Only 15 to 20 percent of the American riflemen in combat during World War II would fire at the enemy.
Is this statistic accurate?
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Yes, the evidence is credible.
Grossman says of the further evidence he gathered to support the claim:
Ardant du Picq's surveys of French officers in the 1860s and his observations about ancient battles (Battle Studies, 1946), John Keegan and Richard Holmes' numerous accounts of ineffectual firing throughout history (Soldiers, 1985), Holmes' assessment of Argentine firing rates in the Falklands War (Acts of War, 1985), Paddy Griffith's data on the extraordinarily low firing rate among Napoleonic and American *Civil War regiments (Battle Tactics of the American Civil War, 1989), the British army's laser reenactments of historical battles, the FBI's studies of nonfiring rates among law enforcement officers in the 1950s and 1960s, and countless other individual and anecdotal observations, all confirm Marshall's fundamental conclusion that human beings are not, by nature, killers. Indeed, from a psychological perspective, the history of warfare can be viewed as a series of successively more effective tactical and mechanical mechanisms to enable or force combatants to overcome their resistance to killing other human beings, even when defined as the enemy.