The Minute Book
Thursday, 5 June 2014

A Good Soldier
Topic: Discipline

A Good Soldier

Major General Christopher Vokes CB CBE DSO CD (13 April 1904 – 27 March 1985)

By Maj.-Gen. Christopher Vokes, General Officer Commanding, Western Command, Edmonton, Alberta
Canadian Army Journal, Vol 7, No 2, July 1953

To be known as a good soldier by his comrades, his subordinates and his superiors in rank, should be the goal of every soldier in the Canadian Army. It is the height of military achievement no matter what the rank. Skill-at-arms is not the only requirement for this. There is much more to it. In addition, the soldier must possess in himself:

1.     A strong sense of duty;

2.     Honesty;

3.     Willing obedience;

4.     A respect for authority – military or civil;

5.     Decent manners, morals and speech; and

6.     Loyalty to his comrades, to his unit and to the Canadian Army in which he has the honour to serve.

A good soldier is a man skilled in the profession of arms who by his personal conduct earns and holds the respect of his fellow Canadians, whether soldiers or civilians.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Wednesday, 4 June 2014

3.5-inch Rocket Launcher (M20 Super Bazooka)
Topic: Militaria


Amendment No. 1

"Until such time as men become proficient in the firing of the rocket launcher, all practices will be fired with the rocket launcher rested in either filled sandbags or on the bipod."


Rocket Launcher – 3.5 Inch; M20

CATP 11-7; 1952


(a)     The launcher is carried as a two-piece unit which is assembled into a 60 3/4-inch launcher for firing.

(b)     A magneto-type firing device in the firing grip provides the current used for firing the rocket.

(c)     There is very little recoil as the rocket is jet-propelled.

(d)     There is a definite backblast.

(e)     It is highly mobile (the launcher weighs 14 lbs.), and it is operated by two men.


(f)     The HEAT (high explosive, anti-tank) rocket will penetrate 11 inches of homogeneous armour plate.

(g)     The maximum range of the rocket is 960 yards.

(h)     The rocket weighs 8 ½ lbs., and has a muzzle velocity of 340 feet per second.

(j)     The HEAT rocket is used primarily against tanks; it can be used against secondary targets such as gun emplacements, pill boxes, and personnel. It will penetrate 12 inches of masonry or timber. It has a fragmentation area of 25 yards radius from the point of impact.

Note:…Impact with mud, sand, or water may not detonate the rocket.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Manual of Field Engineering (1911)
Topic: CEF

Manual of Field Engineering (1911)

1.     By Field Fortifications is implied all those measures which may be taken for the defence of positions intended to be only temporarily held. Works of this kind are executed either in face of the enemy or in immediate anticipation of his approach.

2.     Field Fortification presupposes a defensive attitude, and, though recourse to it may under certain circumstances be desirable, it must always be regarded as a means to an end, and not an end in itself.

3.     The principal aim of field fortification is to enable the soldier to use his weapons with the gates effect, the second to protect him against the adversary's fire. By thus reducing losses and increasing the power of resistance in any part of the theatre of operations or field of battle, more troops are available to swell the force destines for decisive action there of elsewhere.

Thus begins the 1911 Manual of Field Fortification. Many people perceive the beginning of trench warfare was during the First World War, where th occupation and fighting from extensive trench systems was a defining feature of the western front in France and Flanders. But the concepts of trenching and trench warfare were well developed before they were tested on such a massive scale between 1914 and 1918.

The manual shows, in its language and diagrams, its point of evolution from classic siege warfare entrenchments to the more expedient infantry entrenchments of the American Civil War and the Russo-Japanese War, both of which had British Army officers observing their actions, and the South African War. With Manuals such as this one, officers of the British army and the Canadian Expeditionary Force had a ready manual for the basics of field fortifications in hand as they took to the field of battle.

The following points should be borne in mind when examining a locality which it is desired to strengthen:…

(a)     The strong and weak points of the position to be defended should be carefully studied, and the site for entrenchments chosen with due regard to tactical requirements and economy of men.

(b)     The enemy in attacking should be exposed to the fire of the defenders, more especially for the last 300 to 400 yards. To ensure this, the foreground may require clearing.

(c)     The enemy should be deceived as to the strength and dispositions of the defending troops, and the character of their works.

(d)     The defenders should be screened from the enemy's view, and sheltered from his fire by natural or artificial cover, so arranged as to permit the maximum development of their own rifle fire.

(e)     The free movement of the attacking troops should be hampered by obstacles to detain them under fire and to break their order of attack.

(f)     The free movement of the defenders should be facilitated by improving communications within their position, and clearing the way for counter attack.

Canadian Army Battle Honours

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, 19 May 2014 4:13 PM EDT
Monday, 2 June 2014

The General's Inspection
Topic: Humour


Tank crews of The British Columbia Dragoons lined up in front of their Sherman tanks during a review by General H.D.G. Crerar followed by a mounted marchpast, Eelde, Netherlands, 23 May 1945.
Photographer: Jack H. Smith. Mikan Number: 3223023.
From the Library and Archives Canada virtual exhibit "Faces of War."

The General's Inspection

By Colonel E. R. Rivers-Macpherson, OB, Ottawa, (Late The Gordon Highlanders)
Canadian Army Journal, Vol 11, No 1, Jan 1957

How often one looks back and smiles on the harmless subterfuges we used to resort to in the old days to try, if possible, to deceive the General on his annual inspection of the regiment. I expect the General smiled too-well remembering that he had done the self-same things, though the technique had altered somewhat over the years. [This anecdote appeared originally in The Forces Magazine (United Kingdom) and is reproduced by courtesy of that magazine and the author. - Editor, CAJ.]

