Quotes - Discipline (page 3)

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"Morale is the thinking of an army. It is the whole complex body of an army's thought: The way it feels about the soil and about the people from which it springs. The way that it feels about their cause and their politics as compared with other causes and other politics. The way that it feels about its friends and allies, as well as its enemies. About its commanders and goldbricks. About food and shelter. Duty and leisure. Payday and sex. Militarism and civilianism. Freedom and slavery. Work and want. Weapons and comradeship. Bunk fatigue and drill. Discipline and disorder. Life and death. God and the devil." - S.L.A. Marshal, Men Against Fire, 1947

"Too, the definition cuts through one of the oldest myths in the military book - that morale comes from discipline....The process is precisely the reverse: whether on the field of battle or in 'pirouetting up and down a barrack yard' as Carnot's phrase has it, true discipline is the product of morale." - S.L.A. Marshal, Men Against Fire, 1947

"Yet above and beyond any symbol - whether it be the individual life or a pillbox commanding a wadi in Sahara - are all of the ideas and ideals which press upon men, causing them to accept a discipline and to hold to the line even though death may be at hand." - S.L.A. Marshal, Men Against Fire, 1947

Because they demonstrate precise obedience to orders, and are extremely disciplined troops, it is often thought that the Gurkhas are easy to command, but that is not so. The standards they set for themselves are immensely high and they expect their British officers to live up to them. - David Bolt, Gurkhas, 1967


(Actual Service.)

330. The men composing any column of march, to march at attention when passing through towns and villages; at other times, although marching at ease, they will strictly keep their ranks. A party in proportion to the strength of the column to be detailed invariably as an advanced and rear guard. An uniform steady pace, about three miles an hour to be kept up; the column to halt for five minutes at the end of the first half hour; and after that at the of end every hour's march.

331. An officer or non commissioned officer with a party of one man per company to be sent in advance to choose a convenient spot at which to halt for meals, and to light fires for cooking if necessary. An intelligent officer with party similarly to be sent in advance to select a spot for camp or bivouac if necessary. Under no pretence are the men to be allowed to enter taverns to drink on the line of march. No man is to fall behind during the march but by leave of the captain of his company, and then always to have a non-commissioned officer left with him to bring him on.

332. If the march is to extend beyond one day, officers should pay particular attention to the condition of the feet of their men. The subaltern officers should personally see that the men wash their feet on arriving at a halting place for the night, and should satisfy themselves by personal inspection that the nails are properly cut. A good officer will attend to this injunction; a careless officer will probably turn it into ridicule to cover his own laziness. It is impossible for men to march for many days consecutively without following this prescription, and the fate of a battle may very easily depend on the men being in good marching condition. Every man should have in his possession a piece of soap, and should soap the inside of the heel of his stocking before commencing each day's march, and the officers should see that this is done by every man. The men should be cautioned to drink on the march no more than is necessary to satisfy thirst, as over indulgence in this respect increases the craving it is intended to allay.

333. The men on arriving at the night's halting place should never be kept waiting. The camp or bivouac or the billets should be already prepared for them, and they should be dismissed to their rest with the least possible delay consistent with discipline. If the men are to be in billets, every man must be acquainted with the locality of the alarm post before being dismissed to his billet.

- Regulations and Orders for the Active Militia, The Schools of Military Instruction, and the Reserve Militia (in the cases therein mentioned) of the Dominion of Canada, 1870

... the question of what it took to control an institution of discipline, like the navy [or army], when those subject to that discipline were being relativised by new political experiences around them and new cultural experiences of otherness. It took management, not violence. Officers in new navies and new armies must be 'gentlemen'.
... In the eighteenth century, a ... 'gentleman' was a member of an emerging class meant to manage institutions of discipline. He was the professional within the officer corps of European armies and navies. A 'gentleman' had the social knowledge of how institutions worked and could sort out what was natural in those institutions from what was culturally conventional. A 'gentleman' was a good relativist because he could read the context of every absolute rule in order to know the moment of its application. A 'gentleman' was a modernist. He was the creative spirit in institutions. He made them work. He resolved the contradictions. He managed violence. A 'gentleman' did not use bad language. - Greg Dening, Mr Bligh's Bad Language; Passion, Power and Theatre on the Bounty, 1992

