Quantitative research on demographic measurables and combat effectiveness?

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TheMarcksPlan
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Re: Quantitative research on demographic measurables and combat effectiveness?

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 24 Oct 2021 07:10

Cult Icon wrote:In World War II, 58 of 440 Congressional Medals of Honor went to Appalachians for a total of 13.2% while Appalachian males over the age of 14 represented only 12.4% of the US male population. During the Korean War, Appalachians were awarded 26 of 131 Medals of Honor which totaled 19.8% of medals while male Appalachians over the age of 14 represented only 11.4% of the US male population.
I doubt the WW2 figure - 0.8% more MoH's than if randomly distributed by region - would meet a test of statistical significance. Even if it's statistically significant, it hardly shows practically significant levels of relative heroism. In Korea it's definitely significant but what % of soldiers - not males - were Appalachian? If it wasn't higher than usual, then that undercuts the narrative of higher propensity to volunteer and/or not to take exemptions (US Army in Korea wasn't a mass army).

Thanks for the figures though, please send others along if you find any. I'd be particularly interested in relative proportion of Appalachian infantry, exemptions, and honors (not just MoH, which is somewhat political). Given US exemptions for war workers, Appalachians might have been over-rep'd in the army. Then again it depends on how to define Appalachia - are Pittsburgh and other steel/coal towns included? I've seen definitions covering nearly Eastern US except the Tidewater and big coastal cities.
Last edited by TheMarcksPlan on 24 Oct 2021 07:16, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Quantitative research on demographic measurables and combat effectiveness?

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 24 Oct 2021 07:14

Mori wrote:. Adapting doctrines / practices / SOP / training without any equipment and without any sense of a threat of a war on land is certainly not what happened.
Certainly not prewar, but then what happened during the war? Did Canada start from scratch with its own doctrines or did they use what the Brits had ready?
Mori wrote:PS: apologies for not being a scholar of WW1
Ha well I started off by saying I know little on WW1 so can't fault you there. Thanks for your service sharing WW2 archival access.
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Re: Quantitative research on demographic measurables and combat effectiveness?

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 24 Oct 2021 07:34

Here, btw, is a relevant article from Human Reproduction, a peer-reviewed journal published by Oxford University Press and founded by Nobel Laureate Robert Edwards.

The article finds that taller soldiers were more likely to survive WW1. Not entirely sure what to make of that (neither are the authors), just throwing some literature out there.
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Re: Quantitative research on demographic measurables and combat effectiveness?

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 24 Oct 2021 10:34

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
24 Oct 2021 07:34
The article finds that taller soldiers were more likely to survive WW1. Not entirely sure what to make of that (neither are the authors), just throwing some literature out there.
I don't see that the authors considered what regiments the 1000 soldiers belonged to. Is there a possibility that British army recruiters targeted larger/stronger recruits for the artillery or engineers? Given the notoriously slack medical examinations for WW1, I'm not sure how reliable an apparent 1 cm difference in measurement would actually be.

Thanks for the link though, I learned something about where babies come from. :lol:

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Re: Quantitative research on demographic measurables and combat effectiveness?

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 24 Oct 2021 11:55

Tom from Cornwall wrote: Is there a possibility that British army recruiters targeted larger/stronger recruits for the artillery or engineers?
Given that better childhood environments/nutrition led to both taller height and better brain development, this was probably true but not directly due to height (rather due to targeting intelligence and education). The authors flub this by theorizing that taller men might be more likely to be sergeants (who the authors think died less often) but IIRC infantry sergeants were more likely to die in WW1 than privates. Same was true of commissioned officers IIRC. The issue, IMO, is which dominates: increased likelihood of taller men being Officers/NCO's or increased likelihood of not being infantry.

...there's also a theoretical possibility that smarter (correlated with height more back then) men made smarter decisions on the battlefield, leading to dying less. But I'd be surprised if that effect dominates, given the lethal effects of being an infantry officer/NCO. Smarter men probably died less of disease though - that's true everywhere, not just in the military.
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Re: Quantitative research on demographic measurables and combat effectiveness?

