The Minute Book
Thursday, 8 October 2015

Annual Training of the Permanent Force (1912)
Topic: Canadian Army

Annual Training of the Permanent Force (1912)

From the archived correspondence of the Governor General at Library and Archives Canada

The annual training of the Permanent Force took place at Petawawa camp from August the 17th to September the 14th. In all, a force of 1,250 was assembled under the command of Major-General Colin Mackenzie, Chief of the General Staff. The units present were:—

Regimental training was carried out for the first two weeks under Commanding Officers, the remainder of the period being devoted to combined training including field firing and night operations. At the conclusion of the training, September 10th, 11th & 12th, continuous manoeuvres took place in the country-side lying southeast of the Military Reserve, in the vicinity of Pembroke.

On the first day of these operations which were directed against a flagged enemy, all arms worked in combination, and after a stiff fight in the neighbourhood of Stafford the Infantry bivouacked near the ground they had won, whilst the Cavalry pressed on in pursuit of the beaten enemy, chased him across the Indian River and finally went into bivouac at Locksley Station, eighteen miles South of Petawawa, whilst the Horse Artillery which had supported the pursuit, rejoined the Infantry at Stafford. A severe electric storm and torrential rain, which lasted all night, rendered the bivouac an uncomfortable one for the troops.

On the second day, and in continuation of the same scheme of operations, the Cavalry carried out an extended reconnaissance from Locksley to the line of the Bonnechere River, during then course of which some of the patrols covered nearly fifty miles.

Information concerning the enemy, such as would have been obtainable from a friendly population in actual warfare, had been previously mailed by the directing staff to post-offices throughout the Area, and patrols were instructed to collect this information and transit it to the Commanders of their supporting squadrons by the quickest available method, viz. Either by telephone, visual signalling or despatch riders. On receipt of the various messages, Squadron Commanders were requited to make dispositions to meet the various situations as stated in the messages and had to communicate their intentions or orders to other bodies of troops acting on their flanks. The last message received was from one of the most distant points and contained instructions for the Cavalry to return to their bivouac of the previous night at Locksley Station. On arrival here at about 9 p.m. the Cavalry found the Artillery and Infantry snugly bivouacked beside blazing camp fires and engaged in drying out the blankets which had been soaked by the previous night's downpour. In the course of their march from Stafford, the Artillery and Infantry has encountered considerable opposition at the Indian River, from a detached force of the enemy which had been marching to effect a junction with their forces already broken up by our Cavalry on the previous day.

The operations provided useful information in the choice of positions from which to cover the passage of a river in the face of the enemy, and emphasized the importance of seizing tactical points, mutual co-operation and covering fire.

On the last day the troops, all arms being again reunited, were exercised in a fresh scheme which brought the manoeuvres to a close, about 12. noon and the units then marched back to camp independently, the total distance covered by the Infantry, in marching order, on this day being 18 miles.

On the following day, September 13th, there was a meeting of all the officers who had taken part in the manoeuvres, upon which occasion Major-General Mackenzie, having then had time to consider the reports of the umpires, gave a narrative of the events as they occurred during the operations, and called attention to the lessons which were to be learnt and the points to which special attention should be directed upon future occasions.

In connection with the training of the Permanent Force, mention must be made of the work of the Corps of Guides detachment belonging to the 3rd & 4th Divisions, which underwent their annual training during the last 16 days of the camp. The first part of their training consisted of a hurried reconnaissance of the area, some 360 square miles, in which the operations referred to above, took place. A skeleton map was corrected and supplements so far as time would permit and the Guides were subsequently attached to the various units of the Permanent Force, in the final manoeuvres, as intelligence officers and as such gave a good account of themselves.

Two special features, aside from the practical nature of the training, characterized the combines manoeuvres, one was the cheery spirit of the men, who enjoyed the training and showed great willing ness; the other was the excellent relations between the troops and the farmers over whose ground they worked. On being sounded in advance as to whether they would object to having troops work over their firlds after the harvest was got in, the inhabitants unanimously agreed. They turned out in considerable numbers to see th operations, and they showed good will in every particular, and asked them to come again next year. The troops on their side behaved well, and no claim for compensation was made. The General Staff take the view that the operations go far to prove that manoeuvres cam be held over any part of the country without annoyance to or objection from the landowners when once the crops are off the ground.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 8 October 2015 12:04 AM EDT
Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Supplying an Army When in Field
Topic: CEF

Supplying an Army When in Field

Whole System Changed

The Spokesman-Review, Spokane, Wash., 8 November, 1914

Although this article isn't specifically about the CEF, it has been tagged as such to keep it with other First World War material.

The Manchester (Eng.) Guardian says: The English Soldier, when he goes into action, carries with him … 250 rounds of ammunition. The ammunition is carried in the bandolier or pouch, with the exception of 10 rounds which are stored away in the magazine of the rifle, and to be used in an emergency. The men, with ammunition, carry a total weight of about 60 pounds each. The whole system of the English army supply has been greatly changed since the South African war.

The new chain of supply gives between one and two days 'iron' rations in the haversack, half a day's ration in the cook's wagon, and one ration and grocery in the train or supply column, making a total of two and a half to three and a half days' rations with the field units, as against five and a half days' supply under the old system. The quantity of supplies provided now is actually less. The new system is now on its trial, and it is believed that it will be found an improvement on the old, because, through the use of motor-lorries in the supply column, the radius of action has been increased and the delivery of supplies accelerated.

