To the dogface on patrol, his platoon command post, with its machine gun
emplacement, is rear echelon and home and the safest place in the world.
The gunner in the platoon CP is itching to get back to the safety of company headquarters, where the topkick is equally anxious to find an excuse to visit battalion.
The radio operators in Battalion like to go after extra tubes at Regimental supply, even though Regimental seldom stocks tubes, and the guys who work at field desks in Regimental hat the guts of those rear echelon bastards in Division. Division feels the same way about Corps, Corps about Army, Army about Base Section and, so help me hannah, Base Section feels that way about soldiers in the states. - Bill Mauldin, Up Front
"The British soldier who thought himself superior, actually became so." - John Graves Simcoe First Governor of Upper Canada Military Journal 1787
The army carried its own life with it wherever it went, and you lived pretty much the same, whether you were in India, China, or any other place. You lived between the barrack-room and the wet canteen, without any social life at all. For all the years I was in India before the [First World] war, I was never in a house ... There was a ritual every evening. The men would make themselves absolutely spotless - uniform pressed, boots polished, hair plastered down - as if every one of them had a girl-friend waiting for them at the gate. But they had no girl-friends, and they never went out of the gate. They went straight down to the wet canteen and got drunk. That was what they got dressed up for. (C.S.M. Robert Leggat, Scottish Rifles) - Alan Lloyd, The War in the Trenches, 1976
CANADIAN ARMY JOURNAL, VOL 14, NO 4, FALL 1960
In his excellent book Wellington, A Reassessment (James Barrie, London, 1956), Sir Charles Petrie cites several examples of fraternization between the opposing French and British armies during the Peninsular War. After describing one or two incidents, he writes: "More incredible is the story told by George Bell, later Major-General Sir George Bell, of the 34th, concerning an Irish sentry who was found with a French and a British musket on his two shoulders, guarding a bridge over a brook on behalf of both armies. When the officer going his rounds demanded an explanation the man explained that his French opposite number had gone off with his last half-dollar to buy brandy for the two of them, and had left his musket in pledge until his return. At this point the French officer going his rounds on the other side put in an appearance, and said that he had caught his sentry, unarmed and far to the rear, carrying two bottles. After some conversation the two subalterns agreed that if they reported the incident to their superiors the sentries would be court-martialled and shot, so they decided to hush the matter up altogether. - Contributed by Captain R.H. Roy, Victoria College Detachment, COTC, Victoria, B.C.
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
A rifleman's observations on his officers. - It is, indeed, singular, how a man loses or gains caste with his comrades from his behaviour, and how closely he is observed in the field. The officers, too, are commented upon and closely observed. The men are very proud of those who are brave in the field, and kind and considerate to the soldiers under them. An act of kindness done by an officer has often during the battle been the cause of his life being saved. Nay, whatever folks may say upon the matter, I know from experience, that in our army the men like best to be officered by gentlemen, men whose education has rendered them more kind in manners than your coarse officer, sprung from obscure origin, and whose style is brutal and overbearing. - Recollections of Rifleman Harris, Edited by Captain Henry Curling, London 1848, quoted in T.H. McGuffie, M.A., F.R.Hist.S., Rank and File; the Common Soldier at Peace and War 1642-1914, 1964
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
...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
The core of a soldier is moral discipline. It is intertwined with the discipline of physical and mental achievement. Total discipline overcomes adversity, and physical stamina draws on an inner strength that says "drive on." - Former Sergeant Major of the Army, William G. Bainbridge
Soldiers' ability to sustain themselves and their fellow soldiers during periods of high stress is built upon rock-hard confidence in themselves and their leadership chain beginning with fire team leaders or the noncommissioned officer of their section.... What we have learned and relearned in our Army is that unit cohesion and teamwork are what give individual soldiers the confidence to use initiative, to be resourceful, and to be all they can be. -SMA Glen E. Morrell, "What Soldiering Is All About." ARMY, Oct 1986
The soldier should be made to understand at all periods of his training how the various parts of his course of instruction fit him for his duties in war. In particular, the close connection between musketry and manoeuvre must be emphasised. - Infantry Training (4 - Company Organization), London, 1914