US Army Combatives

5-10 Rifle with Fixed Bayonet

5-10. RIFLE WITH FIXED BAYONET

The principles used in fighting with the rifle and fixed bayonet are the same as when knife fighting. Use the same angles of attack and similar body movements. The principles of timing and distance remain paramount; the main difference is the extended distance provided by the length of the weapon. It is imperative that the soldier fighting with rifle and fixed bayonet use the movement of his entire body behind all of his fighting techniques not just upper-body strength. Unit trainers should be especially conscious of stressing full body mass in motion for power and correcting all deficiencies during training. Whether the enemy is armed or unarmed, a soldier fighting with rifle and fixed bayonet must develop the mental attitude that he will survive the fight. He must continuously evaluate each moment in a fight to determine his advantages or options, as well as the enemy’s. He should base his defenses on keeping his body moving and off the line of any attacks from his opponent. The soldier seeks openings in the enemy’s defenses and starts his own attacks, using all available bodyweapons and angles of attack. The angles of attack with rifle and fixed bayonet are shown in Figures 5-33 through 5-39.

a. Fighting Techniques. New weapons, improved equipment, and new tactics are always being introduced; however, firepower alone will not always drive a determined enemy from his position. He will often remain in defensive emplacements until driven out by close combat. The role of the soldier, particularly in the final phase of the assault, remains relatively unchanged: His mission is to close with and disable or capture the enemy. This mission remains the ultimate goal of all individual training. The rifle with fixed bayonet is one of the final means of defeating an opponent in an assault.

  • (1) During infiltration missions at night or when secrecy must be maintained, the bayonet is an excellent silent weapon.
  • (2) When close-in fighting determines the use of small-arms fire or grenades to be impractical, or when the situation does not permit the loading or reloading of the rifle, the bayonet is still the weapon available to the soldier.
  • (3) The bayonet serves as a secondary weapon should the rifle develop a stoppage.
  • (4) In hand-to-hand encounters, the detached bayonet may be used as a handheld weapon.
  • (5) The bayonet has many nonfighting uses, such as to probe for mines, to cut vegetation, and to use for other tasks where a pointed or cutting tool is needed.
  • b. Development. To become a successful rifle-bayonet fighter, a soldier must be physically fit and mentally alert. A well-rounded physical training program will increase his chances of survival in a bayonet encounter. Mental alertness entails being able to quickly detect and meet an opponent’s attack from any direction. Aggressiveness, accuracy, balance, and speed are essential in training as well as in combat situations. These traits lead to confidence, coordination, strength, and endurance, which characterize the rifle-bayonet fighter. Differences in individual body physique may require slight changes from the described rifle-bayonet techniques. These variations will be allowed if the individual’s attack is effective.
  • c. Principles. The bayonet is an effective weapon to be used aggressively; hesitation may mean sudden death. The soldier must attack in a relentless assault until his opponent is disabled or captured. He should be alert to take advantage of any opening. If the opponent fails to present an opening, the bayonet fighter must make one by parrying his opponent’s weapon and driving his blade or rifle butt into the opponent with force.
  • (1) The attack should be made to a vulnerable part of the body: face, throat, chest, abdomen, or groin.
  • (2) In both training and combat, the rifle-bayonet fighter displays spirit by sounding off with a low and aggressive growl. This instills a feeling of confidence in his ability to close with and disable or capture the enemy.
  • (3) The instinctive rifle-bayonet fighting system is designed to capitalize on the natural agility and combatives movements of the soldier. It must be emphasized that precise learned movements will NOT be stressed during training.
  • d. Positions. The soldier holds the rifle firmly but not rigidly. He relaxes all muscles not used in a specific position; tense muscles cause fatigue and may slow him down. After proper training and thorough practice, the soldier instinctively assumes the basic positions. All positions and movements described in this manual are for right-handed men. A left-handed man, or a man who desires to learn left-handed techniques, must use the opposite hand and foot for each phase of the movement described. All positions and movements can be executed with or without the magazine and with or without the sling attached.
  • (1) Attack position. This is the basic starting position (A and B, Figure 5-40) from which all attack movements originate. It generally parallels a boxer’s stance. The soldier assumes this position when running or hurdling obstacles. The instructor explains and demonstrates each move.