"I well remember one such inspection when I was a very young subaltern. In the early part of the century, long before the NAAFI came into being, the regiment ran its own canteen and recreation rooms, then known as the "Regimental Institutes". The junior subalterns all took it in turn to keep the accounts under the Second-in-Command. The annual GOC's inspection coincided with my tour of duty and I thus became enmeshed in the intrigue whether I liked it or not. The great day drew near, and as the recreation room was not very popular with the troops (it was very dark, gloomy, and most unattractive), I was instructed to parade enough men of my Company and to distribute them around the tables playing checkers, dominoes, cards, etc. The idea was to impress the General with the popularity of the room. I was further told to arrange for a young drummer to remove a book ("Pilgrim's Progress") from the bookshelf as the General came around. The General was delighted to see the room crowded and beamed on the smiling faces of the men (the Sergeant-Major had previously ordered them to "smile happily" when the General entered the room). "Splendid! Splendid!" remarked the GOC. "Jolly good show!" (He probably wondered why he had never thought that one up when he was a subaltern!). Then going up to a young soldier, he said: "Well, my man what a real home-from-home you have here. I suppose you spend all your spare time here?" "Beggin' your pardon, sir," replied the soldier, "I nivver enter this perish'n rat-hole, and I only came here today `cause I was blinkin' well marched in." There was complete consternation around, of course. I could see the General longing to guffaw but, controlling himself, he made some excuse and left the room, only giving a casual glance at my cherubic drummer who was piously engrossed in "Pilgrim's Progress"! Well, I expect the same kind of dodges are being perpetrated today when the Generals inspect the regiments. And, you know, I really think the old boys get a kick out of it too!"

The Frontenac Times

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Sunday, 1 June 2014

Battle Honours; not a scoring system
Topic: Battle Honours

Retired Colours of The Royal Canadian Regiment, in the Quiet Room (chapel) of The Royal Canadian Regiment Museum, London, Ontario.

Battle Honours; not a scoring system

"Battle Honours,", Major T.J. Edwards, M.B.E., F.R.Hist.S.
The Army Quarterly and Defence Journal, Volume LXXIII, January 1957

The publication of awards [i.e., Battle Honours] to regiments for the [Second World War] will inevitably cause those "enthusiasts" who make a hobby of totting up each regiment's list to declare that this or that regiment is the "best" on active service, whatever that might mean, because it has more "names" of actions than any other regiment. It is impossible to assess the value of regiments or corps on this basis, if only for the fact that not all are granted battle honours, and never have been, although practically all are represented in every expedition of any size. There are other reasons also. Some regiments have been awarded honours when their strength at some engagements was well below 50 per cent, a fact which applies to composite battalions particularly. One Regular Regiment bears an honour though it had less than 25 per cent and no headquarters in the campaign. As already shown, honours have not been granted under identical rules, e.g., for the three days' hard fighting 16th-18th June, 1815, the solitary honour "Waterloo" was awarded, yet some quite minor affairs of a few hours' duration in the Middle and far east have been commemorated by battle honours for each. For some campaigns an honour has been granted for each separate action, and, in addition, a campaign honour, e.g., "Peninsula" and "Afghanistan, 1878-79," whereas in other campaigns no campaign honour has been awarded, e.g., Marlborough's wars, the Crimea, Indian Mutiny, Mahratta war. The mention of Marlborough's wars reminds one that no honours at all have been awarded for the concurrent operations in Spain during the War of the Spanish Succession, except for the capture of Gibraltar. There are far too many variable features connected with this question to enable anything like an accurate assessment to be made.

Canadian Army Battle Honours

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 1 June 2014 12:06 AM EDT
Saturday, 31 May 2014

Assimilation of New Weapons
Topic: Military Theory

Assimilation of New Weapons

The Evolution of Weapons and Warfare, Colonel T.N. Dupuy, 1980

The invention of a weapon that is potentially more lethal is only the first of three steps toward realization of that lethality. It must be adopted by a military establishment, and it must be assimilated into tactics, doctrine and organization.

elipsis graphic

The invention of a workable weapon has not in the past guaranteed either that it would be promptly purchased by any armed force or that, if bought, it would be purchased in sufficient quantity to be standard issue.

elipsis graphic

It is fairly easy to ascertain from observation or from the record that a weapon has not been assimilated, that is, that its capabilities are not fully realized and it is not being used to the best advantage. It is almost as easy to recognize that a weapon has in fact been assimilated and is an effective part of a military establishment. But it is less easy to pinpoint exactly when the process of assimilation was accomplished.

When a radically new weapon appears and is first adopted, it is inherently incongruous with existing weapons and doctrine. This is reflected in a number of ways: uncertainly and hesitation in coordination of the new weapon with earlier ones; inability to use it consistently, effectively, and flexibly in offensive action, which often leads to tactical stalemate; vulnerability of the weapon and of its users to hostile countermeasures; heavy losses incident to the employment of the new weapon, or in attempting to oppose it in combat. From this it is possible to establish the following criteria of assimilation:

a.     Confident employment of the weapon in accordance with a doctrine that ensures its coordination with other weapons in a manner compatible with the characteristics of each.

b.     Consistently effective, flexible use of weapon in offensive warfare, permitting full employment of the advantages of superior leadership and/or superior resources.

c.     Capability of dealing effectively with anticipated and unanticipated countermeasures.

d. Sharp decline in casualties for those employing the weapon, often combined with a capability for inflicting disproportionately heavy losses on the enemy.

There have been three basic preconditions historically for assimilation of new weapons or ideas:

1.     An imaginative, knowledgeable leadership focused on military affairs, supported by extensive knowledge of, and competence in, the nature and background of the existing military system.

2.     Effective coordination of the nation's economic, technological-scientific, and military resources.

3.     Opportunity for battlefield experimentation as a basis for evaluation and analysis.

When these conditions have been present, there has usually been a time lag of approximately twenty years, or one generation, between the initial experimental adoption of a new weapon and its full assimilation. It is notable that this time lag does not seem to have changed much over the course of the past century, despite the fact that science and technology have been producing new weapons, or adaptations of weapons, in accelerating numbers and at an accelerated pace. When the conditions have not been present (which was frequently the case before 1830), the process of assimilation has been slower.

New weapons, or modifications of new weapons, have generally been developed because scientists, technicians, or soldiers have perceived an opportunity to develop a new weapon or improve an existing one. Only rarely have new weapons been designed for the specific purpose of coping with a tactical problem.