Post by Cult Icon » 24 Oct 2021 14:28

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
24 Oct 2021 07:10
Then again it depends on how to define Appalachia - are Pittsburgh and other steel/coal towns included? I've seen definitions covering nearly Eastern US except the Tidewater and big coastal cities.
You seemed to be only satisfied with a nerd report. My interest in this subject ends here :lol:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Appalachia

I have spent considerable time around the Pennsylvania/New York countryside, the lifestyle I observed there (farms, more firearms, hunting, outdoors work, hiking) is more conductive to being a good infantryman. I would rather recruit in those areas than in the cities.

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Re: Quantitative research on demographic measurables and combat effectiveness?

Post by Cult Icon » 24 Oct 2021 15:02

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
24 Oct 2021 11:55
...there's also a theoretical possibility that smarter (correlated with height more back then) men made smarter decisions on the battlefield, leading to dying less. But I'd be surprised if that effect dominates, given the lethal effects of being an infantry officer/NCO. Smarter men probably died less of disease though - that's true everywhere, not just in the military.
Infantry isn't an intellectual field, besides it being important to not being mentally retarded it is more about having the right knowledge, physical conditioning, and skills. An ordinary intelligence is sufficient. It is more important for the individual to have the right CHARACTER and relevant training and experience & being part of a cohesive team.

I suspect that the truly 'smart" ones are quick to realize that dying for their country/bogus political ideas/bigwigs/their comrades isn't worth it in the long run :lol:

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Re: Quantitative research on demographic measurables and combat effectiveness?

Post by Michael Kenny » 24 Oct 2021 16:42

Cult Icon wrote:
24 Oct 2021 15:02


Infantry isn't an intellectual field, besides it being important to not being mentally retarded it is more about having the right knowledge, physical conditioning, and skills. An ordinary intelligence is sufficient. It is more important for the individual to have the right CHARACTER and relevant training and experience & being part of a cohesive team.
As by far the biggest killer was artillery rounds/shrapnel then the random nature of such rounds is in no way effected by the 'intelligence' of the victim. You can have the IQ of an Einstein but if the General says you have to walk into the enemy positions then that is what you do even if you know you are going to be killed. I would say mindlessly following such orders is an indication of 'defective' intelligence and medals were introduced to lessen the guilt felt by those who get their soldiers killed for no good reason.

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Re: Quantitative research on demographic measurables and combat effectiveness?

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 25 Oct 2021 08:46

Cult Icon wrote:
24 Oct 2021 14:28

You seemed to be only satisfied with a nerd report. My interest in this subject ends here :lol:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Appalachia

I have spent considerable time around the Pennsylvania/New York countryside, the lifestyle I observed there (farms, more firearms, hunting, outdoors work, hiking) is more conductive to being a good infantryman. I would rather recruit in those areas than in the cities.
Ha, fair. There's too many WW2 subjects to nerd out on all of them.

I don't strongly disagree that farm/country life conduces more to better infantry, provided one's growth and mental development isn't stunted by poverty. I just (1) find it likely that in poor countries, farm/country life stunted development and (2) am suspicious of the military equivalence of 10 years trapping 'coons to, say, a month of infantry training.

Your points about patriotism are well taken though and I'd add overall authoritarianism and willingness to obey.
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Re: Quantitative research on demographic measurables and combat effectiveness?

Post by stg 44 » 25 Oct 2021 14:32

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
25 Oct 2021 08:46
I don't strongly disagree that farm/country life conduces more to better infantry, provided one's growth and mental development isn't stunted by poverty. I just (1) find it likely that in poor countries, farm/country life stunted development and (2) am suspicious of the military equivalence of 10 years trapping 'coons to, say, a month of infantry training.
Counterpoint: Audie Murphy. A stunted poor Texas boy who had to hunt to feed his family and was rejected from the military service due to being too underweight, but went on to be a highly effective infantry solider, NCO, and officer.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Audie_Murphy#Early_life

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Re: Quantitative research on demographic measurables and combat effectiveness?

Post by Cult Icon » 25 Oct 2021 14:52

I definitely recall something from my infantry readings (if anyone has contradictory information than raise it), about how US special forces personnel have some character traits besides athleticism:

1. low neuroticism, some narcissism, and high willpower/high pain tolerence (in scary situations that would unbalance and break the willpower of most, the confident operator would not crack).

