The marksman aims at the insurgent sitting on a motorcycle. There are 400 yards between the muzzle of the soldier’s rifle and the target. As he is about to fire, the insurgent suddenly picks up a small kid and places it in front of him.
Military leaders often face ethical dilemmas on the battlefield. They are required to make tough decisions under time constraints in hostile situations. Ordering soldiers to kill other humans is a tough decision. The leader must be sure beyond any doubt that he is doing the right thing. Continue reading
Classic leadership attributes are generally described and manifested through work and achievement. The good leader thus makes good decisions. However, the ability to accept not knowing what the right decision is and to not make decisions is just as important for the good leader. The concept is called negative capability. Continue reading
The best combat leaders all have one thing in common: they lead from the front. They share the same burdens as their soldiers. They never spare themselves. They never ask a subordinate to carry out a task they are not willing to do themselves and in combat they physically place themselves in the line of fire shoulder to shoulder with the troops under their command.
But why does leading from the front work so well? Continue reading
A Danish army officer faces trial over the alleged killing of civilians in Afghanistan. The trial will be the first of its kind in Denmark.
The officer was stationed in Afghanistan’s Helmand province as a company commander in 2011. On October 23 he authorized an attack on four Afghans who were presumed to be placing improvised explosive devices (IEDs) near a Danish base. This decision is now being questioned, and the officer is accused of “gross dereliction of duties during armed conflict” violating Danish military penal code.
This trial raises several questions: will a Danish district court in peaceful Copenhagen be able to grasp the war-like environment in which the Danish soldiers in Afghanistan operate? And is it even right to question our soldiers’ actions in war? Continue reading
In the Danish army men and women serve in combat units on equal terms. I had a female driver in my reconnaissance platoon in Iraq and two female riflemen in my infantry platoon in Afghanistan’s Helmand province.
Does leading women in combat create special challenges?
”Soren, how does the body react in combat?”
I am often asked this during the Q & A when I speak about Afghanistan.
Reactions in combat are the body’s reactions to stress. Talking about them is often taboo. I had no idea how comprehensive such reactions were before I started studying them prior to my first deployment to Iraq in 2007
In their extreme forms a psychologist would label it ”acute stress reactions”. Such experiences are not limited to soldiers only. Any humans that are exposed to extreme stressors or traumatic events can suffer from acute stress reaction. Continue reading
A superb insight into infantry tactics at company and platoon level.
When you notice that the author of this book is Erwin Rommel, you might think of the German desert fox who fought Montgomery and Patton in North Africa during World War II. Continue reading