It has been proved in practice that the three-ton lorries, over average roads, can deliver their loads 47 miles away and return empty the same day. Their speed has worked out at 12 to 14 miles an hour and that of the 30-hundredweight vans used for the cavalry supplies at 16 to 20 miles.

elipsis graphic

In order to safely send reinforcements to the firing line to meet the wastage of war, to convoy food to the troops, to transport small-arms ammunition and shells for the guns and generally to provide for the requirements of an army in battle, a 'line of communications' from the base of operations to the firing line must be established. The wastage of war is calculated differently in the various armies. The average is fixed at 70 per cent of the army in the field during the first year of the campaign. In this period and on this rough basis the number of men passed along the lines of communication for a single division will be, roughly, 14,000 to maintain the formation at field strength. To feed this force the weight of supplies and forage which would have to pass along the line daily is represented by 110 tons, and requires for its transport 85 general service wagons, or 39 lorries. A further calculation of road space shows that the convoy would occupy over three-quarters of a mile of road, or half a mile if mechanical transport is employed. The gun ammunition to be maintained on the lines of communication as a reserve for a single division of troops weighs 376 tons, the rifle ammunition 173 tons, and machine gun ammunition nine tons, making a grand total of 538 tons which has to be kept always available to pass to the front. There is also the transport of the sick and wounded to be passed from the front to the hospital at the base.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Tuesday, 6 October 2015

What is Guerrilla Warfare?
Topic: Military Theory

What is Guerrilla Warfare?

Yu Chi Can (Guerilla Warfare), by Mao Tse-Tung, translated by Brigadier General Samuel B. Griffith, USMC (retired), from the United States Marine Corps FRFRP 12-18, Mao Tse-Tung on Guerrilla Warfare, 1989.

In a war of revolutionary character, guerrilla operations are a necessary part. This is particularly true in a war waged for the emancipation who inhabit a vast nation. China is such a nation, a nation whose techniques are undeveloped and whose communications are poor. She finds herself confronted with a strong and victorious Japanese imperialism. Under these circumstances, he development of the type of guerrilla warfare characterized by the quality of mass is both necessary and natural. This warfare must be developed to an unprecedented degree and it must coordinate with the operations of our regular armies. If we fail to do this, we will find it difficult to defeat the enemy.

These guerrilla operations must not be considered as an independent form of warfare. They are but one step in the total war, one aspect of the revolutionary struggle. They are the inevitable result of the clash between oppressor and oppressed when the latter reach the limits of their endurance. In our case, these hostilities began at a time when the people were unable to endure any more from the Japanese imperialists. Lenin, in People and Revolution, said: "A people's insurrection and a people's revolution are not only natural but inevitable." We consider guerrilla operations as but one aspect of our total or mass war be cause they, lacking the quality of independence, are of themselves incapable of providing solution to the struggle.

Guerrilla warfare has qualities and objectives peculiar to itself. It is a weapon that a nation inferior in arms and military equipment may employ against a more powerful aggressor nation. When the invader pierces deep into the heart of the weaker country and occupies her territory in a cruel and oppressive manner, there is no doubt that conditions of terrain, climate, and society in general offer obstacles to his progress and may be used to advantage by those who oppose him. In guerrilla warfare, we turn these advantages to the purpose of resisting and defeating the enemy.

During the progress of hostilities, guerrillas gradually develop into orthodox forces that operate in conjunction with other units of the regular army. Thus the regularly organized troops, those guerrillas who have attained that status, and those who have not reached that level of development combine to form the military power of a national revolutionary war. There can be no doubt that the ultimate result of this will be victory.

Both in its development and in its method of application, guerrilla warfare has certain distinctive characteristics. We first discuss the relationship of guerrilla warfare to national policy. Because ours is the resistance of a semicolonial country against an imperialism, our hostilities must have a clearly defined political goal and firmly established political responsibilities. Our basic policy is the creation of a national united anti-Japanese front. This policy we pursue in order to gain our political goal, which is the complete emancipation of the Chinese people. There are certain fundamental steps necessary in the realization of this policy, to wit:

1. Arousing and organizing the people.

2. Achieving internal unification politically.

3. Establishing bases.

4. Equipping forces.

5. Recovering national strength.

6. Destroying enemy's national strength.

7. Regaining lost territories.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Monday, 5 October 2015

Authority for the Saskatchewan Battle Honour
Topic: Battle Honours

Authority for the Saskatchewan Battle Honour

Exploring the files available on line from the Library and Archives Canada (LAC) can produce some interesting historical trivia. From the records of the office of the Governor General we can discover correspondence related to the criteria for and award of Battle Honours to Canadian regiments. Buried in the exchanges between Ottawa and London, England, is the matter of eligibility for the Battle Honour "Saskatchewan" awarded to The Royal Canadian Regiment.

In reply to a 1905 request for the design of Colours for The Royal Canadian Regiment (to be prepared before the Regiment concentrated its Headquarters and six new companies at Halifax), came this coded telegram:

Luckily for us, the decoded version, dated 3 May 1905, is also found in the LAC files:

In reference to earlier correspondence on preparation of the Royal Canadian Dragoons guidon and The Royal Canadian Regiment's regimental colour, clarification was being sought on whether the "headquarters and half the strength of unit [were] present in cases [of identified battle honours] other than South Africa."

This led to an admission of a serious oversight.

But first, the bureaucratic reply admitted nothing. On 15 May 1905, the Governor General replied. Based on a letter received from the Deputy Minister of Militia and Defence, which was enclosed, the reply stated that "in no case were less than two-thirds of the total strength of the units present in cases other than South Africa."

This prompted, as might be expected, the demand for further clarification (and the completion of the requested information). The next decoded telegram, dated 1 June 1905, read: "Referring to your despatch … whether headquarters were present in each case."

This time, the full text of the Deputy Minister's reply, dated 9 June 1905, and forwarded under the Governor General's signature to London on the 12th, provides the critical admission:

"I have the honour, by direction of the Minister in Militia Council, to request that His Excellency the Governor General may be moved to inform the Right Hon. The Secretary of State for the Colonies, in reply of his cable of the 1st instant, that the headquarters of the Royal Canadian Dragoons (Cavalry School Corps) were present in cases other than South Africa, but that the headquarters of the Royal Canadian Regiment were not present, only one company ("C") of the Infantry School Corps being engaged during the North West, Canada, 1885, Rebellion. Attention is, however, called to the fact that His Excellency the Governor General in Council was pleased, by General Order 49 of 1899, to authorize the word "Saskatchewan" being borne by the Royal Canadian Regiment."

Lyttleton's response exposes the error committed:

"Referring to your telegram of 12 June please report under what authority Governor General sanctioned word "Saskatchewan" in General Order No. 49 of 1899. No trace of correspondence with War Office bearing on the subject can be found."

We can only imagine the reactions throughout the establishment from the Governor General's office to the Militia Department and downward within regimental circles. The 20 June reply from the Department, again signed by the Deputy Minister, is a masterful piece of staff work which admits no overt intention to circumvent due process.

"In reference to the cable from the Right Honourable the Secretary of State for the Colonies, dated 20th instant, inquiring upon what authority His Excellency sanctioned the word "Saskatchewan" in General Order 49 of 1899, which has been referred to this department for report, I have the honour, by direction of the Minister in Militia Council, to say that upon the application of the Officer Commanding the Royal Canadian Regiment, the then General Officer Commanding Major-General E.T.H. Hutton, C.B., A,D,C., recommended that the distinction of "Saskatchewan" be given to the Royal Canadian Regiment in consideration of services rendered during the North-West 1885 Rebellion, and that the same was submitted by the Minister of Militia and Defence for the approval of His Excellency the Governor-General in Council, with other General Orders, bearing date 1st May, 1899, and received His Excellency's approval. His Majesty's sanction does not appear to have been obtained."

"The distinction applied for was granted to the Royal Canadian Regiment for service rendered to the Canadian Government within the Dominion of Canada, and the necessity for obtaining His Majesty's approval appears to have been overlooked."

"I am further directed to request that instructions may be obtained for the further guidance of this department in the matter of granting distinctions of this kind."

This reply was forwarded by the Governor General on 28 June 1905. In August the Militia Department pressed the Governor General to obtain an answer on the provision of Guidon and Colours, declaring there to be an "unreasonable delay" for which there was certainly no admission that the provenance of the "Saskatchewan" battle honour may be factor. This element of the matter was identified in detail by Lyttleton's reply of 27 October, 1905.

"With reference to your despatch No, 274 of 23rd August, I have the honour to inform you that His Majesty has signified his approval of the grant to the Royal Canadian Dragoons of the distinctions "North West Canada 1885" and "South Africa 1900", and to the Royal Canadian Regiment of the distinctions "North West Canada 1885 Saskatchewan" (sic), "South Africa 1899-1900" and "Paardeberg" but with regard to the Royal Canadian Dragoons I have to explain that they are entitled only to the distinction "South Africa 1900" and not to "South Africa 1900-1901", since the records at the War Office show that the headquarters of the regiment left South Africa in the "Roslin Castle" on 13th December 1900."

"Instructions are being given that the inscription of these honours on the guidon and colours of the corps and the addition of the Royal Cypher to the King's Colour of the Royal Canadian Regiment may be put in hand immediately."

"I observe the expressions "unreasonable delay" in the letter from the Deputy Minister of Militia and Defence to your Military Secretary of the 22nd August but I would point out that it was impossible to proceed with the matter until your despatch No. 233 of the 3rd July was received, and the further delay which has since arisen is due to the fact that the Royal Canadian Regiment are entitled strictly to neither "Saskatchewan" nor "North West Canada 1885". I would add that the waiving of the requirement for the presence of headquarters in this case must not be regarded as a precedent. I will forward to you later a complete statement of the conditions which must be fulfilled before recommendations for the grant of military distinctions can be submitted to His Majesty."

Through this series of exchanges we discover that the granting of battle honours to the Royal Canadian Dragoons and The Royal Canadian Regiment in 1899 for the North West Rebellion had not followed proper protocols. Discovered during the process to acquire new guidon and colours in 1905, this resulted in the Secretary of State for the Colonies coordinating the necessary Royal assent for these awards including the grace of approving the award of "Saskatchewan" and "North West Canada 1885" to The Royal Canadian Regiment when they did not meet the established criteria.

The Royal Canadian Regiment Museum

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Sunday, 4 October 2015

Reduced Drill During War
Topic: Drill and Training

Reduced Drill During War

The Glasgow Herald, 1 April 1942

Complicated drill movements preformed with grace and precision are a delight to the eye of the onlooker at ceremonial parades. They may also inspire pride in the performer. Beyond that, however, their usefulness does not extend very far, and there will therefore be widespread approval of the decision that certain Army drill movements are to disappear for the duration of the war. Some movements must, of course, be retained. They are an essential part of any recruit's training. They accustom him to the handling of weapons, to obey orders instinctively, and to maintain his physical standards. They also encourage the growth of team spirit. But drill movements, especially those of a ceremonial character, are of negligible value in training a soldier to fight in jungles, in deserts, or in the streets and houses of shattered towns. A bayonet charge will be no less effective or demoralizing to the enemy if the attackers fail to carry their rifles at the "high port."

It is perhaps not sufficiently realized that many of the modern drill movements were evolved from old-time battle formations, which bore no more relation to present-day battle formations than the firepower of Wellington's regiments bore to the firepower of a tank regiment today. Yet the old formations have been retained on the barrack-square long after the mode of fighting that produced them has disappeared. Today we cannot afford to waste time over pattern-making by numbers. Without sacrificing discipline or the other virtues of drill movements, these must give way to the kind of special training which is needed to wage modern war.

The effect on the Army of the new order will be stimulating. It will be equally encouraged to the Home Guard, many of whom have felt a sense of frustration through their eagerness being side-tracked in dull drill. It is a welcome sign of grace, however belated, that the Army Council should have instituted the change; it is no less encouraging that, having made their decision, they should give it full publicity.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Saturday, 3 October 2015

Punishment of Soldiers (1892)
Topic: Discipline

Punishment of Soldiers (1892)

How the Rank and File of the British Army Are Corrected
Three Varieties of Tribunal—Penalties for Minor Offences—Regimental, District and General Courts Martial—Military Prisons

The Day, New London, Conn., 11 January 1892

Like every other mortal, Tommy Atkins has his failings, and, as a natural consequence, he has now and then to answer to the powers that be for some infringement of rules. When a soldier is brought before his superior officer—the captain of his company, according to the gravity of the offence—it nearly always happens that some punishment is meted out to him; and as military punishment is a feature of the service which is not paraded before the general public, a few facts there anent may be of interest. There are three distinct varieties of military tribunal, viz.: the company officer, the commanding officer, and a court martial. Courts martial are of three degrees of importance, and the maximum sentence which a court martial may impose varies according as the court is a regimental, district or general one.

To begin with, what is known as "minor" offence, i.e., those which the captain of a company has power to dispose of summarily, we will suppose that No. 1716 Private Thomas Atkins, has been guilty of remaining out of barracks for ten minutes after "last post," ten p.m., the previous evening, without being possessed of a "pass" enabling him to do so. Some time during the following day the orderly sergeant of his company brings him up—"wheels him up," as it is called—before his captain, states his offence and produces his "defaulter sheets," or record of past misdemeanors. Should the sheets be clear or nearly so, considering the length of the man's service, the captain will probably admonish him; but should the unlucky wight have been in any scrape lately, or should he be an old offender, he will be sentenced to be confined to barracks for any number of days up to seven, that being the limit of power to punish of a company officer.

Let us suppose that our friend has been sentenced to three days confinement to the barracks. One might imagine this to be no great punishment. Before jumping to conclusions, however, let us see what "C.B." actually means. Besides being forbidden to leave barracks, the culprit must turn out in full marching order, i.e., with pack, helmet and full equipment on, at least four times a day, and oftener in many corps, and each time he undergoes and hour's "defaulters drill," which consists of a monotonous march up and down the barrack square under the eye of a non-commissioned officer, usually the sergeant of the regimental police,

Of course, this drill has to be performed over and above the usual day's drill of the regiment; nor is this all, for the victim has to keep his ear open when off drill to answer the bugle sounds for "defaulters," as it does with extreme frequency, the unhappy transgressors against military law being always eligible for whatever fatigue duty may be going.

"The unkindest cut of all," however, to the average private is the stern decree that defaulter may not go into the canteen during their days of durance; so that after day's drill, etc., have been got through, there is no solacing beer allowed.

Then indeed doth Tommy vow never to offend again; but, sad to say, on the completion of his time and the regaining of his freedom, he is apt to indulge in a small spree which lands him in durance vile once more.

To come to the next grade of military punishment, let us suppose that Thomas has just got a drop too much, and finds himself high and dry in the guardroom, from which he is marched next morning, under an armed escort, into the dread presence of the "chief" himself.

Should this be his first, second, or even third appearance on such a charge, he will receive no further penalty than a fresh—and longer—term of days "C.B." Should he, however, have been up three times previously for indulging, he will be sentenced to a fine in addition to being confined to barracks. Fines range from two shillings and six pence (sixty-two cents) to ten shillings (two dollars and a half) according to the length of time which has elapsed since his last appearance, and they are kept off his pay, a system which has been found most effectual in lessening drunkenness in the service.

For a graver offence, such as impertinence to a superior, or refusing or neglecting to obey an order, a soldier is usually sentenced by his commanding officer to undergo a number—from twenty-four up to one hundred and sixty-eight—of hours of imprisonment with hard labor. A man so sentenced is conveyed to the regimental cells, where he exchanges hi uniform for a gray suit of unbecoming cut, and undergoes an operation at the hands of the prison barber, which is a disfigurement for weeks after he is liberated, viz.: his hair is cropped as close as it can be all over his head.

This is done even if the man's sentence was twenty-four hours in cells, and is looked upon as the worst part of the punishment. While in cells a man has to pick oakum, which is a tarry abomination ruinous to the fingers, and to perform a certain number of hours of "shot drill." This is a monotonous process, consisting of taking up a fourteen or twenty pound shot in the two hands, walking with it for a few paces, laying it down and picking up another and carrying it for a few yards, only to lay it down and exchange it for a third, and so on in a circle. This process sounds simple; let anyone try it for an hour and then pronounce as to its enjoyable simplicity!

The food given to a prisoner in cells is neither over palatable nor over plentiful; it consists chiefly of a sort of oatmeal gruel, known as "skilly," and not much of that.

Such work, combined with such fare, makes a few days "with hard work" by no means a treat; in fact, many old hands would far sooner undergo a month in the regular military prison than a week in cells. Terms of confinement in a military prison can only be ordered by a court martial, and the several courts martial mentioned before have different limits of power, viz: A regimental court martial, which is composed of officers of one regiment cannot order more than forty-two days imprisonment, while a district court martial, consisting of different corps for the trial of any soldier, may sentence up to eighty-four days. Greater still is the power of the highest military tribunal in times of peace, the general court martial, which has for its president a general officer, hence its name. This court may order a man to be imprisoned for any term up to five years, which is the longest term in time of peace. Should a soldier commit—at home—a very serious crime, say murder, he is handed over to the civil authorities to be dealt with.

The usual sentence of a general court martial is "imprisonment with hard labor for five years, thereafter to be discharged from her majesty's service as an incorrigible and worthless character." Flogging, which used to be a common form of punishment, is now abolished, at least it is never employed save on rare occasions of disobedience or insubordination in the military prisons. In such cases the governor of the prison may order the delinquent to receive a number of lashes, not more than thirty-six, except that the governor has power to deal at his own discretion with lazy or insubordinate prisoners. This he generally does by ordering then to solitary confinement, which is a terrible form of punishment , the prisoner being kept in a cell with absolutely nothing to do and no one to see for a certain number of hours; moreover, twice in twenty-four hours a small piece of bread and a basin on water— his only food while in solitary confinement—make their appearance at a small trap door in the wall of his cell; he does not even see the warden that feeds him.

A few hours of this generally suffices to bring a man to his senses; on active service of course punishments are more sever, as discipline has to be much more strongly enforced than at home, and if necessary a summary court martial known as a "drum head" one, may sentence a man to be shot. This extreme course is only employed, however, in a case of desertion from the field, desertion during times of peace being visited—whether the deter returns voluntarily, as nine out of ten do, or he is captured—by a longer or shorter term of imprisonment. Life in a military prison is almost identical with that of a civil one, Should he be proof against this treatment and remain insubordinate, the "cat" may be ordered, and it has never been known to fail in convincing a man of the error of resisting the authorities.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Friday, 2 October 2015

Rations at Kiska; 1943
Topic: Army Rations

Rations at Kiska; 1943

Canadian Army HQ Report; The Canadian Participation in the Kiska Operations

U.S. rations used by the Canadian troops during the Kiska expedition were of the following types, "D", "K", "C", "5 in 1", "B" and "A". Listed in their order of degree from emergency to normal issue their respective composition is shown below.

"D" Ration

3 bars concentrated sweetened chocolate (600 cal. each).

"K" Ration


  • 4 oz. potted ham and egg
  • 1 pkg. 3 K-l biscuits
  • 1 pkg. 4 K-2 biscuits (sweetened)
  • 1 pkg. coffee
  • 3 cubes sugar
  • 1 pkg. "Charm" candies
  • 1 fruit bar


  • 4 oz. cheese
  • 1 pkg. 1 K-l biscuits
  • 1 pkg. 4 K-2 biscuits
  • 1 pkg. lemonade powder
  • 3 cubes sugar
  • 2 oz. dextrose tablets
  • 1 stick chewing gum
  • 4 cigarettes


  • 3 3/4 oz. pork and veal loaf
  • 10 gm. bouillon powder
  • 1 pkg. 3 K-1 biscuits
  • 1 pkg. 4 K-2 biscuits
  • 2 oz. "D" Ration chocolate
  • 1 stick chewing gum
  • 4 cigarettes

Each meal packed in flat cardboard box in waterproof paper.

"C" Ration

A day's ration consisted of 3 tins of "B"-unit and 3 tins of "M"-unit. A meal consisted of one tin of each unit. Sterno heaters or heat tabs were issued for use with "C" rations.


  • Bread ration (biscuits)
  • Beverage - cocoa, coffee or lemonade
  • 3 pieces of sugar
  • candy or chocolate


Meat and vegetable stew
Meat and vegetable hash
Meat and vegetable with beans

"5 in 1" Ration

A cardboard carton containing 28 lbs. of prepared "B" ration, issued to feed five men for one day, (not one man for five days). Strictly an emergency ration, all food being packed in cans. This ration was used to a limited extent towards the end of the first week on Kiska as a welcome relief from "C" rations.

"B" Ration

A complete bulk ration consisting solely of dried, dehydrated or canned foods. Menu No. 2 intended for Frigid or Cold areas, contained some 125 articles of diet. The "B" Ration was the standard issue during the stay at Kiska, except when it was supplemented from time to time by the arrival of a ship with "A" rations of fresh meat, vegetables and eggs. The full list of "B" ration items is given in "U.S. Issue Chart based on No.2 Expeditionary Force Menu showing quantities required of each component for 10,000 rations. Revised 9/28/42."

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Thursday, 1 October 2015

State of the Militia; 1888
Topic: Canadian Militia

State of the Militia; 1888

The Toronto Daily Mail, 15 December, 1888

To the Editor of The Mail

Sir,—The attempts made in certain quarters to defend the Minister of Militia only brings into greater prominence the general mismanagement of the whole department. If the militia is a necessity for the country, the Government is just as responsible for its condition as Sir Adolphe Caron. Assuming the policy of each department to be regulated upon some well understood basis or plan, submitted to and endorsed by Cabinet, and having certain definite aims and objects in view, then the present state of the militia goes to show that either the Government knows nothing and cares less about the militia, of that Sir Adolphe Caron is a wholly irresponsible minister. His policy, and therefore the policy of the Government, for the last five years has been to starve the militia, but stuff the schools. Those school of instruction or permanent corps (two batteries of artillery excepted) had no existence until 1883. All this time the cry for help and means to make the militia effective was raised in and presented to the Government from all quarters in Canada, and received the stereotyped reply:—"The Government would be delighted to do anything for the militia; but there was no money, and the spirit of the 'House' was against military appropriations, etc." But when Sir Adolphe discovered it was necessary to care for barracks and public buildings turned over by the Ordnance Department to Canada, and which for ten years and more had been allowed to lie in ruin and decay—lo! A change came over the spirit of the dream, and any amount was forthcoming. Sixty thousand dollars was expended at Toronto to make the New Fort fit for occupation; as much more at St. John's, Quebec; as much or more at Fredericton, New Brunswick; a school for cavalry at Quebec; another one for mounted infantry at Winnipeg, though what is it there for, with a thousand Mounted Police in the North-West, nobody knows but the Minister of Militia. London is the last example of Sir Adolphe's power, the Government's indifference, and of Mr. Carling's political necessities. There, too, a permanent corps has been established for the care of barracks and buildings which didn't exist at all, but whose example as a school hasn't saved the 7th Fusiliers from extinction. Money scarce! "There's millions in it" for the schools. Anything and everything for them. What is left for the other fellows? For the schools there is extra pay for extra duty, good conduct pay, increased in proportion to length of service; uniform, and pay for fitting it; boots, socks, shirts, underclothing, library, recreation-room, canteen, with beer, tobacco and necessaries at nearly cost price. All very good and very proper. No one grudges what they get, but why only for the schools? Are the men any better than the average militiaman, drill excepted; and Cut Knife Creek for example? They are too many for School purposes, but too few for fighting. Why then should the schools get all the favours and all the care and the real fighting force of the country get nothing? And how does it come that not a military man in Parliament, Colonel Denison excepted, ever raised his voice against the unfair discrimination? The painful contrast between the care bestowed upon the permanent corps and the shameful treatment received by the active militia is known to everyone inside and outside the service who takes any interest in the question, and may be briefly summarized by these two hard but undeniable facts:—First. That there is not a militia battalion in Canada ready or fit for active service. The city corps are drilled, but not equipped; the country corps are neither drilled nor equipped. Nor if wanted near home would they have a week, as at Fort Qu'Appelle, to learn how to load and fire their rifles. Second, That the Militia Department exists, not for the benefit of the country, not for the welfare and efficiency of the militia, but wholly and solely for the advantage of a politician and his personal and political gfriends.

Yours, etc.,

Western Ontario,
Dec. 10.

Canadian Army Battle Honours

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Russian Military Principles
Topic: Military Theory

Russian Military Principles

FM 100-2-1—The Soviet Army; Troops, Operations and Tactics, July 1984

Classic Russian Military Principles

  • Extreme exertion of force at the very beginning of a war.
  • Simultaneity of actions.
  • Economy of forces.
  • Concentration.
  • Chief objective - the enemy's army.
  • Surprise.
  • Unity of action.
  • Preparation.
  • Energetic pursuit.
  • Security.
  • Initiative and dominance over the enemy's will.
  • Strength where the enemy is weak.

The most significant points of this list are:

  • He who gets to the initial battle with the "most" wins.
  • The enemy must be confronted with more than one situation to deal with.
  • One should not be diverted by geographical objectives, but should concentrate on the destruction of the enemy's military forces.
  • Detailed, exacting preparation must precede an attack.
  • Design actions to preempt the opponent and keep him reacting to situations that you control.
  • Concentrate on the enemy's weak points rather than his strengths.

Contemporary Soviet military theorists hold that nuclear weaponry and other means of modem warfare have modified the basic principles. By the early 1970's, the following principles dominated Soviet operational art and tactics:

Russian Military Principles of the 1970s

  • Mobility and high rates of combat operations.
  • Concentration of main efforts and creation of superiority in forces and means over the enemy at the decisive place and at the decisive time.
  • Surprise and security.
  • Combat activeness.
  • Preservation of the combat effectiveness of friendly forces.
  • Conformity of the goal to the actual situation.
  • Coordination.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Japanese Army Rations, 1944
Topic: Army Rations

Japanese Army Rations, 1944

Soldier's Guide to the Japanese Army, Military Intelligence Service, November 1944

…when the Japanese soldier gets nothing to eat he becomes just as hungry and dejected as any other soldier.

There has been much misunderstanding of the food situation in the Japanese Army. Myths have sprung up concerning the ability of the Japanese soldier to subsist on extremely small quantities of food, and it has been popularly believed that he eats little save rice while in the field.

As a matter of fact, when the Japanese soldier gets nothing to eat he becomes just as hungry and dejected as any other soldier. He likes adequate meals at regular times and appreciates variety. Inadequate rations bring their full quota of complaints and exercise a depressing influence on individual and unit morale in the Japanese Army. One Japanese soldier plaintively records in his diary, "If I eat tonight, I may not be able to eat tomorrow. It is indeed a painful experience to be hungry. At the present time all officers, even though there is such a scarcity of food, eat relatively well. The condition is one in which the majority starves." Another complains about the monotony of the rations: "The never-changing soup for the morning meal. Only two meals today—army biscuits to gnaw at in the morning and miso soup with watermelon in the evening. Also had some salt beef."

The Japanese field ration is adequate and reasonably tasty; most of its components, after proper inspection, can be eaten by Allied troops. Rice is the stable part of the ration, comparable with bread or biscuit in other armies. Naturally, the Japanese soldier would no more be satisfied with a ration consisting exclusively of rice than an Allied soldier would with bread alone.

The rice, which is cooked dry to the consistency of a sticky mass to facilitate eating with chopsticks, may be either the polished or unpolished variety.

Ordinarily the polished type is used, since it can be kept in the cooked state longer. To ward off beri beri some barley may be mixed with the rice, but this mixture is not overly popular. Instead, the rice usually is cooked with a few pickled plums which not only afford protection against beri beri but also act as a laxative to counteract the constipating effect of rice. To make the rice more palatable, it prdinarily is seasoned with soy-bean sauce or the equivalent powder known as miso. Both the sauce (shoyu) and the miso are prepared from soy-bean seeds, to which malt and salt are added. The resultant products have a flavor similar to Worcestershire sauce and are much like the soy sauce found in all U.S. Chinese restaurants.

Other favored foods are pickled radishes; dried, tinned, or pickled octopus, which would be roughly comparable.with canned-salmon or herring in other armies; dried bread (hard-baked wheaten cakes), and vegetables. Preserved foods include dried and compressed fish—salmon or bonito which must be soaked and salted to make it palatable; pickled plums, compressed barley or rice- cakes, canned oranges and tangerines, and powdered tea leaves. Dehydrated vegetables, especially beans, peas, cabbage, horse-radish; slices of ginger; salted plum cake; canned beef; canned cooked whale meat; confections, and vitamin tablets often are included in ration issues. The ration is not standardized and ordinarily varies from 2 1/2 to 4 pounds per day for the standard field ration. The ration is calculated in two forms, the normal (fresh) and the special (preserved), depending upon the availability of fresh foods. Quantities also are graduated according to three categories of issues: the basic or full issue distributed when transport is adequate; the issue when transport is difficult; and the third and least quantity, issued when transport is very difficult.

There are two emergency rations. The "A" ration consists of about 1 pound 13 ounces of rice, 5 ounces of canned fish or meat, and a little miso and sugar. The "B" ration consists of "hard tack". This comprises three muslin bags of small oval biscuits; each bag contains a half-pound biscuit for one meal. This ration may only be eaten on orders of an officer. A compressed ration is also available for emergency use. It is made up of a cellophane packet containing cooked rice, pickled plums, dried fish, salt, and sugar.