There has been a natural reluctance to make a sweeping change in tactics, or organization, by widespread adoption of a new and untried weapon before it has been thoroughly investigated under battle conditions. There is some evidence (not conclusive) that intelligent boldness in this respect can pay handsome dividends (as in the case of Prussian adoption of needle guns). Despite this reluctance and despite the likelihood that optimum assimilation will be impossible without battlefield testing, the increasing pace of invention is placing pressure on the military today to make such sweeping changes.

elipsis graphic

The German experience and those of the other great powers who have followed the German pioneering work in general-staff concepts and in related military affairs to national society as a whole suggest additional preconditions for assimilation in the mid-twentieth century:

a.     There must exist industrial or developmental research institutions, basic research institutions, military staffs and their supporting institutions, together with administrative arrangements for linking these with one another and with top decision-making echelons of government.

b.     These bodies must conduct their research, developmental, and testing activities according to mutually familiar methods so that their personnel can communicate, can be mutually supporting, and can evaluate each other's results.

c.     The efforts of these institutions—in related matters—must be directed toward a common goal.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 31 May 2014 12:36 AM EDT
Friday, 30 May 2014

Responsibilities of the Staff
Topic: Military Theory

The front gates of Fort Frontenac, Kingston, Ontario,
home of the Canadian Army Command and Staff College.

Responsibilities of the Staff (1899)

From the Lecture on "The Evolution of the Canadian Army" by Capt. C.F. Winter, the G.G. Foot Guards; The Officers' Association of the Militia of Canada; Transactions of the Semi-Annual Meeting 1899

In peace time the General Staff work out all details belonging to mobilization, marching, stationing, manoeuvres, and all military matters connected with railways and telegraphs. They should study all possible theatres of war — the preparation of maps, and the elaboration of plans, &c., for possible movements based upon a careful study of past experiences in similar emergencies also the instruction of younger officers in Staff duties.

In war time their duties become of greater importance. They are thus laid down by General von Schellendorf:—

1.     Working out ail arrangements for the quartering, security, marching and fighting of troops, according to the varying conditions of the military situation.

2.     Communicating the necessary orders, either verbally or in writing, at the right time and in sufficient detail.

3.     Obtaining, collecting and working out in order all materials which concern the natural and the military features of the theatre of war and the procuring of maps.

4.     Collecting and estimating the value of information received concerning the enemy's forces and reporting on the same to the higher military authorities.

5.     Keeping up the fighting condition of the troops and being constantly informed of their condition in every respect.

6.     Charge of day books publishing reports of engagements and the collection of important materials to afterwards form a history of the war.

7.     Special duties, viz: — reconnaissances.

Now you may have possibly gathered from all this that this General Staff becomes a lot of "knows-alls" with perhaps "swelled heads," and form a sort of Corps of Officers of somewhat different make-up to the other officers of in the National Force, but this is quite an error — in all the larger European Armies experience has taught that officers selected and trained in the duties of the General Staff are kept at their best by frequent returns to regimental duty and periods of training with the different arms. There is no desire to place themselves on a superior plane to their regimental comrades, but rather to ensure throughout the whole army of the country that systematical co-operation which alone can give success to any military effort. It is to this end that the initial training of a party of our Officers is now proceeding under Col. Kitson at the Royal Military College, Kingston.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Thursday, 29 May 2014

German Infantry in Action (1941)
Topic: Drill and Training

German_Infantry_in_Action_coverGerman Infantry in Action (1941)

German Infantry in Action (Minor Tactics), Prepared by the General Staff, The War Office, February, 1941; Reprinted in Canada, May 1941.

Section Formations

There are two normal formations for the section when extended, i.e., single file and extended line. The section should only be split up in exceptional circumstances, and if it is, must still operate as a complete unit.

Platoon Formations

The platoon normally deploys into one of two formations, 1.e., arrowhead or wide arrowhead. The platoon commander can, however, order other formations, e.g., sections one behind the other in file or single file or two sections forward and two in rear.

Company Formations

The Company normally deploys in one of two formations, i.e., arrowhead or wide arrowhead. The distances between platoons are given only as a guide.

Canadian Army Battle Honours

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Never Pass a Fault
Topic: Commentary

“Never Pass a Fault”

“Never Pass a Fault” is not about you. Should you be asking yourself if your true motivation is to help the individual correct a fault, or to impress your friends with your performance art in jumping on the revealed flaw? Do you click “reply” or “reply all” when you want to point out an error in someone's message?

“Never Pass a Fault” is known by many in the Canadian Armed Forces as the motto of The Royal Canadian Regiment. It has at times also been adopted by other units and schools. Such a simple phrase, it is unfortunate that the execution of its application is often flawed.

“Never Pass a Fault.” How often has it been quoted to justify someone pointing out another's error, using it as justification for a tedious opportunity to insult, provoke or humiliate? As quickly invoked to point out a typo or to back up an unduly harsh critique of some young soldier's error in dress, it gets used in some circles like a gang sign for bullies.

“Never Pass a Fault.” Such a simple context, that a responsible person (regardless of rank, years of service, or any other factor) should not overlook errors and mistakes. Instead, they should get involved in correcting them, in a professional manner.

“Never Pass a Fault” is not, and never has been, a license to nit pick. Neither is it a warrant to publicly insult or humiliate someone who has made an honest error. It's certainly not a ticket for self-declaration of assumed superiority for spotting something wrong (if you do that, you can turn in your quiet professional badge). And it is never an excuse to be rude, or to insult someone's person, parentage, regiment, corps, or service---or the people who trained them. Yet it has been used by some as their virtual bumper-sticker for all these failures in personal communication.

“Never Pass a Fault” illuminates the responsibility of each of us to watch for and correct errors. These could be minor faults of dress, drill, or deportment, or they might be the type of error, in training or operations, that could get someone killed if uncorrected. “Never Pass a Fault” is the opening for a responsible leader to identify and capitalize on teaching opportunities. These can range from opportunities to quietly correct an individual without embarrassing them; or to confirm that a training requirement for a wider group has presented itself.

“Never Pass a Fault,” effectively applied, understands that “the fault” is not always assignable to the individual whose actions or appearance has resulted in its being invoked. To immediately cast blame at the individual, especially when a narrow mind capitalizes on the phrase for public shaming, is, in itself, the greater fault, the greater failure.

