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Imperial Japanese Bayonet

Fighting Tactics
(World War 2)

Copyright © 2010

Quick Thrust
Imperial Japanese Bayonet Fighting Tactics (World War 2)

In World War 2, the Japanese Army was not able to stand up against the

modern Soviet or American Armies. Their organization, combat tactics,

and especially their weapons were inferior to those of their major

protagonists. The Japanese Army, however, developed excellent

techniques of bayonet fighting which combat multiplied the efficiency of

their obsolete rifles. Since the war, no one from the west has studied

Japanese Army bayonet fighting, although their rifles have been written

about profusely. As Quick Thrust proves, Japanese methods of bayonet

fighting were superior in World War 2 and even today. Any professional

soldier, re-enactor, or military games player should have this small e-

book. By reading it, he will learn why the Japanese Army rifle, with an

affixed bayonet was more than just a rifle. The Japanese Army bayonet

fighting techniques described in Quick Thrust are useful today, but only

to those armies who have a rifle and at least an eighteen-inch bayonet

capable of absorbing the shock of close-in bayonet fighting. The American

M-16 is not appropriate for combat bayonet fighting.

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The following is an excerpt from the full version of Quick Thrust,

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Quick Thrust
Imperial Japanese Bayonet
Fighting Tactics (World War 2)
Copyright © 2009, Breaker McCoy, Editor
This book is copyright protected and may not be reproduced in part or whole, or sold, without the
express written consent from the author of this book. All Rights Reserved.

Table of Contents: 10 Chapters, 6 Appendices

1: The Bayonet Fighting Concept
2: Imperial Japanese Bayonet Fighting Techniques

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3: Basic vs. Advanced Japanese Bayonet Fighting
4: Advanced Japanese Bayonet Fighting
5: American Modification of Japanese Bayonet
6: Criticism of Japanese Bayonet Fighting in WW2
7: The Bamboo Charge
8: Bayonet Fighters Prefer Hard Rifles with
Long Bayonets
9: The Bayonets of Ping Yang
10: Imperial Japanese Army: Spirit of the Bayonet
1: Modern US Army Bayonet Fighting
2: Modern Marine Bayonet Training System Modeled
on Japanese Methods
3: The Japanese WW2 Bayonet
4: Brutality Far Beyond Japanese Bayonet Fighting
5: Historic Bayonet Fighting
6: WW2 Sword Fighting and Training

Copyright © 2010


If your bayonet breaks, strike with the stock; if the stock gives way, hit with your
fists; if your fists are hurt, bite with your teeth."
--- Gen. Mikhail Dragomirov

"Close combat, man to man, is plainly to be regarded as the

real basis of combat."
--- Carl Von Clausewitz

In 1904, a Japanese Army rifle-bayonet fencing team that kicked, shouted,

and screamed trounced a Royal Marine team in Shanghai. After that, some noise

was allowed in the heretofore silent Brit close combat practice. Nevertheless,

silent displays of choreographed fencing always impressed watching politicians.

Before anyone scoffs, understand that the Japanese choreographed bayonet

fighting, based on choreographed knife fighting and fencing katas, imbued each

bayonet fighter with victory skills and the urge for close combat. The simplistic,

rigid current US Army and Marine bayonet drill is useless. It prepares no one to be

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a bayonet fighting. In the US Army, answer the question: “What is the Spirit of

the Bayonet?” with a long fart.

In 1917 the US military adopted the British system of rifle-bayonet fencing.

As individuals, most Americans found they liked .45 automatics better than

bayonets, and as a result the main use of bayonets by American soldiers during

World War I was the opening of cans and boxes. They did the same in all wars


Yet there were American bayonet fighting experts, as this book will portray,

that could have given the US Army and Marine Corps two things they desperately

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needed, a military soul and a desire for combat. Yet, nothing happened because

American armed forces have been “managed by flabby bureaucrats and politicians

since 1911.

