The morale of the armed forces has suffered a drastic collapse as a consequence of 11 years of war and severe defence cuts.
Most damaging has been the dramatic increase in the number of army officers who say they are unhappy, which has risen to two-thirds.
The Ministry of Defence's latest Continuous Attitude Survey showed morale in all three services was down in the two years since the Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR).
The Army, which bore the brunt of the campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan, has been particularly hard-hit.
Overall, across the three services, the numbers saying morale was low leapt by 17 points from 33% to 50%. Only 15% said they felt morale was high.
Soldiers demonstrated a drastic increase in low morale with a rise of 21 points to 45%.
Only 18% - a 14% drop - said they thought morale in the Army was high.
The Army is bearing the brunt of personnel cuts - losing 20,000 men and women by 2020 as a result of reforms and cuts recently announced by Philip Hammond, the Defence Secretary.
They have also taken the most casualties in recent wars.
Many Royal Marines and Infantry members have left the forces for safer and more lucrative work in maritime security, according to research by Sky News.
Considered the backbone of any fighting unit, the loss of these non-commissioned officers has prompted the Ministry of Defence to offer bonuses to those who agree to stay on, and accelerated the training of younger soldiers.
Anecdotally it has been clear for a year that morale was collapsing among army officers.
Sky sources have noted significant numbers of some of the highest-flying young officers with special forces backgrounds taking redundancy offers.
One who commanded an infantry battalion at war, a squadron of the SAS, recently quit, even though he had been refused a redundancy package.
Almost two-thirds of all army officers (63%) said morale was low. Many have been forced to confront truncated promotion prospects following army cuts and an acknowledgement that the forces were "top heavy" in comparison with the US.
Many British officers have been doing jobs once originally designed for lower ranks. Wing commanders now command squadrons in the RAF; majors command infantry companies that in the US are run by captains.
Defence Minister Peter Luff acknowledged that the changes in the SDSR had caused uncertainty among the forces.
"While morale on operations remains high, we have had to make tough decisions to get the defence budget back into balance, including reducing the size of our armed forces," he said.
"Any change like this is bound to create uncertainty but the resilience of our personnel should not be underestimated.
"We are nearing the end of a very difficult period in defence and hope to see morale slowly recovering over the next couple of years.
"Our armed forces remain focused on doing their job, whether it is in Afghanistan or at home in the UK for the Olympics."
However, shadow defence secretary Jim Murphy said the figures were a "terrible reflection" of the Government's defence policy.
"A vital benchmark of success is our forces' morale and yet it has been damaged and dented by David Cameron and Philip Hammond," he said.
"A botched review and cuts to vital support have made our forces feel undervalued and overstretched. Cutting the Army by 20,000 while we have so many of our forces serving in Afghanistan is a real blow.
"Tough decisions are necessary but they must be taken with respect, not recklessness. The whole country will expect David Cameron to sit up, listen and change course in response to this worrying trend."