10 Awesome Military Mottos From Around the World

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Virtually every military unit on Earth has its own motto, and as you can imagine a lot of them are pretty awesome. Apparently for some units, merely being badass wasn’t enough and as a result, they have mottos that wouldn’t look out of place on the cover of a power metal album. For example, consider the mottos of…

10. The Pakistan Navy 

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With tens of thousands of personnel, a couple dozen ships and even some helicopters on command, the Pakistani Navy is a surprisingly, robustly equipped fighting force, considering most people couldn’t find it on a map that didn’t already have Iran and Iraq labelled.

The motto: A silent force to reckon with

Even we have to admit that it takes pretty big balls to make the motto of a military unit that is almost exclusively staffed by giant metal ships, a brag about how you’re able to silently sneak up on people. But that’s exactly what the Pakistani Navy did, and while it is true that the Pakistani Navy has stealth ships, they only had those made in 2008. That means for five decades the Pakistani Navy was advertising how stealthy it was when it had no real way to sneak up on people. We don’t know whether to call that stupid or just an example of an incredibly sophisticated mind game, but either way, it’s brilliant.

9. The Royal Ranger Regiment

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Hailing from sunny Malaysia, a country mostly known for being deceptively difficult to spell, the Royal Ranger Regiment is notable for being the only unit in the country permitted to wear a pimpin’ black feather in their already awesome berets. They’re also known as the guys who taught the SAS how to track people through the jungle back in the 1950’s and ‘60’s.

The motto: Still Alive, Still Fight

We’d be tempted to carve these four words into our tombstone if we weren’t worried that doing so would cause it to catch on fire and turn into a jet like Starscream. The fact that the Royal Ranger Regiment’s motto is basically them screaming that the only way they’ll stop fighting is if they die is just proof that Malaysia is probably where all of the coolest dinosaurs came from.

8. Israeli Armored Corps

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Reading about the Israeli military is like researching alternate Batman origin stories. Everything seems kind of familiar, give or take a few additional, hilarious details. For example, for many years the Israeli military issued all of its soldiers guns, which isn’t that strange since most soldiers are given guns these days, except for Australian commandos, who are given huntsman spiders and bottles of Koala pee. But unlike most soldiers, the guns Israelis were equipped with came with built in bottle openers as standard so that soldiers could open bottles without damaging their guns, which they were apparently doing enough for the government to invest in this alternative.

The motto: The man in the tank shall win

When the motto you give your Armored Division is basically a quote from Halo 3, you officially win every fictional “who would fare better in a fight” argument by default, mainly due to sheer irrational confidence. We mean, come on Israel, what happens if the other guy has a tank, too? Does it turn into a stalemate where both tanks have to wait until one of the drivers needs to get out and pee? We need an answer to this question, so please get back to us soon, Isreal.

7. Israeli Engineering Corps

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Armed with everything from bulldozers to minesweeping robots named after members of the A-Team, the Combat Engineering Corps are the bigger, badder, and better-equipped brother of the Armored Corps we just talked about. That’s handy, since the Engineering Corps often find themselves being tasked with some of the most dangerous jobs imaginable, like disarming the vests of suicide bombers and changing the tracks of tanks that are being shot at with RPGs.

The motto: The hard we shall do today, the impossible we shall do tomorrow

Technically speaking, this is the unofficial motto of the Engineering Corps, but after reading what these guys do on a day-to-day basis, can anyone honestly say it doesn’t fit better than the unit’s actual motto of “Always First”? We’re guessing the only reason that this isn’t the official motto yet is because they keep putting off filing all of the paperwork until tomorrow.

6. The Gurkhas

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No list about awesome military units would be complete without a guest appearance from the Gurkhas. There are so many stories out there about Gurkha soldiers accomplishing Goku-esque feats of heroism that you can even find them online if you search for them using Bing, and there are so many different ways of categorizing the kinds of ass they kick that they have their own TV Tropes page. Forget winning medals, that is truly the greatest honor an ancient fighting force could hope for.

The motto: It is better to die with honour than live a coward

When asked to comment on the Gurkhas, a Field Marshall by the name of Sam Manekshaw was quoted as saying: “If a man says he is not afraid of dying, he is either lying or is a Gurkha.” Far from being a hyperbolic statement meant to intimidate someone, this was a plainly uttered statement of fact. Gurkhas really aren’t afraid to die. If you don’t believe that statement, we invite to read all about Taitex Phlamachha, a former Gurkha who punched a mugger half to death while that same mugger’s knife was lodged in his forearm. Or how about this story about a single Gurkha fighting off 30 Taliban soldiers, some of whom he beat to death with his gun when it ran out of ammo?

5. Kampfschwimmers (German Commando Frogmen)

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It usually takes a person with lead balls to join a military unit dedicated to underwater missions, both because being underwater for prolonged periods is terrifying and because it helps with buoyancy. That’s presumably why the German commando frogmen unit has to give potential recruits a thorough psychological evaluation to minimize the risk of them completely wigging out while underwater. We assume that’s probably why the offical motto of the Kampfscwimmers is the German equivilent of “suck it up or go home.”

The motto: Learn to suffer without complaining.

It says a lot about a unit dedicated to flourishing in an environment humans cannot survive for it to have a motto that basically tells whoever joins that they’ll never truly learn to not fear going underwater, so get over it. We’re not entirely sure what it’s actually saying, but that’s mainly because we’re too terrified of the German frogmen to ask. Can you really blame us?

