I found this aspect of this story interesting:
In 2004, with ammunition running low, a British unit launched a bayonet charge toward a trench outside of Basra, Iraq, where some 100 members of the Mahdi Army militia were staging an attack. The British soldiers later said that though some of the insurgents were wounded in the bayonet charge itself, others were simply terrified into surrender.Well this lead to a serious of assumptions about who the Mahdi militia was. I would've just assumed that they were a group of fundamentalist who would have went down in glory fighting the infidels. Well whatever their backstory was they quivered in the face of a bayonet assault by a Western power!
Instilling such terror is at the heart of the philosophical argument for keeping bayonet training, historians say.
The purpose of bayonet training:
“Traditionally in the 20th century – certainly after World War I – bayonet training was basically designed to develop in soldiers aggressiveness, courage, and preparation for close combat,” says Richard Kohn, professor of military history at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.Not to say that I know a whole lot about military training, but surely if the military's goal is to win an armed conflict you might want to do everything to insure that they will be able to do it. So perhaps bayonet training isn't a very important aspect of military life these days, even then why not encourage the development of aggression in our military personnel. They will need it in a combat environment although do be sure doing such a job I can't envy anyone.
Bayonet training is, in short, used to undo socialization – to “basically to try to mitigate or eradicate the reluctance of human beings to kill each other,” Mr. Kohn says. It is one of the challenges in US or Western society “where we have such reverence for the individual, where we socialize our people to believe in the rule of law, and all of that,” he adds. “What you’re doing with young people is trying to get them used to the highly emotional and irrational and adrenaline-filled situations in which they are liable to find themselves whether they are within sight of the enemy or not – and the reluctance to take a life.”