Thinking of joining the army, but can't stop worrying about losing heart in a fight.

#1
In a few years once I'm done with University, I have decided to join the Royal Armoured Corps. I'm totally willing to risk my life and go all the way if that's what I have to do, but the truth of the matter is I have no experience with combat and high stress situation that require true bravery courage. Sure, in principle I'm willing to go toe-to-toe with the enemy, but I'm worried that I'll sign up for the army, get sent into a combat situation and chicken out under fire.

I know cowardice isn't tolerated in the Military, and was just wondering if it's common for people who have never seen combat to ask themselves if they could take it. If you have ever thought anything along these words, and have any words of comfort or advice, that would be much appreciated.
 

StBob072

LE
Book Reviewer
#2
In a few years once I'm done with University, I have decided to join the Royal Armoured Corps. I'm totally willing to risk my life and go all the way if that's what I have to do, but the truth of the matter is I have no experience with combat and high stress situation that require true bravery courage. Sure, in principle I'm willing to go toe-to-toe with the enemy, but I'm worried that I'll sign up for the army, get sent into a combat situation and chicken out under fire.

I know cowardice isn't tolerated in the Military, and was just wondering if it's common for people who have never seen combat to ask themselves if they could take it. If you have ever thought anything along these words, and have any words of comfort or advice, that would be much appreciated.
My humble and not-very-qualified opinion.

Most people have these doubts at some stage, but push them aside because there is so much else to be learned. It's good to question yourself, in fact the Army does NOT want gung ho idiots with no self-awareness, who could be a positive danger to themselves and others.

Presumably you're still quite young as you have a few years to go at University. Put the military career hopes on the back burner for a while, your mindset may well change over the next couple of years.

I've got a longer yellow streak than a herd of diuretic camels, but I think you'll find if you do ever get into a combat situation (and it's a big "if"), you'll be too busy to think about it too much, and you'll want to do what your mates are doing.

Good luck in your studies and whatever career you choose.
 
#3
Join your uni OTC, push yourself a bit. If you can't deal with a blank attack, then it's probably safer to say the army isn't really for you. That's what I'd do, at least.
 

MrBane

LE
Moderator
Kit Reviewer
Reviews Editor
#4
Don't worry about it - when push comes to shove you'll fight, because otherwise your three-bar will boot the shit out of you :D
 
#6
Do you believe in God?
That's a tough one for me. I've been an atheist most of my life, but converted last year. However I still question things from time to time. Long story short, yes I believe in God.
My humble and not-very-qualified opinion.

Most people have these doubts at some stage, but push them aside because there is so much else to be learned. It's good to question yourself, in fact the Army does NOT want gung ho idiots with no self-awareness, who could be a positive danger to themselves and others.

Presumably you're still quite young as you have a few years to go at University. Put the military career hopes on the back burner for a while, your mindset may well change over the next couple of years.

I've got a longer yellow streak than a herd of diuretic camels, but I think you'll find if you do ever get into a combat situation (and it's a big "if"), you'll be too busy to think about it too much, and you'll want to do what your mates are doing.

Good luck in your studies and whatever career you choose.
Thank you for the reassurance mate. I know I want to fight in the Royal Armoured Corps, and your words have given me confidence in myself.
Don't worry about it - when push comes to shove you'll fight, because otherwise your three-bar will boot the shit out of you :D
Hahahah, thanks mate. It seems that people who have seen combat describe it as a natural instinct to fight when shit hits the fan. Good to know that I'll have the killer instinct when the time comes to prove I can do the right thing in a bad situation.
You'll be just fine - the RAF Regiment needs you.
Nah, it's not combat I'm concerned about, it's the prospect of failure to act. But that's a natural fear that all people face, not just those in the military. I fully plan on touring a combat zone in a Tank, I know I have it in me.
 
#7
Most men do ask that question of themselves, "How will I do under fire?"

You will fight for the men around you, if you are in that noisy, smelly thing with tracks you will fight because you won't want to let the others in that armoured shell down. It's natural to question yourself and your courage, only a fool doesn't. Just go ahead and know that the training will kick in if you ever have to face that situation.
 
#8
G'day Woc,

First: good on you for having the guts to ask such a question in public.

Second: you're over thinking this waaaaay too much!

You'll go through so, so much before you even get anywhere near combat and you'll change and evolve so much that if you ever do get into combat you'll be fine.

I certainly can't speak from experience, I spent 4 years in the Royal Australian Armoured Corps and there where absolutely no opportunities to deploy overseas what so ever!

But the army, here in Australia at least, has a way of incrementally exposing you to stress and adversity so that when it becomes crunch time you're too busy doing what you've been trained to do to even worry.

