The Minute Book
Tuesday, 3 May 2016

The Rifled 9-Pounder Gun (1880s)
Topic: Militaria

ARTILLERY MATERIAL. - SECTION 1.

The Gun.

Manual of Field Artillery Exercises, Canada, 1884

Designation.—Ordnance, wrought Iron rifled, M.L. 9 Pr. 8 cwt.

  • Length
    • nominal - 5 feet 8.5 inches.
    • total - 6 feet.
    • of bore - 5 feet 3.5 inches.
    • of rifling - 4 feet 11.8 inches

       

  • Preponderance - 7 lbs.
  • Calibre - 3 inches.
  • Nominal weight - 8 cwt. 1 qr. 6 lbs.
  • Grooves - 3. French modified.
  • Twist of rifling, uniform - 1 in 30 calibres.
  • Initial Velocity - 1,381 feet.

1884_9-pounder_wrought_iron_rifled_muzzle_loader

Construction.—The 9 Pr. Muzzle-loading rifle gun consists of two pieces — one shrunk over the other; the "A tube" or "barrel," and the "breech coil."

The "A" tube," which extends the whole length of the gun is formed from a cylinder, or ingot, of cast-steel, bored and turned to the proper dimensions, after being toughened in a "bath" of oil.

The "breech coil" is of wrought iron, and is composed of two pieces welded together, the part in rear of the trunnions being manufactured from bar-iron, which is coiled round a mandrill and welded, the fibre of the iron running round in the direction of the length of the bar, whilst the part from close behind the trunnions to the front, is forged solid, this latter piece, after being rough-turned and bored, is welded to the coil.

The "breech coil" takes the form of a jacket to the barrel barrel, the two pieces having been turned and bored to the proper dimensions, the "breech coil" is expanded by heat, and then lowered over the "barrel " which is placed in a vertical position to receive it, the coil, on being allowed to cool, contracts so as to grip the barrel, the two pieces, in a measure, thus becoming one.

Sighting —The gun is sighted centrally with a tangent scale or hind sight, and a dispart or foresight.

The tangent scale consists of a rectangular steel bar, with head also of steel, the bar is graduated in degrees, each cross degree being subdivided into twenty divisions, a division being equal to three minutes of elevation. The cross head is grooved on the top, and is fitted with a gun metal leaf, which can be moved either to the right or to the left, to compensate tor accidental deflection, caused by wind, one wheel being higher than the other, etc., the front of the cross head is bevelled, and graduated right and left of the centre, in divisions reading three minutes each. The leaf is moved or clamped by means of a thumbscrew working in a slot in the back of the crosshead. The tangent scale works in a gun metal socket inserted in the breech of the gun at an angle of 1 deg. 30 mins. to the left, that being the angle which compensates for the derivation of the projectile, caused by the rifling. The cross head is fixed on the bar with a corresponding dip to the right so as to be horizontal when the scale is in use. When the tangent scale is lowered to zero its apex is flush with the upper surface of the gun this protects it from injury when not in use; when raised it is kept in position by a gun metal thumb screw.

The dispart sight is a small steel "leaf," screwed into the gun near the muzzle. The metal of the gun at this part is made the same thickness as at the breech, so as to form a dispart patch," and give a line parallel to the axis of the gun. This sight, also, is protected from injury in mounting, discounting, etc., by being fixed in a recess

Trunnions — The trunnions are 3.5 inches in length and diameter, and their axis coincident with that of the bore.

Vent — A hardened copper cone vent is screwed in so as to strike the curve at the bottom of the bore, both to ensure that the whole of the unconsumed portion of the cartridge may be blown out, and also for the purpose of firing very reduced charges. The highest initial velocity would be given by striking the cartridge at a point four-tenths of its length from the base, but the strain on the gun would be proportionately greater.

The Senior Subaltern


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Monday, 2 May 2016

The Bayonet in Battle
Topic: Cold Steel

The Bayonet in Battle

The Journal of Commerce, Montreal, 30 September 1914

The bayonet is proving to be the last argument of battles in the present war. Previous to the war, military critics in various countries declared that the day of the bayonet was past, and that in future wars artillery and rifles would settle the day. It is undoubtedly true that artillery and rifles are playing a very important part in the present war. Heavy siege guns, field artillery, rapid fire guns of every description, as well as the latest and best rifles, thunder out their messages of death to the opposing force. Apparently, however, the two sides are so evenly matched in artillery that no progress can be made either way, Whatever gains have been made by the Allies have been accomplished at the point of bayonet.

The bayonet has always been a favorite with the British soldiers. The big, brawny Scots, and the other stalwarts who constitute the backbone of the British army, have always loved to fight at close quarters. Despatches from the front tell of a hundred occasions when the Germans gave way before the furious bayonet charges of the allied troops. Every soldier back from the front tells the same story of the Germans being unable to face cold steel. In addition to the terrible loss which can be inflicted by the bayonet, there is a psychological reason why me should be unable to withstand a bayonet charge. Men cannot see a bullet coming, and know nothing of it until they are hit. With bayonets it is different. Soldiers can see a long line of glistening steel, which wavers, falters, comes on faster and faster. They see the determined faces of the men behind the bayonets, can read he lust for blood in their eyes, and know that in a few minutes these visible instruments of death will be buried in their bodies. The psychological effect of a bayonet charge is enough to unnerve any but the very bravest and most fearless fighters. In every battle where the Allies have gained ground, it has been done by means of the bayonet, which forced the Germans out of their entrenched positions.

There is perhaps an added reason why the Germans fear the bayonet attacks of the Allies. Both the British and the French bayonets are longer than those in use by the Germans, and a few inches in length in a hand-to-hand fight makes all the difference between life and death. Added to this, it is undoubtedly true that the British have always excelled in bayonet work, which the scientifically trained German was taught to rely entirely upon artillery and rifle fire. As a result of the fighting in this war, and the splendid results achieved by the bayonet, it is likely to retain its place as an effective arm.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Sunday, 1 May 2016

Active Militia; Cavalry (1868)
Topic: Canadian Militia

Active Militia; Cavalry (1868)

The Canadian Volunteer's Hand Book for Field Service, Major T.C. Scoble, 37th Battalion (Haldimand Rifles), C.V.M., 1868

Cavalry.—The horse moves 400 yards at a walk, in about 3.9 minutes; at a trot in about 2 minutes; at a gallop in 1.4 minutes. His stride in walking is about 0.917 yards; at a trot 1.23 yards; at a gallop 3.52 yards. He occupies in the ranks 3 feet; in file 9 feet; in marching 12 feet. The heavy dragoon horse actually carries 270 pounds; if provided with one day's rations, 296 pounds, The light cavalry horse carries from 250 to 260 pounds, rations included. A cavalry horse should weigh about 1,000 pounds; height about 15.3 hands; girth round chest 80 inches. A day's rations for a horse is 10 pounds oats, 12 pounds hay, and 8 pounds straw in stable; 8 pounds oats, 18 pounds hay, 6 pounds straw, in billets; 32 pounds hay where no oats or bran are given; 9 pounds of oats are equal to 14 pounds bran. He will drink about 7 gallons of water daily. A horse should not be watered too early in the morning in cold weather. Horses' backs should be examined closely on saddling and unsaddling the least flinching should be taken notice of, and hot fomentations applied constantly. Kicks and contusions should be treated by hot fomentations, poultices, and cold water. A dose of physic may be necessary, depending on extent of tumefaction and pain. Sprains should be fomented; a dose of physic given, and cold water bandages applied. Cough and cold: soft diet, a fever ball with a little nitre; stimulate or blister the throat, if sore. If bleeding is necessary, rub the neck on the near side close to the throat, until the vein rises; to keep it full, tie a string round the neck, just below the middle; strike the fleam into the vein smartly, with a short stick. If the blood does not flow freely, the blow being properly struck, it may be made do so by holding the head well up, and causing the horse to move its jaws. After a march, first take off the bridles, tie up horses by headstall chains; loosen girths, turn up crupper and stirrups; sponge nostrils and eyes, and rub the head with a dry wisp; pick and wash feet, and give hay; wipe bit and stirrups. After the men have had their meal, saddles are taken off and the horses cleaned, watered, fed, and bedded. Upon the vigour with which grooming is performed, greatly depends the condition of the horse, when exposed to fatigue or exposure to the weather. Hand rubbing the legs and ears, not only till they are dry, but until the blood circulates freely, should be particularly observed.

In forming for attack upon infantry, a regiment of cavalry should be divided into three bodies— distinguished as "First Line," "Support," and "Reserve" — with intervals of 400 yards between each. The "First Line" should not be more than one-third of the force. They generally advance the first 400 yards at a walk, approaching to a gentle trot the next 400 yards at a round trot and the last 200 yards at a gallop —the time consumed being about seven minutes and three seconds.

The "Support" and "Reserve" follow the advance at the same pace as the "First Line," checking the pace when the "First Line" commences to charge, but prepared to follow up the success, or protect the reforming of the First Line. The "First Line," if unsuccessful, should rally behind the "Reserve," instead of falling back on the "Support," and thus destroying the steadiness and order of its attack.

When cavalry act in support of artillery, they are formed up 400 yards in rear. When cavalry and artillery act together against infantry, the cavalry harass and manoeuvre on the flanks, in order to induce the enemy to form square, in which formation they would suffer most from artillery fire. In a cavalry attack, guns come into action on one side of the cavalry they support; in order to have a clear front, and to cover a retreat more effectually.

In advanced guards, and piquet duty, the same general rules apply to cavalry as to infantry; it being borne in mind that they can communicate more quickly than infantry, and consequently need not be so near the main body.

The Senior Subaltern


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Saturday, 30 April 2016

Motivating the Saboteur
Topic: Resistance

Motivating the Saboteur

A reasonable amount of humor In the presentation of suggestions for simple sabotage will relax tensions of fear.

Strategic Services Field Manual No. 3, Simple Sabotage Field Manual (provisional), Office of Strategic Services, Washington, D.C., 17 January 1944

a.     To incite the citizen to the active practice of simple sabotage and to keep him practicing that sabotage over sustained periods is a special problem.

b.     Simple sabotage is often an act which the citizen performs according to his own initiative and inclination. Acts of destruction do not bring him any personal gain and may be completely foreign to his habitually conservationist attitude toward materials and tools. Purposeful stupidity is contrary to human nature. He frequently needs pressure, stimulation or assurance, and information and suggestions regarding feasible methods of simple sabotage.

(1) Personal Motives

(a)     The ordinary citizen very probably has no immediate personal motive for committing simple sabotage. Instead, he must be made to anticipate indirect personal gain, such as might come with enemy evacuation or destruction of the ruling government group. Gains should be stated as specifically as possible for the area addressed: simple sabotage will hasten the day when Commissioner X and his deputies Y and Z will be thrown out, when particularly obnoxious decrees and restrictions will be abolished, when food will arrive, and so on. Abstract verbalizations about personal liberty, freedom of the press, and so on, wi1l not be convincing in most parts of the world. In many areas they will not even be comprehensible.

(b)     Since the effect of his own acts is limited, the saboteur may become discouraged unless he feels that he is a member of a large, though unseen, group of saboteurs operating against the enemy or the government of his own country and elsewhere. This can be conveyed indirectly: suggestions which he reads and hears can include observations that a particular technique has been successful in this or that district. Even if the technique is not applicable to his surroundings, another's success will encourage him to attempt similar acts. It also can be conveyed directly: statements' praising the effectiveness of simple sabotage can be contrived which will be published by white radio, freedom stations, and the subversive press. Estimates of the proportion of the population engaged in sabotage can be disseminated. Instances of successful sabotage already are being broadcast by white radio and freedom stations, and this should be continued and expanded where compatible with security.

(c)     More important than (a) or (b) would be to create a situation in which the citizen-saboteur acquires a sense of responsibility and begins to educate others in simple sabotage.

(2)     Encouraging Destructiveness

It should be pointed out to the saboteur where the circumstances are suitable, that he is acting in self-defense against the enemy, or retaliating against the enemy for other acts of destruction. A reasonable amount of humor In the presentation of suggestions for simple sabotage will relax tensions of fear.

(a)     The saboteur may have to reverse his thinking, and he should be told this in so many words. Where he formerly thought of keeping his tools sharp, he should now let them grow dull; surfaces that formerly were lubricated now should be sanded; normally diligent, he should now be lazy and careless; and so on, Once he is encouraged to think backwards about himself and the objects of his everyday life, the saboteur will see many opportunities in his immediate environment which cannot possibly be seen from a distance. A state of mind should be encouraged that anything can be sabotaged.

(b)     Among the potential citizen-saboteurs who are to engage in physical destruction, two extreme types may be distinguished, On the one hand, there is the man who is not technically trained and employed. This man needs specific suggestions as to what he can and should destroy as well as details regarding the tools by means or which destruction is accomplished.

(c)     At the other extreme is the man who is a technician, such as a lathe operator or an automobile mechanic. Presumably this man would be able to devise methods of simple sabotage which would be appropriate to his own facilities. However, this man needs to be stimulated to re-orient his thinking in the direction of destruction. Specific examples. Which need not be from his own field, should accomplish this.

(d)     Various media may be used to disseminate suggestions and information regarding simple sabotage. Among the media which may be used, as the immediate situation dictates, are: freedom station or radio, false or official leaflets. Broadcasts or leaflets may be directed toward specific geographic or occupational areas, or they may be general in scope. Finally, agents may be trained in the art of simple sabotage, In anticipation of a time when they may be able to communicate this information directly.

The Frontenac Times


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Friday, 29 April 2016

Summary Punishment (1884)
Topic: Discipline

Summary Punishment (1884)

Manual of Field Artillery Exercises, Canada, 1884

A commanding officer in dealing summarily with a case may award a private soldier the following punishments, subject to the soldier's right of trial by court-martial, instead of submitting to the award:—

(a.)     Imprisonment, with or without hard labor, not exceeding seven days.

In the case of absence without leave exceeding seven days the imprisonment may be extended to the same number of days as the days of absence, not exceeding twenty-one days in the whole.

(b.)     In the case of drunkenness a fine not exceeding ten shillings, according to scale. The award, when prescribed by the scale, is compulsory.

(c.)     In the case of absence without leave, not exceeding five days, deprivation of pay for every day of absence.

Note.—If the absence exceeds five days the commanding officer will make no award, as, in such case, all ordinary pay for every day of absence is, under the provisions of the Royal warrant, forfeited without award.

(d.)     Any deduction from ordinary pay allowed by sec. 138, sub-sec. 4 or 6, Army Act, 1881, to be made by a commanding officer.

A commanding officer may also award the following minor punishments:—

(e.)     Confinement to barracks for any period not exceeding twenty-eight days, which carries with it punishment drill to the extent of fourteen days, the taking of all duties in regular turn, attending parades, and being further liable to be employed on duties of fatigue, at the discretion of the commanding officer. Every award of confinement to barracks for fourteen days, and under, is to carry with it punishment drill, which in the mounted service, is to be "kit drill" and in the infantry "marching order."

(f.)     Extra guards or piquets; but these are never to be ordered as a punishment except for minor offences or irregularities when on, or parading for, these duties.

Any of the above punishments may be awarded severally or conjointly, subject to the following provisions

1.     When imprisonment exceeding seven days is awarded for absence without leave, a minor punishment must not be given in addition to the imprisonment in respect of the offence of absence.

2.     Any award of imprisonment, up to seven days, inclusive, will be in hours; exceeding seven days in days.

3.     When an award includes imprisonment and a minor punishment, the latter will take effect at the termination of the imprisonment awarded.

4.     A single award of punishment, including imprisonment and confinement to barracks, will not exceed twenty-eight days.

5.     A soldier undergoing imprisonment or confinement to barracks may, for a fresh offence, be awarded further punishment of imprisonment, or a minor punishment, or both, to commence as above specified, provided that no soldier shall be imprisoned by summary award for more than seven consecutive days (except for absence without leave) and that the whole extent of consecutive punishment, including imprisonment and confinement to barracks, shall not exceed fifty-six days in the aggregate.

6.     Defaulters are not tmontreal_field_bty1.jpgo be required to undergo any portion of their punishment drill or confinement to barracks which may have lapsed by reason of their being in hospital or employed on dutv. Vide Q. R. sec vi., para. 42.

Attention is also directed to sec. 43 as to how punishment drill is to be carried out.

Non-commissioned officers, including acting non-commissioned officers, are not to be subjected to summary or minor punishments, but they may be reprimanded, or severely reprimanded, by the commanding officer. When an offence committed by a non-commissioned officer is of such a nature as to require admonition only, it should not be entered against him in the defaulters book. Acting and lance non- commissioned officers may be ordered by a commanding officer to revert to their permanent grade, but are not liable to a summary or minor punishment in addition.

A private soldier may be admonished, but is not to be reprimanded. Vide Q. R., sec. vi., para. 44.

The attention of commanding officers and others is also directed to paras. 45 to 69, Q. R. sec. vi. with reference to the administration of discipline, and also to the provisions of the Militia Act. sees. 75 to 90, and R. and 0. 1883, paras. 1041 to 1049.

It will be generally found that, except when corps are called out for continuous service, exceeding the ordinary period of annual drill, the provisions of the Militia Act, respecting offences and penalties will be found, in addition to such minor punishments as are above prescribed, most suitable for application in the case of ordinary offence.

The Senior Subaltern


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:11 AM EDT
Thursday, 28 April 2016

London Company of Infantry
Topic: Wolseley Barracks

London Company of Infantry

From the Orders-in-Council documents archives on line by Library and Archives Canada, we find this memorandum on the creation of new Permanent Force units of the Canadian Militia:

On a memorandum dated 28 April 1885 from the Minister of Militia and Defence, representing that the addition of the following Corps to the present Militia Force is of immediate necessity, and recommending that authority be granted for the establishment of:—

One Company of Infantry of 100 men to be stationed at London, Ontario.

Two Companies of Mounted Infantry of seventy-five men each, to be stationed at Winnipeg, Manitoba.

The Minister further recommended that authority be granted for the furnishing of the two Companies of Mounted Infantry, when organized, with 25 horses each; and that this number be increased, if required, so as to provide one horse for each man, whenever the necessity for their use shall arise.

The Committee advise that the requisite authority be granted as recommended by the Minister of Militia and Defence.

John MacDonald.

Countersigned: "Approved," Lansdowne, 4 May 1885

The Royal Canadian Regiment Museum


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 16 April 2016 3:11 PM EDT
Summary Punishment (1884)
Topic: Discipline

Summary Punishment (1884)

Manual of Field Artillery Exercises, Canada, 1884

A commanding officer in dealing summarily with a case may award a private soldier the following punishments, subject to the soldier's right of trial by court-martial, instead of submitting to the award:—

(a.)     Imprisonment, with or without hard labor, not exceeding seven days.

In the case of absence without leave exceeding seven days the imprisonment may be extended to the same number of days as the days of absence, not exceeding twenty-one days in the whole.

(b.)     In the case of drunkenness a fine not exceeding ten shillings, according to scale. The award, when prescribed by the scale, is compulsory.

(c.)     In the case of absence without leave, not exceeding five days, deprivation of pay for every day of absence.

Note.—If the absence exceeds five days the commanding officer will make no award, as, in such case, all ordinary pay for every day of absence is, under the provisions of the Royal warrant, forfeited without award.

(d.)     Any deduction from ordinary pay allowed by sec. 138, sub-sec. 4 or 6, Army Act, 1881, to be made by a commanding officer.

A commanding officer may also award the following minor punishments:—

(e.)     Confinement to barracks for any period not exceeding twenty-eight days, which carries with it punishment drill to the extent of fourteen days, the taking of all duties in regular turn, attending parades, and being further liable to be employed on duties of fatigue, at the discretion of the commanding officer. Every award of confinement to barracks for fourteen days, and under, is to carry with it punishment drill, which in the mounted service, is to be "kit drill" and in the infantry "marching order."

(f.)     Extra guards or piquets; but these are never to be ordered as a punishment except for minor offences or irregularities when on, or parading for, these duties.

Any of the above punishments may be awarded severally or conjointly, subject to the following provisions

1.     When imprisonment exceeding seven days is awarded for absence without leave, a minor punishment must not be given in addition to the imprisonment in respect of the offence of absence.

2.     Any award of imprisonment, up to seven days, inclusive, will be in hours; exceeding seven days in days.

3.     When an award includes imprisonment and a minor punishment, the latter will take effect at the termination of the imprisonment awarded.

4.     A single award of punishment, including imprisonment and confinement to barracks, will not exceed twenty-eight days.

5.     A soldier undergoing imprisonment or confinement to barracks may, for a fresh offence, be awarded further punishment of imprisonment, or a minor punishment, or both, to commence as above specified, provided that no soldier shall be imprisoned by summary award for more than seven consecutive days (except for absence without leave) and that the whole extent of consecutive punishment, including imprisonment and confinement to barracks, shall not exceed fifty-six days in the aggregate.

6.     Defaulters are not tmontreal_field_bty1.jpgo be required to undergo any portion of their punishment drill or confinement to barracks which may have lapsed by reason of their being in hospital or employed on dutv. Vide Q. R. sec vi., para. 42.

Attention is also directed to sec. 43 as to how punishment drill is to be carried out.

Non-commissioned officers, including acting non-commissioned officers, are not to be subjected to summary or minor punishments, but they may be reprimanded, or severely reprimanded, by the commanding officer. When an offence committed by a non-commissioned officer is of such a nature as to require admonition only, it should not be entered against him in the defaulters book. Acting and lance non- commissioned officers may be ordered by a commanding officer to revert to their permanent grade, but are not liable to a summary or minor punishment in addition.

A private soldier may be admonished, but is not to be reprimanded. Vide Q. R., sec. vi., para. 44.

The attention of commanding officers and others is also directed to paras. 45 to 69, Q. R. sec. vi. with reference to the administration of discipline, and also to the provisions of the Militia Act. sees. 75 to 90, and R. and 0. 1883, paras. 1041 to 1049.

It will be generally found that, except when corps are called out for continuous service, exceeding the ordinary period of annual drill, the provisions of the Militia Act, respecting offences and penalties will be found, in addition to such minor punishments as are above prescribed, most suitable for application in the case of ordinary offence.

The Senior Subaltern


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 26 April 2016 12:02 AM EDT
Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Roosevelt on Bayonets
Topic: Cold Steel

Roosevelt on Bayonets

The President's Personal Test of a Bayonet Newly Invented and Submitted for His Approval

Boston Evening Transcript, 20 April 1905

Springfield armory personnel and others will have a special interest in the following story sent from Washington to the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

Since the departure of President Roosevelt for Texas a story has leaked out illustrating anew his versatility and physical energy. General Frazer of the British Army, who was a guest at the White House not so long ago, told of the incident after leaving Washington as the most remarkable thing he had so far observed in the United States. It seems that General Frazer sat in the President's office on a day when General Crozier, head of the Army Ordnance Corps, brought in his new rod bayonet to show the President.

General Crozier was responsible for the rod bayonet, which was simply a modification of the end of the new Springfield rifle's cleaning rod, about the thickness of a lead pencil, with a rounded, sharpened point. This bayonet end on the cleaning rod could be pulled out 12 or 14 inches, clamped in place, and there you were. The soldier needed no longer to carry a bayonet at his side. He could tote an intrenching spade instead.

When officers, who had been observing the war in Manchuria, returned with their reports of bayonet charges by Jap and Russian, a storm of criticism developed against the Crozier rod bayonet. Army officers wanted to retain the present substantial savage-looking knife bayonet. The manufacture of the new Springfields, all equipped with rod bayonets, was stopped while the question hung in abeyance. President Roosevelt threw the weight of his influence in the scale against the new rod bayonet. On the morning of which General Frazer told his friends General Crozier had brought one of the new Springfields, equipped with the rod bayonet, to show the President how practical a tool it was. General Crozier had a pine plank with him and he drove the rod bayonet several times through the plank with the triumphant air of a magician doing a card trick.

"There!" he said. "You see."

"I don't know whether I do or not," said the President, and took a hand himself. He drove the bayonet through the pine plank, but that did not satisfy him. He then demanded to know how the rod bayonet would stand up in a contest against a soldier equipped with the present knife bayonet. General Crozier insisted that the man armed with the knife bayonet would have no advantage.

"Let's see about that," exclaimed the Chief Executive.

He sent a messenger out for a Krag-Jorgensen rifle equipped with a knife bayonet. It came.

"Now you stand over in that corner, Crozier," directed the President. "I'm attacking you, you know."

Swinging the heavy Krag in practised hands, the president danced across to the chief of the ordnance corps, who held his rifle loosely in his hands and looked at him in a rather bewildered way. It is a rather sudden shock to find yourself involved in a bayonet fight with the Chief Executive of the Government.

"Stand up to it, Crozier!" cried the President. "On guard, man!"

General Crozier thereupon fell into position and guarded. The President made half a dozen quick passes with his rifle, then a wild whoop. There was a clatter of steel, and half of Genetral Crozier's rod bayonet fell to the floor. With an old fencing trick, the President had caught it under his bayonet's guard and over its blade. With one twist of his powerful wrists he had broken the rod bayonet in halves.

"I don't think your rod bayonet is much good, Crozier," he said with a laugh. General Crozier could not think of anything more to say just at that time. He stood, bewildered, with his rifle in his hands and looked from the jagged remains of his bayonet on the end to the half of it lying on the floor.

Pretty soon he departed.

It made a great hit with General Frazer of the British Army. "Now there is a man for you," he told his friends. "My word! Think of it! That's the kind of President to have, a man who not only understand technical military business, but who can stand up and demonstrate his views. My word! But he's a man!"

The readers have probably noticed recent despatches that told not only of the knife bayonet's retention, and the rejection of the Crozier device, but also of the decision to materially lengthen this knife bayonet so that the reach in cold steel of the American soldier may equal that of any soldier in the world.

The Senior Subaltern


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Our Militia System (1892)
Topic: Canadian Militia

Our Militia System (1892)

Some Comments on the General's Criticism
Increased Interest in Drill is Looked For—The Government gets a Severe rap for Allowing such Wtretched Arms and Equipment to be Used—An Expression on County Corps

The Montreal Herald, 11 April 1892

The publication of Major General Herbert's report in The Herald on Saturday caused a genuine sensation in military circles in this city, and many were the compliments paid to the herald for its enterprise in first laying this important criticism upon Canada's militia system before the public. Of course it formed almost the sole subject of conversation among our local soldiery and many and varied were the comments upon its details.

"Major General Herbert," said an officer of the highest rank, "is a born organizer. He has made the militia system of Canada the subject of most exhaustive study, and he understands it as no other General has ever done. Besides this, he has the full courage of his convictions, and is not afraid to award blame where it is deserved. It is this fact that has so astonished volunteer officers. In the past they have been so accustomed to receiving what is vulgarly termed "taffy," that the plan statements of General Herbert came upon them like a shock. Will it do our local corps good? Of course it will. The fact that the general is prepared to single out corps for praise or blame will undoubtedly arouse a spirit of emulation that must have the most beneficial results. I look for increased interest in drill, and expect a marked improvement in the coming inspections."

"As to whether any improvement in the working of the Militia Act will result from the report it is difficult to say. Political exigencies will have to be considered. Every one recognizes the fact that unless country corps are fully drilled every year it is no use drilling them at all. To allot money for the drilling of corps for twelve days every second or third year is simply throwing it away, from a military point of view, and yet, what is to be done? No doubt 10,000 men in good city corps would be more valuable to the country than our present horde of half-drilled bumpkins; but what country member would not rebel against the withdrawal of the amount of the pay from his district? No; from a political standpoint any improvement is impossible, but at the same time, the fact that the General has boldly pointed out the defects of the Act, may possibly klead to the elimination of some of its most glaring absurdities."

"Am I satisfied with the General's report?" said an officer of the Sixth Fusiliers. "Why, of course I am." He distinctly says that the Sixth are the best corps in drill and appearance of any corps in Montreal and coming from so stern and practical a soldier as General Herbert that is praise enough. I attribute his appreciation of our drill to the fact that in Lieut.-Col. Massey we have one of the fastest drills in the country. Look at him on parade, and see how he keeps the men constantly in motion! There are never any waits with him. Naturally the men become bright and alert in every movement and this was precisely the trait which so delighted General Herbert."

"The general hit upon our weak spot," said an officer of the Scots who was approached by The Herald man. "We were a trifle slow at inspection. This was due to the fact that there are in the ranks on inspection day many men who never attend any other drill. They just turn up for inspections and that is all. Naturally they are rusty, and the necessity of waiting for them, and nursing the companies in which they are, makes the more complicated movements slow. I am glad he praised the Cadets though. They thoroughly deserve it, and are a credit to the regiment."

"I think General Herbert was a little hard upon us," said an officer of the Vic's, "probably the men were a little cramped; but you remember what a fine body of men we paraded. Why in a few days our fellows would have been able to go anywhere and do anything! And yet, because we did not do as well at inspection as we did st many previous drills, the general dismisses us with the remark that our drill was indifferent! I don't think that was the verdict of the military critics at the time, if I remember right."

"The General could not go too far in his condemnation of our arms and equipment," said another officer. "Look at our rifles. The Snider at best is an obsolete weapon; but ours are not even good Sniders. In nine out of every ten the foresights are so worn down that they are practically worthless for accurate shooting, and the grooves so damaged by constant usage that a man desirous to shoot must either purchase his own Snider, as most of our good shots do, or search over a whole arm-rack before he can find a decent shooting weapon. And then look at our accoutrements! Cartouche boxes of the date of the Crimean war! Broad old-fashioned cross-belts, and antiquated ball-bags like our grandfathers carried in the Peninsula! Look at our knapsacks, with their straps still marked with the numbers of the English regiments who cast them aside fifteen years ago. We have neither valises nor water bottles and if we want a forage cap of fatigue jacket we must buy it ourselves. Do you call that equipment for a modern regiment? How do you suppose we could take the field against a well equipped opponent? The General cannot lay too much stress upon these points although few officers expect that his strictures will have any effect upon the officials at Ottawa. Not a single General has ever come here but has made the same complaints, and yet not the least step has ever been taken towards remedying the deficiencies, nor is there likely to be until the Militia Department is thoroughly overhauled and a man who has the interest of the militia at heart is placed at the head of it."

The Senior Subaltern


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Monday, 25 April 2016

Wound Statistics 1883
Topic: Cold Steel

Wound Statistics 1883

"Military Matters," The Toronto Daily Mail, 2 June 1883

One of the most valuable contributions to the progress of medical science is undoubtedly the series of volumes recording "The Medical and Surgical History of the Rebellion, Part III., volume II," which was partially compiled under the direction of the surgeon general by the late Surgeon G.A. Otis, U.S. Army, and completed by Surgeon D.L. Huntington, U.S.A., contains some very interesting statistical tables.

From this it appears that during the Crimean War out of a total of 7,660 British wounded, 2,396, or 31.2 per cent., received their wounds in the lower extremities. Among the French troops the ratio was a little higher. The percentage in the Franco-German war was 30.5, or 7,360 wounds of the lower extremities out of a total of 24,788 wounded.

The following record of wounds received in foreign battle is given: —

  • July, 1830, days in Paris and Lyon, Serrier's table784 wounded, 185 wounds lower extremities; ratio, 23.5.
  • Crimean war, Matthew's return, 7,660 wounded, 2,396 wound lower extremities; ratio ratio, 31.2. Chenu's return, 34,306 wounded, 11,873 wound lower extremities; ratio ratio, 34.6.
  • Italian war of 1859, Chenu's return, 19,672 wounded, 7,704 wound lower extremities; ratio ratio, 39.1. Demme's estimate, 17,095 wounded, 5,248 wound lower extremities; ratio ratio, 30.6.
  • Danish war of 1864 (Heine), 1,907 wounded, 553 wound lower extremities; ratio ratio, 28.9.
  • Franco-German war, consolidated returns, 24,788 wounded, 7,550 wound lower extremities; ratio ratio, 30.5.

This shows a ratio of 33.4, or 35,519 wounds of the lower extremities in a total of 106,202 wounded. The conclusion is "that the relative frequency of shot wounds of the lower extremities does not exceed that of wounds of the upper limbs to the extent that might be anticipated from the greater size of the lower limbs. This is doubtless due to the fact that, in all fighting in entranched positions, the lower part of the person is partially screened from injury."

The following interesting table is given showing the frequency of sabre and bayonet wounds: —

OccasionsInjuriesPercentage of Sabre and Bayonet Wounds
Sabre and BayonetShot
English in Crimean War, 1854-57 (Matthew) 158 9,971 1.5
French in Crimean War, 1854-57 (Chenu) 818 25,993 3.0
French in Italian War, 1859 (Chenu) 565 15,401 3.5
Austrians at Verona, 1859 (Richter) 543 17,978 2.9
Austrians at Montebello, 1859 (Richter) 54 227 19.2
Germans in Schleswig-Holstein, 1864 (Loeffler) 61 3,171 1.8
French in Mexico, 1864 (Bintot) 19 66 22.3
Six Weeks' War in Germany, 1866, Bavarians (Richter) 56 1,641 3.3
Six Weeks' War, 1866, Italians (Cortese) 92 2,811 3.1
Six Weeks' War in Germany, 1866, Prussians and Austrians (Richter) 333 8,194 3.9
Franco-Prussian War, 1870-71, Germans (Fischer) 786 53,482 1.4
Aggregate 3,485 138,935 1.4

Accompanying this table we have this comment: —

"In comparison with the large number of shot wounds, the number of sabre and bayonet wounds seems insignificant, offering a striking commentary upon the advance of modern military science, and showing that, with the general adoption of long-range repeating firearms, the sabre and bayonet are rapidly falling into disuse, and that the time is coming, if it has not already arrived, when these old and honoured weapons will become obsolete, and when such wounds from these sources will be regarded rather as incidents of battle rather than as the results of regular tactical manoeuvres."

The Senior Subaltern


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, 15 April 2016 9:10 AM EDT
Sunday, 24 April 2016

Roast All Round
Topic: Canadian Militia

Roast All Round

The Canadian Militia gets it hard in Major General Herbert's Report
Hard on Local Corps
The General's Report to Parliament Yesterday was a Sweeping Criticism of the Whole System and Does Not Reflect Any Credit on Sir Adolphe Caron's Management of the Department

The Montreal Herald, 9 April 1892
Special to The Herald

Ottawa, April 8.—General Herbert's report upon the condition of the militia, presented to Parliament to-day is of more than usual importance and is worthy of the attention of every friend of the force. To use the words of Deputy Minister Panet, "The report that the major-general has made himself conversant with the minute details, good and bad, of our present system, and the changes in certain cases which are proposed as a remedy, deserve all possible consideration."

The Deputy Minister says: "The yearly training of the whole force is of great importance, and it is to be hoped the finances of the country will soon justify an increase in our estimates for that service, so that every man in the force may be put through his annual drill."

General Herbert's Report

General Herbert condemns the administrative system of the permanent schools as in many respects defective, and marked by a want of uniformity which produces an evident evil result in the active militia. He states that he appointed a committee of officers to elaborate a uniform, practical and sound system of instruction, both in drill and administration.

While not satisfied with the condition of the permanent force, the General bore witness to the excellent work done in spite of disadvantages. The faults are ascribed to primary defects of organization. His object is to make the schools of instruction, not simply places for the acquirement of an elementary knowledge of drill, but centres of military thought where officers of militia can find encouragement and assistances in the study of military history, tactics, administration and other subjects.

The working of the militia act is condemned throughout, the general saying: "A system has grown up which is neither the volunteer nor the militia system which partakes of the faults of both, while the militia act has in many particulars become a dead letter."

Artillery the Most Efficient

The General regards the artillery as the most efficient branch of the force, the cavalry second, and the infantry lowest. He urges more practical drill for the city corps and the establishment of a volunteer reserve for each battalion, as in the event of a national emergency there exists no ready means of completing the skeleton battalions to the strength of effective tactical units. Every battalion should have issued to it the arms and accoutrements for its full war strength. The custody of arms so distributed would not entail a heavier expenditure upon the Government than does the present system, and a great source of confusion would be removed in the case of an emergency.

An Increase Not Necessary

The general is opposed to any increase in the grant for drill purposes. On this subject he says: "Under the system hitherto followed no data are available on which to base a trustworthy estimate of the cost incidental to the training of the rural militia, but it is my belief that a considerably larger force could be annually trained than has hitherto been the case, without any increase in the vote for drill and training. I am not prepared at the present to recommend any such increase of expenditure. I am satisfied that in the past, the results obtained in the militia training has not been commensurate with the expenditure and I see only in improved organization a sufficient guarantee of practical results to justify such a recommendation. I shall submit the program I have prepared for the training of the present year, providing for training of an increased quota of rural militia without an increase of the vote for that purpose.

The Equipment No Good

The whole equipment of the militia force is condemned in sweeping terms. The rifles are condemned as obsolete and useless, while the equipment is described as obsolete in pattern and suffering from age and severe usage.

"There is not," he says "a battalion that could turn out in complete marching orders in a given day, though many have at their own expense provided some of the most necessary articles. Moreover the equipment does not exist in store, which it would be necessary to issue in the event of a grave emergency. I have not inspected a single battalion in which the men's boots would have stood one month's active service, or a regiment of calvary or battery of artillery in which the saddlery and harness could be expected to bear a similar strain.

Artillery Material Defective

In the matter of artillery Material, the militia is very deficient. The eighteen field batteries are armed with guns which are still good, but there is no reserve of guns, nor is there a spare gun wheel to be had nearer than Woolwich. Of heavy guns, the Dominion does not possess a single modern specimen of the armament handed over by the Imperial Government. A large portion could not be mounted, and a part could not be fired. Those at Victoria, B.C., loaned by the Imperial Government, are not at present fit for service. There is no sufficient reserve of ammunition.

Our Defences area Dilapidated

Coming to the question of the Dominion defences, the General says: "Numerous defensive works were handed over by the Imperial Government twenty-two years ago. In many cases they have fallen into a very dilapidated condition. I have submitted proposals during the past year for the appointment of a committee of militia officers to collaborate with me in the preparation of a scheme bearing on this question. These proposals have met with the approval of the Government, and I look forward, as soon as some departmental details have been settled, to the commencement of this important work. The problem involves the consideration of the measures to be adopted, not only for the protection of a very extensive frontier, but for that also of certain points on the Pacific Coast which has recently acquired a more than ordinary importance to the Dominion. Other matters intimately connected with the questions of defence, appear to me to demand enquiry by a higher body. In the year 1862 a Royal Commission enquired into the measures to be taken for the defence of Canada. The outcome of its report presented in that year, and of certain political events occurring about that time, was the embodiment in the militia act of a form of organization based upon the requirements and resources of the North American colonies as them existing. The immense progress which has raised the Dominion of Canada to its present position, has entirely altered the social, political and strategical conditions which then existed and formed the basis of calculation.

Comments on Our Regiments

The general's comments upon Montreal's regiments are interesting. He says:

"Sixth Duke of Connaught's Hussars—The first week in camp at Farnham was wasted, the instructions not being systematized as ordered. The drill, consequently, was indifferent. General appearance of men and horses good. The regiment has some good officers and non-commissioned officers, but they would be improved by a course of systematic instruction at the Royal School Cavalry.

"First P.W. Rifles—Drill fair. The arms are in bad order. This, as well as other defects, may be attributed to the difficulties under which this battalion labored, which being now removed considerable improvement may be looked for.

"Third Victoria Rifles—Drill indifferent, probably due to the drill having been done too much in the drill shed. Arrangements should be made to continue the drill to a later date, so as to get outdoor work. Officers set a good example by being all present, and all are well instructed.

"Fifth Royal Scots—drill good but too slow, and much impaired by weakness of companies. Physical drill of the Cadets under the adjutant was first rate. Physique good and arms well kept.

"Sixth Fusiliers—Drill good. Presentation of colors, involving the practice of purely parade movements, induced excessive attention to these to the exclusion of more practical drill. Physique very good and arms well kept. Generally the best in appearance and drill of Montreal corps.

"Sixty-fifth Battalion—No pioneers nor ambulance. Nine buglers of this battalion did duty with the Sixty-fourth Battalion in camp at Laprairie without charge to the Government.

"Eighty-fifth Battalion—General appearance of this battalion very good with the exception of No. 2 company. The adjutant, Capt D'Orsonnens, is a first rate officer, but there is a want of properly qualified officers to act as instructors. Many of the men had served in the Sixty-fifth battalion, and attention is recommended to guard against evasion of the law in such cases."

The Frontenac Times


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Saturday, 23 April 2016

Extracts from An Old Order Book
Topic: British Army

Extracts from An Old Order Book

The Toronto Daily Mail, 31 May 1884

Amongst some interesting relics in the possession of Col. Denison, D.A.G. of this district, is an old order book of the 21st Regiment of Foot or Royal North British Fusiliers, which dates from the last century. The book is yellow with age, but still in a good state of preservation, and the writing almost as distinct as the day it was penned. The fly-leaf bears the inscription Lieut. William Cox, Acting Adjutant 21st Regiment: Granard, April, 1783. The book contains all the important parts of the King's Regulations, and opens with the "Form to be made use of by officers when they apply to their respective commanding officers for leave to sell their commissions." Next came the "Rules to be observed by the several regiments of infantry in Ireland." After this comes an order dates "Adjutant-General's office, Dublin, 27th April, 1784," just a century ago. It states that:—

"The waist belts of the infantry are to be worn over the right shoulder and not round the waist as formerly.
"By order of the Commander-in-Chief
"H. Pigot, Adjutant-General"

The orders date from as far back as 1751, the last being in 1785.

Another order, and one that no doubt gladdened the heart of many a poor private, is given a prominence not alloted to the ordinary rules and regulations. It is entitled:—

The King's Order.

In the margin is the date April 2nd, 1773, and the words "His Majesty's most gracious annual allowance to the dragoons and foot in Ireland." This order begins by stating that "His majesty having taken into consideration the increased prices of provisions and or every other necessity of life, and the great distress which must accrue themselves therefrom to the non-commissioned officers and private men of his regiments of infantry and dragoons, His Majesty, in his gracious goodness, has been pleased to direct, &c." then follows the sums allowed to each rank.

Another interesting order is that dates September 8th, 1783, giving the "regulated prices of commissions in the foot." It is as follows:— "Lieut.-Colonel, full price, £3,657; major, £2,698; captain, £1,548; captain-lieutenant and captain, £988; lieutenant, £560; ensign, £405."

Following the King's orders and regulations as above are the "Standing orders of the 21st Regiment, given out by Col. Hamilton, 20th April, 1774." These are fifty-five in number. The next important order is dated two years later, and is entitled:—

"Canada Campaign, 1776."

It refers principally to routine work and the duties of officers and men when in the field.

There is also a memorial "To the Right Honourable William Augustus Pitt, commander-in-chief of his Majesty's forces in Ireland," praying for the promotion of William Cox, acting-adjutant to the regiment. It bears the date 6th October, 1787. the memorial states that Lieut. Cox served with Lieut.-Burgoyne during six years in the campaign in North America, 1777."

"The opinions of different members passed on John Williamson, soldier, in the 28th Regiment tried for desertion by a general court martial, etc.," is an interesting page. The court consisted of seven members, four of whom recommended that the prisoner should serve abroad for life, one for fourteen years, and two recommending 1,000 lashes with the cat-o'-nine-tails. Truly a soldier's life was not a happy one a century ago.

A general order dated Quebec, 18th March, 1814, is of particular interest to Canadians. It reads as follows:—

"His Excellency the Commander of the Forces has received from Lieut.-General Drummond the report of captain Stewart, of the Royal Scots, of an affair which took place between the detachment under the orders of that officer and a body of the enemy on the 4th inst. At Longwood in advance of Delaware town. Captain Stewart reports that receiving a report late on the night of the 3rd instant from Captain Caldwell that a party of the enemy was discovered in very superior force posted on a commanding eminence, strongly entrenched with long breastworks. This post was instantly attacked in the most gallant manner by the flank companies in front, while Captain Caldwell's company of rangers and a detachment of the Royal Kent Militia made a flank movement on the right, and a small band of Indians to the left, with a view of gaining the rear of the position, and after repeated attempts to dislodge the enemy in an arduous and spirited contest for an hour and a half's duration, which terminated with the daylight, the troops were reluctantly withdrawn, having suffered severely, principally in officers":— "The enemy has since abandoned his position in Longwood."

Then follows as usual a list of the killed, wounded and missing. It has been stated that the Canadian militia are not entitled to the word "Royal." That they are not "Royal Canadian Militia," but such is not the case. An order was issued to the effect that considering the gallantry displayed by the Canadian militia when in the field with his Majesty's regular troops the militia of Canada should henceforth be termed "Royal Militia of Canada." In the official order as given above it will be seen that the Kent militia was as early as 1814 termed "Royal Kent Militia."

The Senior Subaltern


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Friday, 22 April 2016

The Active Militia (1895)
Topic: Canadian Militia

The Active Militia (1895)

There has been a distinct advantage since the days of rotten clothing and the useless eight-day drill for a small proportion of the force.

The Daily Mail and Empire, Toronto, Ont., 14 May 1895

The decision of the Government to provide for the militia drill will be warmly received by those who take an interest in the welfare of the force. When, in 1876 and succeeding years, the country was suffering from the great depression, the then Administration, under Sir Richard Cartwright's guidance, economized by cutting down the militia estimates. The result was a reduction of the drill pay, already small enough, and the abandonment in certain cases of the regular course of instruction. Sir Selby Smyth, reporting upon the economy, said:—

"In view of the reduced estimate, it would seem that we can only train one-half our force for the limited space of eight days, which amounts to the acquirement of little of no military instruction, no discipline, no habits of order, or soldier-like attainments. The system pursued appears to me to be demoralizing, because we retain nominally a large body of men who, if not brought together long enough for some amount of instruction, are little better than recruits; and if we continue to maintain the present numerical force and only train them, such as it is, for eight days, we teach them next to nothing, and at the same time incur the expense of clothing and equipping the whole force of active militia authorized by law."

There was reason in the Major-General's criticism, for the reduction was one of those experiments in economy which are more costly than a fair expenditure. It is gratifying that the Government of to-day is not going to retrench on the lines which Sir Selby, and, indeed, the entire militia service, so strongly condemned. In addition to the curtailment of the drill and the pay, the War Minister of that day pursued a policy entirely his own in respect of equipment and instruction. Sir Selby-Smyth makes this startling announcement in his report for 1877:—

"We are drifting into grave difficulties because the appropriation for clothing in last year's estimates was not sufficient to supply outfits for more than five thousand men. The clothing now used is intended to serve three years. But being of serge and of bad quality, it will not even do that; but, supposing it did, as it should, if of a proper quality of cloth, then if 43,000 men are nominally retained on the strength it would be necessary to provide 13,000 suits a year, at least. If the whole force was required to turn out it could not fall into ranks unless 14,000 suits per annum, about three times the quantity we were able to purchase this year, were procured and issued."

In other words, the Government was really clothing fifteen thousand men, and these with a bad quality of clothes, while the balance of eighteen thousand were unprovided for. The instruction was in harmony with the clothing as regards quality. Sir Selby said it was faulty. "Some officers," he added, "are incapable of properly imparting drill, which cannot be acquired by inspiration, but by application and practice."

This has reference to then infantry. As regards the artillery, there was a like comment: "Officers are retained who can barely drill a gun detachment." the equipment was also bad. Thus, the reports from the military districts related that the guns and rifles were in sad need of repairs, and that the accoutrements were like the clothing, poor and practically rotten.

Curiously enough, while this was the state of the militia the Government could find the money with which to establish the Royal Military College. In recent years efforts have been made to restore the prestige and high standing of the force. At the outset the twelve days' drill was restored. Every facility was thus given to secure a training which, from the point of view of military efficiency, shall be of service to the militia and to the country. The clothing has also been brought to a better standard. In the matter of construction and control there has been a defined improvement. The old system, as Sir Selby Smyth pointed out, contemplated the appointment to positions of responsibility of men whose knowledge of the business of war could have been acquired in no other way than by inspiration. Today the large proportion of the officers are qualified, having received their training at the schools of instruction. The Order-in-Council of January, 1893, requires that no further provisional appointments should be made except to the rank of second lieutenant, and no officer can pass to a higher rank without showing that he is possessed of the knowledge and capacity for instructing those whom he is commissioned to command.

In respect of the equipment there has also been a decided movement looking to better conditions. The Government was quite right in proceeding about this branch of its policy of reform slowly and with deliberation. Its first measure was a practical investigation into the merits of the various small arms in use. For the purposes of the enquiry the Martini-Metford was purchased in moderate numbers and distributed for trial. The reports upon this rifle, it is understood, are conflicting. There are advantages in construction and cost, and a disadvantage in respect of weight, all of which shows that at a period when changes are so rapidly made, it was well that the country should not be hastily committed to any particular arm.

In the improvement of the conditions of the force there have been drawbacks, which necessarily and properly have evoked criticism. That which comes from the political partisan does not call for examination. But there are criticisms from sound military men which, in that they are offered for the sole purpose of advancing the interests of the militia, for the good of the service and the country, ought to, and no doubt will, receive the earnest attention of the Government of the day. There is a great deal, for example, in the demand for the very best arm that can be secured. Why cannot the Minister of Militia invest in Lee-Metfords? Why should he not also expend with liberality upon the equipment of the cavalry and artillery? There can be no doubt that he will be met by objections from the Opposition to any new militia outlay, the theory of expensive economy still permeating that quarter. But Government is not devised to please an Opposition. It is its duty to place all the services of the country on a good and substantial footing, consistent with the ability of the people to pay. There is also reason in the proposition that the militia expenditure should not run too severely in the direction of a perm,anent establishment. The military schools do good service in the training of officers for militia commands; but there is a limit beyond which this special expenditure should not go, because it cannot pass this point save at the expense of the active service. There have been great improvements in the past. There has been a distinct advantage since the days of rotten clothing and the useless eight-day drill for a small proportion of the force. But, seeing that everything cannot be done in a day, there are points yet to be perfected, and to these it is to be hoped the Militia Department will apply itself in the interests of a body of loyal men, who give their services to the country at considerable sacrifice, and with no hope of any return personal to themselves.

Canadian Army Battle Honours


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Thursday, 21 April 2016

Bayonets
Topic: Cold Steel

Bayonets

The Day, New London, Connecticut, 6 December 1940

Persistent reports say that the Italians in the Greek campaign regard the use of bayonets by the Greek troops as entirely unwarranted cruelty. The Italian radio, in fact, is reported to have stated that bayonet fighting is "a barbarous form of warfare which shows a nation is uncivilized." The Greek retort is that "bayonet fighting is certainly less barbarous than using Italian bombing planes against non-combatants." The bayonet, it is said, has been used most effectively by the Greeks in rushing Italian positions, and the reports indicate that the Italian soldiers have not relished the prospect of running up against cold steel.

If the bayonet is barbarous then the United States remains in that benighted state, for bayonets were used by our troops in the World War and many a veteran can remember the aching muscles of bayonet drill even if he never got into battle, and had to use the things. But little about war is pleasant of "civilized," as a matter of fact. The Germans, for instance, were accused of using "dum-dum" bullets in the World War, a type of soft or hollow nosed bullet that expanded when it struck, tearing away large areas of flesh. Some student of that conflict now insist that this may have been war propaganda and that their researches fail to indicate that these bullets were used to any extent. But enough cruel and unnecessary things were done, nevertheless. New types of gas, against which the Allied troops were unprepared, were used. The American troops, on the other hand, pretty generally used bayonets, which are now called barbarous.

It is a question whether it is worse to be killed by a bullet or a bayonet. Neither is an enticing prospect to a soldier. But hand to hand fighting, or "close-up" battle, is little more terrifying to the imaginative soldier than waiting in some shell-hole wondering when an exploding shell, coming from a distant battery, strikes near enough to kill or maim, or even to bury the soldier alive. The fact that, at some distant point, men are shooting in your direction and hoping to hit you isn't pleasant in any event. The possibility of getting out alive often seems pretty slim.

Everything about war is essentially barbarous, if one wishes to be a stickler for the proprieties. There is nothing civilized about bombing civilian populations, even if one justifies the bombing of military objectives, yet this is commonly done with the idea, apparently of breaking down morale at home. War just doesn't give, as a matter of course, a sporting chance to everyone involved in it, whether it is in the mountains where the Greeks and Italians are fighting or the streets of London.

The Senior Subaltern


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Destroyers for the RCN (1928)
Topic: RCN

Destroyers for the RCN (1928)

From the archived files of the Governor General, at Heritage Canada. (RG 7, G21, Vol. 232; File/Dossier 343, pt. 13)

Dominions Office CANADA

Secret

The Secretary of State for External Affairs, Canada

Referred to: —
The Prime Minister,
National Defence.

Downing Street,
18 May, 1928

Sir,

With reference to your Secret telegram of the 12th December, 1927, I have the honour to stat that it is understood from the Lords Commissioner of the Admiralty that the conditions governing the loan of the two S. Class Destroyers (H.M.C.S. "Vancouver" and "Champlain") have formed the subject of semi-official communication between the Admiralty and the Canadian authorities, who are in agreement with the terms set out below: —

(a)     The Canadian Government to pay the cost of reconditioning the two "S" type destroyers. These sums provide for the carrying out of somewhat similar alterations and addition s to those effected in "Patriot" and "Patrician", prior to their transfer to Canadian service.

(b)     The Canadian Government also to meet the cost of any further alterations and additions that may be carried out, in view of the service for which the vessels are be lent, few alterations and additions have been embodied.

(c)     Stores.

(i)     Permanent Stores (Naval and Armament): —

A full equipment to be transferred with the vessels free of charge; any items required in excess of a full equipment to be supplied on repayment. Reserve of ammunition, if supplied, will be on similar terms, but freight charges in both directions will be a liability of the Canadian Government.

During the period of the loan, equipment of permanent stores to be kept up to date to the latest approved established allowance at the expense of the Canadian Government.

On return of the vessels from loan, any deficiencies in the full equipment — to be returned — to be paid for.

(ii)     Consumable stores and fuel: — All be supplied on repayment. On return of the vessels from loan, credit to be given for the value of consumable stores and fuel on board.

(iii)     Victualling Stores: — Outfit supplied with vessel to be paid for by the Canadian Government.

(d)     The Canadian Government to take the vessel over at a Home Port on a given date and to be responsible for their manning and navigation to Canada, the responsibility of the Admiralty ceasing from the date when the vessels are taken over in England.

(e)     The Canadian Government to be responsible for returning the destroyers to England on the termination of their service in reasonable condition and to be liable for all costs in connection therewith until the date on which the vessels are accepted again by the Admiralty.

(f)     The Canadian Government to bear the whole cost of running and maintenance during their service in Canada and on passage to and from England.

(g)     The destroyers to be available for return to the Royal Navy, if required in an emergency.

2.     The Lords Commissioner of the Admiralty would be glad to learn that His Majesty's Government in Canada concurs in these conditions.

I have the honour to be,
Sir,
Your most obedient,
humble servant,

(Signed) L.S. Amery.

The Senior Subaltern


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Tuesday, 19 April 2016

How the Militia Service May Be made Attractive
Topic: Canadian Militia

How the Militia Service May Be made Attractive

Continuous Instruction—Camps for the City Corps—Rifle Practice Under Service Conditions—A better System of Examinations

Harbor Grace Standard, Montreal, 4 November 1905

(Editor of "The Standard")

Sir.—The statement is made that service in the active militia is unpopular, and that young men are not attracted to its ranks in sufficient numbers. I do not believe the first part of this statement to be true, or that the latter assertion is more serious than could be made of a volunteer system in any country where the demands of business are so all-important as they are here.

The ratio of the force to the population is large, approximately one to one hundred and fifty, while in the United States it is one to over six hundred. There will naturally be difficulty at times in keeping the ranks full, even with an ideally organized and administered militia, but I am convinced, after close observation, that service in the militia is looked upon more favorably in Canada than in the other country.

elipsis graphic

Continuous Instruction

The Canadian militia is not an ideal force, however; and as honest criticism is often beneficial, I want to make a few suggestions.

The principal defect lies in the small amount and superficial character of the instruction given. The system in the city corps of short drill seasons and long periods of idleness is not the one best adapted to the needs of the militia.

Continuous instruction throughout the year would be of much greater benefit in every way, would be found perfectly feasible, and no more onerous than the present method. Some regiments under the present system are brought to a very credible condition in show and parade movements; but it is at the expense of the more practical and important work.

elipsis graphic

Camps for the City Corps

All city corps should be put into camp for at least a week every year, as only in that way can the conditions of active service be learned.

The rural regiments are at present very imperfectly instructed, and few of them would be of much practical use in the field without two or three months' of continuous training.

The present method of appointing officers provisionally does not give good results. A reasonable test of ability should be made on first appointment, and commissions should be issued at once, practical qualifying examinations being required for promotions. In a country like this, a regiment which cannot educate in its own ranks enough men for commissions, must have a very poor "personnel" or be in a low state of efficiency.

elipsis graphic

Uniforms are Too Costly and Varied

To fill the vacancies among the corps of officers with those best fitted from a military standpoint, it will be necessary to restrict by orders the variety and cost of officers' uniforms and equipment, a wise measure in any case.

The present forcing system of provisional schools should be greatly modified and candidates required to prepare themselves on designated lines, examinations being held several times during the year, and at regimental headquarters.

The existing method, whereby regiments have sergeant instruction from the permanent corps, ought to be considered a reproach by the officers of any active militia regiment, especially those in cities. There should be enough competent officers in any regiment to properly instruct their non-commissioned officers and men.

The militia is not inspected often or thoroughly enough. As it is a well-known fact that most of the drills will be devoted to preparation for the expected requirements of inspectors, a great chance for the improvement of the force in practical efficiency lies in the power of those officers.

elipsis graphic

Rifle Practice under Service Conditions

The course of instruction in rifle practice should include work under service conditions, at unknown ranges.

The militia is not at present properly clothed or equipped for active service. Especially is this true wuith regard to uniforms.

Very few militia regiments are in a satisfactory state of discipline. Lord Dundonald rightly says that "Inadequate discipline is the besetting weakness of citizen forces." Experience, however, proves that such a condition is not inherent in a volunteer militia, good discipline being perfectly feasible with proper instruction and example, and with officers whom the men respect because of their superior knowledge and ability.

The companies are altogether too small for effective instruction, and would be swamped with the necessary number of recruits to bring them to war strength.

The class of officers and men now in the militia fairly represents the manhood of the country in all its various elements, and this very feature tends to its popularity, but more practical, intelligent, and thoughtful attention must be given to it to remedy its defects and put it on a serviceable basis.

"Vidette"

The Senior Subaltern


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Monday, 18 April 2016

Cooking in the Field (1855)
Topic: Army Rations

Cooking in the Field (1855)

"Certain men of each Company should be appointed to cut, and bring wood, others to fetch water, and others to get meat, &c."

Hints on Bivouac and Camp Life; For the Guidance of Young Officers in the Halifax Garrison While Under Canvas for the Summer Months at the North West Arm, Point Pleasant, by Captain Wilford Brett, 76th Regiment, 1855

The following order was issued by the Duke of Wellington, dated Grenada, 28th November, 1812.

"In regard to the good of the Soldier I have often observed and lamented in the late campaign the facility and celerity with which the French Soldiers cooked in comparison with those of our army. The cause of this disadvantage is the same with that of every other description. The want of attention of the Officers to the order of the Army, and to the conduct of their men, and their consequent want of authority over their conduct.

"Certain men of each Company should be appointed to cut, and bring wood, others to fetch water, and others to get meat, &c., to be cooked; and it would be found, if this practice were daily enforced, and a particular hour for seeing their dinner, and for the men dicing, named, as it ought to be, equally as for parade, that cooking would no longer require the inconvenient length cf time which it has been lately found to take, and that the Soldiers would not be exposed to the privation of their food at the moment at which the Army may be engaged in operations with the enemy." [Duke of Wellington's Despatches, vol. vi., pages 181 and 182.]

With a view to carrying out the directions contained in the above order and to establish a system by which the Soldiers shall cook with celerity, Lord Frederick Fitzclarence laid down the following system:—

The Companies having been previously told off by three's, and the Non-Commissioned Officers told off for the following parties, the Regiment will be formed in open or half distance column and ordered to pile arms.

  • Front rank men of 1 file of three's. — Fire-men,
  • Front rank of No. 2 file of three's. — Water-men,
  • Front rank of No. 3 file of three's. — Wood-men,
  • Rear rank of No. 1 file of three's. — Beef-men
  • Rear rank of No. 2 file of three's. — Bread-men,
  • Rear rank of No. 3 file of three's. — Charge of Arms, Packs, &c.

Subaltern Officers will be warned who will take charge of the various parties named, and march them off.

The words of the Commanding Officers of the Battalions will be as follows:

  • "Pile Arms"
  • "Off Packs"
  • "Prepare to Cook"
  • "Out Non-commissioned Officers of Parties."

At this last word of command the Non-Commissioned Officers will place themselves in close column in front of the pivot files of each Company, Non-Commissioned Officers, of fire-men leading, then water-men, wood-men, beef-men, and bread-men.

  • "Out Fire-men" — At this word the fire-men will step to the front and form on the leading non-commissioned Officer.
  • "Out Water-man" — Ditto on the second non-commissioned Officer.
  • "Out Wood-men" — Ditto on third non-commissioned Officer.
  • "Out Beef men" — Ditto on fourth non-commissioned Officer.
  • "Out Bread-men" — Ditto on fifth non-commissioned Officer.
  • The water-men on being called to the front previous to falling in on their non-commissioned Officers, will collect the camp-kettles of the Company when such are provided if not, the whole of the canteens of the front or rear rank, as may be directed by the Officer commanding the Company, and one for every two non-commissioned Officers in case of a blank file, they will take one extra when the rear rank canteens are used. The wood-men will, in like manner, collect the canteen straps and hatchets.

    The beef-men will fall in, each with a bayonet, having been previously warned how many they are to draw rations for.

    The bread-men ditto, with haversacks, having been previously warned how many they are to draw rations for.

    The men told off for the arms, and supernumerary men of messes, to remain with the arms, the latter to be available for any fatigue.

    The uneven number of men, and non-commissioned Officers, are to be divided amongst the messes, so that the bread and meat men, may know how many rations to draw.

    All being ready, the Commanding Officer will face each party towards the place where the bread, meat, &c., may be found, and will direct them to close in on the march upon the companies nearest those points where each party will be taken charge of by the subaltern Officer appointed for that purpose who will be already there, having received directions from the Adjutant.

    IN QUICK TIME. Words of Command:—

    • "Pile Arms"
    • "Off Packs"
    • "Prepare to Cook"

    At this last word of command all the parties will fall in as above detailed on their non-commissioned Officers and be marched off at once by the Commanding Officer.

    The places for the kitchens will be marked off by the Quarter-Master of the Regiment, and the fire-men will be at once marched to him.

    The Senior Subaltern


    Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
    Sunday, 17 April 2016

    Capturing Military History---"20 Questions"
    Topic: Commentary

    Capturing Military History
    "20 Questions"

    The four questions sets follow, please make free use of them, rewrite them, share them. Record your answers, send them to your regimental historian.

    We seldom think of the things we're doing in the present as historical events. This is especially so when we look at the minor, every-day things we do as individuals. "History" is what happened long ago, "history" was made by the notable few that get names in the history books. But that is a view with a strongly short horizon. Each and every day we might do something that, if not recorded in some way, can lead to an unanswered researchers' question in the future.

    With my own interests in military history, medal collecting, and research, I often find myself, or others, delving into the detail of individual, often unrecorded, lives of soldiers, non-commissioned officers and officers. This then leads to general questions as professional and amateur researchers try to understand the lives of their subjects. The day to day life, including the training and experiences of soldiers, the social and cultural environment, and the changes they experienced are all subject to curiosities and questions. The problem is, that many of those details, being considered mundane by the participants, went unrecorded in any consistent manner.

    This trend, undoubtedly part of the flow of human nature, permeates the research of soldiers. "Everybody did basic training, so why record that?" one might ask. But not everyone did the same basic training course, and it's those changes over time that are just as important to understand as the way basic training shapes a civilian into a soldier. And this leaves us with broadly generalized assumptions about soldiers and soldiering.

    About a decade ago, I developed a set of questions to begin capturing more basic reminiscences for my regiment's records from those who were still around to record them. (Unfortunately, the received responses aren't currently available on line.) While each person may have simple singular memories of a part of his or her military career, there is much to be gained when such memories are collected from those who have served in different decades, in different locations, and on different operations (even the same operation over time, or under different employment on the same operations). The "mundane" details are the colorful infill in the tapestry of a regiment's story. The best days and the worst days get recorded, victories and defeats on every scale have their details captured. But the daily life of soldiers, in each era, especially when it includes the evolution of training and equipment, needs to be recorded at every stage to understand the soldier's experience.

    These questions sets were called the "20 Questions" and there were four sets:

    a.     The Young Soldier,
    b.     The Young Officer,
    c.     Sergeants and Warrant Officers, and
    d.     Operations.

    These weren't specific to my regiment, and could be used by any military unit wanting to capture some basic information for their own records. Even if you don't think this information is useful right now, imagine being tasked with writing your unit's history in ten years, how valuable would those personal memories be then, especially of those no longer available to record them. For those who study history of long ago events, the most valuable records are those recorded at the time by those who were there. If you don't think something is worth noting, write it down, you'll probably be the only person to record it.

    The four questions sets follow, please make free use of them, rewrite them, share them. Record your answers, send them to your regimental historian (or save them with instructions in your will for them to be sent to the appropriate recipient, to protect the innocent).

    20 Questions - The Young Soldier

    Please provide: Name, rank achieved, years of service (from - to)

    1.     What year were you recruited?

    2.     Where did you take your basic training and how many weeks did the course run?

    3.     Where did you take your basic infantry training and many weeks did the course run?

    4.     What weapons were you trained to use on your basic infantry training?

    5.     What training events do you best remember from your basic infantry training course?

    6.     When were you posted to the Regiment, what location were you posted to, and to what Battalion, Company and Platoon?

    7.     How many men were in your platoon?

    8.     What vehicles and weapons did the platoon have?

    9.     How often did you go to a live fire range in a year and what weapons did you fire each year?

    10.     How many men lived in the same room in the barracks? How much space did you have to yourself?

    11.     Approximately how many men in your platoon owned a car?

    12.     In general, what was your daily schedule like in garrison?

    13.     How often were you inspected; in your room, on the parade square?

    14.     What was required of you before you could leave the barracks and go downtown?

    15.     How much were you paid each month as a new Private?

    16.     How many days leave did you get each year?

    17.     What did you do each year for an annual fitness test?

    18.     What was the most useful piece of personal kit you were issued at that time?

    19.     What was the least useful piece of personal kit you were issued at that time?

    20.     When the Battalion did a Change of Command parade, how long did you spend on the parade square practicing drill?

    And, for extra credit:

    21.     What was a usual punishment one of your roommates would get for a charge of AWOL?

    20 Questions - Sergeants and Warrant Officers

    Please provide: Name, rank achieved, years of service (from - to)

    1.     What year were you recruited? What year were you promoted to the rank of Sergeant?

    2.     Which Battalions of the Regiment and in which Companies have you served?

    3.     What units have you served in outside the four Battalions of the Regiment?

    4.     How many years did you spend at each rank level before you were promoted to Sergeant?

    5.     What leadership training did you have to take before your promotion to Sergeant? When and where did you take this training and how long was the course?

    6.     Were there any particular events that inspired you during your advancement to the Sergeants' and Warrant Officers' Mess?

    7.     What do you feel was the most valuable lesson you received as a developing leader?

    8.     What was your first appointment on promotion to the rank of Sergeant?

    9.     When you commanded a rifle section, what vehicles, weapons and equipment did your section have?

    10.     What was your most challenging appointment as a Sergeant or Warrant Officer?

    11.     What did you find most rewarding about your responsibilities as a Sergeant or Warrant Officer?

    12.     What training experiences have you found most rewarding for yourself and your soldiers?

    13.     What training experiences did you find that best promoted your professional development as an NCO?

    14.     What operational missions have you served on as a Sergeant or Warrant Officer?

    15.     What was the most useful skill you learned that was taught as essential for a Sergeant or Warrant Officer to know?

    16.     What was the least useful skill you learned that you were told would be essential for a Sergeant or Warrant Officer to know?

    17.     What type of training do you think would have been more useful to receive, or to receive more of, before being promoted to Sergeant and assuming the leadership responsibilities of that rank?

    18.     What job or task have you had that you think every new Senior NCO should experience?

    19.     If you could give advice to a young soldier starting his or her military career in the Infantry, what would you offer?

    20.     If you could give advice to a young NCO about to be promoted into the Sergeant's and Warrant Officers' mess, what would you offer?

    And, for extra credit:

    21.     Accepting that "no names, no pack drill" is a time honoured practice … what was the most outrageous act you remember a peer having to present himself to the RSM to explain?

    Can you provide a photograph of yourself from that period of your career?

    20 Questions - The Young Officer

    Please provide: Name, rank achieved, years of service (from - to)

    1.     What year were you recruited?

    2.     What was your entry plan as an officer? How long was it between enrolment and commissioning for you?

    3.     Where did you take your basic officer training and how many weeks did the course run?

    4.     Where did you take your infantry officer training and many weeks did the course(s) run?

    5.     What training events do you best remember from your infantry officer training?

    6.     When were you posted to the Regiment, what location were you posted to, and to what Battalion, Company and Platoon?

    7.     How many men were in your platoon?

    8.     What vehicles and weapons did the platoon have? What was your personal weapon?

    9.     How long, on average, could you expect to be a rifle platoon commander when you joined the Battalion?

    10.     Approximately how many young officers in the battalion lived in the barracks, and how long was it before you could request permission to move out on the economy?

    11.     What was the best aspect about being a platoon commander? What was your least favourite task as a platoon commander?

    12.     How often were you expected to be at the Officers' Mess? Daily? Weekly? Monthly?

    13.     How often did you attend Mess Dinners? How long were you in the dining room during the longest Mess Dinner you remember attending?

    14.     What standard of dress were you expected to maintain in your off-duty hours?

    15.     How much were you paid each month as a new officer?

    16.     Were junior officers often sent on additional training courses? What courses did you attend outside the battalion as a young officer?

    17.     What exercise or training event did you find that best promoted your development as a young officer?

    18.     What type training would you have liked to do more of if you'd had the opportunity?

    19.     Were there any particular battalion eccentricities (dress or deportment) that all officers' in your Battalion were expected to follow?

    20.     How often might you normally have been the Duty Officer for the Battalion or the Base? What was the oddest duty you had to perform as the Duty officer?

    And, for extra credit:

    21.     What was the greatest number of extra duties you remember a peer getting, and, if not sworn to secrecy, what were they for?

    20 Questions - Operations

    Please provide: Name, rank achieved, years of service (from - to)

    1.     What Operation did you serve on?

    2.     Where did the operation take place?

    3.     What unit (Bn/Coy/Pl) of the Regiment were you with?

    4.     What rank and position did you hold?

    5.     What were the dates of your deployment?

    6.     How long did the unit spend conducting pre-deployment training? How much of this time was spent on exercises at your local base, or away from home?

    7.     In general, what subjects were covered during pre-deployment training? Did you receive briefings or training on the culture of the country you would be visiting?

    8.     How did you deploy to the theatre of operations and how long were you in transit from Canada to the operational area?

    9.     What was your weekly work schedule like during the operation?

    10.     What were the usual types of tasks you performed on a daily or weekly basis on the operation?

    11.     What was the weather like during your tour?

    12.     What were your living conditions in theatre (type of quarters, personal space allocation, numbers of personnel living together)?

    13.     What were the rations like during the operations (type, variety, personal opinion on general quality)?

    14.     Did the Battalion celebrate holidays and Regimental Days as special occasions? Do you remember any particular events that stand out in your mind?

    15.     What weapons and equipment did your section/platoon employ during this operation? Was any new equipment issued during the operation?

    16.     In a few words, can you describe your general impression of the physical terrain of the country you were in?

    17.     What entertainments or diversions were available during your off hours?

    18.     How much leave could you expect during the tour, what were your options (locations, travel of spouse) for this leave?

    19.     Were there any small locally available souvenirs that soldiers purchased that still remind you of the tour when you see them?

    20.     How did you transition out of country back to Canada? How long was it between your last 'duty' and your return to family?

    And, for extra credit:

    21.     What medal did you receive for this operation?

    Can you provide a photograph of yourself from the operation?

    The Senior Subaltern


    Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
    Saturday, 16 April 2016

    The Army of Canada (1873)
    Topic: Canadian Militia

    The Army of Canada (1873)

    The Victoria Daily Standard, 16 April 1873
    From the Broad Arrow

    The editor of the Army List has at last deigned to recognize the existence of the Canadian Militia. The February issue devotes no less than forty pages to a list of the officers of the several corps of which the force consists. Indeed, the greatest part of the space set apart for the Colonial Militia and Volunteers is absorbed by Canada, and the gross negligence or blundering, or both, which for many months has led to the omission of all mention of so important a force as the Dominion Army undoubtedly is, seems the more inexcusable when its importance in comparison with similar bodies is made apparent. It has always been understood in this country that Canada boasted a militia well organized and of considerable numerical strength, but the British public can have scarcely been prepared to find that the colony possessed an army which on paper at least has such a very imposing appearance. Nor is there any reason to suppose that Canada has not a tangible existence. The colony itself is perfectly content to be left to its own self-defence, but this self-confidence is perhaps the most satisfactory assurance it is possible to have of the efficiency of its militia, for it is a characteristic trait in the British character to underrate rather than overrate the value of existing institutions.

    As the current Army List however, for the first time supplies us with the details of the Canadian Militia, it is rather more with a view to setting forth the materials of which the force is composed than of dealing with the question of its efficiency and utility, that we in this place comment on its existence. Commencing with a Commander-in-Chief, "Her Majesty the Queen personally, or by the Governor-General as her representative," duly furnished with a brace of aides-de-camp, there follows a very complete staff, headed by an Inspector of Artillery and Stores, and comprising Deputy-Adjutants-General, District Paymasters and Brigade Majors.

    The Army itself seems to have been arranged with a view, to being assimilated as nearly as possible to the Imperial force. The cavalry is headed by a troops of the Governor-General's Body Guard, which we may regard as the Life Guard of the colony, and then follows the cavalry of the line, consisting of forty-seven troops, some of which are arranged regimentally, having a separate and independent existence. The somewhat complicated appearance of the cavalry force in the Army List however, suggested that is has been organized rather with a view to practical usefulness than to compliance with red-tape traditions, and such being the case, no fault is to be found with then uneven strength of the various corps.

    The same system, moreover, would seem to have been adopted with regard to the Artillery. Sixteen batteries of Field Artillery, stationed at various places, head the "List" and the Garrison Artillery is so arranged that whole brigades are quartered in the principal cities, while single batteries are located at the smaller towns. The strength of the artillery force is not quite in proportion with the rest of the army, but it would seem that the Canadians are alive to the increasing importance of this arm of the Service, for schools of gunnery are established both at Kingston and Quebec.

    The Canadian Engineers number but four companies, and as not even these possess the proper number of officers, it would seem that the ordnance corps generally were at present the weak features of the Service.

    It is, however, in the Infantry and Rifle Regiments that the real military strength of Canada is recognisable. Like our own army, the Canadian Militia List begins with a regiment of Foot Guards, the headquarters of which are at Ottawa, and then follow the Rifle battalions of which there are three, rejoicing the in the distinctive titles of "Prince of Wales Regiment," "Queen's own Rifles of Toronto" and "Victoria Volunteers of Montreal."

    The total number of infantry regiments is seventy-eight, none less than five companies strong, while many corps consist of ten companies. The average strength, however, of the regiments is eight companies, a respectable number for a militia force. The regiments, moreover, seem not only to possess distinctive titles, but to have preserved traditions of their own. Amongst the former, the most noticeable are "Les Voltigeurs de Quebec"; the "Argyle Light Infantry" with "Nulli Secundus" for their motto; the "St. Clair Borderers," "The Simcoe Foresters," "The Huntington Borderers," with "Front River" on their colours; "The Lisgar Rifles," a title suggestively recent, "Les Voltigeurs de Beauharnois" and "The 78th Highlanders." Most of the regiments boast of a motto, and many add to this a "distinctive device."

    Next in order to what may be termed the regular infantry regiments, come the "Provisional Battalions of Infantry or Rifles," which seem to have been organized after the fashion of our Administrative Volunteer Battalions at home; of these there are twelve, comprising about five outlying companies each, to which are added nearly fifty "Independent companies," located at placed too remote to allow of their being attached to a provisional battalion.

    Lastly comes the "Grand Trunk Railway Brigade," which is quite a little army itself, comprising, as it does, Artillery, Engineers, and three substantial battalions of rifles. A "temporary corps," on service in Manitoba, concludes the list of what, even as viewed in the pages of the Army List is an interesting and important force.

    Although no doubt the organization of this army by the Canadians is due to the instinct of self-preservation aroused by occurrences which have taken place on the border, yet it is impossible not to feel that the country owes much to Canada for, even at this late period, taking on herself what some conscientious statesmen might take it into their heads was the business of this country. It is here that Mr. Cardwell's colonial policy has long since scattered to the winds the principle that England should pay for the protection of her dependencies, and the Army List sufficiently shows that even the poorest and most defenceless of our colonies are alive to the fact; but should a hostile force invade one of our dependencies it would be questionable how far the counsels of imperial economy would be allowed to prevail, and Canada is undoubtedly the ground on which the question would be most likely to be put to the test. It behoves us, therefore, to appreciate the public spirit which has, partially at all events, relieved this country of a grave responsibility. In the improbable case of invasion, we should no doubt send a considerable force across the Atlantic with all speed; but it is something to feel that in the meantime the Canadian would be in a position to hold their own till succour came if, indeed—thanks to their admirably organized Militia—they could not dispense with assistance altogether.

    Our former colonists at Boston quarreled with their bread-and-butter, and even with their own cup of tea, rather than pay a moderate tax whereby an army and navy for their defence was to be provided. We then had no Cunard steamers, no Atlantic telegraph, no practical means whereby the Honorable Rip Van Winkle could have taken his seat in St. Stephen's as an evidence of the union of representation and taxation. Our Empire is smaller and larger now, and were it not for the millions of barbarians we govern in the East, there would be nothing to prevent the honorable member for Ottawa and the honorable ember for Melbourne embellishing London society, and becoming material for Punch's two augurs. As it is, we have, rightly or wrongly, devised another means of developing the military strength of the Empire,—we have graciously recognized the age and vigor of our two sons, released them from pinafores and apron strings, and proposed them for ballot in the military club of the world. Already New Zealand has proved herself able to cope effectually with all her military difficulties. Already Canada has quietly and firmly pushed back into its native whiskey shops the great and loud-sounding Fenian nation in arms. Our colonies, once our sons, but in future our brothers, have acted nobly and wisely. Under a more just and liberal policy than that under which the old American colonies thought they ought to grown, Canada and our colonies of to-day have been promoted to self-respect and self-dependence. It must be the future policy of England to throw the whole power of the Empire forward to the support of Canada, whenever, under any pretext, her territory is threatened. Meantime, what a satire it is on narrow-minded modern military nomenclature to speak of Canadian, or in fact any other British militia, simply as auxiliaries.

    The Senior Subaltern


    Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
    Updated: Sunday, 20 March 2016 7:09 PM EDT
    Friday, 15 April 2016

    Gold Lace
    Topic: Militaria

    Gold Lace

    The Capital, Fredericton, N.B., 30 October, 1880

    It seems the new Major-General commanding the militia has taken exception to the wearing of gold lace by our militia. A writer in last Saturday's Toronto Globe says:

    "But there is a feature—an historical one—in connection with the subject that deserves attention, and I remember when the militia was more active than now in the face of danger to the peace of the country, this historical point was brought into prominence. I simply suggest that a certain warrant, signed by the King after the war of 1812, be unearthed. I believe it lies somewhere in the militias archives, having been transferred from the Public Record Office. According to an old officer, now dead, who was familiar with it, this warrant authorizes the Canadian militia—a Royal force, by the way—to wear the same uniform as His Majesty's "Royal Regiment." Hence it is that the characteristic feature of the Royal livery has been assumed by the artillery and other arms of the service. My informant, who had served in 1812, also stated that it was owing to an accident that silver was assumed in 1862, the contractor in London, who supplied, in great haste, uniform for the militia at the time of the Trent affair, assuming that "militia" uniforms must be after the style of the English force, which bears silver ornaments. The Canadian militia is of course on a different footing, and takes precedence after the regular army. I think, therefore, that for the sake of history and the prominent position of the Canadian militia in a warlike sense, and in view of services rendered, such as no other militia in the British service ever rendered, this point is worthy of revival and investigation."

    The Senior Subaltern


    Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT

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