The Minute Book
Saturday, 9 August 2014

Bayonets in Basra
Topic: The Field of Battle

Bayonets in Basra - A Case Study on the Effects of Irregular Warfare

Prepared by the Urban Warfare Analysis Center, by Edwin Halpain and Justin Walker, 27 Jan 2009


See the orginal report.

About the Urban Warfare Analysis Center

The Urban Warfare Analysis Center produces innovative research and analysis of irregular warfare conducted in urban environments. We bring together personnel from diverse analytical disciplines – including science and technology, social sciences, linguistics, and military studies – to create unique insights across the full range of military operations. The UWAC serves clients in the Department of Defense, Intelligence Community, and broader national security arena. For additional information, please see the UWAC website at

The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders

The Royal Regiment of Scotland

The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders are an infantry regiment of the British Army with a rich history. It is one of Scotland's oldest fighting forces. It is best known for forming the legendry "thin red line" at the Battle of Balaklava in the Crimean War against Russia in 1854. It later fought with distinction in World War I and World War II, including intense jungle warfare in Malaya. After Iraq, it served in Afghanistan before returning home in 2008.

Motto Nemo Me Impune Lacessit
No One Assails Me With Impunity

Executive Summary

In May 2004, approximately 20 British troops in Basra were ambushed and forced out of their vehicles by about 100 Shiite militia fighters. When ammunition ran low, the British troops fixed bayonets and charged the enemy. About 20 militiamen were killed in the assault without any British deaths. The bayonet charge appeared to succeed for three main reasons. First, the attack was the first of its kind in that region and captured the element of surprise. Second, enemy fighters probably believed jihadist propaganda stating that coalition troops were cowards unwilling to fight in close combat, further enhancing the element of surprise. Third, the strict discipline of the British troops overwhelmed the ability of the militia fighters to organize a cohesive counteraction. The effects of this tactical action in Basra are not immediately applicable elsewhere, but an important dominant theme emerges regarding the need to avoid predictable patterns of behavior within restrictive rules of engagement. Commanders should keep adversaries off balance with creative feints and occasional shows of force lest they surrender the initiative to the enemy.

I. Overview of Bayonet Charge

On 21 May 2004, Mahdi militiamen engaged a convoy consisting of approximately 20 British troops from the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders 55 miles north of Basra. A squad from the Princess of Wales regiment came to their assistance. What started as an attack on a passing convoy ended with at least 35 militiamen dead and just three British troops wounded. The militiamen engaged a force that had restrictive rules of engagement prior to the incident that prevented them from returning fire. What ensued was an example of irregular warfare by coalition troops that achieved a tactical victory over a numerically superior foe with considerable firepower.

Atmosphere Preceding the Attack

After a period of relative calm, attacks escalated after coalition forces attempted to arrest Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. British soldiers in southern Iraq said they were "stunned" by the level of violence near Basra. In particular, Mahdi militiamen conducted regular ambushes on British convoys on the roads between Basra and Baghdad. Frequent, uncoordinated attacks inflicted little damage, although precise data is unavailable in open sources. Since the Scottish and Welsh troops arrived in Basra, Shiite militias averaged about five attacks per day in Basra.

The Bayonet Charge

The battle began when over 100 Mahdi army fighters ambushed two unarmored vehicles transporting around 20 Argylls on the isolated Route Six highway near the southern city of Amarah. Ensconced in trenches along the road, the militiamen fired mortars, rocket propelled grenades, and machine gun rounds. The vehicles stopped and British troops returned fire. The Mahdi barrage caused enough damage to force the troops to exit the vehicles. The soldiers quickly established a defensive perimeter and radioed for reinforcements from the main British base at Amarah – Camp Abu Naji. Reinforcements from the Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment assisted the Argyles in an offensive operation against the Mahdi militiamen. When ammunition ran low among the British troops, the decision was made to fix bayonets for a direct assault.

The British soldiers charged across 600 feet of open ground toward enemy trenches.6 They engaged in intense hand-to-hand fighting with the militiamen. Despite being outnumbered and lacking ammunition, the Argylls and Princess of Wales troops routed the enemy. The British troops killed about 20 militiamen in the bayonet charge and between 28 and 35 overall. Only three British soldiers were injured.8 This incident marked the first time in 22 years that the British Army used bayonets in action. The previous incident occurred during the Falklands War in 1982.

II. Why the Bayonet Charge Was a Tactical Success

The bayonet charge by British troops in Basra achieved tactical success primarily because of psychological and cultural factors. It also shows that superior firepower does not guarantee success by either side. In this case, the value of surprise, countering enemy expectations, and strict troop discipline were three deciding characteristics of the bayonet charge.

Surprise as a Weapon

The Mahdi fighters likely expected the British convoy to continue past the attack. Previous convoys of British vehicles had driven through ambush fire.10 British military sources believe the militiamen miscalculated the response of the convoy and expected the Scots to flee.

lthough the raid is a well-honed tactic practiced by jihadist and Arab irregulars, the A surprise raid has been an effective tool against Arab armies, both regular and irregular. Irregular fighters usually are not trained in the rigid discipline that professional counterparts possess, and the surprise attack exploits this weakness.

I wanted to put the fear of God into the enemy. I could see some dead bodies and eight blokes, some scrambling for their weapons. I've never seen such a look of fear in anyone's eyes before. I'm over six feet; I was covered in sweat, angry, red in the face, charging in with a bayonet and screaming my head off. You would be scared, too.

Corporal Brian Wood
Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment

Enemy Expectation that Coalition Troops Would Avoid Combat

Propaganda by Sunni and Shiite jihadists regularly advertised the perception that American and British soldiers were cowards. Similar rhetoric increased after the battles of Fallujah in April 2004, perhaps to steady the resolve of militia fighters in the face of aggressive coalition attacks.13 In addition, British convoys did not engage significantly during previous ambushes, which probably validated the narrative for many Mahdi militiamen. Because many of the Mahdi fighters were teenagers, it is also likely that the Mahdi army used these ambushes for training and recruiting. The attacks were an opportunity for young fighters to use weapons in combat with little risk of serious reprisal.

In short, the bayonet charge not only surprised the Mahdi militiamen, it also debunked the perception that coalition troops were reluctant fighters seeking to avoid conflict.

There was a lot of aggression and a lot of hand-to-hand fighting. It wasn't a pleasant scene. Some did get cut with the blades of the bayonet as we tumbled around, but in the end, they surrendered and were controlled. I do wonder how they regard life so cheaply. Some of these Iraqis in those trenches were 15 years old – against trained soldiers.

Colonel Mark Byers
Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment

Strict Discipline

A crucial distinction during the bayonet charge was the professional discipline of the British troops in contrast to the disunity and confusion of the militia fighters. Irregular militia often fight with passion and benefit from knowledge of the local terrain. Professional soldiers, however, formally trained in tactics and squad unity can often overcome these and other obstacles. During the bayonet charge, the soldiers rarely lost their nerve and not a single soldier lost his life. Many of the militiamen fled.

Discipline is a tool that can be leveraged in irregular warfare against troops that lack professional training. The individual commander needs to recognize which tactics capitalize on troop discipline and then exploit the enemy's weakness in this area.

III. Conclusion

In irregular warfare, Western military forces have options beyond just superior firepower. The bayonet charge in Basra by British troops showed the value of spontaneous surprise attacks under the right conditions. The attack also refuted the jihadist narrative in the area depicting coalition troops as cowards afraid of tough combat, probably swinging the psychological advantage back to coalition troops.

Other nonconventional means of fighting could achieve similar results as the bayonet charge. Drawing from "lessons learned" across areas of operation and from historical case studies could produce multiple options for small unit tactics with minimal changes to operational structure. All irregular warfare methods, however, must be carefully studied for possible second-order consequences.

