Friday, April 27, 2007

Combat Multipliers: African-American Soldiers in Four Wars

This book is a rare find, offering the unusual perspective of an American-African military professional - Lieutenant Colonel Krewaksky A. Salter I, a soldier scholar. This is another example of a technical, or at least specialized publication. It is a study - initiated for the curriculum of the Combat Studies Institute. Col. Salter looks at the impact of black soldiers in the American Revolution, Civil War, World War I, and World War II. He describes this impact in terms of black forces having had an effect as a combat multiplier - "significant and supporting means that increase the relative combat strength (power) of a force while actual force ratios remain constant". I like his use of this concept because, if I interpret it correctly, this quantifies, or at least specifies the contribution of blacks in operational vectors, e.g. deployment, leadership, terrain reinforcement, etc. Sometimes the contributions of blacks in military history, when acknowledged, are understood or conveyed in general historical terms. Context studies like this make the contributions more concrete. We know that the USCT fought in 449 engagements, and in 39 major battles which determined the outcome of the Civil War; but this doesn't begin to explain the disproportionately large impact that they had. The combat multiplier concept helps to follow black contributions in U.S. military history over time in concrete terms.
This book is in the public domain, so you can read it online, at Google Books. This would make an excellent addition to a collection so you may want to Locate a copy to lend, borrow , or purchase.

Pvt Leon Brooks

No comments: