The Minute Book
Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Canada buys anti-tank missile
Topic: Militaria

TOW missile being fired by the Armoured Defence Platoon of the 2nd Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry at CFB Shilo. Photo by Mr. Doug Devin. From the back cover of the Canadian Armed Forces Sentinel magazine 1977, Vol. 13, Number 2.

Canada buys anti-tank missile

$30 million cost

A TOW missile crew in action during Exercise CARBON EDGE in Germany in September [1976]. (ILC 77-934) Canadian Armed Forces Sentinel magazine 1977, Vol. 13, Number 2.

By the Canadian Press
Ottawa Citizen, 11 January 1974

The armed forces will spend about $30 million on a new anti-tank weapon comparable to anything that was used by either side in the recent Middle east hostilities.

The forces have announced they are acquiring TOW—tube-launched, optically-tracked, wire-guided—an American missile being used by several countries, including Israel.

TOW is a highly accurate, semi-automatic missile system capable of destroying a tank at ranges from 70 yards to about two miles.

Col. Philip Neatby of Regina and Ottawa, director of land plans and of armor in the armed forces, said in an interview Friday that the highly-sophisticated weapon involved a computer attached to a missile by wires.

The forces will start taking delivery in 1975 of 150 of the anti-tank units, which weigh 200 pounds and can be mounted on vehicles, helicopters and on the ground. It will be used by Canadian NATO. forces in Europe as well as infantry and reconnaissance units in Canada.

Announcement of acquisition of the new weapon comes only a short time after the Middle East war focused attention on the tank and anti-tank weapons. Both sides had big losses and there was some talk that the role of the tank was on the way out.

But Col. Neatby said the tank will be very much a part of land forces at least until almost the end of this century.

elipsis graphic

It would not be until the summer of 1976 that the first TOW missiles would be fired in a demonstration at Canadian Forces Base Gagetown. By 1977 the weapon system would be deployed with Canadian army units in Canada and Europe.

Members of 2 PPCLI's Armoured Defence Platoon prepare to fire the TOW missile at CFB Shilo. (IW 77-341) Canadian Armed Forces Sentinel magazine 1977, Vol. 13, Number 2.

Sgts George Genge, Marc Bouchard and Peter Anderson compare mock-ups of the TWO missile (background) and the SS-11, which TOW replaces. (GN 76-4807) Canadian Armed Forces Sentinel magazine 1977, Vol. 13, Number 2.

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Monday, 31 March 2014

Royal Canadian Rifles: Officers' Duties (1861)
Topic: British Army

The Royal Canadian Rifles

Canadian Military Heritage, Vol II, 1755-1871, Rene Chartrand, 1995

"In 1842 and 1843 the [British Army] regiments that had been brought in to deal with the 1838 emergency withdrew. In 1844, however, the regular British garrison in the Province of Canada, with its 7,700 soldiers, was still three times larger than it had been in 1837. But each year there were a few hundred fewer soldiers. Some did not wait for their regiment to return to England before they left Canada, preferring to go to the United States! The Royal Canadian Rifle Regiment was formed in 1840-41 precisely to put a stop to the exodus. It was not a Canadian regiment, as its name would suggest, but rather a unit of veterans from line regiments, and it was pat of the regular army. But its soldiers were not rotated; it was a Sedentary regiment whose companies were placed along the border to watch the United States, of course, but even more so to prevent deserters from going there."

Standing Orders of the Royal Canadian Rifles

May 1881

Officers on Regimental Duty.

The uniform of The Royal Canadian Rifles, as presented in Canadian Military Heritage, Vol II, 1755-1871, Rene Chartrand, 1995. (Reconstitution by Derek Fitzjames.)

Officers are specially warned against that worse than useless mode of visiting a guard, which consists only in receiving its salute.

1.     When the number of Officers at a post admit of it, there be a Captain and a Subaltern on duty.

The Captain from Rouse on Sunday morning until the following Sunday at the same hour;—the Subaltern from Rouse on one day will Rouse the next.

2.     If the number of Officers will not allow of the Captains having at least two weeks and the Subalterns five days clear, then the Orderly Officers' duty will be taken from the Senior Captain to the Junior Subaltern.

3.     As it is difficult to draw up a Report suitable to all posts and circumstances, a form for the time being will always be found for reference in the Orderly Room. The Report any portion of be numbered by paragraphs, and in the event of the duties not being performed, the number of the paragraph must nevertheless be inserted, and opposite to it the reason for the omission. The Captain will send in a report of what he has done with any remarks he has to make. He may call upon the Orderly Officer to perform any of his own duties, and in like manner he may notify to the Subaltern that he will take certain portions of the duties of the latter. In these cases, he will add to his own report what duties he has performed for the Subaltern, who is to be considered a sort of auxiliary to the Captain.

4.     As the Captain is on for a whole week, he need not confine himself to Barracks but the Subaltern must not leave them unless temporarily obliged to do so from the nature of his duties.

5.     When an Orderly Officer is stationed out of Barracks, he must confine himself to his quarters when not actually out on duty. Orderly Officers will attend all parades and drills with their Companies, unless otherwise ordered.

6.     An Orderly Officer visiting a guard, acts for the time being as on guard. He should enter the guard room, examine the boards of orders, and everything under charge. He will visit the sentries by day and night, observe whether they are officer soldier-like and alert on their posts, and personally ascertain that they know their orders. Officers are specially warned against that worse than useless mode of visiting a guard, which consists only in receiving its salute. Guards must be turned out at least once by day and once by night,— the day reckoning between guard-mounting and retreat, the night between that time and reveille. Ten o'clock p.m. is, from the custom of the service, recognised as the earliest hour for the night visit. The Orderly Officer, however, will not confine himself to any particular time, if he has reason to suspect laxity or irregularity.

A loose way of doing sentry duty appears to be very readily fallen into by old soldiers, and the Lieutenant-Colonel calls not only upon the officers on duty, but all officers and non-commissioned officers, to notice and report any instance of this that they observe on their walks.

7.     In the event of any complaint being made against rations of provisions, fuel, light, or forage, at the time of inspection, the Orderly Officer will stop the issue and report at once to the commanding or senior officer in barracks. (For further information in a ease of this kind, see Commissariat Regulations.) Any complaint made of rations after they are cooked, will be noticed in his report, unless the grievance was one that he was able to remedy then and there.

8.     The Orderly Officer will refrain from ordering men any punishment for irregularities that may come under his notice, but he will direct a report in writing to be made to the Captain of the Company, who will either dispose of the matter or submit it, if necessary, to the Commanding Officer. When such a case is settled by the Captain, he will write upon the report the punishment he ordered, and forward the same to the Orderly Room.

9.     The practice of the Orderly Officer allowing men who have been reported absent from Tattoo, but returning before "Lights out," to go to their rooms, has a bad tendency and must be discountenanced. Once a man is reported absent, he is guilty of a breach of regulations, and should be confined and brought before the Commanding Officer.

10.     It is not the duty of the Barrack Orderly Sergeant to look Orderly Officer when the bugle sounds. The Officer himself must find his way to barracks by the time his presence is required.

11.     The men will not commence their meals before the second bugle, but they are never expected to wait beyond that time, whether an Officer makes his appearance or not.

12. When there is a Captain and Subaltern on duty together, the latter will forward his report through the former.

13.     When visiting meals, barrack-rooms, cook-houses, rations, and school, the Orderly Officer may for the time lay aside his sword, though not his pouch-belt, which is the badge of duty.

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Sunday, 30 March 2014

Advice to Officers
Topic: Humour

Advice to Officers

Gallant Gentlemen; a portrait of the British Officer 1600-1956, E.S. Turner, 1956

One of the most telling, and enduring, satires at the expense of the British officer appeared in 1782. It is attributed to Francis Grose, a one-time adjutant of militia. His Advice to Officers of the British Army has been reprinted many times, and deservedly

Admirably pinned down is the subaltern, whose failings change but slightly from one generation to another. In his advice to commanding officers, the writer says:

"The subalterns of the British army are but too apt to think themselves gentlemen; a mistake which it is your business to rectify. Put them, as often as you can, upon the most disagreeable and ungentlemanly duties; and endeavour by every means to bring them upon a level with the subaltern officers of the German armies."

Then the writer offers his advice to subalterns:

"The fashion of your clothes must depend on that ordered in the corps; that is to say, must be in direct opposition to it: for it would show a deplorable poverty of genius if you had not some ideas of your own in dress.

"Never wear your uniform in quarters, when you can avoid it. A green or a brown coat shows you have other clothes besides your regimentals, and likewise that you have courage to disobey a standing order…

"If you belong to a mess, eat with it as seldom as possible, to let folks see you want neither money nor credit. And when you do, in order to show that you are used to good living, find fault with every dish that is set on the table, damn the wine, and throw the plates at the mess-man's head … if you have pewter plates, spin them on the point of your fork, or do some other mischief, to punish the fellow for making you wait.

"When ordered for duty, always grumble and question the roster. This will procure you the character of one that will not be imposed on.

"Never read the daily orders. It is beneath an officer of spirit to bestow any attention upon such nonsense … it will be sufficient to ask the sergeant if you are for any duty.

"When on leave of absence, never come back to your time; as that might cause people to think that you had nowhere to stay, or that your friends were tired of you."

No rank or category of officer escapes without a well-placed barb in a tender spot. For example:

The aide-de-camp: "Let your deportment be haughty and insolent to your inferiors, humble and fawning to your superiors, solemn and distant to your equals."

The quartermaster: "The standing maxim of your office is to receive whatever is offered you, or you can get hold of, but not to part with anything you can keep."

The surgeon: "Keep two lancets, a blunt one for the soldiers and a sharp one for the officers: this will be making a proper distinction between them."

The paymaster: "Always grumble and make difficulties when officers go to you for money that is due to them: when you are obliged to pay them endeavour to make it appear granting them a favour, and tell them they are lucky dogs to get it."

The chaplain: "At the mess always provide yourself with a spare plate to secure a slice of pudding, pie or other scarce article which else might vanish before you were ready for it; for the good things of this world are of a very transitory nature, particularly at a military mess."

The adjutant: "When at any time there is a blundering or confusion in a manoeuvre, ride in amongst the soldiers, and lay about you from right to left. This will convince people that it was not your fault."

The major: "In exercising the regiment, call out frequently to the most attentive men and officers to dress, cover or something of that nature: the less they are reprehensible, the greater will your discernment appear to the bystanders, in finding out a fault invisible to them."

No one who has served in the Army can have failed to see the latter technique applied--more usually by sergeant-majors and drill sergeants.

The satirist, it will be seen, uses the phrase "If you belong to a mess." By no means all regiments kept up an officers" mess as it would be recognised today; such communal life as the officers enjoyed was usually found in taverns. The mess proper was largely a nineteenth-century growth. A general who inspected the Buffs in 1774 wrote in his report: "The officers eat and live together in friendship, Major Nicholson excepted." No clue is given as to why Major Nicholson was thus invidiously named. It may be that he had taken to himself a wife, but as a major he would be perfectly entitled to do so.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Saturday, 29 March 2014

The Positive Command Climate
Topic: Officers

The United States Military Academy (USMA), Color Guard on Parade. (Source: Wikipedia)

The Positive Command Climate

Duty, Honor, Company; West Point Fundamentals for Business Success, Gil Dorland and John Dorland, 1992

Duty Honor Company:
West Point Fundamentals for Business Success

, Gil Dorland and John Dorland

The [Positive Command Climate] program … details specific actions a leader can take to build a positive command climate. These concepts, noted in Manual of Common Tasks, are not altogether new; they are very similar to the leadership fundamentals that were ingrained in us as cadets.

1.     Communicate a sense of vision or focus.

2.     Maintain a proper focus in all training activities.

3.     Establish high, attainable, clearly understood standards.

4.     Encourage competition against standards rather than each other.

5.     Allow subordinates the freedom to exercise initiative.

6.     Establish accountability at the proper level.

7.     Show confidence in subordinates.

8.     Encourage and reward prudent risk taking.

9.     Achieve high performance through positive motivation and rewards.

10.     Underwrite honest mistakes.

11.     Share decision making with subordinates when appropriate.

12.     Give clear missions and indicate where subordinates have discretion and where they do not.

13.     Listen to your subordinates and seek their ideas.

14.     Demonstrate concern about the welfare of subordinates.

15.     Establish and model high standards.

16.     Practice what you preach.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Friday, 28 March 2014

Organization of the Canadian Airborne Regiment (1976)
Topic: Canadian Army

Regimental Standing Orders
The Canadian Airborne Regiment

Chapter 1: Section 8 - Organization

1.12     General

a.     The Canadian Airborne Regiment is a Mobile Command formation and a lodger on Air Command Base Edmonton. The base is divided into two parts — Griesbach, the home of the Regiment and Lancaster Park, the air base. Most of the aircraft used by the Regiment are located at Lancaster Park. with 435 Transport Squadron flying C-130 (Hercules), 440 Transport and Rescue Squadron flying CC-138 (Twin Otter), a detachment of 450 Transport Helicopter Squadron with CC-147 (Chinook) helicopters, 408 Tactical Helicopter Squadron with CH-l35 (Huey) and the CH-136 (Kiowa), and 4 Air Reserve Wing flying CC-138 (Twin Otter) aircraft. Also located at Lancaster Park, is a training drop zone, DZ Buxton.

b.     The Regiment draws its paratroopers from the combat arms, combat support arms and services throughout the Canadian Forces, and all three elements are represented. All regimental members are volunteers who serve a normal two year tour of duty. although a significant number request extension beyond the normal tour.

c.     The regimental establishment (less 3 Mech Cdo) is 1044 all ranks which includes six units and a staff that performs most functions of a combat group headquarters. Each unit in the formation is commanded by a major. The Regiment is organized as follows:

(1)     The Airborne Headquarters and Signal Squadron. Including Regimental Headquarters, this unit totals 90 all ranks (15-75). The squadron comprises a headquarters, support troop and a radio troop. The squadron provides internal and external communications for the Regiment.

