S. L. A. Marshall’s claim that only about one in five infantrymen actually fire their weapons in combat may or may not be accurate (“The Secret of the Soldiers Who Didn’t Shoot,” March). But as a World War II rifleman in General Patton’s Fifth Army, I can understand why such an assertion could be true, and it wasn’t refusal to fight.
My impression was that everyone was itching to line his sights up on enemy soldiers, and found it very frustrating when they didn’t show themselves any more than we did. Wasting ammo was not encouraged. Also remember that a good soldier doesn’t make unnecessary work for himself; whenever you fire your weapon you have to clean it, so you think twice about it.