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Marshall, Pro And Con

May 2024
1min read

I have been very bothered by the campaign to “redeem the honor” of the World War II GI at the expense of SLA Marshall, especially as few of those writing in your letters column have read his works.

Marshall was attempting to deal with the fact the U.S. infantry doctrine at the squad/platoon level was flawed, badly flawed. While American air power, artillery, and armor were respected by the Germans, American infantry was not. Looking at reports of actions in Europe, in straight-up infantry vs. infantry actions, the U.S. Army did very poorly without its supporting arms.

I find it interesting that when Men Against Fire was published in 1947, those officers of the U.S. Army with direct combat experience were quite willing to accept his premise. If his findings were as badly flawed as is claimed, it strikes me that the debate on him would have been then and not now. I feel that the problems are not so much with the findings of Marshall as with those veterans who forty years later are unwilling to face the truth.

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