He was a most gallant officer, ready to lead his command wherever ordered. With him, it was "Come boys," not "Go."
--U.S. Grant, on Brig Gen Alexander Hays (commenting on his death at The Wilderness,
May 5, 1864)
Weapons are important, no doubt. And certainly our fighters deserve the best we can give them, where "best" means "most effective on real battlefields against real, thinking enemies." But you would be hard put to find one example of a war that was won primarily because the winning side had superior weapons.
On the other hand, it is easy to find examples of wars won by the side with fewer or less sophisticated weapons. In addition to Vietnam, the list would include Germany (Western Front, 1940), Israel (1949 - 1967), Afghanistan (1980 - 1988), Chad vs. Libya (1987) and Somalia (1993).
Since wars are fought by people, wars are won and lost by people. This section looks at the classic people issues that have been identified by successful military leaders as the real basis for victory.
The Specter of ‘Taylorism’ By Major Donald E. Vandergriff, USA
Educating the Post-Modern U. S. Army Strategic Planner: Improving the Organizational Construct, A Monograph by Major Isaiah Wilson III, Ph.D, US Army. (PDF 1770.97 KB)
Read MAJ Don Vandergriff's columns on personnel reforms - on military.com.
Unit manning will benefit the many, MAJ Donald E. Vandergriff, US Army. The incoming (as of July 2003) Chief and Vice Chief of Staff of the Army should dust off the 1970 "Study on Military Professionalism" [see below] to remind themselves what can happen when the system "forces its leaders to pick their careers over their soldiers."
Study on Military Professionalism (US Army War College, 1970) In the middle of the Vietnam War, the Army took a hard look at itself. It documented the erosion of traditional values of duty, honor, and country and their replacement by a focus on whatever it took to get the next promotion. (9.3 MB PDF scan of the 219 page original.)