Quotes - Soldiers (page 2)

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The individual soldier has become increasingly independent in combat; this in turn has not only called for improved training, discipline, motivation and coordination, it has also required fostering improvement in intelligence, initiative, and judgement on the part of each individual at lower levels. - T.N. Dupuy, Col, US Army, Ret., The Evolution of Weapons and Warfare, 1980


The British soldier, for instance, of the Crimea and Mutiny, had got to stand for the hero of the most important order, a leonine type-in the mediaeval sense-with a strong infusion of Protestant Christianity. That British soldiers should ever show an unwillingness to rush into the jaws of death because "somebody" continued to blunder-though this certainly happened at the Redan-that the British soldiers' drunken propensities, as more than once during the Mutiny, should threaten to bring disaster out of victory, these things were ...unmentionable...
...That the British soldier was a hero was no reason for denying him the privilege of being lashed to the triangle and being tortured, or for trusting him in a responsible ex-service job, and very little for improving the inhuman condition of his daily life. The employer, the inn-keeper, the mother of any good-looking wench, might have been more inclined to echo Wellington's "scum of the earth" as a description of those heroes with whom they might be brought into personal contact. But not one of them would have seen anything incongruous in going wild with Tennysonian enthusiasm over the spectacle of a cavalry Brigade gratuitously offering itself as a target for artillery, though it would have required extraordinary strength of character and skill in horsemanship for any individual soldier to have shirked his part in that act of criminal bravery. - Esme Wingfield-Stratford, D.SC., MA, THOSE EARNEST VICTORIANS, 1930


Old soldiers set the style. As was common with the bunkhouse life of mining, logging and construction camps, his new comrades expected a man to drink, smoke, swear, and gamble. Whatever his pay, a good soldier spent it generously and wound up broke. William Lighthall marvelled at the old soldier's capacity to find liquor and avoid work. ... For a timid, retiring man, the regular fights, the endless swearing, and the constant noise made barrack-room life and ordeal. ... For others, the intensity of human comradeship was the best memory of their army life. - Desmond Morton, When Your Number's Up, The Canadian Soldier in the First World War, 1993


Horse-drawn or mule-drawn! Englishmen nowadays scarcely know a mule by sight. The horse, chiefly maintained for sport or pleasure, is still with us, the mule no longer. As the [First World] war progressed, conditions grew tougher so that the stubborn hardy mule largely replaced that high-spirited and timid creature, the horse. The man and the mule seem to be the only animals stupid enough to stand up to shell-fire. - Charles Carrington, Soldier From the Wars Returning, 1965


By placing stronger emphasis on section training, the general level of platoon and company effectiveness could be much improved. Treating the section commander more like the commissioned officer-commander to whom he reports would be an enlightened and practical way of contributing to this. Additional time spent on demanding and realistic section training would not only strengthen primary-group cohesion but would as well better condition individuals for the lonely reality of the battlefield. - John A. English, A Perspective on Infantry; (Praeger Publishers, New York) 1981


The unskilled man in the Services, as in industry, is losing his utility. Quality outweighs quantity on the modern battlefield. (June 1935.) - Liddell-Hart, Thoughts on War, 1944


There had been an incident on the march that could have had tragic results. Two British officers had seen Private A.W. Belyea of D Company [of the Second (Special Service) Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment] grab a stray chicken that crossed his path. Looting was anathema to the army, and Belyea was court-martialled. To set an example for the troops the brigade was formed up in a hollow square to hear the verdict. For poor Belyea the ordeal was terrifying as he stood alone, head bowed, awaiting the decision of the court. The verdict was hardly in doubt, and the offence could draw the death penalty. The officers who made up the court realized the maximum punishment did not fit the crime. Belyea was confined to barracks for 56 days, a meaningless punishment on the veldt. (From a related footnote - ...Capt S.M. Rogers, who commanded D Company, told his men, "Now listen, boys, it wasn't for stealing the chicken that [Belyea] was going to be hung, it was for getting caught at it, so watch yourself.") - Brian A. Reid, Our Little Army in the Field; The Canadians in South Africa 1899-1902, 1996


The best soldier has in him, I think, a seasoning of devilry. - Field-Marshal Earl Wavell, The Good Soldier, 1948


The end for which a soldier is recruited, clothed, armed, and trained, the whole object of his sleeping, eating, drinking, and marching is simply that he should fight at the right place and the right time. - Carl von Clausewitz


Intelligent obedience is but another name for initiative, and of all the qualities a soldier must possess, initiative will prove the most useful or the most dangerous according to its application.
            Initiative is really obedience without orders, that is, obedience with reference to the general plan and object of the operations as governed by the conditions of the moment. - 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


A soldier may lose everything, including his life, but he may not lose his honour. Honour means loyalty not only to his King and Country, but to his officers and his comrades. It means truthfulness, thoughtfulness and manliness. - 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


"He'll never make a good soldier" should not be heard from the confident leader. Seemingly incompetent men should be a challenge to one's ability. They should be studied more closely and the best method of handling them discovered. In every man there is much that may be made useful for military purposes. - "Discipline and Personality," by Sergt.-Major E.J. Simon, R.C.R., Canadian Defence Quarterly, Vol. II, No. 3, April, 1925


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