BOLTS AND BAYONETS*
note: ever have Pigs In The Blanket? Hot dog in biscuit dough. I tried Burg In A Blanket. Rolls of hamburger, completely cooked first, then wrapped in dough and baked. Bite sized, dipped in mayo. Damn, that was Redneck Delicious!
note: S.C. in TX, got your double top secret extra generous donation-you da bomb, bro!
note: BP, got your very generous donation from PayPal. Big Hugs!
I’m going under the assumption that ninety-nine out of a hundred FaceBook users have no life, think that Joe from work that you see twice a month passing in the hall whose daughter just got a B- in her Algebra test is actually worth your time reading about and you’ve been tempted to post the time of your last bowel movement because most of your “friends” are over the age of 63 and they all love to talk about their medical problems ( what else is there to talk about you get that old, your golf score? ). The one out of a hundred who actually got done reading a weeks worth of my award winning drivel and decided to come back for more, the exception to the rule because only the top echelon become loyal minions, to you and the odd refugee from ‘Ol Remus or even Survival Acres ( and now probably Doomstead Diner patrons ), I introduce you to two cornerstones of frugal survivalism. Bolts and bayonets. All my long suffering readers might be bored to tears on this one, but I promise as always to sneak in a nugget or two I haven’t repeated for years so you are fooled into thinking it is new and exciting. Like the McDonald’s McRib or the Shamrock Shake ( if they still have those ).
Bolt actions because logistics matter. Bayonets because you are poor, they are cool and they stay useful past your ammunition supply. I know you all think you can remain cool and calm in combat, and given our recent middle eastern activity perhaps you have proven this to yourself. But most of you can’t know and in case the memo from Captain Obvious was misfiled, combat is stressful to most people. The adrenaline dump screws up your brain to muscle communication, which is why you want muscle memory to take over and overcome the rational brains shutdown. Lizard Brain got this, yo! Ever have a near accident in your car? Everyone has. You drive long enough, your muscle memory took evasive action while your conscious brain was still trying to remove itself from your ass. In the case of firearms, you are supposed to be so well drilled in firing and reloading and clearing jams and whatnot that in combat you just go back to that instinctively. Well, guess what. Shooting is expensive. Duh. You probably can’t train enough to get muscle memory. So don’t sit there and tell me you can maintain fire discipline in combat, if you aren’t trained to do so. Most folks, time to panic is time to dump your magazine downrange in a tither, neither aiming nor hitting anything. The AR makes a poor shotgun.
This is why a semi-automatic is a terrible apocalypse gun. First, you can’t afford enough ammo, and second, even if you could, you’ll waste it in no time at all. Which is why, as cool as they are, I do not advise semi’s ( I even prefer revolvers. You won’t waste as much, and it is always ready to go so in the stress of an attack there is nothing to do but pull the trigger ). Bolt actions only. During stress, it is likely for most of us that your brain will fire off a semi’s mag without pause ( “we’re going to die! PULL, PULL,PULL” ), but if you have a bolt action most likely your brain will have a different message ( “WAIT! Don’t pull the trigger! You only get ONE shot! I don‘t want to die!” ). No guarantees of course as we all handle stress differently. You might just go into a fetal position and whimper. What you are doing is increasing the odds of better performance by altering your firearms mechanism. And it sips ammo. Remember, this isn’t a militia porn fantasy where Chinese ammo factories stay in business and keep sending you AK ammo to fight the Federales. It is the collapse of the oil and industrial age and China is just as exposed to imported oil dangers as we are. What you store now is what you get to use later. And “covering me” or yelling “lay down suppressive fire” or other such nonsense only brings the day you are out of ammo much closer ( my gun porn book explores all this in detail and is ONLY fifty friggin cents ).
Any time you hear about the bayonet ( the last combat casualty from one was within the last decade, as a Limey soldier pig-stuck a towelhead or two. Pretty cool, eh? ) it is always the same blathering. Oh, it’s as obsolete as a sword or a cavalryman. It was only responsible for a fraction of one percent of battlefield casualties. It is used more for opening ration cans than fighting. Exactly. Only a damn fool orders a charge with bayonets into Maxim machinegun fire ( the actual useful guns that don’t need constant barrel changes ). Bayonets were never meant to be used against bullets. Their original design was to use them to replace a pikeman which was the defense against cavalry. Then they were used as a replacement for rapid fire. Fire, then bayonet charge. The enemy freaks out and fires too soon and doesn’t have time to reload before you are at his lines and just like that you have won the engagement. The redcoats gained quite the reputation, the initial training and discipline causing success which later bred more success as their reputations preceded them.