For example, the use of attack dogs by coalition troops could provoke fear among some militia fighters, but also infuriate local public opinion by giving the impression that U.S. soldiers care more about their dogs than other human beings.

At the least, this case study suggests the importance of changing tactics and procedures to keep enemy fighters off balance. Even within restrictive rules of engagement, commanders should seek periodic "spike" actions that prevent coalition procedures from becoming routine and easily predictive.

Sometimes actions as simple as unexpected changes in appearance or shows of force can regain the initiative. At the same time, commanders must weigh all operational actions in the larger context of persuading the local civilian population to support the consistent, constructive, and stabilizing actions of the coalition as a whole.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Friday, 8 August 2014

The War of Life
Topic: CEF

The War of Life

Letter from the Rev. Albert Woods to his wife in Winnipeg (undated); republished in "My Grandfather's War; Canadians Remember the First World War, 1914-1918," William D. Mathieson, 1981

Now let us suppose a man is wounded in the front trench. He is at once picked up by the stretcher bearers, given first aid, placed on a stretcher and brought to the R.A.P., where he is examined, iodine put on his wound and redressed. If the patient is suffering and if the wound permits, a small dose of morphia is given. His Regimental Number, Name and Unit, nature of wound, and Treatment given is indicated on a card and fastened to the patient's tunic.

If the wound is dangerous, or serious, a red card is red, if slight, white, all these particulars are entered in a book kept solely for the purpose by the Battalion M.O. The patient is given a drink of hot coffee and sent on to the Advanced Field Ambulance Dressing Station where he is again examined and sent on to the main Dressing Station by Motor Ambulance, usually about three miles behind the firing line. Here the patient is given a dose of anti-toxin as s preventative of Tetanus. His wounds are redressed, dry socks put on if needed and available. Here he is given plenty of hot food and drink. If he is a serious case he's sent on ac once co the Casualty Clearing Station where necessary operations are performed. Thus I have known patients entered at the C.C.S. only five hours after they were wounded.

The whole system works like an endless chain propelled by an unseen power; there is no confusion under the most severe stress. Every ounce of energy is used to the best advantage, nothing being wasted, the thing moves as in a circle. We do not as a rule credit the Medical men with a keen business ability, but at the front (I know nothing of the conditions as they exist in England) there is no department of this vast and complicated Military Machine that is better organized, more efficiently managed, or has produced better results than the Canadian Army Medical Service. When the Field Ambulances have delivered their patients to the Casualty Clearing Station, their responsibilities cease. The C.C.S.

are aways situated on a railway line and as soon as possible the patients are moved by Ambulance train to one of the Stationary Hospitals and from there to England. At the C.C.S. there is a large staff of nurses, or "angels in white" as we call them, and the patients receive the same attention they would receive in an old established hospital. They are well equipped with the modern appliances, such as X-Ray machines, etc. The best Surgeons procurable are found there. So amongst all the misery of war and within easy distance of its relentless activities are found the more civilized and humane endeavours of humanity; the desire to alleviate suffering. The war of life against death and pain. On the one hand it is science straining every nerve to accomplish man's destruction, on the other hand it is science working overtime to save his his life.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Thursday, 7 August 2014

New FN Rifle

New FN Rifle being Placed in Hands of Canadian Troops

Ottawa Citizen, 9 May 1957
Dave McIntosh, Canadian Press Staff Writer

In 1957, the 13 infantry battalions in the Regular Force were:

  • The Canadian Guards
    • 1st Battalion
    • 2nd Battalion
  • The Royal Canadian Regiment
    • 1st Battalion
    • 2nd Battalion
  • Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry
    • 1st Battalion
    • 2nd Battalion
  • Royal 22e Regiment
    • 1er Bataillon
    • 2e Bataillon
    • 3e Bataillon
  • The Queen's Own Rifles of Canada
    • 1st Battalion
    • 2nd Battalion
  • The Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment) of Canada
    • 1st Battalion
    • 2nd Battalion

The new FN (Fabrique Nationale) Belgian rifle now is being placed in the hands of Canadian troops.

It is expected that the 13 infantry battalions in the Canadian Army will be fully equipped with the FN by the end of this year, and that the army as a whole will have completed conversion to the new weapon a year from now.

The Belgian-designed .300-calibre automatic rifle is being manufactured by Canadian Arsenals Ltd., a crown company.

It has many Canadian improvements and is rated a far better weapon than when the defence department bought several hundred from Belgium for trials some three years ago.

U.S. Rejects

Britain has also adopted the FN as the standard infantry weapon for its army but the United States recently rejected the FN and decided on adoption of its own T-44. However, both the FN and T-44 fire the same ammunition, the 7.62 round, better known to Canadians as the .300-calibre.

Officials say the FN is a much better weapon than the Lee-Enfield .303-calibre it is replacing. Its chief advantage is that it is automatic. It can fire 20 rounds with one squeeze of the trigger. The Lee-Enfield has to be cocked for each round.

The FN's cocking handle is on the left and thus a soldier does not have to swing off the target while reloading. The bolt has only to be pulled back and then released. With the Lee-Enfield, the bolt must be pulled back, then shoved forward and down.

The Royal Canadian Regiment Museum

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 15 July 2014 6:43 PM EDT
Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Information Security; 1942
Topic: British Army


Canadian Army, Training Pamphlet No. 1
A General Instructional Background for the Young Soldier; 1942

Put in every-day language, Security consciousness is knowing how, what, when, and where to shut up—and what to shut up about. Good Security is acting continuously on this information.

Every soldier in the Canadian Army shares with his comrades a responsibility for Security which is with him at all times.

Without Security the best-planned operations can not be fully successful. Without Security consciousness no soldier is fully, trained. … And Security consciousness is a state of mind whidh you, as a responsible member of the Canadian Army, must yourself develop. Your officers and instructors can tell you why—even how—but developing this Security consciousness, this state of mind, depends upon yourself.

Military Security is merely the defence counter-measures which the Danadian Army employs to safeguard the men of the Army, to safeguard the information which these men necessarily possess and to safeguard the Army's stores, equipment and arms. It is your obligation to co-operate to the fullest in keeping from the enemy the information he wants and must have to wage war successfully against us. He spares neither time nor money to get this information and he works round the clock.

The enemy wants to learn everything he can about us and our plans for conducting the war. He is interested in the tiniest morsel of information he can glean. Even though it is of little importance in itself, it nevertheless represents a piece in the jigsaw puzzle on which he is constantly working. —Don't help him! There are many channels of leakage of these tiny, "harmless" bits of information. From the soldier's point of view, however, the most dangerous are:

1.     Conversations in public places;

2.     Conversations with friends and relatives through which information comes into the possession of those who, with the best will in the world, do not understand the importanceof safeguarding it;

3.     Conversations over the telephone—for the telephone is not secret;

4.     Correspondence home and with friends (see 2 above);

5.     Correspondence with unknown persons—”Penpals,” business forms or advertisers;

6.     Telegrams;

7.     Photographs.

Remember—you help Hitler whenever you mention in letters or talk to civilians about any of the following subjects:

(a)     Strength and Disposition of your own and other units.

(b)     Location or description of defence positions.

(c)     Armament or equipment.

(d)     Rumours or forecasts of Movements.

(e)     All matter relating to ships and ship movements, whether naval or mercantile marine, or to naval defenses such as submarine nets and booms.