In the days before the western world seized on the idiotic quest for political correctness, the army was a haven for men who lived hard and often died young. Our instructors swore continuously, drank regularly and did not give a damn about social norms from the civilian world. If you could do your job, your personal life was your own business. We admired our instructors all the more for their unrefined ways. For me, the professional soldier can never be a model of civilian mores. The men who make a life out of pushing limits will always be, in their hearts, the swaggering and rough-at-the-edges lot from days gone by. - James R. Davis, The Sharp End; A Canadian Soldier's Story, 1997

An army without discipline is in fact more dangerous to the civil population (including that of its own country) than to the enemy. - Joseph Bishop, quoted in Martin L Friedland, Controlling Misconduct in the Military; a study prepared for the Commission into the Deployment of Canadian Forces to Somalia, 1996

The soldiers themselves have emotion. The sense of duty, discipline, pride, the example of their officers and above all their coolness, sustain them and prevent their fear from becoming terror. Their emotion never allows them to sight, or to move than approximately adjust their fire. Often they fire into the air. Cromwell knew this very well, dependable as his troops were, when he said, "Put your trust in God, and aim at their shoelaces." - Colonel Ardant du Picq, French Army, Battle Studies; Ancient and Modern Battle, The Military Service Publishing Company edition, 1958

I selected [the Royal Fusiliers] for its noble deeds of valour under Lord Wellington in the Peninsula. They, the old Fusiliers, had made our enemies the French shake on many a hard-fought field. View them at Albuera, 16th May, 1811. I would borrow Napier's pithy language about them: 'Nothing could stop that astonishing infantry'. Inch by inch and foot by foot they gained the heights of Albuera with a horrid carnage, swept the entire host of France from before them, gave them a parting volley, and then 'eighteen hundred unwounded men, the remnant of six thousand unconquerable British soldiers, stood triumphant on the fatal hill!' French military historians acknowledged that ever after they approached the British infantry with a scared feeling of distrust, for these never knew when they were beaten. A corps like that might be destroyed, but not easily defeated. - Sergeant-Major Timothy Gowing, Voice from the Ranks; A Personal Narrative of the Crimean Campaign by a Sergeant of the Royal Fusiliers, edited by Kenneth Fenwick, 1954

Far be it from me to undervalue tradition. Tradition is founded on old experiences, but he who follows the tradition knows nothing of these experiences. The great mass of people continue to do what they have always done, and ordinary men follow gladly the dear track of habit. Since, however, the experiences have been forgotten which formed the basis for the tradition which every one follows, he who breaks with a tradition is in danger of destroying one based on good grounds, and may later on have to renew the old experiences in some unpleasant manner, and then to recall the old tradition, if there be yet time. For many things it will then be too late, especially for such as have to do with discipline. And when the discipline of an infantry is slackened, then, alas! good-bye to all great successes! I can therefore only recognise the deep wisdom with which those in high authority interfere but very slowly and gradually with whatever is rendered sacred by custom. - Prince Kraft zu Hohenlohe Ingelfingen, Letters on Infantry, translated by Lieut.-Col. N.L. Walford, R.A., 1905

At a time when the soldier is supplied with an accurate firearm, and when the well-aimed fire of individual men must have more result than ill aimed volleys; when the soldier, in order to fire well and with good effect, must lie comfortably on the ground instead of standing in a close crowded line; when he is, moreover, no longer a mere portion of a stiff machine, since each man can use his weapon with intelligence; when the infantry have ceased to be only food for powder, and have become a combination of single units working independently, at such a time the careful training of the individual soldier must decide the issue of battle. - Prince Kraft zu Hohenlohe Ingelfingen, Letters on Infantry, translated by Lieut.-Col. N.L. Walford, R.A., 1905

