Precisely because citizen soldiers were inadequately prepared for combat, the armies of the twentieth century tended to rely on simple tactical manoeuvres to sustain their attacks. Despite its apparent obsolescence on the industrial battlefield, the bayonet charge had evident advantages especially for a poorly trained infantry: it was easy to organize and very difficult to shirk. In addition, citizen armies relied on the individual initiative of junior combat leaders to lead attacks on their own when collective inertia threatened to take over. The chapter gives numerous examples of this leadership and explores how individual heroism is best understood as an institutional adaption to the distinctive social dynamics of the mass army rather than as a reflection of the innate personal characteristics of combat leaders.
Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.
If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.