Put in every-day language, Security consciousness is knowing how, what, when, and where to shut up—and what to shut up about. Good Security is acting continuously on this information. Breaches of Security are punishable under Military Law.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Feeding the Troops; Rural vs. City Corps
Topic: Army Rations

Military Minutes

Feeding the Troops; Rural vs. City Corps

By: Major R.E.D. Tape
The Free Press, London, Ont., Saturday, September 5, 1908

The 25th Regiment of St. Thomas goes into camp at Ridgetown to-day for three days' experience in camp life, to gain a smattering of the many duties which cannot be acquired in a drill hall. This is an annual event with the 25th Regiment and strange to say, although such is actually required to carry out the course of training laid down in the little red, the whole expense has to be borne by the regiment itself, even to the cost of transporting the tents and blankets required, from London to Ridgetown, and back again, and of the washing of the blankets. Great encouragement to a city regiment to make itself efficient, isn't it?

Every city regiment should go into camp for a few days every year as a part of its annual drill. A great deal of a soldiers' training cannot be acquired otherwise, and the great lack of knowledge of camp duties and work on the part of city corps was well illustrated at the Quebec tercentenary. Few, if any, of these corps knew how to feed themselves. With the Government ration and an allowance of 35¢ to 75¢ per diem for each man paid by the regiments, they were much worse off than the rural regiments, which had nothing but the same camp ration, simply because rural regiment have twelve days experience in messing every year, while city corps have practically none. In many other ways also the city corps were out-classed by their rural comrades.

This brings to mind a question about which we have heard a great deal during the past month. This is the meeting of the 7th Regiment at Quebec. The regiment employed a caterer and cooks for the occasion, gave him the government ration, which is all that a man can eat, and also 35 cents a day for each man for extra rations. Yet in spite of this we have yet to hear of one man who had a square meal during his week in Quebec. An elaborate daily bill of fare was prepared for the occasion, but was never carried out. The cooking was described as the rankest possible. Only a part of the rations was ever seen by the men, and if the caterer furnished 35 cents worth of extras for each man each day he must have bought them at famine prices. Thirty-seven and a half pounds of jam were drawn every day, yet very few got a glimpse of any of it, and when it was served it was simply a thin red line on a piece of bread. A similar quantity of beans was drawn every day for soup, but no one saw any bean soup. Bacon appeared on two or three occasions, when it was drawn for every day and although 300 lbs. of beef was issued every day the men forgot what roast beef looked like. What wasn't burnt up in the incinerator was dished up as stew. The vegetables met the same fate.

The messing arrangements were also of the worst. Instead of cooking for each company being done separately, and orderlies detailed to wait on the tables, the cooking for the whole regiment was done in one place, and each man of the three hundred or more had to parade at the cook house with his bowl and plate for a squirt of something in one and a shot of something on the other. In fact, everything is described as having been most unsatisfactory, and was the cause of no end of grousing.

The reason is quite plain. The caterer wasn't there for his health. He was after all the filthy lucre he could get, and while those who should have looked after the messing were enjoying themselves in the city he was busy increasing his pile of velvet.

We have yet to hear of any rural corps being stung in this manner, and it is up to the city regiments to learn a little about this particular and most important part of its training.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Monday, 4 August 2014

Characteristics of a Good Combat Order
Topic: Staff Duties

Characteristics of a Good Combat Order

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

To minimize the potential for confusion or misinterpretation of orders, the military has formulated specific guidelines for their preparation. Regardless of how they are communicated, orders should be presented as clearly as possible so that everyone within the organization, from the highest to the lowest level, will readily understand what is required of them. The [US] Army's Staff Organization and Operations manual articulates many of the characteristics of a good combat order--which are the same characteristics of a sound business directive.

1.     Clarity. The order must be thoroughly understandable.

2.     Completeness. The order contains all the information and instructions necessary to coordinate and execute the operation. It must convey the purpose or intent of the commander so that subordinate commanders will be able to accomplish their mission without further instructions. An order also must include sufficient detail so that all subordinate commanders know what other units are doing.

3.     Brevity. Unnecessary detail is avoided. However, clarity and completeness are not sacrificed in the interest of brevity.

4.     Recognition of subordinate commander's prerogatives. The order should not infringe on the initiative of subordinate commanders by prescribing details of execution. Only under unusual circumstances, such as an operation requiring extremely close cooperation and timing, should a subordinate commander be told precisely how to perform an assigned task.

5.     Use of the affirmative form. In the interest of simplicity and clarity, the affirmative form of expression is used throughout all combat orders. Sentences using the word not should be avoided.

6.     Avoidance of qualified directives. Such expressions as "attack vigorously" weaken the force of subsequent directives in which a qualifying adverb does not appear. Such expressions as "try to hold" and "as far as possible" lessen responsibility.

7.     Authoritative expression. The order reflects the commander's intention and will. Indecisive, vague, and ambiguous language indicates indecision and leads to uncertainty and lack of confidence by subordinates. The commander tells his subordinates in direct and unmistakable terms exactly what he wants to do.

8.     Timeliness. Timely distribution of orders allows subordinate commanders sufficient time for planning and preparation. Concurrent planning saves time.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 22 July 2014 8:28 PM EDT
Sunday, 3 August 2014

Wingham Armoury

Wingham Armoury

Town of Wingham, Bruce County, Ontario

The data tabled below comes from forms maintained by the District Engineers of Military District No. 1 (which covered southwestern Ontario) on the Armouries and facilities in their district. The data on the transcribed forms was recorded in the 1940s and reflects the state and use of the buildings in that era. Some of the Armouries in use at that time continue to be the homes of local Reserve Force units, some have been repurposed, and others are long gone, the sites now home to other buildings. The area controlled by Military District No. 1 in the 1940s is now in the area of responsibility of 31 Canadian Brigade Group.


Welcome to Wingham.


Winham Armoury, now occupied by Wingham Police Service.


First Floor Plan.


Basement Plan.


Armoury Location Map.

NameWingham Armoury
CityTown of Wingham
Military DistrictM.D. No. 1
Electoral DistrictHuron N.R.
H.Q. FileL. 13-46-6
Date31 March 1944
1.Building Ownership.Department of National Defence
2.If purchased, date, conditions, cost, etc., and value. 
3.If constructed, date and cost and what Department and value.Built in the year 1913-14, at a cost of $12,126,25. Gun Shed built in the year 1940-42 at a cost of $536. Present value approximately $15,000.
(a)Drainage, sewer and water connection. To be shown on site plan. 
(d)Roof framing.Wood truss framing 1 1/2", truss steel rods.
(e)Roof covering (Type and date).Cedar shingles 1940.
(f)Floor, main hall.Maple flooring over dressed sub-floor layed on 2 x 4. Sleepers set in concrete.
(g)Other floors.Maple.
(h)Partitions.Dressed lumber on 2 x 4 studs both sides and painted.
(i)Balconies.Four foot passage long East end only.
5.Miniature rifle range—Description.In basement, two targets.
6.Bowling alleys, badminton courts, indoor baseball or other facilities for games.None.
7.Heating system— 
(a)General Description.Heated from Town Hall.
(b)Make and size heating apprs. 
(c)Fuel per annum. 
(d)Engineer and fireman specially employed.No.
8.Lighting system—General description.Hydro Electric used, open wiring, drop lights.
9.Fire protection. Show position of standpipes in building, on site or on street plan.No stand pipes. Fire Hydrants on street.
(a)Military or Civilian.Civilian
(b)Quartered in Armoury.No.
(c)Does he tend heating apprs.No.
11.Units in occupation.21st Field Regiment, H.Q. and 99th Battery.
12.General condition (Adequate space or not).Adequate
Clothing, Equipment, fixtures (adequate or not).Not Adequate
13.Any special remarks not included above. 
(a)Ownership.Department of National Defence
(b)How acquired, date, cost and present value.Donated by the Town of Wingham in August 1913 for the erection of an Armoury which was completed in 1914. Present value $500.
(c)Who holds deed.District Enginering Officer, M.D. No. 1, London, Ontario
(d)Size and area.122' x 132'; 1/4 acres
(e)Name of street and number of lot.Lots #3, 4, 5, excepting the North 20' and the South 20', size of property 92' frontage on Edward Street by 120' deep; 0.254 acres.
(f)Fences, walks, and roadways on site.No.
(g)Surface—whether grass and whether kept in condition, and by whom.Gravel.
(h)Is any part of site used for other than military purpose. Give details.No.
(i)Are there any other structures on site. If so give details.No.
(j)State nature of surface of roads, also sidewalks on adjoining street.Macadam Roadway, Cement walks,
(k)Any remarks on site not included above. 

