The Minute Book
Friday, 27 November 2015

It Was Not Mice
Topic: Humour

It Was Not Mice

Generals and Generalship, General Sir Archibald Wavell, 1941

Yet the British soldier himself is one of the world's greatest humourists. That unglamourous race, the Germans, held an investigation after the late War into the causes of moral, and attributed much of the British soldier's staying power to his sense of humour. They therefore decided to instil this sense into their own soldiers, and included in their manuals an order to cultivate it. They gave as an illustration in the manual one of Bairnsfather's pictures of "Old Bill" sitting in a building with an enormous shell-hole in the wall. A new chum asks: "What made that hole?" "Mice," replies "Old Bill." In the German manual a solemn footnote of explanation is added: "It was not mice, it was a shell."

The Frontenac Times

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Thursday, 26 November 2015

Czech Principles of Combat Operations
Topic: Military Theory

Czech Principles of Combat Operations

Doctrine of the Armed Forces of the Czech Republic, 2004

Common principles of military operations stated in chapter 4 of this doctrine, fully apply to combat operations too, for which the following principles are specific:

Mobility represents the armed forces elements capabilities to redeploy from one place to another one within required time limits, while maintaining the readiness (capability) to accom- plish assigned combat tasks.

Information superiority. Success in the operation (combat) will depend on the amount of information and its appropriate and timely use. This requirement will depend on the level of communication and information systems and their connection with the weapon systems. The commanders should endeavor, based on effective information utilization, to beat the opponent to his intents, and at the same time to eliminate his access to information, which he needs for his decisions.

Air space domination is one of the air force s most important tasks during joint operations conduct. It creates conditions in which land-, air- and naval operations can be conducted.

Offensive. In all combat operations, even in those where the opponent initially has the activity and freedom of action, commanders at all levels should employ every opportunity to maintain or gain the initiative and strike the opponent. Success in the operation depends directly on the troops’ individual and collective determination to clash with the enemy and break his will to fight.

Combat capabilities preservation represents the requirement, that commanders should take pains to preserve the combat capabilities of their troops until combat tasks are completed and make an effort to achieve the operational objective with minimal friendly losses. Every opportunity should be taken to rest the troops and to provide all-round support. Relief of fight-exhausted units, troop reinforcement and material replenishment are important for restoring the unit's combat capabilities.

Flexibility represents the requirement, that commanders must always be able, during combat operations, to respond quickly and in an optimal way to the actual combat situation develo- pment bearing in mind the necessity of successfully achieving the final operational objectives.

Elimination of the opponent. The operation s objective can be achieved by physically eliminating the adversary, or bringing about the loss of his combat capabilities. The significance of physical elimination of the adversary gradually decreases in current operations (combat), the alternative is to defeat the adversary by breaking the cohesion of his activity through combining manoeuvre and fire power in such a way that he no longer has opportunity or loses the will to continue combat.

Breaking the will to fight. The use of deceptive measures, psychological warfare, stratagems and selective use of force and surprise undermines the enemy s will to fight. In this way, a commander can avoid the large-scale physical destruction of enemy forces and he can even defeat a stronger enemy.

Selective destruction. Current combat activity is not conducted only to the forward edge of the battle area, but throughout the depth of the enemy s battle formation. Selective destruction of the adversary's combat power is based on disruption of his operational or combat formation elements cohesion, (that means disruption of functionality of elements ensuring his mobility, command posts, logistic systems, communication and information systems etc.), both in contact and in the depth of his operational (combat) formation.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Command and Control in the Militia Unit
Topic: Canadian Militia

Command and Control in the Militia Unit

Canada's Militia; A Heritage at Risk, T.C. Willey, 1987 (Originally published under the title "A Heritage at Risk: The Canadian Militia as a Social Institution")

At the strictly functional level, the British format is followed; each regiment has a lieutenant colonel as CO with a major as deputy CO (DCO), one departure from the British use of second in command or 2ic, who might or might not be next in line for command when the CO's three-year tour ends) and majors in command of squadrons, batteries, or companies. According to tradition, COs are supposed to be autonomous—"gods in their own bailiwick"—but this is not a principle that fits into the kind of formal organization that exists in the CF that envisions incumbencies as bureaus in the truly Weberian sense that the main concern is the carrying out of the functions prescribed by the system with a minimum of individual eccentricity. And though the same ideal of autonomy is supposed to apply to majors commanding squadrons and so on, the small size of the regiments and the prevailing system ensures that independence is a ritual only. Another British tradition that is followed in Militia (and regular) regiments is the appointment of a captain as adjutant; this can be a highly influential position because the incumbent is, in effect, the CO's personal staff officer and can be closer in confidence to the CO than any other officer. The adjutant's formal responsibility is to supervise the administration of operational and personnel business, including everything to do with discipline. Hence, there is a lot in the view that the incumbent has "more power than anyone else in this oufit 'cos he knows all the dirt and where to sweep it" as one disgruntled major put it. The amount of work is considerable, and it is not surprising that most regiments have an assistant adjutant to do the routine work; today, the incumbent is often a woman. It is also a post that can overlap that of the regular captain of the RSS.

An officer whose influence can be considerable, if the CO and the adjutant choose to follow this originally British custom, is the senior lieutenant, usually called the senior subaltern. This officer is charged with socializing the other subalterns and officer-cadets according to the traditions of the officers' mess; hence, the incumbent is usually the right hand of the major who is president of the mess committee (PMC) and might often be its secretary also. (Regiments run their own officers' and sergeants' messes according to rules that involve complex accounting and audit procedures that have to be done by the members and consume a lot of time. In some regiments the funds can be considerable, and they have not been unknown to go astray to the equally considerable embarrassment of the members concerned.) The senior subaltern is often peculiarly well informed about the feelings of the officers and to many COs is a valuable conduit to supplement the role of adjutant, an arrangement that can leave the DCO—and the other majors—outside unless the CO makes an unusual effort to ensure it does not happen. (Hence, the DCO's role can be nebulous and difficult to fill in actuality, it is hardly one for a commanding personality, yet it is nominally the one preceding command.)

The RSM, or the CWO, is joined by the CO and the adjutant in what is sometimes blasphemously known as the holy trinity of the regiment. He (as far as I know there are no women as yet) is the boss of all the noncommissioned ranks, to whom his word is law and his appearance a signal for deference appropriate to a model of what a soldier should be. He is expected to be an encyclopedia of ceremonial protocol and disciplinary procedures, and in battle he runs the regimental HQ for the adjutant. Out of battle he has the difficult task of sharing a lot of the latter concerns with the sergeant or staff sergeant who is chief clerk and equally privy to "the dirt"!