“Never Pass a Fault” invites correction of the error, in a manner befitting the “crime” and appropriate to the style of leadership that will ensure remedy without humiliation or hostility. It is a challenge to apply leadership skills; responsible, level-headed leadership which respects the possitions of both parties and any others who may be watching. It's the difference between yelling at someone in pubic for a minor error, and taking that person aside for a moment to explain what they did wrong and how they can avoid repetition. In either case, the person will remember you for your action, but only in the latter example will that memory be a mutually respectful one.

“Never Pass a Fault” is not about you. Should you be asking yourself if your true motivation is to help the individual correct a fault, or to impress your friends with your performance art in jumping on the revealed flaw? Do you click “reply” or “reply all” when you want to point out an error in someone's message?

“Never Pass a Fault” invites you to get engaged when you identify an error, and to apply an appropriate measure. That invitation is not to be a critic, it's to be a leader. (Keep in mind that leadership is not solely the responsibility of the more senior person in an exchange.) When the opportunity to “Never Pass a Fault” crosses your path, which line of approach do you choose?

And if you ever have to say “Never Pass a Fault” to explain your actions to justify being rude or insulting, you've failed. If you're lucky, maybe someone will take you aside and explain where you went wrong.

Pro Patria

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 28 May 2014 12:10 AM EDT
Tuesday, 27 May 2014

US Army, 1941; "The Ration"
Topic: Army Rations

The two cartoons shown on this page are from the 1945 edition of Bill Mauldin's "Up Front."

US Army, 1941; "The Ration"

FM 21-100: War Department. Basic Field Manual; Soldier's Handbook, July 23, 1941

227.     The Ration.—A ration is the allowance of food for the feeding of one person for one day. Each soldier is authorized to receive one ration each day that he is on the active list of the Army.

278.     Kinds of Ration.—There are several different kinds of rations used in the Army of the United States, but the ones in which you will be interested are the following:

a.     The garrison ration is that which the Government prescribes in time of peace for all persons entitled to a ration except under special circumstances when other rations are prescribed. The different items such as meat, fresh vegetables and fruit, beverages, bread, and other articles of food which make up that ration are called "ration components." The number af components and the amount of each required to give a soldier a well-balanced and nourishing daily diet have been carefully determined by food experts. The money value of the ration is figured each month from the wholesale costs of food to the Government, and your organization mess account is credited with the total amount required to feed a1l the men in your unit. The meals served by your organization mess sergeant in time of peace, and while Your organization is in a post, camp, or cantonment, will usually be prepared from the components of the garrison ration. After the mess sergeant has made up his menus he will buy the various articles of food required from the money which the Government has credited to your organization mess account. Some of these items he may buy from the quartermaster commissary. Others he may buy from local markets or farmers, in order to take advantage of certain foods in season or because the commissary may not have them in stock. Any savings which he makes are called "ration savings'' and become part of your unit mess fund, to be expended by your organization commander on extras for the mess on holidays or other special occasions.

b.     The field ration is that prescribed for use in time of war or other emergency. In time of peace it may be used some-times for training purposes. The components are prescribed by the War Department or the commanding general of the field forces. No ration savings are permitted and the components are issued "in kind." This means that instead of your mess sergeant buying the various components of the ration from the quartermaster or in local markets, the quartermaster will issue to him certain items of food sufficient to feed all the members of your organization. There are four kinds of field rations:

(1) Field ration A corresponds as nearly as practicable to the peacetime Garrison ration and contains "perishable" items such as fresh meat and vegetables. It is issued as often as the circumstances will permit.

(2)     Field ration B corresponds as nearly as practicable to field ration A, except that nonperishable or canned products replace the perishable items.

(3)     Field ration C consists of previously cooked or prepared food, packed in sealed cans. and which may be eaten either hot or cold. Each ration consists of three cans of meat and vegetables and three cans of crackers, sugar, and soluble coffee.

(4)     Field ration D consists of three 4-ounce bars of concentrated chocolate.

(5)     Sometimes the field ration may be a combination of types C and D. In this case it will usually consist of two cans of meat and vegetables, two cans of the crackers, sugar, and soluble coffee, and two of the 4-ounce bars of concentrated chocolate.

279.     Our Government spends more money for the food its soldiers than any other nation in the world. A great deal of time is spent on the training of mess sergeants and cooks and you will so discover that your food is better prepared, there is more of it, and it has a greater variety than that of most families in civil life. It is especially selected to build up your body and give you the energy and endurance which will carry you to success on the battlefield. If at first it seems strange to you and you miss the meals with which you are familiar, do not be tempted to eat in neighboring civilian restaurants. You wiIl profit both in your pocket and stomach if you eat all of your meals in your organization mess.

280.     When you go into the field your mess sergeant and cook will accompany you. There is special cooking equipment in your organization which will follow you. On this your foo can be prepared in the same way as it is cooked on the stoves of youe barracks or cantonment. During combat all organization kitchens are usually grouped in sheltered locations in rear where the meals can be prepared without interference by the enemy. Immediately after dark, trucks bring the cooked meals forward so that they can be distributed by carrying parties.

281.     During Campaign.—During a campaign the commanding general of your division or a higher commander may direct that each soldier carry a field ration as part of his field equipment. He may decide to do this because he feel that the condition of the roads or transportation may delay the arrival of the cooked meals and in such a case he wants to be sure that no soldier goes hungry. A ration which is carried by a soldier is called an individual reserve. It will probably be field ration C or D, or a combination of both.

282.     a.     It may Sometimes happen during campaigns that you and one or more of your comrades may be separated from your unit If there is another organization near you, you will always be able to get a meal from it by reporting to its first sergeant or mess sergeant; giving your name and organization and explaining how you happen to be separated from your own unit.

b.     If there is no other organization near, it may then be necessary for you and your comrades to cook your own meals, using your mess mess kits for this purpose and the Iood you have with you. Since you will probably have field ration C with you, this will be very easy. Simply heat one or more of the cans in hot water, and open them. If you, or any of your comrades, have had boy scout training you will probably be able to prepare a very good meal from the ration

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 17 May 2014 9:12 PM EDT
Monday, 26 May 2014

An "Uncle" Shoot
Topic: The Field of Battle

Personnel of the 1st Field Regiment, Royal Canadian Horse Artillery (R.C.H.A.) with a 25-pounder Howitzer field gun during field exercises, Barham, England, 10 April 1942.
Photographer: C.E. Nye. Mikan Number: 3397506.
From the Library and Archives Canada virtual exhibit "Faces of War."