There is a feeling that this love of the bayonet was a unique Japanese trait,

but a look at WWI tactics shows that this is how most of the world's armies

thought at the beginning of the 20th Century. The Japanese had learned their

military tactics from the Germans, who also taught them the love of "hot blood and

cold steel". These tactics had served the Japanese well in the Russo-Japanese War

where Japanese bayonet charges won victory after victory, albeit at a high cost in

lives. This was the way war was fought and was the way most generals thought it

was meant to be fought, not just in Japan, but in all armies. The "decisive battle"

idea was also a common theme in late 19th Century/early 20th Century military

thinking, as also seen in the obsession of WWI generals with a decisive battle or

decisive breakthrough.

In WWI, waves of infantry with fixed bayonets charged across "No Man's

Land" in Europe into heavy machine gun and artillery fire. It took the entire war

for the generals to realize that these tactics no longer worked. The Japanese,

however, never saw this. They had seen only limited action in the war, and then only

against colonial forces. The Japanese had seen the effect of modern weapons on

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the Western Front, but they had not personally experienced it. To a certain

extent, they may have retreated into the idea that Western armies had failed in

their bayonet charges because they lacked Japan's unique military spirit and, of

course, the protection of the Emperor and the Gods. Whatever, the reason, Japan

did not abandon the "hot blood and cold steel" tactics like other countries did

after WWI.

A Bayonet Fighter is rare because bureaucrat generals have opted for stand

off machines, not close combat. They have made once proud soldiers into part of a

janitorial team, trained to do “a job” in a coldly calculated war of scientific

weapons and mass destruction. They try to seduce carnal, bestial Islamic and

communist enemies into loving them by doing their work for them and handing out

goodies. They fix the electricity, build their hootches and mow their lawns. But the

touted push-button warfare is stupid. Total war demands the individual's ability to

meet his enemy face to face, steel to steel, hand-to-hand on a mound of bloody

enemy corpses.

Blood and Reality in Bayonet Fighting

The eye is a good place for a feint. Draw their guard up. It's also a target

that any one who has ever been in a fight knows how to protect and has counter

moves hard wired. The moment your weapon comes higher than your shoulder you

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lose all defense. Short blades are not like swords; different principle entirely. You

don't have time to get fancy. Seconds are like minutes. The other guy is not going

to bleed out, or go into shock quick enough to save you. Thrusts should go deep into

vital organs. Always go in low; the ribcage is like armor. Under the sternum; up

through the diaphragm; wrench and twist. Stay in close get the job done quick.

Examine a human skull some time pay attention to the brain case the depth

the structure and types of tissue. The temple doesn't have to be penetrated. But

it can be. That of course is not a prime target. Also study the structure of the eye

socket, the angle of the passage way to the forebrain, and the amount of tissue

between. Behind the eye it is all muscle and nerve.

There was a forensic examination done a few years back on some skeletons

found on the scene of a great battle during the war of the roses. One skull had

deep cuts at the temple. The researchers thought this was a deliberate mutilation.

They were wrong. The cuts corresponded to the wounds made by driving a blade

(probably a spear) under the rim of the helmet and pushing the victim off his

horse. The Anterior carotid artery would have been severed, with death almost

instantaneous. Facial bones are like a shield compared to the rest of the skull. It’s

easier to reach the brain through the roof of the mouth than through the Eye

socket. The pulmonary artery travels to the lymph nodes under the left arm pit.

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These nodes control the automatic breathing response. Armor can't effectively

cover that area.

Bayonet Targets

Quick feint toward the throat Left arm comes up to guard the throat plunge

the bayonet up in under the arm. Twist and withdraw, if it sticks leave it and get

clear. Go deep enough, death or at least unconsciousness is quick. The skull can also

be penetrated at the temple. The anterior and posterior carotid arteries are easy

to cut. The jugular is not as certain as people think; nor as quick. Stop the flow of

blood on the way to the brain, not the vein going away from the brain. In the groin

area there are a lot of arteries.