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Tuesday, 24 November 2015

What Soldiers Expect From Their Leaders
Topic: Leadership

What Soldiers Expect From Their Leaders

Leadership Principles for the new ADP 6-22; A Monograph by Major Gregory W. McLean, US Army, SAMS, AY 2012-001

General Bruce C. Clarke, former commander of U.S. Army Europe from 1958-1960 also had combat experience in World War II and Korea, also believed the ultimate weapon of any war of the future is the ground combat soldier, whom he regarded as "the only weapon in our arsenal who knows no limit or offers no bounds." General Clarke was renowned for his teaching of combat leadership; General Eisenhower said, "The Army has had two great trainers – Von Steuben and Bruce Clarke." He produced many maxims, which carried on the traditions of Marshall, for example:

What Soldiers expect from their Leaders:

  • Honest, just, and fair treatment.
  • Consideration due them as mature, professional soldiers.
  • Personal interest take in them as individuals.
  • Loyalty.
  • Shielding from harassment from "higher up.
  • The best in leadership.
  • That their needs be anticipated and provided for.
  • All the comforts and privileges practicable.
  • To be kept oriented and told the 'reason why.'
  • A well-thought-out program of training, work and recreation.
  • Clear-cut and positive decisions and orders which are not constantly changing demands on them commensurate with their capabilities – not to small, not too great.
  • That their good work be recognized, and publicized when appropriate.
  • The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Monday, 23 November 2015

The White Feather Brigade
Topic: Humour

The White Feather Brigade

A Brass Hat in No Man's Land, Brig.-Gen., F.P. Crozier, C.B., C.M.G., D.S.O., 1930

The memorable year of 1914 closes with the hope that we shall soon be 'in it.'

We have the usual Christmas dinners, leave, festivities and rejoicing. I go to London for ten days and become a civilian in mufti.

I find the ladies are very pressing in the metropolis, with white feathers for men unwilling to fight. Going to the Alhambra to book seats I meet one in Coventry Street. She presents her feather and smiles. I do likewise.

'Why are you not in uniform?' she asks. 'Afraid to fight!' And so on. 'A visit to the recruiting officer?' she suggests.

'Certainly, if you wish,' I reply.

Off we toddle together to Trafalgar Square. The recruiting officer smiles at Miss Busybody and looks at me.

'A bit on the short side! However, times are hard!' he says condescendingly.

Many questions are asked me. 'Well, I haven't actually served before, I am serving,' I state.

'What the hell are you doing here then!' asks the great man.

'I don't know, I'm sure. Better ask the lady,' I reply.

Both look blankly at each other and then at me.

'Who are you, what are you?' she asks.

'A Major in The Royal Irish Rifles,' I reply.

I hope, if she is alive to-day, this well-meaning and patriotic lady will work as hard in the cause of Peace as she did in the cause of War. She may, if she completes the patriotic circle, find opportunity of making fewer mistakes!

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Updated: Monday, 23 November 2015 12:08 AM EST
Sunday, 22 November 2015

Infantry Spirit
Topic: Discipline

But in the infantry every man must be inspired with the true spirit, and each man who is not so inspired is a source of weakness to the whole.

Infantry Spirit

Letters on Infantry, Prince Kraft zu Hohenlohe Ingelfingen, translated by Lieut.-Col. N.L. Walford, R.A., 1905

Look at our infantry of the years 1870-71, and you will know what this spirit is.

"Why the infantry and not the other arms?" you ask. I know well that the other arms were inspired with the same spirit as the infantry, but their spirit is not so sorely tried with deadly weariness as is that of the infantry, and they have compensations, such as being mounted or belonging to a special arm, which are denied to the modest infantry soldier, who feels himself to be but an atom of a huge mass, and knows that he has been contemptuously nicknamed "Stubble-hopper" and "Food for powder." Moreover, the proper soldier spirit is far more necessary in the case of infantry than for the other arms. A skilled cavalry leader can gain great success with very moderate cavalry, … In the artillery a few trustworthy men with each gun are sufficient, while those who are less trustworthy can at least do their duty. But in the infantry every man must be inspired with the true spirit, and each man who is not so inspired is a source of weakness to the whole.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Saturday, 21 November 2015

Canadian Navy will Continue with Few Ships
Topic: RCN

Canadian Navy will Continue with Few Ships

No programme of Naval Construction Planned
Arms at Minimum
Dominion to Keep Land and Air Forces at Skeleton Strength

The Gazette, Montreal, Que., 2 January 1934
(By the Canadian Press)

Ottawa, January 1.—Canada contemplates no programme of naval construction for 1934, as so far as any Government policy concerns itself with matters of defence the Dominion will embark on no lines of expansion in any branch of the service it was learned here. The four destroyers and three minesweepers which constitute the Royal Canadian Navy will continue to do so; the skeleton strengths of the permanent force units will be so maintained, while whatever is done for the Royal Canadian Air Force will be in the way of replacement only.

Some years ago the naval branch of the Defence Department had under consideration the laying-up of the minesweepers and building some sloops of the Valerian class to take their place. The advent of the depression however, killed this project, and those 17-year-old drifters remained in commission.

Of the four drafted into service during the war and given names reminiscent of Canadian military achievement on the west front — "Ypres," "Festubert," "Thiepval," and "Armentieres" — three remain. Thiepval was lost in the Pacific seven years ago. Ypres has now become a "depot ship." Only Festubert and Armentieres continue active.

Two of Canada's destroyers, "Skeena" and "Saguenay," are at the top of their class as modern warships of that type. They are only three years old, as equipped with every modern device that makes for efficient vessels and are in every respect formidable men o'war. The others, "Champlain" and "Vancouver," are still technically on loan to this country from the Royal Navy, but the Admiralty said good-bye to them long ago and does not expect to get them back. They are 16 years old. Within the next three of four years plans will have to be drawn up for their replacement, and the likelihood is that this will be achieved by constructing two more destroyers of the Saguenay class.

Shortly after the war, the British Government presented Canada with a small flotilla comprising one light cruiser, "Aurora," and two destroyers, "Patriot" and "Patrician." The cruiser was laid up in 1922. The destroyers continued to serve until almost five years ago when they followed their parent ship to the scrap-heap.

Canadian naval policy envisages a fleet owned, controlled and manned by Canadians. The first two elements are accomplished facts, the last is being gradually achieved, for the vast majority of the personnel are now natives of this country and, for the first time since naval activities assumed any importance in the Dominion, the Director of Naval Operations—Captain Percy W. Nelles, R.C.N.—is a Canadian.

Naval policy, however, does not by any means contemplate a "big" navy. It conforms to the resolution of the 1923 Imperial Conference which set forth that "the primary responsibility of each portion of the Empire represented at the conference is for its own local defence." A writer in a recent issue of an English military journal crystallized this in the following terms:

"With respect to the role of Canada's sea forces, it must be understood that whereas the security of her sea-borne commerce is recognized as a national responsibility, there are certain considerations which must not be lost sight of. At the outmost limits of the sea-lines of communication in the Mediterranean, Indian Ocean, South America or Africa, etc., an individual Canadian cargo is perhaps hard to find; but at the focal point of the cone, in the vicinity of Canadian waters, these cargoes become, so to speak, congested, and operation against Canadian trade in these limited areas would have an adverse effect on Canadian industry.

