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

Defence-In-Depth

DR JONATHAN FENNELL

In a previous blog post, I argued that by assessing rates of sickness, battle exhaustion, desertion, absence without leave and self inflicted wounds (SIW) in an army, morale can be accurately, and in a statistically robust way, measured. This methodological innovation makes it possible to assess and graph levels of morale in British Second Army during the Northwest Europe campaign of the Second World War.

image1

Figure One: Second Army, Weekly Admissions per 1,000 to General Hospitals and Casualty Clearing Stations for Sickness, Battle Exhaustion and SIW, 11 June 1944 to 5 May 1945. Morale scale equivalents are presented on the right hand Y-axis.

The picture of morale that emerges from Figure One shows clearly that, while morale was, on the whole, high to excellent for much of the campaign, it did dip at some critical moments in July and November 1944 and January and February 1945…

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