I felt much the same leading up to my basic para course, I'd wanted to do it all my life but I was afraid I'd balk at the door and not jump. But the ground training leading up to our first jump, but by bit, took the fear away.
By the time a was standing on the ramp waiting to jump, I was too busy to be scared.

Like I said, I've not been in combat, but believe me you'll have so much other crap in your military career to worry about, like sweeping hangers and bashing track, that combat is the least of your worries!
 
#9
It’s a good thing to question oneself and often takes moral courage to ask others.

Unfortunately it’s a question that no one can provide the answer to and you will only find out when you come under fire. It’s not a matter of cowardice, otherwise you wouldn’t be there in the first place, it’s a matter of being able to function, being able to operate when rounds are whipping about you, people are injured and there are explosions - you haven’t got a clue what’s going on. Some people freeze, some people can just get on with it. You can’t train for this, but you can train in other ways so that certain actions become automatic, it’s your subliminal thought process working and you instictivly know what to do, at least in part.

When the shít does hit the fan, you won’t be fighting for Queen and Country, you’ll be fighting for the person next to you, regardless of if it is Uncle Knobhead who you went 10 rounds with in the dinner queue or your best mate.

I suggest you just crack on, do the best you can, trust your training and those about you, as much as you can.

Good luck.
 
#10
Big men sometimes cry and swamp themselves - lizards sometimes grow massive onions and fight like they are possessed by the devil.
You won't know until you find out - by then it's too late either way - give it a go; what's the worst that can happen?
 
#11
There's a very high chance you'll never be in a war zone, not if Labour win an election. Also the country is skint - that why there's hardly any police, money for prisons, teachers etc - we can't afford to go to war. I doubt you'll ever need to shoot your way out of a situation. I did 9 op tours - in 4 war zones, and never had to fire my weapon unless I was on the ranges. If push comes to shove though - you'd be surprised at what you can do when under pressure. I wouldn't worry to much if I was you, worrying about stuff is stupid & doesn't achieve anything. I don't worry about anything anymore and just take life as it comes - you'll learn to be like that as you get older.
 
#13
You never know how you will react in a situation until you actually experience it. If you want the career, join up and take it one step at a time. As has been said, don't over-think it.

On the other hand, if you're worried that you won't be able to handle combat in a moral or ethical sense, the Armed Forces might be a poor career choice.
 
#14
In a few years once I'm done with University, I have decided to join the Royal Armoured Corps. I'm totally willing to risk my life and go all the way if that's what I have to do, but the truth of the matter is I have no experience with combat and high stress situation that require true bravery courage. Sure, in principle I'm willing to go toe-to-toe with the enemy, but I'm worried that I'll sign up for the army, get sent into a combat situation and chicken out under fire.

I know cowardice isn't tolerated in the Military, and was just wondering if it's common for people who have never seen combat to ask themselves if they could take it. If you have ever thought anything along these words, and have any words of comfort or advice, that would be much appreciated.
Join.

You’ll find you’re not alone in that feeling.

Training kicks in and you don’t want to let you’re mates down.

The simple fact is, that very few who join are at the teeth end.

On the few occasions I found myself under fire, I never found myself too scared. It was over and done with before you have time to think about it.
 
#15
Pretty much 100% of people joining the army for the first time have zero combat experience. That's why they have shouty blokes to train and mould people to become soldiers. When it does hit the fan, you react as you've been trained and work with your oppos to take care of each other, relying on them to watch your back while you watch theirs. Been happening for centuries. Nothing new and you're not the first to have doubts.
 

MrBane

LE
Moderator
Kit Reviewer
Reviews Editor
#16
Most men do ask that question of themselves, "How will I do under fire?"

You will fight for the men around you, if you are in that noisy, smelly thing with tracks you will fight because you won't want to let the others in that armoured shell down. It's natural to question yourself and your courage, only a fool doesn't. Just go ahead and know that the training will kick in if you ever have to face that situation.
Actually, if you're in a CVR(T) you'll fight because you're sitting in a glorified tuna can that a high school Prefect could puncture with a finely sharpened 4b pencil. :D
 
#17
You are more likely to lose your will to continue breathing, let alone fight, thanks to mind numbing bureaucracy.

Some level of self doubt is both natural and healthy.
 

Daxx

MIA
Book Reviewer
#18
Don't worry about a thing that is both an unknown and something you will have little control over if happens.

Rather focus on being successful during Officer selection. You will find your will to succeed and not let your soldiers down and, Army training, will overcome any doubts you currently have.
 

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