|I probably brought up this topic before but why are bayonets issued? It is true that one might have an occasional hand to hand fight. However the chances are to remote as to justify issueing weapons specifically for them. In fact I believe that is acknowledged tacitly-some bayonets have a saw edge close to the hilt on one side I believe-to use as wire cutters.
Why not go the hole route and assume the main purpose will be various and sundry types of work and hand-to-hand will be a bonus? A machete or a Gurkha knife* is useful for other things besides cutting people. Or simply a hunting knife. The only advantage of a bayonet is it's reach, which is irrelevant as reach is only an advantage in a fight between densely packed masses, and most modern hand-to-hand fights are likely to be suprise meetings by a few contestants(I.E scurrying down an ally and accidently bumping into a foe)in which there will be room to manuever around a long weapon and anywy no time to fix bayonets. Of course a hunting knife fascined to the end of a rifle is for a practical purposes a bayonet-and maybe the clasp adds so little to weight as to render my question academic. Still why not assume that they will mostly use it for cutting up, say, a pig they bought/stole from the peasants, and only rarely use it to fight with?
Bayonets have a fine tradition and make a great show, but with know cavalry charges and firepower to heavy to make fighting in thick formation practical, they are obsolete.
As a side note, why do they use assault rifles and modern bayonets on parade. Modern small arms, except for revolvers, and sporting weapons are intensely ugly. Why not use muskets and 18th century bayonets on parade? They make a fine show.
*as I understand it's just a legend that they have to draw blood every time(they cut their fingers just to make themselves look scarier) and they use it for other purposes-killing sacrificial animals on Hindu feast days, but also meat-cutting, brush cutting, gathering fireplace tinder, what not).