Youth at War

I heard more accounts about the Ukrainians who lived under artillery bombardments of up to 12 hours at a time, some first hand, some second hand. This was common earlier in the war in the areas near the Russian border. They’d get shelled from across the border and denied permission to fire back.

Younger soldiers would break psychologically, climb out of their holes and get killed, particularly when no older men were present to keep them under control.

I’ve encountered this idea of younger men’s psychological fragility before.

In the history of Outward Bound, an American outdoor education program, is the observation that during WWII, when an American ship was destroyed, younger sailors drowned at a much higher rate than older ones, despite their likelihood of being more physically fit.

Also, Ranger School. When I went through in 2001 (in fucking January), it had a 40% graduation rate. It seemed to me that younger students (meaning 19-22) would defeat themselves psychologically. Instead of facing challenges one at a time, one moment at a time, one exhausted step at a time, they’d face the whole of Ranger School, the whole two month program of food and sleep deprivation, cold, exhaustion, and it would be too much. They would break and find a reason to quit.

Lastly, the book “On Killing” whose premise about men’s recluctane to kill, I think, is grossly exaggerated, nevertheless includes some data on how younger men were more likely to suffer post traumatic stress. There must be more modern studies, but I haven’t been able to find them.