The act of charging a defended position with bayonets fixed with more of an emphasis on initiating hand to hand combat than firing at close range. During conflicts like the Civil War this tactic made some sense. It was mostly a battle of morale. The attacker's had to have great morale to run full speed through a barrage of gunfire and artillery. The defender's had to hold their ground and keep firing as a horde of screaming soldiers rushed at them. By the time WWI started the bayonet charge became a suicide run. Rifles could be loaded and discharged at a higher rate, artillery was more accurate and heavy, and most importantly, machine guns could be readied quickly and fire continuously. The results were men being mown down before even reaching the enemy. It would, of course, take several massacres before old school Generals gave up on this.

Many soldiers with close combat experience would argue that the bayonet remains useful today, though only under certain restricted conditions. A long charge with cold steel across open ground is, of course, a suicide run. But in tight quarters, bayonets can be very effective, once ammunition runs out. Even with automatic weapons, pausing to reload can be fatal when the enemy is only a few meters away.

For high-tech militaries such as the US Army, the unpleasant reality is that less heavily equipped forces (such as the Viet Cong and Iraqi insurgents) often want to get into close combat with their enemies. This cancels out the technially superior force's edge in air superiority and firepower. Therefore, high-tech infantry still need to be prepared and equipped to deal with close-combat threats. This is especially true if they are likely to be engaged in urban warfare

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