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Great Bayonet Battles in WWII

Discussion in 'WWII General' started by Iroh, Jul 13, 2007.

  1. Carl W Schwamberger

    Carl W Schwamberger Ace

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    Thats what I'd have done. Absoluely nothing in any of my 20+ years of military training about fighting fair. If they were stupid enough to sleep without a sentry... I made that mistake as a 2dLt and paid for it with only a bit of stolen equipment.

    Then again perhaps the skill in this grandfather of Irohs was in slipping past some sentrys or guards.
     
  2. Carl W Schwamberger

    Carl W Schwamberger Ace

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    Fighting the Japanese it was not uncommon for small hand to hand combats to occur. Small bayonet fights with only a squad or two on each side. less often werre when the 'banzai' charges got past the machingun and artillery fires. Then there were many close in fights as the Japanese got in amoung the defenders.

    The remark about the sharpened shovel reminded me of a Khe San veteran in my section back in 1975. Several times he refered to fighting the NVA who got through the wire in the dark. The entrenching tool (Etool) a short heavy shovel with a folding blade was the prefered weapon of his comrades as it made a nasty battle axe.
     
  3. nuvolari

    nuvolari Member

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    I apologise if I appeared to be humorously dismissive of you Grandfather's claims, my friend, but I am reasonably familiar with this campaign and have never heard of this number of allied fatalities in any one action, least of all in an alleged ambush in a camp. Moreover, the ability to be able to silently kill this number of soldiers, and with a bamboo spear, is quite remarkable, and borders on the unbelievable. Firstly, all of the victims would have to have been killed so silently as to not disturb others, and secondly, where were the sentries ? I do not seek to dismiss the Indonesian forces as being incompetent, since their special forces even gave the SAS a few moments of concern, but I do find this story to bordering on the incredible. However, if you are able to cite any sources ( other than Gramps, of course ! ), nobody would be more pleased than I to hear them.
    Nuvolari
     
  4. skunk works

    skunk works Ace

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    All have hit on the fact that they are a weapon of a different era, infantry squares to fend off calvary and the like.
    Something from a book on the Civil War...
    -Swords, Knives, and Bayonets-
    Swords were more symbolic than functional in most cases---officers used them to urge their troops on---and the bayonet was used far more rarely than you might expect: in the Wilderness, only six out of 7,302 wounded were reported as having been injured by sword or bayonet.
    The knife was a different matter and was used in hand to hand combat...as with everything, when the situation dictated.
    As was stated, the Japanese were "keen" on edged weapons, apart from Gurkhas, I believe they were the only ones to make/break reputations with them.

    I forgot the Philippine "Bolo".
     
  5. Wolfen261

    Wolfen261 recruit

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    From "In this Far-Away Land", by Orval Eugene Faubus (no longer in print, but I found a copy at my Grandmother's cabin with many pages marked, indicating where my Grandfather was either directly named, or a battle that she knew he was a part of)... this is a bayonet charge that Leo E Thomas (Lt. at the time, retired as a Major, after Korea and some intelligence work). Leo was in the 35th Inf., 320th, 3rd Bn, L Co. during WWII.

    Faubus wrote (pp. 301-302):
    As the tanks took their objectives, Col Alexander's infantry moved forward to wipe out the pockets of enemy in the draws and in the fox holes. Some bayonet engagements occurred that morning as the slopes were taken, and later on as the advance continued, one of the few times for such fighting for the men of the 320th, and one of the few times during the war in Europe.
    Sgt Porta, as usual, was active. During the advance, a german shot a lieutenant (whose name I have now forgotten) and was then captured by Sgt Porta. With one strong arm, Porta shoved the PW into the presence of Col Alex and the General who had come up - Baade and Wood both may have been present - with the exclamation, "Here's the son-of-a-bitch that shot Lt. ----------.
    As the 3rd Bn contunued its advance under Col Alexander, it approached the town of Buissoncourt, several miles farther on. A German battalion held strong positions in the town and along the road to the North. Cos I and K secured a ridge in the front of the down, but were pinned down by heavy enemy fire in the open beyond. With practically no cover, a further advance or withdrawal threatened heavy casualties. The weapons platoon of Co I, under T/Sgt. Saul Joseph, of Chicago, Ill., fired 26 boxes of MG ammunition and 850 rounds of 60mm mortar. The platoon was supported by Co M's heavy MGs and mortars, but the deadlock between the opposing forces still held.
    It was then Col. Alexander directed the bayonet charge. Two platoons of Co L were brought up and passed through the Co I positions, followed by the reserve platoon of Co I. Overhead fire from tanks, TDs, the MGs and mortars kept the Germans in their holes as the bayonet chargers dashed about 300 yards to the German positions, firing as they advanced. When the fire slackened, the Krauts looked up, the bayonets shining in their faces. Most of them immediately surrendered, but, in the words of T/Sgt. Raymond Sneade, of Worcester, Mass., "a few had to be stuck." About 40 of them took off through a cornfield on their hands and knees but a few shots into their rumps brought them to a halt and surrender.
    Among the prisoners taken were the battalion commander adn eight of his staff. The bayonete charge was led by 1st Lt. Leo Thomas, who still further added to his battle laurels and his title of "Fighting Leo." Sgt. Sneade was awarded the Silver Star for wiping out one of the MG nests.
     
  6. Spaniard

    Spaniard New Member

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    I can Build many types of Deadly Punji Traps! Bamboo is Hollow and when cut. sharp as any Razor Blade. When it Goers you it removes your inner body parts Leaving you literally with big holes you'll bleed to death instantly. In heavy bush I had Soldiers pass by me with in a foot. And could of easily Jumped up with my Knife stab his throat then Cut outwards, or jumped out with a Bamboo Spear and stabbed you No Matter how awake or Commando you think you are.

    It's a very easy and effective way of killing someone covertly. ;)

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    Combatives, also known as hand-to-hand combat and close quarters combat, is a system developed in World War II in the UK and US to teach soldiers techniques that are simple, easily learned, retained, and recalled, and brutally effective. As it was developed for the military to be used in combat


    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a3K_tEAcjFQ

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pED8v0qO4W4&feature=related

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rhUdTeo7gYA&feature=player_embedded



    http://www.articlecity.com/articles/men/article_37.shtml

    in military training on hand to hand combat techniques. In point of fact, at some point during this period in the United States, the motto that was emblazoned on a Marine training facility was:

    "Let's be damned sure that no boy's ghost will ever say, 'If your training program had only done its job.'" Doing the job -- getting the job done effectively -- included intensive hand to hand combat training. Training in the ways and means of hand to hand combat became crucial. Ultimate military success and defeat of the enemy might well depend on how well soldiers were trained in hand to hand combat during the Second World War.
     
  7. John Dudek

    John Dudek Member

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    I remember reading about an artillery battery commander in Vietnam who issued the men under his command tommahawks that he bought himself from a stateside camp fitter. He reasoned they were an excellent close-in, last-ditch, weapon and drilled his men extensively in their use. Apparently, they were a bad-assed looking weapon and his unit morale soared after they were issued. I don't recall if they were ever used in action.
     
  8. Spaniard

    Spaniard New Member

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    I'll give you a heads Up The Tomahawk is still used Today I Seen some USMC With them and they sell them on EvilBay, the Military version I had one in my hands quite an impressive weapon of choice, when properly used.;) When you run out of Ammo the War does not Stop, adapt and improvise.
     
  9. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    II: The Counter-attack for Galatas | NZETC

    "Report by Lt Thomas. Again, Lt-Col Gray says in a letter dated 24 Jul 1941: ‘I shall never forget the deep throated wild-beast noise of the yelling charging men as the 23rd swept up the road.’ And Cpl H. M. Adams of 18 Bn: ‘It was quite dark now and suddenly from Galatas 400 yards away we heard the most ungodly row I have ever heard—our chaps charging and yelling and screaming to put the wind up them, cat-calls and battle cries, machine guns, rifles, hand grenades all going at once.’