An "Uncle" Shoot

Artist at War, Charles Comfort, 1956

Just as night was closing in on us again, … an "Uncle" barrage, eighty-one rounds, charge three. … a Divisional shoot, every available gun … The first fifteen minutes would be a concentration, the second a timed creeping barrage.

I selected a vantage point and waited for the order. At 1730 hours, in the almost complete darkness, the night was cracked open with fire and super thunder. Never had I heard or seen such infernal theatre. There were moments of continuous arc-like brightness under the black sky. Oratino, on its crag, was side-lit like Klingsor's castle in a Gordon Craig setting. At one instant the image of its sky-line registered black on the retina, the next it was white like a photographic negative. The valley seemed like a garden of blinding flamejets, rocked by the deafening volcanic crashes of creation. The muzzle-brake on the guns split the flame of the burning propellant into long fiery tridents, blue-white tongues of flame. This indeed was the mad, reckless energy of war … a percussion cacophony of death that outstripped any other audible experience. The gunners worked like demon puppets, no word of command passing between them, only a continuous dance of galvanic action. Passing ammunition … locking and opening the breach … ramming home the charge … jerking the trigger lanyard … all done in the dark or by the flash of neighbouring guns. No language sacred or profane had power or force in the situation. Command Post officers watched every movement. The command had been given; there was nothing to do but wait for it to be carried to its completion. … At 1800 hours, as suddenly as it started, the violence ended. The de profundis silence which followed was like a numbed vacuum, the sort of dark sepulchral silence that must have preceded the happenings in Genesis. But gradually distant voices swam into the field of consciousness again. Gunners laughed and lit cigarettes. Sergeants counted spent shell cases and reported expenditures. The "Uncle" shoot was over.

Gunners of the 2nd Medium Regiment, Royal Canadian Artillery (R.C.A.), loading a 5.5-inch gun, Netherlands, 2 April 1945.
Photographer: Colin Campbell McDougall. Mikan Number: 3209132.
From the Library and Archives Canada virtual exhibit "Faces of War."

Canadian Army Battle Honours

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Sunday, 25 May 2014

What Every Young Officer Needs
Topic: Humour
Images taken from a set of silk cigarette cards of Canadian Militia uniforms (early 20th century).

Images taken from a set of silk cigarette cards of Canadian Militia uniforms (early 20th century).

What Every Young Officer Needs

From "The Boozilier Annual," a parody 'trench' newspaper, 16 December 1932


Mr. __________________ regrets exceedingly his deplorable conduct while a guest at your

(    ) Dance (    ) Dinner (    ) Party

last ___________________ and humbly craves your pardon for the Breach of Etiquette checked in the adjoining column.

(    ) Striking Hostess with bottle.
(    ) Spanking Hostess or female guests.
(    ) Riding to Hounds in drawing room.
(    ) Excessive Screaming.
(    ) Frequent Absence from party.
(    ) Protracted Absence from party.
(    ) Extreme Inebriation.
(    ) Excessive Destruction of Furniture.
(    ) Partial Loss of Equilibrium.
(    ) Complete Loss of Equilibrium.
(    ) Throwing Glasses.
(    ) Insulting Guests.
(    ) Indiscreet Petting.
(    ) Nausea.
(    ) _____________________

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Saturday, 24 May 2014

The Queen Approves Conditions for Battle Honour Awards (1956)
Topic: Battle Honours

Retired Colours of The Royal Canadian Regiment, in the Quiet Room (chapel) of The Royal Canadian Regiment Museum, London, Ontario.

The Queen Approves Conditions for Battle Honour Awards (1956)

A Report by the Directorate of Public Relations (National Defence), Ottawa

Canadian Army Journal, Vol 10, No 4, Oct 1956

Her Majesty the Queen has approved conditions for the award of battle honours to units of the Canadian Army which fought in the Second World War, Army Headquarters has announced. Her Majesty's approval of the conditions now leaves the way open for Regular and Militia armoured and infantry regiments to claim the awards to which they are entitled. The conditions were prepared during the past year by a Battle Honours Committee under the chairmanship of Maj.-Gen. A. Bruce Matthews, CBE, DSO, ED, of Toronto. The Battle Honours list for Commonwealth armies in the Second World War compiled by a special Committee, on which Canada was represented, in London, England, includes more than 160 battles, actions, engagements and theatres for which honours may be awarded to Canadian regiments. The list includes Dieppe and Hong Kong in addition to the battles fought by Canadians in Sicily, Italy, NorthWest Europe and Southern France. The honours may be awarded for service in either an armoured or an infantry role to regiments which are entitled by custom to carry colours. They will be awarded only when units were "actively engaged with enemy ground troops", having "taken a creditable part in an operation" and when the unit is "proud of its part in the operation". Some regiments will be eligible for 30 or more of these honours; however, as with the Great War 1914-18, only 10 Second World War honours may be emblazoned on the regiment's colours, standards, guidons or appointments. The custom of awarding battle honours originated in the British Army in the 18th Century. The honours take the form of inscriptions — showing the place and date of the engagement honoured — on unit standards, guidons and colours. Some regiments, notably Rifle Regiments, display honours on their drums, clothing or badges. The earliest battle honour awarded to a Canadian unit is "Eccles Hill", commemorating an action fought against the Fenians on the Vermont border in 1870. It is borne by the Victoria Rifles of Canada, a Montreal Militia unit. Some Canadian regiments possess battle honours for the North- West Rebellion of 1885 and the South African War. Most units have honours from the war of 1914-18. An Army Order is being prepared which gives the conditions of award, the qualifications required and the list of recognized honours for the Second World War. It will require each regiment concerned to appoint a committee of not less than five members comprised of former and serving commanding officers, officers who served with the regiment in action and honorary colonels and lieutenant-colonels. This committee will determine the honours to be applied for and those to be emblazoned. Following are some points covered by the conditions as drawn up by Maj.-Gen. Matthews' committee and approved by Her Majesty:

1.     Honours not included in the official list of more than 160 operations may be applied for by regiments. Such applications must be backed up by conclusive supporting evidence.

