The 442nd Regimental Combat Team hiking up a muddy French road in the Chambois Sector, France, in late 1944. – "442 regimental combat team" by US Army - Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.
Leaders Win Where Commanders Lose
"Leaders Win Where Commanders Lose," by Major Richard M. Sandusky, U.S. Infantry, Candian Defence Quarterly, Vol. XVI, No. 3, April 1939
Your stereotyped commander will insist on discipline though he lose morale. The true leader of enduring fame seeks rather the spirit of his men, knowing that when he has this he has all.
Little is taught of such [moral] leadership in our military instruction. We lay great stress on sound strategical and tactical objectives-a frontier, a city, a river, a ridge line. We are interested in things. The army cannot attack until the railroads deliver so many trains of ammunition, so many tons of rock. But morale is assumed to flow constantly as from a spigot. Sometimes it does, and again it doesn't. When the supply of morale is depleted, the stockage of depots and refilling points becomes relatively unimportant. That army cannot win. The spiritual ammunition train is empty.
Our map problems however, fail to emphasize this truth. No student, heedful of the marking committee, would attack a corps with a single division. But if his force had superb morale and if the enemy had none, any real leader would succeed either on paper or in war, because he had the high courage and the prophet's vision to estimate the spiritual as well as the material situation.
It may be difficult to evaluate intangible factors and to establish their coefficient with the physical. But is this any reason for ignoring them altogether, especially when they outweigh so definitely all other considerations? The map-problem room of today becomes the command post of tomorrow. So long as military students are trained to think in terms of numbers and size alone, we shall have an abundance of commanders but no real leaders. For they will have no course in the tactics and technique of moral forces.
Too often and too long has the human factor been allowed to shift for itself. It is in this field, more than any other that, by self-inflicted wounds, we weaken our potential power and fail to produce genuine leaders. If we think of psychology at all in military human relations, it is, in most cases, a warped and outmoded psychology which does not fit at all the problems of leadership of today.
In the end, the methods of leadership are good to the exact extent that they encourage human devotion and co-operative response. Nor is there conflict between discipline and morale. Without discipline an army is a mob; without morale it is a hollow shell. Possessing both, it is invincible. Your stereotyped commander will insist on discipline though he lose morale. The true leader of enduring fame seeks rather the spirit of his men, knowing that when he has this he has all.