  • (a) Take a step forward and to the side with your left foot so that your feet are a comfortable distance apart.
  • (b) Hold your body erect or bend slightly forward at the waist. Flex your knees and balance your body weight on the balls of your feet. Your right forearm is roughly parallel to the ground. Hold the left arm high, generally in front of the left shoulder. Maintain eye-to-eye contact with your opponent, watching his weapon and body through peripheral vision.
  • (c) Hold your rifle diagonally across your body at a sufficient distance from the body to add balance and protect you from enemy blows. Grasp the weapon in your left hand just below the upper sling swivel, and place the right hand at the small of the stock. Keep the sling facing outward and the cutting edge of the bayonet toward your opponent. The command is, ATTACK POSITION, MOVE. The instructor gives the command, and the soldiers perform the movement.
  • (2) Relaxed position. The relaxed position (Figure 5-41) gives the soldier a chance to rest during training. It also allows him to direct his attention toward the instructor as he discusses and demonstrates the positions and movements. To assume the relaxed position from the attack position, straighten the waist and knees and lower the rifle across the front of your body by extending the arms downward. The command is, RELAX. The instructor gives the command, and the soldiers perform the movement.
  • e. Movements. The soldier will instinctively strike at openings and become aggressive in his attack once he has learned to relax and has developed instinctive reflexes. His movements do not have to be executed in any prescribed order. He will achieve balance

in his movements, be ready to strike in any direction, and keep striking until he has disabled his opponent. There are two basic movements used throughout bayonet instruction: the whirl and the crossover. These

movements develop instant reaction to commands and afford the instructor maximum control of the training formation while on the training field.

  • (1) Whirl movement. The whirl (Figure 5-42, Steps 1,2, and 3), properly executed, allows the rifle-bayonet fighter to meet a challenge from an opponent attacking him from the rear. At the completion of a whirl, the rifle remains in the attack position. The instructor explains and demonstrates how to spin your body around by pivoting on the ball of the leading foot in the direction of the leading foot, thus facing completely about. The command is, WHIRL. The instructor gives the command, and the soldiers perform the movement.
  • (2) Crossover movement. While performing certain movements in rifle-bayonet training, two ranks will be moving toward each other. When the soldiers in ranks come too close to each other to safely execute additional movements, the crossover is used to separate the ranks a safe distance apart. The instructor explains and demonstrates how to move straight forward and

 

pass your opponent so that your right shoulder passes his right shoulder, continue moving forward about six steps, halt, and without command, execute the whirl. Remain in the attack position and wait for further commands. The command is, CROSSOVER. The instructor gives the command, and the soldiers perform the movement.

NOTE: Left-handed personnel cross left shoulder to left shoulder.

  • (3) Attack movements. There are four attack movements designed to disable or capture the opponent: thrust, butt stroke, slash, and smash. Each of these movements may be used for the initial attack or as a follow-up should the initial movement fail to find its mark. The soldiers learn these movements separately. They will learn to execute these movements in a swift and continuous series during subsequent training. During all training, the emphasis will be on conducting natural, balanced movements to effectively damage the target. Precise, learned movements will not be stressed.
  • (a) Thrust. The objective is to disable or capture an opponent by thrusting the bayonet blade into a vulnerable part of his body. The thrust is especially effective in areas where movement is restricted—for example, trenches, wooded areas, or built-up areas. It is also effective when an opponent is lying on the ground or in a fighting position. The instructor explains and demonstrates how to lunge forward on your leading foot without losing your balance (Figure 5-43, Step 1) and, at the same time, drive the bayonet with great force into any unguarded part of your opponent’s body.

To accomplish this, grasp the rifle firmly with both hands and pull the stock in close to the right hip; partially extend the left arm, guiding the point of the bayonet in the general direction of the opponent’s body (Figure 5-43, Step 2).

Quickly complete the extension of the arms and body as the leading foot strikes the ground so that the bayonet penetrates the target (Figure 5-43, Step 3) .

To withdraw the bayonet, keep your feet in place, shift your body weight to the rear, and pull rearward along the same line of penetration (Figure 5-43, Step 4) .

Next, assume the attack position in preparation to continue the assault (Figure 5-43, Step 5).