The soldier is the Army. No army is better than its soldiers. The soldier is also a citizen. In fact, the highest obligation and privilege of citizenship is that of bearing arms for one's country. Hence it is a proud privilege to be a soldier-- a good soldier. Anyone, in any walk of life, who is content with mediocrity is untrue to himself and to American tradition. To be a good soldier a man must have discipline, self-respect, pride in his unit and in his country, a high sense of duty and obligation to his comrades and to his superiors, and self-confidence born of demonstrated ability.
        There has been, and is now, a great deal of talk about discipline; but few people, in or out of the Army, know what it is or why it is necessary. - George S. Patton, Jr., War as I Knew It, 1947

There is no feature of training known to any company commander I have met which enabled him to determine, prior to combat, which of his men would carry the fight for him and which would simply go along for the ride. Discipline is not the key. Perfection in drill is not the key. The most perfectly drilled and disciplined soldier I saw in World War I was a sergeant who tried to crawl into the bushes his first time over the top. Some of the most gallant singlehanded fighters I encountered in World War II had spent most of their time in the guardhouse. It is all very well for such an authority as Major General J.F.C. Fuller to assure us that the yardsticks of loyalty and obedience are the means of measuring beforehand the probable response of the soldier in battle. Many others have said it before Fuller. But I deny that it is true. It may have applied to the ranks in the days of closed formations but it does not apply to our present soldiery. - S.L.A. Marshall, Colonel, AUS, Men against Fire; the Problem of Battle Command in Future War, 1947

...the essential qualities of the individual good soldier are endurance, skill at arms, and the valour of discipline with some pungency of independence. - Field-Marshal Earl Wavell, The Good Soldier, 1948

So far as the infantry soldier is concerned, the discipline, or spirit, now required of him in battle is not so much unquestioning obedience as that, where two or three are gathered together, there shall be courage and enterprise in them. And to my mind this spirit now derives more from the lecture room, the education hut, and the playing fields than from the barrack square. I am not questioning the value of drill as a means to instil pride and self-respect; there is still nothing, in peace at all events, that can quicken the spirit like good drill, smartly done. Yet it can be, and I think it still is, sometimes overdone. - Field-Marshal Earl Wavell, Training For War, Lecture given at the Royal United Services Institution on Wednesday, 15th February 1933, reprinted in The Good Soldier, 1948

The army of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, moreover, contained ruffians whose excesses in the field could best be repressed by the lash, if only to save them from the gallows; accordingly the cat was accepted by the troops almost as a necessary part of the hardships of war. So there comes to mind a vision of Robert Craufurd when, on the awful retreat to Corunna, three men were sentenced to be flogged. One was flogged by torchlight and the column moved on: there was no time to halt longer. Next morning it was believed the other two would be forgotten. Not so Craufurd! Through that fearful night he had trudged at the head of his starving, fainting, footsore Light Division. At dawn, haggard, and with hair, eyebrows, beard, all caked with ice, his first order was that the two remaining sentences were to be carried out-even though he finally remitted one. Truly a picture almost majestic by reason of its very grimness! It depicts the astonishing Craufurd to the life! And what a hold he exerted over his men's minds! It is told that his Light Division, marching back from his funeral near Badajoz in 1810, was faced by a stretch of flood water risen across their road. The leading men hesitated, looking for a way round. Then of a sudden they remembered their lost commander who had always insisted on his troops keeping straight ahead regardless of obstacles. As though paying homage to his memory the whole column without a word went straight through the water and the mud. They forgave all the iron discipline--all that rigid severity! - Colonel H. de Watteville, C.B.E., M.A. (OXON), P.S.C., The British Soldier; His Daily Life from Tudor to Modern Times, 1954

The ancients preferred discipline to numbers. - Vegetius

Few men are born brave; many become so through training and force of discipline. - Vegetius

The courage of a soldier is heightened by his knowledge of his profession, and he only wants an opportunity to execute what he is convinced he has been perfectly taught. A handful of men, inured to war, proceeds to certain victory, while on the contrary numerous armies of raw and undisciplined troops are but masses of men dragged to slaughter. - Flavius Vegetius Renatus, The Military Institutions of the Romans, translated from the Latin by Lieutenant John Clark, Military Service Publishing Co. Edition, 1944

