Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Bohemian Crystal - New Years Eve With My Own Gravy Boat!

I took a break from cooking on New Years Eve, having done a lot during the holidays and busy with a plumbing project around the house. With the temps in the single digits and snow ending, it was a good day for a drive for a hot, hearty meal

Especially of the Bohemian Variety (and likely Moravian, Slovakian and sub-Carpathian Ruthenian cookery as well).  It's take no prisoners, offer no apologies, beefy,  porky, starchy rib sticking food.  You want sprouts and tofu, this is NOT  your restaurant.
 the private dining area for parties of 25 or less

The Bohemian Crystal, www.bohemiancrystal.net .  This is our favorite Chicagoland Old World dining place, the large restaurant warm and cozy and filled with all sorts of Czech tchotzkes, including, of course, Bohemian Crystal. The owners, Vera Mica and her son Roman fled Czechoslovakia in 1968 when the Soviets invaded, then immigrated to the United States and started working in the restaurant business with an uncle in Berwyn, Illinois. The packed, large parking lot and clean and inviting interior is testament to what they've learned for success since the early 80's, good food in generous portions in a clean, homey atmosphere.
We've eaten at other Polish/Czech places  in Northern Illinois and had wonderful meals, but this is indeed a favorite, closer to home and unlike the buffets, resulting in some leftovers to take home!

And there WILL be leftovers.
It starts with a basket of caraway-infused rye bread and whole wheat rolls, then  soup or salad.  I had the salad, for the house Poppyseed dressing that I wish they sold to go.  Partner had split pea soup with savory/cheesy toasted bread bits floating on it. 
Then the entrees - the roast Long Island duck is usually pretty hard to pass up, and there are other favorites here, roast pork, beautiful lamb shank with barley dressing  and delicious Czech fruit dumplings with cottage cheese, sugar and melted butter.  And try not and smile when you order the "buttcakes", delicious Old World smoked pork butt with crispy potato pancakes.  The last time we were here, one of our friends ordered the Moravian platter: a cornucopia of roast duck, smoked pork butt, meatloaf, fried veal cutlets, "grandma style" pork and sauerkraut. He was thrilled with the platter, which was huge. But  for New Years Eve, we went for one of my favorites and a weekly special.
Breaded Pork Cutlets, an incredibly light, non-greasy, crisp batter, and tender meat.  Not just one but TWO, with a huge mound of mashed potatoes (you get a choice of mashed or boiled potatoes, rice pilaf , potato salad, or dumplings, dumplings, dumplings) and a side bowl of hot cooked carrots (or I could have had sweet and sour cabbage or sourkraut). Plus they brought me my own big boat of gravy, rich, smooth, stick to the side of your dumpling, gravy.
Partner ordered the lunch portion of sliced roast beef in dill gravy with pillowy bread dumplings and sauerkraut.  Not the most photogenic dish (especially in very low light with  the vehicle glove box cheap point and shoot) but the beef and gravy was subtle perfection.

The service is always top rate, the traditionally dressed, energetic and kindly solicitous waitresses, many from Eastern Europe, are all outstanding, and remember their regulars. The coffee and hot tea was always filled, the food timed perfectly, out to the table fresh and hot. They are really busy, and don't have much time to chat, but it's always fun to hear some of the older regulars talk with the servers and busboys in Czech or Polish.

Dessert is even included with each meal.  Today we had  fresh blueberry pound cake with whipped cream (or a choice of Czech pastries, ice cream, pudding or jello).   I wasn't sure there was room for it in my stomach, but it was the perfect ending to the meal.
But don't let passing all the Land Rover, Ferrari, and BMW dealers down the road from the restaurant alarm you. Just off Ogden in west suburban Westmont, we had all of this, with drinks and enough left and boxed up for a light supper tomorrow, tax included, for $25.00 for two.  Delicious home style food at prices you can't find many places any more.

That says "Stastny Novy Rok!" (Happy New Year) to me!

Sounds From a Neighborhood

The sounds of a neighborhood vary day to today.  As I write this, it is a Monday, my day off normally, but not for most people.  I don't wake to the neighbor's car leaving for work, a large stand of trees between this place and hers.   I wake to the alarm clock, warm some cornbread to be served with maple syrup for our breakfast, then sit down in the office to contemplate the day after Partner leaves for his job in the city.

