Why do men fight? What makes for a great military unit?

“Fighting for one’s comrades is thought to be the main driver, I believe. Anyone?” – Richard Brookhiser.

MUNRO: speaking as a former Marine and son and nephew of WWII Army vets and descended from a long line of Argylls @ArgyllsMuseum, 1) comradeship is vital but only a part of what makes for a great military unit.

For example, (2) not a single Argyll was executed for desertion or cowardice 1914-1945. But Auld Pop witnessed the French executing their own, especially Black Colonial troops. The men shared great love with their NCO’s and officers, great love and friendship.

3) there is more than just fighting for your comrades in arms. The Argylls represented Scotland as an honored member in the British Empire. The 1914 volunteers were mostly mature men 25-42. They were the Empire builders. They had great pride in the Empire, their Regiment.

4) They were very close to their officers whom they addressed by nicknames and with whom they spoke in Scots dialect or Gaelic or that Hindi-Punjabi patois many old India hands knew. The Argylls was a brotherhood. They shared music, song, literature, a stoic philosophy & sports.

5) why did they fight? To keep England safe. They knew very well if Little Belgium fell the channel ports would become U-boat havens and Britain could be strangled to death.

But they were the Thin Red Line. They were British soldiers. They were Scots and Highlanders.

6) they would have been ashamed to fall beneath a certain standard or let down their chums who were the longtime friends, relatives, co-workers and in-laws. They were fun loving but highly disciplined and magnificently trained.

7) and they followed in an ancient tradition of fearlessness in close combat -the mire-catha -the ancient battle frenzy -the ancient blood lust. They were very aware of the primordial roots as the last White Barbarians -the very last relic of Iron Age warriors.

8) you could hear it in their war cries and in their piper’s skirling tunes of glory. Tunes everyone knew. Tunes, in some cases that were connected to bardic poetry. Tunes that were 10 years old or 1 year old (like Col Bogey or 500 or 800 years old.)

9) the very best troops have deep esprit d’corps, elan and shared values and history. This is why the Marines emphasize tradition and history so much. Every Marine learns of Tripoli and the ‘Canal and Iwo Jima. The very best troops have a deep culture and identity.

10) culture and identity are essential to creating the deep philia love that is the brotherhood of warriors and fighting men. Auld Pop used to say, “A soldier will die for the Colours but not for an extra two bob a day.”

10:37 PM – 13 May 2019 from Bakersfield, CA