If one wishes to attack, then one must do so with resoluteness. Half measures are out of place. Only strength and confidence carry the units with them and produce success. - Field Marshal Count Helmut von Moltke
We must be very careful what we do with the British infantry. Their fighting spirit is based largely on morale and regimental esprit de corps. On no account must anyone tamper with this. - Lord Montgomery of Alamein
Comradeship and Regimental Spirit are the roots from which good morale grows. - Major-General F.M. Richardson, Fighting Spirit; A Study of Psychological Factors in War
Lack of food - the biggest single assault on morale - is rarely noticed in the many books that have been written, and the many speeches delivered upon that subject. Lord Moran, whose lectures on the subject of courage over many years lately culminated in a book, makes no mention of it. - Brigadier Bernard Fergusson, quoted in Major-General F.M. Richardson, Fighting Spirit; A Study of Psychological Factors in War
The end result of failure of morale is the Psychiatric Casualty and if any such cases occur the morale of the unit is deteriorating. - Major-General F.M. Richardson, Fighting Spirit; A Study of Psychological Factors in War
Morale has three elements:
a. The soldier's personal or individual morale.
b. His morale as a member of a small group -- e.g., platoon.
c. The morale of the unit as a whole.
- Major-General F.M. Richardson, Fighting Spirit; A Study of Psychological Factors in War
One line [of Montgomery's] which made the greatest impact with infantrymen would go as follows:
'You. What's your most valuable possession?' 'My rifle, Sir.'
'No, it isn't; it's your life, and I'm going to save it for you. Now listen to me. . .'
He would then go on to explain how he would never make the infantry attack without full artillery and air support. Such visits were, as Richard Lamb records, almost invariably: "successful beyond expectation. He had, after all, spent a lifetime with soldiers, and he loved and understood them, especially young men; he could mesmerize them by his speeches, and he revelled in his popularity. Now he found that the average young soldier expected to die in the coming assault, and he sought to dispel their gloom by instilling a revivalist fervour. In this he was right, for morale in Britain was low." - Alistaire Horne, The Lonely Leader; Monty, 1944-1945, 1994
I sat on Monty's left. I described our trip to Burma, SEAC, Kandy, etc. His chief amusement was to deride Kandy, Staff College, the teaching, anything he could lay his hands on, he recited the principles on which war should be based, in his opinion. He asked me the first. I said 'concentration'. 'You have not been with me very long; it is all in my book. Have you read my book? I sometimes have three principles which I adhere to in all my battles - sometimes I have seven. Concentration is not among any of them. But all these old things like concentration, co-operation, are all wrapped up in my principles. The first is "win the air battle"; the second is "the initiative" and all that means; the third is "morale".' - Major Peter Earle, one of Monty's liaison officers, quoted in Alistaire Horne, The Lonely Leader; Monty, 1944-1945, 1994
The beginning of leadership - is a battle for the hearts and minds of men. - Field Marshal Bernard L. Montgomery
The efficiency of an army depends on many different things, but one is outstanding- and that is morale. You can have all the material in the world, but without morale it is largely ineffective. You must have morale, first and foremost, and morale is determined by a great many things. Primarily it depends, of course, on leadership, the possession of equipment and, in the long run, on the people back home. - General George C. Marshall
Our success over our enemies will depend upon the degree of development of certain essentials of military personnel:
