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ARMY LIFE FROM A SOLDIERS JOURNAL 1883 Marshall 33rd Illinois Infantry
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1944 Americas Navy in World War II The Infantry Journal by Gilbert Cant
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1944 The Infantry Journal Airlines War Training Institute Books set of 8
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WWII THE NINTH MARINES 1942 1945 INFANTRY JOURNAL PRESS FIRST EDITION 1946
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The Infantry Journal Fighting Forces Series Gas Warfare 1943 WWII RARE ITEM
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US WW2 USGI Army Hitlers Second Army Infantry Journal Officer Named Inside
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How to Shoot The U S Army Rifle Infantry Journal WWII Book
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The Infantry Journal Japanese Solder 1943
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The Infantry Journal German Solder 1944
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INFANTRY in BATTLE ORIGINAL 1934 US ARMY INFANTRY JOURNAL WW1 HISTORY BOOK
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Infantry Journal

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WWII Infantry Journal Part.1 *TRAILER*

What is Combatives: Part 2

The Battle of Britain began in early July, 1940. England was isolated in a war against the axis of evil. The miracle retreat from Dunkirk and the German "Blitzkrieg" across Europe, including the crushing tactical defeat of the famed French "Maginot Line" proved the Third Reich war machine to be virtually unstoppable. Hitler's plan for the invasion of England, named "Operation Sea Lion" was a daily focal point of danger and concern for the British.

Dunkirk had decimated the British forces and moral was at an all time low. Two recently returned veterans of British colonial rule in Shanghai, China approached the War Office and offered their services at this desperate time. William Ewart Fairbairn, retired as a ranking officer of the Shanghai Municipal Police and his partner Eric Anthony Sykes, a private arms dealer who served as a volunteer in the Shanghai Municipal Police and headed the sniper unit of the famed Shanghai Riot Squad, promised the War Office that their training and methods could in short order, make "any one man the equal of ten."

After the debacle at Dunkirk this was a most important and dramatic statement. Initially dismissed, these two men went on to prove the veracity of their words and convinced the brass as to the absolute effectiveness of their methods. Even if that meant that an over middle aged W.E. Fairbairn had to place several young bucks in the hospital to prove his point in an impromptu, but extremely realistic "demonstration", so be it. Those who "tested" Sykes fared no better. So the methods that these men had developed during decades of very dangerous work in Shanghai now became the standard of training for all British forces and Special Operations personnel.

In the United States, the attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941, coupled with the Imperial Japanese military's coordinated assault on all American and British forces across the Pacific Rim pulled the United States firmly in this world wide conflict. The United States was now fully at war with the Axis of Evil forces. Fairbairn, who was now in Canada, assigned to the infamous "Camp X", along with "unarmed combat" expert George de Relwyskow, a Brazilian Judo/Jujutsu expert, and Colonel Carl Eifler who was already undergoing training here, were ordered to assist the U.S. government agency known as "The Office of the Coordinator of Intelligence", the precursor of the OSS (Office of Strategic Services).

Eric Anthony Sykes remained in England and found the need for his services in great demand. He also found himself working under the auspice of the British covert force known as the Special Operations Executive.

The legend of Fairbairn and Sykes from the early days of Shanghai, up to and through the war years is an entire story unto itself and beyond the scope of this article. However it must be clearly understood that the contribution of these men had a profound effect and influence on all close-combat methods, tactics, and techniques for decades after the war (despite the often heard "argument" that we have somehow "evolved" beyond these methods). However, they were certainly not the only experts involved in this field. One of many examples would be A.J. Drexel-Biddle who studied and trained extensively in boxing, savate, jiu-jitsu, swordplay, knife-fighting and various bayonet methods.

As the United States geared up for war, a major factor began to be publicized both here and in Australia. The press made a great deal about the superiority of the Japanese fighting man. Part of this was, to be sure, rooted in fact. The Battle of Port Arthur, the turning point in the Russo-Japanese war, several decades earlier, had shown the world the tenacity and ferocity of the Japanese soldier, particularly in the area of close-in, man-to-man combat. Much was made of the large Russian soldier finding abject defeat at the hands of his smaller Japanese adversary when engaged in hand to hand combat (hence a very obvious need for the creation of Sambo). It was here that Japanese Jiu-jitsu was given world-wide attention and notoriety in this regard. The Japanese conduct and performance of the war in China also demonstrated to the world a seemingly invincible and unstoppable force. Japan was a force that was brutal and deadly in the extreme.

As a result, much attention was given over to the training of United States and Allied Forces in methods of personal self defense that would enable the average soldier to meet the Japanese fighting man on a somewhat equal footing. Every branch of the Armed Services began an intensive physical training program designed to meet these needs. Much of the expert instruction needed, particularly in the arena of close-quarters man to man combat, came from the civilian quarter as it still does today.

