The Academy Sergeant Major was often telephoned in his office by various officers; normally the Adjutant, or Assistant Adjutant. In discussion in the Mess one day they both remarked that having announced to him who was on the telephone, there would be a short sharp swishing sound from the other end. Baffled by what it might be the Adjutant suggested that the Assistant Adjutant should position himself outside the Academy Sergeant Major's window--while he himself put through a telephone call. Later when the Assistant Adjutant reported what he had seen, it transpired that in response to the Adjutant's "Good morning Mr. Lord" the Academy Sergeant Major replied, "Good morning sir", snapped to attention and saluted! What an example of discipline." - 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
From the moment he was attested, Otter wrote, a man "becomes a soldier and a servant of the state, and as such, parts for a time with the privilege of citizenship, having no will of his own, no liberty of action, no unrestrained freedom of citizenship." That might be, Otter could admit, "a severe trial to begin with, but it must be endured, for obedience and self-control are indispensable to his duties, and these can only be assured by the prompt resignation of all the license he may have enjoyed before entering the force." There were militia officers who believed that such severity might be appropriate on active service or even in camp, but not in the friendly surroundings of the drill shed, with would-be recruits looking on. Otter disagreed. "I hold the contrary opinion," he stated, "and consider that the same discipline, regularity and order are required at home as on service; and moreover that the best time to acquire soldierly habits is when quietly parading for weekly drills." - Desmond Morton, The Canadian General Sir William Otter, 1974
"The British soldier who thought himself superior, actually became so." - John Graves Simcoe, First Governor of Upper Canada, Military Journal, 1787
The RMC that Simonds [in 1921] entered was, in educational terms, in a state of flux. The military curriculum was based on the narrow and outdated lessons of the Western Front, and discipline and leadership were inculcated by a manic obsession with smartness and turnout. With the aim of character-building the responsibility for discipline was delegated to students nominated to be cadet officers and to the senior class as a whole. Unfortunately this admirable idea, if unsupervised, led to an unofficial system of brutal and systematic bullying by senior cadets condoned by the authorities. In fact, it was regarded as an essential form of military indoctrination, a form of the rites of passage. - Dominick Graham, The Price of Command; A Biography of General Guy Simonds, 1993
"Discipline is not intended to kill character, but to develop it. ... Discipline, to which officer and private alike were subjected, was, in my opinion, the only basis on which an army could be effectively trained for war." - Gen. Erich Ludendorff
Victory in war does not depend entirely upon numbers or mere courage; only skill and discipline will insure it' (Lieut. John Clarke's 1767 translation of Flavius Vegetius Renatus' De Re Militari, reprinted in Phillips, 1940, 75). - Christopher Duffy, The Military Experience in the Age of Reason, 1987
Few men are brave; many become so through care and force of discipline.' (Lieut. John Clarke's 1767 translation of Flavius Vegetius Renatus' De Re Militari, reprinted in Phillips, 1940, 172). - Christopher Duffy, The Military Experience in the Age of Reason, 1987
We found it a great mistake to belittle the importance of smartness in turn-out, alertness of carriage, cleanliness of person, saluting or precision of movement, and to dismiss them as naive, unintelligent parade-ground stuff. - Field-Marshal the Viscount Slim, Defeat into Victory, 1956
It ought now to be obvious that the best type of discipline will evolve from the following circumstances:
(1) When the leader knows the individuals who make up his group.
(2) When the individuals who make up the group know the leader.
(3) When the leader identifies himself with the group in every possible way.
(4) When the whole group is a team inspired by the enthusiasm of the leader.
(5) When the team has a high standard of esprit de corps.
(6) When the team is well-instructed, keen and efficient.
- Norman Copeland, Psychology and the Soldier; The Art of Leadership, 1944
So it comes that the balance point of discipline has, at least in the British Army, insensibly shifted during the past twenty years. Soldiers of all ranks are being taught the reason why orders must be obeyed; why an unwise command wisely and unanimously carried out will carry further than a wise order hesitatingly executed; why individuals must stoop if they wish the nation to conquer. Force of habit of mind has replaced force of habit of body. - General Ian Hamilton, G.C.B., The Soul and Body of an Army, 1921
Once more, there are two sorts of discipline, distinct in principle although sometimes they may overlap in practice.
