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Swervin11b

Panic! Battle Fatigue in WWII

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And there is data that trauma suffered by parents affects one on the biological level and the stress/anxiety is passed down to offspring - so it's the gift that keeps on giving through multiple generations.  One of the books I have read on this is called "When the Body Says No".   Quite textbookie but very interesting.

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21 hours ago, MikeyD said:

Don't underestimate the prevalence of war trauma of pre-modern times. Oftentimes there'd be a regional war, then afterward society would just crumble for awhile. The chaos in Somalia is following a pattern that was set by Europe 500 years earlier. Three thousand year old Assyrian texts talk of soldiers suffering from disorders that to the modern ear sound very much like PTSD. A large chunk of the Illiad is basically a chronicle of combat fatigue and war-induced personality disorders.

Oh yes, combat trauma was certainly present in ancient times. Not disputing that. My point was that there were different factors that contributed to combat trauma as opposed to modern warfare. 

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26 minutes ago, mjkerner said:

Doh! 

Wrong Homer, you cheese making Philistine!

 

Mord.

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Looking on the bright side of life?

Good thing I didn't mention your nether regions!

 

Mord.

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3 hours ago, Mord said:

Barely any love for the Homer line...You guys suck!

Mord.

There, there, set aside your concerns my dear Patroclus.  Come, take solace amongst the camaraderie of Achilles . . .  :ph34r:

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On 1/10/2019 at 10:31 PM, Swervin11b said:

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. 

.... 

Really great discussion. Not at all surprised that fans of this game are an erudite bunch. 

Terrific thread and great post, cheers. 

Probably a function of me getting old and cranky, but if you want historical erudition you should have seen some of the Forum discussions from the CM1 Golden Age of the early 2000s.

I didn't grow up on a farm and didn't take up hunting until adulthood, so backpacking as yet undeveloped rural Asia came as quite an eye opener to me. Specifically seeing chickens and pigs screaming in anguish as their throats were cut and their lives bled away. Modern methods of slaughter are more humane (we hope), but Asians claim the surge of chemicals in extended death throes tenderizes the meat. So there's that....

But thou shalt not kill is also an ancient ethos.

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3 hours ago, Badger73 said:

There, there, set aside your concerns my dear Patroclus.  Come, take solace amongst the camaraderie of Achilles . . .  :ph34r:

Yes, the old sophomoric joke about the "well-greased Achaeans".

And "the spear struck him in the place where death comes most painfully to pitiful mortals.... And his hand clutched the earth / and the darkness came before his eyes."

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On January 10, 2019 at 9:31 AM, Swervin11b said:

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. 

I suspect that it really doesn't have that much to do with "Judeo-Christian" ethics. In Exodus, after Joshua took Jerico, he ordered any soldier who had blood on his clothing, his body, or weapons to spend something like seven days away from the general population for "cleansing." If I'm not mistaken, the Commandment is not "Thou shalt not kill," but "Thou shalt not do murder." The 11th century Crusade was invented by the Pope to get the Warring Nobles of Europe out of Europe . The Crusaders killed whoever got in their way regardless of whether they were Islamic, Jewish, or Christian! I believe that our modern transportation systems increase the probability of PTSD because there is no "wind down" period. Up until the Vietnam conflict, Military personnel returned by way of sea. They had weeks to readjust to "normal" society, and were given a hero's welcome. When I returned from Fleet Marine Force Pacific (FMFPAC) in 1971, I boarded a Pan Am flight in Okinawa, and was in San Francisco 13 hours later. It was unbelievable how disorientated I was when I landed after a year in Asia, and that was without being in Vietnam, where you left your combat unit and boarded a plane right after you left combat. During and after Operation Iraqi Freedom, society welcomed them back, and continues to do so. The problem is that they still, for the most part, step out of combat, onto an airplane, and are redeposited into "polite society" less than 24 hours later with no time to "unlearn" the bad habits learned in war, which sets up a mental and moral conflict that's very difficult to deal with

Bottom line is that I don't believe your belief system has very much to do with it except for a very small segment of the Warriors. Jane Goodall found that Chimpanzee tribes war as much with other Chimpanzee tribes as Homo Sapiens do with each other. So it's not really "unnatural" for us to war with each other. We are after all wild beasts that are covered by thin veneer of "reason" that we have invented to order our societies.