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Saturday, 2 August 2014

The Military Value of Boxing
Topic: Drill and Training


Basic and Battle Physical Training, Part IX; Boxing and Wrestling, 1945

Chapter 1 — Boxing

Section 1 — Introduction

1.     Instruction in boxing is given to military personnel for two main reasons, first, for its military value and, second, for its recreational value. Boxing also contributes greatly to the development in the soldier of useful physical and moral qualities.

Section 2. — Military Value of Boxing

2.     The value of boxing in relation to training for war depends on the method of instruction, and on the spirit in which the training is carried out. Instruction must be based on sound technique, for boxing is an art—the art of being able to defeat brute force by skill. The training should develop the individual soldier's fighting qualities, and should inspire him with a feeling of confidence in his own skill and ability.

3.     There is a close similarity between the tactics used in boxing and those used in warfare, and this should be emphasized during training. The "on guard" position, like the attitude of the unit in the fighting zone, should be one of watchful readiness, prepared for either immediate attack or defence. Movement or footwork must be purposeful. The utmost use should be made of the terrain (or ring) to tire out the opponent, and to manoeuvre him into a disadvantageous position. The left and right fists are the advanced guard and the main body respectively, and they fulfill similar purposes—the left to break the opponent's defence, to expose weak spots and to pin him down, the right to exploit any advantages and to deliver the knock-out blow. Similarly in the attack, the skilled boxer, like the skilled commander, does not begin the attack by rushing in to land a favourite punch. He first tries to discover his opponent's weak spots and then at the opportune moment, when the target is vulnerable, he launches his attack with determination, skill, and enterprise.

4.     In boxing there are three types of attack. These are:—

(a)     A direct attack, which is made at speed.

(b)     An indirect attack, which is made after inducing the opponent to make a lead or begin an attack. This result can be brought about by showing an opening (i.e., by setting a trap), and then countering as the opponent makes his attack.

(c)     A time attack. This takes place when the opponent's attack can be anticipated and a counter blow "in time" made against it (e.g., a right cross counter on an opponent's weak left lead).

5.     All the above attacks have the initiative and should force the the defender to conform. The boxer who holds the initiative will dominate the fight. The indirect or time attacks are the most deadly, because they surprise the opponent by hitting him just as he is starting his attack, and at a time when his mind is fully concentrated on attacking. The unexpected blow is always the most devastating one, and has the greatest demoralizing effect. It is the prelude to success both in the boxing ring and on the battlefield.

6.     Just as each arm of the service has its special characteristics, each individual boxer has his strong and weak points, which must be developed in such a way that the strong are strengthened and the weak are concealed. A tall man with a long reach should develop his ability as a long range boxer, and should not "mix it” with a short, stocky opponent, or he may be beaten by employing wrong tactics. A purely defensive boxer will rarely win, although defence, scientifically studied and skillfully applied, may enable a boxer to defeat an unskilled opponent who is bigger and stronger than himself. In addition, a sound defence promotes self-confidence and enables a boxer to maintain the initiative even when he is on the defensive. A successful defensive action should always be followed by a counter-attack.

7.     As in training the soldier for war, training for boxing must be a real preparation for the actual fight. It must bring the boxer to an optimum state of fitness so that he has the endurance to last the distance, the will to withstand fatigue and pain, and the spirit, skill and ability to conquer his opponent. If he is allowed to train at times when he should be on duty, or to train only under the best conditions of place and weather, he will fight soft. A man will fight as he trains. If he trains hard, and with determination and imagination, he will fight with these same qualities.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Friday, 1 August 2014

The New Military School; London, 1888
Topic: The RCR

The New (1888) Military School at London, Ontario, later formally named Wolseley Barracks (a.k.a. Canadian Forces Base (CFB) London, and Area Support Unit (ASU) London.

The New Military School

An Auspicious Opening Promised To-Day
Notes of a Casual Visit Thereto

The Objects Aimed at by the Government…Appearance of the Apartments…The Term of Enlistment…Provision Made for Carrying on the Work…Biographical Sketch of the Commandant, etc.

The Daily Free Press, London, Ont., Monday, 2 April 1888

On Saturday afternoon a Free press reporter visited the Military School, the headquarters of "D" Company of Royal Infantry (a cut of which accompanies this notice), which was erected last year on Carling's heights and which will t-day be formally opened for regular work. Seven or eight years ago the question of establishing schools for military instruction in infantry manoeuvres was mooted in the Dominion Parliament. The question was favorably discussed at three or four succeeding sessions of the House, but for good and sufficient reasons action on the motion for their establishment was deferred. In the Parliament of 1882-83 the motion to institute a series of schools of this class, as the country might develop a need for them was introduced by Sir Adolphe Caron, the Minister of Militia, and passed the House without dissension. Prior to this the leading officers in the Canadian militia were filled by officers from the British Army, but shortly after the schools went into operation a change took place in this respect. The next year (1883) "A" Company was formed and stationed at Fredericton, New Brunswick. In the fall of the same year another Company was recruited and given headquarters at Quebec. The next summer the first Infantry School in Ontario was established at Toronto and designated "C" School. It soon became apparent to those in authority that the institution names was not at all adequate to the needs of such a large Province, and an Order-in-Council was issued two years ago for an addition company to be stationed in this city, as the military, as well as commercial, centre of the western peninsula. A lengthy description of the School was recently given in these columns. So much by the way of introduction. The reporter, after passing the main guard, was shown to:…

The Commandant's Office

And courteously received by Col. Smith. In traversing the immense institution the Colonel explained the necessity of each department in his thorough-going style. The first apartment visited was the store room, the shelves on either side of the four walls and tables in the centre of which were piled with uniforms, underclothing, boots, helmets and other requisites.

"Of what does an outfit consist?" inquired the reporter.

"When a man enlists he is furnished with a cloth tunic for parade, a tweed tunic for lounging around in, a pair of pants, two flannel shirts, two heavy undershirts, a pair of top boots, a cap and helmet, pair of mitts, a fork, knife, spoon, razor and other small articles."

"How often is the outfit renewed?"

"The original outfit is made to do duty for the three years of enlistment," replied the Colonel.

"You speak of three years' enlistment. Does that mean that the soldiers are given instruction for that period, or are they regular soldiers in the proper sense?"

"They Are Regular Soldiers,"

Was the reply. "I am glad that you put that question, for a misapprehension seems to have gone abroad as to the relation of the regular staff to the School, conveying an idea to the general mind that these men have simply enlisted for that term to satisfy their innate desire to become soldiers. They form the nucleus of a standing Canadian army, and may be called upon to do service in any part of the Dominion at a moment's notice in case of emergency, as was instanced in the Northwest rebellion in 1885, when "C" Company was the first to be placed under orders to proceed to the seat of the disturbance. But the primary and ostensible object of this corps is to afford proper instruction to the officers and men of the active militia of the country who wish to make themselves more proficient in the service."

The next rooms visited were the barracks where men are quartered. In each of these there are fifteen iron bedsteads, which are folded up during the day time. On a shelf, which runs round the room, are stored the clothing and nick-nack of the men. It is the intention shortly to provide boxes in which to store this clothing, which will tend to give the room a more tidy appearance.

