Topic: Cold Steel
Few Wounds by Cold Steel
Shrapnel and Shell Fragments Cause Greatest Trouble Owing to Greater Danger of Infection
The Day, New London, Connecticut, 15 September 1917
During the Franco-Prussian war there were only 600 wounds by cold steel among 98,000 wounded.
Much is said about the comparatively unimportant part played by cold steel in the current war. The following passage from the article on "Surgery Military," in the New International Encyclopedia, would seem to indicate that conditions had not changed much in that respect since the Franco-Prussian war; also that the general classes of wounds remain essentially the same.
"Shrapnel wounds are like those of the old round musket balls, because of their low velocity they are more frequently lodged in wounds than are rifle bullets. Shell wounds, as a class, are much less frequent, but far more severe than shrapnel wounds. Shell fragments cause complete destruction near then bursting point, but effect less damage in more distant zones. Both shrapnel and shell wounds are usually infected, because the missiles carry into the wounds pieces of clothing and other foreign matter. The danger of infection is much increased because of the greater extent of the laceration. Wounds by bayonet, saber and lance occur so infrequently as to be of minor interest. During the Franco-Prussian war there were only 600 wounds by cold steel among 98,000 wounded. Grenades, thrown by hand, rifle and trench mortar, a revival in late wars of an earlier practice, recently have been used to a conspicuous extent in Flanders and France. Their wounds differ in no material particular from those of shell fragments and subterranean mines."