This movement is taught by the numbers in three phases:

  1. THRUST AND HOLD, MOVE.
  2. WITHDRAW AND HOLD, MOVE.
  3. ATTACK POSITION, MOVE.

At combat speed, the command is, THRUST SERIES, MOVE. Training emphasis will be placed on movement at combat speed. The instructor gives the commands, and the soldiers perform the movements.

(b) Butt stroke. The objective is to disable or capture an opponent by delivering a forceful blow to his body with the rifle butt (Figure 5-44, Steps 1, 2,3, and 4, and Figure 5-45, Steps 1,2,3, and 4). The aim of the butt stroke may be the opponent’s weapon or a vulnerable portion of his body. The butt stroke may be vertical, horizontal, or somewhere between the two planes. The instructor explains and demonstrates how to step forward with your trailing foot and, at the same time using your left hand as a pivot, swing the rifle in an arc and drive the rifle butt into your opponent. To recover, bring your trailing foot forward and assume the attack position. The movement is taught by the numbers in two phases:

  1. BUTT STROKE TO THE (head, groin, kidney) AND HOLD, MOVE.
  2. ATTACK POSITION, MOVE.

At combat speed, the command is, BUTT STROKE TO THE (head, groin, kidney) SERIES, MOVE. Training emphasis will be placed on movement at combat speed. The instructor gives the commands, and the soldiers perform the movement.

 

 

(c) Slash. The objective is to disable or capture the opponent by cutting him with the blade of the bayonet. The instructor explains and demonstrates how to step forward with your lead foot (Figure 5-46, Step 1 ).

At the same time, extend your left arm and swing the knife edge of your bayonet forward and down in a slashing arc (Figure 5-46, Steps 2 and 3).

To recover, bring your trailing foot forward and assume the attack position (Figure 5-46, Step 4).

This movement is taught by the number in two phases:

  1. SLASH AND HOLD, MOVE.
  2. ATTACK POSITION, MOVE.

At combat speed, the command is, SLASH SERIES, MOVE. Training emphasis will be placed on movement at combat speed. The instructor gives the commands, and the soldiers perform the movements.

(d) Smash. The objective is to disable or capture an opponent by smashing the rifle butt into a vulnerable part of his body. The smash is often used as a follow-up to a butt stroke and is also effective in wooded areas and trenches when movement is restricted. The instructor explains and demonstrates how to push the butt of the rifle upward until horizontal (Figure 5-47, Step 1) and above the left shoulder with the bayonet pointing to the rear, sling up (Figure 5-47, Step 2). The weapon is almost horizontal to the ground at this time.

Step forward with the trailing foot, as in the butt stroke, and forcefully extend both arms, slamming the rifle butt into the opponent (Figure 5-47, Step 3).

To recover, bring your trailing foot forward (Figure 5-47, Step 4) and assume the attack position (Figure 5-47, Step 5).

This movement is taught by the numbers in two phases:

  1. SMASH AND HOLD, MOVE.
  2. ATTACK POSITION, MOVE.

At combat speed, the command is, SMASH SERIES, MOVE. Training emphasis will be placed on movement at combat speed. The instructor gives the commands, and the soldiers perform the movements.

(4) Defensive movements. At times, the soldier may lose the initiative and be forced to defend himself. He may also meet an opponent who does not present a vulnerable area to attack. Therefore, he must make an opening by initiating a parry or block movement, then follow up with a vicious attack. The follow-up attack is immediate and violent.

CAUTION: TO MINIMIZE WEAPON DAMAGE WHILE USING BLOCKS AND PARRIES, LIMIT WEAPON-TO-WEAPON CONTACT TO HALF SPEED DURING TRAINING.

(a) Parry movement. The objective is to counter a thrust, throw the opponent off balance, and hit a vulnerable area of his body. Timing, speed, and judgment are essential factors in these movements. The instructor explains and demonstrates how to— Parry right. If your opponent carries his weapon on his left hip (left-handed), you will parry it to your right. In execution, step forward with your leading foot (Figure 5-48, Step 1 ), strike the opponent’s rifle (Figure 5-48, Step 2), deflecting it to your right (Figure 5-48, Step 3), and follow up with a thrust, slash, or butt stroke.

Parry left. If your opponent carries his weapon on his right hip(right-handed), you will parry it to your left. In execution, step forward with your leading foot (Figure 5-49, Step 1) , strike the opponent’s rifle (Figure 5-49, Step 2), deflecting it to your left (Figure 5-49, Step 3) , and follow up with a thrust, slash, or butt stroke.

