Soldiers in the Swiss army are demanding more effective weaponry after centuries of being armed only with handy little penknives.
Switzerland has been forced to remain neutral in successive European conflicts including World War Two, when it was feared that a small national force armed only with pocket knives featuring corkscrews and toothpicks might prove ineffective against Hitler’s massed panzer divisions.
But now the soldiers in Switzerland’s armed forces are protesting at the humiliation of training and parading armed only with little red penknives. ‘Training is rubbish,’ said Karl-Heinz Schmidt of the 4th Mountain Tweezers Division. ‘Last week we had to crawl on our bellies towards a stable, then storm inside and get a stone out of a horse’s hoof. Later, we were shown how to use our weapons to keep our toenails short and open a bottle of lemonade.’
The Swiss Defence Minister defended his army’s traditional weaponry pointing out that their elite special forces also have a little cuticle pusher and letter opener. However, after much debate, the country is resolved to embark upon a major modernization of its armaments programme that will make Switzerland one of the world’s major military powers. Airports have been warned to be extra vigilant towards travellers carrying penknives with pull-out tactical nuclear weapons.