This is the best conversation we've had here for ages....

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Posted by Michael Dorosh from Canada on May 21, 2021 at 20:53:45:

In Reply to: Re: Good points posted by Victor on May 21, 2021 at 15:12:00:

...points well taken again. The problem with the armies of 1917 or 1944, is that they became that way only after a lot of experience (ie bloodshed and terrible, terrible mistakes). The "fighting spirit" was a direct result of that - I'll ask you this - is it possible to recreate that in peacetime?

I don't know, that's why I'm asking.

Further - is it desirable? We can see where it went awry - the Airborne Regiment certainly oozed espirit de corps and fighting spirit - but they had no way to give it expression. And don't anyone kid themselves that the problems with the Airborne were limited to one "little murder." That whole organization was full of "fighting spirit" - and channeled into the wrong kinds of expression (ie burning the (RSM?)'s car on the parade square, the bizarre hazings - I've seen these explained away as "just a house party" - but either way, is that the kind of behaviour one wants to promote?

Sorry if I'm using a bad example, Victor. I would hope that the kind of fighting spirit you talk about is indeed possible to instill in peacetime soldiers. I'm sure it was in the 1950s and 1960s - but there were still a lot of Korean War and World War Two veterans around.

I just wonder if battle experience isn't a necessary precursor to highly motivated, disciplined troops.

Our Army was lucky in that it got to ride the coattails of the Vimy/Normandy/Kapyong generations up until the 1980s (ie the end of the Cold War when we had a visible, easily identified enemy we were prepared to fight).

The mystique has since worn off, as you point out - I don't think anything short of a war (God forbid) would help the army get it back. Or at least a more over threat than we are now facing. I am not saying we don't face many threats - dire ones - but the public just doesn't see it that way - and if the voters don't see it that way, you know the elected ones won't see it that way either.

Oka, the Gulf, Somalia and Yugo certainly haven't helped in that regard either.

So - what do we do now?

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