    Another exceptional attack to be faced:

    "When the paratroopers occupied the summit of Pink Hill at 1900 hours on 22 May, Capt. Forrester led a charge of Greek soldiers and Galatas villagers that has achieved legendary status.

    “Then came a terrific clamour behind. Out of the trees came Capt. Forrester ... He was tall, thin-faced, fair-haired, with no tin hat – the very opposite of a soldier hero; as if he had just stepped on the parade ground. He looked like ... a Wodehouse character. It was a most inspiring sight. Forrester was at the head of a crowd of disorderly Greeks, including women; one Greek had a shot gun with a serrated-edge bread knife tied on like a bayonet, others had ancient weapons – all sorts. Without hesitation this uncouth group, with Forrester right out in front, went over the top of a parapet and headlong at the crest of the hill. The enemy fled.”



    1940-1945 [WAR]

    Sunday 3 November 1940: After the 6th day of the Greek-Italian war... The Evzones, chasing the enemy with fixed bayonets, penetrated into Albanian territory.
     
  10. 1986CamaroZ28

    1986CamaroZ28 Member

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    If you've seen Shootout on the History Channel, there's a battle of the bulge episode where an American leads a desperate bayonet attack, against a German MG emplacement. Besides in the Eastern Front, I don't think there were any massive bayonet "charges," but many Marines would always have their bayonet ready in the Pacific.

    Found it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KPAw2ksjT4M&feature=related
    It's at 9:00 minutes
     
  11. Spaniard

    Spaniard New Member

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    The Moral of this story is when Greek women are gathered in groups and Charging at you with a broom Stick with a metal dagger attached to it, run like hell.:D

    An interesting observation concerning the screaming yelling nose making Charge. This type of charge has been used through the centuries by many Armies, Tribes++++++ , a form of intimidation against your opponent, also realises Chemicals in your body to induce aggressiveness.

    It's to be noted that Today charges by our Soldiers in Afghanistan. I was talking to a Journalist few weeks ago He's been to Afghanistan and Iraq. He told me That a British Regiment ran out of Ammo in A battle them being pinned down. They fixed Bayonets and charged screening from the top of their lungs. They killed a few of the enemy and the others ran away in high retreat.

    He tells me the Story is on A Web Site I can't fined it.
     
  12. Steve Petersen

    Steve Petersen Member

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    In my earlier days I read a lot about the American Civil War. I remember reading that the number of wounds and fatalities from bayonets was very low. Apparently it was a little too intimate form of killing for most soldiers.

    I wonder if that might still have been true, for Western soldiers anyway, in WWII?
     
  13. Highway70

    Highway70 Member

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    I found this article:

    Hero Soldier Who Led Bayonet Charge Against Taleban Wins Bravery Award - HMForces.co.uk – UK's #1 Community: Army, Navy, RAF


    And this one about Iraq in 2004:

    Outstanding story of British Bayonet Charge in Basra
     
  14. Spaniard

    Spaniard New Member

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  15. sniper1946

    sniper1946 Expert

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  16. DauntlessEnZedder

    DauntlessEnZedder Member

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    At 42nd Street an elite battalion of German Mountain Troops were totally surprised to be attacked by some 300 yelling, bayonet-wielding Anzacs from a retreating Allied Force that the Germans considered to be demoralised rabble. The attack was swift and brutal and concluded with the death of an estimated 200+ Germans* and some 40 Anzacs. After this encounter the Germans were wary of making contact with the Anzac rearguard of the retreating Allied Force. This delay in the German offensive brought sufficient time for most of the Allied Force to be evacuated from the southern coast of Crete.
     
  17. sonofacameron

    sonofacameron Member

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    The Bayonet was used to great effect at Wadi Akarit as well as in other battles in North Africa. My Father being a part of that. Also the hand to hand fighting in the Reichswald Forest was particularly bloody, Heads being taken off oponents by the use of trenching tools.!!! You don't get much bloodier hand to hand fighting than that.!!
     
