Copyright 2006 T. Sheil & A. Sheil  All Rights Reserved

Milihistriot Quarterly

The Journal for Military Miniature Enthusiasts

Bayonet Fighting

it was during the 17th Century that musketeers turned pikemen.  The style of warfare at that time had separate units of musketeers and pikemen.  Someone had the idea to fit a knife to the front of a musket, turning it into a short pike.  The original bayonet was a "plug" type whose handle went right into the muzzle of the musket.  Later types would fit alongside the barrel by a variety of sockets, plugs and clips.

There is more to bayonets than picking up a bayonetted rifle and poking the enemy with it.  There are actually techniques for its use.  These vary by time and country.  Perhaps the largest influence on bayonet technique was French.  They developed a school of "bayonet fencing" which proved effective.  It was exported around the world.  French bayonet technique was adopted by both British and American armies. Though it was superseded in the 20th Century, vestiges of it remain in many of the current bayonet fighting systems.

The overwhelming majority of military miniatures in bayonetting poses do not reflect actual techniques of the time. Many sculptors have no personal military experience. Even if they did, the bayonet style of their age would not match the techniques of earlier eras. You might be surprised how many people would not know about the differences between modern and old fighting styles.  Once again, sculptors take things for granted and would not even think that there might be a difference.

For your perusal, then, we illustrate a few series of bayonet fighting techniques.  These depict the standard fighting methods of their time.

English Bayonet from 1805

French Bayonet from 1837

German Bayonet 1830s to 1850s

George McClellan's U.S. Bayonet System of 1852

Sir Richard Burton's Bayonet 1853

Henry Angelo's Bayonet for the British Army 1855

Patten's Bayonet for US Volunteers 1861

French Bayonet Drill of 1861 (New York Militia 1863)

Confederate Bayonet 1861 (French 1858) Part 1

Confederate Bayonet 1861 (French 1858) Part 2

British Bayonet for Long Rifle 1862

Kelton's Bayonet for the Union Army 1862

Bayonet from Civil War to 1916, Part 1

Bayonet from Civil War to 1916, Part 2

U.S. Bayonet 1875 (Upton's Infantry Manual)

Prussian Bayonet 1901

U.S. Army Bayonet 1904 - 1917

Russian Bayonet Fencing 1905, Part 1

Russian Bayonet Fencing 1905, Part 2

Anglo-American Bayonet from 1917 to 1970

Soviet Bayonet Method 1942

Soviet Bayonet Training 1943

Soviet Bayonet 1945

Modern U.S. Bayonet

Can you help?

I am looking for military resources describing Bayonet techniques, unarmed combat and basic miltiary skills.  At this time, I am interested in items from the 19 Century and earlier.  If you can help. pleaee contact us at the email address listed below.

Thank you


Disclaimer: the bayonet methods shown here are for illustrative purposes only.  They are not intended as actual instruction in bayonet fighting and should not be used as such.  Bayonet training is dangerous.  It can be as dangerous for the user as it is for the target.  If you wish to learn close combat, seek a qualified instructor. One should never attempt close combat without the instruction and supervision of a qualified expert instructor .

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