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“Principles of Organization for War and Organizing for War in the Carreraverse”
Part Two of a Series1 by Tom Kratman


The Principles of Organization Explained:

As you read the following, it’s important to remember that no one principle or organization is dispositive. There is, in other words, no ideal; everything is a compromise. Moreover, as I’ve mentioned in discussions of principles of war, principles are not checklists to success; they’re study guides and things to think about. They’re also defenses against idiotic ideas.

  1. Social cohesion: Organize your sub-organization for maximum feasible affection and group emotional attachment within and among the officers and men.

The company is the key element here; it is the tribe. It is the level at which emotional connection among the ranks, and interpersonal knowledge, is both possible and critical.

The company also has upper ands lower limits in size. The Dunbar number, about one hundred and fifty, echoes over and over again in the course of the history of infantry companies. However, Dunbar was reasoning more from brain size than from empirical data. I would suggest that the number can go up based on things like barracks size, separate messing, and longer service with less personnel turbulence. The outside limit, in ideal circumstances, may run around two hundred and fifty.

This larger number is not necessarily a practical number, for military purposes, because once deployed and deprived of the ideal circumstances, once losses begin to accrue and strangers to be introduced, in other words, social cohesion in those other than ideal circumstances will begin to fail for companies of that size, so long as they stay that size, while it may be possible to maintain social cohesion for small units, at least if they’re given periods to assimilate and train the new men into the unit.

Less often considered: one suspects that there is a lower limit, as well. This I define as the point where one knows everyone else in the group so well, and cares so much, that losses are catastrophically demoralizing. I surmise that this number is about sixty.

There exist a set of memes claiming that task cohesion—the ability of people to work together and integrate their skills to accomplish a mission—is a perfectly acceptable substitute for social cohesion. Leaving aside that the proponency for task cohesion seems to come from those branches of the military—the Air Force and, to a lesser extent, the Navy—that have the least to do with ground gaining combat, and leaving aside, too, that it appears to have come from a desire to downplay the miserable effects on social cohesion of mixing men and women in the same units,2 and finally leaving aside that, to the extent those pushing for task cohesion are also trying to rationalize openly serving gays, lesbians, transsexuals, and such, one can still observe that task cohesion is most suitable for the routine, the technical, the safe or, failing safety, a strong likelihood of utter annihilation, hence the elimination of attrition as a consideration. In other circumstances, circumstances where the emotions must be tapped to get men to endure considerable suffering and take massive personal risks on behalf of their friends and comrades, task cohesion means essentially nothing. Said a little differently, task cohesion is perfectly acceptable for artillerymen serving the gun . . . right up until the enemy is through the wire and they have to fight as infantry.

Note that the artillery is generally aware of this, and does not let themselves rely entirely on task cohesion at the firing battery level. They have on the other hand, shown a tendency to downplay social cohesion in their centralization of the forward observers, FISTs, they provide to the infantry and armor.

It may not be insignificant that services and branches of services that depend on task cohesion most also seem to depend, to one extent or another, on leadership by coddling. It may also not be insignificant that task cohesion is more easily measured and more easily imposed than social cohesion. I am, moreover, pretty sure that task cohesion, at least partially, relieves the leadership of the need to live by the leadership trait, justice. In other words, of course Colonel so and so can be screwing Airman (Airwoman?) Schmidlap and, no matter how much he may favor him or her, he can still fall back on task cohesion to accomplish the mission and support his all-important OER.

See comment on artillery once the Zulus are in the wire, above.

Furthermore, note that military personnel can be and frequently are in more than one company at a time. Everyone in, say, a mechanized infantry division is in a company, albeit often a headquarters company to which the field grade officers, at least, have no emotional attachment whatsoever. In that same division, though, all the grunts of a rifle company, enlisted, non-commissioned, and commissioned, belong to that rifle company. All the junior non-coms, as an ideal, ought also belong to the company of junior non-coms of the battalion. Moving up, all the middling senior non-coms ought belong to the regiment’s or brigade’s company of senior non-coms, and every officer in the regiment or brigade likewise should form a company of officers of the regiment, while all the flag officer, field grades and very senior captains, on staff, could be said to form the company of divisional senior officers. Note that there is a point beyond which social cohesion is undesirable. We probably do not want all of, especially, the Army’s general officers feeling themselves to be too close a community. Why? Because a) generals are potentially dangerous to a republic, while b) they are not under the kinds of stresses and strains, nor engaged in the kinds of personal risks, that make social cohesion a desperate need.