They weren’t rushing into a wall of lead. The unrifled musket ( you couldn’t have rifling if you wanted rapid reloading ) was very inaccurate. Your chances of being hit decreased if you charged with bayonet rather than held the line and slowly reloaded. Your chances of being hit were poor either way, but by charging you took less overall casualties in the engagement. Just like a herd of herbivores at the watering hole. The group always took a hit, but without the group activities you took more. The misappropriation of the bayonet in WWI was nothing more than the idiocy of officers in general being displayed by a body count. All officers everywhere are idiots, backed by bureaucratic idiots in the government. When you actually get a decent one they can do wonders but they are rare. The mindset of officers is drinking the Kool-Aid as a de facto program. It is rare for initiative and intelligence to sneak past that vetting process ( the War Of Northern Colonization had a system of voting in officers, a left over from militias, and as a result officer quality showed an improvement overall ). When you get an intelligent officer who is also in charge of the bureaucracy, legends can be made, but they are indeed a rarity. WWI generals had several wars to study, the Russian Japanese conflict of 1905 having all weapons but planes on observance which included bayonet charges into machineguns, and they learned dingus. They were simply a product of a generation too many of inbreeding of the elites and a commission purchasing system that was countered by those of a rigorous merit based system. WWI should NOT be considered as a lesson of the bayonets faults.
After the Apocalypse, bayonets will no longer be intruding in the industrial age logistical supply of ammunition. There will be no more charging into machineguns. It won’t be a fight between assault rifles at an average thirty yards ( remember your words. Words matter. An assault rifle is meant for the average range of combat. Not butt hole to elbow fighting where a submachinegun is preferable, just the average ranged encountered during the bulk of fighting, which is LESS than the typical black powder muskets in column fighting. With this definition, the AK is the worlds premier carbine. Not rifle. What we call an assault rifle is really an assault carbine. At these ranges, the AK’s five inch group at 100 yards is immaterial. And at these ranges, the long range of the M16 is worthless, and at long ranges the round is inefficient, so the M16 turns into a poor compromise of several weapons and is NOT a great assault carbine, not even being a good high volume carbine without maintenance which isn’t always an option ). A bayonet becomes a better option as a back-up weapon as the Age Of Ammunition recedes. Far better than a pistol.
“Just like a Wop to bring a knife to a gunfight”, shouts Sean Connery’s character in another movie highlighting Kevin Costner’s beautiful hair ( no, I’m not jealous-I spend far less on care products and am not going bald-knock on wood ), right before he gets a few dozen forty-five slugs in the chest from an ambush. Oh, sorry, warning!-spoiler alert. A bayonet isn’t bringing a knife to a gunfight, it is bringing a knife for after the gunfight. If you run out of ammunition, what else are you supposed to do? Grab a pistol? Sure, that makes sense. The average soldier is wearing near 100% of his weight nowadays. The not so helpful suggestion is to reduce it to 70%. But you can’t, now can you? Too much ballistic armor. The mechanized infantryman is too overloaded even with mechanized transport. You can’t move effectively with that kind of weight, even highly conditioned and consuming mega-calories.
Getting rid of ALL unnecessary weight is needed to go from mechanized to light infantry, and a true “light” designation means a MAXIMUM of one sixth your body weight. You trade agility and speed for armor and equipment. And, never noted by anyone, you will probably not have a choice anyway, as calories will be scarce. You won’t even have the option of carrying extra crap, even if you think you must, as you won’t have the energy or stamina. The bayonet, NOT the pistol, must be your back-up weapon. It isn’t just about guarding prisoners-of-war ( prisoners can’t be fed, but they can be held for short periods if the slave trade is already re-born ), or administering a coup de grace ( although the bayonet is helpful for that ), eliminating possible threats without wasting bullets. Your 9mm bullets are for your Forever Gun ( also a kick ass book one quarter the price of one Starbucks coffee ), not for use this close after the collapse. You can also use bayonets for crowd control. Nothing shouts out “beware the policeman” like a few good inches of cold steel ( in the Japanese occupied territories in WWII, a lone soldier could patrol with bayonet fixed over a large territory, such was their reputation, freeing up troops for the front line. Bonsai charges perhaps didn’t work as well, but the short lived American industrial output was literally inconceivable and so might have been far more effective otherwise ). Overall, the bayonet is multifaceted and far more useful than the mere 200-500 rounds of the cheapest ammunition you could purchase for the same price.