A supplementary parry left is the follow-up attack (Figure 5-50, Steps 1,2,3, 4, and 5) .

Recovery. Immediately return to the attack position after completing each parry and follow-up attack.

The movement is taught by the numbers in three phases:

  1. PARRY RIGHT (OR LEFT), MOVE.
  2. THRUST MOVE.
  3. ATTACK POSITION, MOVE.

At combat speed, the command is, PARRY RIGHT (LEFT) or PARRY (RIGHT OR LEFT) WITH FOLLOW-UP ATTACK. The instructor gives the commands, and the soldiers perform the movements.

(b) Block. When surprised by an opponent, the block is used to cut off the path of his attack by making weapon-to-weapon contact. A block must always be followed immediately with a vicious attack. The instructor explains and demonstrates how to extend your arms using the center part of your rifle as the strike area, and cut off the opponent’s attack by making weapon-to-weapon contact. Strike the opponent’s weapon with enough power to throw him off balance.

High block (Figure 5-51, Steps 1,2, and 3). Extend your arms upward and forward at a 45-degree angle. This action deflects anopponent’s slash movement by causing his bayonet or upper part of his rifle to strike against the center part of your rifle.

Low block (Figure 5-52, Steps 1,2, and 3). Extend your arms downward and forward about 15 degrees from your body. This action deflects an opponent’s butt stroke aimed at the groin by causing the lower part of his rifle stock to strike against the center part of your rifle.

Side block (Figure 5-53, Steps 1 and 2). Extend your arms with the left hand high and right hand low, thus holding the rifle vertical. This block is designed to stop a butt stroke aimed at your upper body or head. Push the rifle to your left to cause the butt of the opponent’s rifle to strike the center portion of your rifle.

Recovery. Counterattack each block with a thrust, butt stroke, smash, or slash.

Blocks are taught by the numbers in two phases:

  1. HIGH (LOW) or (SIDE) BLOCK.
  2. ATTACK POSITION, MOVE.

At combat speed, the command is the same. The instructor gives the commands, and the soldiers perform the movement.

  • (5) Modified movements. Two attack movements have been modified to allow the rifle-bayonet fighter to slash or thrust an opponent without removing his hand from the pistol grip of the M16 rifle should the situation dictate.
  • (a) The modified thrust (Figure 5-54, Steps 1 and 2) is identical to the thrust (as described in paragraph (3)(a)) with the exception of the right hand grasping the pistol grip.

  • (b) The modified slash (Figure 5-55, Steps 1,2,3, and 4) is identical to the slash (as described in paragraph (3)(c)) with the exception of the right hand grasping the pistol grip.
  • (6) Follow-up movements. Follow-up movements are attack movements that naturally follow from the completed position of the previous movement. If the initial thrust, butt stroke, smash, or slash fails to make contact with the opponent’s body, the soldier should instinctively follow up with additional movements until he has disabled or captured the opponent. It is important to follow-up the initial attack with another aggressive action so the initiative is not lost. The instructor explains and demonstrates how instinct should govern your selection of a specific follow-up movement. For example—

PARRY LEFT, BUTT STROKE TO THE HEAD, SMASH, SLASH,

ATTACK POSITION. PARRY LEFT, SLASH, BUTT STROKE TO THE KIDNEY, ATTACK POSITION.

PARRY RIGHT THRUST, BUTT STROKE TO THE GROIN, SLASH, ATTACK POSITION.

Two examples of commands using follow-up movements are—

PARRY LEFT (soldier executes), THRUST (soldier executes), BUTT STROKE TO THE HEAD (soldier executes), SMASH (soldier executes), SLASH (soldier executes), ATTACK POSITION (soldier assumes the attack position).

THRUST (soldier executes), THRUST (soldier executes), THRUST (soldier executes), BUTT STROKE TO THE GROIN (soldier executes), SLASH (soldier executes), ATTACK POSITION (soldier assumes the attack position).

All training will stress damage to the target and violent action, using natural movements as opposed to precise, stereotyped movements. Instinctive, aggressive action and balance are the keys to offense with the rifle and bayonet.

NOTE: For training purposes, the instructor may and should mix up the series of movements.


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