To accustom soldiers to carry burdens is also an essential part of discipline. Recruits in particular should be obliged frequently to carry a weight of not less than sixty pounds (exclusive of their arms), and to march with it in the ranks. This is because on difficult expeditions they often find themselves under the necessity of carrying their provisions as well as their arms. - Flavius Vegetius Renatus, The Military Institutions of the Romans, translated from the Latin by Lieutenant John Clark, Military Service Publishing Co. Edition, 1944

The foot soldier finds the weight of a cuirass and even of a helmet intolerable. This is because he is so seldom exercised and rarely puts them on. - Flavius Vegetius Renatus, The Military Institutions of the Romans, translated from the Latin by Lieutenant John Clark, Military Service Publishing Co. Edition, 1944

The spirit of discipline, as distinct from its outward and visible guises, is the result of association with martial traditions and their living embodiment.
--- B.H Liddell-Hart: Thoughts on War, v, 1944

Thompson also saw the need for soldiers to be flexible on this idea: "Too much, however, has been claimed for theoretic discipline--not enough for intelligent individual action. No remark was oftener on the lips of officers during the war than this: 'Obey orders! I do your thinking for you.' But that soldier is best whose good sense tells him when to be merely a part of a machine and when not." - Gregory A. Coco, The Civil War Infantryman; In camp, on the march, and in battle., 1996

The first of the fighting contingents were already entering the perimeter. The 2nd Grenadier Guards moved into Furnes, still marching with parade-ground precision. The steady, measured tread of their boots echoed through the medieval market square. Here and there a uniform was torn, a cap missing, a bandage added; but there was no mistaking that erect stance, that clean-shaven, expressionless look so familiar to anyone who had ever watched the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace. - Walter Lord, The Miracle of Dunkirk, 1982

The choice of noncommissioned officers is an object of greatest importance. The order and discipline of a regiment depends so much upon their behavior, that too much care can not be taken in preferring none to that trust but those who by their merit and good conduct are entitled to it. Honesty, sobriety, and a remarkable attention to every point of duty, with a neatness in their dress, are indispensable requisites. A spirit to command respect and obedience from the men, to teach it, are also absolutely necessary. Nor can a sergeant or corporal be said to be qualified who does not write and read in a tolerable manner. - Baron Von Steuben, Regulations for the Order and Discipline of the Troops of The United States, 1778

It being on the noncommissioned officers that the discipline and order of a company in a great measure depend, they cannot be too circumspect in their behavior towards the men, be treating them with mildness, and at the same time obliging every one to do his duty. By avoiding too great familiarity with the men, they will not only gain their love and confidence, but be treated with proper respect; whereas by a contrary conduct they forfeit all regard, and their authority becomes despised. - Baron Von Steuben, Regulations for the Order and Discipline of the Troops of The United States, 1778

[NCOs] must suppress all quarrels in the company; and where other men fail, must use their authority in confusing the offender. - Baron Von Steuben, Regulations for the Order and Discipline of the Troops of The United States, 1778

At Apeldoorn, Major Frank Lindley found himself in a room with about twenty other wounded Officer POWs. He says "We were all dirty and unshaven and in various stages of dress and undress. The door opened and in came RSM John Lord, also a POW. He was dressed in immaculate battledress, trousers creased, and he had an arm supported in a snow white sling. Without a word he turned his head slowly to look at each individual in turn and then said in his brisk voice "Gentlemen, I think you should all shave!" He then turned about, stamped his foot and marched out of the room. The effect was electric. The motley group of officers Infantry, Gunners, Engineers etc. stirred themselves and started to clean themselves up. It was an unforgettable experience". - quoted in To Revel in God's Sunshine; The story of the Army career of the late [Sandhurst] Academy Sergeant Major J.C. Lord, MVO, MBE, compiled by Richard Alford

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