I'm surprised how quiet it is outside, the kids all inside the local Catholic school. Mom's back home to tend to the children not yet in school or to work, Dad's off at work, the retirees in the neighborhood, staying inside, out of single digit temperatures.  Off in the distance the wail of a police siren.  The ground is hard and knotted, the houses stare silently forward, not acknowledging anything that exists in their peripheral vision. The morning light falls down upon their steps, without sound.  That lack of sound does not seem odd, it is simply Winter.
In Summer, the neighborhood takes on a whole other depth of sound.  There is the bright, disorderly cry of lawnmowers firing up, the small tidy yards of an older neighborhood, not taking all day to mow, but the precision of their care reflects on the owners pride in their home.  There are no homeowners association rules, one neighbor's bright purple door standing out at attention, but with the colorful flowers that normally adorn the front and the deep rosy hue of the brick, it suits the house.  There are a couple of kids on bikes, zooming up and down the sidewalks, as off in the distance their dog barks for their return.  In the distance the sound of church bells, there in the month of brides, paced faithfully and serene, the sounds of the bells like shafts of light among the soft green leaves, yellow butterflies flicking on the grass like flecks of sun.

The sounds continue into evening, a summer shower off of the lake, releasing the scent of flowers into the damp air, crickets sawing away in the grass with a sound you can almost feel as a tickle on the skin,  There is the wave of a neighbor, as they take in the paper,  the clink of a couple of glasses of mint julep, there in the small traveling island of silence that follows us to the front porch.
There is no formal neighborhood watch here, but we do.  We notice when the newspapers pile up at someones house, and check to make sure they are OK.  We watch out for one another. We note the strange car parked on the street, a teenage boy just stopping to visit with the pretty teenage girl down the road.

We know who has had a new child, by the toys that sprout in the yard, like colorful flowers, and we note when a house grows silent, a sign gone up for a quick sale, the owner having passed away, time consuming not just courage but muscle and bone, until nothing was left but a frail form draped in a white sheet, like a piece of furniture unused.  We didn't notice the exact time of leaving, but can't help but speak of the remains.
The house behind has been silent for a long time.  It's a tall, well kept place but with no bathroom on the main floor, and wiring that has seen more than one great War, it's not going to sell quickly.  But it's being maintained, other neighbors tending to the yard as the realtor tends to the inside, as we watch for the day a moving truck comes in, and bread is baked to take over to welcome the new neighbors in a house that will once again, live and laugh.

From the floor in my little office, comes a rumble, a growl.  There is no one on the street, no person walking past.  Yet four minutes later, the UPS struck arrives, the dog can hear it even as it makes it's turn from the main road onto this little side street, a canines super hearing that can detect his arch enemy the UPS truck or a crumb dropping in the kitchen.  He barks ferociously at the driver, who, through the glass window, simply smiles, knowing that roar is a black lab with no will to bite. I open the door for the box, a rush of cold air coming in, the front room now smelling of trees, as it goes silent again, the dog turning around twice on the couch, before drifting off to sleep again.
A bird blows onto the sill, like a bright scrap of paper,  his heart pumping in his throat, faster than any pulse.  He looks into the house, then away, then into the glass again, as if listening, only to dart away as the clock chimes on the hour, then ceases.  The chime fills the whole house.  Perhaps it's just sound, or perhaps it's  all time, grievance and grief, manifesting as sound for just one instant, as planets and gears align. It's a moment, wherein one bird believes he is immortal, and in that instant, perhaps he  is. Only when that sound  stops, does time come to life and by then, he is gone.  

The only sound now, that of breath and the tick of that old clock.  I don't deliberately listen to it, the ticks seemingly beyond the realm of hearing, then in a moment, with that one tick your ears respond to, you are acutely aware, of the long diminishing train of time you did not hear.  How many ticks in this house in a hundred years.  How many after I am long gone?  Yet, I feel the presence of others that have lived here, for they perhaps aren't truly dead, but simply were worn down by the minute clicking of small gears. The echo of those that sat in this room, do not disturb me, they are part of this house, the sound of wood, the creak one of murmuring bones, the air that taps on ancient glass,  speaks of deep winds that witnessed more than time.
I had planned on another country home, but my heart took me here, this quiet village in the shadow of a big city, an old house I fell in love with the first time I entered it.   It has sights and sounds that I would have missed out on 100 acres, it has noise and neighbors and a number of reasons not close, but out there,  that means a gun safe buried deep within a wall.  But I'm a short drive to many  friends, a walk to a little Polish bakery and a good Irish Pub, the cheery "hello!" as neighbors  spot a familiar face coming in for a pint or simply a mug of good tea and a hearty bowl of stew.  On the return walk  home, the windows light up like sunshine, as I stomp my shadow into the steps, happy to be home.

At the end of this day, the shop growing cold, I take a quick walk before dinner.  As the neighborhood ticks outside, a slow and steady beat, comes the sound of the trains, the tracks a half mile away, carrying a sound on the air that is as comforting as childhood.  I watch the movement that is static serenity and labored exhaust, a click, click as it moves away,  through eternal trees, faded to thick sky, the train displacing air.  What is that formula about the displacement of air?  Or was that only  in water that Archimedes of Syracuse calculated human displacement of.  I put my hand on my hip and only displace air.  Reductio ad absurdum, the absurdity of human logic where a two pound piece of forged steel on a hip weighs more than the form carrying it.
Shadows lengthening, I hurry on back to the house. The tick of my watch and the sound of the train fade away, as if running through another place, someplace far from where this life ended up. I approach the little bungalow, a sheen of ice on the porch, the empty lattice by the porch, the front guard of circumstance waiting for summer flowerings.

It's the last place I ever expected to live, but I am blessed to be here.  I ascend the stairs, the air smelling of trees,  clutching the old key to the back door, there on a little ring with a train etched on it.  In the growing dark, I don't really see it, but I feel it, there in my hands, clutching that little anchor to a life in a small village, a life unexpected, but as welcoming as home..  The house sighs as I open the door;  I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror, moving away from the mirror into the warmth, my form darting out of the mirror,  the sound, tick, tock, tick, breath that breathes life back into this old house.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Holiday Parties, Not so Inert Gasses, and a Zamboni - Winter Fun

Saturday between Christmas and New Years.  The perfect time for a little holiday get together at the Range.  It's the same group each year here, a bunch of friends from school who live in the area.

It's nothing fancy, some snacks, some music, and lots of stories. And of course, Partner's latest bow tie - Starry Starry Night.
It started with a baked glazed ham, sliced and made into sandwiches with sharp cheddar and some honey mustard.
Then into a crockpot on the side table went a whole bunch of spicy party meatballs.
With about a dozen or so  folks expected, late afternoon, we didn't need a huge feast, just some tasty munchies, and plenty of soft drinks and a couple beers for the few who weren't driving.
There was dip (including Italian Spinach dip with red pepper)  with chips, crackers and fresh veggies and everyone's favorite,  the red  velvet cake roll with fluffy cream cheese filling, and a side of white chocolate peppermint bark to munch on.
Unfortunately for Mr. Barkley, with all the food within easy stealing reach on the table with more in the kitchen for refills,  he was jailed in the back office, though able to see everyone, get some pets and some treats.
 I need to talk to the warden about the lack of toys in here.

After everyone was full, it was time to catch up, stories from school, stories from careers,  This is a pretty eclectic bunch - accountants , architect, engineers, computer geek, a music historian, paralegal, a firefighter, a teacher, a Veterinarian, an Urban Planner and hockey player

"Then, we messed with his keyboard so every time he typed a semi colon what actually typed out was "I'm a little teapot, short and stout". 
Then there was a discussion on MAPP gas is better than butane for sweat soldering, fun with liquid nitrogen, and a driving performance review of the latest in Zambonis

"Note the understated drama of its appearance and the quality of its interior appointments.  I'd personally would prefer more control from the chassis and more presence from the engine, This machine still gives you that measure of confidence when you're surrounded by the usual idiots in traffic and with though it only has a top  speed of 7 mph, it DOES look fast on the ice".
Pretty soon, it was time for those with young kids to head home, while others migrated to the city to watch one of the guests have a late practice hockey game at the Blackhawks Stadium.  Hey, they have a bar on one level and an Zamboni!

What kind of trouble could we get into!  

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Books and Their Covers

Christmas was a good day in the household, Santa even dropping some toys for grown up kids and some good single malt.But first, some breakfast to open presents by.

Eggnog Pancakes (must try)

 The gifts were fun -
Yes, it's a wooden bow tie, perfect for parties, time travel or Arbor Day.
But one of my presents certainly raised an eyebrow.  It WAS beautifully wrapped, but Partner is an engineer.  Give him a a 15 inch scrap of decorative paper and he can giftwrap a Sikorsky in less than 10 minutes. I don't do as well, for I can cut a swath of paper the size of Utah and when done, there will be a small gap in the back where you can see what the gift is (though I've managed over the years to re-assemble Vera the AR15 without resorting to big pieces of Scotch Tape)
Oh, Wow, a BOOK.   Not just any book.

