"Sound off." The order came through the pickup so loud that it startled the Admiral, and he turned down the volume as the men began to sing. Lermontov smiled to himself. That song was officially forbidden, and it was certainly not an appropriate choice for the guard mount about to take posts outside the Grand Senate chambers. It was also very nearly the official marching song of the Marines. And that, Admiral Lermontov thought, ought to tell something to any Senator listening. If Senators ever listened to anything from the military people. The measured verses came through, slowly, in time with the sinister gliding step of the troops. "We've left blood in the dirt of twenty-five worlds, we've built roads on a dozen more, and all that we have at the end our hitch, buys a night with a second-class whore. "The Senate decrees, the Grand Admiral calls, the orders come down from on high, It's 'On Full Kits' and sound 'Board Ships,' We're sending you where you can die. "The lands that we take, the Senate gives back, rather more often than not, so the more that are killed, the less share the loot, and we won't be back to this spot. "We'll break the hearts of your women and girls, we may break your arse as well, Then the Line Marines with their banners unfurled, will follow those banners to Hell. "We know the devil, his pomps and his works, Ah yes! we know them well! When we've served out our hitch as Line Marines, we can bugger the Senate of Hell! "Then we'll drink with our comrades and lay down our packs, we'll rest ten years on the flat of our backs, then it's 'On Full Kits' and 'Out of Your Racks,' you must build a new road through Hell! "The Fleet is our country, we sleep with a rifle, no one ever begot a son on his rifle, they pay us in gin and curse when we sin, there's not one that can stand us unless we're down wind, we're shot when we lose and turned out when we win, but we bury our comrades wherever they fall, and there's none that can face us though we've nothing at all." The verse ended with a flurry of drums, and Lermontov gently changed the selector back to the turning Earth. Perhaps, he thought. Perhaps there's hope, but only if we have time. Can the politicians buy enough time?
From Chapter 1 of The Mercenary
I first heard this sung at one of my first cons, it was sung by one of the Dorsai irregulars who had a booming voice to do a DI proud