This is, by the way, not a trivial matter. For all that we’ve let ourselves become overly dependent on drill, to operate as combined arms teams, and for all that we’ve pre-organized, say, armor and infantry in the same battalions (more on this incredibly stupid idea as we continue), we have never really been as good at forming combined arms teams as the Germans were in WW II, despite the fact that the Germans kept their regiments pure. How were the Huns able to do this, without a large menu of initiative- and innovativeness-destroying drills and without compromising training by placing unlikes together? Simple, the Germans had so few officers in a division that every officer knew every other one, even across regiments. In short, they naturally formed a company that could be counted on to work together.

Note that there is perhaps nothing more damaging to social cohesion than an individual replacement system much beloved of the U.S. Army’s Adjutant Generals Corps. See additional excoriation, below.

  1. Flexibility and maneuver: Organize the number of sub-units to give options, to allow left and right, but also forward and rear.

This is a mission, doctrine, and enemy-oriented principle, but one grounded in what amounts to geometry.

Stand up. Look left; that is your left flank. Hopefully you will have either a friend beyond it or a difficult to negotiate natural obstacle. Look right; that is your right flank. Hopefully beyond it there is a friend or a natural obstacle. (Unless, of course, you are attacking, in which case you want the enemy to have open flanks you can exploit.)

Now look forward; that is the direction of the enemy. Look rearward; but the enemy might have left stay behinds, or partisans, or be planning a parachute or helicopter insertion. Rearward is also where you may keep your reserve, to defend against his successful assault, to counterattack, or to reinforce your own successes in the attack.

Those factors tend to be expressed in organization. You usually have at least three subordinate maneuver elements at almost any organizational level, platoon through division. Conceptually, you can think of one of them as being on the left, one as being on the right, one forward, either probing the enemy or acting as a screening or guarding force against his advance, and that covering force may become your reserve and rear area combat force after it has passed lines into the rear.

There are both specialized and more general approaches that can be used here. For example, a combat battalion may have a scout platoon for the forward mission, as a division may have a cavalry squadron (air, armored, or wheeled) for the same purposes, and the corps may have a cavalry regiment. (These units, by the way, tend to be composed of superior leaders and men. There is a price to be paid for that concentration of superior human material. As with the maintenance of any elites, it leaves the line weaker.)

Conversely, a good deal of the Rear Area Combat Operations—or RACO—mission can be left to the other folks who inhabit the rear, MPs, truckdrivers, cooks, and whatever combat forces happen to be back there for medical, maintenance, or rest reason. This, however, unless a good deal of time, effort, and resources are spent training them, is a fraud. It’s also only indirectly and somewhat organizationally related.

  1. Span of control: Organize with no more subunits than the man responsible can supervise in action and, pre-action, and no more than he can professionally develop, rate, and know, so that the leadership can retain integrity and personal honor.

There’s a rule of thumb, as nearly universal a military rule as one may find, to the effect that a man can only supervise from three to five subordinates. I would suggest that this depends on circumstances, but has some harsh and hard limits to it.

Let’s consider, for example, the number of fire teams that should be in a squad. The U.S. Army goes for two while the Marines prefer three. I would suggest that the Marines are correct about three; that the squad leader can lead, train, and develop three subordinates easily enough, and ensure they’re doing their jobs within their teams with no real problem . . . right up until the bullets start flying and fear and friction kick in. At that point—see above—there is a right and a left and a “holy shit they’re trying to kill me,” the squad leader, who probably has all he can do controlling himself and two subordinates, who also have enough to do worrying about themselves and one or two men to each side of them. I’d suggest that, given the totality of the important circumstances, two fire teams is probably about right even though a good squad leader can train three in peacetime.

Move up to the next level, though, the rifle platoon. There, we see three factors pop up. The first is that the means of executing the missions, the tactics, become more complex, with supporting arms (artillery and mortars, mostly, but also tanks, combat engineers, and air defense) on call, a staff in the form of the platoon sergeant, and the ability of—and need for—the leader to be a little farther back, which is not only necessary for him to exercise control over units spread out across fifty or sixty acres, but also slightly removes him from direct fire and the fear and friction that causes. Hence, three subordinate maneuver squads, plus possibly a weapons squad, is appropriate for a rifle platoon. Equally, a platoon of two dismount squads and two carrier squads (or sections) can work, as far as span of control goes.

A company commander3 typically has a larger staff to assist him, from his executive officer to his first sergeant to his NCOs for supply, nuclear, biological and chemical defense equipment, training, and planning, to a communications NCO, to other more junior troops detailed to specific additional duties, few of which have much to do with combat but do serve to make the civilian bureaucrats and military REMFs happy.

