Character & Leadership…

“War is much to brutal a business to have room for brutal leading; in the end, its only effect can be to corrode the character of men, and when character is lost, all is lost. The bully and the sadist serve only to further encumber an army; their subordinates must waste precious time clearing away the wreckage that they make.”

Brigadier General S.L.A Marshall (1900 to 1977)

S.L.A. “Slam” Marshall (full name, Samuel Lyman Atwood Marshall) served in World War I and then embarked in a career in journalism. In World War II, he was chief combat historian in the Central Pacific (1943) and chief historian for the European Theatre of Operations (1945). He authored some 30 books about warfare.

He startled the military and civilian world in 1947 by announcing that, in an average infantry company, no more than one in four soldiers actually fired their weapons while in contact with the enemy. His contention was based on interviews he conducted immediately after combat in both the European and Pacific theatres of World War II.

To remedy the gunfire imbalance he proposed changes to infantry training designed to ensure that American soldiers in future wars brought more fire upon the enemy. His studies during the Korean War showed that the ratio of fire had more than doubled since World War II.

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