The one is born in coercion and sets the soldier outside the ring of homely sentiment which surrounds the ordinary citizen from his cradle to his grave. ... Coercive as the old discipline may be, it by no means despises the moral factor. It tries to make a religion out of something very near and real, yet, at the same time, high, intangible, romantic -- the Regiment! ...
The other sort of discipline aims at raising the work-a-day virtues of the average citizen to a higher power. It depends:
(1) Upon a sense of duty (res publica).
(2) Upon generous emulation (force of example).
(3) Upon military cohesion (esprit de corps).
(4) Upon the fear a soldier has of his own conscience (fear that he may be afraid). - General Ian Hamilton, G.C.B., The Soul and Body of an Army, 1921
We hold the conviction that to salute good Infantry is to; pay tribute to unflinching courage; honor devotion to duty and perfection of discipline that are content only with full attainment of assigned objectives; applaud resourcefulness, skill and stamina that are unsurpassable on the battlefield; salute the men that in every case must take the final and conclusive step to victory. - General Dwight D. Eisenhower
Platoon Leader: "As a green second lieutenant, I got the impression somewhere that the rough, tough individuals (usually the troublemakers in the company) would necessarily be hot shots in combat ... A lot of eight balls were tolerated for that reason ... and the truth of the matter is ... your best soldiers in garrison will invariably make your best combat men ... Impress that upon your junior leaders ..." - Extracts from Combat Lessons (World War II Combat Reports) and Combat Report from Korea, [US Army] Infantry, Vol. 50, No. 2, February-March 1960.
To keep men in hand under fire is the most difficult problem in the military art, and can only be solved by the most careful training of the men, on the practice field, in the movements that they will have to make on the actual battlefield. - "Military Training of the Regular Army of the United States," Graduating essay of Lieut. William P. Burnham, Sixth Infantry, U.S. Inf. And Cav. School; from Journal of the Military Service Institution of the United States, Vol. X, No., XLI, November 1889
In peace time laxity of discipline will cause inconvenience, annoyance and increased trouble to every one concerned; in war it means ruin and disaster. - Major-General Sir William D. Otter, K.C.B., C.V.O., The Guide: A manual for the Canadian Militia (Infantry), Ninth Edition -- Revised 1914
All Arms are Combatants
9. "There seems to be a widespread impression in the Army that soldiers of technical arms and services can justifiably leave the business of fighting to the infantry, that they themselves being technicians do not have to bother to learn how to use a rifle or other weapon. It was depressing to see the large number of unarmed soldiers in Malaya, quite apart from those who had cast away, or otherwise lost, their arms." - Current Reports from Overseas, No. 1, The War Office, September, 1942
Work defeats boredom (From an Australian report on the New Guinea fighting)
48. A busy battalion has no time to mope. No matter how inactive the operational situation may be, much can be done to maintain high morale and an offensive spirit by patrols, raids, the improvement of positions, training, range practices--in fact, by plenty of hard work. A high standard of discipline was insisted upon all times and, as a result of saluting and courtesy, a strong team spirit developed. Work, and plenty of it, is the complete answer to the fairly general belief that fighting troops suffer from tropical tiredness after twelve months. Work, interest, and insistence on efficiency will beat the tropics. - Current Reports From Overseas, No. 73, The War Office, 24th January, 1945
Few men are brave by nature, but good order and experience make many so. Good order and discipline in an army are more to be depended upon than courage alone. - Machiavelli
66. A subaltern is always to go with the men when they go into villages for provisions, straw, wood or water; he is to march them regularly and bring back to Camp in the same order; will be answerable for all disorders the men may commit, and the Commanding Officers are to be responsible that this be regularly and constantly observed. - Standing Orders for the Army--1755, Journal of the Society for Army Historical Research, Vol. V., 1926
Everyone in the forces hated training. It was intended, of course, to instill absolute discipline. Do this, soldier, or do that, sailor, and don't ask why. But so much of it was in the military term, chicken shit. Too much time was spent on parade square drills. Too much on the art of saluting. Too much in the correctness of walking-out dress. Too much on how to pack a haversack, stow a hammock, board an aircraft. Too much bayonet drill. Who would ever get close enough to a German to stick that thing in his gut?