An iron ration is issued only to parachutists. Weighing half a pound, this ration consists of wafer-like biscuits made of ground rice and flavored with sesame seed, and an extract made from mussel flesh, dried plums, preserved ginger, crushed soy beans, and mori (a form of dried seaweed).

An emergency air-crew ration found in New Guinea contained 20 ounces of unpolished rice, puffed wheat; biscuits, dried fish, two small bottles of concentrated wine (35 percent alcohol), candy, large salt tablets, and a water-purifier kit. The entire kit was packed in five transparent water-proof bags. On Bougainville a "Polished Rice Combination Case" was found which contained 40 portions, mostly rice, loose-packed in an air-tight tin case enclosed in a wooden crate. This, in addition to the rice, contained miso paste, vitamin-B concentrate, vitamin A and D tablets, powdered tea (vitamin C), fuel, and matches. These ingredients were packed in 3-ounce cans, with one can intended apparently for every two portions of rice.

Every opportunity is utilized to augment the normal ration issue. Fishing, gardening, and purchases from natives frequently afford welcome additions to the daily diet as well as variety. Foraging, both organized and unorganized, also is resorted to if the country is sufficiently well stocked to make such enterprise profitable. The Japanese soldier is very fond of confections, and these he may secure in the "Comfort Bags" sent by relatives and friends at home.

The transport of rations naturally varies with the terrain, the nature of the military operations, the availability of local food sources, and other factors. In New Guinea emergency rations sufficient for 12 days were carried by a battalion of 700. Each man carried a three-day supply of "fresh" food and a four-day supply of "preserved", with the reminder, aggregating 2.98 tons, carried in the battalion train. In another instance an infantry regiment carried rations for ten days, with four days calculated on an emergency basis. But the Japanese have made matches with only a five-day supply. Packaging was quite inferior in the early days of the war, and much canned and dehydrated food was lost as a result of this deficiency. Considerable improvement has been noted, however, in recent operations.

Army Ration Scales

Ration ItemNormal or Fresh ScaleSpecial or Preserved Scale
[Figures are ounces except where otherwise indicated]
Rice, or rice and barley28 
Compressed rice 20
Fresh meat or fish7.4 
Canned meat or fish 5.3
vegetables 4.2
plum 1.6
Shoyu (saure)1.7 
Powdered miso 1.1
Bean paste2.6 
Total4 lb.2 lb. 2 oz.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Monday, 28 September 2015

Dark Leadership
Topic: Leadership

Dark Leadership

Dark Leadership in the Ranks: How the U.S. Armed Forces Can Address Narcissism and Toxic Leadership, by David J. Boisselle and Jeanne McDonnell, 2014

"At one point or another in your career, you will work for a jackass, because we all have. People who are terrible to their subordinates may be perfectly civil and respectful up the chain of command." – Former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates [speaking to] West Point cadets.

Retired Army Lt. General Walter Ulmer served as the chief executive officer for the Center for Creative Leadership and has written about the problem of toxic leadership in the Army. Additionally, he compiled the following observations which toxic leaders frequently display:

  • They rarely take blame or share glory.
  • They are not toxic all the time, or to all people.
  • They are rarely if ever toxic when in the company of "the boss."
  • They sometimes have good ideas and accomplish good things.
  • They can be charming when the occasion fits.
  • They are frequently described as extremely bright and hard-working.
  • They often have a coterie of devoted "fans" who keep appearing on their staffs.
  • Most have been seen as toxic by subordinates since early in their career.
  • Their boss either does not know or pretends not to know, and almost never records, their abuse of subordinates.

Through interviews, surveys, literature, as well as reviews of numerous real-life cases, General Ulmer summarized that "Toxic leaders are individuals whose behavior appears driven by self-centered careerism at the expense of their subordinates and unit, and whose style is characterized by abusive and dictatorial behavior that promotes an unhealthy organizational climate." It is interesting to note that the first part of General Ulmer's definition noted toxic leaders are "driven by self-centered careerism." This supports studies of toxic leadership completed by retired Army veterans Joe Doty and Jeff Fenlason which found most, if not all, toxic leaders suffer from narcissism.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Sunday, 27 September 2015

The Court Martial of Thomas Tole
Topic: Discipline

The Court Martial of Thomas Tole

Extraordinary and Disgraceful Treachery

The Glasgow Herald, 24 September 1958

London, Sep. 22.—A worthless scoundrel, who deserted to the enemy from the English ranks when before Sebastopol, and by his treachery caused the slaughter of a number of his comrades, has just been captured, and awaits sentence of a court-martial. On the 22d of March, 1855, the 7th Regiment of Fusiliers were performing trench duty, when two of the men, Private Thomas Tole, and a companion named Moore, left the lines under pretence of searching for fuel, and instead of returning, went over to the enemy. The treacherous information they gave of the position of the company they had deserted from, proved a guide to the Russians, who, making a determined attack upon them the same night, killed Captain the Hon. Cavendish Brown and thirty men. Tole was not given up with the exchange of prisoners at the end of the war, but went to St. Petersburg. Desiring, subsequently, to return to England, he contrived to obtain a passport, and has been for some time in York. More recently he took up his quarters in old Mount Street, Manchester. Several months ago, Mr. Leary, superintendent of the B division, had him taken into custody on suspicion of being guilty of this heinous and disgraceful offence, but the evidence failed to prove his desertion. Later correspondence with the commanding officer, however, led to the production of witnesses who could speak more positively; and on Monday Tole was again placed before the city magistrate, when two of his former comrades in the same company, to whom he was personally known, gave evidence regarding his going over to the enemy, and he was ordered to be delivered over to the military authorities. Tole is a native of Ireland, and 24 years of age. A man of the same regiment, named Dennis Cleary, who was wounded, and has since received his discharge, is now a police officer in the B division. Tole states that his companions, Moore, died in two days after they joined the Russians. (Manchester Examiner)

elipsis graphic

General Court Martial on the Deserter to the Russians

The Glasgow Herald, 29 November 1958

Chatham, Nov. 26.—This morning, at eleven o'clock, a general court martial assembled at this garrison, by command of the Duke of Cambridge, for the trial of Private Thomas Tole, of the 1st battalion 7th Royal Fusiliers, who, when stationed in the Crimea with his regiment, in the early part of 1855, deserted to the Russian army. Lieutenant-Colonel Charles E. Fairtlough, commanding the 3d battalion, was president.

