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Gung Ho: The Corps' Most Progressive Tradition


Don't confuse change with progress. Former Leathernecks will now have to take far more interest in the welfare of their modernday counterparts.  Here's why. The machinegun's terrible toll from WWI should have made every nation's small-unit tactics more surprise-oriented, yet most U.S. squads are still stuck with pre-machinegun maneuvers that only enhance parent-unit firepower and control. Until every American infantry and special-operations company is allowed to develop a few of its own more covert approach movements for squads and below, their junior enlisted will have to acquire healthier “tactical techniques” from their ancestors.  Gung Ho! contains highly advanced (but then quickly forgotten) tiny-element “attack stratagems” from their own military heritage. The most action-packed of all the Posterity Press titles, it first shows how the fire team concept was copied from the Chinese by Lt.Col. Carlson in 1942. Then it follows his Marine Raiders (and their infantry successors) through some of the heaviest fighting of WWII and Vietnam. While many of their fire and buddy team “moves” are no longer in use, they should be. Without them, today's electronics-draped riflemen have little chance of unexpectedly assaulting any defender. While Carlson's Raiders were conducting Maneuver Warfare at the squad level on Guadalcanal, most contemporary U.S. troops are no longer allowed (nor prepared) to do so. 4th Raider Bn. (also Maoist in format) discovered how line infantry units needed no tanks, air strikes, or artillery to take advanced strongpoint matrices.  Its redesignation--2nd Bn., 4th Marines--did so at the Sugar Loaf Complex on Okinawa. Only necessary was a staggered row of fire teams “working together” from within parallel lanes. With 111 illustrations and many firsthand accounts, this book is as fun to read as it is vital to the Pentagon's future success in war.

What People Are Saying:

“Before ‘oorah,’  the Marine battle cry was ‘gung-ho!’... Loosely translated, ‘gung-ho’ means ‘working together.’... [WWII Raider commander] Carlson, a former enlisted man, had great faith in allowing his men to think through and solve perceived problems (recommend better maneuvers]....Today’s counterinsurgency operations ... require us to become reacquainted with ... the Raiders’ unconventional ... tactics. The concept of the ‘Strategic Corporal’ has required a new appreciation ... for bottom-up training and decision making.”
Leatherneck, November 2013

“This book follows the legendary [Marine] Raiders and their 4th Marine Regiment descendants into the Upper Solomons, Guam, and Okinawa during WWII; and then to Dai Do, Con Thien, Mutter’s Ridge, and the CAP villages of Vietnam. At the end is a way ... to produce more autonomous squads.
— Military Officer Magazine, February 2013

“The book proposes a way for both infantry branches to develop more squad proficiency and success in future warfare.”
— Oberlin Alumni Magazine, Spring 2013

“‘Gung Ho’ is for all trigger pullers and special operators in the military, [as well as] law enforcement, [and] security professions. . . . It is about winning . . . where the rubber means the road. . . . ‘Gung Ho’ grabs your attention like rounds cracking overhead. . . . [It] is not fiction but a candid approach to bottom-up-operations in a violent world."
— Col. G.I. Wilson USMC (Ret.), combat veteran

“Through exhaustive research, John Poole has again demonstrated that the nation’s success in future warfare will depend primarily on . . . the use of infantry squads and bottom-up tactical lessons in combat. In particular, the use of three fire teams instead of only two is a much more effective method of squad deployment. . . . I recommend this fine book highly.”
— Col. Robert V. Kane U.S. Army (Ret.), publisher emeritus, Presidio Press

"The recent book ('Gung Ho!') describes how small-unit tactics and basic warfare skills often can overcome larger forces dependent on the latest technology."-- Aviation Week, 15 October 2012

"('Gung Ho!' has) captured the essence of the Marine Raider philosophy and its contribution to Mobile Warfare, Unconventional Warfare, and tactics.... To win the next War, we will have to rely on ... (the individual) Marine with an M16, with boots on the ground, making decisions on the squad level, without being hindered by commanders who have no true picture of what is going on in the trenches (president of U.S. Marine Raider Assoc.)." -- Robert L. Dix, Sept. 2012

“The Marine Corps in Vietnam had the highly successful CAP program until General Westmoreland came along with his heavy footprint. The Army repeated this mistake again in Iraq and currently in Afghanistan. To paraphrase Szu Tzu: ‘No country ever benefitted from a prolonged war’. Now [Lt.]Col. John Poole has written a brilliant book on how to defeat the enemy by using his own tactics against him. This personifies Winston Churchill’s insight: ‘The further I wish to look into the future the further I look back into the past’.”
— Kim Bernard Holien, Professional Military Historian

“Author John Poole’s latest thought-provoking book, ‘Gung Ho!’ challenges us to reevaluate traditional tactics as a source for future strategies, to consider the size and structure of tomorrow’s forces, [and] to analyze the methods and means for the employment of military forces in the future.”
— Maj.Gen. John H. Admire, USMC (Ret.), former commander of 1st Marine Division

Table of Contents
List of Illustrations
Part One: The Extent of “Working Together”
Chapter 1: Historical Backdrop
Chapter 2: The Marine Raiders’ Initial Contribution
Chapter 3: The Counter-Cultural “Gung Ho Session”
Chapter 4: What Carlson May Have Finally Realized
Part Two: The Asian Influence on U.S. Doctrine
Chapter 5: Modern War Precepts from Ancient China?
Chapter 6: Mao’s Influence on Raider Tactics
Chapter 7: “Gung Ho’s” Gift to Combat Momentum
Chapter 8: Collective Wisdom or Headquarters Control
Chapter 9: Further Maoist Raider Participation in WWII
Part Three: “Gung Ho’s” Later Influence on the Corps
Chapter 10: The Raiders’ Impact on the 4th Marines
Chapter 11: Tackling Many Times Their Number
Chapter 12: Small-Unit Confidence
Chapter 13: Bottom-Up Learning
Chapter 14: Improvise, Adapt, and Overcome
Part Four: 21st-Century Follow-Up
Chapter 15: The Belated End to Carlson’s Research
Chapter 16: Future War’s Most Promising Model
A: Extent of Rifleman Training
B: Harnessing Frontline Wisdom
Source Notes
About the Author
Name Index

Excerpt from the Foreword
One aspect of the Raider development that is well known but rarely examined is the concept of Gung Ho. Evans Carlson, commander of the Second Raider Battalion, brought the concept to the Raiders from his experiences with the Chinese forces. The importance of analyzing this concept is timely given the nature and form of current conflicts. It also encourages examination of the psychology and mindset required to conduct small unit independent operations. Our Special Operations Forces such as the U.S. Army’s Special Forces have done significant studies in these areas and a look back at the Carlson approach and its applicability today is valuable.— Gen. Anthony C. Zinni USMC (Ret.), former head of CENTCOM

ISBN 9780981865942

Paperback, 401 pages, 111 illustrations