Partner looks at me expectantly. What do I say?  Do I feign Surprise?  Death?

Open it!  he says~ Ah HA! The Gift is inside!
Close by but hidden for when I'm working away in the home office, where home invaders won't expect it and friends won't ever borrow to read. A shiny new Ruger 1911 in .45  Yay Santa!

I'll have a Range report up in a few day.  I've had a long day of work, and there's Win Schuler's Cheese left. (mmm Bar Scheeze!)


Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas Eve

May your Christmas be everything you dream of.
From Our House, to Yours -

Our wish for glad tidings
and sweet dreams

Monday, December 23, 2013

Stick Them With the Pointy End - A History of the Bayonet

GUMBY
POKEY

At the Range, there are many tools of history, among those tools that are new. Some are for daily use, some are for battle.

I like the things of the past.  Though my life is made up of a future I can dream of,  it's housed within a past that looks at me from light glinting off forged hardness. Hardness that's seen battle, if not blood.
A bayonet on the M1 Garand.

What would it have been like to fight up close and personal with such a weapon as the bayonet? A battlefield rising in dark silhouette, a small stream that once sustained peaceful cattle, alight with mirrored fire. Around a black arch of formed earth a man moves around and in towards you. Friend, foe? Creeping between flares, fox hole to crude trench, looking for a light that would lead to a gap in the wire, the straining, determined gleam of wire, strung between remnants of fence. A fence once holding in prosperity and freedom, now nicked with bullets, fragmentary ammo removing rust and mud to where only a small sentient soldier of wood is left. Seeing that darkness advance, holding in your breath, you have no choice but to defend, to leap bayonet-first into yet another trench full of groaning shouts, hammering blows against your body.
Someone is there, too close to get a shot off, an exclamation in foreign tongue, sung under a rocket glare that lights up the sky, smoky death. The enemy, caught in the act of creeping into your line, no time to think, only a visceral reaction of base survival, your bayonet goes into his throat. Death up as close as it can be, the body shaking, the bayonet advancing seemingly on its own, a thrust, a cry, he falls back. Time stops in that moment, your blade embedded in his crumbling body, pulling you forward as you cling to the only thing keeping you alive, pulling on it, wresting it free, as if shaking a sausage from a fork

That night, while a man lays open eyed, throat torn, a stray poppy blooming blood red in churned cabbage fields, you write a letter home. A letter written by candles light to your wife, asking her to hold the baby you have yet to see, asking about the farm and telling her things are fine, words in a letter she may never get, or may take four months to arrive. You write after you wipe the blood from your blade.
Warfare of old. Warfare with a bayonet - a thing of historical significance, formed into an instrument of killing. A last resort weapon, for close quarter battle. A weapon as old as firearm warfare.

The term bayonet came from the French baïonnette - a knife, dagger, sword or spike shaped weapon that fits over the muzzle of a rifle barrel. Typically they are "custom" in that they are made to fit a specific firearm, not much different than the accessories we buy for our modern weapons.

The origins of the bayonet are, like most battlefields, a bit smokey. The Chinese were believed to have first used them in the 13th century, when the developer of the musket found they were ineffective in killing at close range. They then introduced two types of firearm, one with an attached knife and the other a spear. Owning more than one Mauser as well as other historical old pieces, there are a few bayonets at the Range.
The term 'Bayonette' popped up in the later 16th century though its origins are still obscure. It might have first referred to just a simple knife and not for a military weapon. Cotgrave's 1611 Dictionarie describes the Bayonet as 'a kind of small flat pocket dagger, furnished with knives; or a great knife to hang at the girdle' while a Baionier is given as an old word for "crossbow man". Perhaps the first "bayonette" as described by the French was a contrivance of a hunter who, after having fired his last round at dangerous game such as a wild boar or having missed, shoved his knife into the muzzle of his piece to bring the animal down. That is plausible in that firearms of that day were fairly inaccurate and took a long time to reload. The makeshift bayonet then allowed the hunter further defense or a killing instrument if needed.

