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This lesson focuses on the human factors of fatigue (mental and physical), fear, cohesion, and the will of the commander. All Marines, regardless of military occupational specialty (MOS) will experience these at some point in their career.  The goal is to give you a context in which to deal with these factors when they present themselves.


Man is the dominant force in warfare and has been since the beginning of time. John Keegan in The Face of Battle articulates beautifully through accounts of Agincourt, Waterloo, and the Somme that regardless of whether you are employing the crossbow, artillery, or the machine gun, man is the central theme; and he is susceptible to human factors of combat. Man and his will on the battlefield will carry the day.  This lesson is a formal study of these human factors that Marine officers have to deal with while leading Marines in combat.

In This Lesson                     

This lesson gives you a detailed study of how the human factors experienced in combat affect your decision making and how understanding these factors will allow you to better employ your Marines in combat.

This lesson covers the following topics:

Topic Page
Factors Impacting Decision Making in Combat 4
Combat Defined 5
Killing in Combat 7
Attributes of the Commander 8
Dealing with Combat Stress 9
Summary 15
References 15
Glossary of Terms and Acronyms 16
Notes 16