A Soldiers Load Essay

Submitted By dubbz891
Words: 585
Pages: 3

Marshall identified an over exaggerating limitation, somewhat a universal factor, on logistics and combat mobility – the amount of equipment and supplies an average man might carry into combat. Obvious points came out early in the writing. There is no dispute that a less weighed down soldier moves quicker on the battlefield. However Marshall stepped up another point, which is much less obvious. “Overloading has never steadied any man or made him more courageous.” (page 8) Perhaps more to the point, “Tired men take fright more easily. Frightened men swiftly tire.” (page 46) In Marshall’s view, there was a clear link between fear and fatigue. Or perhaps with our present day vocabulary applied, physical and mental stress have a massive effect. Marshall proposed practical limitations on what soldiers should carry into combat.

Ammunition? Well, drawing on accounts from the World Wars, Marshall contended the average foot soldier arrived on the battle line with up to ten times the number of rounds needed in action. Field Marshall Helmuth von Moktke (the younger) determined pre-World War I German soldiers required a load of 200 rounds. In World War I, U.S. soldiers assaulted beaches with 80 rounds plus eight hand grenades. All too much, said Marshall. Based on expenditures within the first day of combat, Marshall indicated the load could be cut in half. And note for effect, Marshall’s ammunition consumption rates match to those mentioned by Whittaker for mounted operation during the Civil War. However, Marshall would certainly argue against the eighty rounds Whittaker suggested as a trooper’s load. Then again, Whittaker wrote at a time when horseflesh, not internal combustion engines, carried resupply.Food and Water? In a statement that runs against every “take care of your troops” leadership lesson, Marshall contends that troops should carry less than a day’s ration into combat… we learned by actual survey on the battlefield that only some three per cent of the men along the combat line touched any food at all in the first day’s fighting. And that water consumption was only a fifth what it became on the second day and thereafter. Such is the economy that can be achieved by virtue of a churning stomach. (page 10) Ouch! And personally I would contend that hunger factors into physical and to a degree mental fatigue. Yet on the other hand, did not the Texas…