I’ll continue tomorrow with which specific weapons you can buy to combine a bolt action rifle with a bayonet. And it isn’t just old war surplus beat to crap guns, either.
END ( today's related link http://amzn.to/2vS7gp1 )
* By the by, all my writing is copyrighted. For the obtuse out there
You know what is beautiful with this topic ? We can always find new ways to make parallels that are relevant to other aspects of survivalism.ReplyDelete
One thing is that weapons are much like tools (especially electrical/petrol powered tools). Now what tools do you have at your place ? Chances are, you have what was in the store that day, medium price range or lower.
Some friends have very good tools (=very expensive) either because they're in Real World stuff like construction, or they want the hardware to be durable and forgiving. For the latter reasons, often they leave the "good tools" at home and take some hideous old junk for the dirty work. The former users (pros) have a budget for these tools and rotate them.
So if you know how to extract the proper value out of a semi-auto carbine (I agree wholeheartedly with your definition) then more power to you. Also, you will be employed in the most sucky situations, but hey you voluntarily trained for this so don't you start complaining now.
The other people around you, and very probably including you, are not combat professionals. Neither are the random dudes you see on TV, fighting is places with too little water and too much sunshine (not California) and taking chance shots by raising their AK over the wall. You wouldn't hire them to build your house, well they fight as badly as they work.
So as non-professionals you will not have any use for expensive and complicated weapons, that require lots of consumables to be effective (Is there any point to having a semi-auto carbine and 30+ round magazines if not for cover fire & spray-pray-yay ?)
The bolt action or break-action rifle or carbine is much more user friendly (both in usage and maintenance) and much cheaper, most probably more rugged as well, and you will want to abuse it more readily than your typical semi-auto rifle with twice as many parts and springs). It's the BIC approach all over again.
I'll make a second comment about differentiating users.
Never thought of it in those terms of tools for pros.Delete
In theory, parts standardization & ammunition commonality is a good thing to have. It also happens in a context when the users themselves are also standardized (the army, the police etc.).ReplyDelete
In a way, the army specializes in fuctions. The nerdy guy sits at the radar console, the marksman uses a .308 rifle, the sniper uses .50 BMG, the grunt 5,56, the officer 9x19mm etc.
Well we would all like to have our own private army but we'll end up with some of our family members and some of our neighbours/locals if we're really good at this. Chances are the weapons will be a hodge-podge, just as the users. This isn't necessarily that bad, to a certain degree.
Children aged 8 to 12 can do well with a .22LR rifle, even single-shot. If that boy shoots in a given direction, even a trained soldier behind cover will need to muster some courage to move or to return fire. First and foremost, firearms are a binary thing : if you have one in your hand, no matter what model and caliber and age, the situation is already completely different than if you don't have any.
A boy aged 8 to 12 has no use for a .303 or 12ga weapon, so the whole "that which can do more can do less" is actually false here. The boy will not handle a 5,56 well (in my experience they will be afraid of using it, and oh yeah, do you have enough ear plugs for your people anyway ?)
But that boy may handle a pistol-cartridge rifle well, and already it's very good for any mission you will give him. I don't think you'll use that boy in anything beyond defensive use. Same goes for women, old people etc.
So it's OK to have a .303 for the males aged above 12, they will make good use of it, and if you have a large stash of ammo and a COMBAT military guy (the radar operator is just another cubicle guy) you can use the semi-auto carbine, more power to you.
But other calibers and weapons still have a role to play, a role that is defined by the user (old coot, woman, boy etc.)
The same reasoning applies to the opposing force. Gang bangers will use semi-autos like your average jihadi (raising the rifle above their head), children and women will attack if desperate or delusional (why not both ?)
If you have ex-COMBAT military enemies you're quite fucked, but being in a defensive stance you have your chances (see the bit about .22LR above).
I liked that you made the article about the Blooper grenade launcher the other day. We can split hairs all we want on guns, but if any of these multipliers come in play (grenade launchers, mortars, weaponized drones, flying grenades etc.) then the whole situation is completely different anyway.
