Photos that make you think.

In which case, don’t take it out on a fighting patrol. There are many other possible stabbing and slashing instruments. The IWM had a WWI display of some of the improvised trench-fighting tools. Bits of iron with nails and razor blades in, etc. Nasty, nasty business.
Without wishing to start a morality drift, I've always thought it somewhat absurd that people should be 'nicely' killed.
 
Without wishing to start a morality drift, I've always thought it somewhat absurd that people should be 'nicely' killed.

Its the British way old boy, can't have Johnny foreigner accusing us of not playing the game old man, I mean to say, disposing of the kings enemy's is a fine art, can't have the other ranks reduced to their depths of depravity, you know, gas, flame throwers, white phosphorous, Dum Dum Bullets that sort of thing, a clean kill is a good kill,..... what say you Caruthers?....... ( Sarcastic, Would I, me, never, perish the thought, as if.)
 
All Quiet on the Western Front.
The one with Ernest Borgnine and Ron Howard.
Conversation along the lines of 'Who taught you to do this?"
"We learned it in training"
"If the enemy catch you with this, they'll pluck out your eyes and fill them with sawdust".
 
Written by a guy who was there, was wounded and spent the last few months of the war recovering in hospital.
Yep, Remarque (sp?)
I must go through the book and see if that conversation was in it.

EDIT:
Aha!
AQOTWF.


Ammunition and hand-grenades become more plentiful. We overhaul the bayonets-that is to say, the ones that have a saw on the blunt edge. If the fellows over there catch a man with one of those he's killed at sight. In the next sector some of our men were found whose noses were cut off and their eyes poked out with their own saw-bayonets. Their mouths and noses were stuffed with sawdust so that they suffocated.

Some of the recruits have bayonets of this sort; we take them away and give them the ordinary kind.

But the bayonet has practically lost its importance. It is usually the fashion now to charge with bombs and spades only. The sharpened spade is a more handy and many-sided weapon; not only can it be used for jabbing a man under the chin, but it is much better for striking with because of its greater weight; and if one hits between the neck and shoulder it easily cleaves as far down as the chest. The bayonet frequently jams on the thrust and then a man has to kick hard on the other fellow's belly to pull it out again; and in the interval he may easily get one himself. And what's more the blade often gets broken off.
 
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Just checked the writers' bios (there were 4) for the 1930 film, none served so they must have taken it from the book or from someone they knew who actually served. It's not the sort of thing a writer without mil. service would know or imagine, I think.
I edited my post above, having found Remarque's original text.
I hope this helps.
It also expands on earlier entrenching tool posts.
Regrds
CR
 
The tale from Somme Mud when they found the body of the Brit Sgt with something like 7 german soldiers laying around him dead and a broken entrenching tool still gripped in his hands at Delville Wood really brings home the desperation and horror of trench warfare IMO.
 
The tale from Somme Mud when they found the body of the Brit Sgt with something like 7 german soldiers laying around him dead and a broken entrenching tool still gripped in his hands at Delville Wood really brings home the desperation and horror of trench warfare IMO.
Now you know why we consider it 'sacred ground' and a sacred date?
I'm at a local commemoration this weekend.
Was supposed to be on Sunday, but the pesky World Cup final etc got in the way.

EDIT:

William Faulds - Wikipedia

Awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions on 18 July 1916 at Delville Wood,

His Victoria Cross was displayed at the National Museum of Military History in Johannesburg. This Victoria Cross was stolen off a display in 1994 and is still missing.
 
IIRC the "saw back" bayonet was the same sort of unfounded controversy as were Britains "dum dum" bullets (the standard MkVII spitzer). The stories most likely have their origin in the complete bollox that old soldiers spout when repeating stories they've heard (vide much of Arrse!).

Given that British soldiers had also had saw-back bayonets for a century or so, it must have been perfectly well understood in the wider Army that the teeth were not intended to be any sort of atrocious Hun anti-personel feature. Probably the scandal has its roots in the breathless propaganda and media frenzy of the time.

IIRC there is no documented medical evidence that being stabbed with one type of bayonet over another was more or less painful, so probably just salacious embellishment.
Nope, actually gets a mention in both films and the book 'All Quiet on the Western Front' when the main protagonists tells Himmelstoss' squad of replacements what will happen to them if the French catch them with a saw-tooth bayonet

"If the fellows over there catch a man with one of those he's killed at sight. In the next sector some of our men were found whose noses were cut off and their eyes poked out with their own sawbayonets. Their mouths and noses were stuffed with sawdust so that they suffocated."
 
Nope, actually gets a mention in both films and the book 'All Quiet on the Western Front' when the main protagonists tells Himmelstoss' squad of replacements what will happen to them if the French catch them with a saw-tooth bayonet

"If the fellows over there catch a man with one of those he's killed at sight. In the next sector some of our men were found whose noses were cut off and their eyes poked out with their own sawbayonets. Their mouths and noses were stuffed with sawdust so that they suffocated."
3451, Trigger!
 
I beg to differ, if you have ever seen one close up compared to a British issue bayonet, I think you would have grave doubts.
Sawback bayonets were used by pioneer and machine gun troops to clear vegetation and other obstructions (much as U.S. machine gun crews used the various bolo knives and machetes). Sawback blades were also carried by non-commissioned officers (NCOs) as a symbol of rank.
 
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