(2)     Commandos. The infantry component of the Regiment consists of two identical Airborne Commandos. They are actually two small infantry parachute battalions each of 278 man strength. One is Anglophone and the other is Francophone. Each Commando consists of a headquarters company and a reconnaissance pIatoon and three rifle companies. Each rifle company consists of 61 all ranks organized into two rifle platoons, a support weapons platoon and a small headquarters.

(3)     First Airborne Battery. The Battery has 80 all ranks (8-72) and consists of a battery headquarters, including the Battery Commander's tactical headquarters and two identical troops each equipped with three 105 MM Pack Howitzers (L5) and six 81 MM medium mortars. The unit is trained to deploy and operate with either the howitzers or the mortars.

(4)     First Airborne Engineer Field Squadron. The squadron has 81 all ranks (4-77) and consists of a headquarters, a field troop, and a support troop. Heavy equipment inventory includes two D-4 dozers, two graders, a crane, a front-end loader and specialized snow compaction equipment, all of which can be dropped or are being trialed for parachute delivery. The squadron possesses a bridging capability employing the light airtransportable floating bridge.

(5)     First Airborne Service Support Unit. This group provides first and second line logistic support for the Regiment. It consists of 231 all ranks (9-222) organized into five platoons; administration, transport, maintenance, supply and medical. Unit personnel parachute into the area of operations to form the Regimental Echelon and normally air land at the Forward Administrative Area to provide first and second line support respectively.

d.     Also located in Edmonton, but not part of the Regiment, are the Canadian Airborne Centre and Canadian Forces Parachute Maintenance Depot. The former trains basic and advanced parachutists and conducts trials on personnel and heavy equipment delivery. The Parachute Maintenance Depot packs and maintains all types of parachutes and the associated equipments.

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Thursday, 27 March 2014

Principles of Training (1953)
Topic: Drill and Training

Corporal T.C. Mackenzie [Loyal Edmonton Regiment], Sergeant R.W. Williams [Calgary Highlanders], Private N.E. Smith [North Nova Scotia Highlanders] and Gunner H.D. Gingell [13 Canadian Field Regiment, Royal Canadian Artillery], who all received Military Medals, at Buckingham Palace, London, England, 27 June 1945. Photographer: Harold D. Robinson. Mikan Number: 3205673. From the Library and Archives Canada virtual exhibit "Faces of War."

Principles Of Training

Army Information Digest (U.S.), reprinted in the Canadian Army Journal, Vol 7, No 3, October 1953

Supervision over replacement training by Army Ground Forces [in World War II] was guided by five basic principles, established early and adhered to throughout World War II. In general, these principles are applicable to the Army's training today:

1. The individual must learn to work and fight as a member of a team. Throughout all aspects and levels of training this concept of teamwork is constantly emphasized.

2. The troop commander himself is responsible for training, rather than the specialist who might actually conduct it. This reflects the basic military principle of personal leadership.

3. General military proficiency is stressed. Create the soldier first, the technician later.

4. Rigid performance tests are given to insure uniformity, adjustment to exacting standards and the earliest efficient completion of the training mission.

5. Realism characterizes all training whenever possible. Live ammunition and rugged training areas are concrete expressions of this fundamental requirement.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Esprit de Corps
Topic: Tradition

Detail from The Thin Red Line (The Sutherland Highlanders at the Battle of Balaclava 1854), by Robert Gibb

Esprit de Corps

The Regiment! It is impossible for a foreigner to realise what that word means to a British soldier.

The Soul and Body of an Army, General Ian Hamilton, G.C.B., 1921

Thus, automatically, our Army remains brimful of esprit de corps. This spirit is not, as used to be the case in Germany, brewed by the State. Clerks in the War Office used to be always on the nibble at any speciality in custom or dress upon which corps took a particular pride. Nor, in posting to corps, did the Military Secretary treat ancestors very nicely. On the contrary three generations in a regiment count for less in the eyes of our Army Council than three miserable marks in a miserable competitive exam. Still, the spirit is brewed and flows in, so to say, on its own. Officers as well as men manage to get back into old corps in which served their fathers and grandfathers. Units have their own private gala days; uniforms and colours blossom out with roses again on each 1st of August in memory of the battle amongst the roses at Minden in 1759; badges are fixed to the back of the helmet to commemorate 1801, when cavalry were beaten off by the rear rank facing "about" instead of forming square; mourning lace is worn by the corps which took part in the burial of Sir John Moore at Corunna or of Wolfe at Quebec. In fact, in any and every possible way, tradition puts its marks upon something of which helmets, lace and nicknames are only the outward and visible signs. One way or another the roots of tradition strike down deep. The soldier feels the regiment solid about him, The Regiment! It is impossible for a foreigner to realise what that word means to a British soldier. The splendour — the greatness — the romance of this awe-inspiring, wonderful creation in which he himself is privileged to have his being!

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Royal Canadian Navy (1962)
Topic: RCN

HMCS Bonaventure
Click for larger image. Image published in Jane's Fighting Ships 1967-68.

Royal Canadian Navy Report Busy and Eventful Year (1962)

The Shawanigan Standard, 19 Dec 1962

The Navy's Year — International exercises, training, cruises, operational patrols --- and a sprinkling of those unscheduled activities that befall ships at sea — made 1962 a busy and eventful year for ships of the Royal Canadian Navy. It was a year, too, in which there was tangible evidence of progress, both in the building of new ships and re-equipping of those already in service.

One of 1962's dramatic events was the search for and rescue of survivors from an airliner that ditched in the North Atlantic. HMCS Bonaventure, en route to Rotterdam, backtracked 350 miles to join in the operation. By helicopter, medical aid was given to survivors picked up by a Swiss freighter, and the more seriously injured were transferred to the Bonaventure for treatment in the carrier's hospital.

All told ships of the RCN spent more than 7,000 days at sea and logged more than 1,200,000 nautical miles. Their travels took them to the Great lakes, and to Southeast Asia, to the Mediterranean and the Caribbean, to Hawaii and Hudson Bay.

Of the nine international exercises in which Canadian warships too part, three stood out: Dawn Breeze Seven, a NATO exercise off Gibraltar involving units of four countries; Sharp Squall Six, a five-country NATO exercise in the eastern Atlantic, and Jet 62, a Commonwealth exercise in the Indian Ocean. In Jet 62, destroyer escorts from Canada worked with naval units from Australia, Britain, India, Malaya and New Zealand; and en route they had the benefit of practice with ships, aircraft and submarines of the Unites States Navy.

Informally and formally, the navy served Canada also in an ambassadorial capacity. Ships of the RCN were conspicuously present at the opening of Canadian trade fairs in the capitals of Nigeria and Ghana, and at Independence Day celebrations in Jamaica and Trinidad.

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Monday, 24 March 2014

Gas at Langemarck; a letter home
Topic: CEF

Must Fight Hun With Own Weapons, Says Canadian

Only Way to Beat Him Is To Use Gas, Asserts a Hero of Langemark

(Special to the Gazette)

The Montreal Gazette, 21 May 1915

Halifax, N.S., May 29—James W. Johnstone, a Halifax boy, and great grandson of Hon. J.W. Johnstone, the Conservative leader in Nova Scotia in the early days of Joe Howe, is at the front as a private in the Second Battalion. In a letter received today, dated May 5, written after the battle of Langemarck, Private Johnstone describes the battle. He says:

2nd Canadian Infantry Battalion

Battle Honours:

Ypres 1915 '17, Gravenstafel, St. Julien, Festubert 1915, Mount Sorrel, Somme 1916, Pozières, Flers-Courcelette, Ancre Heights, Arras 1917 '18, Vimy 1917, Arleux, Scarpe 1917 '18, Hill 70, Passchendaele, Amiens, Drocourt-Quéant, Hindenburg Line, Canal du Nord, Pursuit to Mons, France and Flanders 1915-18

Perpetuated by:

The Governor General's Foot Guards

"We are now back from the fighting line, about 15 miles, to rest and reorganize. We have nearly 700 casualties in our battalion alone, not enough remaining to make two full companies, even with a draft of ninety new men, and nearly all the Canadian battalions have about the same number of casualties as ours. Everyone behaved splendidly and did what was required of them in spite of the fact that it was really the very first time they had done any serious fighting. For two days we got a merciless shell-fire, I don't know how I escaped for men on either side of me got struck by shrapnel. A Jack Johnson exploded just outside our trench and covered us with the parapet it blew in, so it required some little digging to get out. Those gas shells the Germans use are awful things. The gas affects the eyes and throat and one has not even a fighting chance against them. The only way for the British to do is to fight the Hun with his own weapons.

"The say that there were nearly 100,000 Germans opposed to use but we held the lines until reinforcements came up. Our company, old No. 3 company, was in the trench holding it while the rest retired. Our major was the last man to leave the trench, and as we passed him he told everyone to keep low and run for it. How I got through I don't know. Two bullets went through the pack I was carrying and later I was struck on the side. The iron entrenching tool I was carrying saved me. The bullet glanced off, denting the tool and stunning me for a bit."

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, 14 March 2014 7:11 PM EDT
Sunday, 23 March 2014

Why men go AWL (1944)
Topic: Discipline


Infantrymen of Lieutenant D.S. Barrie's platoon of The Highland Light Infantry of Canada relaxing during a rest period, France, 20 June 1944. Location: France. Date: June 20, 1944. Photographer: Ken Bell. Mikan Number: 3205673. From the Library and Arcives Canada virtual exhibit "Faces of War."

Have you thought much about why your men go AWL?

Canadian Army Training Memorandum, No 39, June 1944

Whether you have or haven't, you should be interested in the survey of the causes of AWL and desertions, made by the Research and Information Section, NDHQ.

Based on replies in Morale Reports from officers of 200 units, the survey finds that most AWL occurs at the end of ordinary week-end leave, furlough, or special leave, (agricultural, industrial, etc). Desertion is mainly a "prolonged delay in return".

In order of frequency of specification, the principal causes of absenteeism are:

(a)     Failure of the leave system to meet individual requirements.
(b)     Dislike of the Army.
(c)     Trouble at home.
(d)     Exacting and monotonous duties.
(e)     Unattractive, lonely and isolated surroundings.
(f)     Homesickness.
(g)     Family influence.
(h)     Hope for discharge and higher wages outside.
(i)     Waiting around for postings.
(j)     Dissatisfaction with Corps.
(k)     "Atlantic" Fever (Fear of going overseas).
(l)     Ignorance.
(m)     Faulty Esprit de Corps and Poor Leadership.
(n)     Women.
(o)     Drunkenness.

It is pointed out that men seldom pack up with the intention of leaving their unit for an unwarranted length of time. Usually it is after they have gone on leave that they are tempted to prolong the holiday for a little, and sometimes for an indefinite period. Rare leaves, compassionate circumstances, travelling time, unfair and arbitrary restrictions, and inconvenient train schedules only add to this temptation.

Ignorance of the compassionate leave privileges available is one of the prime reasons for absenteeism. All offrs should see that their men understand these privileges, so that when they have just reason for desiring leave this may be granted.

Since much AWL is minor and unpremeditated most offrs contributing to the survey naturally tended to concentrate their attention on those who habitually go "on the loose". It was found that these were of 4 main types:

(a)     Irresponsible and undisciplined individuals who find it difficult or impossible to conform; they may be products of faulty social teaching or persons whose civilian record does not bear examination.

(b)     NRMA soldiers, among whom are many "reluctant patriots".

(c)     "Homesick boys".

(d)     Soldiers who are below average mentally or who are emotionally unstable.

While it is generally the individual and his own reasoning that results in his going AWL, it is interesting to note that tps at different levels of trg exhibit certain characteristics peculiar to themselves and to the role they are playing. For example, it is found that in Corps Training Centres and in Operational Units the chief cause of illegal absenteeism is lack of Leaves; in Infantry Regiments and Trained Soldiers Units, Trouble at Home and Family Influence; in Basic Training Centres, Lack of Discipline and Homesickness; in HWE and RCA, Boring and Exacting Duties; and also in RCA, the generally isolated and miserable locations.

Corps Training Centres and Trained Soldier Units are chiefly subject to the demoralizing effects of waiting around for postings and "Atlantic" fever. Most affected by corps reallocations are Basic and Corps Training Centres.

Now, what solutions can be tried to remedy these problems? Recommendations offered by the survey are:

(i)     The unit leave system revised to provide a more equitable distribution of leave privileges.

(ii)     Rotation of personnel and of units engaged in monotonous work.

(iii)     Inculcation of respect for mil law and duty from the recruit level on, which also implies full realization of what is constituted in them.

(iv)     Stem and impartial handling of offenders.

(v)     Close co-operation of mil and civil authorities in dealing with desertion.

(vi)     Combining furlough and special leaves in certain cases where men are stationed great distances from home.

(vii)     A good extra-curricular program -sports, movies, etc.

These are only recommendations, but remember that well disciplined soldiers, who are kept busy with good interesting trg programmes are NOT likely to go AWL. Think this over and then survey your situation.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Saturday, 22 March 2014

Cowan's Six Tips on Etiquette
Topic: Officers

Major General James Cowan's Six Tips on Etiquette

In March 2014, Major General James Cowan, General Officer Commanding 3 UK Division, issued a letter to his formation on his opinion and expectations of his officers in their messes. In his comments, he reflects back on traditional practices that would have been in place in his early carreer, but have since been eroded by changing social habits. Maj-Gen Cowan directs a return to traditional expectations with his Six Rules of Etiquette. Perhaps more changes will follow as his staff and subordinate commanders latch onto this trend as way to remain in the General's good graces.


"Quite a few officers in the divisional mess seem to be under the impression that they can eat their food with their hands. The practice of serving rolls and sandwiches in the mess is to stop. A gentleman or lady always uses a knife and fork."

Dinner party

"A good party relies on good conversation. This requires you to come prepared to be free, funny and entertaining.Thank you letters are an art form not a chore. It is generally considered better manners if the spouse is the person who writes."

Knife and fork

"The fork always goes in the left hand and the knife in the right. Holding either like a pen is unacceptable, as are stabbing techniques. The knife and fork should remain in the bottom third of the plate and never be laid down in the top half."


"Ten years ago, officers would stand up when the commanding officer walked into the room. This doesn’t happen any more. I expect a junior officer to make an effort at conversation. Start by introducing yourself and talk on any civilised subject outside work."

Successful marriage

"I recently went to a Burns night, spoilt only by a curious decision to sit husbands next to wives. The secret of a successful marriage is never to sit next to your spouse at dinner, except when dining alone at home. It displays a marked degree of insecurity."


"In common with officialdom the world over, military writers love to use pompous words over simpler language. Combined with underlining and italics, the wanton use of capitals, abbreviations and acronyms assaults the eye and leaves the reader exhausted."

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 5 March 2014 9:59 PM EST
Friday, 21 March 2014

JFC Fuller, On Instructing the Soldier
Topic: Drill and Training

J.F.C. Fuller, On Instructing the Soldier

Maj.-Gen. John Frederick Charles Fuller,
(1 September 1878 – 10 February 1966)

Brevet Colonel J.F.C. Fuller, D.S.O., "Moral, Instruction and Leadership," Journal of the Royal United Services Institution, Vol. LXV, February to November, 1920

Instruction is like a map which the instructor opens and explains. He points out the short cuts and the good roads, but the actual movement over the ground itself must be left to the instructed; to drag a man across it would be a deplorable waste of time.

There are three main ways of instructing a man:—

(1)     By interesting him in his work, that is by increasing his knowledge, for knowledge creates interest, and when a man is interested the effort of learning is reduced to a minimum. To be interesting an instructor must be skilful, and as a magnifying glass concentrates rays of light, so must he be able to concentrate the attention of his men. This can only be done if he continually varies his subjects, makes the men run through them at maximum speed, and so gives no time for their thoughts to wander.

(2)     By repeating a subject again and again until it sinks into a man and becomes part of him. This method is not so good as the- first, but with some men it is necessary; at best it is most tiring for the instructor, who should, however, guard against turning himself into a human gramophone, for even repetition requires skill and individuality.

(3)     By terrorizing. This is a bad way and it should never be used unless (1) and (2) have failed. It is bad because it creates fear. — We do not want fear, we want courage. If a man will not learn by the first two methods, there is nothing for it but to teach him by the third; for it is better to be hated and followed than to be despised and abandoned. It is better than nothing, for it maintains unity of action.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, 21 March 2014 12:03 AM EDT
Thursday, 20 March 2014

'Split personality' hampering Forces
Topic: Canadian Army

The Heller Antitank Missile, the AVRO Arrow fighter, The Bra d'Or hydrofoil and the Bobcat armoured personnal carrier: all Canadian miltary programs that were cancelled.

'Split personality' hampering Forces, say generals

The Montreal Gazette, 16 April 1980
By Jo Ann Gosselin, for Southam News

Ottawa — Canada's security as a nation and the development of the country's high-technology industrial base are restricted by the split personality of her military force, say three former chiefs of defence.

Generals J.A. Dextraze, F.R. Sharpe and J.V. Allard told a meeting of the Air Industries Association of Canada that the problem lies in equipping and sustaining a capable fighting force whose strongest international identity is that of a peacekeeper.

Allard, who was Chief of Defence Staff from 1966 to 1969, said much of the problem was due to a difference in approach between those in the military who sought equipment to support NATO and NORAD forces and those in government who accepted roles on behalf of the military where such equipment was unnecessary.

Until the division between 'warrior' and 'peacekeeper' forces was resolved, Allard said, it was futile for Canada to attempt to define defence policy or issue a white paper on it.

He traced the problem back to the post-Korean War period when Canada's military found itself with obsolete Second World War equipment and a defence budget with little, if any, growth.

With three services clamoring for re-equipment funds, defence chiefs had to struggle to fit requirements into the money available.

Ottawa, Allard says, decided not only to reduce manpower levels to help trim costs, but also to abandon Canadian military-industrial programs — including the AVRO Arrow and the Bobcat personnel carrier.

The scrambling to cover all remaining bases has meant the military has been unable to put a sound, long-term planning program into effect, Allard said.

Sharpe, defence chief from 1969 to 1972, suggested that not few of the firms represented at the meeting would prosper if they had to depend on the Canadian military market.

Limited purchases by the Canadian military had forced industry to seek international markets and other applications of advanced technology for domestic use.

He said that in order to maximize defence spending in Canadian industry, government and the military must co-operate in the formulation of defence policy.

Share said this initial input from all three areas would stop the tug-of-war for benefits and performance that hamper most military purchasing.

Dextraze, head of the military from 1972 to 1977, said good planning depended on a stable budget and that many of the problems were due to fluctuations in fundss promised and funds available.

He too called for firm direction. There was often too much talk and not enough action.

He did not absolver the military, however. There were times, he said, systems were developed when no one knew to what use they would be put. The hydrofoil Bras d'Or was one example.

Dextraze said it was important that the military have the best tools to do the job and that if security of the country meant anything to Canadians it was time to face facts and screw up the necessary courage to get the job done.

Canadian Army Battle Honours

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Annual Militia Report (1907)
Topic: Canadian Militia

Annual Militia Report Down (1907)

Reference Made to St. John Building
Weak Points of the Ross Rifle Discussed

The St John Sun, 22 March 1907

(Special to the Sun)

Ottawa, March 21.#8212;The annual report of the militia department was brought down today. The report notes the transfer of Halifax and Esquimalt to Canada's defence. Scarcity of funds prevented militia expansion in the Canadian Northwest.

Recruiting was difficult owning to the demand for labor in Canada and enlisting for the Canadian permanent force was carried on in Great Britain. A Canadian army pay corps was organized. The branch companies and medical corps were organized into field ambulances and medical corps.

Mobilization and defence of Canada have been carefully studied. Military surveying has been done at Niagara peninsula and the country below the St. Lawrence and Ottawa rivers in Ontario.

There is a deficiency of subalterns and section commanders.

The condition of the Royal Canadian Horse Artillery has not been satisfactory and steps will be taken to improve it.

The permanent force now numbers 3,055.

The enlargement of the present building at St. John will be a great boom for the proper housing of the increasing equipment.

Field batteries are now all armed with 12-pounder guns and the obsolete 9-pounder will be called in and not re-issued.

As the 12-pounder is being replaced in other armories with a quick firing weapon, a supply of the new 18-pounder quick firing guns adopted by the British service has been ordered from England and delivery is expected shortly.

In field defences outside Halifax and Esquimalt by the autumn of 1908 modern 7 ½ inch and 6-inch breech-loaders and 12 and 6-pounder quick firing Hotchkiss guns will be placed throughout Canada.

The weak points of the Ross rifle have been ascertained and good progress made toward remedying them. A rifle with improvements in sights, barrels, butt plates, magazine feed and extractor will shortly be submitted to the government by the manufacturers.

During the year the militia gave aid to the civil authorities at Winnipeg, Kingston, Hamilton and Buckingham. Militia expenditure amounted to $5,594,009, which was $1,644,167 greater than the year before.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Tuesday, 18 March 2014

The Social Side of Warrior Training
Topic: Officers

The Social Side of Warrior Training

A Rumor of War, Philip Caputo, 1977

A Rumor of WarNot all the training dealt in lethal practicalities. In those pre-Vietnam days, the course proceeded leisurely, with plenty of time devoted to the ceremonial side of military life. We learned to put on reviews, the proper way to flourish a sword, how to behave at social functions; in brief, all that spit-and-polish nonsense which is totally divorced from the messy realities of twentieth-century warfare.

In spite of its uselessness, I cannot say that I found it unattractive. The romantic in me responded to the pageantry of a parade, to the tribal ritualism of ceremonies that marked anniversaries or comradeships formed long ago on distant battlefields. In the summer it was Mess Night, which had obscure and ancient origins in the British Army. To the roll of a solitary drum, officers in dress whites filed into the mess. Lit only by candles, it looked as dim and secretive as the dining hall in a monastery. Silver trophies from our ancestors, the Royal Marines, and other English regiments gleamed in a corner case. To THE U.S. MARINE CORPS, read the inscription on one, FROM THE 1ST BATTALION, ROYAL WELCH FUSILEERS. PEKING 1900. Toasts were made, and wineglasses raised, lowered, raised again, like chalices at some strange Mass.

In the winter it was the Marine Corps birthday ball, which commemorated the Corps' nativity in a Philadelphia tavern on November 10, 1775. The observance of this rite was the cause of my first offense against the Uniform Code of Military Justice. I went AWOL from the Quantico Naval Hospital, where I was recovering from mononucleosis, to attend the celebration. I thought it would be a night of beer-swilling camaraderie, something like the gatherings of Beowulf's warriors in the mead hall, and I was determined not to spend it in the aseptic confines of the isolation ward.

Earlier that day, two classmates had smuggled my dress blues and a bottle of Jack Daniel's into my room. After eight o'clock bedcheck, I made a dummy out of my baggy pajamas. stuffed it under the covers, put on my blues, wrapped the whisky in a paper bag, and walked freely past the guards. A short taxi ride through the town of Quantico—a few bars, half a dozen laundromats, and twice that many uniform shops fronting the brown Potomac—brought me to Little Hall, where the party was being held.

I walked inside and into the nineteenth century. Junior officers wore white gloves and Prussian-blue, Prussian-collared tunics. Majors and colonels whom I was accustomed to seeing in functional khakis strutted around in waist-length dinner jackets with shoulder boards that advertised their rank in gold and red. A couple of generals swooped toward the bar, capes billowing behind them. Off to one side. Like a row of cardinals perched on a branch, scarlet-clad bandsmen sat stiffly on a row of folding chairs. Through all this military plumage, wives and girl friends glided with a rustle of expensive gowns. "Good evenin', majuh," one of these creatures said in her honey soft, flirtatious-but- chaste, Tidewater-aristocracy accent. "It's sooo nahce to see you again, suh. It cuhtainly is a luhvly pahty…" A full-dress ball. I could not make up my mind what it looked like—a scene from The Student Prince, a costume party, or the senior prom at a military academy.

I felt disappointment. The atmosphere was more one of a debutante cotillion than of Beowulf's mead hall. And perhaps because there was so much brass around, including the Marine Corps commandant, General Wallace Greene, everyone behaved. The band stuck to a vapid repertoire of Broadway musical scores, and General Greene made a slightly slurred speech which drew some polite applause.

Inconsequential though the ball was, that night in November 1964 holds a special significance for me. I see the hall, crowded with officers in baroque uniforms, filled with fashionably dressed women. Some are dancing; some are filing past a buffet, spearing hors d'oeuvres with toothpicks; some, holding drinks, are engaged in light conversation; all are without forebodings of what awaits them: fear, disfigurement, sudden death, the pain of long separation, widowhood. And I feel that I am looking at a period piece, a tableau of that innocent time before Vietnam.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Monday, 17 March 2014

Priority on New Medal Ribbons (1945)
Topic: Medals
1939-1945 Star Atlantic Star Air Crew Europe Star Africa Star Pacific Star Burma Star
Italy Star France and Germany Star Defence Medal Canadian Volunteer Service Medal 1939-1945 War Medal

First Priority on New Ribbons Given Soldiers Heading Home; Theatre Entry All That's Needed

The Maple Leaf; 18 July 1945

London—First priority on the issue of the new campaign stars, just authorized for the Canadian forces, will go to personnel proceeding to Canada for employment with the Pacific force, repatriation or discharge personnel.

This policy is due, in some degree, to the fact that the material for the new ribbons is in short supply for the time being. For instance, stocks now in hand at CRU in England would provide for distribution, in accordance with the authorized scale of 1 ¼ inches per medal, of 13,000 of the 1939-45 Stars, 28,000 Italy Stars and 56,000 France and Germany Stars. However, as the stocks are issued to formations in bulk, experience has shown the numbers actually supplied would be considerably reduced and would be reduced even further if issues of more than one ribbon to any individuals were made. It should be noted that these figures are for UK releases only and do not include issues to First Canadian Army which are to be made to the extent possible from these supplies of ribbon provided to it on the continent. Even there they have such a small supply, as yet, that the issue must be controlled and is being made only to those proceeding to the UK for onward movement to Canada.

Canadian Military Headquarters has been advised from Canada that supplies of ribbon for the 1939-45 Star, Italy Star and France and Germany Star will not be available in bulk from there until September.

Order of Precedence

The new decorations take precedence over the Canadian Volunteer Service medal and are to be worn in the following order: 1939-45 Star, Atlantic Star, Air Crew Europe Star, Africa Star, Pacific Star, Burma Star, Italy Star, France and Germany Star, Defence Medal.

Eligible to wear the decorations subject to the proper qualifications are all officers and other ranks, male and female, of the Canadian Armed Forces, and Canadians of both sexes who are officers of other ranks in the armed forces of the United Kingdom, Colonies or any part of the British Commonwealth. Also eligible will be accredited Canadian war Correspondents, members of the Canadian Red Cross, St Johns Ambulance Society and voluntary aid detachments serving in theatres of operation provided they are fulltime uniformed workers.

To qualify for an award of the 1949-45 Star an individual must have an aggregate of six months (180 days) operational service in the army or two months (60 days) in the RCAF. Exceptions to this rule are made for those who took part in the Dieppe, Sicily or Spitzbergen operations, for those who won an honor, decoration or mention for service in an operational Theatre, and those who died on service or were evacuated as a result of wounds or sickness arising out of service.

Generally speaking, a man must first qualify for the 1939-45 Star before becoming eligible for the Pacific, Burma, Italy or France and Germany Stars. After this qualification of six months operational service, with the exceptions noted above, he becomes immediately eligible for the other awards. However, those whose only operational service has been in Italy or Northwest Europe during the last six months of operations there, could not give the required six months service for the 1939-45 Star, and thus could not qualify for the Italy or France and Germany Stars.

This would mean they would have no star to show they had served in Italy or Northwest Europe. To meet these circumstances individuals who entered in to operational service in Italy or France, etc., during the last six months of the campaign in Europe, and by May 8, 1945, had not aggregated six months operational service, will qualify only for Italy or France and Germany Star.

For the Atlantic Star, qualifications for Canadians are the same as for the Royal navy which stipulate 180 days service afloat in home waters, North Atlantic, South Atlantic, or with convoys to North Russia. RCAF air crew will be eligible if they have taken part in operations against the enemy at sea within the areas qualifying naval personnel.

The Air Crew Europe Star, instituted for Operations flying over Europe and the United Kingdom, calls for a time qualification of 61 days service in air crew so employed between September 3, 1939, and June 5, 1944.

As the Africa Star which now may be worn along with the 1939-45 Star, will be granted for service in North Africa from the date of entry of Italy into the war on June 10, 1940, up to the date of cessation of operations against the enemy in North Africa May 12, 1943.

The Pacific Star is for operational service in the Pacific Theatre. Canadians who served in Hong Kong in December, 1941, will qualify for this award. The Burma Star goes for operational service in the Burma campaign which is still proceeding.

The Italy Star has been instituted for entry into operational service on land in Italy or Sicily at any time during the campaign there from the capture of Pantellaria on June 11, 1943, to May 8, 1945.

Entry into Area

The France and Germany Star has been instituted for service in France, Belgium, Holland or Germany and to qualify for this star an individual must have entered one of these countries on operational service between June 6, 1944, and May 8, 1945.

The Defence Medal, as far as Canadians are largely concerned, will be granted to those with one year non-operational service in Britain. If service was with mine and bomb disposal units of the forces then the time qualification is three months.

All Ranks who consider themselves eligible for any of the new awards will make application for authority to wear the appropriate ribbons on a form supplied. Following certification by the OC of the unit of the accuracy of the claims made, entitlement will be published in unit Part II Orders which will then be the authority to wear the ribbons.

Canadian Army Battle Honours

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Sunday, 16 March 2014

Canadian Solution Too Expensive (1963)
Topic: Militaria

Canada To Buy US Armored Troop Carrier

The Montreal Gazette; 6 December 1963

Ottawa—(DJ)—Canada will buy the United States M113 armored personnel carrier for its army brigade in Europe tather than the Canadian built Bobcat, Defence Minister Hellyer said.

An order will be placed as soon as possible for some 500 M113 vehicles with FMC Corp. in California, it is understood. At a price of $28,000 per vehicle this represents a total value of $14,000,000.

Mr. Hellyer said that parts of the M113 are already being manufactured by Canadian subcontractors and further subcontracting in Canada pf a variety of equipment can be anticipated.

The Canadian army has been evaluating the Bobcat, built by Hawker Siddeley Canada Ltd. It had placed orders for 20 prototype Bobcats It is understood that the price tag on each of these Bobcats was $55,000.


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Saturday, 15 March 2014

RCRI Sword; Infantry Pattern 1897
Topic: The RCR

Royal Canadian Regiment of Infantry Sword

The sword pictured above is a recent acquisition to the Rogue's collection of regimental militaria related to The Royal Canadian Regiment. An 1897 Infantry pattern sword, this example was manufactured by "MOLE" of Birmingham, one of the leading sword makers to the Empire in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

Maker: Robt. Mole & Son Birmingham — maker to the War and India Offices. Robert Mole traded from 24-34 Granville Street, Birmingham between 1895 - 1926

While the handguard has some wear, the blade is in surpringly good condition. The scabbard, sadly has seen better days.

We can narrow the date of the sword to an even closer range than the years Mole manufactured swords. To start with, the most obvious indicator of period: the Royal Cypher. Marked with Queen Victoria's "VR" cypher certainly means this sword was produced no later than 1901.

Additionally, on the sword's handguard are the initials "R.C.R.I." The Royal Canadian Regiment was designated the "Royal Canadian Regiment of Infantry" between 1 April, 1899, and 1 November, 1901. Beneath the unit marking are the numerals "40" shown over "30" which possibly means sword #4 out of a set of 30 that were issued.

This sword would have been issued to the Regiment some time after 1 April 1899. During this period the Regiment maintained five company stations (Fredericton, St Jean, Toronto, London and Quebec City). These companies were unlikely to need any quantity of swords, the Permanent Force officers probably either owning their own swords or using company stores.

But there is another possibility. It was during this period that the 2nd and 3rd (Special Service) Battalions of the Regiment were raised, the former for service in South Africa, the latter to garrison Halifax.

Of these, was one unit more likely to require a set of 30 new swords? The 2nd (Special Service) Battalion, heroes of Paardeberg, were formed with an establishment of 41 officers. The 3rd (Special Service) Battalion, however, had an establishment of 29 officers. (With the Regimental Sergeant-Major requiring one for full dress, a complement of 30 swords would have been required.)

There is, therefore, an excellent possibility that this sword was issued to the 3rd (Special Service) Battalion for it's garrison duties in Halifax during the years 1900-1902.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 15 March 2014 12:12 AM EDT
Friday, 14 March 2014

The Qualities Of A Good Officer
Topic: Officers

The Qualities Of A Good Officer

Field Marshal William Joseph "Bill" Slim,
1st Viscount Slim,
(6 August 1891 – 14 December 1970)

Canadian Army Journal, Vol 5, No 6, September 1951
Speech by Field Marshal Sir William Slim, GCB, GBE, DSO, MC, Chief of the Imperial General Staff, at the Sovereign's Parade at the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, on 15 December 1949

Officer Cadets of The Royal Military Academy. Many of you become officers today; all of you will become officers in the near future. That means that your Sovereign has selected you to lead your fellow countrymen in battle, and than that there is no greater honour that your King and Country can do you. In return for that honour, when you go from here, you will maintain those standards of conduct which have always been the glory of the officers of the British Army. You will show the qualities of leadership which are particularly required of you at a time like this. Remember, the be-all and end-all of an officer is to be a leader. The qualities that distinguish an officer from other men are courage, initiative, will-power and knowledge. To take these qualities in turn. The kind of courage required is the courage that endures. Anybody can be brave for a little while, but the officer goes on being brave when others falter. He has a moral courage which makes him do his duty - do what is right without any thought of the consequences to himself. Initiative means that you don't sit down and wait for something to happen. If, in war, you wait for something to happen it will happen all right and it will be damned unpleasant when it does. Initiative, for the officer, means that he thinks ahead, that he is always two or three jumps ahead of the men he leads and of the enemy. Keep your brains bright and flexible. Will-power means that you will force through what you consider it to be your duty to do, against not only the opposition of the King's enemies, but against the opposition of well-meaning friends and of all the doubts and difficulties of men and nature which will assail you. Knowledge means that you have no business to be an officer unless you know how to do the job in hand better than those you lead. When you leave here you won't have finished learning. You will never finish learning. The officer is always learning. If you have these qualities of courage, initiative, will-power and knowledge you will be a leader, but you won't necessarily be a good leader, or a leader for good, and you won't have that grip you must have on men when things go wrong. When a man's heart sinks into his empty belly with fear; when ammunition doesn't come through; when there are no rations, and your air force is being shot out of the skies; when the enemy is beating the living daylight out of you - then you will want one other quality, and unless you have got it you will not be a leader. That quality is self-sacrifice, and as far as you are concerned it means simply this, that you will put first the honour and the interest of your King and Country, that next you will put the safety, the well-being and the security of the men under your command; and that last, and last all the time, you will put your own interest, your own safety and your own comfort. Then you will be a good officer. I would like you to carry away from this Parade one thought, and that is this. In the British Army there are no good battalions and no bad battalions, no good regiments and no bad regiments. There are only good and bad officers. See to it that you are good officers. And good luck to you.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Thursday, 13 March 2014

Sieges and Trenches
Topic: Military Theory

The Siege of Burgos [1812], by François Joseph Heim, 1813

Sieges and Trenches

From: The Military Guide for Young Officers, by Thomas Simes, Esq., Philadelphia, 1776



From: The Military Guide for Young Officers, by Thomas Simes, Esq., Philadelphia, 1776


View, of a place to besiege it, it is said to be taken when the General, accompanied by the engineers, reconnoitres it, that it, rides round the place, observing the situation of it, with the nature of the country about it; as hills, valleys, rivers, marshes, woods, hedges, &c. thereby to judge of the most convenientplace for opening the trenches, and carrying on the approaches; to find out proper places for encamping the army, for the lines of circumvallation and couter-vallation, and for the park of artillery.

Approaches, are the trenches, places of arms, lodgements, sap, gallery, and all works, whereby the besiegers advance towards a place besieged.

This is the most difficult part of a siege ; and where most lives are loft. The ground is disputed inch by inch, and neither gained or maintained without the loss of men ; it is of the utmost importance to make your approaches with great caution, and to secure them as much as possible, that you may not throw the lives of your soldiers. The besieged neglect nothing to hinder the approaches; the be- away The fiegers do every thing to carry and on this depends ; them on the taking or defence of the place.

The trenches bing carried to their glacis, you attack and make yourself master of their covered way, make a lodgment on the counterscarp, and a breach by the sap, or by mines with several chambers, which blow up their intrenchments and fougades, or small mines, if they have any.

You cover yourselves with barrels, sacks, fascines, or gabions; and, if these are wanting, you sink a trench.

You open the counterscarp by saps to make yourself master of it; but, before you open it, you must mine the flanks that defend it. The belt attack of the place is the face of the bastion, when by its regularity it permits a regular approach and attacks according to art: if the place be irregular, you must not observe regular approaches, but proceed according to the irregularity of it ; observing to humour the ground, which permits you to attack it in such a manner at one place as would be useless or dangerous in another; so that the engineer who directs the attack ought exactly to know the part he would attack, its proportions, its force, and solidity in the most geometrical manner.

Siege. To besiege a place, is to surround it with an army, and approach it, by passages made in the ground, so as to be covered against the fire of the the place.

When an army can approach an so near the place as the covert-way, without breaking ground, under favour of some hollow roads, rising grounds, or cavities, and there begin their work, it is called accelerating the siege; but when they can approach the town so near as to take it without making any considerable works, the siege is called an attack.

To raise a Siege, to give over the attack of a place, quit the works thrown up against it, and the posts taken about it. If there be no reason to fear a sally from the place, the siege may be raised in the daytime. Artillery and ammunition must have a strong rear-guard and face the besiegers, lest they should attempt to charge the rear; if there be any fear of an enemy in front, this order must be altered discretionally, as safety, and the nature of the country, will allow. To make, or form a siege, there must be an army sufficient to furnish five or six reliefs for the trenches; pioneers, guards, convoys, escorts, &c., an artillery, magazines furnished with a sufficient quantity of warlike stores, of all forts, and an infirmary with physicians, surgeons, &c.

To turn a siege into a blockade, to give over the attack, and endeavour to take it by famine: for which which purpose, all the avenues, gates and streams leading into the place, are so well guarded, that no succour can get to its relief

Trench, or lines of approach and attack, a way hollowed in the earth, in form of a fosse, having a parapet towards the place be- sieged, when the earth can be removed; or else it is an elevation of fascines, gabions, wool-packs and such other things, tor covering the men as cannot fly into pieces or splinters. This is to be done when the ground is rocky; but when the earth is good, the trench is carried on with less trouble, and' the engineers demand only a provision of spades, axes, to shovels, make it and pickaxes, to make it two fathoms wide. The greatest fault a trench can have, is to be enfiladed: to prevent which, they are ordinarily carried on with turnings and elbows. As the trenches are never carried on but in the night-time, therefore the ground should be viewed and observed very nicely in the day. On the angles or sides of the there should be lodgements, or epaulements, in form of traverses the better to hinder the sallies of the garrison, to favour the advancement of the the trenches, and to sustain the workmen. These lodgements are small trenches, fronting the places besieged, and joining the trench at one end.

The platforms for the batteries are made behind the trenches; the first at a good distance, to be used only against sallies of the garrison. As the approaches advance, the batteries are brought nearer, to ruin the defences of the place, and dismount the artillery of the besieged. The batteries for the breaches are made when the trenches are advanced near the covert-way.

If two attacks, there must be lines of communication, or boyaus, between the two, with places of arms, at convenient distances. The trenches should be six or seven feet high, with the parapet, which should be five foot thick, and have banquets for the soldiers to mount upon.

Returns of a Trench, are the elbows and turnings, which form the lines of the approach, and made as near as can be parallel to the defence of the place, to prevent their being enfiladed.

To mount the trenches, is to mount guard in the trenches; to relieve the trenches, is to relieve the guards of the trenches, to dismount the trenches, is to come off guard from the trenches; to cleanse or scour the trenches, is to make a vigorous sally is upon the guard of the trenches, force to give way, and quit their ground, drive away the workmen, break down the parapet, fill up the trench, and nail their cannon.

Counter-trenches, are trenches made against the besiegers, which consequently have their parapet: turned against the enemy's approaches, and are enfiladed from several parts of the place, oil purpose to render them useless to the enemy, if they should chance to become masters of them; but they should not to be enfiladed, or commanded by any height in the enemy's possession.

To open trenches, is the first breaking of ground by the besiegers, to carry on their approaches towards a place. The difference between opening and carrying on the trenches is, that the first is only the beginning of the trench; which is always turned towards the besiegers. It is begun by a small fosse, which the pioneers make in the night on their knees, generally a musquet-shot from the place, or half a cannon-shot, and sometimes without the reach of cannon-ball, especially if there be no hollow or rising grounds to favour them, or if the garrison be strong, and their artillery well served. This small fosse is afterwards enlarged by the next pioneers which come behind them, who dig it deeper by degrees, till it be about four yards broad, and four or five feet deep, especially if they be near the place; to the end, the earth is taken out of it, may be thrown before them, to form a parapet, and cover them from the fire of the besieged. The place where the trenches are opened, is called the end of the trench.

Returns of a Trench, the turnings and windings which form the lines of the trench, and are as near as they can be made parallel to the place attacked, to shun being enfiladed. These returns, when followed, make a long way from the end of the, trench to the head, which going the straight way is very short, but then the men are exposed; yet, upon a sally, the courageous never consider the danger; but getting over the trench with such as will follow them, take the shortest way to repulse the enemy, and cut off their retreat, if possible.

Sap, a trench, or an approach made under cover, of ten or twelve feet broad, when the besiegers come near the place, and their fire grows so dangerous, as not to be approached uncovered.

Works, generally denote the fortifications about the body of a place; as by out-works are meant those without the the first inclosure. This word is used to signify the approaches of the besiegers, and the several lines, trenches, &c. made round a place, an army, &c for its security.

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT

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