Millett and his men were patrolling in the vicinity of Soam-Ni when they encountered enemy troops along a ridge known as Hill 180. After one of his platoons was pinned down by small-arms, automatic and antitank fire, Millett ordered his men to fix bayonets. He then led an assault up the hill, where, according to his citation, he "bayoneted two enemy soldiers and boldly continued on, throwing grenades, clubbing and bayoneting the enemy, while urging his men forward by shouting encouragement." . . .
“I assaulted an antitank rifle crew,” he told Military History magazine in 2002. “The man at the point was the gunner. I bayoneted him. The next man reached for something, I think it was a machine pistol, but I bayoneted him — got him in the throat.” The third soldier had a submachine gun. “I guess the sight of me, red-faced and screaming, made him freeze,” he recalled. “Otherwise he would have killed me. I lunged forward and the bayonet went into his forehead. With the adrenaline flowing you’re strong as a bull. It was like going into a watermelon.”
Bayonet Drill, World War II
My thanks to TypeAy for forwarding this story from the Fort Jackson, SC, local paper:
Thursday, Jan. 28, 2010
General overhauling training aims for combat-ready troops
By CHUCK CRUMBO
Army basic training needs to get back to basics.
That's the word from Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling, who's in charge of overhauling Army training.
"We need to make sure that what we're training is a good soldier we can hand over to their first unit and make sure they're ready for combat," Hertling, deputy commanding general for initial military training, said Wednesday during a visit at Fort Jackson.
Before the war on terror began in 2001, U.S. troops trained to fight a large, mechanized force like the Russian army in the woods and mountains of eastern Europe.
But in recent years basic training has undergone a number of changes as the Army adapts to an enemy in Afghanistan and Iraq that lives among the general population and travels by pickup and donkey cart.
To prepare soldiers for today's battlefield, a number of tasks have been added to the 10-week training program and a few have been removed, said Hertling, a former tank commander.
Soldiers are taught a number of skills, but don't have the time to master all of them, said Hertling, who's assigned to the Army's Training and Doctrine Command at Fort Monroe, Va.
"We were teaching soldiers too much stuff," said Hertling, a veteran of Desert Storm and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. The result was a "task paralysis" and loss of focus.
One task Hertling wants to do away with is bayonet training.
In today's wars, there's no reason for soldiers to learn how to fix bayonets to their rifles and disembowel an enemy combatant, Hertling said. Besides, bayonets don't fit rifles soldiers carry today, he added.
Hertling, though, conceded that bayonet training is deeply ingrained in the Army culture.
"Some of these ideas would make old infantrymen turn over in their graves," Hertling said.
Hertling also wants combatives or hand-to-hand fighting to de-emphasize grappling or basic wrestling moves. Instead, soldiers need to learn to fight with their hands and use anything they can grab - whether it is a knife or stick - as a weapon, he added.
Recruits need to learn how to use their hands, the St. Louis native said. "A greater majority of recruits have never been in a fistfight," he added.
Fort Jackson is the largest of the Army's five basic training centers. About 40,000 or half of all soldiers and 80 percent of the women entering the Army each year are trained at the Columbia post.
Training at Camp Funston, KS, 1918.
TypeAy forwards this snippet and comment upon it.
quote: "One task Hertling wants to do away with is bayonet training.
In today's wars, there's no reason for soldiers to learn how to fix bayonets to their rifles and disembowel an enemy combatant, Hertling said. Besides, bayonets don't fit rifles soldiers carry today, he added."
Tell that to (U.K.) Lt. Adamson
Bayonet-charge officer tells of frontline heroics
15 September 2009
A fearless Army Officer from the Isle of Man who has been awarded the Military Cross for his "supreme physical courage" and "calm leadership" in combat has been remembering how he made a bayonet charge towards the enemy, thus ensuring the safety of his platoon.
Lieutenant James 'Jim' Adamson, 24, then a platoon commander with The Royal Regiment of Scotland, has already been awarded a Mention in Dispatches (MiD) - the oldest form of recognition for gallantry within the UK Armed Forces in the previous Operational Honours list in March - for his bravery in Afghanistan.