"It must be remembered, however, that Canada is peculiarly well situated. Geographically and strategically, vis-à-vis trans-oceanic power. Our vulnerable focal point lies 5,000 miles on one side and 3,000 miles on the other from any possible overseas adversary. In any maritime conflict it is difficult to conceive of any major forces of possible enemies being detached to attack Canadian trade at these distances, at its most vulnerable point. It is, of course, possible that minor or improvised forces might well be available for such an objective if no defences were maintained to oppose them."

Reduced to its simplest terms, this means that Canadian naval policy is to guard the sea-lanes which fan out from the mouth of the St. Lawrence, from Halifax and Saint John on the Atlantic, and from Victoria and Vancouver on the Pacific. Beyond that, naval responsibility is regarded as resting elsewhere.

Whether Canada's present forces are adequate to deal with whatever situation may arise that would demand a practical application of this policy is the concern of the naval experts working in collaboration with the Treasury Department. Warships are expensive, and Canada's financial resources are employed to their limit in taking care of railway deficits, interest on war loans and the national debt, unemployment relief, unbalanced budgets and the administrative services. Having regard to the demands of the Treasury for the maintenance of those features of national existence that are urgent and immediately necessary, any possibility of naval expansion in the near future is so remote as to be ruled out of the picture.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Friday, 20 November 2015

Reconnaissance Tips of the Trade
Topic: Drill and Training

Reconnaissance Tips of the Trade

Combat Recon Manual, Republic of Vietnam; 1970
Prepared by Project (B-52) Delta, H.Q. NhaTrang
Detachment B-52; 5th Special Forces Group (Abn), 1st Special Forces

1.     While on a mission, minimize fatigue because tired men become careless.

2.     If you show confidence, your team will have confidence

3.     If the team leader loses his temper it will affect his judgment. Keep cool. Think ahead, always keeping an alternate plan in mind. Don't be afraid to take advice from your team members.

4.     Teamwork, the key to success, only comes through constant practice and training. Realism must be injected into all phases of training such as zeroing of weapons at targets In the jungle, use of live training aids for PW snatch or ambush practice, etc.

5.     Teams that have a good physical training program have fewer health problems.

6.     Make sure that personnel take salt tablets as a preventative measure rather then waiting until collapse is imminent. One tablet in a canteen of water is a good way to take salt, especially on very hot and humid days. Only take extra salt when plenty of water is available.

7.     If your mission calls for emplacing a mine in a road ensure that an extra fuse is taken along just in case one is lost.

8.     All personnel should wear loose fitting and untailored clothing on field operations. Tight fitting clothing often tears or rips allowing easy access to exposed parts of the body for mosquitoes or leeches.

9.     Each team leader should have a pre-mission and post-mission checklist to ensure that nothing is left behind.

10.     Use tact when reprimanding your personnel, especially indigenous team members. If possible, take the men aside to criticize him. This enables him to reason positively to the criticism since he will not feel ridiculed and lose self confidence.

11.     Do not hang clothing or bandanas on green bamboo if you plan on wearing it afterwards. The fuzz on the bamboo is just like Itching powder.

12.     Conduct English classes for your Indigenous personnel, especially interpreters. Conduct classes for your U.S. Personnel on your indigenous team member's dialect.

13.     Pre-set frequencies on the PRC-25 so that a quick turn of the dials will put you on the desired frequency. This is especially helpful at night when you want to avoid a light.

14.     Carry CS powder in plastic insect repellent or lube oil bottles. It is difficult to put CS powder in them but it is definitely worth the effort. Sprinkle CS powder in and on empty "C" ration cans and food containers. This will prevent animals from digging them up once you have buried them.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Thursday, 19 November 2015

Dress (QOR, 1924)
Topic: Discipline

The public are very apt to form an opinion of a regiment's smartness, which perhaps they have never seen on parade, by the appearance and conduct of just one man whom they may chance to see on the street.


A Guide to Riflemen of The Queen's Own Rifles of Canada, by Lieut.-Col. Reg. Pellatt, 1924

The public are very apt to form an opinion of a regiment's smartness, which perhaps they have never seen on parade, by the appearance and conduct of just one man whom they may chance to see on the street.

The importance of always, at all times when in uniform, whether on parade or walking on the street, being neat, tidy, and with jacket always buttoned up, puttees neatly put on, brass of the belt shined, boots polished, face cleanly shaved, etc., cannot be impressed too strongly upon every Rifleman if the reputation of the Regiment is to remain of the highest.

Untidy appearance and slouching along the street always brings discredit to any regiment.

In uniform, watch-chains and trinkets are not to be worn in such a manner as to be seen.

The unauthorized wearing of a uniform is prohibited.

After obtaining a uniform all Riflemen must be very careful to wear it as a soldier should. It is Government property and, while in their possession, they are responsible for its safe keeping, and return when required of them. Lost articles must be padd for.

All ranks are cautioned against wearing caps or clothing other than the authorized regimental pattern.

Only non-commissioned officers of the rank of sergeant and above are permitted to wear side-arms when walking out.

For the Honour of the Regiment it is expected that all Riflemen will turn themselves out, and con- duct themselves in such a manner that it will not be necessary for people on the street to look at the badge before saying, "He is a Rifleman of the Queen's Own."

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Careful in the Use of the Liquor
Topic: Humour

Careful in the Use of the Liquor

The Last Full Measure; The Life and Death of the First Minnesota Volunteers, Richard Moe, 1993

King [the regimental sutler] also provided liquor for the officers, a service that understandably rankled many of the enlisted men. One night several of them decided to liberate a keg of whiskey from King's tent. Without detection they carried it to a nearby field, where it was tapped, half emptied—into the men's canteens—it is not recorded how much disappeared on its way from the keg to the canteen—and then buried for future retrieval. The theft was soon discovered, and the lieutenant of the guard was dispatched to apprehend the guilty parties. Alarmed, the perpetrators sought the help of their sergeant, who had not been part of the plot. He reproved them for the act, but he was not about to let them down. He observed that the lieutenant was making his way down the row of tents, determining the number of occupants in each, and then calling for that number of canteens.

Returning to his own tent, the sergeant discovered that only two canteens besides his own were empty, so he had to think fast. According to Lochren, the lieutenant "soon approached and called for him. 'Sergeant, how many men have you?' 'Fourteen.' 'Pass out their canteens.' With a peremptory order from the sergeant to the men to pass up their canteens rapidly, an empty canteen was passed to the officer, smelled of, and dropped at his feet as a second one was handed him, while a man, lying down where he could reach safely in the darkness, passed the dropped canteen back to the sergeant, to be presented to the officer again, and thus the three canteens were each examined five times and nothing found. The culprits were never discovered, although the experience "frightened the boys, and made them careful in the use of the liquor."

