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 Post subject: HAND-TO-HAND FIGHTING by M. des L. Bernard DESOUCHES
PostPosted: 27 Mar 2016 11:26 
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by M. des L. Bernard DESOUCHES (Interpreter)


This method has been devised to enable a man without any weapons to deal effectively and rapidly with an unarmed enemy. It has been proved that in hand-to-hand fighting the men thus engaged waste much of their energy through ignorance of certain grips and holds and thus wrestle harmlessly together until some third fighter comes to the rescue of one or other belonging to his party.

A knowledge which will enable a fighter to make use of his natural weapons under any circumstances is particularly necessary for the British soldier as owing to the fact that for so many generations he has been accustomed to fight in a gentlemanly way and to avoid fouling. In a life and death struggle, foul blows are always the best. The method indicated here is, by no means a complete one as it is necessary that it should be simple and short and applicable by anybody after a few minutes explanation and some simple practice.
Now before going further, I must tell you that the first thing to do when you are without a weapon is to try to pick up a good rifle and bayonet as nothing could be better. But of course, if you cannot do so, you have to use natural weapons.

First of all, I must insist on the fist not being used.

The fist is one of the least efficient natural weapons because, as you are well aware, if it is not gloved it will be unable to knock out an enemy. The solar plexus is protected by the equipment and a very hard punch on the chin will have no effect except that of cutting the skin of both the fist and the chin as clearly as with a razor.

The weapons to be used are: the foot, the knee, the head and the elbows.

    1. When within striking distance of the enemy attack immediately with a direct kick of the toes. The kick should be swift and the foot should be immediately brought back so as to avoid it being caught by the enemy - in and out, as you would in Bayonet Fighting. The kick should be delivered with the left foot when he has his left foot forward, and with the right foot when his right foot is forward. The four weak points to aim at are:- the knees, the testicles, the stomach and the head: the point to be attacked depends entirely on the position of the enemy, but the knee is the best point to aim at.
    2. When facing the enemy at close quarters, seize him behind the shoulders with both hands and hit his face with the head by pulling him swiftly towards you, or hit him with the knee in the testicles, put your thumbs in his eyes, or plant the heel of your boot sharply on his in-step.
    3. a) Supposing that all these attacks have failed, then put your hip behind the small of his back and overbalance him with a strong swing of your arm under his throat. If the enemy’s right foot is forward, the right hip and the right arm should be used and vice-versa.
    b) When your adversary is down, kick him with your heel or toe.
    4. When you are behind your opponent, seize him with your hands at the throat or shoulders, almost at the full extent of your arms so as to avoid him hitting you in the face with his head, kick him hard at the back of his knees with the hollow of the foot, at the same time pulling him swiftly backwards.
    When he is down, deal with as above.
    5. Supposing you have fallen down with your opponent, hit him hard with your elbows on the chin or in the stomach.
    6. Supposing you have fallen down and your opponent is standing in front of you. Lie on the back and parry attacks with your legs. As soon as you can reach him, supposing his left leg is in front of you, put your left foot behind his left foot and push with your right foot on his knee and he will fall down immediately. If he has his right leg in front of him put your right foot behind his foot and push with your left foot on his knee - as soon as he is down jump on him.

    1. When attacked by an enemy with the foot, meet him sideways placing the buttock towards him and hop towards him on the same foot as he is kicking with, the other leg being raised and bent at a right angle at the knee as a parry; when you have closed with him, act as in cases No 3 of the Attack.
    2. When seized by an enemy from behind.
    a) Throw the head backwards as violently and frequently as possible in the hope of hitting his face.
    b) If you don’t meet his face, bend down rapidly and plunge your arms between your own legs, seizing the most advanced of his and pull it violently upwards.
    Proceed then as in attacks No 3(b) and 5 according to the position in which you find your adversary and yourself.
    c) If your adversary has succeeded in lifting you, seize one of his fingers with both your hands and break it back. This will cause him to release his grip and you can then attack him.
    3. When seized by the throat by an enemy, the best way to escape his grip is to push his arms outwards from the inside.
    To achieve this end thrust your left palm against his left wrist and your right against his right. When released attack with knee or head.
    All these are the most natural and the ones most likely to be used, but you may find yourself in other positions - then, remember always the four weapons you have - foot, head, knee and elbow.

    I have often been asked whether there is any chance of escape if you are attacked empty handed by a man armed with a dagger or a revolver.
    Of course you are under a great disadvantage, but you still have a chance provided you get swiftly to work.
    First of all, you can kick the man at the knee as in No 1 of the Attack; you can also rush on the man and parry his blow with your left forearm parallel to the forehead.
      1. If the blow comes from above, immediately you have parried with your left, pass your right arm beneath the outstretched arm of your opponent, double it backward from the elbow so that the hand reaches the enemy’s wrist seize this strongly and pull it tightly downwards.
      Then with the left hand now free, bend the fist in which your opponent holds his weapon down over his wrist till his fingers open and he drops the weapon. Seize the weapon if you can or deal with him as in the attack.
      2. If the blow comes from below, parry with your left forearm bent parallel with the stomach. Your forearm should always meet the adversary’s wrist.
      Then reply swiftly with a blow from the head or the knee.

    Take his right wrist with your right hand. Then place your left forearm from the inside under his right upper arm. To cause pain and force the man to march on, you have only to lift your left forearm whilst you push the prisoner’s wrist down with your right hand.
    The palm of his hand should be uppermost. This is principally used in night raids.

Taken from: Infantry - General file incl. provisional syllabus of work. Hand to hand fighting (second army school of instruction) War of 1914-1918

Take Care and Stay Safe,
Ken aka kilogulf59

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