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Swervin11b last won the day on December 20 2018

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  1. Indeed, replay would be helpful. I can’t recall if there were shellholes or not. The whole incident served as a cautionary tale, anyway, in spreading out and checking on the rear periodically. Have to make sure those dudes aren’t smoking and joking - or dead
  2. Hahaha outstanding So Jablonski the mortarman whose entire team got waxed...Could he a mortar round from a neighboring team? Or maybe just a really lucky hit from the Germans that I didn’t see. The Germans in that scenario were rather infallible
  3. I’m fairly certain that I’ve lost a mortar crew to a weapons malfunction. They were doing a fire mission, and I clicked back to their area to fool with another unit. A whole mortar crew, except one guy, was laying there with red crosses. I had other units close by who were unharmed, and they weren’t under any kind of direct or indirect fire. I remember clicking on the team and thinking, “Uh, you want to tell me what happened here, Jablonski?”
  4. Yeah man that’s definitely a factor. The Variation in Psychological Tolerance study discussed an observation where guys who weren’t evacuated as psych casualties had a greater tendency to be admitted to a VA hospital at some point later in life. They might very well have had breakdowns in combat, but they were never treated for them. I think plenty of guys had that happen actually. Most of the memoirs I’ve read said that everyone was fairly sympathetic towards psych casualties. They knew what was going on and that it was really only a matter of time before it happens to them. A guy’s past performance was a factor in how a breakdown was perceived. One memoir talked about a guy who’d been wounded, and he came back to the line in the Huertgen. He broke again. No one blamed him - he was shaky from being badly wounded and just not ready for it. In the same memoir a brand new radio operator “lost it” even before things kicked off. This was less well received, and mainly because the officer had seen really bad breakdowns over the course of the fighting and thought this radioman was just scared. He sent him back to his hole, telling him that everyone was scared. The officer had come close to breaking himself a few days before, and just didn’t have patience for it on top of that. I didn’t get too far into PTSD in that piece. I think they’re related, but there is enough of a difference that it would need its own article to do it justice. I just tried to introduce the relationship. It’s a lot harder to understand as it pertains mainly because there isn’t a whole lot of good data on it after WWII. It certainly shows up, especially in literature, but it doesn’t have the same statistical body that battle fatigue does Another thing that makes PTSD much more complicated is the wide range of trauma experienced in war; vehicle accidents, fear of death, seeing horrible deaths/bodies, killing, survivor’s guilt, distrust of authority - the grab bag from hell. Then there’s alienation from society between military and civilian populations to exacerbate it. Short answer though: I can guarantee that the support factor at the time of the trauma plays a huge, huge role. So does continuing to be traumatized over and over again.
  5. One of the studies I quoted in that article took that into account. They found there was a neglible difference between how often replacements or veterans broke down. (It’s called “Variation in Psychological Tolerance to Ground Combat.”) They did note that cohesiveness played a huge role, and one can imagine that a unit with a significant number of replacements was less cohesive. They couldn’t really differentiate whether a high number of casualties, thus requiring a lot of replacements, or the presence of so many replacements is what mattered more. They also found that after the Battle of the Bulge, psych casualty rates went down, largely because there was encouragement that the war would be over soon. The German rotation policy likely played the biggest role in keeping them down, according to the findings of the US study I would imagine that the rather huge numbers of POWs US forces took would be an indicator of battle fatigue in German forces. Many of them were knocked senseless and terrified by prepatory aerial or artillery bombardment
  6. I do know that our weapons have made it easier to kill. As Mord discussed, medieval combat was brutal. Now it’s much more sanitized. It can be at least, if you’re not on the receiving end. Maybe the self-preservation instinct would have helped people get over their reluctance to killing in medieval times. It does now, too
  7. I’d venture to say that if we were hard-wired to destroy one another we’d have done it by now. Plus, you wouldn’t see things like 1.3 million psychiatric casualties in the span of a four year war and moral injury wouldn’t exist. (Like a full sixteenth of the US military in WWII). Moreover, the intense training that militaries undergo wouldn’t have to be so intense. We do have a very intense, primal instinct for self-preservation, though. That’s arguably why you see so many mental health problems in and following a war...most of what we trained to do goes against self-preservation. Hell, the whole reason militaries are so rigidly disciplined is to try to overcome those instincts I don’t doubt that some are wired a little differently, and thus don’t have any problems killing. They’re called sociopaths
  8. John C. McManus is a modern historian who tore into SLA Marshall as well. He wrote a kind of overview of the life of combat arms guys in WWII, almost an oral history. He asked them straight up if SLAM was right or not haha. None of them thought so. He pointed out a lot of problems with it. He’s got some decent books, actually. The Deadly Brotherhood and Grunts come to mind. The former is the WWII book and the latter covers WWII all the way to Iraq. It’s just a look a “what it was like, if you will. I can vouch for what he wrote about Iraq. It was dead on.