On entering the first of the barracks rooms, the Colonel made a close scrutiny of the belts and clothing of the men, which were exhibited on the shelf, and fastened his eye on one which had not been properly pipeclayed.

"Whose is that?" was asked of Sergt.

"Private _____'s, sir. I have instructed him to have them cleaned by t-morrow morning."

"This dilatoriness must be checked at once. Report him, and we will have him put on the gates tonight."

A visit was paid to:…

The Other Barracks Rooms

But in each of these everything was found in good order. A soon as possible the names of the occupants of the beds will be emblazoned over each one, and thus facilitate the work of inspection by the officers.

On entering the kitchen two red-coats were observed cutting some cold meat for hash. Passing through this the dining room of the men was entered.

"Is it customary to allow all the men to mess together in these institutions?" was again queried.

"Well, no. They generally mess in their own rooms, but the architect made provision for such a room here, as we utilize it," the Colonel replied.

"Do you consider this the better method?" was asked again.

"I am hardly competent to express a definite opinion just yet. It has the advantage, however, of enabling the men to keep their rooms cleaner and is also more convenient."

The officers' apartments were next investigated. The anteroom is nicely fitted and carpeted. The mess room is fitted up with an extension table capable of accommodating twenty-four officers. Above this room sleeping apartments have been furnished for fifteen attached officers, each one being given a separate room, and all fitted up with a table, bureau, bed, wardrobe and washstand and other conveniences which make them very comfortable looking. The west wing was next gone through, but only one or two of the rooms there have been furnished.

On entering the museum the party were treated to a couple of airs on the piano by Private George Shields, who is the musical director of the corps' minstrel troupe.

The Strength of the Corps

"How many men have been enlisted up to date, Colonel?"

"Forty-seven, but we have two Sergeants attached. On Monday the attached force will be increased to about thirty-five, six or seven of whom will be officers."

"How long is the term of instruction?"

The Regular Course

Extends over three months, but we also have a special one, which may exceed any period from seven days and the regular one. This latter is for men who have already made themselves proficient in the discipline, but who desire to take advantage of the lectures in order to enable them to pass their examinations.

"You propose to increase your regular force to 100 do you not?"

"Yes, just as soon as possible. I have been particular to receive only men of first-class physique, standing at least five feet eight, and of good chest measurement, for there are not many of us and it is well to present as creditable an appearance as possible on parade."

The reporter was in the act of thanking Col. Smith for his kindness and taking his departure when he was invited to look at the:…

Cells for Refractory Red Coats

"Of course you will hardly ever require these?" was remarked on entering the main door.

"We have one of them in use now," was the reply, … "A couple of months ago a deserter from the North-west Mounted Police gave himself up, and is now confined here awaiting orders from the Department of Militia.

Three of the original cells as shown in the plans for Wolseley Barracks. (The other three cells are in the basement level.) The main floor cells can be seen by visitors to The Royal Canadian Regiment Museum.

A Biographical Sketch

Colonel Smith is an experienced and painstaking officer, who has been connected with the Canadian Militia for the last thirsty years. He commenced his military career as a private in the Cobourg Rifle Company, but was afterwards transferred to the 40th Battalion. When "C" Company was organized he was appointed Captain, which position he held until he was promoted to the school in this city/ By virtue of his position he was then gazette Colonel. He saw service in the North-west Rebellion with "C" Company and was a portion of the time Assistant Adjutant-General to the North-west field force. Col. Smith won laurels for himself while connected with the Toronto School. He is an enthusiastic soldier and spares no pains to impart instruction to those attending the school. While he adheres strictly to discipline, even to the minutest details, he still has a fascinating and kindly disposition which makes him universally popular with all under his command. No doubt the London Military cadets will soon be placed in the first rank of proficiency under his direction, and the militia of the western district are to be congratulated on the wisdom of the government in making this appointment.

A Fine-Looking Body of Men

The non-commissioned officers and men of the permanent force are a splendid-looking lot of young fellows, of fine physique and pleasing countenances. Already a healthy spirit of emulation, as to who should be the best conducted on the streets, as well as in barracks, seems to have possessed them, and they promise to be worthy citizens of London.

The Royal Canadian Regiment Museum

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Thursday, 31 July 2014

New Names for Old Letters
Topic: Militaria

New Names for Old Letters

From The Emma Gees by Herbert W. McBride, Captain U.S.A., Late Twenty-First Canadian Battalion, 1918

When reading messages sent by any "visual" method of signalling, such as flags, heliograph or lamp, it is necessary for the receiver to keep his eyes steadily fixed upon the sender, probably using binoculars or telescope, which makes it difficult, if not impossible, for him to write down each letter as it comes, and as this is absolutely required in military work, where nearly everything is in code or cipher, the services of a second man are needed to write down the letters as the first calls them off.

As many of the letters of the alphabet have sounds more or less similar, such as "S" and "F", "M" and "N" and "D" and "T", many mistakes have occurred. Therefore, the ingenuity of the signaller was called upon to invent names for certain of the letters most commonly confused. Below is a list of the ones which are now officially recognized:

  • A pronounced ack
  • B – beer
  • D – don
  • M – emma
  • P – pip
  • S – esses
  • T – tock
  • V – vic
  • Z – zed

The last is, of course, the usual pronunciation of this letter in England and Canada, but, as it may be unfamiliar to some readers, I have included it.

After a short time all soldiers get the habit of using these designations in ordinary conversation. For instance, one will say: "I'm going over to 'esses-pip seven,'" meaning "Supporting Point No. 7" or, in stating the time for any event, "ack-emma" is A.M. and "pip-emma" P.M.

As the first ten letters of the alphabet are also used to represent numerals in certain methods of signalling, some peculiar combinations occur, as, for instance,: "N-ack-beer" meaning trench "N-12," or "O-don" or "O-4."

"Ack-pip-emma" is the Assistant Provost Marshall whom everybody hates, while just "pip-emma" is the Paymaster, who is always welcome.

Thus the Machine Gunner is an "Emma Gee" throughout the army.

Lieutenant Eric Costin operating a wireless telegraph apparatus; 29 August, 1911.
Source: Toronto Public Library Digital Archive.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Wednesday, 30 July 2014

The Infantry Platoon; 1942
Topic: Soldiers' Load

The Infantry Platoon; 1942

Canadian Army, Training Pamphlet No. 1
A General Instructional Background for the Young Soldier; 1942

The Platoon.

Each platoon consists of:—

  • Platoon H.Q. and 3 sections.
  • Platoon headquarters:
    • Commander.
    • Sergeant.
    • One driver i/c.
    • One orderly.
    • Batman (in platoons commanded by an officer).
    • 2-in. mortar personnel (2 men).

The Section.

Each section consists of a N.C.O. Section Commander and 7 privates. There are an additional 3 privates in reserve to ensure that casualties do not bring the fighting strength of the section below this number.

Section Equipment.

All carry 50 rounds S.A.A. in pouches. All carry rifles with the exception of the man carrying the L.M.G.

Magazines will be carried as ordered by the section commander.

The above is the normal allotment of equipment which may be varied according to circumstances, but everyone in the section must be trained to fire the light machine gun and anti-tank rifle.

No spare barrel will be carried with the gun during movement. In the defence, if the light machine gun is required to fire on fixed lines the tripod mounting must be used. One man will he responsible for erecting the tripod. In defence he will carry a spare barrel and will assist the firer to keep the gun in action.

Personal equipment.

Each man has a haversack and pack.

The haverack will be worn on the back and should normally contain:—

  • Water bottle.
  • Mess tin.
  • Emergency ration.
  • Knife, fork and spoon.
  • Cardigan (when not worn).
  • Waterproof sheet or cape anti-gas under the flap of the haversack.

