdf.

        They use “since” 1916, meaning that 1916 was smaller than today but the Navy was larger after 1916.

        Obama knew where Romney got his information and this was a prepared response to the claim. Since it was a prepared response, the Obama team could have gone into numbers of types of ships, but instead went for a zinger that actually indicates the President hasn’t learned much about the military in his almost four years in office, since those aircraft carriers he talked about don’t leave port without their associated battle groups, and if the Navy doesn’t have enough of those other ships, it can’t use the aircraft carriers.

        So yes, simply using the number of ships is silly. I agree completely. But the President’s response was equally silly because it made it seem as though he thinks aircraft carriers sail by themselves and replace any other types of surface ships. Since he’s got the advantage of almost four years in office, I consider it a more egregious offense.

  8. Noma October 24, 2012 / 10:32 am

    More on the use of a bayonet, from “Corporal Si Klegg and His Pard” by Wilbur F. Hinman (1897):


    A few random observations on the uses of the bayonet during the war, theoretical and practical, may not be out of place here, even though they should for the moment carry our young defender of his country some distance ahead in his military career, Si Klegg fully shared the popular delusion in regard to the devastation wrought by the bayonet. He had an abiding faith in its efficacy as an aggressive weapon.

    His young blood had been curdled by reading harrowing descriptions of bayonet charges. He had seen pictures of long lines of gorgeously dressed soldiers advancing upon the enemy with their bayonets sticking out in front, and he imagined that when they reached the other fellows they just used their bayonets like pitchforks tossing about their unhappy foes, as he had pitched pumpkins from a wagon. He thought this was the way fighting was done.

    There is no doubt that some bayonet wounds were given and received on both sides during the four years of war. It would have been strange indeed if with all those two or three million keen shafts somebody did not get hurt. But the number of men who were prodded was small. There were many surgeons of large experience in field hospitals who never dressed a bayonet wound.


  9. Noma October 24, 2012 / 10:35 am

    Hinman continues with the *actual* uses of the bayonet — dispatching pigs for the mess, grinding coffee, security illumination, etc:


    Once in a while Si’s mess drew a candle, but the Regulations did not provide for any candlestick. The bayonet was an excellent substitute. It could not have been more handy if made for that particular purpose. The hollow shank was always ready to receive the candle, while the point could be thrust into the ground or a log or cracker box in an instant, and nothing more was necessary.

    This was one of the general spheres of usefulness found by the bayonet during the war. Barrels of candle grease flowed down its furrowed sides for every drop of human blood that dimmed its luster. The soldiers had little to read, and it might be imagined that they had not much use for candles or candlesticks, but it must be remembered that there were millions of games of euchre and old sledge that had to be played, and it was necessary to have light enough so that a player could not with impunity slip aces and bowers up the sleeve of his blouse, or turn jack from the bottom of the deck.

    To protect its brave defenders from these fraudulent practices was no doubt the object of the Government in issuing candles, as that was about all they were used for. Si found his bayonet a good thing to dig sweet potatoes with, and it answered well for a tent pin in a sudden emergency. In many other ways it contributed to his well-being, but it was a long time before he hurt any rebels with it.

  10. Matt Gallman October 24, 2012 / 5:17 pm

    hey Brooks!
    If you can come up with a post about Black Confederate soldiers and their use of bayonets that lures Connie Chastain into the discussion, drinks are on me at Mobile.

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