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wswartzendruber
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 14, 2012 10:15 pm    Post subject: Marines are Cannon Fodder Reply with quote

I heard this idea from someone again today. Where does it come from?
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Dr.Willy
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 14, 2012 10:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

war?
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wswartzendruber
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 14, 2012 10:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I thought "cannon fodder" was where you get slaughtered.
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 14, 2012 10:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Aren't spearhead units whom are tasked with opening beachheads by definition 'cannon fodder'? You know, with the extreme risk such missions represent. Maybe not as bad as Eastern Front grade of cannon fodder, but cannon fodder all the same.
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 14, 2012 10:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

wswartzendruber wrote:
I thought "cannon fodder" was where you get slaughtered.


Eh, pretty much that's what people use it like. Because that was the general effect. I think the term more specifically means that you are drawing the cannon fire, of course any "cannon fodder" that survives is not only amazing and remarkable, it's also an unexpected "gain" since any "cannon fodder" was written off as an obvious loss.

Why people are saying that of marines, I'm not quite sure. I think there is some reasonable explanation from aidanjt though it doesn't stick strictly to the definition I outlined above (which may or may not be "correct" anyway.)

So perhaps many marines are very very GOOD "cannon fodder" -- in that they are written off as a loss but keep on surviving. I wouldn't know.
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 14, 2012 11:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

wswartzendruber wrote:
I heard this idea from someone again today. Where does it come from?

wswartzendruber wrote:
I thought "cannon fodder" was where you get slaughtered.

To be clear, I never said it with conviction. That said, I think it is because the Marines are the first to go into a very dangerous situation. Compound that with being the least (?) funded of the branches, and it isn't too unreasonable a saying, even if not exactly true.
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wswartzendruber
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 14, 2012 11:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You said it, too? I completely forgot. :lol:
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 14, 2012 11:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If not exactly that, something like it. But it was mainly intended as an inter-service jab.
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wswartzendruber
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 14, 2012 11:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

pjp wrote:
If not exactly that, something like it. But it was mainly intended as an inter-service jab.

I don't mind as much when it comes from another veteran. It's when civilians say it that annoys me.
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 14, 2012 11:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

wswartzendruber wrote:
pjp wrote:
If not exactly that, something like it. But it was mainly intended as an inter-service jab.

I don't mind as much when it comes from another veteran. It's when civilians say it that annoys me.


Civilians are sometimes more helpful then that officer that wants you deaded. Should listen to both sides, really :)
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 14, 2012 11:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In my experience, civilians making such comments are OWSer types. You just have to hope the freedom they have to say it eventually leads them to a clue. I've also heard it directed at the military in general when the person is criticizing the government more than members of the military. Although that is often accompanied by the assumption that anyone in the military is stupid (or they wouldn't be there).
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wswartzendruber
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 14, 2012 11:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Prenj wrote:
wswartzendruber wrote:
pjp wrote:
If not exactly that, something like it. But it was mainly intended as an inter-service jab.

I don't mind as much when it comes from another veteran. It's when civilians say it that annoys me.


Civilians are sometimes more helpful then that officer that wants you deaded. Should listen to both sides, really :)

I never met any such officer. :?
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 15, 2012 12:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Marines aren't cannon fodder; they are amphibious shock troops:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shock_troops

The nature of the mission of shock troops requires that be willing and able to assault prepared defenses. That means charging into enemy fire. When you do that, some people are going to die. A well-trained, well-led unit of sufficient size will do it right and overwhelm the defenders without losing an inordinate percentage of the force.

No leader with an alternative sends his men to assault a prepared defense, but sometimes it's necessary. Where it's necessary, it's best to use all the fires you can get (e.g. preparatory airstrikes and artillery, close air support, attack helicopters, electronic warfare, etc.), and carefully selected, specially trained units who can pull it off with as few losses as possible.

In such a situation, average soldiers will end up attacking piecemeal, as many of them wait for the other guy to go first, lose their ability to function, fire blindly, and just become targets running to keep up with their buddies as best they can. Such a unit will fail to achieve overwhelming mass and concentration of combat power, and they'll get shredded.

What's required is that every man have the strength of character, the realistic training or combat experience, and the necessary confidence in the other members of their unit, that they will indeed all attack without hesitation, in a closely-coordinated fashion, achieving the necessary maneuver and concentrations of combined arms combat power to overwhelm the defender. This isn't like defending some hilltop; it takes a great deal of expertise, and it takes a lot of very brave men.

