In the late 17th – early 18th centuries, several fundamental innovations in the military affairs of Europe were adopted. Instead of the old wheeled rifle castle, a flintlock of a more advanced design appeared. In addition, the bayonet became more widespread in the infantry.
Bayonet plug, design features and combat use.
A bayonet (from the floor. Sztych) in domestic weapons science is called a short-bladed cold weapon designed to be attached to the muzzle of a barrel of a firearm. In the West, such weapons are called the general term bionet.
The first attempts to combine firearms and cold steel were made in Europe almost immediately after the proliferation of handguns. There were a large number of different options for combined weapons. But a relatively convenient and cheap result was achieved only at the end of the 17th century, with the invention of the bayonet-plug.
In domestic literature, a similar sample is also called baguette. These bayonets were a blade on a round handle inserted into the musket barrel. This design has a number of significant drawbacks. The most important of them is the ability to shoot or fight hand-to-hand combat only alternately. Before each shot or reload, the soldier was forced to remove the bayonet plug from the barrel.
In addition, the baguette was not tight enough in the trunk, risking falling out at the most inopportune moment. Therefore, already at the beginning of the 18th century, another construction was spread.
Sleeve bayonet, design features and combat use.
The sleeve bayonets consisted of a blade, usually trihedral, and a sleeve worn on the barrel of a musket. Subsequently, the sleeve began to be equipped with a device for fixing on the barrel. The sleeve bayonet allowed the musketeer to fire and reload without removing the bayonet, which was a great achievement and radically changed the tactics of the infantry regiments. With the widespread spread of the bayonet and the transformation of most of the European infantry into musketeers, tactics appeared based on the construction of an infantry detachment into columns, with alternate firing.
While the first convoy was firing a salvo, the second and third shotguns reloaded. The first column shot from the knee, the second and third standing. Given the rate of reloading a rifle with a flintlock, reloading lasted an average of 3 minutes. The main task of the commanders was to teach the soldiers to keep the system, clearly carry out commands and recharge as quickly as possible.
Shooting was carried out in one gulp, on command, according to the enemy’s tight formation, so the accuracy of the shot did not play much. In the case of close combat, bayonets were used. However, real bayonet fighting was rare enough, soldiers were much more willing to exchange rifle volleys than they went hand to hand. As a rule, when approaching the enemy, one of the sides could not stand the nerves, and she took to flight. Tough discipline was the main guarantee of victories.
Bayonet cleaver, design features and combat use.
In the second half of the 19th century, bayonet-hatchets became popular in Europe. The bayonet-bayonets were a slightly reduced infantry cleaver, usually with a simple cross and mounted on top of the device for fastening the rifle. In the closed state, it was used as a bayonet; in the open state, it could be used as a blade weapon.
Bayonet, design features and combat use.
The First World War showed the low efficiency of the long bayonet-type bayonets. Long blades everywhere underwent shortening. A new type of bayonet has appeared – a bayonet-knife. The term “bayonet-knife” in this case refers to a knife equipped with devices for attaching small arms.
It is interesting that the term “bayonet-knife” exists only in domestic weaponry. In the West, all samples, regardless of the presence of the handle and type of blade, are called the general term bionet. The bayonet-knives were in service with most of the countries participating in the Second World War. Today, the bayonet-knife is not only the most common type of bayonet and a multifunctional household tool of a soldier, but also, as a rule, the only kind of cold steel officially adopted for service.
Modern bayonet-knives are usually equipped with a number of additional devices, such as metal files on the butt. Some bayonets, in conjunction with the sheath, form barbed wire shears..
Despite the fact that mass bayonet battles are a thing of the past and hand-to-hand battles in modern warfare are relatively rare, thanks to the European tradition of bayonet fighting, the vast majority of modern army small arms are equipped with bayonet mounts.
Based on the book Small Encyclopedia of Cold Steel.