Military Review

Morale, professionalism and the will of the commander


Three main components of success in the difficult military case. May the representatives of technical and logistical specialties forgive me, but in the modern world of counteracting a unipolar world order even advanced countries with a highly developed economy will not be able to achieve an advantage capable of ensuring their complete superiority only by the power of technical equipment. There will always be allies able to find "a welcome against any scrap." Of course, the brightest example of the wars in Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Yugoslavia, not without the help of external support, of course, but the United States and the USSR did not achieve their goals by the armed forces. Iraq can also be recalled, but it was rather the betrayal in the highest circles of power that played a decisive role. Therefore, as before, the determining factor of modern armed confrontation will be human.

But to what extent should these three components be present in a military man, officer, military unit, commander or chief of any level? At first glance, the answer is simple: to strive for infinity, the higher the level of each indicator, the better. This is true in an ideal view, but practical implementations are far from ideal, perhaps the only example of their successful combination is Tsar Leonid and his 300 Spartans (you should not give in to Hollywood propaganda, it’s better to read the true description of the Thermopyles battle itself). And to achieve this is not entirely easy, even in a small division.

I propose to the reader jointly, against the background of historical experience and the thoughts of people who have managed to successfully combine all three components, to speculate both separately for each category, and on their relationship and influence on the achievement of success.

What is morale? Morale is one of the basic concepts of military psychology, meaning the moral and physical readiness of a soldier, units, units, formation, unification and the armed forces to resist the military service and deprivation, constant focus on victory. Napoleon, perhaps better than other outstanding commanders, understood the importance of the morale of the troops. He said that one soldier with a high fighting spirit is worth three, deprived of this weapons. True, he did not take into account one thing: what he called a fighting spirit is part of a more general spiritual entity called the national spirit, and where the war is going on. The troops defending the frontiers of their countries, relatives and friends, guerrilla movements created on just principles are psychologically stronger than the soldiers who came to someone else’s land. The defenders of the Brest Fortress, Moscow and Stalingrad, the 6 Company of the Pskov Airborne Division accomplished their feat solely thanks to the fighting spirit, fulfilling their military duty to the Motherland.

Norman Copeland in his work Psychology and the Soldier most clearly revealed the concept of fighting spirit: “This is the most powerful weapon known to man; more powerful than the heaviest tank than the most powerful artillery gun than the most destructive bomb. The high morale of the troops is a means capable of turning defeat into victory. The army is not broken until it is imbued with the consciousness of defeat, for defeat is the conclusion of the mind, not a physical condition. ” It is important to remember always.

But if the morale is invisible and intangible, then the preparedness of the serviceman, unit, connection to action can be checked. How does his knowledge, skills and abilities correspond to what awaits him in a real battle? Of course, each commander knows the level of training of his subordinates, and seeks to improve him in all available ways. It is hard to learn - it is easy in battle, Suvorov wisdom, which will never lose relevance. Success is directly proportional to the level of training of troops and the professionalism of its commanders.

There are many definitions and interpretations of professionalism and professional in the scientific literature. I am most impressed with this: a professional is “the highest level of personal development in a profession, characterized by the necessary professionally important qualities, special competence, provided special education, developed professional motivation, professional thinking, value-semantic sphere, professional self-awareness, which is not realized in the form of simple functioning in the profession, and in personal and professional growth. " It is in growth, live and learn, says the proverb, there is no limit to perfection. Achieving such a level will not only skillfully act, but also foresee the development of the situation, respond in a timely manner and prevent the negative consequences of its change. Napoleon said: "I realized then that I was great when I figured out all the subtleties myself."

And if for the armed forces there is peacetime to increase their level, then for the military personnel of the internal troops and employees of the internal affairs bodies there is not much of it. Every day, combat service and suddenly arising service-combat tasks, hence the increasing demands on their professionalism.