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Updated: Wednesday, 18 November 2015 12:07 AM EST
Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Battle Honours; 1866 and 1885
Topic: Battle Honours

Battle Honours; 1866 and 1885

From the archived correspondence of the Governor-General of Canada, held by Library and Archives Canada.

In 1912, correspondence was exchanged between the office of the Governor-General of Canada and that of the Under Secretary of State, Colonial Office, regarding the possibility of awarding Battle Honours for the the Fenian Raid of 1866 and the North West Rebellion (Canada) 1885.

Initiated by a letter from the Deputy Minister for Militia and Defence on 11 June 1912, the following request was forwarded to the Military Secretary to H.R.H. The Governor-General:


I have the honour, by direction, to state that, in connection with the Fenian Raid of 1866 and the North West Rebellion (Canada) 1885, certain regiments of the Canadian Militia furnished companies and detachments for service.

2.     It is understood that the Honours and Distinctions Committee at the War Office have had under considerations certain proposals in this connection.

3.     I have the honour, therefore, to request that His Royal Highness The Governor General may be moved to enquire of the Imperial Authorities what decision, if any, has been arrived at by the Army Council relative to the same, in order that it may be determined whether any of the units which furnished detachments for active service as above are entitled to have "Fenian Raid 1866" and "North West 1885" inserted in the Canadian Militia List after the name of the regiment.

This query was duly forwarded to the Imperial Authorities at Downing Street and on 8 August the reply of the War Office (itself dated 30 July) was returned to Canada.


I am commanded by the Army Council to acknowledge receipt of your letter No. 19791, dated the 10th July 1912, on the subject of certain regiments of the Canadian Militia being entitled to "Fenian Raid 1866" and "North West 1885" as honorary distinctions. In reply I am to say with reference to the Fenian Raid of 1966 that the Council are of the opinion that the operations were not of such a character as to merit the distinction of being recorded in Army Lists, or on colors or appointments, as a battle honour; at least that would certainly be their view in the case of a unit of the Home Army.

2.     With reference to the North West Rebellion in 1885, I am to invite your attention to the correspondence with this office in 1905, commencing with your No. 5994, dated the 15th March, in which it was agreed, as a very special case which was not to be quoted as a precedent, to award "North West Canada 1885" to the Royal Canadian Dragoons and The Royal Canadian Regiment. You will observe that in War Office letter No. 058/2889, dated the 25th September 1905 of the correspondence referred to, it was stated that according to custom a unit must have had its Headquarters and 50% of its strength present in order to qualify for the grant of an honorary distinction (for operations in its own country). In the case of the units referred to in your letter now under reply, it would appear that detachments only were present.

This exchange in 1912 was not the final resolution of the inquiry into new honorary distinctions and battle honours, as shown by this reply from the War Office, dated 30 April, 1913:


I am commanded by the Army Council to acknowledge the receipt of your letter, No. 11583, dated the 14th April, 1913, forwarding an application by the Officer Commanding the 12th Regiment "York Rangers" for authority to have "Fenian Raid, 1866" and "North West Rebellion, 1885" inscribed on the Regimental colours of the Regiment.

2.     In reply I am to state with reference to the Fenian Raid of 1866, that the Council can see no reason for departing from the opinion that expressed in paragraph 1 of War Office letter No. 058/3553 (A.G.1.) dated 30th July 1912.

3.     The Army Council are at present considering an application from the 90th Regiment "Winnipeg Rifles" for recognition of their services at the actions of Batoche and Fish Creek, during the operations in the North West of Canada in 1885, and it would be desirable to consider the claims of all units engaged in these operations at the same time. I am, therefore, to suggest, for the consideration of Mr. Secretary Harcourt, that the Officer administering the Government of Canada should be requested to forward the claims of all units which, in his opinion, fulfilled the conditions qualifying for the grant of an honorary distinction by having had Headquarters and 50 per cent of the strength of the regiment present during the operations, so that the claims of all units may be considered by the Army Council at the same time.

4.     As it is necessary that full information be available to enable a decision to be arrived at, a statement is required for the 12th Regiment "York Rangers" and for any other unit considered to have a claim for an honour for the 1885 operations, showing:—

(a)     The part taken by it in operations.

(b)     Whether it served during the whole period of the campaign, or, if not, for what portion.

(c)     The casualties incurred.

(d)     The total strength of the regiment at the time of the operations, and the numbers actually engaged therein, showing Headquarters, Officers and other ranks separately.

(a) and (d) have already been supplied for the 90th Regiment "Winnipeg Rifles" with your letter No. 36993 dated 28th November, 1912.

5.     The honours already granted for the operation in question are "North West Canada, 1885" and "Saskatchewan", the former for the operations as a whole and the latter to cover the actions at Fish Creek, Cut Knife and Batoche, and unless there are strong reasons to the contrary, the Army Council think it would be inadvisable to introduce any additional honour for the campaign.

elipsis graphic

The approaches and inquiries regarding battle honours for the Fenian Raids gained no traction and no such awards were granted. It is apparent, however, that the requests for consideration of battle honours for the North West Rebellion in 1885 in 1912-13 were not supported and none were granted at that time.

But the matter did not end there. Inquiries into the possibility of awards of battle honours for 1885 were once again initiated in 1929. As a result, in 1929 and 1930, the battle honours "Fish Creek", "Batoche", "North West Canada, 1885" (singly or in combination) were awarded to nineteen regiments of the Canadian Militia.


Canadian Army Battle Honours

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Updated: Tuesday, 17 November 2015 12:02 AM EST
Monday, 16 November 2015

Anti-Gas Precautions
Topic: The Field of Battle

Anti-Gas Precautions

How I Won the War; the memoirs of a heavily armed civilian by Lieut Ernest Goodbody (as told to), Patrick Ryan, 1963

This was too grave a matter to be dealt with on the line of march. We would have to have a kit inspection on the objective.

'Sergeant Transom,' I said. 'We're not observing proper anti-gas precautions. The leading man has no litmus paper on his bayonet.'

He looked down at the thick, white dust puffing over our boots.

'Nor he hasn't, sir,' he said in surprise. 'And this is a dead likely place to meet mustard gas, and all. I'll see to it right away.'

He moved forward and spiked a sheet of paper on Private Drogue's bayonet.

'What we do now,' asked the gas sentry. 'Flag day?'

