597 Days: A Division's Morale During Sustained Combat
ARMY COMMAND AND GENERAL STAFF COLLEGE FORT LEAVENWORTH KS SCHOOL OF ADVANCED MILITARY STUDIES
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The soldiers of the 34th Infantry Red Bull Division conducted 597 days of combat operations in the Italian theater during the Second World War. The decisions made by operational planners allowed the men to continue the fight beyond the recognized point of when combat exhaustion affects soldiers. Operational planners arrangement of tactical actions in time, space, and purpose achieved not only operational and strategic end states, but ensured the 34th Infantry Divisions relief from the front line at the point just prior to the division becoming combat exhausted. The key to the 34th Infantry Divisions success came from the development of group cohesion and strong leadership. Combat exhaustion still affected the soldiers individually however, the group provided the individual soldier the strength and the ability to achieve more than their recognized limits. The fear of letting down the group provided the strength for individuals, ensuring operational success for the organization. During refit periods, the divisions leaders helped to reinforce and strengthen the bond of the group by ensuring veterans passed their knowledge to replacements in a training environment. During combat operations, the actions and decisions by leaders inspired their men to continue the fight beyond their recognized limits.
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics