As Obsolete As Bayonets

For the benefit of our Commander in Chief, a look at a recent, modern, counterinsurgency use of the bayonet – which is still issued as standard equipment to infantry around the world:

In May 2004, approximately 20 British troops in Basra were ambushed and forced out of their vehicles by about 100 Shiite militia fighters. When ammunition ran low, the British troops fixed bayonets and charged the enemy. About 20 militiamen were killed in the assault without any British deaths.

Soldiers of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders – the “Argylls” – who carried out a successful bayonet charge in Basra in 2004, killing 20 Mahdi without casualties. Although to be fair to President Obama, they were not on horseback.  

The bayonet charge appeared to succeed for three main reasons. First, the attack was the first of its kind in that region and captured the element of surprise. Second, enemy fighters probably believed jihadist propaganda stating that coalition troops were cowards unwilling to fight in close combat, further enhancing the element of surprise. Third, the strict discipline of the British troops overwhelmed the ability of the militia fighters to organize a cohesive counteraction.

I can imagine a Scottish squad leader muttering “That’s jooost crrrrezzy enoof to wairk”.

2 thoughts on “As Obsolete As Bayonets

  1. It’s worth noting that with repeating rifles and breechloaders, people as far back as the Civil War started to believe that the days of the bayonet were numbered. Seasoned British military journalists commented during the first couple of years of our national tragedy that the judicious use of the bayonet would have greatly shortened our war.

  2. John McCain was on Medved this AM. McCain said that as C in C, Obama has never been on a submarine and has been on an aircraft carrier once. While it was tied to a dock. To play a basketball game.

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