True or false: "Soldiers tend to intentionally fire over the enemy's head, or not to fire at all."

It’s garbage. The idea comes from Grossman and his horrible research. When he isn’t misinterpreting Marshall or reaching for ridiculous conclusions not proven by the data he is making things up completely.

Soldiers firing high in battle doesn’t necessarily mean it’s because they don’t want to kill. When I see soldiers firing high, it is because they are firing without aiming while lying down behind cover. Horrible shooting technique to be sure, but it’s not because they don’t want to kill. It’s because they are trying not to die.

And the stats about not everyone firing in a battle doesn’t mean people didn’t want to shoot and kill. It can easily mean that people simply could not pinpoint an enemy to shoot at. Can’t count how many times my men and I wanted desperately to kill the enemy, yet simply could not fix them long enough or certain enough to get shots off. More time was spent frustratingly observing and frantically searching downrange than actually shooting. That wasn’t for lack of a want to kill.

Grossman is the type of person who wants something to be true, so he presents it as the only possible answer to myriad data, quotes and statistics–none of which actually prove his point. I couldn’t disagree with his conclusions anymore and I am not the sole critic of his work.

Ridiculous. You want to know another reason, (much more plausible by the way) that soldiers often shoot high? When the soldiers zero their weapons at 300m and then engage the enemy in closer combat, especially around the 150m mark, external ballistics being what they are, the rounds are going to be high. Inexperienced shooters, especially those under stress, are not going to properly compensate and will be shooting high. I see it everyday on the range, and that’s with a 200m zero so the effect should be less. But it is still enough to miss high.
We have a range called LOMAH (locations of misses and hits) that displays the exact location of the miss on the computer screen. 95% of the time it is because the soldier is firing high! (See Grossman, I can make up stats too. But it really is the vast majority). Soldiers are always having to be told to aim lower!! Or “aim low to score a hit”.
And this is a range with plastic targets under no stress. The affect is increase in the stress of combat when targets are shooting back and they are not easy to find!

So be careful when you say that something makes your opinion VERY clear. Because there are so many other factors besides some idea that humans are a peaceful species who loathe violence. 5,000 years of history should help prove that is asinine.

If you’re interested in some lengthy rebuttals of Grossman’s ideas, here is a great place to start.

Likewise. I thought for a minute there that this was some kind of spam, pimping a new site. It may yet be.
Of course, I will follow, blindly, a person who proclaims himself a Jedi Warrior Monk. Who wouldn’t. I mean, if we are talking serious life-changing behavior, who better to follow than a Yoda follower?

So, I’m totally with Chimera. Best wishes, caliwebman, but, knock it off, please.

Likewise. I thought for a minute there that this was some kind of spam, pimping a new site. It may yet be.
Of course, I will follow, blindly, a person who proclaims himself a Jedi Warrior Monk. Who wouldn’t. I mean, if we are talking serious life-changing behavior, who better to follow than a Yoda follower?

So, I’m totally with Chimera. Best wishes, caliwebwoman, but, knock it off, please.

My sole data point is a BiL who did 2 tours in Viet Nam (and, frankly, seems to have gotten a great deal of pleasure in killing).

His story was that the USMC taught to aim, not to kill, but to mortally wound. The wounded enemy would draw 2 of his buddies away from the fight to tend to him, thus tripling your effectiveness.

The other point is the number of bullets fired in that dirty little war:

This was the age of the body count on the 6 o’lclock news: Number of Viet Cong/N. Vietnamese killed, number of S. Vietnamese killed, and the number of Americans killed.

What this came down to was a platoon of soldiers would take a load of ammo (and a load of good dope) into a clear spot, fire pointlessly into the jungle, and get stoned.
When they returned, they would be asked for the number of bad guys they killed. They provided a number.

In 1972, somebody claimed to have added up the reported kills and announced that the war must be over, because we had killed man, woman, and child in both North and South Vietnam.

You pretty much need to discount that war in gathering stats about much more than dollars spent. And you can’t get a real number on that - too many black budgets and other concealed expenditures.

I suspect the high shots fired to kills ratio in Viet Nam has a lot to do with that was the first war the US was in where pretty much all of the US forces had selective fire weapons. Lots of guy just left it set on Full and fired at the general direction of the enemy until the magazine was empty. And even with aimed full auto fire, most rounds past the 3rd one will be over the targets’ head. That’s why on the M-16a2, they replaced the Full option with the 3 round Burst option.

As for the range point made upthread, I can see if you’re sighted in at 300m and firing at someone’s head at 100m, you’d be shooting high. I used a combat zero of 200yds and aimed for the chest. It seemed to work at closer distances.