  18. DauntlessEnZedder

    DauntlessEnZedder Member

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    The Maori's claimed to have killed over 80 germans killed in hand to hand fighting at 42nd street for the loss of only 4 Maori. It is recorded that the Germans were put into such a panic by this ferocious attack that one Maori actually bayonetted 3 Germans with one thrust of his 18 inch bayonet as they fled, the muzzle of his rifle forced clean through the first one, the bayonet continuing on through a second to pin a third by the tip.
     
  19. DauntlessEnZedder

    DauntlessEnZedder Member

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    This is an account of the first bayonet charge by New Zealand troops in WW2 on the island of Crete 1941: The deeds of outstanding bravery of all the defending forces are legendary. The story of the spontaneous charge by the Maoris on the last evening in Maleme, told by Colonel Dyer and said by him that "for sheer inherent courage was unsurpassed in the Middle East," loses nothing in the retelling:
    "As evening approached the Germans who had been steadily reinforced all day by troop carrying planes began to press us. I suppose they thought that we would turn and run. In front, just below the edge of a spur at about 100 yards distance they erected a banner such as you would see in a street procession - a broad strip of red cloth held up by a pole at each end. In the centre was a white circle with a large black swastika.
    Then opening a concentrated fire they came at us from the front and right . As a man the Maoris rose where they lay, a scattered bank of figures under the trees. With knees bent and leaning to the right they slowly advanced firing at the hip. They did not haka for this was not rehearsal. Instead there rose from their throats a deep shout "Ah Ah Ah" as they advanced firing. Then the cartridges in their magazines being exhausted they broke into a run with bayonets levelled and their shouts rising as they went. The ground shook with the heavy tramp of men, the air whistling and cracked with bullets. Men went down but still they charged. The pride of the German army turned and fled."
     
  20. DauntlessEnZedder

    DauntlessEnZedder Member

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    Bayonet versus Taiaha:The old Maori weapon, the taiaha can be deadly when wielded by an expert. This was proved in a taiaha and rifle and bayonet duel at a small arms weapon training school at Maadi, the Middle East, in 1943.The school was an important centre in which soldiers of the 8th Army were given an intensive training course in every infantry weapon, from revolvers to bayonets. In this particular course there were Americans, Free French, English, New Zealanders, Cypriots, and Canadians. In one of the bayonet fighting sessions, Major Don Steward, a New Zealander, remarked to his hard-bitten instructors: “This is quite a weapon, I only know of one to beat it!” “What’s that?”Asked the instructor. “The Maori taiaha.”“What the hell is that?”“A fire-hardened wooden stave and fending spear, “replied Stewart. Derision and scorn followed this remark, which stung the Maori to the quick. As a result, he offered to prove his point. Immediately bets were offered at great odds that the man with a Maori weapon would be dead within seconds against an expert with a rifle-mounted bayonet.
    The Maori champion, Lieut. Aubrey Te Rama-Apakura Rota, luckily had one with him. Rota was warned that he would have to take full risk of being wounded or worse, and that the incident was to be officially regarded as an exercise in the combat school, where ‘accidents ‘were fairly frequent. There would be no holds barred on either side. Stripping off his tunic, the young Maori stood facing the grinning ‘modern soldier ‘in much the same way his forebears had faced the British redcoats a century before. The signal to start was given. The soldier lunged in and thrust in perfect precision, but each move was parried by the light-footed Maori who bided his time and stood on the defensive. Failing to penetrate the Maoris’ guard, the other soldier grew increasingly angry as thrust after thrust was tossed aside by the stout wooden weapon. Sometimes it was repelled with such violence that the European soldier was flung sideways. Finally, he crouched and charged in directly at the Maoris’ midriff. This was Rota’s chance. Grasping his weapon firmly, he sidestepped, tipped aside the blind thrust, and caught the lunging figure a smart uppercut in the stomach with the bladed end of the taiaha. In a flash he whirled the weapon about, to crash the business-end on top of his opponent’s skull. Down he went, to be out of action for some days in the camp hospital—another regrettable accident from the small arms school. The effect on those present was profound. Money changed hands at great odds, as the jubilant minority collected. The story was repeated with almost unbelievable astonishment throughout the Middle East.
     

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