That doesn't make them "cannon fodder" more than any other warrior who is a target. It just makes them a special kind of warrior who is more likely to keep his shit together under extreme duress, work as a team through chaos and confusion, and come out on top in a heavy fight. Also, the only officers who can successfully lead such men do so by sharing every hardship and leading by example and from the front. That's why the motto of the U.S. Infantry is "Follow Me". I'm sure the Marines have a similar philosophy.
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 15, 2012 1:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting. All USMC officers are trained by enlisted Marines from start to finish. Their boot camp is roughly the same as ours, with some exceptions. Our close order drill practice is replaced with their extra PT. As every enlisted Marine is trained to be a basic rifleman, every officer is trained to be a basic infantry commander. The idea is that if the shit really hits the fan and the grunts are preoccupied, no group of Marines is ever ill-prepared to respond.

And yes, the USMC infantry does indeed have a "follow me" mentality.

EDIT: Go to 0:56. :lol:
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 15, 2012 2:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

wswartzendruber wrote:
I don't mind as much when it comes from another veteran. It's when civilians say it that annoys me.

What's the matter? The people forced at gunpoint to pay your salary, benefits, and retirement aren't showing enough gratitude? If you want gratitude, stop being a tax feeder and get a real job where people pay you because they want to. :roll:

Note: I am also a tax feeder, but at least I don't go around with a chip on my shoulder because people don't show me enough appreciation.
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 15, 2012 2:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

dmitchell wrote:
What's the matter?

People don't understand the Marine Corps but feel content on characterizing it.

dmitchell wrote:
The people forced at gunpoint to pay your salary, benefits, and retirement aren't showing enough gratitude?

Oh no, they definitely are. I've never had anyone act towards me with contempt.

dmitchell wrote:
If you want gratitude, stop being a tax feeder and get a real job where people pay you because they want to. :roll:

But I already have a job in the private sector. It's Summer.

dmitchell wrote:
Note: I am also a tax feeder, but at least I don't go around with a chip on my shoulder because people don't show me enough appreciation.

That's not even my point. I don't let those individuals know I'm bothered. Or at least I try not to. In the case of pjp, I was speaking to another veteran, not to you.

Which one of us really has the chip on his shoulder?
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 15, 2012 2:41 am    Post subject: Re: Marines are Cannon Fodder Reply with quote

wswartzendruber wrote:
Where does it come from?

Ya put bits of dead men (who hopefully died of infectious diseases) in the cannon, then launch the bits over the castle wall, during a siege. Then wait a few months.

Medieval germ warfare. Without the UN to moan that it's against the Geneva convention.
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 15, 2012 2:43 am    Post subject: Re: Marines are Cannon Fodder Reply with quote

PaulBredbury wrote:
wswartzendruber wrote:
Where does it come from?

Ya put bits of dead men (who hopefully died of infectious diseases) in the cannon, then launch the bits over the castle wall, during a siege. Then wait a few months.

Medieval germ warfare. Without the UN to moan that it's against the Geneva convention.

What the fuck? Damn, that's insane! :twisted:
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 15, 2012 3:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

dmitchell wrote:
I am also a tax feeder, but at least I don't go around with a chip on my shoulder because people don't show me enough appreciation.
lol, as vehemently opposed to taxation as you are, I wouldn't have guessed you'd stoop so low as to work for the government.
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 15, 2012 4:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

pjp wrote:
lol, as vehemently opposed to taxation as you are, I wouldn't have guessed you'd stoop so low as to work for the government.

I recently took a job as a researcher at the university of texas. That makes me an employee of the state of texas i.e. a tax feeder. Having said that, here are some qualifications.

1. Not all state employments are the same. Many are wasteful and some are actually harmful, but some are helpful or just fairly innocuous. My ire is usually reserved for the wasteful and harmful.

2. There is a sense in which it is a good thing to collect payments from the state: in my case it buys the state no loyalty, and I separate the thief from his ill-gotten gains.

3. State government is far less malignant than the feds.

Make of these what you will. Personally I don't feel very bad at all for working at the university. And my pay is low: the babysitter we had to hire is actually collecting about half my pay. :lol:
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 15, 2012 7:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

dmitchell wrote:
Personally I don't feel very bad at all for working at the university.