I'm not sure how much of a concern force multiplier weapons are. If you can hunker down during the die-off the logistics break-down works in your favor. Even the black-powder equivalent needs nitrate surpluses. Not to say it isn't possible, just less probable.Delete
Would a catapult do ? Or a trebuchet ? :)Delete
Check out this baby from immediate pre-mortar days, the "Sauterelle" ("Grasshopper") grenade launcher : http://rosalielebel75.franceserv.com/armesportatives/grenades-2.jpg
its ammo : http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b6952087s/f1.highres
(Sorry last picture was actually war booty taken from Germans)Delete
The Sauterelle used regular grenades and custom-made round ones.
English equivalent : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leach_Trench_Catapult
My question would be on the necessary powder for the explosive.Delete
Why not Molotov Coktails instead ?Delete
Well, let me ask the question like this. If there was no more gas or oil to be had, ever, would you prefer it be used in tractors or similar tool to help feed/shelter you, or to use in weapons?Delete
The weapons either helps me to defend my land (if I'm dead then what I wasted in ammunition is that much less loot for the victor) or to aquire more land.Delete
The main issue would be to find the methanol to convert vegetable oil into motor oil.
Once gas is no longer useful for engines , it is still viable for fuel bombs for a long time.Delete
Would much gas remain to the point it becomes useless? I have doubts.Delete
Jim, this supports your hypothesis: I worked with a fella who was a retired crime scene investigator, over 20,000 reports under his belt about twenty years ago. One of his many valuable observations was that once the officer decided to fire, he tended to empty his weapon. If he had six, he fired six; if he had 17, he fired seventeen.ReplyDelete
Now, cops are not known for being highly trained (union rules), so they fit nicely with your idea.
Kaffir ak Caffer
Me likey validation!Delete
Here's another gripe about the AR: I was taught bayonet on the M1 rifle. The drill alternated between bayonet thrusts and butt strokes. The drill was quite intuitive, one long flowing motion with a step forward with each thrust or butt stoke. I remember it to this day, over seventy years later.ReplyDelete
Every try butt stroking something with the AR?
Here's another gripe about the AR: I was taught bayonet on the M1 rifle at Parris Island. The drill alternated between bayonet thrusts and butt strokes. The drill was quite intuitive, one long flowing motion with a step forward with each thrust or butt stoke. I remember it to this day, over seventy years later.ReplyDelete
Every try butt stroking something with the AR?
Damn, dude, you're as old as the hills!Delete
Yeah, I'm well over 80 and sitting pretty: lotsa land, money, rations, a few beef cattle, et al. Been prepping since the '50s when the Russians were coming, with breaks working, as they say in the Marine Corps, 'beyond the seas.'Delete
I still work (and teach) small arms on my own ranges, but the 'maneuver' element of fire and maneuver is now best demonstrated by assistants. Oh, I'm still ambulatory and coherent; just slower, much slower.
However, I'm not dead yet; I have plans!
Evil, world domination plans? Those are the best kind.Delete
You're in my head.ReplyDelete
I'm having trouble finding a bayonet for my Mauser. Just yesterday I was eyeing off a .303 in good condition for a reasonable price at the local gun store. I only have min (as dictated by Bison Standards) ammo for my Mauser and my 30-30 (which I love). Getting a bayonet for the 303 is easy done.
Hmm - better look at the price of ammo
I need one more firearm & then I have enough for each member of my immediate family.
I was sent a link for a Enfield. All the rest of the guns they sold were within reason of competitors. And the Enfield was $700!!!! I about soiled myself.Delete
$700 is considered cheap around my neck of the woods. Funnily enough that's how much the one I was looking at wasDelete
Damn. I guess we are spoiled still. $700 is three quarters of a months net min. wage. An SKS is barely over half the price. And I consider THAT pricey.Delete
Wonder if you could dodgy up a bayonet lug for a 30-30 leaver action? Love my 30-30Delete
Would a gunsmith have any answers beyond our now new official rebar bayo?Delete
Score another point for the Olde Seasoned Prepper Dudes ! People who purchased the WWI an II surplus bolt rifles and kept the bayonets that often came with them. Alas, most of the pair were separated at some point in time.ReplyDelete
I have more bayonets than the matching pair. Two come to mind - Swedish 38 and bayonet, and Spanish FR-8 along with same. The last one is in the common 7.62 NATO which makes it the winner - but not by much.
