078 THE BAYONET
When a short knife was stuck into flintlock's muzzle, every soldier could be armed with a missile weapon as well as one that could be used for close combat. The only disadvantage was that the musket could not be loaded or fired while the plug bayonet was in place. The socket bayonet solved this problem and the musket/bayonet combination became the universal infantry weapon from c.1700 to c.1870.
The advent of shorter rifled firearms saw the attachment of short swords to rifle barrels. Their longer blades still gave the infantryman the 'reach' that contemporaries believed he needed to fend off cavalry attacks.
The perfection of the small-bore magazine rifle in the 1890s saw the bayonet lose its tactical importance, becoming smaller and more knife-like, a trend that continued in the world wars. When assault rifles predominated from the 1950s onwards, the bayonet became a weapon of last resort. Its potential usefulness continued to be recognized, but its blade was often combined with an item with some additional function, most notably a wire-cutter.
Ultimately, for all its fearsome reputation as a visceral, close-quarter fighting weapon, the bayonet's greatest impact was actually as a psychological weapon. Featuring full-colour artwork as well as archive and close-up photographs, this examines the weapon attached to every soldier's firearm from the army of Louis XIV to modern-day forces.
NEW-softcover, available mid April 2021 ......$22.00 rct
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Updated as of 12/07/2023ABBREVIATIONS: dj-dust jacket, biblio-bibliography, b/w-black and white, illust-illustrations, b/c-book club addition.
rct - recent arrival or pending publication, spc - OMM Special Price