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Chapter 1
The Bayonet Fighting Concept


The spirit of the bayonet is the fighting instinct to kill with the bayonet. It is based
on physical courage, superior physical condition, and the knowledge of superior skill in
the use of the bayonet. It must be developed in the individual to a degree where it
becomes an overwhelming impulse to close with and destroy the enemy. The spirit of
the bayonet is the essence of the spirit of the assault; without it the bayonet
assault will fail. The bayonet is essentially an offensive weapon. The individual must
rush straight at an opponent with the point threatening his throat and deliver the
thrust where ever the opening presents itself. Emphasis will be placed upon
execution of a vigorous, aggressive, violent attack, rather than upon
the refinements of bayonet fencing.”
--- The Blue Jackets Manual 1943. Page 1023.

In the US Army, bayonet training was as highly ritualized by the 1960s as it

was in World War II. The awkwardness of the American bayonet movements were

so ridiculous that any street fighter or martial artist could only laugh. The US

Army and marines had invented a way for its soldiery to always be off balance in

close bayonet combat. Training commanders would yell, "What’s the spirit of the

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bayonet?" and the troops would yell, "To kill!" Then they would set about learning

an awkward and complicated long-thrust series, short-thrust series, and a vertical

and horizontal butt-stroke.

The US Army and Marines did not realize that they could not simply declare

"offensive spirit" to have been taught to young soldiers simply because they had

completed a Performance Objective for bayonet fighting. The American Infantry’s

tendency to do so was, sadly, indicative of a deeper malaise.

It is amazing that the brave soldiers of the 173rd Airborne Brigade in

Vietnam in 1965-66, fought so well in close combat against the North Vietnamese

Army. It is certain that they ignored their “bayonet training.” After the Vietnam

War a shame-faced US Army and Marine Corps discontinued their embarrassing

parody of bayonet fighting. Anything that makes soldiers look stupid should be


The fixing of bayonets before a battle was a precaution to ensure

preparedness, not necessarily indicative of a conscious plan for their employment.

And for a brief moment during the apprehensive wait while the enemy closed to

engagement range, it occupied and steadied the voices and hands of officer,

sergeant and soldier. There was comfort in the familiarity of the drill. Anyway,

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once engaged, infantrymen would not have time to fix bayonets in the heat of


Combat forces, perhaps, gained a measure of psychological advantage merely

from the act of fixing bayonets. In the sight of each soldier the forming of the

long rows of polished steel bayonets served to give the battalion’s frontage a more

menacing aspect, offered a greater measure of protection to each ready rifleman.

The infantry square or skirmish line became one row of unbroken bristling spines,

offering death on every approach. To the soldier it was the danger of impalement

that deterred cavalry, rather than the simple appearance to the horse of a mass

blocking its path.

The act of fixing bayonets became, increasingly over time, the physical

manifestation to initiate the offensive mindset. That step of preparation before

meeting the enemy was a significant aspect of the offensive spirit.

By 1982, the US Army Infantry journal was discussing the return of the

bayonet following a ten-year absence from training calendars. While promoting the

advantages of aggressiveness training and imparting awareness of the realities of

close combat, the bayonet drill being contemplated employed that the same four

stilted “killing” moves described in a 1918 publication. Soon, an awkward and

abbreviated mutant of 1918 bayonet fighting was being taught in Fort Benning in

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the 1980s. There had been no new lethally creative approach to bayonet fighting in


Leftist Concern about “Bayonet Fetishism”

American government and armed forces has long been ruled by a

bureaucratic leftist “elite.” Being leftists, they are obsessed with symbolism,

especially homoerotic symbolism. So when they look at bayonet fighting, they see

penises intertwined and the poor soldiers who get some sense of restorative élan

from bayonets are considered “untermensch” with bayonet fetishes. They also

despise masculinity and seek to transform it into the more familiar homosexual

repression that drives the leftist every behavior. For example, the leftist’s hunger

to be an African (wiggerism) is thought to be a suppression of homosexual desires

to be dominated by black males. To return to the feminized US military, which now

seeks cultural rapport in lieu of combat, bayonet fighting is despised as a fascist,

masculine fetish.