My Dad pointed out that when they are trying to kill you, it focuses your mind on staying alive, and you start to actually aim at the people trying to kill you. You end up not being part of the zerg and a target. In a zerg, you can afford to miss, someone else will either kill the opponent or take the bullet, lose the zerg mass and you get really focused on the kill or be killed aspect - think of the marines on Iwo Jima or the zerg that was D-Day at Normandy.

[My dad loved discussing the difference between strategy and tactics as applied to MMORPGs, he liked raids.]

From “Surprised by Joy”, C S Lewis:

'He could never grasp the neighborly principles which, by the tacit agreement of the troops, were held to govern trench warfare, and to which I was introduced at once by my sergeant. I had suggested “pooping” a rifle grenade into a German post where we had seen heads moving. “Just as 'ee like, zir,” said the sergeant, scratching his head, “but once 'ee start doing that kind of thing, 'ee’ll get zummit back, zee?”

During WW1 it was called Live and let live.

I have heard some great examples. In one German soldier’s threw a note wrapped around a stone across to the British trenches telling them they would blow a whistle just before firing a motor at their trenches so they had time to take cover. Apparently that type of stuff was common.

British commanders tried to combat live and let live by having units send out regular raiding parties to the German trenches. Even then they started to suspect the reports of the raids were being made up and lots of units were not actually doing any raiding so they then demanded that raids had to bring back small samples of German barbwire to prove that they actually had been to the German trenches. This of course just prompted units to get hold of reels of German barb wire so that they had some readily available to snip off a little bit to accompany each report of a raid.

From what I understand live and let live became less and less common as the war progressed. It seems the more comrades soldiers lost the more they started to develop a real hatred for the enemy. I guess you could say it became personal at that point once the enemy had killed friends.

**Bear_Nenno ** the thing is, Grossman is a very good writer and an excellent speaker. People get drawn to him for that reason. I met the guy and heard him speak while he was still in uniform. He certainly got the crowd worked up. But I thought he came across as an arrogant tool. Its funny how someone who is light on the right and spent most of his career in the ROTC program has become an expert on combat.

Your BiL is full of shit. People who talk like that are usually the ones who had desk jobs. No one has ever been taught to wound and not kill. 99.9% of people could never get that kind of skill in shooting in a combat situation. You are taught to shoot center mass. The largest part of the body. Because hitting something is better than missing.

The myth of the drugged out Viet Nam draftee surrounded by other draftees getting high in the jungle is just that, a myth. Soldiers in Viet Nam were mostly professionals and volunteers. About 30% were draftees. There were of course drug problems (just like there were alcohol problems in WWII). But the Hollywood fueled version of Viet Nam (and Viet Nam vets) is about as historically accurate as Tropic Thunder.

And there are also stories that no German machine gun crews seemed to ever surrender or get captured. They all some how wound up dead. When your buddies are getting mowed down and gassed its hard to feel good will towards your enemy.

I can’t find any convincing evidence for it being practised by Bushmen/San.

If you are interested the below documentary is well worth a watch.

There are quite a few episodes but in particular this one linked covers live and let live in quite a bit of depth. The stories tend to be based on soldier’s letters and accounts so are probably as good a source as you are going to get.

To counter live and let live you also have an account of a Highland regiment taking 300 prisoners and killling them all and an account of soldier’s trying to surrender and being shot.

Thanks I’ll check that out when I get a chance.

“Been through the desert on a horse with no name…”, “Jedi Warrior Monk”, “90%+ of new soldiers that enter combat for the first time aim high…”, using all lower case on “SHIELD” and “STORM”-caliwebman, no one with a high school education, let alone soldiers or teachers, are going to be contacting you to organize anything.

“Zerg?” “Zerg??”

Made me look it up.

Human wave.

Jim Channon might contact him to ask him to stop presenting his ideas as his own.

He must be the only desk job with a polished up garrote over the mantle and enjoys talking endlessly about his favorite near-miss: he was aiming for the center of the forehead, but hit an eyebrow instead. His desk job was Camp Pendleton, assigned to training recruits (at the rank of Major).
I imagine he knows a bit about how the USMC taught him, and how it trained recruits in the1980’s.

If you live in central CA, I can arrange a meeting and you can tell him in person that he’s full of shit. He likes hurting people, according to my own observations and those of both parents, and 3 siblings - including the one married to him.

The stoned GI firing aimlessly was from 2 guys I knew who made it back.
They were both draftees.
The one guy I knew who took war seriously managed to get himself killed by taking point on a night patrol actively searching for the enemy.

Randall Harris (d 1969) was shooting to kill. The draftees were doing their damnedest to make sure nobody mistook them for real soldiers.

I think it was the battle of Palo Alto early in The War To Steal Mexico i which the Mexican troops lost because all their rounds went high because they had too much powder in their cartridges and were closing their eyes when they fired.