The litmus paper did not look of standard size to me and so I went up to inspect. It was a square of toilet paper. Quite useless, I assure you, for detecting mustard gas deposits. I was about to remonstrate with the sergeant when I noticed that no one in the platoon but myself still had a gas mask. They'd all thrown them away. This was too grave a matter to be dealt with on the line of march. We would have to have a kit inspection on the objective.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Sunday, 15 November 2015

Patton's Fighting Principles
Topic: Leadership

Patton's Fighting Principles

Leadership Principles for the new ADP 6-22; A Monograph by Major Gregory W. McLean, US Army, SAMS, AY 2012-001

"Patton's Fighting Principles" taken from his letter of instruction issued to his Army before D-Day, on 6 March 1944:

  • Everyone was to "lead a person."
  • A commander who failed to reach his objectives and who was not dead or severely wounded has not done his full duty.
  • Visit the front daily – to observe, not to meddle.
  • Praise is more valuable than blame.
  • Your primary mission as a leader is to see with your own eyes and be seen by your troops while engaged in personal reconnaissance.
  • Persons who did not rest will not last.
  • Plans had to be simple and flexible.
  • Information is like eggs: the fresher the better.
  • Orders are to be short to tell what to do not how.
  • Tell the troops what they are going to do and what they have done.
  • Visit the wounded personally and frequently. Award decorations promptly.
  • If you do not enforce and maintain discipline, you are a potential murderer.
  • Men in condition do not tire.
  • Courage, don’t make counsel of your fears.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Saturday, 14 November 2015

The Autumnal Wreath of Maple Leaves
Topic: Canadian Militia

The Autumnal Wreath of Maple Leaves

From the archived correspondence of the Governor-General of Canada, held by Library and Archives Canada.

In 1926, a question regarding the design of Standards, Guidons and Colours for units of the Canadian Militia was brought forward. The following excerpt comes from a letter, dated 6 May 1926, from the Acting Under-Secretary of State for External Affairs to the office of the Governor General:

"I have the honour to state that in considering the specifications for standards, guidons and colours for the Canadian Militia, the Department of National Defence is desirous of including as a Canadian emblem a wreath of autumnal tinted maple leaves in place of the union wreath of roses, thistles and shamrocks are present provided for, and requests that the proposal should be forwarded for consideration by Imperial authorities."

The reply from Downing Street, dated 13 October, 1926, read:

"With reference to the Deputy Governor General's despatch No. 244 of the 11th May I have the honour to request Your Excellency to inform your Ministers that His Majesty the King has been graciously pleased to approve the proposal that a wreath of autumnal tinted maple leaves shaould be included as a Canadian emblem in place of the union wreath of roses, thistles and shamrocks at present provided for in the standards, guidon and colours of the Canadian Militia."

Canadian Army Battle Honours

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Friday, 13 November 2015

Erasmus' Twenty-two Principles
Topic: Military Theory

Erasmus' Twenty-two Principles

Appendix A, On Combat, Lt. Col., Dave Grossman, 2004

Erasmus' Twenty-two Principles on How to be Strong While Remaining Virtuous in a Dangerous World

From the Enchridion, Militus Christiani: A Guide for the Righteous Protector, by Erasmus, 1503, extracted by Sergeant Chris Pascoe, Michigan State Police

First Rule
Increase Your Faith
Even if the entire world appears mad.

Second Rule
Act Upon Your Faith.
Even if you must undergo the loss of everything.

Third Rule
Analyze Your Fears.
You will find that things are not as bad as they appear.

Fourth Rule
Make Virtue The Only Goal Of Your Life.
Dedicate all your enthusiasm, all your effort, your leisure, as well as your business.

Fifth Rule
Turn Away from Material Things.
If you are greatly concerned with money you will be weak of spirit.

Sixth Rule
Train Your Mind To Distinguish Good And Evil.
Let your rule of government be determined by the common good.

Seventh Rule
Never Let Any Setback Stop You In Your Quest.
We are not perfect—this only means we should try harder.

Eighth Rule
If You Have Frequent Temptations, Do Not Worry.
Begin to worry when you do not have temptation, because that is a sure sign that you cannot distinguish good from evil.

Ninth Rule
Always Be Prepared for an Attack.
Careful generals set guards even in times of peace.

Tenth Rule
Spit, As It Were, In The Face Of Danger.
Keep a stirring quotation with you for encouragement.

Eleventh Rule
There Are Two Dangers:
One Is Giving Up, The Other Is Pride.

After you have performed some worthy task, give all the credit to someone else.

Twelfth Rule
Turn Your Weakness Into Virtue.
If you are inclined to be selfish, make a deliberate effort to be giving.

Thirteenth Rule
Treat Each Battle As Though It Were Your Last.
And you will finish, in the end, victorious!

Fourteenth Rule
Don't Assume That Doing Good Allows You To Keep A Few Vices.
The enemy you ignore the most is the one who conquers you.

Fifteenth Rule
Weigh Your Alternatives Carefully.
The wrong way will often seem easier than the right way.

Sixteenth Rule
Never Admit Defeat Even If You Have Been Wounded.
The good soldier's painful wounds spur him to gather his strength.

Seventeenth Rule
Always Have A Plan Of Action.
So when the time comes for battle, you will know what to do.

Eighteenth Rule
Calm Your Passions By Seeing How Little There Is To Gain.
We often worry and scheme about trifling matters of no real importance.

Nineteenth Rule
Speak With Yourself This Way:
If I do what I am considering, would I want my family to know about it?

Twentieth Rule
Virtue Has Its Own Reward
Once a person has it, they would not exchange it for anything.

Twenty-first Rule
Life Can Be Sad, Difficult, And Quick:
Make It Count For Something!

Since we do not know when death will come, act honorably everyday.

Twenty-second Rule
Repent Your Wrongs
Those who do not admit their faults have the most to fear.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Thursday, 12 November 2015

Stand Up and March
Topic: Drill and Training

Stand Up and March

'Worthy'; A Biography of Major-General F.F. Worthington, C.B., M.C., M.M., Larry Worthington, 1961

A small-scale manoeuvre took place at Bramshott in which the Battalion attacked machine-gun positions, each represented by a drummer hidden in a clump of bushes. Worthy, an acting lance-corporal, was in charge of a few men and approached the objective—capturing the machine-gun post—in what to him was a perfectly logical manner. Taking advantage of cover, he and his men stalked the drummer, creeping up from behind and capturing him, thus putting the "gun" out of action.

They were the only ones to make any headway. All the rest of the Battalion were declared casualties once within range of the drums. But with Worthy's coup, the exercise on that immediate front came to an abrupt halt and the lance-corporal, feeling pretty proud of himself, prepared for what he considered justifiable commendation as he saw a mounted staff officer galloping towards them. But the officer came, not to praise, but to blast.

"Who's in charge here?" he roared

"I am, sir," said Worthy.

"You are, eh! Well, you're a disgrace to your regiment. What do you think you're doing? No British soldier crawls into battle on his belly! There's only one way to go after an enemy post. Stand up and march briskly forward!"