1. Skillful and resolute leadership.
2. A high morale.
3. Well organized and disciplined troops.
If we have the first of these three we are bound to have the last two. - General Alexander M. Patch
One aspect of ... mixing of units [when casualty rates and available replacements did not align for each regiment] was that the Regimental System started to defeat its own ends. Owing to the closeness of their ties with their own regiments and their conviction that that was the best regiment in the Army, men who were suddenly drafted to another which they had been taught to believe was less good, automatically suffered a loss of morale and, in some notable cases, even refused to fight and deserted to join a battalion of their own regiment which was somewhere in the same theatre. This was a deplorable state of affairs, and happily did not occur very frequently, but it must be realized that the mixing of regiments in this way was unavoidable and was the direct result of the Regimental System as it stood. - Lieut.-Colonel R.J.A. Kaulback, D.S.O., p.s.c., "The Regiment", Journal of the Royal United Service Institution, Vol. XCI, February to November 1946
Yet the British soldier himself is one of the world's greatest humourists. That unglamourous race, the Germans, held an investigation after the late War into the causes of moral, and attributed much of the British soldier's staying power to his sense of humour. They therefore decided to instil this sense into their own soldiers, and included in their manuals an order to cultivate it. They gave as an illustration in the manual one of Bairnsfather's pictures of "Old Bill" sitting in a building with an enormous shell-hole in the wall. A new chum asks: "What made that hole?" "Mice," replies "Old Bill." In the German manual a solemn footnote of explanation is added: "It was not mice, it was a shell." - General Sir Archibald Wavell, Generals and Generalship, 1941
Among the subalterns [of the 2nd Scottish rifles] is Somervail, who is to be the lone survivor among the officers at the end of the battle [of Neuve Chapelle], and is to bring out the unbroken remnant of the battalion in five nights' time. Finally the long column passes, and another Regiment looms out of the darkness, for the road from Estaires is full of troops tonight. As the last man passes from sight, and the picture fades back into its proper place in the past, one wants to know on what foundations the fortitude of this battalion was built. can one pick out the main ingredients of its high morale? Out of the factors I have brought into this study I consider five to be the most important, which I have arranged in order of priority.
First, I would place Regimental loyalty; the pride in belonging to a good battalion, in knowing other people well and being known by them; in having strong roots in a well-loved community.
Second, the excellent officer-other rank relationship; the high quality of the leaders, and the trust placed in them by their men; the mutual confidence and goodwill which developed in the harsh life of the trenches.
Third, strong discipline; the balance between self-discipline and the imposed sort.
Fourth, the sense of duty of all ranks; highly developed in the officer by his training and background; developed in the soldier both by his training and by the realization that someone else would have to do his job if he failed to do it properly himself.
Fifth, sound administration, so that in spite of many difficulties the battalion was well provided with the necessities of war such as rations and ammunition. - John Baynes, quoted in BGen D.G. Loomis, MC, OMM, CD, "The Regimental System"
Another morale booster among officers in an Infantry battalion in Korea was the "Muddler" award. The award was an enlarged drink stirring rod about the size of a canoe paddle. It was painted black and appropriately decorated with a battalion crest. The award was presented to the officer in the battalion who muddled or bungled the most in the performance of his duties during a two week period. The previous winner presented the "Muddler" to a worthy successor. he received nominations from the officers present and then selected the officer he deemed the biggest muddler of them all. There were some real bungles reported. One such bungle involved the battalion's reconnaissance platoon leader who, while attempting to find a fording site in a swollen river, found himself standing in ankle deep water on the hood of his jeep. The "Muddler" award stimulated laughter and contributed to the esprit de corps of the battalion. It also encouraged zero defects. - Captain Peter M. Elson, "Humor is no Laughing Matter", Infantry, March-April 1972
Besides skill, an instructor must have patience tempered by firmness and kindness; he must have an iron hand under a velvet glove. He must beware of familiarity, also of sarcasm. A soldier's discipline is based on respect for his superiors, therefore to make a sarcastic remark to a man, say, on parade, is a cowardly act, for the man cannot answer back. Imagine what effect it has on a man's moral to feel that he is commanded by a cad. - Brevet Colonel J.F.C. Fuller, D.S.O., "Moral, Instruction and Leadership," Journal of the Royal United Services Institution, Vol. LXV, February to November, 1920
Morale can be described as a mental state composed of three main ingredients:--
Confidence and Pride in Self.
Confidence and Pride in Leaders.
Confidence and Pride in the Team.
From and Army point of view such a Team might be the Section, Platoon, Company, Battalion, Brigade or Division. - "Morale," by Lieut.-Colonel J.G. Shillington, D.S.O., Journal of the Royal United Service Institution, Vol. XCV, February to November, 1950
Everyone should educate himself to be a good citizen, and want to be a good citizen. Every soldier should aim at being the best soldier in his unit, and want to be the best soldier in his unit. The efficient and ambitious will always be happy. - "Morale," by Lieut.-Colonel J.G. Shillington, D.S.O., Journal of the Royal United Service Institution, Vol. XCV, February to November, 1950
Regimental spirit and tradition can be a powerful factor in making for good morale, and must be constantly encouraged. - Montgomery
The morale of any army suffers when the common soldiers feel that they are being treated less well than their officers. - Geoffrey Regan