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Good points.  Those were brutal eras when life was cheap and death lurked everywhere - primarily from diseases. 

In the current era we are taught from childhood via TV, movies and school that all life is precious etc.  It becomes commonly accepted in our western society.  But, other societies are not that way.  Life is still cheap and brutal in many (most?) parts of the world for the majority of humans.  A concern I have witnessed (in Europe!) with on a ward with people dying is that hospital staff from certain parts of the world do not care.  If they come from a culture where life is cheap it is not surprising.  I personally stood at a nurses section for several minutes trying to get a glass of water for a dying person, while the nurses ignored me and just continued chatting about their rota and other personal items.  FWIW I made a major complaint to the authorities about this behavior - have no idea if anything has changed.

Re PTSD and similar...  If you have a support system, it's "easier" to break down as you know someone is there to help you.  But, if you have no support system, ie are alone and still possibly surrounded by hostility, or at least nobody to help you, then am wondering if one summons up reserves and just carries on.  Anyone know if any research has been done on that and what effect that experience of continued duress may have on the personality? 

 

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17 hours ago, Erwin said:

 

Re PTSD and similar...  If you have a support system, it's "easier" to break down as you know someone is there to help you.  But, if you have no support system, ie are alone and still possibly surrounded by hostility, or at least nobody to help you, then am wondering if one summons up reserves and just carries on.  Anyone know if any research has been done on that and what effect that experience of continued duress may have on the personality? 

 

The Wounded Warrior Project here in the U.S. is probably one of the greatest "self-help" programs in history. The way the Legislative and Executive Branches have allowed the Veterans Administration to become a dumping ground for the "good-old boy" buddies of the Legislative and Exectutive branches to fill Management with incompetents is absolutely disgusting. For the most part, the employees work hard and try to do a good job, but they're paid way below their civilian counterparts, and get blamed by the bean counters whenever there is bad press. If the managers are held responsible (leading from the top), the Agency would become much more effective.

I feel that the ability to diagnose PTSD has a LONG way to go. My observation is PTSD, which wasn't even accepted by the U.S. Veterans Affairs until years after the Vietnam war ended, is now in vogue with many segments of society, and is becoming a "go to" legal defense for violent crimes, and a "cash cow" for lawyers with litigation. Many in society are using it as they did the "I'm a victim of (insert your choice of victimization here)." In this litigious society in which we live, a segment of the society will always try to make a buck by claiming a condition that is extremely difficult to diagnose such as whiplash or back injury from a motor vehicle accident. PTSD, being a psychological disorder can be very difficult to diagnose which makes claiming to be affected very difficult to disprove. This does a major disservice to those who actually suffer from it. I anticipate that scammers will so over use their claims, that real sufferers of PTSD will have to "jump through hoops" to prove their cases.

I remember article about a "straight A" student that all of a sudden failed every subject for about six months. It turns out that Supplemental Social Secuity would pay students with a "learning disability" a monthly stipend of some hundreds of dollars. After the parents applied for the Supplement and were denied, the student went back to being "straight A." I don't think the parents were even charged with attempted fraud because the Goernment's burden of proof wasn't there and it simply wasn't worth the effort to take to trial.