It is also rumored that during the mid-17th century irregular military conflicts in rural France, the Basque peasants of Bayonne, depleted of powder and shot, shoved their long-bladed hunting knives into the muzzles of their primitive muskets to form a spear and whether by luck or design, created an ancillary weapon. In any case, the first mentioned use of the bayonet as an instrument of war that I could find was in the memoirs of General Maréchal de Puységure, the weapon being introduced into the French Army in 1647 and becoming common in most European armies by the 1660s.
The benefits of this little "add on" were soon apparent, as that early hunter of the wild bore may have found out. The early muskets fired at a slow rate (no more than 3–4 rounds per minute using paper cartridges and down to a slovenly single round per minute when loading with loose power and ball), making them both inaccurate and unreliable. Bayonets provided a useful addition to the weapons system when an enemy charging towards you could advance across the musket's killing field (a range of about 100 yards for even the most wildly optimistic) at the risk of perhaps only one or two volleys from their waiting opponents. Rushing through two volleys only to meet a pointy exclamation likely reduced that urge to "charge" in some folks.

The bayonet was originally a defensive instrument. A good long bayonet, extending to a regulation 17 inches during the Napoleonic period, on a 5 foot tall musket ending up with a reach comparable to an infantry spear. Steady infantry, standing two or three men deep, could adopt a defense "square" formation, an defence to a sudden rush of cavalry with a reach that could defend against a man mounted upon a horse, though the combination was much heavier than a polearm of the same length and would take some real strength, not just skill.
You see the problem here. You plug it, you can't fire it. During the act of fitting the soldier was virtually unarmed. It's like having your 1911 in the bottom of your briefcase when the robber/murderer says howdy. Not a good place to be. Even more annoying, you plug it in too tightly, you won't be able to get it out short of damaging the weapon (anyone got any WD40??. . and. . uh. . duct tape)? Yet, in 1671, plug bayonets were happily issued to the French regiment of fusiliers and later to part of an English dragoon regiment that disbanded in 1674, and to the Royal Fusiliers in 1685.

The outcome of the Battle of Killiecrankiein 1689 was due, in some part, to the use of the plug bayonet; as a sudden rush of Scottish Highlanders overwhelmed them as they were fixing bayonets. Shortly afterwards, the defeated leader, Hugh Mackay, is said to have introduced a ring-bayonet of his own design. These "socket" bayonets offset the blade from the musket barrel's muzzle with a bayonet that attached over the outside of the barrel with a ring-shaped socket, secured on later models by a spring-loaded catch on the muzzle of the musket barrel. With the socket bayonet the blade would lay below the axis of the barrel, leaving sufficient clearance to permit the weapon to be loaded and fired while the bayonet was fixed.
Many of the socket bayonets were triangular in cross-section. It was said in some history books that this was designed so they'd wield wounds "that were difficult to stitch when attended to by a medic, as it is more difficult to stitch a three-sided wound than a two-sided one thus making the wound more likely to become infected". This is more of an urban legend than reality, for surgeons have sewn up jagged wounds using more stitches when needed, since field surgery began. Instead, three sided bayonets were designed to provide flexing strength in the blade without much increase in weight in case a bayonet struck a hard object. For in that event it's better to have it bend and be repairable then to have it be so stiff it shatters on impact.

Shortly after the Peace of Ryswick in 1697 the English and Germans both abolished the pike and introduced these bayonets, but owing to a military cabal they were not issued to the French infantry until 1703. Thereafter, the bayonet became, with the musket or other firearm, the typical weapon of infantry.
The long type of bayonets for early rifles were designed with the same intent as the medieval pike, the rifle and bayonet becoming a long pole with a lethal spear on the business end. As warfare evolved, so did the bayonet. Mass collisions of troops were less frequent, and the blades became shorter, becoming secondary to fighting knifes.

 The idea of using a short sword as a bayonet was tried on occasion, but the first regular users of the sword-type blade appear to have been the British rifle regiments in the early 1800s. But, with the onset of breech-loading, and then magazine arms providing infantry with a firepower capable of beating off cavalry, the bayonet evolved even further, from a primarily defensive weapon to one of offense.
For this, a knife-like blade was of more use than a spike blade, and so from the middle of the 19th century, the use of knife or sword blade increased, though a few armies still hung on to spike blades.

All nations boast of their prowess with the bayonet, but few men really enjoy a hand-to-hand fight with the bayonet. English and French both talk much of the bayonet but in Egypt in 1801 they threw stones at each other when their ammunition was exhausted and one English sergeant was killed by a stone.

At Inkerman again the British threw stones at the Russians, not without effect; and one military historian stated that the Russians and Japanese, both of whom profess to love the bayonet, "threw stones at each other rather than close, even in this twentieth-century."

