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  • January 2016
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Quotes of interest

Posted by picard578 on January 21, 2016

“The human factor will decide the fate of war, of all wars. Not the Mirage, nor any other plane, and not the screwdriver, or the wrench or radar or missiles or all the newest technology and electronic innovations. Men—and not just men of action, but men of thought. Men for whom the expression ‘By ruses shall ye make war’ is a philosophy of life, not just the object of lip service.”

– IDF-AF commander Ezer Weizman:On Eagles’ Wings

“The tank’s purpose is to bring machine-guns to bear on the enemy’s unprotected rear, using speed and surprise.”

– US Army General George S. Patton

“My men can eat their belts, but my tanks gotta have gas.”

– George S. Patton

“The object of war is not to die for your country but to make the other bastard die for his.”

– George S. Patton

“Untutored courage is useless in the face of educated bullets.”

– George S. Patton

“Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity.”

– George S. Patton

“Prepare for the unknown by studying how others in the past have coped with the unforeseeable and the unpredictable.”

– George S. Patton

“If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn’t thinking.”

– George S. Patton

“A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week.”

– George S. Patton

“Nobody ever defended anything successfully, there is only attack and attack and attack some more.”

– George S. Patton

“Wars may be fought with weapons, but they are won by men. It is the spirit of men who follow and of the man who leads that gains the victory.”

– George S. Patton

“Don’t fight a battle if you don’t gain anything by winning.”

– Erwin Rommel

“Anyone who has to fight, even with the most modern weapons, against an enemy in complete command of the air, fights like a savage against modern European troops, under the same handicaps and with the same chances of success.”

– Erwin Rommel

“But courage which goes against military expediency is stupidity, or, if it is insisted upon by a commander, irresponsibility.”

– Erwin Rommel

“You hit somebody with your fist and not with your fingers spread.”

– Heinz Guderian

“It is sometimes tougher to fight my superiors than the French.”

– Heinz Guderian

“Logistics is the ball and chain of armored warfare.”

– Heinz Guderian

“The engine of the tank is a weapon just as the main-gun.”

– Heinz Guderian

“The nature of encounter operations required of the commanders limitless initiative and constant readiness to take the responsibility for military actions.”

― Georgy Zhukov

“Here they found real war, but they were not ready for it. They were used to easy victories. This deprived them of flexibility on the one hand, of tenacity on the other. For them, war was merely maneuvers. They have neither cavalry nor skiers, their tanks cannot pass over the snow.”

― Georgy Zhukov

“If you have an important point to make, don’t try to be subtle or clever. Use a pile driver. Hit the point once. Then come back and hit it again. Then hit it a third time – a tremendous whack.”

— Winston Churchill

“If we don’t communicate with the outside world–to gain information for knowledge and understanding–we die out to become a non-discerning and uninteresting part of that world.”

– John Boyd

“Decisions without actions are pointless. Actions without decisions are reckless.”

– John Boyd

“Machines don’t fight wars, terrain doesn’t fight wars. You must get into the minds of humans. That’s where the battles are won.”

– John Boyd

“To warn of everything is to warn of nothing.”

– CIA saying

“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”

– Albert Einstein

“There is no such thing as information overload, there’s only filter failure.”

– Clay Shirkey

“Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts.”

– William Bruce Cameron

“When you find yourself on the side of the majority, you should pause and reflect.”

– Mark Twain

“Better to be slapped with the truth than kissed with a lie.”

– Russian Proverb

“Robots don’t kill people. Algorithms kill people.”

– Jeff Jarvis

“The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off.”

― Gloria Steinem

“In the information society, nobody thinks. We expected to banish paper, but we actually banished thought.”

– Ian Malcolm (Jurassic Park by Michael Chrichton)

“A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky, dangerous animals and you know it. Fifteen hundred years ago everybody knew the Earth was the center of the universe. Five hundred years ago, everybody knew the Earth was flat, and fifteen minutes ago, you knew that humans were alone on this planet. Imagine what you’ll know…tomorrow.”

– Agent Kay (Men in Black)

11 Responses to “Quotes of interest”

  1. Duviel said

    “My men can eat their belts, but my tanks gotta have gas.”

    – George S. Patton

    Great General but an asshole of a person. I guess he was a needed evil at that time. I would have told him he could eat my belt.




    • altandmain said

      I do find that Americans tend to over-emphasize the role that they played in defeating the Germany Wehrmacht. I’m not saying their contributions were not considerable (they were), but there is this mentality that they did most of the work, which wasn’t true. The Soviet casualty figures will clearly show otherwise. Names like Stalingrad, Kursk, the Siege of Leningrad, Operation Bagration, remain alien to the Americans.

