The most memorable line of Monday night’s debate was President Obama’s pointed “horses and bayonets” jab at Mitt Romney for questioning what Romney said was a shrinking U.S. Navy.
Obama responded that Romney “hasn’t spent enough time looking at how our military works. ” He added, “You mentioned the Navy, for example, and that we have fewer ships than we did in 1916. Well, governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets, because the nature of our military’s changed.”
Horses and bayonets quickly became a Twitter punchline, but while they may no longer be needed for bayonet charges, it turns out the Pentagon still owns a hefty arsenal of bayonets.
The Army said today it has 419,155 bayonets in its inventory. The Marine Corps has another 195,334 bayonets that it bought in 2004 and it plans on buying 175,061 more bayonets this year. A Marine official says it’s not accurate to add the two totals together as the new ones will include replacements for ones already in service as well as additional stocks.Aboard Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, Staff Sgt. Leon S. Parker tells recruits how to use bayonets, July 24, 2012:
At The Wall Street Journal, Julian E. Barnes writes: "In 1916, Army and Marine Corps forces were relatively small, the World War I buildup having not begun. There were about 200,000 active duty Army soldiers and about 14,000 Marines, making it unlikely that there were more than the approximately 614,000 bayonets in the inventory today."