War Games: The psychology of combat

War Games: The psychology of combat

untallguy

Old-Salt
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Book Reviewer
untallguy submitted a new resource:

War Games - The application of tactical psychology

War Games by Leo Murray was originally published as Brains and Bullets some five years ago. The book examines tactical psychology: why people fight and, logically, why they don’t. The author uses this as the basis to see how we can get out enemies to stop fighting and thus defeat them without having to kill them.

This book is, quite simply, superb. It picks apart why human beings don’t like to kill each other and why we think like this: what the author refers to as the...
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If you're not seen to be warry, our Army won't promote you to General. Therefore this way of thinking has zero chance of taking root in our Army.

Discuss.
 
If you're not seen to be warry, our Army won't promote you to General. Therefore this way of thinking has zero chance of taking root in our Army.

Discuss.
You believe our generals think, I assumed it was just a nervous tick.
 
You believe our generals think, I assumed it was just a nervous tick.
Experience tells me that they do indeed think.

It also tells me that what they will think under an given set of circumstances will be very heavily constrained, partly by the temperament of the individual(s) and partly by the prevailing tribal culture of the organisation. That one of these two factors might drive the other is open to discussion, but only in a chicken Vs egg sorta way, IMHO.

P.S. Forgive me, and I stand to be corrected on this, but I think it's 'tic' not 'tick'
 
I was given to understand our staff corp had evolved and were now like senior police officers; politiicans in uniform.
I'm unconvinced. Only at the most senior levels do Staff Interact with politicians. It might be partly true that the upwardly mobile experience conditions them in some ways to ape civil servants, but civil servants commonly are exposed to political interaction at an early stage in their professional development: again that is a layer of experiential development largely absent from the military career profile.
 
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I'm unconvinced. Only at the most senior levels do Staff Interact with politicians. It might be partly true that the upwardly mobile experience conditions them in some ways to ape civil servants, but civil servants commonly are exposed to political interaction at an early stage in their professional development.
Any Officer with his eyes locked on a career outside of the services is joining the ratrace and starts to develop a nose for the opportunity and that is the very definition of a politician.

As regards psychology SLAMarshall and his famous stats on the % of soldiers who wish to shoot and kill an enemy are largely in the air for me after reading a book by David Hackworth. My own time, a professional army have no problems, a conscript army you will have a patchiness dependent on training and leadership.
 
As regards psychology SLAMarshall and his famous stats on the % of soldiers who wish to shoot and kill an enemy are largely in the air for me
SLAM had pretty much been debunked by the time I first read about him in the late 1980s. It's now a commonplace that his stats were to a great extent fictional, since his methodology wasn't good. Hackworth is indeed far more credible, IMHO.
 

Wordsmith

LE
Book Reviewer
The highest scoring surviving German pilot of WW1 was Ernst Udet (62 kills). Shortly before Hitler's rise to power he wrote a book about his life (Ace of the iron Cross). In it he stated he desperately wanted to be a fighter pilot, but the first time he got a French aircraft in his sights, he couldn't bring himself to fire, broke away and ended up with an aircraft damaged by fire from the observer of the French aircraft.

When he landed he came to a decision that if it happened a second time, he would ask for a transfer out of fighters. It didn't and he became a ruthless fighter pilot with a score second only to von Richthofen.

Wordsmith
 
From the review:

it’s more than ‘fight or flight’; “freezing” is in there and also “fussing”.

I understand fight or flight and can make a reasonable guess at "freezing", however, I have never heard of "fussing" before. Not having access to the book can anyone briefly summarise what "fussing" is?
 
The highest scoring surviving German pilot of WW1 was Ernst Udet (62 kills). ... he became a ruthless fighter pilot with a score second only to von Richthofen.
There are those who believe he may have been number 1. Von Richthofen claimed a lot of solo kills with no collaboration. He would go off on a solo morning jaunt and come back claiming an allied observation aircraft. He was a German officer so no one questioned this. After the war some of his kills were compared with British flight logs and at the time he claimed the kill, no British aircraft were flying.
 
From the review:

it’s more than ‘fight or flight’; “freezing” is in there and also “fussing”.

I understand fight or flight and can make a reasonable guess at "freezing", however, I have never heard of "fussing" before. Not having access to the book can anyone briefly summarise what "fussing" is?
I've not tread the book but interested to get it when I hit civilisation

I'm presuming exactly what it says on the tin with ref to fussing. I've seen excessive kit checking/rechecking, circling to pick something up or get something and changing mind, doing up boots. deciding to go for a piss, checking safety. In medics a repeated carotid pulse check. all sorts of ineffective stuff AKA shitting it

I see nervous beginer free divers do it. fiddlefuck with gloves, flippers, mask repeatedly leaking. Once they have had a dive they level out and everything works nothing leaks and they stop "fussing"

I'm probably entirley wrong:mrgreen:

I'll read the book and comeback to you
 
Experience tells me that they do indeed think.

It also tells me that what they will think under an given set of circumstances will be very heavily constrained, partly by the temperament of the individual(s) and partly by the prevailing tribal culture of the organisation. That one of these two factors might drive the other is open to discussion, but only in a chicken Vs egg sorta way, IMHO.

P.S. Forgive me, and I stand to be corrected on this, but I think it's 'tic' not 'tick'
Nooooo, he meant tick as in tick-box; that's sums up pretty much of modern manglement.
 