      Patton was a competent general no doubt, but he had other personal defects as well.


      • Duviel said

        The common American street and the common media do clearly overemphasize American role in WWII, especially in Europe. I do suspect this is a natural situation everywhere.

        The historically educated American mostly understands that the role of American forces was relatively minor. Soviet Forces clearly had lead role followed by British with America third in Europe.

        American industry did play huge role in arming and supplying British forces and to a lesser extent Soviet forces.

        Also, we have to include that America played the lead role against Japan. With British/Aussie/Indian and Soviet forces playing relatively minor role. I think Chinese forces played second most important role in Defeat of Japan.


      • jwkusko said

        The preserve shipments constituted 20% of the total Soviet meat production. However, the most important were the raw materials. Aviation fuel. In 1941 r. the home production covered only 4% of the needs. Allied shipments are nearly 51% of the aviation fuel used in the Great Patriotic War, nearly 53% of gun powder and explosives. Non-ferrous metals – the help from the West is nearly 82% of copper, 90% of aluminum, 75% of nickel, 50% of lead. Without those raw materials the wartime industry is flat on it’s belly. Moving on: railroad tracks – 83% of wartime USSR production, tyres and rubber – 43%, and there is still things like sugar, radiostations, armor plates, lathes, medicine… To end this discussion the most vital is the fact, that the Lend-Lease shipments helped greatly to support the resistance in the hardest year – 1942, when the whole technical potential of the Red Army from before 22nd of June 1941 ceased to exist and the evacuated factories were just beginning to return to the full capacity or were only now starting to produce new types of equipment. Without a shadow of a doubt, the USSR would have collapsed had it not been for the Lend-Lease.,artykuly,341979,1.html


        • Duviel said

          Lets just say it was clearly a Team-Effort.

          What is amazing to me is that German military machine was at the brink of Defeating France, Britain, and USSR (plus taking control of the rest of Europe) all in a matter of 24 months.

          Germany had built a powerful military force but on paper they were clearly inferior to France and the USSR. Individually not combined! They quickly overpowered France whom had considerable help from British, Dutch, and Flemish forces. Walked through the Balkans and Greece. Even with British forces supporting Greece. And, they almost ran over Russia too.

          I am not saying US played the largest role in any way. But, US did tip the scales toward the Allies. If it were not for US material and later actual forces. It is reasonable to think that all of Europe would be speaking German, maybe still today.

          Shows you the value of good tactics and leadership, high troop morale, and most importantly, the dangers of complacency and lack of preparedness.


        • picard578 said

          “What is amazing to me is that German military machine was at the brink of Defeating France, Britain, and USSR (plus taking control of the rest of Europe) all in a matter of 24 months.”

          I don’t think you can say they were on the brink of defeating USSR. By the time Wehrmacht reached Moscow, most of USSRs military industry has already moved beyond Urals, Siberian divisions were beginning to arrive at the frontline and new units were well into training. But USSR was saved by its geography, the on-paper powerful force you have mentioned proved almost useless in 1941.

          “Shows you the value of good tactics and leadership, high troop morale, and most importantly, the dangers of complacency and lack of preparedness.”

          Agreed. For all the fun discussion about technology, it is human factor that dominates the war.


      • altandmain said


        As I said, the most important thing the US did was lend it’s industrial might.

        It is also an important reason why it was able to emerge dominant after the war. The US was untouched by the devastation and suffered relatively small casualties, as a percentage of total population.

        @ Picard

        Agreed on the human factor.

        That said, I think that had the Germans taken Moscow, it would have been a major (and possibly deciding factor). They would have had to have better preparation though for the 1941-42 winter though. I think that with better preparation, they might have forced a stalemate.

        Remember that Moscow is also the major north-south line for Russian (and back then the Soviet Union). It would have made supplying Leningrad and the entire north that much more difficult.

        The real question at that point would be whether or not the Germans could hold the Moscow salient or if they can take out both the North and the South piecemeal, as they are now cut-off.


    • picard578 said

      Thanks for the links, they’re excellent.

      Patton was the best Western maneuver commander, but yes, as these articles note, he was nothing special compared to German generals. Montgomery was also an excellent general, but he was overly cautious, methodical, even when he should not have been (for example, his “pursuit” of Rommel after the Battle of El Alamein. Basically, Monty let Germans go unimpeded).


      • altandmain said


        American industrial might was their most important contribution to the war and in many ways was decisive.

        Not all German generals were competent. Particularly amongst the ones that got promoted for their ideology, but a few top that mastered politics. However the top generals were exceptional.


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