Leadership: July 17, 2002


Commanding a combat unit makes you tired, sometimes fatally so. This has long been known, and the situation has grown worse in the last century with the development of the "combat zone", endless operations and better communications. Commanders often push themselves to the point of exhaustion, while trying to micromanage everything. Experience has shown that a commander, or subordinate (officer or soldier) can keep going for about 72 hours of continuous operations before people start to just nod off. Even though this problem has been well known for generations, and many clever guidelines have been developed to avoid it, you still get groggy leaders and troops after 72 hours. But not everywhere. Avoiding this problem is largely a matter of discipline. The best trained units don't have the problem, instead they have mastered "Battle Rhythm." This was a collection of techniques that scheduled chores in such a way that everyone got as much sleep as possible. That was never enough sleep, but it was usually more than the enemy was getting, and this sort of advantage can be critical on the battlefield. 




Help Keep Us From Drying Up

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling.

Each month we count on your contributions. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage.
Subscribe   Contribute   Close