In the years that followed Worthy saw many brave men do just that.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Private Irving, KIA
Topic: Remembrance

Private Irving, KIA

This story of one "Private Irving" comes from "The Official Story of the Canadian Expeditionary Force," by Sir Max Aitken, M.P., 1916.

Now we come to the story of Private Irving, one of General Turner's subordinate staff, who went out to do as brave a deed as a man might endeavour, but never returned. Irving had been up for forty-eight hours helping to feed the wounded as they were brought into Brigade Headquarters, which had been turned into a temporary dressing station, when he heard that a huge poplar tree had fallen across the road and was holding up the ambulance wagons.

Though utterly weary, he at once offered to go out and cut the tree in pieces and drag it from the path at the tail of an ambulance wagon.

Irving set forth with the ambulance, but, on nearing the place of which he was in search, left it, and went forward on foot along the road, which was being swept by heavy artillery fire and a cross rifle fire. And then, even as, axe in hand, he tramped up this road, with shells bursting all around him and bullets whistling past him, he disappeared as completely as though the night had swallowed him up! General Turner, who appreciated the gallant work Irving had set out to do, himself had all the lists of the field force checked over to see if he had been brought in wounded. But Irving was never traced. He is missing to this day—a strange and brave little mystery of this great war.

Identifying Irving from this brief description seemed like a daunting task, but checks of Ted Wigney's "CEF Roll of Honour," and the Canadian Virtual War Memorial quickly limited the possibilities to one soldier.

Private William Adam Irving died on the 24th of April, 1915. He was a soldier of the 15th Canadian Infantry Battalion.

Born in Little Current, Ontario, Irving's family was living in Sudbury when he attested for overseas service at Valcartier on 18 September, 1914. William Irving was a 21-year-old Deputy Sheriff, with 4 years prior experience in the "97th Rifles, Volunteers," now The Algonquin Regiment.

Confirmation that William Irving was the man in the excerpt above came from his Circumstances of Death record, which can be viewed among the resources on line at the Library and Archives Canada. This document reads:

"Previously reported Missing, now for official purposes presumed to have Died"

"On the night of April 23/24th, 1915, word was received at Brigade Headquarters that a tree had fallen across the road near Fortuin, thereby preventing the ambulances going up for the wounded. Pte. Irving who was nearby volunteered to go and cut the tree. He took an axe, climbed into one of the ambulances, and started for Fortuin. Shortly afterwards the ambulances were hit by shell fire, and the drivers taken prisoners, but no information has since been received concerning Private Irving."

Private William Adam Irving is commemorated on the Menin Gate, Belgium.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Updated: Sunday, 18 October 2015 3:00 PM EDT
Tuesday, 10 November 2015

The United States Marine Corps
Topic: US Armed Forces

The United States Marine Corps

The Noncommissioned Officer and Petty Officer; Backbone of the Armed Forces, 2014

Marines are different. They have their own air arm, and they deploy on land and at sea. They have a hymn, not a song. Marines are different because of their ethos. Chapter 1 of Marine Corps Warfighting Publication 6-11, Leading Marines, is titled "Our Ethos." The introduction to that publication captures the essence of the Marine Corps ethos:

Being a Marine comes from the eagle, globe, and anchor that is tattooed on the soul of every one of us who wears the Marine Corps uniform. … Unlike physical or psychological scars, which over time, tend to heal and fade in intensity, the eagle, globe, and anchor only grow more defined—more intense—the longer you are a Marine. "Once a Marine, always a Marine." (Marine Corps Warfighting Publication 6-11, Leading Marines (Washington, DC: Headquarters United States Marine Corps, 1995))

That tattoo reflects a selfless spirit of being one of the few. Ask any Marine what he or she does, and the answer will be "I'm a Marine." What is most important to a Marine is being a Marine, not what rank or military occupational specialty he or she holds. It is the culture of the Marine Corps that makes it different not only from society as a whole, but also from the other Services. The Marine Corps is determined to be different—in military appearance, obedience to orders, disciplined behavior, adherence to traditions, and most important, the unyielding conviction that the Corps exists to fight. It has a deep appreciation for its rich history and traditions, which instills pride and responsibility in every Marine down to the lowest levels. Older Marines pass the traditions of the Corps to younger ones, ensuring they understand that the successes and sacrifices of the past set the path for the future. Since the first two battalions of Marines were raised by an act of the Continental Congress in 1775, many recruited from Tun Tavern in Philadelphia, the Corps has distinguished itself in every conflict in our nation's history. What follows are some of the more important characteristics that have shaped Marine Corps culture not only in the past, but also today.

Every Marine Is a Rifleman. In fact, every Marine, officer or enlisted, is trained first to be a rifleman before being trained in any other specialty. It is this bedrock premise and the training that goes with it that set all Marines on a common foundation. Leaders are molded with the same training given to those they will lead, building empathy and understanding unattainable in the other Services. Every facet of the Marine Corps exists to support the rifleman, and every Marine understands that.

Taking Care of Our Own. The characteristic that best defines Marines is selflessness—a spirit that places the self-interest of the individual after that of the institution and the team, all working toward a common goal. It is important that the unit succeed, not the individual. It is common to hear Marines speak of their leaders based on how well they take care of subordinates. "Take care of your people" and "take care of each other" are imbued in Marines from their first day in the Corps. Officers and NCOs eat last. They inspect the chow hall by eating in it. They know how their troops live in the barracks because they go there, and in the field they never have more creature comforts than their troops do. The only privilege of rank is that of ensuring that your subordinates are cared for. This culture defines what the Marine Corps is and who Marines are: men and women who exhibit extraordinary leadership and courage, both physical and moral, shaped by their dedication to the institution and each other.

Combined Arms Expeditionary Forces in Readiness. Operationally, there are four generally accepted characteristics that define and describe the Marine Corps. First, although capable of deploying and employing by various means, the Marine specialty is amphibiousness: the Corps comes from the sea, thus Marines think of themselves as "Soldiers of the Sea." Therefore, the Service focuses primarily on the coastal or littoral regions of the world. Second, the Marine Corps trains and operates as a Marine Air-Ground Task Force, a combined-arms, air-ground team, logistically self-sustainable for short periods of time. Third, as a force-in-readiness, the Marine Corps is a national "swing force"—forward deployed and expeditionary by nature—ready to respond rapidly to crises. Fourth, the Marine Corps considers itself a light-to-medium force, packing a quick and lethal punch. Although prepared to operate across the full spectrum of conflict, the Corps is more at home and most effective as a light-to-medium force that can be on scene quickly with enough firepower and sustainability to conduct operations as an "enabling force" until heavier units arrive.