2.     Pre-war infantry units which fought as armoured regiments during the war may claim honours.

3.     To qualify for an honour, unit headquarters and 50 per cent of subunits of a unit must have been engaged. However, there are provisions for units which were represented in a theatre only by squadrons or companies operating independently.

4.     Honours normally are awarded on a regimental basis and are equally the property of all units of the regiment. Within the regiment the same honours will normally be displayed on the colours of battalions of the regiment. Amalgamated regiments normally will adopt the combined honours of the individual units.

5.     Honours awarded to disbanded regiments will be announced as a matter of record.

6.     A theatre honour will be awarded to all regiments which have qualified for one or more battle honours in that theatre. Some regiments ineligible for battle honours may be awarded a theatre honour if a unit was represented and performed creditably in the theatre concerned.

Canadian Army Battle Honours

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, 26 May 2014 3:52 PM EDT
Friday, 23 May 2014

"Office"; Summary Trials
Topic: Discipline

An example of summary trial punishments recorded in the Part II Daily Orders of The Royal Canadian Regiment, Daily Orders dated 21 Aug 1917.
An example of Summary Trial punishments recorded in the Part II Daily Orders of The Royal Canadian Regiment, Daily Orders dated 21 Aug 1917. — Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War; Part 15: Crime …


Canada in Warpaint, Capt. Ralph W. Bell, 1917

"Charge against No. 7762543, Private Smith, J .C.; In the field, 11.11.16, refusing to obey an order, in that he would not wash out a dixie when ordered to do so. First witness, Sergeant Bendrick."

"Sirr! On Nov. 11th I was horderly sergeant. Private Thomas, cook, comes to me, and he says as 'ow 'e 'ad warned the pris--the haccused, sir, to wash out a dixie, which same the haccused refused to do. Hordered by me to wash hout the dixie, sir, the haccused refused again, and I places 'im under hopen arrest, sir."

"Cpl. Townsham, what have you to say?"

"Sirr! On Nov. 11th I was eatin' a piece of bread an' bacon when I was witness to what took place between Sergeant Bendrick an' Private Smith, sir. I corroborates his evidence."

"All right; Private Thomas?"

"Sirr! I coboriates both of them witnesses."

"You corroborate what both witnesses have said?"


"Now, Smith, what have you got to say to Stand to attention!"

"I ain't got nothin' to say, sir, savin' that I never joined the army to wash dixies, an' I didn't like the tone of voice him"…indicating the orderly Sergeant…"used to me. Also I'm a little deaf, sir, an' my 'ands is that cut with barbed wire that it's hagony to put 'em in boilin' water, sir! An' I'm afraid o' gettin' these 'ere germs into them, sir. Apart from which I ain't got anything to say, sir!"

After this Private Smith assumes the injured air of a martyr, casts his eyes up to heaven, and waits hopefully for dismissal. (The other two similar cases were dismissed this morning!)

The Captain drums his fingers on the table for a few moments. "This is your first offence, Smith."


"But it is not made any the less serious by that fact."

The gleam of joy in Smith's eye departs.

"Disobedience of an order is no trivial matter. A case like this should go before the Commanding Officer."

Long pause, during which the accused passes from the stage of hope deferred to gloom and disillusion, and the orderly Sergeant assumes a fiercely triumphant expression.

"Twenty-eight days Field Punishment number one," murmurs the Captain ruminatively, "or a court-martial" —this just loud enough for the accused to hear. The latter's left leg sags a trifle, and consternation o'er-spreads his visage.

"In view, Smith," says the Captain aloud, "in view of your previous good record, I will deal with you myself. Four days dixie washing, and you will attend all parades!"

Before Private Smith has time to heave a of relief the C.S.M.'s voice breaks on the air, "Left turrn ! Left wheel, quick marrch!"

"A good man, Sergeant-Major," says the Captain with a smile. "Have to scare 'em a bit at times, what?"

Battalion Orderly Room is generally a very imposing affair, calculated to put fear into the hearts of all save the most hardened criminals. At times the array is formidable, as many as thirty … witnesses, escort, and prisoners--being lined up outside the orderly room door under the vigilant eye of the Regimental Sergeant-Major. It is easy to see which is which, even were not the " dress " different. The prisoners are in clean fatigue, wearing no accoutrements or equipment be-yond the eternal smoke-helmet. The escort are in light marching order, and grasp in their left hands a naked bayonet, point upwards, resting along the forearm. The witnesses wear their belts. Most of the accused have a hang-dog look, some an air of defiance.

"Escort and prisoners… Shun!"

The Colonel passes into orderly room, where the Adjutant, the Battalion Orderly Officer, and Officer witnesses in the cases to be disposed of await him, all coming rigidly to attention as he enters. In orderly room, or "office" as the men usually call it, the Colonel commands the deference paid to a high court judge. He is not merely a C.O., he is an Institution.

The R.S.M. hovers in the background, waiting for orders to call the accused and witnesses in the first case. The C.O. fusses with the papers on his desk, hums and haws, and finally decides which case he will take first. The Adjutant stands near him, a sheaf of papers in his hand, like a learned crown counsel.

Not infrequently the trend of a case depends on whether the C.O. lunched well, or if the G.O.C. strafed or complimented him the last time they held palaver. Even colonels are human.

"Charge against Private Maconochie, No. 170298, drunk," etc., reads the Adjutant.

After the evidence has been heard the Colonel, having had no explanation or defence from the accused, proceeds to pass sentence. This being a first " drunk " he cannot do very much but talk, and talk he does.

"You were drunk, Thomkins. You were found in a state of absolutely sodden intoxication, found in the main street of Ablain-le-Petit at 4 P.M. in the afternoon. You were so drunk that the evidence quotes you as sleeping on the side-walk. You are a disgrace to the regiment, Thomkins ! You outrage the first principles of decency, you cast a slur on your battalion. You deliberately, of set purpose, intoxicate yourself at an early hour of the afternoon. I have a good mind to remand for a Field General Court-martial. Then you would be shot! Shot, do you understand? But I shall deal with you myself. I shall not permit the name of this battalion to be besmirched by you. Reprimanded! Reprimanded! Do you hear, sir!"