I don't, either. Even exploratory research is has extremely high return potential, but carries significant risk. It's one of those roles government does well as it can absorb failure, and researchers are generally very efficient with spending anyway due to the very open nature of their work and competition among their peers, so the can actually be held accountable. And it's not as if you're getting paid mid-level bureaucrat money anyway.
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 15, 2012 2:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

dmitchell wrote:
pjp wrote:
lol, as vehemently opposed to taxation as you are, I wouldn't have guessed you'd stoop so low as to work for the government.

I recently took a job as a researcher at the university of texas. That makes me an employee of the state of texas i.e. a tax feeder. Having said that, here are some qualifications.

1. Not all state employments are the same. Many are wasteful and some are actually harmful, but some are helpful or just fairly innocuous. My ire is usually reserved for the wasteful and harmful.

2. There is a sense in which it is a good thing to collect payments from the state: in my case it buys the state no loyalty, and I separate the thief from his ill-gotten gains.

3. State government is far less malignant than the feds.

Make of these what you will. Personally I don't feel very bad at all for working at the university. And my pay is low: the babysitter we had to hire is actually collecting about half my pay. :lol:

The Evolution of dmichell, Chapter III: dmitchell the absolute anarchist becomes a bureaucratic stooge of the state. Suddenly, not all minions of the state are bad (as he has consistently said), and when you think about it, being a net tax recipient is a means to combat the injustice of tax theft. Hey, at least he's not a baby killer or baton-wielding, jack-booted thug. :roll:
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 15, 2012 2:50 pm    Post subject: Re: Marines are Cannon Fodder Reply with quote

wswartzendruber wrote:
PaulBredbury wrote:
wswartzendruber wrote:
Where does it come from?

Ya put bits of dead men (who hopefully died of infectious diseases) in the cannon, then launch the bits over the castle wall, during a siege. Then wait a few months.

Medieval germ warfare. Without the UN to moan that it's against the Geneva convention.

What the fuck? Damn, that's insane! :twisted:

Cannon fodder refers to any hard material stuffed into guns for close-range combat (typically, stones, bits of metal such as nails, bits of glass -- whatever was at hand). I've never heard of diseased tissue being firing from a cannon, and I imagine it would be instantly incinerated. However, diseased tissue (dead livestock in particular) were launched over walls (both in and out) in static siege situations, and I would be surprised if this did not include human corpses (although I don't think I've read an actual account of that).

In other words, I would not say that cannon fodder is a literal reference to firing body parts; it's a metaphor -- grabbing whatever is lying about and firing it at the enemy. As I said, elite shock troops are anything but cannon fodder.
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 15, 2012 3:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

No really, do I come off as a dick about being veteran?
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 15, 2012 4:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

BoneKracker wrote:
Marines aren't cannon fodder; they are amphibious shock troops:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shock_troops

The nature of the mission of shock troops requires that be willing and able to assault prepared defenses. That means charging into enemy fire. When you do that, some people are going to die. A well-trained, well-led unit of sufficient size will do it right and overwhelm the defenders without losing an inordinate percentage of the force.

No leader with an alternative sends his men to assault a prepared defense, but sometimes it's necessary. Where it's necessary, it's best to use all the fires you can get (e.g. preparatory airstrikes and artillery, close air support, attack helicopters, electronic warfare, etc.), and carefully selected, specially trained units who can pull it off with as few losses as possible.

In such a situation, average soldiers will end up attacking piecemeal, as many of them wait for the other guy to go first, lose their ability to function, fire blindly, and just become targets running to keep up with their buddies as best they can. Such a unit will fail to achieve overwhelming mass and concentration of combat power, and they'll get shredded.

What's required is that every man have the strength of character, the realistic training or combat experience, and the necessary confidence in the other members of their unit, that they will indeed all attack without hesitation, in a closely-coordinated fashion, achieving the necessary maneuver and concentrations of combined arms combat power to overwhelm the defender. This isn't like defending some hilltop; it takes a great deal of expertise, and it takes a lot of very brave men.

That doesn't make them "cannon fodder" more than any other warrior who is a target. It just makes them a special kind of warrior who is more likely to keep his shit together under extreme duress, work as a team through chaos and confusion, and come out on top in a heavy fight. Also, the only officers who can successfully lead such men do so by sharing every hardship and leading by example and from the front. That's why the motto of the U.S. Infantry is "Follow Me". I'm sure the Marines have a similar philosophy.


Sturmtruppen:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stormtrooper

this is how you take out a stronghold.

What you are discribing is indeed cannon fodder - send in enough forces until the enemy runs out of ammunition or can't shoot at you anymore because of the piles of dead meat in front of him.
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