The Marine Corps Is Small. As part of its expeditionary nature, the operating forces of the Marine Corps live on "camps," not forts or bases, and maintain a high tooth-to-tail ratio, relying on the other Services for a large portion of logistics, transportation, education, and combat service support. Many Marines receive specialized training at the other Service schools. There are no Marine doctors, nurses, dentists, field medical corpsmen, or chaplains—all of these are provided by the Navy. The Air Force and Navy get the Marines to the fight, with the Army assisting toward sustainment if Marines are forward deployed for extended periods.

Most Active-duty Marine forces are in the operating forces, with the bulk of those forces in the Fleet Marine Forces. These operating forces provide the combat power that is immediately available to the combatant commanders for employment.

To Marines, expeditionary means more than just getting there quickly. The Marines in the operating forces—most living in a Spartan-like "temporary-residence" mindset when not deployed— are eager members of the combined-arms team. This team is tailored toward a maneuver warfare approach to combat, where power from the sea is projected across the littoral, ideally maximizing the combined effect of its resources at a critical seam of the enemy's defense.

In 1957, the Commandant of the Marine Corps asked Lieutenant General Victor Krulak, "Why does the United States need a Marine Corps?" Five days later, General Krulak replied:

Essentially, as a result of the unfailing conduct of our Corps over the years, they (our nation's citizens) believe three things about Marines. First they believe when trouble comes to our country there will be Marines—somewhere—who, through hard work, have made and kept themselves ready to do something useful about it, and do it at once.

Second, they believe that when the Marines go to war they invariably turn in a performance that is dramatically and decisively successful—not most of the time, but always. Their faith and their convictions in this regard are almost mystical.

The third thing they believe about Marines is that our Corps is downright good for … our country; that the Marines are masters of a form of unfailing alchemy which converts unoriented youths into proud, self-reliant stable citizens—citizens into whose hands the nation's affairs may safely be entrusted.

Krulak concluded:

I believe the burden of all this can be summarized by saying that, while the functions which we discharge must always be done by someone, and while an organization such as ours is the correct one to do it, still, in terms of cold mechanical logic, the United States does not need a Marine Corps. However, for good reasons which completely transcend logic, the United States wants a Marine Corps. Those reasons are strong; they are honest, they are deep rooted and they are above question or criticism. So long as they exist—so long as the people are convinced that we can really do the three things I mentioned—we are going to have a Marine Corps… . And, likewise, should the people ever lose that conviction—as a result of our failure to meet their high—almost spiritual standards—the Marine Corps will then quickly disappear. (Victor H. Krulak, First to Fight: An Inside View of the United States Marine Corps (New York: Pocket Books, 1984))

In 1935, Gunnery Sergeant Walter Holzworth was asked how the Marine Corps came by its reputation as one of the world's greatest fighting formations. He replied, "Well, they started right out telling everybody how great they were. Pretty soon they got to believing it themselves. And they have been busy ever since proving they were right."

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Monday, 9 November 2015

Topic: CEF


Trench Warfare; A Manual for Officers and Men,, J.S. Smith, Second Lieutenant with the British Expeditionary Force, E.P. Dutton & Co., 1917.

When fire trenches are to be occupied for any length of time it is necessary to revet them. By that I mean the walls, and especially front walls, have to be faced or strengthened by sand bags, boards, corrugated iron or other material that is needed. This work to be of any use at all must have solid foundations and be thorough from top to bottom. Careless revetment work is of no use and a source of endless labor and trouble. All such work should be supervised by officers or N. C. O.'s who have a thorough understanding of such things, and they will be amply repaid if they take an active part in the work with their own hands. There are several forms of revetment, according to the materials available and the conditions of the walls to be revetted, but the usual materials are the sandbags, corrugated iron, stakes, boards, wire netting, etc., and these can be used either separately or in a combination. All these materials are generally kept in engineer dumps, some little way behind the firing line. Requisitions are made during the day by the officer commanding the sector of trench which requires revetting, and at night the men are detailed in carrying parties to go down to the engineer dumps and carry these things up for work the next day.


Sandbags are usually available in large quantities, but it is well to remember that generally only half the number indented for reach the indentor. The rest gengo around the men's feet and legs to keep them warm at night, and very often are used as a sort of mattress in the dugouts. This should not be allowed as it creates a tremendous wastage. The sandbags should only be about three-quarters filled, thus allowing for the choke or neck end, after tied, being turned under the back when laid in position. This also gives something to catch hold of when laying and brings the weight to something manageable, about sixty pounds.

A bag three-quarters filled measures approximately 20" x 10" x 5". Laid sand bags are called headers, when laid with bottom of the bag facing the center of the trench, and ptretchers, if laid with the side facing the trench as per sketch. The neck end should always be tucked well in the bag in the case of the stretcher; the side seam, which is a weak spot in the sand bag, should be kept from exposure, that is, should be turned from the center of the trench.

When the front wall of a trench is to be revetted and only sandbags are available, the wall should first be cut to a slope of from 10 to 15 degrees from the perpendicular, and the loose soil obtained, if dry, placed in the sandbags. When there is an unrevetted fire platform, this should be also cut away and put, if dry, in the sand bags. A bed should then be dug about 6 inches into the solid bottom of the trench (disregarding the soft mud which for foundation purposes is of no use) and sloping down into the parapet at right angles to the slope of the front wall. Into this bed place a row of headers. On this row place a double row of stretchers. Joints must always be the same manner as brick-laying that is, care taken that the joint where the ends of the stretchers meet does not come immediately over the joint between the headers and the lower row. Sand bags should now be beaten down flat, generally with a wooden mallet provided for this purpose; then alternate rows of headers and stretchers laid; each layer being flattened out with the mallet until the top of the parapet is reached. The top layer should always come out as headers.

Twenty-five headers or twelve stretchers, or sixteen mixed, is the average required for revetting every superficial yard of trench.

The slope of a front trench wall, even when from 10 to 15 degrees from perpendicular, is apt gradually to assume the perpendicular, and then fall in, owing to the sinking of the trench bottom or the actual thrust of the earth in front. This can, however, be checked by using 6' to 8' stakes driven well into the front wall foundation, and at the same angle as the front wall. Then, wiring the head of these stakes to what is known as an anchor-stake driven about 10' into the ground in front of the trench.

Sandbars come in bales of 250, which are again divided into bundles of 50 each. On a carrying party it is an average rule that each man carry 100 sand bags.

Corrugated Iron

Generally, when lengths of corrugated iron and plenty of floor boards and stakes are available, this material is used for revetting the lower half of a trench wall, as it removes a great many difficulties, such as looking over substantial foundations for sandbag revetments. It makes it unnecessary to fill sandbags, etc., thus saving a great amount of time and labor. In revetting with corrugated iron and stakes or hurdles, cut the slope or wall from 10 to 15 degrees from the perpendicular, putting the soil in the sandbags and leaving it in some handy place for any future use. Then, drive 6' to 8' stakes well into the trench foundation and approximately 4' apart, thus giving adequate protection to each piece of corrugated, having the stakes at an angle of 15 degrees at least, from the perpendicular, and 6" or 8" away from the trench wall. Then, slide the corrugated, hurdles, or boards on their sides down behind the stakes, overlapping slightly the ends ,and ramming them well down into the mud or soil in the bottom, and filling in the space behind with soil.