18th and 19th century military tactics included various massed bayonet charges and defenses. The Russian Army used the bayonet the most frequently in any Napoleonic conflict. Their motto was "The Bullet is foolish, the Bayonet wise." Given that the bullet of the smoothbore musket of the time had Dick Cheney-like accuracy, almost unpredictable beyond 50 yards, they believed that in a bayonet fight you were less likely to miss, though in actuality, many soldiers reverted to using bayonet-mounted rifles as clubs, primitive fighting at its best.
The experimentation of bayonets continued through much of the 18th and 19th centuries. Prior to the Civil War, the U.S. Navy tried their hand at affixing bayonet blades to single-shot pistols, which soon proved useless for anything but making dinner. Cutlasses remained the preferred flat edged weapon for the navies of the time, though Queen Victoria's Royal Navy gave up the pikes once used to repel attacks by my ancestors in favor of the cutlass bayonet.

The 19th century gave us the sword bayonet, a long-bladed weapon with a single- or double-edged blade that could also double as a shortsword. Its initial purpose was to make sure that the riflemen, while holding ranks with musketmen (whose weapons were longer), could form square properly to stave off cavalry attacks, when sword bayonets were fitted. Though the sword bayonet on the Infantry Rifle needed to be removed before firing, as the weight at the end of the barrel affected balance and stability (and you all know what that does to accuracy, it was a decent combat side arm when dismounted. When attached to the musket or rifle, it would turn almost any long arm into an effective spear, useful for not just thrusting but for slashing.
The inherent problems of fixing bayonets in the middle of a heated battle led some armies to adopt permanently-attached bayonets. These folded above or below the barrel of the weapon and could be released and locked into place very quickly when required. A singularity of the Imperial Russian Army, which carried over into the Soviet Army, was the permanently fixed bayonet; no scabbards were issued, and the bayonet remained on the rifle muzzle at all times. The Soviet blades, now made of steel, were stiffened with a small cross-section in the form of a cross, in order to make them more compact in form and fold better onto the sides of their rifles, such as the 1944 Mosin Nagant. It was said that self-inflicted wounds made by soldiers to get themselves out of the line of battle would be recognized as such and bring them greater disciplinary punishment.
In All Quiet on the Western Front, author Eric Maria Remarque stated that in WWI, French Soldiers killed German prisoners who had serrated blade bayonets, as they assumed they were for cutting off the limbs of Allied soldiers. Whether this was true or not, World War I did see the bayonet being shortened even further into knifed weapons useful for some very bloody hand to hand fighting or as trench knives, so the majority of modern bayonets you will find are knife bayonets. In any case, it was not a weapon you hoped ever to have to use.

Despite the support of military leaders, the practical use of the bayonet was somewhat rare. At Inkerman during the Crimean War in 1854, only 6% of casualties were attributed to the bayonet. In World War I, the ‘Spirit of the Bayonet’ was a mantra of combat instructors, but not popular in its actuality. Of the 13,691 men of the American Expeditionary Force killed in the war, only 5 died from bayonet wounds. Still for military strategists, the morale that interfaced with the fixing of bayonets was generally considered to outweigh their drawbacks, which included restriction of movement and lack of real utility. Modern bayonets are normally knife-shaped with either a socket or a handle, or are permanently attached to the rifle as with the"SKS". Depending on where and when a specific SKS was manufactured, it may have a permanently attached bayonet with a knife-shaped blade (early Chinese, Russian, Yogoslavian or Romanian)or a cruciform (late Chinese) or triangular (Albanian) spike type, or no bayonet at all.
The development of repeating firearms greatly reduced the combat value of the bayonet though they were still retained through World Wars I and II.

With the adoption of modern short assault rifles, the utility of the old style bayonet as a weapon was doubtful, the combination being simply not suited to fighting, yet modern versions of bayonets are still in use. The British Army performed bayonet charges during the Falklands War and the second Gulf War. United States Marine trainees at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego still get their first instruction in using the bayonet as a lethal weapon on their 10th day.
In a modern concept of warfare, bayonets are used for controlling prisoners or as a "last resort" weapon for close quarters combat, such as when a soldier is out of ammo or has a weapon jam. However they are not normally fitted to most weapons, as the bayonet impairs long range accuracy even more so in modern weapons.

Bayonets, whether you consider them a hindrance or a lethal fighting tool, many of them are rapidly becoming collectors items. I've just a few, as the bayonets for some of these weapons cost more than the weapon itself. But I still like to hold on to them.

Pieces of history that point to freedoms still threatened