The pack will usually be carried on the platoon truck and will contain:—

  • 1 pr. socks.
  • Cap comforter.
  • Soft cap.
  • Holdall.
  • Soap.
  • Towel.
  • 1 pr. laces.
  • Greatcoat.
  • Housewife.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Grand Military Review, London, 1895
Topic: Canadian Militia

Grand Military Review, London, 1895


From the Programme of the 76th anniversary: Her Majesty's birthday, May 24th, 1895: grand military review at London, Ont. (1895). Digitized by the Internet Archive in 2009 with funding from Ontario Council of University Libraries


ALTTEXTThe Brigade will form at 2 o'clock p.m. sharp, when the review takes place, during which the Feu-de-Joie will be fired, in which the London Field Battery will fire twenty-one guns the review to conclude with a march past by the Brigade.

The 13th Battalion will then Troop the Colour. The Manual and Firing Exercise will be performed by the 38th Battalion Dufferin Rifles. The 13h Battalion will give an exhibition of Physical Drill and Bayonet Exercise, by half battalions, to be followed by the following Tournament:—

All events open only to Officers and men of the Active Militia.

I.Military Steeple Chase. Riders to be in drill order, horses to be carrying regulation saddlery.
II.Foot race, 100 yards. Competitors to be in Marching Order.
III.Bicycle Race. Riders to be in Drill Order, under sanction of the C.W.A.
IV.Musical Ride. First Hussars.
V.Two Hundred Yard Foot Race. Drill Order. Each man to fire five rounds, all to halt at bugle sound, load and fire kneeling on round, then advance till again halted by the bugle, only one round to be fired at each halt.
VI.Heads and Points. Cavalry and Artillery.
VII.Bicycle Race, 1 Mile — In Drill Order. Each man to fire 5 rounds, all to halt at bugle sound, load and fire kneeling one round, then advance until halted by the bugle, only one round to be fired at each halt, under sanction of the C. W. A.
VIII.Artillery Drive.
IX. Sword Exercise. Mounted Cavalry vs. Artillery. X. – Tug-of-War. (10 Men on a side). Open to each Corps taking part in the Tournament.
XI.Tent Pegging.
XII.Animal Race, 50 yards. — (Dogs and horses excluded), competitors to appear in Drill Order.
XIII.Tug-of-War, Mounted — Not less than 3 on a side.
XIV.Artillery in Action — With Blank Ammunition.
XV.Cutting Turk's Head.

Tournament to be governed by English Rules. Prize List will be published later, and Prizes will be on Exhibition several days before the Tournament at Graham Bros., 159 Dundas Street.

elipsis graphic

Friday Evening, May 24th

Overture; "Fest," Lortzing; 13th Battalion Band.
Descriptive Fantasy; "A Race for Life," Julian Croger, Dufferin Rifles Band.
Selection; "Torquato Tasso," Donnizetti, 7th Fusiliers Band.
Waltz; "Twilight," W.H. Brown, Dufferin Rifles Band.
Fantasia; "Albion," Baetens, 13th Battalion Band.
Selection; "Richard Coeur-de-Lion," Gretry, 7th Fusiliers Band.
"Nearer My God to Thee," G. Robinson, 13th Battalion, Dufferin Rifles, and 7th Fusiliers Band.

To conclude with a Realistic Battle Scene.

elipsis graphic

Friday Evening, May 25th

Overture; "I' Puritani," Basquit; 13th Battalion Band.
Fantasia; "Brudder Gardiner's Picnic," Rollinson, 7th Fusiliers Band.
Ballet Music from William Tell; 13th Battalion Band.
Waltz; "Herzenlust," Rossini, 7th Fusiliers Band.
Minuet; Paderewski, 13th Battalion Band.
Galop; "Maori War Dance," Newson, 7th Fusiliers Band.
"Nearer My God to Thee," G. Robinson, 13th Battalion, Dufferin Rifles, and 7th Fusiliers Band.

To conclude with a Realistic Battle Scene.

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Monday, 28 July 2014

Tests for Candidates for Artificers' Courses
Topic: Drill and Training

Images taken from Handbook for Military Artificers,
Prepared in the Ordnance College, Tenth Edition, 1915

Tests for Candidates for Artificers' Courses of Instruction

The King's Regulations and Orders for the Army, 1912 — Para 744

Artificers' Course—A N.C.O. Or man recommended must be of good character, and should have worked at his trade before he enlisted.
     He will be tested before recommendation. The test for a smith, fitter, or wheeler is shown in Appendix XX.
     An application may, at any time, be submitted to the commandant Ordnance College, but in the case of an N.C.O. Of man of the R.A., through the officer i/c records.
     The duration of the course depends on the abilities and previous training of the man.
     N.C.Os. And men selected for these courses will be sent to Woolwich with their kits and equipment, but without rifles.

elipsis graphic

Appendix XX

Tests for Candidates for Artificers' Courses of Instruction (As Smiths, Fitters, or Wheelers) at the Ordnance College

(Referred to in Para. 744.)

Any of the following tests may be selected:


1.     Make a pair of hollow bits to take not less than 1-inch round iron.
2.     Weld two pieces of round iron, 1-inch in diameter, to form a right angled joint.
3.     Make a smith's sett hammer.
4.     Make a smith's fuller, with eye for a shaft.
5.     Make a nave band, 6 inches internal diameter, from a bar of flat iron 2 inches by ¼ inch.


1.     Chip and file to gauge a square, 2 inches long, on a bar of round 1 ¼ inch iron or mild steel.
2.     Drill, chip, and file (to gauge) a l-inch square hole in a wrought iron plate l inch thick.
3.     Cut a square, to size, on the centre of a round bar 1-inch diameter.
4.     Cut a slot 1/2-inch wide and 3 inches long in a flat bar of iron or steel 2 inches wide and 1/2-inch thick.


1.     Make a mortice and tenon joint as is used for an earbed of a wagon.
2.     Connect two pieces of timber, 6 inches by 6 inches by l inch by common dovetailing.
3.     Make a small sunk panel door 16 inches by 10 inches by l inch.

Directions for carrying out the Test.

1     The test being decided upon, the candidate will be given the tools and material he considers to be most suitable for doing the work. He will not be advised as to the selection of either the tools or the material, and every, precaution will be taken to insure that the work is done entirely by the individual who is being examined. ( Note.—A smith will be allowed the services of a hammerman.)

2     On completion, the test job will be forwarded to the commandant, Ordnance College, with the following certificate:—

Certified that _________ was tested as a _________ in the workshops of _________ on _________.

The test selected was _________.

The candidate was given the tools and material he desired, but he received no advice or assistance of any kind, and the test job now forwarded was done entirely by him.

The time taken was _________.

Signature of officer superintending the test.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 5 July 2014 4:43 PM EDT
Sunday, 27 July 2014

Winnipeg Major to be Cashiered
Topic: Discipline
King George VIEdward VII, pictured before he took the throne,
while still HRH Prince of Wales

Winnipeg Major to be Cashiered

Ottawa Citizen, 27 September 1944

London, Sept. 27.—(CP-Reuters)—Maj. J.T. McLaughlin, 42, of Winnipeg, commanding officer of a Canadian general pioneer company, is to be cashiered, it was announced today.

He was court-martialed at Bordon, England, Sept. 13. Sentence has now been conformed and promulgated.

He was found guilty of an improper reference to the King in a Sergeants' Mess, one charge of drunkenness, of improperly consuming liquor in the kitchen of the Sergeant's Mess in the presence of an A.T.S. sergeant, and of threatening to commit suicide.

In the charge of making an improper reference to the King, McLaughlin is alleged to have stood in front of the King's picture and said "I have no time for that guy or his wife, Eddie is my type of guy."

"Eddie" is a popular term for the Duke of Windsor, the former King who abdicated to marry Mrs. Wallis Simpson.

