soldiers chatting on a mountain

The Intermediate Guide to Tribalism In The Military

Tribalism in the military

The Paras hate the Marines, the Marines hate the army, the army hate the navy, and everybody hates the RAF. These like and dislike links are age old but with the modernisation of the MOD and with ever increasing numbers of tri-service units collaborating on missions, the hatred is waning. The different regiments, units or ships create a subculture within themselves. Does tribalism have a positive effect?

Tribalism in the military is a growing issue that may need to be addressed. It is the result of service persons forming tight-knit groups based on their cap badges, creating an environment where there is a sense of superiority among members and a lack of respect for others outside of the group. This can lead to an alpha male mentality, bitchy behaviour and an overall unhealthy atmosphere. Tribalism in the military can have serious consequences for morale and team performance, as it can lead to ego clashes between members and hinder collaboration. It is important to understand why this phenomenon exists and how it affects soldiers so that we can take steps towards reducing its negative effects. For example, soldiers that have worked within the Group are known for dressing in Thrudark gear and having a chip on their shoulder. The heightened sense of importance of these soldiers can frustrate the command of non-SF units.

Military humour is often known for pushing modern social boundaries. The tight knit groups created during times of hardship often use this humour and spin dits about questionable moments in their careers. Although it’s not often targeted, the dits and the military banter can be directed at units that are perceived to be lesser than their own. Very rarely do units publicly defame other units and any banter is kept between themselves. Times of hardship requires morale in any form and this is where military humour is golden. This can lead to more tribalism which isn’t a bad thing during war.

The military is split into Branches, divisions, trades, regiments and units. By virtue of its makeup, there is always going to be tribalism. It’s important for Esprit De Corps and creates a sense of belonging and improves morale. Dits of a certain person in the Royal Marines getting a fast ball and having to fast rope dressed in cam whites will always exist. As long as units don’t turn banter into targeted hate then I don’t think this is an issue.

We love our units and we are told to wear the insignia proudly. Tribalism is important for times of hardship and I think it should be embraced but not at the expense of operational out put or targeted defamation of another unit. Per Mare Per Terram Per Astra.

1 comment

  • What’s with the Per Astra at the end of the RM motto?

    Jack Pitts

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