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French Imperial Guard Standing Defending, No.2
Members of the Old Guard were selected based on physical traits, most notably above average height – Grenadiers had to be at least 5 feet 10 inches (1.78 m). Indeed, the imposing stature of the men made these battle-hardened veterans the shock troops of their day. Highly trained in hand-to-hand combat and advanced bayonet techniques earned them a fearsome reputation. And the bayonet came in quite handy when defending after your single-shot musket was discharged. Contrary to popular belief the bayonet was actually difficult to use – not that it was an overly complicated weapon but that when it came time to employ the device many soldiers recoiled at the thought of puncturing the flesh of another human. This is where the elite training of the Guard took over and the steel thrust home.