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One More Bridge To Cross: Lowering the Cost of War


Without many tiny contingents of more proficient "boots on the ground," Americans should not plan to win any more wars. This book shows how the Pentagon could—with some "truly light" infantrymen and more self-sufficient commandos—project more overseas power at less cost in money and lives. Since Korea, America's foes haven't needed as much preparatory fire or technology, nor have they caused as much collateral damage. This makes them more appealing to local populations. "One More Bridge to Cross" takes a closer ...

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Without many tiny contingents of more proficient "boots on the ground," Americans should not plan to win any more wars. This book shows how the Pentagon could—with some "truly light" infantrymen and more self-sufficient commandos—project more overseas power at less cost in money and lives. Since Korea, America's foes haven't needed as much preparatory fire or technology, nor have they caused as much collateral damage. This makes them more appealing to local populations. "One More Bridge to Cross" takes a closer look at what happened at Belleau Wood, Guadalcanal, and later battles. Then, it shows how to defend against (and acquire) advanced surprise assault technique. Semi-autonomous U.S. squads will not be possible until control over training has been decentralized. Too little tactical experimentation at the company/school level has been the problem. Since the Vietnam War, it has become increasingly clear that America's defense establishment cannot defeat any "bottom-up-operating" (criminal-or-Asian-oriented) foe without first allowing more initiative from its own lowest echelons.

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Editorial Reviews

Military Illustrated
[I]t shows U.S. military leaders how to operate more effectively, while taking fewer casualties.
Command Magazine
Overemphasis on rank, technology, and long-range warfare have created a deficiency in individual and small-unit skills in the U.S. military.
Fort Myers Pentagram
[A] must for all those who have to meet the reality of the battlefields of the 21st century.
Small unit leaders would do well to read this . . . book. . . . [It] is great. It addresses the squad not as a subset of the platoon, but as the team that makes everything happen.
Infantry Magazine
In 'One More Bridge,' Poole puts together the ingredients of how to fight and win in the 21st Century.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780963869531
  • Publisher: Posterity Press
  • Publication date: 9/1/1999
  • Edition description: 24 illustrations
  • Pages: 142
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Through an inverted military career, H. John Poole has discovered a few things that more promotable people miss. After spending his first two years as a combat commander, he did his last seven as an enlisted tactics instructor. That allowed him to see why U.S. troops have always had so much trouble outmaneuvering their immediate adversaries. Their tactical techniques (like football plays) are quite simply outmoded. These U.S. small-unit maneuvers are so unlikely to surprise anyone as to be "premachinegun" in format. This oversight on the part of their commanders and how to compensate for it forms the framework of Poole's work.

Since retirement from the U.S. Marine Corps in 1993, Poole has has traveled extensively in both Communist and Islamist worlds. He has also written 10 other tactics/intelligence supplements and conducted multiday training sessions for 40 U.S. battalions, 9 schools, and 7 special operations units. As most U.S. intelligence personnel know too little about the Eastern thought process and evolution of squad tactics, these supplements provide currently deployed GIs with a rare glimpse into their enemies' intentions. Since 2000, Poole has done research in Russia, Mainland China (twice), North Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Sri Lanka, India (three times), Pakistan (three times), Iran, Lebanon, Turkey, Egypt, Sudan, Tanzania, and Venezuela. Over the course of his lifetime, he has further traveled throughout Asia, Europe, and most of the Western Hemisphere. He has lived (or been stationed) in Mexico, Panama, Vietnam, and Japan. Between early tours in the Marine Corps (from 1969 to 1971), Poole worked as a criminal investigator for the Illinois Bureau of Investigation (IBI). After attending the State Police Academy, he worked out of the IBI's Chicago office.