A company commander is not overtasked, nor does the position break span of control, either in peace or war, with his usual three line platoons and frequently, in history, a weapons platoon. What happens, however, and what limits him to only three of four subordinate platoons, is the need to very personally and in a very up front way train, coach, lead and—let’s be honest—occasionally mercilessly chew out lieutenants, who really have nobody else for the job with sufficient rank and prestige, and who, poor butterbars, while surely irrelevant and useless toads, themselves, for the time being, will someday be captains commanding companies, batteries, and troops, as well.

Above company level the problem inverts to a considerable degree. While the squad leader is alone and under fire, in action, commanders at battalion, brigade, division, and corps are rarely under fire and have large—altogether too large—staffs to aid them. They should be able to command well more than a mere five subordinates, and usually do.

Here’s the problem: While higher level commanders may well be able to exercise a kind control—and even command; no, they’re different things—over a great many subordinates, they cannot know those subordinates, observing them regularly and closely, hence cannot fairly evaluate them without recourse to usually nonsense statistics. See, for example, the Pentomic Division mentioned and spat upon, previously.

  1. Combined Arms: Organize to achieve and employ combined arms.

There are three common ways to create combined arms teams, pre-organization, task organization via cross attachment, and down attachment.

Down attachment is the preferred method in the old Red Army, the new Russian Army, and the United States Marine Corps (yes, really), and some branches of the Army. In it, likes are grouped together into larger units of their own branch and parceled out to lower units to create combined arms teams. For example, an old Soviet motorized rifle regiment had three motorized infantry battalions and a tank battalion. Typically, the tank battalion was divided up, one company per motorized rifle battalion. The Marines also group some weapons systems at levels above the level of usual employment and then send those weapons and the men manning them down to other units. In the Army, this sort of thing tends to show up in artillery forward observers—FISTs—aviation, engineering, and such.

There are both good and bad sides to this method. In the good, being grouped together under commanders who understand them, allows for superior technical training (See principle, Purity). On the other hand, it is unlikely that there will be much, if any, social cohesion between the unit supported and the unit sent down and supporting. Moreover, it creates a need for excess and, once split up, redundant officers and senior non-coms which is, in effect, a reduction in quality of both. Thirdly, it allows higher units to put on a show that tends to cover up actual and serious weaknesses. For example, as a rifle company commander, I never saw the same enlisted FO package twice in a row. I’m fairly sure I never saw exactly the same package between 1985 and 1987. Given that my company practically lived in the field, one would have thought it might have happened, but no, never, as far as I can recall. What was happening to prevent it? The unit was short FOs, while being required to send full teams to support National Training Center rotations and train ups for same. Doing that was, in reality, just lying on an heroic scale, even as it deprived units not getting ready or on a rotation of the ability to train together and build at least some social cohesion that way.

Task organization via cross attachment is when, for example, tank battalion A, with four tank companies (old J Series TO), gives a company each to two different mechanized infantry battalions in the same brigade, and gets in return a mechanized infantry company from each of those. It then gives a platoon each from its remaining tank companies to those two infantry companies which then, in turn, give up a platoon to the tank company that sent them a tank platoon.

Cross attachment has the advantage of keeping likes together for training under leaders that understand them, while not having to field excess redundant officers and senior non-coms. It’s supposed to be very flexible and ad hoc but, in practice, with us, usually is not in the interests of creating habitual relationships to ease working together. However, we’ve never really thought it through. If we’re going to create those kinds of habitual relationships, then the shapes of battalions in brigades would differ in accordance with the kind of brigade. For example, in an infantry heavy brigade it would make sense to have the two tank companies that were routinely cross attached out consist of four platoons, so that the receiving battalion could create three combined arms teams, as it would also make sense for the infantry battalions to be triangular rather than square, lest they have units that cannot be made into combined arms teams. The reverse would be true of a tank heavy brigade.

The National Training Center, at Fort Irwin, California, actually made (and probably once again makes) this worse by taking balanced brigades of two maneuver battalions, something not usually reflected in actual TOs and highly misleading. It’s inherently unrealistic training, too. This is not mitigated by the current Pentomic 2.0 organization of flat brigade combat teams; that’s already being destroyed, as well it should be.