(Voice of the R.S.M., north front.) "Right turn. Right wheel; quick marrch!"

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Thursday, 22 May 2014

R.A.F. Pocket Book (1932 Edition)
Topic: RCAF

R.A.F. Pocket Book (1932 Edition)

RAF Pocket Book coloured image plate

Following the example of the British Army's Field Service Pocket Book, the Royal Air Force authorizes the RAF Pocket Book. No doubt many officers of the Royal Flying Corps, and then the Royal Ar Force, were familiar with and probably carried the Field Service Pocket Book in the early years of the Air Services. The RAF Pocket Book provided much of the same information, but with a distinctive "air force" flavour with the inclusion of specific sections useful to their flying and ground support officers. One other change was made to ensure the Pocket Book's branding as an RAF item, the change from the standard brown cover of the Army editions to a distinctive blue.

The introductory note in the RAF Pocket Book reads (in part):

1.     This publication is a Pocket Reference Book for use by personnel on active or overseas service, or on Staff and other Training Exercises, where the usual official manuals are not immediately available.

2.     It is not to be quoted as authority for action, nor is it to be used as a text book for the study of subjects that are explained fully in training or other Royal Air Force publications. When necessary, however, official reference may be made to subjects that are not yet dealt with elsewhere.

3.     Data likely to become obsolescent within a few years, such as the weight and dimensions of aircraft and other equipment, are given in a separate Appendix ("Weights and Dimensions," Appendix IV), which is to be kept in the pocket of the cover.

RAF Pocket Book coloured image plate RAF Pocket Book coloured image plate RAF Pocket Book coloured image plate RAF Pocket Book coloured image plate RAF Pocket Book coloured image plate RAF Pocket Book coloured image plate

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Matron Katherine Osborne MacLatchy
Topic: CEF

Matron Katherine Osborne MacLatchy

No. 3 Canadian General Hospital

Katherine Osborne MacLatchy was born at Grand Pré, Nova Scotia, on 15 February, 1874. She was serving with the Permanent Army Medical Corps at Montreal when she attestedt for overseas service on 4 March, 1915. proceeding overseas with No. 3 Canadian General Hospital, which was raised at McGill University, she served as Matron with No. 3 C.G.H. throughout the war.

Matron MacLatchy was awarded the Royal Red Cross, 1st Class, and was Mentioned in Despatches twice (London Gazette # 31089 and 29422).

Katherine MacLatchy can be found in the Soldiers of the First World War Database at Library and Archives Canada:

No. 3 (McGill University) Canadian General Hospital

Official History of the Canadian Forces in the Great War; The Medical Services, by Sir Andrew MacPhail, 1925

  • Organized Montreal, 5 Mar 1915
  • Shornecliffe, 16 Mat 1915 to 16 Jun 1915
  • Dannes-Camiers, 19 Jun 1915 to 5 Jan 1915
  • Boulogne, 6 Jan 1916 to 29 May 1919
  • Officers Commanding: H.S. Birkett, J.M. Elder, L. Drum
  • Matron: K.O. MacLatchy

Notes from the Genealogical Forum "nsroots"

[nsroots] Matron Katherine Osborne MacLatchy born Grand Pre, NS in 1874

Matron Katherine Osborne MacLatchy of the of the College of Registered Nurses of Nova Scotia (founded in 1909 as the Graduate Nurses' Association of Nova Scotia — changed to Registered Nurses Association of Nova Scotia, and now the College of Registered Nurses of Nova Scotia) — … is a recipient of one of the College's Centennial Award of Distinction that was presented on May 13, 2009, when the College of Registered Nurses of Nova Scotia celebrated 100 years. The awards were presented to 100 current/former registered nurses (10 per decade) whose significant accomplishments have influenced the advancement of the nursing profession. In 1910, an Act to Incorporate the Graduate Nurses' Association of Nova Scotia (original name) was passed so we have celebrations from 2009-2010.

This is a short profile that we have on file:

Katherine Osborne MacLatchy

Katherine MacLatchy was born in Grand Pre, Nova Scotia, February 15, 1874. Katherine graduated from the Saint John General Public Hospital in Saint John, NB in 1898. She enlisted in the Canadian Army Medical Corps (Over-Seas Expeditionary Force) in Montreal as a trained nurse in 1915. She held the position of Matron, at the Cogswell Street Military Hospital and Camp Hill Hospital in Halifax. Katherine was Vice-President of Graduate Nurses' Association of Nova Scotia (GNANS) in 1921, and Honorary President, (member of the executive) of GNANS in 1922. Katherine registered with the Association in 1923 and remained a member until 1932. During her term on the executive of the Graduate Nurses' Association of Nova Scotia, the Act to Incorporate the Graduate Nurses' Association of Nova Scotia was amended, and passed on April 29, 1922.

I have received the following information from the Archives at Acadia University — "Kate and Fran McLatchy both of whom served as nurses in WW1 returned home to Grand Pre. They lived in the Borden house next door to the Covenanter Church for years. Kate died in 1969 at age 95, and is buried in the graveyard that surrounds the Covenanter Church. Neither married and Fran outlived Kate. As far as relatives—nieces nephews- K and F had a brother my sources felt that there were some but they did not know where they were."