Edited by Vet 0369

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5 hours ago, Vet 0369 said:

I feel that the ability to diagnose PTSD has a LONG way to go. My observation is PTSD, which wasn't even accepted by the U.S. Veterans Affairs until years after the Vietnam war ended, is now in vogue with many segments of society, and is becoming a "go to" legal defense for violent crimes, and a "cash cow" for lawyers with litigation. Many in society are using it as they did the "I'm a victim of (insert your choice of victimization here)." In this litigious society in which we live, a segment of the society will always try to make a buck by claiming a condition that is extremely difficult to diagnose such as whiplash or back injury from a motor vehicle accident. PTSD, being a psychological disorder can be very difficult to diagnose which makes claiming to be affected very difficult to disprove. This does a major disservice to those who actually suffer from it. I anticipate that scammers will so over use their claims, that real sufferers of PTSD will have to "jump through hoops" to prove their cases.

Funnily enough on my way back from the pub this afternoon, I walked past a group of youths this afternoon, one of whom stated they had PTSD in whatever conversation they were having - I thought 'yeah course you have' while thinking about my time in Iraq, Afghanistan, Bosnia and Northern Ireland.

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1 hour ago, Combatintman said:

Funnily enough on my way back from the pub this afternoon, I walked past a group of youths this afternoon, one of whom stated they had PTSD in whatever conversation they were having - I thought 'yeah course you have' while thinking about my time in Iraq, Afghanistan, Bosnia and Northern Ireland.

They meant Part Timers Social Disease.  It is for those afflicted by an inability to get the f**k out of bed before noon.

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1 hour ago, sburke said:

They meant Part Timers Social Disease.  It is for those afflicted by an inability to get the f**k out of bed before noon.

Hey! I resemble that. Of course it might have something to do with me being retired and playing CM or flight sims until 3 a.m. or so

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Swervin11b,

Welcome aboard!

What a tremendous and superbly documented piece of historical analysis! Would observe that the IDF has learned the hard way how to treat its battle fatigue cases. Careful investigation found that men sent to the rear became permanent losses, but that if a soldier was kept within the sound of the guns, given, food, sleep, an opportunity to clean up and visits from comrades who told him that he was missed and would soon RTU, also conveyed to him by everyone involved in his care, then the soldier was restored to combat fitness after I forget what interval  (am thinking 24 hours, but maybe more) and was indeed RTUed. Pretty sure this was in Parameters in the mid 1980s. Would also note that Haiduk has provided some shocking numbers for Ukrainian psych casualties in small infantry units, where they roughly approximate the physical casualties. Frankly, it's a wonder the Ukrainians can continue to fight given such a hemorrhage of men from psych issues. A couple of other things spring to mind, too. Snipers, because of telescopic sights, have historically had much more exposure to the effects of their fire  (bullet to the head, etc.) than typical soldiers, though with the proliferation of optical sights, that likely isn't as true now as it was before. From what I've read, this is a big factor in the psych trauma equation.

That this is an issue has also shown up in drone warfare, where the operators at places like Creech AFB can see their grisly handiwork in high res full color. Worse, they can replay it! On top of that, they have been found to be anything but detached in their work, for they strongly identify with the supported unit and in a real sense suffer with it while having a God's eye view of things and access to comms, so know more than those physically present and being hit, yet time and again find themselves unable to help. Am told by a now deceased old SEAL friend who rose to high rank that things reached a point where the operators were asking for combat decorations, which were refused. The lesson is clear as far as I see it. Telepresence can and does create psych casualties, potentially at even higher rates than troops with scoped weapons. Do drone operators have fixed tours of duty? Somehow, I doubt it and believe they are in at least the same class as troops long in the front line and ground down because of it, though I grant they're not subjected to adverse WX, lice, hunger, artillery fire and the like. But think about our own reactions to CM game events or incoming fire in movies and TV. Now imagine doing that with live people and live ammo, while being able to see perhaps more than any commander in history through Vietnam at least.

Regards,

John Kettler

Edited by John Kettler

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1 hour ago, John Kettler said:

Snipers, because of telescopic sights, have historically had much more exposure to the effects of their fire  (bullet to the head, etc.) than typical soldiers, though with the proliferation of optical sights, that likely isn't as true now as it was before. From what I've read, this is a big factor in the psych trauma equation.