2. higher than normal sensation seaking, eg. the type of person who would seek out dangerous activities because it makes them "feel alive", the ordinary world is too boring.

These traits are very important in their line of work and not much related to IQ and other measures of intelligence/education.

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Re: Quantitative research on demographic measurables and combat effectiveness?

Post by Cult Icon » 25 Oct 2021 15:02

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/442nd_Inf ... ed_States)

The most highly decorated regiment of WW2 was composed of Japanese-Americans.

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Re: Quantitative research on demographic measurables and combat effectiveness?

Post by stg 44 » 25 Oct 2021 16:26

Cult Icon wrote:
25 Oct 2021 15:02
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/442nd_Inf ... ed_States)

The most highly decorated regiment of WW2 was composed of Japanese-Americans.
How is that in any way related to what I posted?

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Re: Quantitative research on demographic measurables and combat effectiveness?

Post by histan » 25 Oct 2021 18:43

I thought this thread might have died but here it is again.

I have done some thinking about why I find it somehow unsatisfactory and have decided that it's probably because of what appears to be the misuse of the term effectiveness and the use of output measures (such as casualties), which are measures of performance, as measuring effectiveness. I guess as a professional operational analyst who has spent the last 20+ years understanding the difference between outcomes and outputs and explaining how measures of effectiveness relate to outcomes and how measures of performance relate to outputs, this mixing of terms offends my professional sensibilities. It also shows a lack of understanding of current military doctrine, the planning of military operations, the combining of military activities in time and space and the integration of physical and psychological (or cognitive) effects.

This also applied in the second world war. In 1942, General Paget stated that a landing in France with the sole intention of killing lots of Germans would be a waste of time and British resources. A landing that resulted in the diversion of resources from the Russian front might be worth considering but intelligence suggested that any resources so diverted would make no difference to the outcome of military activities in Russia.

A couple of examples will make the difference very clear.
Inputs > military activity > outputs > outcomes
Psyops. Inputs (men, paper, printing presses, distribution vehicles > military activity (printing and distributing leaflets) > output (number of leaflets distributed, number of people that read a leaflet) > outcome (number of people whose behaviour changes in the desired manner)

Air Operations to Interdict the Ho Chi Minh trail
Inputs (aircraft, air crew, bombs, rockets) > military activity (fly sorties and bomb targets) > outputs (bridges dropped, trucks destroyed, roads cut) > outcome (reduction in the number of men, ammunition,etc that North Vietnam). However, in the words of the CIA after hearing a long presentation about the number of bridges dropped, etc - I don't doubt you numbers but what I can say is that North Vietnam has more soldiers, more ammunition, and more trucks in the South now than before you started.

So, how it improve things.
1) Stop using an out of date name and call it combat performance if you are going to measure it by the outputs of military activity - such as casualties, tanks destroyed, etc.
2) Define the military activity you are talking about, such as deliberate attack, deliberate, defence, or meeting engagement. Each of these has defined outcomes if you want to talk about effectiveness or just use the same output measures if you want to talk performance.
3) Define whether what you are wanting to assess is an actual input or a "performance indicator" of the actual input - is height an indicator of general fitness or of IQ or a parameter in its own right.
4) produce a chain of cause and effect to explain how the parameter in question results in changes to the outputs of the military activity. It changes the skill of the individual soldier, it changes the collective performance of the sub-unit or unit, etc.

As a final point on the importance of logistics.
Field Marshal Wavell said - "When amateurs get together they discuss tactics, when professionals get together they discuss logistics"

These forums are largely populated by amateurs, hence the strong focus on tactics.

Regards

John

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Re: Quantitative research on demographic measurables and combat effectiveness?

Post by Richard Anderson » 26 Oct 2021 00:28

histan wrote:
25 Oct 2021 18:43
These forums are largely populated by amateurs, hence the strong focus on tactics.
Indeed and the comparably strong focus on hardware.
"Is all this pretentious pseudo intellectual citing of sources REALLY necessary? It gets in the way of a good, spirited debate, destroys the cadence." POD, 6 October 2018

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