Maj. McLaughlin rose from the ranks and was due to retire on pension in a few months' time after 20 years' service with the Canadian permanent army.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Saturday, 26 July 2014

We'll Never Forget
Topic: Vimy Pilgrimage

We'll Never Forget

From the papers of Lieut. E.R. Gill, A Pilgrimage to Vimy; republished in "My Grandfather's War; Canadians Remember the First World War, 1914-1918," William D. Mathieson, 1981

Well, now I come to the great day itself, Sunday, July 26, 1936. We, in Lens, were to leave in buses for the Ridge at 9 o'clock in the morning. It was actually nearly noon before we got away. The unveiling ceremony was to take place at 2:30 so that only a few hundreds of us had time to inspect the trenches that had been preserved and which are a bit unreal; to explore the wonders of the Grange Tunnel, and to see "No Man's Land" again, with its huge craters and the wire still there.

At 12:45 noon a green smoke bomb went up from the watch tower as a warning signal that all pilgrims were to commence the movement to the parade ground. Lined up in companics under our respective Party Leaders, the Khaki Bereted ex-service Canadians were given a splendid vantage, point in front of the memorial. The Blue Berets (relatives) were on either flank and the French Veterans in our rear

It is estimated that there were 6200 from Canada and another 2000 ex-Canadians from Britain in this Legion Expeditionary Force. Included in the latter was my twin brother whom I met right in front of the memorial after an absence from each other of more than sixteen years.

As one stood in awe before that towering Vimy Memorial, on the highest point of the Ridge known as Hill 145, and 200 feet above the plain of Douai, one began to appreciate how fitting was this magnificent monument as a witness to Canada's efforts, and sacrifices in the Great War. One hundred and forty feet high, one hundred and thirty feet wide, and one hundred and fifty feet deep from front to back, it stands on a concrete raft two feet thick, twenty feet below the level of the ground. Nearly 8000 tons of stone quarried in Yugoslavia have been used in the memorial, some of the largest blocks weighing 26 tons. On the walls are inscribed the names of 11,285 missing Canadians, that is, those known to be dead but having no known graves.

The appearance of our youthful looking King as he stepped on to the dais; his address, every word of which was listened to intently; the sudden appearance of the two squadrons of R.A.F. airplanes flying over our heads shortly before the flag-draped figure of Canada was unveiled by His Majesty followed by eighteen planes of the French Air Force, these things which those of us who were privileged to witness, we'll never forget. Every note seemed to have a new meaning. "O Canada", "Land of Hope and Glory", "La Marseillaise" and "God Save the King" all seemed to have an added and a deeper significance.

And then the inspiring climax of the Vimy Pilgrimage was over…

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Friday, 25 July 2014

A Soldier's Load
Topic: Soldiers' Load

A Soldier's Load

From Dirty Little Secrets; Military Information You're Not Supposed to Know, James F. Dunnigan and Albert A. Nofi, 1990

A properly outfitted medieval knight was less burdened by his armor than a modern infantryman is by his full set of equipment. After all, though a knight's armor might occasionally weigh as much as 100 pounds, it was rather evenly distributed over his body, and he had a horse to help carry the load, while an infantry's burden rests disproportionately between his shoulders, and he has only his two legs to help carry it. In this century, the weight of an infantryman's equipment and arms has consistently been excessive. About eighty pounds has been rather common, a hundred pounds not unusual. The Russian "norm" for paratroopers is eighty-eight pounds. In extraordinary cases, the load could run much higher, so that some American troops went into Grenada and Panama with 120 pounds, and in the Falklands British troops "yomped" as much as 140 pounds.

Modern US Army logoArmies have been aware of the problem for almost as long as it has existed. Studies by the U.S. Army suggest that no soldier should carry more than about 30 percent of his body weight—say, forty-eight pounds—into combat, nor more than about 45 percent—seventy-five pounds—in other circumstances. Yet efforts to lighten the load have proven only moderately successful, and run counter to the trend toward more gadgets and specialized equipment needed to meet the changing character of the battlefield: In effect, any savings gained by using lighter equipment of one sort is canceled by the need to add yet another doodad.

Consider the rifleman's basic load:

  • Clothing, Boots, Personal Items – 21.1 pounds
  • M-16, Loaded and with 6 Spare Magazines – 16.3
  • Grenades, 2 – 2.0
  • Helmet and Flak Jacket – 11.6
  • Sleeping Bag and Accessories – 10.0
  • NBC Protective Gear – 8.5
  • Entrenching Tool – 2.5
  • Rations for One Day – 3.0

The total comes to seventy-five pounds, but includes only the most basic equipment, with just 210 rounds of ammunition. Now, think about the effect on overall weight caused by the need for additional ammunition, rations, and such commonly issued items as nightvision goggles (1.9 pounds), portable radios (2.9 pounds), LAW antitank rounds (4.7 pounds), and, soon, handheld satellite-navigation receiving sets (secret). Then think about special cold-weather gear. Nor is the rifleman's burden the worst. A grenadier's is about 8.9 pounds heavier (grenade launcherv and grenades in lieu of M-16). A man toting a SAW — "squad automatic weapon," formerly known as a light machine gun—carries 14.5 pounds more, and a mortarman something like 40 pounds more. The troops, of course, are very aware of the problem, and in combat tend to shed equipment rapidly if not closely watched and well-disciplined. Usually, the first things thrown away are those they consider least useful. But it's all likely to be useful, depending upon the situation. The root of the problem is that the infantryman should not carry too much equipment, but everything he has to carry will be desperately needed in some circumstance.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Thursday, 24 July 2014

Principles of Survival Operations
Topic: Cold War

Principles of Survival Operations

In the event of a nucIear attack on North America, survival operations wouId become first priority tasks af all Regular and Militia units in Canada not engaged in the direct defence of the country. The Army would be joined in these operations by forces from the Royal Canadian Navy and the Royal Canadian Air Force.

From the Foreward by Lieut.-Gen. G. Walsh, Chief of the General Staff; CAMT 2-91 (May 1962)

Extracted from the Canadian Army Manual of Training; Survival Operations (1961), (Revised May 1962); CAMT 2-91

The following principles have been established for planning survival operations:

(1)     Speed in executing rescue operations is of paramount importance to the saving of life.

(2)     All forces not committed to active operations against enemy forces must be available for survival operations.

(3)     Maximum manpower must be brought to bear on rescue operations in time to be effective.

(4)     Survival plans must be flexible to take account of various wind and weather conditions and various attack patterns.

(5)     Surviva1 plans must be simple and must have been rehearsed so that effective operations may start on minimum orders, or in the absence of orders.

(6)     Equipment and commodities essential to survival operations must be located outside of probable target areas. Despite the vulnerability of units located inside target areas, plans must aim at their maximum use and must provide far their rapid outward movement to assembly areas.

(7)     Basic information needed to carry out re-entry operations must be collected beforehand and must be kept up to date.

(8)     Authority must be decentralized so that local commanders have the necessary powers to execute their assigned responsibilities in case of interrupted communication with higher headquarters.

(9)     Forces engaged in survival operations should be self-sufficient in essential commodities for the period of such operations. National reserves of equipment needed for survival operations must be decentralized because of expected transportation difficulties.

(10)     Forces engaged in survival operations may have to be relieved at an early stage in order to participate in active operations against the enemy or to conduct survival operations elsewhere in Canada.

(11)     Efforts will be directed towards ensuring that maximum warning of the likelihood of an attack is provided to elements of government and the civilian population. Similarly, dissemination of the TAKE COVER and FALLOUT warnings must be provided far on the highest possible priority.