Shortly after the incident that earned him a MiD during a mission to secure a strategically important district centre on October 7, 2008 Lt Adamson's platoon came into repeated contact with enemy forces.
His platoon however continued to advance, but the sections became separated as they secured the compounds taken. "My sections were static but too far apart for my liking," said Lt Adamson, speaking at a short ceremony announcing the names on the latest Operations Honours and Awards list, published on Friday, September 11, 2009.
"I was positioned with the mortar fire controller and the interpreter to the north, 100 metres from each between two sections - which is a long way in the Green Zone."
As they moved up a shallow stream to link up with one of the sections, two enemy fighters emerged five metres in front of them firing a machine gun. Lt Adamson immediately shouldered his weapon and as the mortar fire controller fired made a bayonet-charge towards the enemy.
His citation reads: "Adamson's leadership throughout the day was exceptional. His actions neutralised an enemy flanking attack that could have resulted in his platoon taking casualties. Adamson's supreme physical courage, combined with the calm leadership he continued to display after such a traumatic and bloody experience was of the very highest order.
"They set the greatest possible example to the Company and had an inspirational effect on his men for the final hard remaining weeks of the tour. Adamson's actions on this day are deserving of the highest official recognition."
Lt Adamson said: "I was acting on auto-pilot more than anything. The nature of the terrain and conflict there means it is more natural that platoon commanders see action now rather than stand back and command."
His girlfriend Sophie Bewick who attended the ceremony with him said: "I'm very proud of what he did, although I did make him promise before he left that he wouldn't do anything dangerous and get a medal. And he comes back with two!"
Lt Adamson attended the Isle of Man Grammar School in Ramsey, and commissioned into the Army as an officer in August 2007. He is currently a Company Second in Command of his battalion, which is based in Canterbury, although he is soon to be posted to the Falklands Islands for two months.
His parents Andrew and Trisha still live in the Isle of Man.
CPT Lew Millet leads his soldiers in a bayonet charge that won him the Medal of Honor, Korea, 1951.
I urge readers to go to the link and listen to Lt. Adamson's description of the engagement. Both he and the FO ran out of ammo. When the last attacker continued to close, Adamson did the best thing he could think of: he charged and bayoneted the man. He then describes spending two long minutes with empty weapons waiting for the cavalry to arrive.
Vanderboegh's thoughts on the matter: Bayonets are a piece of dead weight on an infantryman who needs to shave every ounce -- until he needs one desperately.
Statistically, this may not happen often these days, especially in modern armies with massive supporting fires and logistical tails at their back. But try to tell Lt. Adamson that his case was "statistically insignificant" and I suspect he will give you a rude and profane Brit answer.
Note well that Lt. Adamson was at the tip of the spear (no pun intended) of a modern army. Yet both he and his FO ran out of ammo. Excrement happens. Note also that his bayonet was already fixed. He wasted no time because he was ready with the weapon and trained in its use. The extra second or two undoubtedly saved his life.
I have had this argument with a very good friend, a West Pointer and career Army officer, for the better part of a decade now. Like LTG Hertling, he believes the bayonet is superfluous on a modern battlefield.
I say that as long as a light infantryman may find himself alone, out of ammo, isolated on a battlefield, the bayonet will still be needed. Likewise, as long as soldiers -- professionals or militia -- are needed to man roadblocks, secure installations or maintain order among crowds of civilians, the bayonet provides plain psychological evidence of serious intent without reducing the equation to shoot or retreat.
This will, I am sure, be one of my more controversial praxis posts because everyone has an opinion. Hertling is right about one thing: You can't mount a bayonet on the current M-4. But is this a reason to do away with the bayonet, or to fire the Army procurement general who approved the design?
One thing I'll bet on though.
Hertling might talk the Army into getting rid of bayonet training, but the Marines will tell him to go to hell, thank you very much.