Quotes - Morale (page 2)

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I remember passing through an Italian town. On a wall was the inevitable "VIVA IL DUCE" which had been half effaced. It had been replaced by "HEIL HITLER". The Gothic lettering had been scrawled through and there, in large block letters, was the triumphant inscription, "HURRAY FOR TORONTO". - Contributed by Captain F. L. Jones, late The Irish Regiment of Canada.


Regimental Tradition

Regimental tradition assists as a means of developing morale, whenever time and circumstances permit. But it is not and cannot be a substitute for morale. - From The Infantry (India).


Foundations of Morale

The foundations of morale are, I think, first, spiritual, then mental, and lastly material. I put them in that order because that, I believe, is the order of their importance. - Field Marshal Sir William Slim, Chief of the Imperial General Staff.


Field Marshal Montgomery

Regimental spirit and tradition can be a powerful factor in making for good morale, and must be constantly encouraged. But in the crisis of battle a man will not derive encouragement from the glories of the past; he will seek aid from his leaders and comrades of the present. Most men do not fight well because their ancestors fought well at the battle of Minden two centuries ago, but because their particular platoon or unit has good leaders, is well disciplined, and has developed the feelings of comradeship and self-respect among all ranks and on all levels. It is not devotion to some ancient regimental story that steels men in the crisis; it is devotion to the comrades who are with them and the leaders who are in front of them. Therefore, it is essential that in our training we select men who possess within them the potentialities of leadership and, secondly, we develop those potentialities. This is best accomplished by giving the leader responsibility. The mere fact of responsibility will increase the leader's powers of decision and make him confident of his ability to handle any crisis.

"The combination of rain and movement produces mud, which has a general degrading effect on men and machines and may seriously damage some types of equipment. More important from the operational viewpoint, rain can rather quickly render impassable areas of marginal going in general, and the approaches to and exits from water-obstacle crossings in particular." - Richard E. Simpkin; Race to the Swift - Thoughts on Twenty-First Century Warfare, 1985

"Discipline, skill, good-will, a certain pride, and high morale, are the attributes of an army trained in times of peace. They command respect, but they have no strength of their own. They stand or fall together. One crack, and the whole thing goes, like a glass too quickly cooled." - Carl Von Clausewitz, On War; ed and trans by Michael Howard and Peter Paret, (Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey), 1984

"Physical casualties are not the only losses incurred by both sides in the course of the engagement: their moral strength is also shaken, broken and ruined. In deciding whether or not to continue the engagement it is not enough to consider the loss of men, horses, and guns; one also has to weigh the loss of order, courage, confidence, cohesion, and plan. The decision rests chiefly on the state of morale, which, in cases where the victor has lost as much as the vanquished, has always been the single decisive factor." - Carl Von Clausewitz, On War; ed and trans by Michael Howard and Peter Paret, (Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey), 1984

"But the main point is that soldiers, after fighting for some time, are apt to be like burned-out cinders. They have shot off their ammunition, their numbers have been diminished, their strength and their morale are drained, and possibly their courage has vanished as well. As an organic whole, quite apart from their loss in numbers, they are far from being what they were before the action; and thus the amount of reserves spent is an accurate measure on the loss of morale." - Carl Von Clausewitz, On War; ed and trans by Michael Howard and Peter Paret, (Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey), 1984

"In order to utilize any weakness or mistake on the part of the enemy, not giving an inch more ground than the force of circumstances requires, and especially in order to keep morale as high as possible, it is absolutely necessary to make a slow fighting retreat, boldly confronting the pursuer whenever he tries to make too much of his advantage."

"The means of putting the above-mentioned principle into practice consist of a number of factors: a strong rear guard, made up of the best troops, led by the most courageous general, and supported at crucial moments by the rest of the army; skilful use of the terrain; strong ambushes wherever the daring of the enemy's vanguard and the terrain permit. In short, it consists of planning and initiating regular small-scale engagements." - Carl Von Clausewitz, On War; ed and trans by Michael Howard and Peter Paret, (Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey), 1984

"A lost battle always tends to have an enfeebling, disintegrating effect; the immediate need is to reassemble, and to recover order, courage, and confidence in the concentration of troops. It is absurd to think that an enemy, at the moment he is following up his victory, can be harassed on both his flanks by a divided force." - Carl Von Clausewitz, On War; ed and trans by Michael Howard and Peter Paret, (Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey), 1984