Many effeminate US generals share the following view of bayonet fighting:

“The bayonet was widely fetishized in the British Army in the First World War

era, both ‘from above’ and ‘from below’. A vibrant, rich and quickly transmitted

culture grew around this, which had real effects on the battlefields of the war.

Supreme confidence was placed in British masculinity, a masculinity that depended

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on the effective and brutal use of this weapon. Training frequently focused on it.

Such sick thinking resulted in barbarous outbreaks of masculine brutality which

expressed itself as an unfortunate desire to close with and destroy the enemy.”

Following is the modern US Army’s answer to strong pressures for bayonet

training. It is nothing more than a checklist of simplistic, pedestrian bayonet-like

rituals that actually mock the hated “bayonet fetishism.”

The Spirit of the Fixed Bayonet

There are so few hard combative warriors in the US conventional ground

military that they have, since 1939, failed to understand the psychological

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importance of the order…FIX BAYONETS. This author has observed the

immediate increase in the fighting spirit of even burned out infantry who fixed

their bayonets. The infantry soldier with fixed bayonet is a stock figure in

historical literature and art. A casual observer might think that the weapon was

never carried in its scabbard on active duty. Its reputed use, however, nearly

always seems to be limited to certain, specific types of actions.

The bayonet charge at the point of victory, the "last stand," and the forlorn

hope were all prominent examples of bayonet work. Intense emotion, either the

release of pent-up tensions or the desperation of success or death characterizes

each of these situations. They are not the reasoned tactics of disciplined troops

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operating within the scope of carefully developed tactical plans; they are acts of

desperation either in defense or attack. Bayonet fighting is the essence of the

warrior’s way.

Fat Men Are Usually Poor Bayonet Fighters

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The bayonet and its use came to be held synonymous with the offensive

spirit. This was not because the weapon possessed any special qualities, but

because the image of the soldier advancing with it did! To both sides the bayonet

charge was a significant emotional event, but it was not, as many would believe, the

engine of victory.

History of Jap Bayonet Charges

The Japanese soldier was very skilled at infiltration tactics and avoided

charging across open country into machineguns (Although such suicide charges did

occur when no other alternative seemed available.). Yet Japs hardly ever used

smoke screens to mask their charges and obstruct enemy aim.

The original concept of the "bayonet" attack was developed during the age

of the muzzle loading musket. Until breech loading, cartridge ammunition was

invented, it required at least 30 seconds to reload. When you reached your enemy

and he had fired, and you had fired, the bayonet became the ideal weapon. While

he reloaded, you bayonated him - And you had 30 seconds to do it in. You could

charge him from 50 yards away, reach him, and bayonet him before he could reload

after firing. If you didn't have a bayonet on your musket, your life expectancy was

one shot.

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When breech loading, cartridge ammunition came along, the reload time

became shorter but not quite short enough. A Japanese Model 98 rifle, with a six

round magazine, averaged about one shot every 10 seconds. In 10 seconds, you

might still be able to charge your opponent from 50 yards and bayonet him before

he got off another shot. Indeed! It was quite useless (and difficult to do) to shoot

your opponent from a distance. If you were assigned to capture a hill, shooting a

defender off the hill does not result in its capture. You have to physically take it.

Hence, in WWI, bayonet charges still occurred and would still be occurring today if

not for the invention of the machinegun which made it impossible for the attacker

to bayonet the defender "between shots". The attacker was simply mowed down.

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Japanese Bayonet Fighting in World War II

In the June of 1937, aged only 21, Kenshiro Abbe enlisted in the army, and

for the next four years served in Manchuria. Unable to continue in Judo during

that time, he did continue with his Kendo training, as he was an officer.

His military career ended in 1941 and he returned to the Busen. However,

Japan entered the Second World War and he was recalled to Tokushima as the

head of a training unit. The Japanese were now concentrating on a new art,

Jukendo, the art of bayonet fighting. Kenshiro Abbe entered these studies as

assiduously as his other arts and soon became a leading exponent.

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