On Grossman

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    Devereaux
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    On Grossman

    Post by Devereaux on Tue Mar 18, 2014 5:14 pm

    On another forum I have been reading a thread about LtCol. Grossman's book On Killing. I have read that book some time ago and thought at the time that he had specific insight into battle, as opposed to training. Part of the reason I thought so was that I clearly recollect intel back in the jungle days that said that Americans generally shot too high. Indeed, I made a particular adjustment to my platoon ammo loads, requiring each Marine to carry every 3rd round as a tracer. I then had a great effort for fire team and squad leaders to control fire of their men by watching where the tracers were going.

    In a separate correlation of Grossman's observations no less than John Keegan, a very well known and respected historian who taught at Sandhurst, had as his first big publication success a book titled The Face Of Battle. In that he made the independent, and predating observation that men seemed to die in large numbers when they turned their backs and attempted to run. Keegan did not have an explanation for why this occurred, but he DID note it.

    There are a lot of comments on the other thread, but I am not at all convinced that they have been made with any serious experience to back them up. I would agree that Grossman's final conclusions about video games is wrong. He takes a stand on basically no data, unlike his other observations for which he has lots of data for back-up.

    ?So I am curious how many here may have read Col Grossman's book and what opinion you have of it.
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    AChristianMarksman
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    Re: On Grossman

    Post by AChristianMarksman on Wed Mar 19, 2014 4:59 pm

    I have read On Killing and On Combat. I found many things matched with my experience in Iraq and South America. I actually suggest On Combat for all Instructors of combat or defensive firearm usage and to students that want to learn more about what goes on in the mind.
    I wonder why you disagree with Grossman on video games?

    sthwestvictoria
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    Re: On Grossman

    Post by sthwestvictoria on Wed Mar 19, 2014 7:04 pm

    It has been a while since I read it, i'll dig out my copy.  I ordered it from the charity online bookshop betterworldbooks and when it turned up it was a signed copy which was fun.

    Another interesting read is The Gift of Fear by Gavin de Becker.  He also has some funny ideas about satanic music but then it is a older book from the 1990's.  He is anti-firearm however which seems to have some cognitive dissonance compare the other useful material in the book.
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    Charlie Foxtrot
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    Re: On Grossman

    Post by Charlie Foxtrot on Wed Mar 19, 2014 9:50 pm

    On Killing is in my "To Be Read Pile". However, a Grossman discussion in a forum (probably the same one) puts the book in a new light. As a result, I'm tempted to put more effort into the well vetted works of John Keegan and Victor Davis Hanson.

    However, it is highly recommend by no less than Massad Ayoob. It's also a standard text of the Armed Forces and Police, and important to understand in that context.
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    Devereaux
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    Re: On Grossman

    Post by Devereaux on Thu Mar 20, 2014 12:05 am

    ACM - I believe video games are just that - games. I believe children understand that and don't confuse that with reality. From what I have seen, nothing on the games resembles real life.

    Remember that we (that is MY age group)played guns, cowboys & indians, WWII, had toy soldiers that we blew up, rushed positions with, got killed, etc. We all had "guns" but we also knew they were toys, even when they looked real (Mattel sixguns were kool!).

    Go back and read some of the accounts of Lexington & Concord. The Americans stood in the common but gave way to the Brits - who then began firing upon the militia. The news of THAT massacre spread faster than the Brit column could march, so when they came to Concord they were faced with an angry countryside. That tends to change things. From there on the Brits were retreating, and retreating men are fair game as targets. Or so says Grossman. And Keegan.

    Most men have some trouble killing another man. Eventually I believe they will come to it, but especially in the initial moments there is hesitation - an unwillingness to fire, even if it's justified. It is the whole purpose of training - to get those who have that hesitation to learn how to get past that.

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