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The Combat SoldierInfantry Tactics and Cohesion in the Twentieth and Twenty-First Centuries$
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Anthony King

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199658848

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199658848.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 22 January 2022

The Marshall Effect

The Marshall Effect

(p.40) 3 The Marshall Effect
The Combat Soldier

Anthony King

Oxford University Press

During the Second World War, S. L. A. Marshall, a United States Army officer and official historian, claimed that only one in four US riflemen fired his weapon. There have been numerous criticisms of his work but the empirical evidence suggests that Marshall was broadly correct. The citizen soldier generally performed poorly in combat not only in the Second World War but in all the major wars of the twentieth century, from the First World War to Vietnam. Lacking adequate training and overwhelmed by the lethality of the fire-swept battlefield, the citizen soldier was typically overcome by inertia; he would go to ground and refuse to move or shoot. The chapter discusses the ‘Marshall effect’ and its critics at length in order to set up the central argument of the book; the different forms of cohesion displayed by a citizen as opposed to a professional army.

Keywords:   S. L. A. Marshall, Men Against Fire, Roger Spiller, battlefield inertia, non-firers

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