Discussion in 'British Army Units - Others' started by Rob Dickers, Jun 14, 2011.
from CO 4/5 Royal Scots Fusiliers
Yes, there is some interesting material like this at Kew.
I'm beginning to believe there was a 'learning curve' going on in 44/45 as there was in 1916-18.
A 'learning curve' - in study periods where soldiers of the day would study (and still do) old battles and see where things went wrong and where commanders got it right. Although of course there were many experienced soldiers and officers there were many going into action for the first time, at all levels. Many would be learning their own personal lessons, however, commanders like Montgomery, would insist on good commanders being sent home from other theatres to stiffen the home and expeditionary forces and bring the latest techniques to the training establishments. My own experience, well trained, trained again and again, yet when a tracer round exploded next to my foot - my first 'contact' it took me as section commander a second or two to snap into the contact drills, my own learning curve!
Amused by the 'good unit cleaning up accommodation' as an old infantryman in total agreement - I hold the view, weapons cleaned first, then clothing, boots etc. and last the body,wash and shave. We Guardsmen would say join the army and see the world, join the Guards and polish the bastard.
'Learning Curve' is a phrase used by historians to describe an army that is learning through battle experience top down, although bottom up experience does of course contribute to it. It doesn't relate to individual soldiers as such.
I do not accept that commanders were on a learning curve, perfectly willing to accept they modified intentions to suit the pace that lower formations took to work together, lower formations that had been changed by contact with the enemy, if that is a a learning curve? Fine. Historians for the most part should be viewed as guidance not gospel. There were not many British commanders on any form of learning curve in 1944 the mistakes had been made by then. Those that did not or could not learn were wearing Bowler hats.
YouTube - Battle of the Scheldt Vignette‏
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