Here you can trace a clear link between the level of training and fighting spirit. Well-trained servicemen and subunits will certainly have higher morale, they will have confidence in the ability to accomplish a combat task with minimal losses, and even without them. But even this may not be enough to win. The events in Ukraine are an example of this, after the first Molotov cocktails “Berkut” and the internal troops had everything to perform the tasks before them. And morale, and training, and providing, but the command was not followed. Why? This is a topic for another study, the fact itself is important.

Here we talk about the will of the commander. Strong-willed qualities are a person's ability to achieve goals in the face of real difficulties. The main ones are strength and stamina of will, purposefulness. Willpower - the degree of the necessary volitional effort applied to achieve the desired goal. This quality is manifested in overcoming difficulties. Fortitude will - the level of constancy and repetition of the efforts made in achieving the goal for a sufficiently long time. Almost any person, put in difficult conditions, is able to withstand a single blow of fate. Constantly resist the difficulties can only one who is persistent will. Purposefulness - the degree of awareness and clarity of the representation of the goal, as well as perseverance with which obstacles are overcome when it is achieved. The best solution, not carried to the end, will be worse than the simplest one, made with accuracy. This is an axiom proven in practice. Won the battle is not the one who gave good advice, but the one who took responsibility for its implementation and ordered to perform.

How many battles were won thanks to the will of the commander, not count. The victory of Caesar over Pompey at Farsala, the famous standing on the Ugra, Kunersdorf battle. But perhaps the brightest when purposefulness achieved victory was the battle of Trebbia, in which Russian-Austrian troops led by Field Marshal Alexander Vasilyevich Suvorov defeated the superior forces of the French. When even Suvorov’s favorite, Bagration, reported that there was a great decline, guns were not shooting from the mud, the troops were exhausted, they could no longer fight, the commander said: “It’s not good, Prince Peter” and, shouting “Horse!” shirt, rode to the troops. At once everything was resurrected, and tiredness, as it happened. All military historians recognize that if Suvorov had not even had any feats before, then in one of his movements towards Trebbia and the battles of 6-8 in June of 1799, he deserves the title of a great commander.

But the manifestation of strong-willed qualities should not be out of the blue, any decision of the commander should be justified and supported by calculations, including taking into account the morale and professionalism of subordinates. This is how Nikolai Kirillovich Poppel speaks of actions in the encirclement in 1944: “Now we have dozens, if not hundreds of fascist tanks. From the side of Stanislav, Nadvirna, Nizhnyuva attack recently replenished German divisions. We do not hide from the fighters the complexity of the situation, and they themselves see that shells, bandages and letters are delivered by air. But I have never heard a confused scream or a cowardly whisper: “Surrounded!” The tank army lives a normal, compared with 1941, combat life, only more intense than usual. No manifestations of confusion. The growth of combat skill? Of course, but not only. This is the growth of spiritual endurance, human self-awareness. "

So should the categories in question aim at infinity? Or do we harmoniously complement each other, for the sake of one goal - victory with minimal risks and costs? And not just to complement, but to organically interact with each other and merge into one, creating a single highly effective mechanism capable of performing the task.

But the strength is only that commander and chief, who understands this. Who lives the life of his subordinates not only in the service, is improved along with them, worries about every moment of their life activity, and, if necessary, will also lead by personal example. And such we, thank God, more and more!
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  1. ivanovbg
    ivanovbg 17 November 2015 07: 04
    The article is good and informative. Only an example with environments in 1941 and in 1944 is unsuccessful. In 1944, it was clear to everyone that this was a temporary setback, their own aircraft reigning supreme in the air - would it have otherwise delivered not only bandages, food and fuel, but even letters from the rear to the soldiers through the air? The environment in 1941 and in 1942 took place in a completely different setting, when it was not yet clear which one it would take and, accordingly, the reaction of the soldiers was different.
  2. blizart
    blizart 17 November 2015 07: 57
    The author wants to know something like the following: Will we be able, in a hypothetical confrontation, to compensate for our backlog in the amount of modern weapons, by the consciousness of our innocence and the best training of troops. The answer can only be given by the collision itself. Although all recent events clearly show us that the struggle in a completely interconnected world has already left a purely military plane in the field of success of civilization projects. And the question, if we take it generally, is more likely to be: Will the Russians be able to give birth more thanks to the policy of the government, or even contrary to it, whether they will be able to raise these offspring correctly, thanks or contrary. Because if you look at the very essence - people are the point of application of everything, including wars. Therefore, in the short term, you need to worry about how to get hold of such a government so that it is thanks, not contrary. Maybe I was a little distracted, but this is the basis without which it is not possible to build a combat-ready army. For she is known to be a cast of society. And the victorious traditions of the Russian army have long been known. And no matter how hard they try to hush up and distort any others, the townsfolk of all countries still know the main thing - It’s better not to mess with Russians!
    1. Amurets
      Amurets 17 November 2015 11: 29
      Quote: blizart
      this is the basis without which a combat-ready army cannot be built. For she is known to be a cast of society. And the victorious traditions of the Russian army have long been known.

