On Bravery in Battle

I was reading John Wukovits One Square Mile of Hell: The Battle for Tarawa and came across an interesting passage on the behavior of men in battle:

“Lt. Frank Plant, Jr. concluded that three categories of men existed in battle. Some froze and could do nothing to contribute. For instance he unsuccessfully tried to halt one terrorized private who dug deeper and deeper into the sand, as if in doing so he could escape the carnage. Not far form this private, two other Marines, rigid with fear, lay immobile on the ground with their arms extended at right angles.

The other extreme offered those, like Hawkins, who not only ignored every risk but seemed eager to face them. He called them “sons of guns” who inspired the men, and concluded “Most of them probably lost their lives.”

The vast majority, he decided, stood in the middle of the two extremes, following orders and killing Japanese because that was what they were supposed to do.”

-- Greg Grant Show Full Article

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