4. Finnish Rapid Deployment Force

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Largely deployed for peacekeeping, the Finnish Rapid Deployment Force is made up of volunteers who’ve already finished their military service and wish to continue serving. If you’re wondering why Finnish people would voluntarily sign up for more military service, it may have something to do with the fact that the FRDF has a “mechanized jäger battalion” which we’re guessing people join because it really sounds like something from Pacific Rim. Then again, it could have something to do with…

The motto: Look good, do good

Just let that motto soak in for a second. According to that motto, the goal of Rapid Deployment Force isn’t to protect and serve. It isn’t to be an unwavering sentinel of justice. It is simply to “do good” while simultaneously looking awesome. We’re assuming Finnish officials decided against making the motto “Stylin’ and Profilin’” because they didn’t want to pay Ric Flair royalties. For anyone who’s curious about how good the FRDF actually look, here’s a picture of one of its recruits posing for a photo moments before he was accused of having Sub-Zero like ice powers for being so cool.

3. Joint Task Force 2

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It may sound like a terrible Chuck Norris movie, but Joint Task Force 2 is one of Canada’s most elite counter terrorism units, and is so secretive that most Canadian government and military officials are barred from ever talking about it. That’s kind of hilarious when you realize that the unit has its own page on the Canadian Defence Department’s website, and that they openly recruit using ads in magazines. Then again, since the unit was apparently founded on April Fools’ day, maybe Canadian officials think the group is an elaborate prank just waiting to be revealed.

The motto: Deeds, not words

Even though it’s only three words long, this motto tells you all you need to know about the unit: CBC commentators can have the words; leave the action to these elite Canadian asskickers. Of course, just because they speak softly and carry a big (hockey?) stick doesn’t change the fact that this unit is one of the worst kept secrets in military history. Along with having its own website and advertising in papers, the headquarters of Joint Task Force 2 is publicly listed, meaning anyone can drive up and start taking pictures, which, for the curious, usually results in men dressed all in black emerging from inside the base and politely asking you to stop. Oh, Canada. Never change.

2. The Royal Navy

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As the name suggests, the Royal Navy is technically sworn to serve the Queen of England who, if she really felt like it, could tell them to declare war on any country she didn’t like. According to British law, the Queen is the de facto Commander-in-Chief of all of Britain’s armed forces and has the ability to use them in any way she sees fit. Why are we mentioning this, you ask? Well, we just thought it was pretty funny that the Queen of England could get really drunk and have someone in a tank declare war on a McDonald’s.

The motto: If you wish for peace, prepare for war

This motto, originally taken from a Latin phrase that has existed for centuries, is quite literally the most metal slogan on this entire list. That’s because, along with being the motto of the oldest existing navy on Earth, it’s also the name of a Death Metal track so hardcore it automatically starts playing in any car that is being chased by a T-Rex. If the Royal Navy had any sense, they’d make that song their official theme music and drive in circles while playing it on the Russian border to intimidate Putin in order to put an end to any possible war before it has a chance to start.

1. Greek First Army Corps

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We did originally plan to have an entire bit to go here telling you all about the Greek First Army Corps, but we realized that all of it was pointless since nothing is ever going to be more memorable or interesting than their motto.

The motto: Molon Labe

As we’ve discussed in detail before, Molon labe is what King Leonidas of Sparta said when King Xerxes told him to give up his weapons at the now legendary Battle of Thermopylae. Roughly translated, “Molon Labe” means “come and take them” and it’s basically an open invite to try and take the their weapons away if you think you’re tough enough. And since the Greek First Army Corps had this as their motto, in a sense they were inviting the whole world to come and fight them. That’s a move that’s usually reserved only for drunken Bostonians. Frankly, we’ll be damned if that isn’t the image we end this article on: a military unit so sure of itself it has literally made its motto one of the most biting comebacks in the history of warfare.

Got a hankering for all things badass?
Maybe you should take a look at the Top 10 Underrated Badasses of the Ancient World, or perhaps the 10 Greatest Bombers in Military History.

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2 Comments

  1. RISSALA POLO on

    THE RISSALA !!!! let me amplify for my those friends who didn’t understand the Indian Army’s Tankman…..40 tons of unadulterated and ruthless steel….diesel fumes burn the inner lining of the olfactory lobes……smell of gun powder gives a high which is unparalleled……each orifice of the body is clogged with fine sand…..desert burning at 48 degrees…….tank engine burning at 70 degrees…..tympanic membrane about to rupture with every round fired with decibel levels of 165 db and above…..a head gear mush which almost disorients you add to it a sweaty forehead. ……. Desert winds which can achieve velocities of near hurricane force…. dust and sand
    suspended within them make life an ordeal both for the tankman and his mount….visibility is restricted to a few meters during the day and a blind well is around the corner during the night……a deathless and an impossible existence……
    That’s an Indian Army Tankman for you……..

  2. RISSALA POLO on

    We soldiers -who r rewarded- For killing, also find it difficult to kill in cold blood, especially in close combat. Looking other person in the eye, with a full awareness of his humanity, and then pulling the trigger and blowing them away is an intense traumatic experience leave aside cutting the throat open and feel the gush of warm blood. I have trained young soldiers for close combat over 6 countries. The immense destructive power lies in the fact that convincing excludes victims from the universe of moral obligation. So killing them is of no greater consequence than swatting a mosquito or poisoning a rat. that is what i need to convince them . Young soldiers sometimes vomit, weep become incontinent, or tremble uncontrollably after their first kill. It’s clear that human beings have a horror of killing as well as a fatal attraction to it. Our inhibitions keep the violent side in check, but when the balance between them is upset, the results can be devastating. I get random calls even after 20 Yrs now seeking solace and support.

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