Just finishing “war games”

But i’m a bottle of wine down sat in an airport so this is just a drunken place marker to remind me to come back to this

Plenty of questions
 
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The main question was, how does all this apply to assymetric warfare.....

And the author nailed it down in the last chapter and end note

This quote Will stick with me

At the highest strategic level, invading two countries, killing a few hundred thousand people and spending three trillion dollars is not an efficient way to assassinate two men.”
:salut:

It fulfilled the brief (civvy proof) but I want to “see some workings out” a bit of methodology.
Not being of an academic bent i’m Wondering how post combat interviews/diaries/reports/musings are processed/ crunched/scored/analysed

Is there a “dit amplifier filter”
 
I've not tread the book but interested to get it when I hit civilisation

I'm presuming exactly what it says on the tin with ref to fussing. I've seen excessive kit checking/rechecking, circling to pick something up or get something and changing mind, doing up boots. deciding to go for a piss, checking safety. In medics a repeated carotid pulse check. all sorts of ineffective stuff AKA shitting it

I see nervous beginer free divers do it. fiddlefuck with gloves, flippers, mask repeatedly leaking. Once they have had a dive they level out and everything works nothing leaks and they stop "fussing"

I'm probably entirley wrong:mrgreen:

I'll read the book and comeback to you
The version I'm aware of substitutes "faff" for "fuss". I think your " fiddlefuck" is a reasonable replacement for either, and also think you nailed it. Did the book agree?
 
The highest scoring surviving German pilot of WW1 was Ernst Udet (62 kills). Shortly before Hitler's rise to power he wrote a book about his life (Ace of the iron Cross). In it he stated he desperately wanted to be a fighter pilot, but the first time he got a French aircraft in his sights, he couldn't bring himself to fire, broke away and ended up with an aircraft damaged by fire from the observer of the French aircraft.

When he landed he came to a decision that if it happened a second time, he would ask for a transfer out of fighters. It didn't and he became a ruthless fighter pilot with a score second only to von Richthofen.

Wordsmith
Ruthless fighter pilot, useless general .

Ernst Udet: The Rise and Fall of a German World War I Ace | HistoryNet
 
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Wordsmith

LE
Book Reviewer
Useless when Goring put him in charge of the Luftwaffe's technical development to clip Milch's wings. As Inspector General of Fighters and Dive Bombers Udet didn't do too badly.

But aircraft production in WW2 was a hugely complex business ; it wasn't only Udet that fornicated up royally. Goring didn't understand modern aircraft technology or production and watched the train wreck develop without understanding what he was seeing, aircraft designers like Messerschmidt tried to develop too many design simultaneously and got most of them wrong, and Milch didn't plan far enough ahead to bring new designs on-stream without seriously affecting current production.

In a way, it's a Udet didn't survive; his post war memoirs would have been lively reading - with some wicked cartoons. He was a senior Nazi, and thus involved in the excesses of the regime, but he never struck me as being more than an incidental war criminal.

Wordsmith
 
Useless when Goring put him in charge of the Luftwaffe's technical development to clip Milch's wings. As Inspector General of Fighters and Dive Bombers Udet didn't do too badly.

But aircraft production in WW2 was a hugely complex business ; it wasn't only Udet that fornicated up royally. Goring didn't understand modern aircraft technology or production and watched the train wreck develop without understanding what he was seeing, aircraft designers like Messerschmidt tried to develop too many design simultaneously and got most of them wrong, and Milch didn't plan far enough ahead to bring new designs on-stream without seriously affecting current production.

In a way, it's a Udet didn't survive; his post war memoirs would have been lively reading - with some wicked cartoons. He was a senior Nazi, and thus involved in the excesses of the regime, but he never struck me as being more than an incidental war criminal.

Wordsmith
Of course it wasn't only Udet that screwed up , the point I was trying to make is that ( as we all know or should know ) just because someone's very good at one thing doesn't necessarily mean that they will be good at another thing. He clearly blamed himself , otherwise he wouldn't have committed suicide now would he ? If he had had real moral as opposed to physical courage he would have refused the posting , but I suppose such a refusal in a totalitarian regime might have had dire consequences.
 

Wordsmith

LE
Book Reviewer
Of course it wasn't only Udet that screwed up , the point I was trying to make is that ( as we all know or should know ) just because someone's very good at one thing doesn't necessarily mean that they will be good at another thing. He clearly blamed himself , otherwise he wouldn't have committed suicide now would he ? If he had had real moral as opposed to physical courage he would have refused the posting , but I suppose such a refusal in a totalitarian regime might have had dire consequences.
I take your point.

However, Udet took the post before the outbreak of WW2, knew that he wasn't really up to the job, but took the attitude that if he screwed up, it wouldn't have too serious consequences. I suspect he also feared loss of power and influence if he refused.

His problems really started after September 1939 when he had to run a wartime development and production program. The more he tried to cover up his failings, the more he enmeshed himself in a web of lies. As you say he blamed himself, but I suspect that he committed suicide because he couldn't see any other way out.

Perhaps Milch could have restored enough order for Udet to have retired or been moved without too many repercussions a few months down the road, but Goring was busy hounding Udet to cover up his own part in the f-up. I seem to remember Udet scrawled a derogatory message about Goring on the wall just before he committed suicide.

As you say, a little man in a job that grew too big for him.

Wordsmith
 

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