Men with tremendous and varied life-long experience in all forms of martial arts and self defense were tapped to create training programs that would give the Allied soldier sufficient means by which to engage their enemies at close-quarters. The Axis of Evil did the same of course. Japan being the obvious factor in this regard, but even Adolf Hitler proclaimed the absolute need for boxing and jiu-jitsu in German military training as it imparted courage and daring the average soldier to close the distance with his enemy. There were even manuals published and courses taught to "defend" against the methods developed by the Allied Forces.

In the United States there were a plethora of varied methods and training systems. Any attempt to narrowly define the methods from this era demonstrates complete ignorance and foolishness. Though the contribution of Lt. Colonel Fairbairn is great, as is the influence of Colonel Rex Applegate, there were dozens upon dozens of different close-quarters battle systems developed. From wrestling, boxing, savate, judo, jiu-jitsu, Chinese boxing, and even football and rugby methods were not only drawn upon, but entire self defense systems were advocated based on these individual methods. It may come as a surprise to many, but here in the Unites States, even Japanese Karate was used and found to be effective.

The problem they were faced with was creating a universal form of defense is that the experts often tasked with their development typically relied on their expertise too much. This made many unarmed combat courses too complex and technical. Wrestlers tended to rely on that method, Judo and Brazilian Jujitsu men on that system, Boxers on their expertise and so on and so on. You should note that each method can claim stunning success in actual combat. "After Action" reports showed that all of these methods had merit and could be used effectively in the rigors and stress of real battle. However, as the war progressed two major factors began to influence and change these training protocols. One was the fact that more and more men from all sorts of varied backgrounds were drafted into military service. The other was that as demands for more and more replacement troops began to rise, the amount of training time became reduced.

The approach that seemed most feasible and useful was one that combined the best or the most effective, efficient and quickly learned methods. These methods as it so happens, were the easiest to retain. The rudiment basics of boxing and wrestling were made part of an overall general physical conditioning program and unarmed combat became a specialized block of instruction. These courses in unarmed combat, hand to hand combat, combat judo and so forth again sought to combine the most advantageous holds, throws, trips, locks, strangles, blows, strikes and kicks from all the varied methods available. The only truly limiting factor here was the time element.

Other considerations were also important. The O'Neill (another Shanghai veteran and ranking Judo Black Belt) method is a classic example of a system specifically tailored for both the training environment available, as well as the nature of the combat engagement expected. There were even attempts made to instruct the military in actual Koryu (old school) Jujutsu systems here in the United States, however the most effective systems still sought to mix all the varied martial arts and focus on the most efficient and effect methods.

As the war progressed, more and more "After Action" intelligence gathered from the reality of battle helped shape and determine training priorities. Many methods of close-combat began to be trimmed down to only those fundamentals that proved most effective overall and most applicable to all trainees across a wide and varied spectrum of physical attributes and skill.

American Col. Rex Applegate was perhaps the most vocal of these advocates owing to his exposure in the INFANTRY JOURNAL and the publishing of the book "KILL or GET KILLED" was not without his critics from other martial arts experts, as was Fairbairn, due to the simplicity of the methods and tactics they advocated.

In fact, some courses were so short in duration that they involved only several hours of instruction, while others were quite involved and very complete in their syllabus content. Many are familiar with the Navy V-5 programs and the training at Fort Benning, but lesser known is the very extensive training at places like Fort Meade and at the Hawaii Jungle Warfare Complex. These locations conducted a very complete and mixed program of martial arts. From the CIC training center in Chicago to the Army training camps in Colorado, from Parris Island to the Ranger/Commando schools in the Hawaiian Islands, from the training bases in England prior to D-Day to the "Killing" school in Palestine, the methods taught ran the full gamut of man-to-man, tooth and nail close quarters combat. From the complex to the "instinctive kill" (a method designed to take full advantage of so-called natural "animal" killing instinct), these methods fall under the definition of combatives, self defense, close combat, etc.

Even the OSS personnel training at Area B were shown the methods of Siamese boxing (read Muay Thai), western boxing, wrestling/grappling, French "foot-fighting"(including Assaut Vite savate), Indian Varma-adi/Varmannie, Chinese boxing, "Roman" boxing, Japanese Judo/Jujutsu and Karate, Siamese boxing, Burmese boxing-Bando, western fencing, Filipino edged weapons and any and all systems (including almost every weapon known to man) deemed effective in dispatching one's enemies to the hereafter were studied, researched, implemented and trained. One WWII era United States hand to hand combat manual even makes reference to Indonesian methods.

So from a historical perspective, "What is combatives?" Combatives is a purpose driven method of defeating one's enemy by whatever means necessary. It focuses on the fastest and most efficient means to accomplish the task at hand and includes all manner of weaponry. It is void of ethics, culture and country; it is a tool for man on man conflict.

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