"According to Kenneth Macksey, once the Germans had embraced the mechanized theory of warfare, they consistently regarded the role of the tank as an attack on morale, whereas the British and French looked upon it as a means to attack material." - John A. English, A Perspective on Infantry; (Praeger Publishers, New York) 1981

"I hold it to be one of the simplest truths of war that the thing which enables an infantry soldier to keep going with his weapon is the near presence or the presumed presence of a comrade. The warmth which derives from human companionship is as essential to his employment of the arms with which he fights as is the finger with which he pulls a trigger or the eye with which he aligns his sights. The other man may be almost beyond hailing or seeing distance, but he must be there somewhere within a man's consciousness or the onset of demoralization is almost immediate and very quickly the mind begins to despair or turns to thoughts of escape. In this condition he is no longer a fighting individual, and though he holds to his weapon, it is little better than a club." - S.L.A. Marshal, Men Against Fire, 1947

"In combat nothing succeeds like success. The knowledge of victory is the beginning of a conviction of superiority. Just as truly, the savor of one small triumph will wholly drive out the bitter taste of any number of demoralizing defeats." - S.L.A. Marshal, Men Against Fire, 1947

"When an advancing infantry line suddenly encounters enemy fire and the men go to ground under circumstances where they cannot see on another, the moral disintegration of that line is for the moment complete. All organizational unity vanishes temporarily." - S.L.A. Marshal, Men Against Fire, 1947

"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

"[The commander] must as far as possible see the ground for himself to confirm or correct his impressions of the map; his subordinate commanders to discuss their plans and ideas with them; and the troops to judge of their needs and their morale." - Field Marshal A.P. Wavell, Soldiers and Soldiering, 1953

I can speak from my own experience of what use a regimental band is to a regiment. I have seen men weary, worn out with fatigue, hot and smothered with dust, brighten up the moment they heard the tap of the drum, indicating that the band was going to play a lively quick step. - Field-Marshal Lord Roberts, V.C., quoted in Major T.J. Edwards, M.B.E., F.R.Hist.S., Military Customs, 1947

The art of war is subjected to many modifications by industrial and scientific progress. But one thing does not change, the heart of man. In the last analysis, success in battle is a matter of morale. In all matters which pertain to an army, organization, discipline and tactics, the human heart in the supreme moment of battle is the basic factor. It is rarely taken into account; and often strange errors are the result. - Colonel Ardant du Picq, French Army, Battle Studies; Ancient and Modern Battle, The Military Service Publishing Company edition, 1958

    Up to this date, raids had been a great form of midnight activity employed by the British and Germans since the middle of 1916. Raids consisted of a brief attack with some special object on a section of the opposing trench, and were usually carried out by a small party of men under an officer. The character of these operations, the preparation of a passage through our own and the enemy's wire, the crossing of the open ground unseen, the penetration of the enemy's line, the hand-to-hand fighting in the darkness, and the uncertainty as to the strength of the opposing forces--gave peculiar scope to gallantry, dash, and quickness of decision by the troops engaged.
The objects of these expeditions can be described as fourfold:
        I. To gain prisoners and, therefore, to obtain information by identification.
        II. To inflict loss and lower the opponent's morale, a form of terrorism, and to kill as many of the enemy as possible, before beating a retreat; also to destroy his dug-outs and mine-shafts.
        III. To get junior regimental officers accustomed to handling men in the open and give them scope for using their initiative.
        IV. To blood all ranks into the offensive spirit and quicken their wits after months of stagnant trench warfare.
    Such enterprises became a characteristic of trench routine.
After a time these raids became unpopular with regimental officers and the rank and file, for there grew up a feeling that sometimes these expeditions to the enemy trenches owed their origin to rivalry between organisations higher than battalions. - Captain F.C. Hitchcock, M.C., F.R.Hist.S., "Stand To" A Diary of the Trenches, 1915-18, 1937

I awoke around 5 that morning after a fitful sleep to find by bag and I were soaked through. After mentally weeping for an hour or so, I perceived the rain was less persistent. "Aha", I thought, "if it stops I could get up and stamp around in the wind and start getting things dry". As the rain faded away, I began to gather together my shattered spirits. The rain stopped. I waited 10 minutes, just enjoying not getting any wetter. The rain started again. I pulled the sodden wretched bag over my head and smoked a cigarette. It was the last barrier between me and desperation. - Captain I.R. Gardiner, A Personal Account of Operations on the Falklands Islands, X Company, 45 Commando Royal Marine, April-June 1982, 1982

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