Pre-attachment, our current bugaboo, does not, as far as I can tell, have any advantages. I believe our current configuration is that heavy battalions have two companies each of infantry and tanks. But, because the company—see above—is the key level—tanks from Company A attached to grunts from Company B are no less strangers than tanks from a different battalion are. The infantry battalion commander is not only likely to be as clueless about his tanks’ training, but the tank battalion commander is not going to be any better with regard to the infantry, while both can be expected to rape the unfamiliar branch to support training for the branch they’re comfy with, even as they give worse ratings to officers from that other branch to support better ratings for officers from their own basic branch. This happens naturally, by the way, without any particular ill will or conscious favoritism on the part of senior commanders; they simply understand their own people better, and speak the same language.

  1. Purity: Organize so that the commander or leader knows and understands every job of his subordinates.

Purity is the obverse of creating combined arms teams. It is largely a peacetime training, development, and professionalism consideration. What it seeks to do is shield junior leaders who will eventually become more senior leaders, rate them against peers on actual performance and character, keep them from being forced to put on shows to survive.

Purity is neither an absolute consideration, nor one that exists for its own sake. It is useful or necessary only up to a certain point, either battalion or regiment / brigade. The idea of an infantry division that consists only of infantry and exchanges troops with, say, an armored division that had nothing but tanks and an artillery division which had nothing but guns is both ludicrous in itself, and unnecessary for the goal.

  1. Discipline: Organize to ensure that all ranks are supervised, and improper conduct identified and punished.

This principle has aspects of span of control to it, but partakes more of the military police and the Staff Judge Advocate (AKA JAG) Corps. With regard to the MPs, they’re not just there for traffic control. They—although rarely possessing the moral component of ancient Rome’s Triarii—are also there for what is euphemistically called “straggler control.” This isn’t just about helping soldiers innocently separated from their units to find their way home; it’s also concerned with picking up deserters, preventing mutiny, suppressing crime, and a host of other, discipline-related missions. The crossed pistols on their collars are not just reminiscent of the pistols in their holsters, but of another mission we don’t like to talk about but is still lawful under some highly constrained circumstances,4 summary execution. Officers tend to carry pistols for much the same reason.

One reason for the breakdown in discipline during the six week long Rape of Nanking, in 1937 and 1938, was that the senior Japanese commander, Iwane Matsui, simply had no MPs to restore order and discipline among troops allowed (and certainly in some cases encouraged) to get out of control. He had no MPs, either, to arrest the subordinate commanders who had disobeyed and defied him from Shanghai all the way to and into Nanking.

Another aspect of the MPs job, beyond arresting the wicked and undisciplined, is punishing them, either by the running of stockades and prisons, or by seeing to their formal executions.

  1. Rest: Organize to relieve and allow rest for the sub-organizations and men who comprise them.

Eventually, almost all soldiers in action will become psychiatric casualties. It is regrettable but true that American soldiers had, in the Second World War, of any major combatant, the shortest expected number of combat days before falling victim to this. We can dismiss the Soviets’ expectation of about nine hundred days of combat to sheer heartlessness, self-delusion, and communist dogma, but even British and Germans had much lengthier expectations than we did.

Why? I think there were three main culprits. One was George Marshall’s approach to expanding the army, which was to subject divisions to a continuing series of bicellular fissions, whereby each division, once technically and tactically trained, would be split down the middle to create two new divisions, which would also be split, in time. That alone probably guaranteed comparatively low social cohesion and considerable individual loneliness (write this twenty-five times on the blackboard: “men are not machines”). It never ceases to amaze, really, the stupid decisions that can come from ordinarily very smart men.

As if that were not bad enough, we also took the approach of having relatively few combat divisions, and, having few, keeping them on the line without rest while providing individual replacements for losses (a technique guaranteed to ensure the maintenance of a large Adjutant Generals Corps, thus much beloved of that same corps).

Still worse, indeed in my not so humble opinion a matter of criminal negligence, we made insufficient and reluctant efforts to return wounded soldiers to their former units, but might send them, just like spare parts, to whichever unit needed replacements at the time.5 (Back to that blackboard: “Men are not machines.”)

Ultimately, though, the fault lies with having simply too few divisions—eighty-nine, of which eighty-seven actually deployed—for the war. The reasons for this were many and varied, though overly optimistic overreliance on air power was a big one. They don’t matter, either. The core calculation here is that when you don’t have enough combat units, you will overstrain the ones you do have and break the men long before they should have broken. This is eventually going to prove true even if you expect air power to be decisive.

  1. Leadership: Organize to make it easily and instantly recognizable who is responsible and in charge. Organize to keep leadership quality high.

