I know it's not RN-related, but I found this recently and thought I would share it. While the liberal Left British media crow about British and US losses in Iraq and 'Ghanners', I just wanted to introduce a little of... perspective. This is in no way intended as a slur or criticism of our Forces currently engaged in those AOIs. We are all familar with stories of dramatic losses during WWI and WWII. However, during the campaign in North West Europe 1944-1945, units spent more time in action and suffered higher casualty rates than their counterparts did in the Great War. One example of the intensity of the fighting in the Normandy bridgehead is the fate of the 6th Battalion, Duke of Wellington's Rifles. Having fought a traumatic battle at Le Parc de Boislande they remained to plug a gap outside Fontenay-le-Pesnel, which the SS Div "Hitler Jugend" was attempting to force. After 14 days of continuous fighting, their replacement CO (his predecessor having been killed), submitted the following report: Report on the State of the 6th Bn DWR (49 Div) as on 30 Jun 44 1. I arrived at 6 DWR on the evening of 26 June. From AM on 27 June until 30 June we have been in contact with the enemy and under moderate heavy mortar and shell fire. 2. The following facts make it clear that this report makes no reflection on the state of 6 DWR when they left UK: a) In 14 days there have been some 23 officers & 350 OR casualties. b) Only 12 of the original officers remain & they are all junior. The CO & every rank above Cpl (except 2 Lts) in battalion HQ have gone, all company commanders have gone. One company has lost every officer, another has only one [officer] left. c) Since I took over I have lost two second-in-commands in successive days and a company commander on the third day. d) Majority of transport, all documents, records and a large amount of equipment were lost. 3. State of Men a) 75% of men react adversely to enemy shelling & are 'jumpy'. b) 5 cases in 3 days of self-inflicted wounds - more possible cases. c) Each time men are killed or wounded a number of men become casualties through shell shock or hysteria. d) In addition to genuine hysteria a large number of men have left their positions after shelling on one pretext or another & gone to the rear until sent back by the MO or myself. e) The new drafts have been affected, & 3 young soldiers became casualties with hysteria after hearing our own guns. f) The situation has got worse each day as more key personnel have become casualties. 4. Discipline & Leadership a) State of discipline is bad, although the men are a cheerful pleasant type normally. b) NCOs do not wear stripes & some officers have no badges of rank. This makes the situation impossible when 50% of the battalion do not know each other. c) NCO leadership is weak in most cases & newly drafted officers are in consequence havimg to expose themselves unduly to try & get anything done. It is difficult for the new officers (60%) to lead the men under fire as they do not know them. 5. Conclusion a) 6 DWR is not to fit to take its place in the line. b) Even excluding the question of nerves and morale, 6 DWR will not be fit to go back into the line until it is remobilised, reorganised, and to an extent retrained. It is no longer a battalion but a collection of individuals. There is naturally no 'esprit de corps' for those who are frightened (as we all are to one degree or another) to fall back on. I have twice had to stand at the end of a track and draw my revolver on retreating men. 6. Recommendation If it is not possible to withdraw the battalion to the base or UK to re-equip, reorganise & train, then it should be disbanded & split among other units. If essential that the battalion should return to the line, I request that I may be relieved of my command & I suggest that a CO with 2 to 3 years experience should relieve me & that he should bring his adjutant and a signals officer with him. Being a regular officer I realise the seriousness of this request & its effect on my career. On the other hand I have the lives of the new personnel (which is excellent) to consider. Three days running a major has been killed or seriously wounded because I have ordered them to in effect stop the men running during mortar concentrations. Unless withdrawn from the division I do not think I can get the battalion fit to fight normally & this waste of life would continue. My honest opinion is that if you continue to throw new officer & other rank replacements into 6 DWR as casualties occur, you are throwing good money after bad. I know my opinion is shared by two other commanding officers who know the full circumstances. A.J.D. Turner Lt.-Col. Commanding 6 DWR In the field, 30 June 1944 Yes the world has changed but our enemy today is just as dangerous as our enemy of 60 years ago - we are fortunate that we haven't yet suffered the same losses as our parents/grandparents. And as for the battalion, it was pulled out of the line, remaining officers and men rested before it was disbanded.