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  • Print publication year: 2011
  • Online publication date: February 2011

3 - Quality of manpower and morale


Men and women remain the most important assets of an Army, even since the development of modern weapons. Economy of manpower means much more than operating with the smallest numbers possible; it is also essential to use every man and woman to the best advantage.

(General Ronald Adam)

The object of training must be, firstly, to select those who possess within them the potentialities of leadership and, secondly, to develop these potentialities.

(Field Marshal B. L. Montgomery)

We seem to have plenty of people who can read orders literally but precious few who can interpret them intelligently which is far from the same thing. According to the press I see every time British Forces take it in the teeth and get shoved back from or off of something, a howl goes up from the B[ritish].P[ublic]. to Govt. about supplies and quality or quantity of tanks, guns etc. Now however true that may have been I do not believe it to be the main fault now. In my considered opinion – here's high heresy – the fault in main lies from top to bottom with the personnel!

(An officer commenting on the summer 1942 crisis in the desert)

In 1922, the Southborough Committee on Shell Shock unequivocally concluded that many of the manpower problems that had beset the British Army in the First World War could be overcome in a future war by better personnel selection and manpower policies.

Morgan, M. C., Army Welfare (War Office, 1953), p. 28.