The Best Defense

Actually, Tom, some military historical trivia matters a lot--and here’s why

Having recently disparaged "brass buttons" trivia by some military historians, I was interested in the distinction drawn by the well-known West Point historian Eugenia Kiesling in the conclusion of her essay on doctrine in the interwar period in the Cambridge History of War, Vol. IV: War and the Modern World

--

"The color of collar tabs on parade uniforms does not matter. Other seemingly trivial questions do. How much autonomy accompanied the red trouser stripes of the German general staff officer? How often did infantry units train with antiaircraft guns? Did generals join admirals for lunch? Arguably more than analyses that parse military theory, questions like these explain nations' wartime performance." 

--

Wikipedia

The Best Defense

Jack London describes an infantry platoon

Actually he is writing about the crew of a 19th century seal-hunting ship, but it is pretty similar: "They are a company of celibates, grinding harshly against one another and growing daily more calloused from the grinding." (From The Sea-Wolf)

It reminds me that somewhere, I think in War and Peace, which I read while covering boring U.S. peacekeeping ops in Haiti, Tolstoy describes an infantry unit in wartime as being like the crew of a ship-moving through the world, but still constantly seeing the same familiar faces.  

Flickr/U.S. Department of Defense