The bottom third or half of the front wall is thus substantially, easily and quickly revetted, and the upper half or remainder is generally revetted with the sandbags, a bed being dug so that the first layer of headers is about half its depth below the top of the corrugated. If stakes shorter than 6' or 8' have been used in the revetting, half should be cut off to where the sandbag revetting commences and wired to anchor stakes, driven into the parapet end of the bed, and not wired over the top of the parapet, as it tends to gradually pull them upwards. Then cover this wiring with your first layer of headers. "When hurdles or floorboards are used instead of corrugated iron, empty sandbags or similar material must be hung behind them to prevent the soil crumbling through and thus

weakening the foundation of the sandbag revetments. Corrugated should not be used for revetting the front wall higher than 2', which is the width of one sheet, as the supply is generally limited and can be put to more valuable use as dealt with later. Corrugated iron comes in bundles of about 24 sheets to the bundle, averaging 6' by 3'. Two sheets is the average load for any one man in a carrying party.

A front wall constructed in the manner shown, if prompt and immediate attention always be given to repair if damage is done, will give very little bother. It is the usual custom to construct your fire platform after this revetting work has been done.

A trench should be dug no deeper than will afford protection to the firer, a deeper passageway necessitating a fire platform, a subsequent work, and by first revetting the whole front wall from bottom to top then adding the fire platform, each gets the benefit of the foundation of the other. Until this fire platform is constructed, emergency methods may be used and improvised in a moment with ammunition boxes, loose sandbags and the various other junk which accumulates in a trench.

Fire Platforms

Now that the front wall has been revetted, either with corrugated or sandbags, the construction of the fire platform should be at once started. To start this, short stakes should be driven well into the trench bottom about 36" from the front wall and parallel to the slope of the front wall, averaging from 2' to 3' apart and generally as substantial as the large revetment stakes, although this is not of absolute necessity.

When brushwood is procurable, it should be used as a foundation, putting it in after the short stakes are driven and ramming it down behind them. This gives you as nearly as possible a dry and compact foundation for your first row of headers. Then this may be covered with another lot of brushwood, and that again by a row of headers, and from then the layer should be alternate headers and stretchers. Sand bags do not offer a good platform after a heavy rain, as they become wet and slippery and the material quickly rots, then they break open and the top of your fire platform is gone. To avoid this, it is necessary to use whatever material may be at hand in the covering of the top layer.

One good way of providing this top covering when the material is procurable, is a wire netting used in a double thickness. It should be placed behind and up against the stakes before the foundation is laid. Then when the fire platform is built to its proper height, bend the wire from the top of the fire platform and fasten it down on the sides by whatever means are handy. Using this double wire netting makes it possible to use brick and all sorts of general trash in the construction of the fire platform and gives a very good dry footing. When doing that the face of your platform should be either corrugated sheets or boards.

Very often what are known as sentry-boards, or small floor boards about 36" square and with additional cross pieces underneath, giving them a height of about a foot, thus raising them well out of the mud, are used, and are very handy before a fire platform is made, and in some cases have to be used for small men after the fire platform is made.

Joseph Shuter Smith

Joseph Shuter Smith was an American author born in Philadelphia in 1893. He spent his childhood in Alaska during the Gold Rush and spent his years before the Great War as a lumberjack, miner, surveyor and cowboy. In 1914, continuing his adventurous streak, he went to Canada and enlisted in the Canadian Expeditionary Force, declaring his birthplace to be Port Hope, Ontario (with next of kin in Oakland, California). Smith enlisted with the 29th Canadian Infantry Battalion at Vancouver. He served in France and Belgium as a soldier in the CEF and, after being commissioned in August, 1916, as an officer of the British Army with The Royal Scots (Lothian Regiment). He resigned his Imperial commission after a year to return to the US and enlist in the American Army. Joseph Smith also wrote the memoir: Over There and Back in Three Uniforms; Being the Experiences of an American Boy in the Canadian, British and American Armies at the Front and through No Man's Land.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Sunday, 8 November 2015

The Tercentenary Marchpast
Topic: Canadian Militia

The Tercentenary Marchpast

The Canadian General Sir William Otter, Desmond Morton, 1974

[Tercentenary celebration of the founding of Quebec take place on the Plains of Abraham.]

By the time Otter reached the plains the early morning mists were being burned off by the sun, the last troops were in place and the stands were packed. Colonel Lessard trotted up to hand over the parade state: 12,422 men, 2,134 horses, 26 guns, with an additional 2,400 sailors and marines from the visiting warships. At 10.00 a.m., the royal party arrived; the bearded Prince in a general's uniform, Lord Roberts in the full dress of a field marshal. Next came the inspection, with Otter leading the party down the long ranks of troops. To his delight he picked out the medical orderlies, standing idly behind the ranks: despite the heat, that meant that few, if any, of his men had collapsed. At the reviewing stand the Prince of Wales dismounted to present Laurier with a cheque for $450,000, the amount so far collected for the battlefield memorial. Now the march-past could begin.

It took an hour and a half for the long line of sailors, marines, gunners, cavalrymen and infantry to pass the reviewing stand. The crowd burst into special applause for the sailors, the little unit of Royal Military College cadets, the Mounted Police and the newest permanent force unit, Lord Strathcona's Horse. Twice Lord Roberts trotted out to lead troops past the Prince of Wales - first the artillery, then Otter's old regiment, the Queen's Own. He was colonel- in-chief of both. Gradually, as the lines passed before him, Otter could relax. There would be no mishap, no humiliating confusion. He could spare a thought for the rural battalions, marvelling at their transformation during his militia years. At the end of the column came the Royal Canadian Regiment. To the Prince, puzzled that regular troops should march in the junior position, Otter explained: "I wanted the tail to be equal to the head."

When the parade had passed, two batteries of permanent force artillery, the newly redesignated Royal Canadian Horse Artillery, formed up at one end of the field. At a command, whips cracked and the two batteries suddenly raced across the field, harness jingling, limbers and guns leaping over the uneven ground. At the far end, the teams twisted and, in a cloud of dust, came hurtling back. The crowd leaped to its feet, shouting itself hoarse with excitement. The review was over. Otter urged his horse forward, riding out to meet his troops. As he moved toward the huge mass of scarlet, rifle green and navy blue, the significance of the parade state figures struck him: he commanded more men than the armies of Wolfe and Montcalm combined.'

The Royal Canadian Regiment Museum

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST

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