Christopher H. Hamner
- Title: Enduring Battle: American Soldiers in Three Wars, 1776-1945
- Author: Christopher H. Hamner
- ISBN: 9780700617753
- Page: 291
- Format: Hardcover
Throughout history, battlefields have placed a soldier s instinct for self preservation in direct opposition to the army s insistence that he do his duty and put himself in harm s way Enduring Battle looks beyond advances in weaponry to examine changes in warfare at the very personal level Drawing on the combat experiences of American soldiers in three widely separated wThroughout history, battlefields have placed a soldier s instinct for self preservation in direct opposition to the army s insistence that he do his duty and put himself in harm s way Enduring Battle looks beyond advances in weaponry to examine changes in warfare at the very personal level Drawing on the combat experiences of American soldiers in three widely separated wars the Revolution, the Civil War, and World War II Christopher Hamner explores why soldiers fight in the face of terrifying lethal threats and how they manage to suppress their fears, stifle their instincts, and marshal the will to kill other humans.Hamner contrasts the experience of infantry combat on the ground in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, when soldiers marched shoulder to shoulder in linear formations, with the experiences of dispersed infantrymen of the mid twentieth century Earlier battlefields prized soldiers who could behave as stoic automatons the modern dispersed battlefield required soldiers who could act autonomously As the range and power of weapons removed enemies from view, combat became increasingly depersonalized, and soldiers became isolated from their comrades and even imagined that the enemy was targeting them personally What s , battles lengthened so that exchanges of fire that lasted an hour during the Revolutionary War became round the clock by World War II.The book s coverage of training and leadership explores the ways in which military systems have attempted to deal with the problem of soldiers fear in battle and contrasts leadership in the linear and dispersed tactical systems Chapters on weapons and comradeship then discuss soldiers experiences in battle and the relationships that informed and shaped those experiences.Hamner highlights the ways in which the band of brothers phenomenon functioned differently in the three wars and shows that training, conditioning, leadership, and other factors affect behavior much than political ideology He also shows how techniques to motivate soldiers evolved, from the linear system s penalties for not fighting to modern efforts to convince soldiers that participation in combat would actually maximize their own chances for survival.Examining why soldiers continue to fight when their strong instinct is to flee, Enduring Battle challenges long standing notions that high ideals and small unit bonds provide sufficient explanation for their behavior Offering an innovative way to analyze the factors that enable soldiers to face the prospect of death or debilitating wounds, it expands our understanding of the evolving nature of warfare and its warriors.
Recent Comments "Enduring Battle: American Soldiers in Three Wars, 1776-1945"
This is a thought-provoking and well-written comparative study of combat by a UNC alum. Christopher Hamner has several objectives in this compact book. His first major theme is an exploration of continuity and change in combat experience between three American wars: the American Revolution, the Civil War, and the Second World War. Within the context of his comparative study Hamner challenges the 'Band of Brothers' (primary-group cohesion) theory for why men fought in battle by offering an altern [...]
This book is an exploration of the experience of infantry combat over time. It focuses primarily on the American Revolution, Civil War, and World War II with occasional discussions of Vietnam or the Gulf War. Hamner focused on infantry because, he says, they take on large casualties and have a degree of flexibility in decision making not always afforded to soldiers in other kinds of positions (especially women and men in large pieces of machinery like tanks, naval ships, etc). Hamner deftly sugg [...]
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