It’s a truism among the great and good that leaders are made, not born. It’s nonsense; they’re both. And by both I don’t mean made or born; I mean born and then selected and trained, or made. Natural leaders, who have all the attributes and need no training are myths. Leaders formed from mere human mud, via diligent training, are likewise myth.

But most people are sheep, albeit often brave sheep. The numbers who have the innate force of character to be leaders is quite limited. This is further reduced because some who have the force of character are rotters, moral lepers, thieves and cheats. Still others are stupid. Still others are not stupid, but tend to lack judgment and maturity. Go down the list of leadership traits—bearing, courage, decisiveness, dependability, endurance, enthusiasm, initiative, integrity, judgment, justice, knowledge, loyalty, tact, and unselfishness—and consider that each of these is not just something that it is desirable to teach leaders, if one can, but instead are grounds for rejection from positions of leadership if the person is deficient in any of them. In the end, if you can find three percent of your force suitable to become officers, and another five or six percent suitable to become senior non-coms, you’re doing well.

No, a college degree is surprisingly irrelevant for this, in officers or non-coms.

What that means is that you cannot have five or six officers per company, hugely bloated staffs, and a proliferation of esoteric support units. Instead, you can have maybe three, maybe as often just two, officers per company, the remaining “officer jobs” being handled, and likely better, by senior non-coms. You can permit only small staffs, and neither proliferation of exotic units nor command of what amount to platoons given to field grade officers.

Rather, you can have all those things, but if you do, remember that most of those officers are going to be useless drones—or worse than useless, because time and effort must be spent supervising them—while your non-coms will have “a misery in their bowels” from having to work for and answer to worthless officers.

Secondly, though no less importantly, real officers lead and command. They neither need nor tolerate that their duties be taken over by “Social Action Officers” (Zampolits by another name), EO/EEO officers (ditto), Chaplains with the ear of someone higher, more senior commanders’ wives, etc.

Note, by the way, that one of the critical side benefits of keeping numbers of leaders low and staffs small is that commanders must command for longer periods, three to four or even five years, which prohibits them from just putting on shows while requiring them to build for the long term.

  1. Simplicity: Do not add needless complexity; balance necessary complexity.

It’s something of a miracle that military forces can exist in the field at all. Indeed, armies exist, and even manage to fight, poised on the knife’s edge of ruin. This is true even without reference to the enemy. Adding anything complex to them, anything that makes it more difficult for them to exist and fight, is silly.

One of the ways in which needless complexity is added is by raising decision making authority to needlessly high levels. An example of this can be found in footnote 23, concerning the U.S. Army’s individual replacement system in World War II. A centralized command was created for this to manage replacements for the entire European Theater of Operations, or ETO. Being removed in distance from the line, this command never—perhaps never even for one day—had a grasp of the needs of the line. Thus, it demanded continuous input of information, which information was almost invariably out of date and obsolete before it was even processed.

Conversely, however, sometimes complexity is added to lower level units in ways that merely distract. For example, do we actually want organizations that are intended to fight in war, on what is generally an unlimited budget, fretting continuously, in peace, about managing a training budget?

Ah, but then there are things, ammunition and fuel, that are usually treated as if money but are not money, and which tactical units do budget. How are these different?

Simple, even a battalion has an office, the S-4, which, in war, budgets for and manages logistics, to include fuel and ammunition. Budgeting something in peace that must be managed in war is not needless complexity; it’s training. Demanding that a unit budget for money, when there is no office for it and no need for it in war, in needless complexity.

That said, if there is any area that is likely to introduce complexity, needful or needless, into an army, it is probably logistics.

  1. Logistics: Organize for effective logistic support.

It’s not exactly true that the thing that distinguishes professionals from amateurs is the study of logistics.6 However, professional’s certainly study logistics, too, and intently.

Logistic functions are many, and are split between individual and unit leader functions, staff functions, and the more practical functions of ordering, paying for, receiving, moving, securing, accounting for, distributing, receiving back the millions of kinds of material needed to support that army in the field, the one that teeters on the edge of ruin anyway.

A lot of decisions need to be made for logistics, which are almost always going to have to be made in a vacuum. Are you going to supply via rail, via sea, via road, and to what extent for each. The first two possibilities will demand organizations be fielded to run rail and port. However, the enemy not only gets a vote, he gets a lot of high explosive, too. It is entirely possible that the ports and the rail lines, in addition to units to run them, are going to need engineer battalions and brigades to undo vast damage and put them back in operation.