The Canadian Experience of the Great War: A Guide to Memoirs, by Brian Tennyson

1158.     MacLatchy, Katherine Osborne [1874-1969]. "No. 3 Canadian General Hospital." Canadian Nurse and Hospital Reviews,18:7 (July 1922): 414-18. ISSN 00084581. AMICUS 7505937. OONL. Reprinted as "Matron MacLatchy's Recollections" in Clare Gass, The War Diaries of Clare Gass, ed. Susan Mann, Montreal/Kingston: McGill-Queen's University Press, c2000, xlvii, 306 p.: ill., bibl., maps, 22 cm., 243-47. McGill-Queen's/Hannah Institute Studies in the History of Medicine, Health and Society 9. ISBN 0773521267. AMICUS 26573404. NSHD. Brief memoir, 1915 to 1918. Born at Grand Pré, Nova Scotia, MacLatchy was a niece of Sir Robert Borden. She studied nirsing in Montreal and was working there when she joined No. 3 (McGill) Canadian general Hospital as matron in May 1915. After the war she served as matron of Camp Hill Hospital in halifax from 1918 to 1920, when she moved to New York. She later retired to Grand Pré.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Tuesday, 20 May 2014

The Legionnaire's Code of Honour
Topic: Discipline

The Legionnaire's Code of Honour

Website of the Embassy of France in the United States - February 26, 2001

1.     Legionnaire: you are a volunteer serving France faithfully and with honor.

2.     Every Legionnaire is your brother-at-arms, irrespective of his nationality, race or creed. You will demonstrate this by an unwavering and straight forward solidarity which must always bind together members of the same family.

3.     Respectful of the Legion's traditions, honoring your superiors, discipline and comradeship are your strength, courage and loyalty your virtues.

4.     Proud of your status as a legionnaire, you will display this pride, by your turnout, always impeccable, your behavior, ever worthy, though modest, your living-quarters, always tidy.

5.     An elite soldier: you will train vigorously, you will maintain your weapons as if it were your most precious possession, you will keep your body in the peak of condition, always fit.

6.     A mission once given to you becomes sacred to you, you will accomplish it to the end and at all costs.

7.     In combat: you will act without relish of your tasks, or hatred; you will respect the vanquished enemy and will never abandon neither your wounded nor your dead, nor will you under any circumstances surrender your arms.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Monday, 19 May 2014

The .303 Vickers Machine Gun
Topic: Militaria

The Vickers .303-inch Medium Machine Gun

The .303 Vickers Machine Gun.


The Gun

Name.–.303 Vickers medium machine gun.
Weight.–40 lb (with water in barrel casing.
Rate of fire.–about 500 rounds per minute.

The .303 Vickers Machine Gun.

Organization of the Infantry Battalion Machine Gun Platoon (1951)

It's difficult to separate modern perceptions of infantry or ground combat with the presence and firepower of the machine gun. Before the First World War, machine guns were a tactical oddity, not quite having proven their usefulness to the point that infantry units were organized to capitalize n the machine gun's advantages, or acquired in sufficient numbers to be a decisive weapon on their own terms. The years of trench warfare in France and Flanders changed that. Machine guns not only appeared in greater numbers in infantry battalions, but as the value and relative merits of light and medium/heavy machine guns became wide recognized, organizations did change.

The challenges of organizing comprehensive machine gun firepower across a brigade's units led to the creation of Brigade Machine Gun Companies. These companies manned medium machine guns (Vickers) while the infantry battalions absorbed more light machine guns (Lewis Guns), and the Canadian Machine Gun Corps took form. By 1918, these companies were reformed into Division Machine Gun Battalions. The Canadian Corps was further supported by mobile Machine Gun units which provided a valuable degree of mobility once more open warfare commenced in the final months of the War. And by 1918, the machine gun had proven to all its tactical value.

In 1920, the Canadian Militia was undergoing examination and reorganization, with many Corps working to absorb the lessons of the Great War in both training and organizational change. Among these changes was the creation of the Canadian Machine Gun Corps in the Canadian Militia which existed from 1920 until 1936. In 1936, the units of the C.M.G.C. were disbanded, and amalgamated with infantry battalions in the Militia (thus resulting in the "(M.G.)" designation that some units held at the time). A few of these units were subsequently employed to form heavy weapons companies and served as such during the Second World War.

The formation of integral machine gun platoon in infantry battalions was also developed, and these survived in the post-war period. The images fund in this post are taken from the 1951 editions of the Infantry Training manuals for The Medium Machine Gun.

inf_trg_manual_pt2_drills 303_vickers_range_tables_cover

manuals for the .303 Vickers Machine Gun. 1951 Part II - Drills and Training (left); and Range tables (1939) (right). Click cover images for larger image.

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Sunday, 18 May 2014

Wolseley Barracks Site Plan (1937)
Topic: Wolseley Barracks

Wolseley Barracks Site Plan (1937)

Wolseley Barracks site plan (partial); 1937

Wolseley Barracks site plan (partial); 1937
(Click image for lage version.)

This site plan of Wolseley Barracks, drawn soon after the completion of the Royal School Building, shows the location of buildings north and east of Wolseley Hall in 1937. Only three of the shown buildings remain, two of which are listed for removel by the Department of National Defence within the next few years.

Click the image at right for a large scan of the original plan, scroll ddown for a labelled version matching the building lists below, and for an image overlaying the site plan on the modern aerial photo.

Designated buildings:

  • A – "A" Block; Wolseley Hall
  • C – Stables
  • D – Vehical (sic) Shed
  • E – Engineers Workshop
  • F – (Unlabelled for purpose.)
  • G – Supply Depot
  • H – Old Guardroom
  • I – Magazine
  • K – Trades Building
  • L – Gymnasium
  • M – Garage

Undesignated buildings:

  • 1 – Engineers Stores
  • 2 – Gasoline Hut
  • 3 – Fire Shed
  • 4 – Royal School Building (which was later designated “O” Block”)

The Royal Canadian Regiment Museum

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 18 May 2014 12:06 AM EDT
Saturday, 17 May 2014

Drake the Tank Bank
Topic: Militaria

Drake the Tank Bank

From the photo album of Nursing Sister Ada A. Kemp comes this photograph of one of the Mark IV Tanks which toured parts of Great Britain in support of War Bond fund raising campaigns. Some of the tanks used had returned from the battlefield in France, others were taken from the training units in England. The tank pictured, No. 137 "Drake," was a training tank employed for this purpose.

Six Mark IV male tanks toured England, Wales, and Scotland in 1918, raising millions of pounds through Tank Bank Weeks. These touring tanks were:

  • No. 141, "Egbert"
  • No. 130, "Nelson"
  • No. 113, "Julian"
  • No. 119, "Old Bill"
  • No. 137, "Drake"
  • No. 142, "Iron Rations"

More on the touring tanks:

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 17 May 2014 12:23 AM EDT

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