  9. Yeah I totally agree that death and for the lack of a better word, gore, was very much a part of people’s lives in the past. Even thinking of how far removed people are from the source of their food is indicative of this trend. A farmer understands how one gets a steak. Most know but they’ve never seen it, can’t visualize it. Grossman had some interesting points in On Killing about the distance of engagements. One of the things that stuck out was that if one personally views the aftermath of shooting up close, the psychological effects are the same as if it happened at point blank. Example scenario being a fellow gets tagged by a grunt, then the grunt moves up to search the body. That’s legit. A lot of times in counter-insurgency that’s exactly what happens. Which brings up something I didn’t write about in that piece...moral injury. It’s the idea that there is some psychological damage as a result of doing things that go against a moral code, say, like modern people killing one another. It’s not true for everyone (there are sociopaths out there), but 98% of modern people are deeply disturbed by killing or helping in a situation in which someone was killed. It goes against core human values, somewhat illustrated by Judeo-Christian beliefs and moral codes. What’d be interesting to see is if ancient people who viewed warfare as normal, and even good, had the same adverse reaction to killing. I don’t suspect they did, as you indicated. They’re just very different cultures with far different mores and traditions. I didn’t write about moral injury in that piece because I couldn’t find much on it pertaining to WWII. In a lot of ways it’s a different ball game than PTSD - moral injury being based on something you did (or didn’t do) and PTSD on something that happened to you. It’s kind of a dichotomy of guilt or fear. Really great discussion. Not at all surprised that fans of this game are an erudite bunch.
  10. Wargame: Red Dragon did it. Took place in Korea
  11. Mord, Check out David Morris, The Evil Hours: A Biography of Post-Traumatic Stress. It goes into detail about some of the things you brought up. According to him, it’s been around forever. There are references to it in Sumer and Ancient Greece. One has to remember, too, that not everyone exposed to the violence of war was so steeped in any kind of warrior ethos. It wasn’t everyone’s mantra, per se. Plenty of places got sacked and the women and children there were seen as part of the spoils of war. Gnarly stuff. In the 18th century they called battle fatigue “cannon fever.” Christopher Duffy did a book called Military Experience in the Age of Reason that is pretty seminal for that era. I was thinking while I was writing that it almost seems like modern technology has made war so awful that our brain can hardly handle it. The randomness sucks. As humans we like to have some kind of logic and order in our universe. As far as training goes, yeah, it’s as highly stressful as possible exactly for conditioning our brains to function in times of extreme stress. Its all rather fascinating stuff. I definitely need to read Shay’s stuff
  12. That’s a very, very good point. It’s true in both symmetrical and asymmetrical warfare, perhaps even more so in the latter given that one side lacks the capability for wholesale destruction of their opponents. Iraqi insurgents fought primarily to undermine our confidence in ourselves and make us fearful.
  13. CPT Miller, yes I’ve read On Killing and found it to be really educational. I was going to use some stats from On Combat but had trouble verifying some of the numbers he used. It’s still an enlightening book, of course. Ill check out Brains and Bullets. EB Sledge’s book is one I haven’t read. I’ve only seen portions of it. I agree that it is really frank about everything, actually, and it’s a tough read. The study that I cite throughout that article discusses the perception of their inevitable death or maiming as a significant factor in morale. Anyone that found the article interesting would find that study fascinating. I’m not sure how well received it was by the brass, but they did develop a rotation policy for Vietnam. Now they take full advantage of both unit cohesion and a finite number of days in combat by deploying entire units with fixed tours
  14. Thanks. It’s essentially a collection of dog -wares and bookmarks from reading that I thought pertinent to write about. The numbers are pretty stark. One thing I’ve found really interesting is that veterans were quite candid about it in their memoirs, some even treating it matter-of-factly as if it was an obvious phenomenon. Yet WWII is not known for its astonishing numbers of psychiatric casualties. I mentioned that censorship kept that fact from the public, but it almost seems as if the War Department or OWI’s version of events is the prevailing one in popular consciousness even now. I don’t think they’re any less worthy of admiration for being simply human beings; perhaps even more so.
  15. The more I learned about the realities of combat in WWII the more I wondered how on earth men withstood it. I found, however, that sometimes they didn’t. Below is a link to an overview of battle fatigue in US forces in WWII. I found some rather astounding numbers, and also that the army studied the issue of men’s breaking points very meticulously. Given the numbers involved, they had to. The morale model in Combat Mission’s WWII titles are remarkable in their reflection of reality. There have been studies that found that the “soft factors” that determine when and why men will break are not as abstract as one would think. Battle fatigue in WWII is a fascinating - even if heartbreaking - topic that I thought deserved some study. Figured you guys might be interested as well https://battlelines.blog/2019/01/09/the-spirit-of-the-infantry-battle-fatigue-in-the-second-world-war/
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