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John D Salt

Well sleuthed, Nick!

I am now feeling acutely embarrassed, as I have had copies of both those documents for some time. The trouble is, I got them both while searching for specific things, extracted the droplet of juice relevent to the specific thing, put them aside with the intention of sucking the rest of the juice out of them later, and then … didn’t. I must have been distracted by a shiny thing. I will say, though that “The Secret of Future Victories” is an excellent source on the history of the doctrinal structure of the USA infantry squad, and that the paper “11 men one mind” — about the third of the collected papers of Gen DePuy — is an absolute jewel, and in a short space I think gives a very profound reason for infantry combat being different from other kinds.

My memory is no more trustworthy than a Southern Trains timetable, but I feel fairly confident that Backsight Forethought didn’t espouse the parapet foxhole — rather, I recall that he stressed the importance a properly-constructed parapet and a parados, the latter both to prevent heads being skylined and to give cover if attacked from behind (“This, I thought, must be being taken in reverse” is a phrase I seem to recall).

DePuy’s involvement with PARFOX would explain why the TRADOC note on infantry fighting positions says what it does, as he was the brain behind TRADOC. As Eddie Izzard said, everything in the universe is joined up at the back where you can’t see it. I remember the enthusiasm with which TRADOC reports were read in the British Army in the 70s and 80s — we had nothing so good, and I don’t think there is anything so good now, for giving soldiers (and coincidentally wargamers) useful numerical information on specific friendly or enemy capabilities in a pleasant and easily digestible form.

All the best,