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Table of Contents

Maps and Tables ix
Foreword xi
Preface xv
Acknowledgments xvii
Part 1 A Heritage Worth Preserving
Chapter 1 Land of the Free 3
Chapter 2 Home of the Brave 9
Chapter 3 With Liberty and Justice for All 13
Part 2 How Wars Are Won
Chapter 4 One Nation under God 19
Chapter 5 A Closer Look at History 25
Chapter 6 Were Ideals Followed? 39
Chapter 7 U.S. Warfare Style in Perspective 47
Chapter 8 The Winds of Change 51
Part 3 For Those Who Still Serve
Chapter 9 A Job for the Tactical Technicians 61
Chapter 10 A Different View of the World 65
Chapter 11 Preserving Limited Assets in Wartime 69
Chapter 12 Doing More with Less in Peacetime 89
Chapter 13 An Interim Solution for Units 93
Chapter 14 The Real Need: Military Reform 99
Chapter 15 Decentralizing Control Works 107
Notes 115
Bibliography 131
About the Author 137
Name Index 139
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On a foggy September morning in 1944, 35,000 proud young paratroopers departed Britain on the largest airborne invasion ever attempted: Operation "Market-Garden." Three divisions - the U.S. 82nd and 101st, and the British 1st - were to overleap enemy forces retreating across Holland, secure a string of bridges leading into Germany, be reinforced by British XXX Corps armor, and thereby outflank Hitler's Westwall. The 82nd had, as its most difficult objective, the bridge over the Waal River at Nijmegen. Before that bridge was finally taken, elements of the American 504th Infantry Regiment had to move across open ground (and water) into enemy machinegun fire more than once.

Those brave soldiers paid a terrible price for the Nijmegen bridge, but to understand what happened there and in other battles, one must look beyond casualty approximation comparisons. After PVT Billy Yank and SGT Johnny Reb succumbed to their horrific gunshot wounds in Holland, their parents in Elyria, Ohio and Flat Rock, Alabama could do little more than attribute their tragic loss to "the necessary evils of war." But after almost 100 elite U.S. soldiers got killed or wounded by Somali irregulars in a single incident in 1993, American mothers and fathers started to wonder if their offspring had been taught enough about close combat. They didn't totally buy into the military's explanation that too few U.S. tanks had been sent to Mogadishu. They prayed that the U.S. military-industrial complex had remembered to show its infantrymen how to operate without a lot of expensive ordnance. After all, neither the North Koreans nor the North Vietnamese had needed any tanks or planes whatsoever to fight the world's most technologically advanced nation to a standstill. Far from naive, U.S. parents suspected that an overwhelming edge in firepower could pave the way for infantry only in the desert. Could there be one more bridge to cross - possibly in the realm of small-unit training or tactics - before "the world's smartest" fighting force will be able to occupy enemy territory without extensive loss of life?

Of course, everyone's dream is an end to war altogether. That goal can only be realized incrementally; the chasm between "total war" and "no war" is too wide. First, the common ground between war and morality must be found. Both sides generally have rules to protect prisoners and noncombatants, yet their soldiers still commit atrocities. Partially to blame is man's wounded nature. His flaws must be controlled, but not to the extent that his divine spark is extinguished. What society must guard against is organized inhumanity in the name of expediency. In most religions, there is the belief that God offers man the strength to resist temptation.

Just as individuals struggle to do the right thing, so too do military organizations and government agencies. It is those individuals, organizations, and agencies that view internal discord as disruptive that are the most likely to err. This book is about preserving this country's most valued asset - its youth. A great president once warned of the only real threat to America.

All the armies of Europe, Asia, and Africa combined...could not, by force, take a drink from the Ohio.... At what point, then, is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer, if it ever reach us, it must spring up amongst us; it cannot come from abroad. —Abraham Lincoln, from "Perpetuation of Our Political Institutions"

If Lincoln were alive today, which would concern him more - evolving standards of behavior and political dissent, or misplaced corporate priorities and inept government bureaucracy? Do not the major political parties base their platforms on monitoring either big business or government?

As the battlefield continues to change, must not the U.S. military seek out new ways to cut its losses - in both life and morality? Without realizing that opposing styles of warfare exist, military planners could misinterpret the lessons of history. If America is to continue as the world's peacekeeper, its soldiers and small infantry units must learn how to handle opposition like policemen do - with minimal force.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 12, 2000

    Mandatory reading!

    One More Bridge to Cross is a must read for anyone interested in learning more about serious soldering at its most basic level. John Poole has very accurately broken down old military or for that matter conflict theories down to the level that does make a difference ¿ the individual soldier and the things he fights for. When reading the book I kept nodding my head in consensus and admiration for the exact, precise and yet simple way Mr Poole discusses and tries to teach us common sense. Because that¿s what it is all about. No-nonsense and common sense. I as a captain in the Swedish Army recognize much of our (Swedish) way of training, leading and using our limited military assets in the Common-Sense Style. My current assignment is as an instructor at the Army Combat School. Therefore I will make this book mandatory reading for the young Swedish Army Cadets that I¿m responsible to train in small-unit tactics. I am convinced that in time every military institution will include John Poole¿s work in their teaching and training, just as well as we learn from Sun-Tzu and Clausewitz. He might even be one of our times great military theorists.

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