Sniper is one of the most popular roles in modern FPS and similar games.  Wonder why that is if above is true.  It's understood these are games not real, but some of these games are gruesomely graphic - and that appears to be the primary attraction.  Are we training gamers to be less "sensitive"?

That question is even more puzzling for drone operators.  That truly is very like a computer game.

Edited by Erwin

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14 hours ago, John Kettler said:

That this is an issue has also shown up in drone warfare, where the operators at places like Creech AFB can see their grisly handiwork in high res full color. Worse, they can replay it! On top of that, they have been found to be anything but detached in their work, for they strongly identify with the supported unit and in a real sense suffer with it while having a God's eye view of things and access to comms, so know more than those physically present and being hit, yet time and again find themselves unable to help. Am told by a now deceased old SEAL friend who rose to high rank that things reached a point where the operators were asking for combat decorations, which were refused. The lesson is clear as far as I see it. Telepresence can and does create psych casualties, potentially at even higher rates than troops with scoped weapons. Do drone operators have fixed tours of duty? Somehow, I doubt it and believe they are in at least the same class as troops long in the front line and ground down because of it, though I grant they're not subjected to adverse WX, lice, hunger, artillery fire and the like. But think about our own reactions to CM game events or incoming fire in movies and TV. Now imagine doing that with live people and live ammo, while being able to see perhaps more than any commander in history through Vietnam at least.

Regards,

John Kettler

This ignores the fact that the crew doesn't stop everything to rerun the strike footage. There are small matters of making sure the airframe is in the right airspace, that the sensor is covering the tasked NAIs and TAIs, comms are maintained with the supported callsign and the airspace controller, that they have situational awareness of the common operational picture as well as steering the airframe. Sure they will probably see the footage again in the mission debrief once the mission is over but to imply that they are routinely going to rerun 'kill TV' is disingenuous.

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On 1/15/2019 at 2:16 PM, Vet 0369 said:

The problem is that they still, for the most part, step out of combat, onto an airplane, and are redeposited into "polite society" less than 24 hours later with no time to "unlearn" the bad habits learned in war, which sets up a mental and moral conflict that's very difficult to deal with

That is not, as far as I know, true, and hasn’t been for quite some time. In many (most?) militaries these days the issues created by dumping guys and girls straight out of combat back into their home environments is well know. Policy is now to extract them, do any post tour admin (hand in ammo, clean stuff for customs, etc) then have a deliberate period (at least several days, and often a week) in a closed environment to decompress. Ready access to alcohol, no programme or timetable except a scheduled session with the psych. Fight, get drunk, yell at each other, sing stupid songs loudly out of tune, talk, sleep, etc.

 

Now, you can argue that a couple of days - or even a week - isn't nearly long enough, but that's quite different to the military just ignoring the issue.

Edited by JonS

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Long ago I worked with a former WWII Pacific jungle fighter. He said after the war ended the government brought the troops back and placed them on an island off the coast, surrounded by barbed wire. Basically considered them feral animals that needed to be reintroduced to normal society before being set loose. Pampered them and feasted them, but didn't set them free for awhile. That was the 1945 version of 'psychological decompression'.

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On 1/14/2019 at 5:16 PM, Vet 0369 said:

The problem is that they still, for the most part, step out of combat, onto an airplane, and are redeposited into "polite society" less than 24 hours later with no time to "unlearn" the bad habits learned in war, which sets up a mental and moral conflict that's very difficult to deal with

Except that, as @JonS already said, that is wholly and entirely incorrect. I know, because I went through the process myself.

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1 hour ago, LukeFF said:

Except that, as @JonS already said, that is wholly and entirely incorrect. I know, because I went through the process myself.

Thank you for that. My experiences were 1969 to 1973. Do you know when then changed the process? How long between coming out of combat and back in the world? What was the time relative to WWII and the Korean War?

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