      Too abstruse, but for sure. The whole essence of what you wanted to say is in the phrase that I quoted. Sorry that I used your words.
  3. parusnik
    parusnik 17 November 2015 07: 58
    Good article, interesting topic .. Thanks to the author!
    1. roml
      17 November 2015 09: 24
      Thank! first attempt at writing.
  4. marinier
    marinier 17 November 2015 10: 51
    Good time of the day, Dear Forum4ane!
    I have read the article, and by 4%, I agree with the Author !!!
    Motivation, motivation and even 1000 times the motivation !!!
    The mountains will collapse, any enemy in any number of sheu will collapse. For examples
    does not go far! Your own story !!! Especially Suvorov 4udo:
    Bogatyrs. Dumaiu I will not reveal a secret 4 I will say in the military in the Netherlands
    is still a well-known phenomenon of the commander Genius !!!
    Eeyore would add LIUBOV to his Homeland, his People. Ready at any moment
    give their priceless zizen. This eats motivation!
    1. blizart
      blizart 17 November 2015 13: 08
      As a military man, let me disagree with you. There are additive and multiplicative theories. The first from the word (add) add, add, the second, roughly speaking, multiplies the members of the group among themselves. Let me explain with an example. Let's say a musician does not have some fundamental property necessary for practicing music, let’s say he has fluent fingers and good hearing, but there is absolutely no emotional sensibility. According to the first theory, he is still a musician, since a zero added to the number leaves him unchanged. According to the second, he is not a musician, because any number multiplied by zero gives zero. You speak the main spirit. And I affirm that any spirit is useless when technical equipment tends to zero or combat training. Examples? Spanish-American War. The technique of the opponents was comparable, the spirit of the Spaniards was simply aflame, after the provocation with the Maine, but practically zero combat skills led to the defeat of their fleet. An example with technology is the Crimean War. An example with spirit is Austerlitz. It's just that in an efficient army, no component should be zero. And to give your, really priceless life is wrong motivation, it is more correct and more difficult to make the enemy give up his.
  5. roml
    17 November 2015 14: 56
    I do not claim at all that the main thing is fighting spirit (read the article carefully) the main skillful use of all components.
    and technical equipment gives victory in battle. but not in war.
  6. Turkir
    Turkir 17 November 2015 15: 26
    All military historians admit that if Suvorov hadn’t even had any feats before, then in one move to Trebbia and the battles of June 6-8, 1799, he deserves the title of great commander.

    Good article. The above quote speaks of the mind of Suvorov, who understands what a personal example is and about his personal courage. But he earned the title of the Great Russian Commander much earlier than Trebbia, in the opinion of all the same "military historians".
    For one movement he deserves the title of "great commander"? According to all military historians?
    Then you will have to "take away" the title of "great" from many great commanders, including Napoleon.
    What to say about the commanders going on the attack. It is enough to recall that the Russian officer corps marching with the soldiers in the first ranks was instantly knocked out by the Germans in the First World War. The Germans cherished their officers.
  7. Egor123
    Egor123 17 November 2015 18: 13
    Excellent article!
    I completely agree with the author!

    Almost all of our victories were not due to a technical relationship, namely, fortitude. There are many examples on this subject.