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FrontlineCombat and Cohesion in Twenty-First Century$
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Anthony King

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780198719663

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198719663.001.0001

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Re-evaluating Combat Cohesion

Re-evaluating Combat Cohesion

The British Second Army in the Northwest Europe Campaign of the Second World War

(p.134) 7 Re-evaluating Combat Cohesion

Jonathan Fennell

Oxford University Press

This chapter explores the role of morale in the military strategic process and demonstrates, for the first time, how it is possible to construct a methodologically sound quantitative approach for assessing morale in an historical battle context (the British Army’s progress through Northwest Europe in 1944/5). It proposes a functional conceptualization of morale, which focuses its meaning and relevance on motivation and the willingness to act in a manner required by an authority or institution. These approaches, at least when applied to the Northwest Europe campaign, point to the need to re-evaluate the dominant theories on combat cohesion. It is concluded that strategy, understood as an iterative multilevel process rather than a level of war or activity situated only as a bridge between national policy and tactics, lies at the heart of any understanding of combat cohesion.

Keywords:   morale, motivation, iterative multilevel process, British Army, Northwest Europe campaign

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