BTW, the machete is a fearsome weapon as well, and is lightweight enough to be carried into battle. Just requires some skilz to use it well - and that means practice. Just like using a bayonet.
I feel bad for today's young'uns, or someone needing to start over. Crap at Gold Plated Crap prices.Delete
Well about the machete, Flavius Vegetius Renatus would like to object in his best selling book for 1000+ years, De Re Militari.Delete
(see section " NOT TO CUT, BUT TO THRUST WITH THE SWORD" )
Hey, another interesting read for Our Lord Bison and perhaps a topic for another article series :)
This is late Roman warfare, so there is nostalgia for the glory days, but it is considered quite realistic overall.
Downloaded the book-thanks! I'm primarily attracted to the bayonet over other cutters due to its reach. Better to be as far away as possible. Plus, you need less weight on the knife to be functional, as the rifle pushed its nine pounds behind it. Now, as a bonus, we know the thrust is better than the slash.Delete
Good article today...ReplyDelete
I seem to remember one of the older war rifles, maybe the SKS or Lee Enfield, not sure, had problems with the blade of the bayonet snapping after being inserted into the enemy. After they changed the bayonet from blade to spike, it stopped snapping. Anyone know?
I'm not sure myself. Could be the Enfield as the No.1's bayonet was perhaps too long. Or it could be the SKS as the blade was flimsy. I thought the Enfield spike was just because the gov. was out of cash and pinching pennies. The troops sure hated them.Delete
To my mind, a bayonet (on a rifle without ammo) is just a heavy, short spear that doesn't go bang anymore. There are lighter and more effective spears about, they're easy to make and they're the best hand-to-hand weapon out there just for their reach. I say ditch the rifle that doesn't go bang anymore, and strap your bayonet to a stick.ReplyDelete
You are not using the rifle without ammunition forevermore, but after ammo ran out on that mission, or as a supplement to extend your ammo, where/when safe.Delete
I was about to pose the same exact question as Dampignak the Terrible, but it’s already been answered. I’d add that eventually you want to improvise a spear point and stop using your bayonet altogether for this purpose, since it will be too valuable a tool to risk damaging or losing post collapse.Delete
Some of the bayonets that I’ve seen are actually quite nice, and serve well as a medium to large survival knife. I bought one from BudK a few years back, and it looks really stout. It looks like the one in the link below.
I wonder if more people are kind of waking up to the potential of the bayonet. They used to be bulk sale, near junk and now pricey. Of course, that could be wishful thinking and it is just military collectors who bought them all up.Delete
This old fella told me once that his uncle in WW2 was pinned down in a gully by the Japs with about 30 other fellas. About 5min into the battle a Jap flanked them and started shooting one guy every few seconds. There sargent gave the order to fix bayonets and charge the Japs in there front. This old fella was sure he was about to die, but the Japs in there front ran off in terror and that was the end of the fight. If they hadent fixed bayonets and charged they would have all been killed.ReplyDelete
Similar storry I read about the last formal bayonet charge by Australian toups in Vietnam. The Aussies and NVA were tradeing shots from ditches ever side of a rice paddy about 50yars distance. Once again they got flanked so they fixed bayonetes and charged, even though they had plenty of ammo. The NVA took to there heals and split, but they managed to stick a couple of slow ones. Once again a bayonete charge saved the day, even in the face of auto weapons.
Lots of military experts came for a look see at the American civil war and were all quiet disgusted that both sides didnt use cold steel like the europeans did. Instead both sides would mill around in front of each other firering there guns at each other drawering out the battle much longer than needed causeing much higher casulties. If one side had have charged, like a european army of the time would have, the battle would have been won or lost alot quicker. Bayonets, swords and lancers save lives as compared to relying purely on guns.
One of the last cavalery charges in history and one of the only times a cavalery charge was sucessful against fortified artilery and machine guns was when the Australian light horse charged the Turkish trenches in Bershiba(modern day Isreal) in 1917 over a distance of 2 miles. The battle was a resounding sucess as the turks couldnt wind there artilery down quick enough and after the battle most of the turks rifles and machine guns still had there sites set at 1000 yards.
Bravery and agression often win the day and nothing screams agression more than a bayonet. Haveing said all that I dont have one for my SMLE no4 :(
Here is an affordable no.4 bayonet: http://amzn.to/2eHFIwADelete
When I bought mine they all came with a scabbard, but now its $20+ extra.