But then came the realization of what it was all about. The almost automatic action of cleaning the rifle after firing could save your life because a jammed barrel could mean a blow-up. Those hours of digging silly slit trenches in the rain paid off when shells were bursting around you. All those hours and days and weeks of training, apparently meaning-less, all came together. The soldier, the sailor, the airman in combat had to ignore fear but still live with it - and it was the housekeeping lessons learned long ago in some Canadian training camp that helped him live with war.
But, oh God, like everyone who went through it, I remember the frustrations, the chicken shit, the rules and regulations, and the cocky corporals and the overbearing sergeants of those training camps, they were enough to break a man's spirit. But if they did, perhaps he was not much. - Barry Broadfoot, Six War Years 1939-1945, 1974
I had ... made it clear to the Eighth Army that "bellyaching" would not be tolerated. By this I meant that type of indiscipline which arises when commanders are active in putting forward unsound reasons for not doing what they are told to do. In the Eighth Army orders had generally been queried by subordinates right down the line; each thought he knew better than his superiors and often it needed firm action to get things done. I was determined to stop this state of affairs at once. Orders no longer formed "the base for discussion," but for action. - Memoirs of Field-Marshal Montgomery, The; 1958
The men in back areas discarded all possible clothing and some even took to wearing the wide-brim Sicilian straw hat. I well remember an incident that occurred one day as I was driving in my open car up to the front. I saw a lorry coming towards me with a soldier apparently completely naked in the driver's seat, wearing a silk top hat. As the lorry passed me, the driver leant out from his cab and took off his hat to me with a sweeping and gallant gesture. I just roared with laughter. However, while I was not particular about dress so long as the soldiers fought well and we won our battles, I at once decided that there were limits. When I got back to my headquarters I issued the only order I ever issued about dress in the Eighth Army; it read as follows: " Top hats will not be worn in the Eighth Army." - Memoirs of Field- Marshal Montgomery, The; 1958
Good discipline depends on good leadership and not the other way round. - Principles of Leadership (RN) 1964
Ten good soldiers wisely led will beat a hundred without a head. - Euripides
Discipline is simply the art of making the soldiers fear their officers more than the enemy. - Helvetius
You cannot be disciplined in great things and undisciplined in small things. There is only one sort of discipline - perfect discipline. Discipline is based on:-
Pride in the profession of arms.
Meticulous attention to detail.
Mutual Respect and Confidence.
Discipline can only be obtained when leaders are as imbued with the sense of their lawful obligations to their men and to their country that they cannot tolerate negligence. - George S Patton
. . . 't isn't the best drill, though drill is nearly everything, that hauls a Regiment through Hell and out on the other side. It's the man who knows how to handle men - goat-men, swine-men, dog-men, and so on. - from "Only a Subaltern," Rudyard Kipling, The Man Who Would be King and other stories, 1994
As British MP Ernest Thurtle said during the debate on capital punishment in the army in 1928, "It is not fair to take a man from a farm or factory, clap a tin hat on his head, and then shoot him if his nerve fails." After all, in the words of Brigadier General Sir John Smyth, "One's natural instinct when shooting starts is to lie in a ditch and stay there until it is all over; and it is only through discipline and training that one can make oneself get out and go forward." - Geoffrey Regan, Fight or Flight, 1996
Discipline must be imposed, but loyalty must be earned - yet the highest form of discipline exists only where there is mutual loyalty, up and down. - Maj. Gen. Aubrey S. Red Newman