Armed Forces - Military Quotations - General Quotations - Extracts from Officers' Anuual Confidential Reports


There are three groups - 

'Military' -  'General'  and 'Extracts from Officers' Annual Confidential Reports'


"The military value of a partisan's work is not measured by the amount of property destroyed, or the number of men killed or captured, but the number he keeps watching."

John Singleton Mosby 1833-1916
Confederate Cavalry Leader

"Peace - In international affairs, a period of cheating between two periods of fighting."

The Devils Dictionary 1911

"A few honest men are better than numbers."

Oliver Cromwell

"The beatings will continue until morale improves."

Attributed to the Commander of the Japanese Submarine Force.

"When other Generals make mistakes their armies are beaten; when I get into a hole, my men pull me out of it".

The Duke of Wellington -after Waterloo

"One might as well try to charge through a wall".

Napoleon - On St Helena - Regarding the British Infantry

"Take short views, hope for the best and trust in God."

Sir Sydney Smith

"There is no beating these troops in spite of their generals. I always thought them bad soldiers, now I am sure of it. I turned their right, pierced their centre, broke them everywhere; the day was mine, and yet they did not know it and would not run".

Marshal Soult - Albuhera 1811

"Confusion in battle is what pain is in childbirth - the natural order of things".

General Maurice Tugwell

"This is right way to waste money"

PJ O'Rourke - Rolling Stone Magazine - (Watching missiles firing during an exercise)

" This is just something to be got round - like a bit of flak on the way to the target".

Group Captain Leonard Cheshire VC - Speaking of his incurable illness in the week before he died.

"Pale Ebenezer thought it wrong to fight,

But roaring Bill, who killed him, thought it right".

Hilaire Belloc

"Everyone wants peace - and they will fight the most terrible war to get it".

Miles Kington - BBC Radio 4th February 1995

"The easiest and quickest path into the esteem of traditional military authorities is by the appeal to the eye, rather than to the mind. The `polish and pipeclay' school is not yet extinct, and it is easier for the mediocre intelligence to become an authority on buttons, than on tactics".

Captain Sir Basil Liddel Hart Thoughts on War 1944

"Having lost sight of our objectives we need to redouble our efforts".


"The purpose of war is not to die for your country. The purpose of war is to ensure that the other guy dies for his country".

General Patton.

"War is a competition of incompetence - the least incompetent usually win".

Pakistani General Tiger -after losing Bangladesh.

"The number of medals on an officers breast varies in inverse proportion to the square of the distance of his duty from the front line."

Charles Montague 1867-1928

"Nothing is so good for the morale of the troops as occasionally to see a dead general".

Field Marshal Slim

"It makes no difference which side the general is on".

Unknown British Soldier


"Success is generally 90 per cent persistence".


"You Liberals think that goats are just sheep from broken homes."


"Anyone sitting on a bus after the age of 30 should consider themself a failure".

Lady Westminster
"A statesman is a politician who's been dead for ten to fifteen years."
US President Harry S Trueman
"It is only worthless men who seek to excuse the deterioration of their character by pleading neglect in their early years".

Plutarch - Life of Coriolanus - Approx AD 80

"They say hard work never hurt anybody, but I figured why take the chance".

Ronald Regan

"To applaud as loudly as that for so stupid a proposal means that you are just trying to fill that gap between your ears".

David Starkey - BBC Radio (4 Feb 95)
"Its always best on these occasions to do what the mob do". "But suppose that there are two mobs?" suggested Mr Snodgrass. "Shout with the largest" replied Mr Pickwick.
Pickwick Papers Chapter 13

"Ah, these diplomats! What chatterboxes! There's only one way to shut them up - cut them down with machine guns. Bulganin, go and get me one!"

Joseph Stalin - As reported by De Gaulle during a long meeting.

"The primary function of management is to create the chaos that only management can sort out. A secondary function is the expensive redecoration and refurbishment of offices, especially in times of the utmost financial stringency".

Theodore Dalrymple "The Spectator" 6 November 1993.

"He knows nothing and thinks that he knows everything. That points to a political career."

George Bernard Shaw

"The men who really believe in themselves are all in lunatic asylums."

G K Chesterton

"The best sound is always the sound of your best friend falling off a 40 storey building."

Chairman Mao

"I consider myself to be the most important figure in the world."

His Royal Highness - Field Marshal Idi Amin Dada VC

"There are five Great National Delusions.
The first is that there are solutions to all the problems. 
The second is that only a strong centre can solve the problems. 
The third is that the strong centre must embody one's own views exclusively. 
The fourth Great Delusion is that heroic surgery is required, and the fifth, that the heroic surgeons must be oneself and one's cronies armed with scalpels as big as machetes."

Louis de Bernieres - The Troublesome Offspring of Cardinal Guzman.

"What all the wise men promised has not happened and what all the dammed fools said would happen has come to pass".

Lord Melbourne


"Works well when under constant supervision and cornered like a rat in a trap"

"He has the wisdom of youth, and the energy of old age."

"This Officer should go far - and the sooner he starts, the better."

"This officer is depriving a village somewhere of its idiot."

"Only occasionally wets himself under pressure."

"This Officer is really not so much of a has-been, but more of a definitely won't-be."

"When she opens her mouth, it seems that this is only to change whichever foot was previously in there."

"He has carried out each and every one of his duties to his entire satisfaction."

"He would be out of his depth in a car park puddle."

"Technically sound, but socially impossible."

"This Officer reminds me very much of a gyroscope - always spinning around at a frantic pace, but not really going anywhere."

"This young man has delusions of adequacy."

"When he joined my ship, this Officer was something of a granny; since then he has aged considerably. "

"This Medical Officer has used my ship to carry his genitals from port to port, and my officers to carry him from bar to bar."

"Since my last report he has reached rock bottom, and has started to dig."

"She sets low personal standards and then consistently fails to achieve them."

"His men would follow him anywhere, but only out of curiosity."

"I would not breed from this Officer."

"This officer has the astonishing ability to provoke something close to a mutiny every time he opens his mouth".