Storm of SEAL

Monday, March 21st, 2016

Jocko Podcast 14 opens with some excerpts from Ernst Jünger’s Storm of Steel, which is considered one of the best war books ever written. I’d always heard Storm described as the rare pro-war take on World War I, but that hardly describes it. It simply isn’t as unremittingly negative as other takes.

Near the end of his podcast (1:54:59) Jocko answers my question:

Is BUDS the right filter for the kind of people you want in the SEAL teams? Does it filter out good people? Let in bad?

Short answer: It does a decent job.


  1. Slovenian Guest says:

    Storm of SEAL. Very clever. I almost missed it. You should tweet this to him as a book title recommendation — and Jocko should immediately copyright it!

  2. Dan Kurt says:

    Storm of Steel is a must read. The current Penguin edition is the first English translation that does justice to the book. Rumor has it that the English snubbed the author, Ernst Jünger, with the mis-translation because they resented Jünger’s exploits against the English during WWI.

  3. Dan, on your suggestion I’ve ordered a copy; can’t wait to give it a read. Maybe this can make up for Penguin Classics’ horrifyingly bad, outdated translation of On War, where they devoted at least 1/3 of the page-count to the blatherings of idiots I could only assume hadn’t read the book.

  4. Dan Kurt says:

    I am in the process of boxing my library currently and am at 48 boxes and hope to get 50 done by the end of the day. I am cataloguing as I go with Readerware 3, which is a joy to use. Movers are coming tomorrow and will box another room and a half, estimated 25 to 30 more boxes, as I just ran out of time. As such, I can not get to my copy of On War, which has no index — Princeton University Press, 1976 edition. Someone as an act of love actually did an index for the book, which I downloaded, printed (9 pt.) and placed in the book. I wish I could cite a URL for it.

  5. Isegoria says:

    If you look up the Princeton University Press version of On War, it’s now listed as On War, Indexed Edition. On War-readers take their indexing seriously. Here’s an online index.

  6. Isegoria says:

    Based on Which translation of Clausewitz’s On War do you have? And which one should you have?, I bought The Book of War, which includes modern translations of Sun-Tzu’s The Art of War & Karl von Clausewitz’s On War.

  7. Isegoria,

    It was number 7 on the list, the dreaded Penguin edition (modified F.N. Maude) with long, historically and militarily illiterate meanderings by Anatol Rapaport appended.

  8. Grurray says:

    I looked left and right. The moment before the engagement was an unforgettable picture. In shell craters against the enemy line, which was still being forked over and over by the fire-storm, lay the battalions of attackers, clumped together by company. At the sight of the dammed-up masses of men, the breakthrough appeared certain to me. But did we have the strength and the stamina to splinter also the enemy reserves and rend them apart? I was confident. The decisive battle, the last charge, was here. Here the fates of nations would be decided, what was at stake was the future of the world. I sensed the weight of the hour, and I think everyone felt the individual in them dissolve, and fear depart.

    The mood was curious, brimming with tension and a kind of exaltation. Officers stood up and exchanged banter. I saw Solemacher standing there in a long coat in the midst of his little staff, a short pipe with a green bowl in his hand, like a huntsman on a cold day, waiting for the gillies to do their work. We exchanged a fraternal wave. Often a mortar would fall short, and a shower of earth as high as a steeple would cover the waiting men, and no one would even flinch. The noise of battle had become so terrific, that no one was at all clear-headed.

    Three minutes before the attack, Vinke beckoned to me with a full water-bottle. I took a long pull, as though it were indeed only water I was drinking. Now just the cigar was missing. Three times the air pressure snuffed out my match.

    The great moment was at hand. The wave of fire had trundled up to the first lines. We attacked.

    Our rage broke like a storm. Thousands must have fallen already. That was clear; and even though the shelling continued it felt quiet, as though it had lost its imperative thrust.

    No man’s land was packed tight with attackers, advancing singly, in little groups or great masses towards the curtain of fire. They didn’t run or even take cover if the vast plume of an explosion rose between them. Ponderous, but unstoppable, they advanced on the enemy lines. It was as though nothing could hurt them any more.

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