The Royal Canadian Regiment Museum

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 29 June 2014 8:24 PM EDT
Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Listowel Armoury
Topic: Armouries

Listowel Armoury

Listowel, Perth County, Ontario

The data tabled below comes from forms maintained by the District Engineers of Military District No. 1 (which covered southwestern Ontario) on the Armouries and facilities in their district. The data on the transcribed forms was recorded in the 1940s and reflects the state and use of the buildings in that era. Some of the Armouries in use at that time continue to be the homes of local Reserve Force units, some have been repurposed, and others are long gone, the sites now home to other buildings. The area controlled by Military District No. 1 in the 1940s is now in the area of responsibility of 31 Canadian Brigade Group.


Welcome to Listowel, Ontario..


The Listowel Agricultural Society now occupies the Armoury.


The Listowel Armoury and the plaque set high in the front wall showing its date of construction.


A memorial display at the front of the Armoury.


A memorial bench at the rear of the Armoury.

NameListowel Armoury
Military DistrictM.D. No. 1
Electoral DistrictPerth
H.Q. FileH.Q 14-295-1; L. 75-2-79
1.Building Ownership.Department of National Defence
2.If purchased, date, conditions, cost, etc., and value. 
3.If constructed, date and cost and what Department and value.Constructed in 1914. Cost not obtainable. Present value $10,000.
(a)Drainage, sewer and water connection. To be shown on site plan.Septic Tank, Town water supply.
(b)Foundation.Concrete and cement block.
(c)Walls.Brick and Stone.
(d)Roof framing.Wood truss.
(e)Roof covering (Type and date).Galv. Iron, 1914.
(f)Floor, main hall.Hardwood.
(g)Other floors.Hardwood.
(i)Balconies.One end, 6' wide.
5.Miniature rifle range—Description.Four target range.
6.Bowling alleys, badminton courts, indoor baseball or other facilities for games.No.
7.Heating system— 
(a)General Description.Hor air furnace and stoves.
(b)Make and size heating apprs.Price Harriston Stove Co. #22.
(c)Fuel per annum.18 tons.
(d)Engineer and fireman specially employed.No.
8.Lighting system—General description.Modern electric.
9.Fire protection. Show position of standpipes in building, on site or on street plan.Town fire protection.
(a)Military or Civilian.Civilian
(b)Quartered in Armoury.No.
(c)Does he tend heating apprs.Yes.
11.Units in occupation.100th (R) Field Battery, R.C.A.
12.General condition (Adequate space or not).Adequate
Clothing, Equipment, fixtures (adequate or not). 
13.Any special remarks not included above.Adequate
(a)Ownership.Department of National Defence
(b)How acquired, date, cost and present value.Purchased by D.N.D. From Town of Listowel 10 Oct 1913 for $1.00.
(c)Who holds deed.District Enginering Officer, M.D. No. 1, London, Ontario
(d)Size and area.3 acres
(e)Name of street and number of lot.Part Lot 41 Concession 1. Township of Elma.
(f)Fences, walks, and roadways on site.Yes.
(g)Surface—whether grass and whether kept in condition, and by whom.Grass by Caretaker.
(h)Is any part of site used for other than military purpose. Give details.No.
(i)Are there any other structures on site. If so give details.No.
(j)State nature of surface of roads, also sidewalks on adjoining street.Concrete roadway and sidewalk.
(k)Any remarks on site not included above.Site 1 mile from town.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 15 July 2014 7:22 PM EDT
Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Privilege to the Permanent Force
Topic: CEF

Privilege to the Permanent Force

Officers and Men Who Were Retained in Canada May Go Overseas

Their position has become invidious the more so as persons who did not appreciate the need in Canada, accustomed to the working of the military machine have reproached them for not going abroad, when as a matter of fact they had sought to do so and had been refused.

Montreal Gazette, 11 October 1918

Ottawa, October 10.—An order has recently been promulgated by the Militia Department for the purpose of doing justice to a number of officers, warrant officers, and non-commissioned officers of the permanent force who have been retained for service in Canada. By its terms the privilege of going overseas for service in France is granted to all in this position. If they are not senior to the rank of lieutenant colonel, they are not required to revert to a lower rank to obtain this privilege, officers of higher grade are required to revert to that grade.

To raise, organize, train and dispatch the Canadian Expeditionary Force overseas, a staff is necessary in Canada, alike at headquarters and in the various districts, camps and schools. Permanent officers and non-commissioned officers were particularly useful for service on these staffs, because they were familiar with military methods; numbers of them accordingly were retained in Canada against their will, to the detriment of their professional careers, because they were necessary, and in some cases indispensable for work at the base. These men were thus victims of their own efficiency. Their position has become invidious the more so as persons who did not appreciate the need in Canada, accustomed to the working of the military machine have reproached them for not going abroad, when as a matter of fact they had sought to do so and had been refused.

Garbled versions of this order have been circulated to the effect that it is to "compel" these officers and other ranks to go abroad. It does nothing of the kind. It confers on them the privilege of going abroad. The authorities only recently have been able to make this arrangement because qualified men who have been overseas are available for the work in Canada.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Monday, 21 July 2014

Target Practice
Topic: Drill and Training

Target Practice

Regulations and Orders for the Active Militia The Schools of Military Instruction, and the Reserve Militia (in the cases therein mentioned) of the Dominion of Canada; 4th March 1870

Attention to these five simple rules, with some power of judging distance, and a knowledge of the influence of the wind on the flight of a bullet, is all that is required to enable a man to become a good practical shot.

170.     Officers commanding corps should avail themselves of every opportunity during the annual drills, to impart the necessary instruction in rifle shooting to those under their command; they should bear in mind that there is no difficulty or mystery in the matter; that to enable a man to learn rifle shooting, it is not necessary that he should got through a course of lectures on the theoretical principles of projectiles and musketry, it is sufficient to teach him:—

1st. Position Drill, which he can learn when being instructed in the Manual and Platoon Exercises.

2nd. That he should be shown and learn how to align the back and front sights of his rifle upon the object aimed at.

3rd. Not to wink or shut his eyes when he pulls the trigger.

4th. Not to pull the trigger with a jerk, but with a steady pressure of the finger,

5th. To hold the sight of the rifle perpendicularly, that is, inclining neither to the right nor to the left.

Attention to these five simple rules, with some power of judging distance, and a knowledge of the influence of the wind on the flight of a bullet, is all that is required to enable a man to become a good practical shot. The explosion of the charge has a tendency to throw muzzle up and bullet high; to counteract this, press center of heel plate firmly to shoulder. The sun shining from left, lights up right side of back notch, and left side of foresight; its these spots are aligned on the mark, the ball will go left, and vice versa.

171.     The allowance of ammunition for practice by corps armed with the Snider Enfield Rifle, during each year, will be 40 rounds of ball and 2 rounds of blank for each man actually effective, and the same may be drawn upon requisition of Commanding Officers through the Deputy Adjutant General of the District.

172.     Under no circumstances shall Practice with Ball Cartridges be engaged in, without the men in uniform and under the command of an officer or non-commissioned officer, who shall be held responsible for the proper conduct of the party. After firing, at target practice, Commanding Officers will require every man to clean his rifle before returning it to the Company's arm racks.

173.     Militiamen are forbidden to tamper with or injure the arms issued for their use. Should alterations or repairs be required, they must be effected by a competent armourer or mechanic.

174.     Officers commanding corps are required to keep careful and accurate returns of all Target Practice, in accordance with forms provided from the office of the Adjutant General of Militia, and may be obtained upon application to the Brigade Major in each Division.

175.     Officers commanding corps will be careful that each man under their command shall within each year fire at target practice the number of round authorized for such purpose, and he will see that no individual volunteer expends more of the practice ammunition than his fair share.

176.     Ammunition authorized for annual target practice of any corps, is not to be used at rifle matches, other than those between members of the Corps to which ammunition is issued.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT

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