Why charisma is a more important weapon on the battlefield than the size of an army

Ukrainian troops scored unlikely victories over Russia because they were 'enough confident' to know they could defeat Vladimir Putin's forces - Ukrainian Presidential Press Service/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock
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Charismatic commanders on the battlefield are more important than troop strength, said the British Army chief.
General Sir Patrick Sanders, Chief of the General Staff, said Ukraine will win the war against Russia because of its frontline stance.
Sir Patrick told delegates at the Future Atlantic Forum in New York that it was the "extraordinary impact" of individual examples of leadership that led to such a powerful counteroffensive by Ukrainians.
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"Charismatic commanders on the battlefield can make all the difference regardless of the balance of power," he said.
General Sir Patrick urged those gathered "not to lose sight of these intangibles", adding: "We are not good at measuring them.
"We're not very good at predicting the present, let alone being able to see into the future."
General Sir Patrick Sanders speaking at the Future Atlantic Forum in New York - Kevin Walton/Royal Navy
When Russia invaded Ukraine in February, its army had 900,000 soldiers - making it the fourth-largest military in the world. By comparison, Ukraine had only 361,000 troops when fighting broke out.
"Physics told you that the Ukrainians couldn't win because they didn't have enough balance of power, and yet on several occasions they were sufficiently confident in their own moral component to know they could defeat the Russians," General added Added Sir Patrick.
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He said such a mindset "depends on the cause you're fighting for," coupled with the "will and cohesion of the forces and the people."
He also spoke of the importance of "shock effect," which "is something we as military commanders want to achieve."
He added: "For those who have experienced it, it's debilitating, it cripples your decision-making and it causes panic - and we've seen some of that play out on the Kharkiv front lines."
Ukraine's offensive in the Kharkiv region proved that tanks, when used properly with supporting infantry and air cover, remain vital to offensive maneuver warfare.
Ukrainian soldiers aboard a captured Russian tank. General Sir Patrick Sanders says tanks remain crucial on battlefield - Paula Bronstein/Getty Images
It's a point General Sir Patrick maintains after saying that "land will still be the crucial domain" if a battle between NATO and Russia should break out.
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In his inaugural address to the Royal United Services Institute (Rusi) as Chief of Staff, Sir Patrick warned that the capabilities of the British Army were "far below what they should be for a nation of our standing".
"You can't cyber your way across a river," he said.
It's a feeling that stuck with him. General Sir Patrick said at the Forum earlier this week: "Land is where wars are decided and conflicts are ended, but we've seen it's just so much more difficult when you're not exploiting the other areas.
“For future features, it will be integrated and connected. You may not fight with the British Army, but you will support someone's army."
Summarizing his thoughts on the end of the war in Ukraine, Sir Patrick warned: "War is such a complex matter, there is so much friction and uncertainty that I'm not sure the combination of politics and violence is something you can do can easily reach model".
He added: “Terrain gets in the way. Fortunes are decided by whether or not you can cross a river, and there's not a lot of cyber​​or AI that's going to help you with that.
"It's about attrition, it's about mass, it's about fire, and inventory and logistics are really important."
Wladimir Putin
President of Russia

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