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Iain Abernethy
Iain Abernethy's picture
Lessons from a bayonet charge

Hi All,

Michael Rosenbaum recently sent me a PDF report on a bayonet charge by British troops in Basra. The document can be downloaded from the page below:


It’s an interesting read that has some lessons on the value of aggression, doing the unexpected, the psychological aspects of conflict. I’m sure we martial artists will find some interesting things to ponder over in the document as I think the quotes below make clear:

e wrote:
this case study suggests the importance of changing tactics and procedures to keep enemy fighters off balance … Sometimes actions as simple as unexpected changes in appearance or shows of force can regain the initiative.

e wrote:
The bayonet charge by British troops in Basra achieved tactical success primarily because of psychological and cultural factors. It also shows that superior firepower does not guarantee success by either side. In this case, the value of surprise, countering enemy expectations, and strict troop discipline were three deciding characteristics of the bayonet charge.

e wrote:
“I wanted to put the fear of God into the enemy. I could see some dead bodies and eight blokes, some scrambling for their weapons. I’ve never seen such a look of fear in anyone’s eyes before. I’m over six feet; I was covered in sweat, angry, red in the face, charging in with a bayonet and screaming my head off. You would be scared, too”. Corporal Brian Wood - Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment

All the best,


Gary Chamberlain
Gary Chamberlain's picture

"Red mist and go for it"

Was all I got from an SBS trooper when I asked about close combat drills.  The cool and calculating stuff was done in the build up, but once up close it was massive aggression.

Sounds good to me.


mattsylvester's picture

To be honest, facing a bunch of screaming Tommies running behind a very sharp bayonet would probably have me reaching for my comfort blanket and the toilet roll.

The psychological impact of knowing that someone is more than willing to close the distance and ram a piece of metal into any part of the body they can must induce quite a lot of brain fart, especially if you're not trained in bayonet fighting.