It is equally true that the enemy can tear up roads and bring down or weaken bridges. That means more engineers to build bridges and repair and improve roads. Moreover, if you don’t have decent roads, expect both slow speed and wear and tear on your trucks to multiply the need for motor transport units approximately to infinity (or at least you won’t know how many you need until you discover you haven’t enough).

And then there are environments, high mountains, deep jungle, where there simply are no roads where you need them and units must sometimes be supplied by animal trains.

Moreover, different classes of supply require different kinds of organizations. For a number of good reasons, fuel, for example, is best delivered by pipeline. That, too, requires a specialist organization.

Ammunition is dangerous and subject to ruination by the elements. It also gets more dangerous as different kinds of ammunition are mixed. This demands more specialists who know how to secure and store it.

Food isn’t always canned. Refrigeration truck and rail—ships, too, if we ultimately depend on a port for supply—are needed to move fresh food forward.

Medical supplies; do they come forward on general transportation or on special medical vehicles? If the former, they can be engaged, while with the latter they should, given reasonable notice to the enemy, be hands off.7

And then there’s domestic politics. What happens when your country rallies behind your army in the field so completely that, oh, say, two hundred and fifty to three hundred tons of “any soldier mail” arrives every day, which mail must be carried forward and distributed to the troops, until they’re practically green with sickness of so many cookies and cakes and whatnot? That’s not free, either, it takes still more stevedores and truckdrivers to move it. But the people will not be denied; it must be moved forward and given away.

Let us not forget, either, the inherent value of the things military forces need to exist to the civilians stuck in the war zone. Many a can of fuel or plate of food will be converted into sex, drugs, and money in the interests of survival. As much may simply be stolen. To prevent this takes MPs, heartless guards, barbed wire, engineers to put up the wire, SJAs, and probably a fair amount of lumber and rope.8

Though we tend to classify them differently, to think about them differently, the medical establishment is also a logistic establishment, and not merely in terms of having its own supply system. The patching up of wounded men and returning them to duty is, in principle, not all that different from the replacement of worn track and the changing of worn or damaged tires.



FOOTNOTES

1) A good portion of this piece comes from a presentation given my myself at Libertycon XXXI, Chattanooga, TN, in June of 2018.

2) See this, for example: https://www.law.berkeley.edu/files/csls/Unit_Cohesion_and_Military_Performance_Ch5_MacCoun_Hix.pdf

3) Also battery or troops commander or, in the Carreraverse, maniple commander.

4) See Article 94, Uniform Code of Military Justice. There are fourteen different crimes for which capital punishment is allowed; Article 94, Mutiny, is the only one of which I am aware that demands summary execution.

5) http://digital.library.temple.edu/digital/collection/p245801coll10/id/268389, especially at page 172-173. Note, here, that the system only got recovered wounded as far as their home divisions, at best. It was entirely possible that they would then be assigned to some entirely different regiment, battalion, or company, which made them as much moral cyphers as if they’d been assigned to different divisions. About all that was saved was the need to change shoulder insignia.

6) “War is the art that subsumes all other arts and sciences, hence real professionals study everything.” —Me

7) Medical supply is an interesting area, legally speaking. When retreating, for example, it is perfectly permissible to destroy all classes of supply to prevent its falling into enemy hands, except for Class VIII, Medical. That, if you can’t take it with you, can possibly be hidden but, if not, must be left for the enemy. And good for him if he uses it to relieve suffering.

8) There was a point in time, in Korea, where we had to hire Korean guards. Why? American guards couldn’t bring themselves to shoot starving civilians but Koreans would.



Copyright © 2018 Tom Kratman


Tom Kratman’s latest entry in the Carerra series is November’s A Pillar of Fire by Night. Tom Kratman was a Regular Army infantryman much of his adult life. After the Gulf War, and with the bottom dropping completely out of the anti-communist market, Tom decided to become a lawyer. Every now and again, when the frustrations of legal life and having to deal with other lawyers got to be too much, Tom would rejoin the Army (or a somewhat similar group, say) for fun and frolic in other climes. He no longer practices law, but instead writes full time. His novels for Baen include A State of Disobedience, Caliphate, and the series consisting of A Desert Called Peace, Carnifex, The Lotus Eaters, The Amazon Legion, Come and Take Them, The Rods and the Axe, and A Pillar of Fire by Night, as well as three collaborations with John Ringo, Watch on the Rhine, Yellow Eyes, and The Tuloriad. Also for Baen, he has written the first three volumes of the modern-day military fiction Countdown series.