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“All troops were at risk, but none more than infantrymen, who accounted for 14 percent of the Army’s overseas strength and sustained 70 percent of the casualties. A study of four infantry divisions in Italy found that a soldier typically no longer wondered ‘whether he will be hit, but when and how bad.’ The army surgeon general concluded that ‘practically all men in rifle battalions who were not otherwise disabled ultimately became psychiatric casualties,’ typically after 200 to 240 cumulative days in combat. ‘There aren’t any iron men,’ wrote Brigadier General William C. Menninger, a prominent psychiatrist. ‘The strongest personality, subjected to sufficient stress a sufficient length of time, is going to disintegrate.’ ” – Rick Atkinson, The Day of Battle (emphasis in original)

Published inRick AtkinsonThe Second World War

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