I'm currently re-watching the - still excellent - BBC series The World at War from the 1970s. In this day and age of multi-national military alliances and buzzwords like 'interoperability', I was amused to hear this from General Mark Clark, Commander of the US 5th Army, in reference to the campaign in Italy during WWII.
"[The Germans] were well-trained troops, tenacious and well-led... and they were homogenous. They were all of one nationality, they were all equipped with the same weapons and ammunition, they ate the same food, they believed pretty much in the same God.I don't know how much, if anything, we should read into a statement like that (although I'd be curious to know what the sixteen nationalities were). It just struck me as quite ironic when viewed from an early 21st century perspective. I doubt we'll hear an American general (much less a European) say this kind of thing publicly anymore... but I wonder how many of them think this way.
I had sixteen different nationalities with me, some of whom couldn't eat this and that, some didn't want to fight on Fridays or some other day of the week and then we had the British with their infantry weapons and artillery completely different from ours. You couldn't move with ease from one front to another like the Germans could."