The prisoner on being brought into the room appeared very pale, but this, perhaps, arose from the lengthened period he has been in confinement, He appears to be about 26 years of age.

The Deputy Judge-Advocate read over the charge to the prisoner as follows:—"For having, in the month of January, 1855, when in the service of her Majesty, and with the army in the field in the Crimea, deserted and gone over to the enemy."

The prisoner, on being called upon, pleaded "Not Guilty."

All the witnesses were then ordered out of court, and the following evidence was afterward taken:—

Sergeant James Osmotherly, 7th Royal Fusiliers, said he belonged to the same company as the prisoner, and was in the same tent with him during the time the 7th Fusiliers were in the Crimea. In the month of January, 1855, the prisoner was one day warned for fatigue duty of Sergeant Ball, and was ordered, with another man, to go out and search for fuel. Prisoner was away between two and three hours when he was reported absent. The colonel ordered witness, Sergeant Ball, and another man to go out and see if they could find him. They first went over to Inkermann, and then passed round to the White House ravine, where the British picket was stationed. They inquired of the picket if they had seen any man go down after fuel, when they received the answer that they had, but that they did not know whether he came back again. Witness never saw prisoner again until he saw him a prisoner at Chatham.

By the Prosecutor—The men at that time were allowed to go for fuel in advance of the White House picket. Witness should say the White House picket was about 100 yards from the Russian picket, but he was not confident as to the distance, as advanced pickets were thrown out at night.

The prisoner declined asking this witness any questions.

Private George Hines, 7th Fusiliers, and other witnesses gave similar testimony.

Joseph Hurst, a police constable, of the Manchester police force, said he apprehended the prisoner in a beerhouse in that city of the 18th of September, on suspicion of being a deserter from the 7th Fusiliers.

The President (to the prisoner)—Have you any statement you wish to address to the Court?

Prisoner said he had, and proceeded to address the court as follows:—On the 17th of January, 1855, my company was warned for night duty, and on the morning of the 18th the picket came and relieved us, and we were marched to our tent. I had not time to file my firelock when another man and myself were ordered on wood fatigue. We went to try and get a few roots to boil our breakfast with, when two Russian officers came up to us and asked us what we were doing. We told them we were on fatigue, gathering wood. They asked us if we would go with them to take a wounded man in, and we consented to accompany them. They took us down into Inkermann, when, as we were going along, I told my comrade that we had better make a stand, as we were going too far, and try and get home. The officers then drew their swords, on which we wrestled with them, but having no arms, we were obliged to give in. I was wounded in the left arm. I was then marched into Sebastopol a prisoner.

The finding will not be known until it has been forwarded, together with all the evidence and the prisoner's defence, to the Duke of Cambridge for the approval of his Royal Highness.

elipsis graphic

The Annals of Our Time: A Diurnal of Events, Social and Political, Home and Foreign, from the Accession of Queen Victoria

June 20, 1837, Volume 1, By Joseph Irving, Macmillan and Company, 1871

26 November 1858.—At a court martial at Chatham, Private Thomas Tole, late of the 1st battalion 7th Royal Fusiliers, was found guilty of deserting to the Russians from the army before Sebastopol. He was sentenced to penal servitude for life.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Saturday, 26 September 2015

Vietnam; Combat Tips (1967)
Topic: Drill and Training

Lessons Learned, Vietnam; Combat Tips (1967)

FMFRP 12-41; Professional Knowledge Gained from Operational Experience in Vietnam, 1967, U.S. Marine Corps, 1989

  • Ensure separation of communication capabilities so the probability of incoming rounds destroying all communications is reduced to a minimum.
  • The second in command at all echelons should be prepared to assume command under most adverse conditions; he should be positioned so the odds of his becoming a casualty day or night at the same time as the commander are minimized.
  • Be continuously alert to enemy tactics of trying to separate a unit, a point or a rear element from the main force or body.
  • Rehearse every, repeat every, combat patrol or contemplated offensive whenever possible.
  • Provide every patrol with the capability of calling in supporting fire.
  • If taken under mortar or artillery fire, prepare to return fire within 30 seconds. This capability requires at a minimum:
    • Mortar positions that can be occupied while under fire.
    • All personnel being capable of determining direction from which mortars are being fired (crater analysis) and a reporting procedure for passing on such information immediately.
  • Platoon commanders and company commanders should always be in a position to control and maneuver all of their units and supporting arms. For example, a platoon commander who acts as squad leader or a point, is not a platoon commander.
  • When halted for any period of time, dig in, improve holes, and cut into the sides of holes so VT can be called in on the position if such action becomes necessary.
  • When a Marine hits the deck, he should immediately roll to either the left or right to confuse the enemy as to his exact position.
  • When a unit halts at night, a change of position should be made during first hours of darkness.
  • When patrol bases are employed, prepare alternate positions. Avoid staying in one position more than one night.
  • Never occupy old positions (friendly or enemy).
  • Emphasize to Marines that stopping to render first aid while in the attack will only result in more casualties through loss of firepower and momentum.
  • No area, regardless of past activities, can be considered safe from possible enemy attack.
  • Communications have always been a lucrative source of intelligence. No matter what method of communication is used, except runners, we must assume that the enemy is listening. Don't shackle known enemy locations. Don't disclose frequencies and call signs. Don't discuss/disclose friendly locations and scheme of maneuver. Conduct comprehensive communications security training especially at the company level.
  • Learn all you can about the customs of the people.
  • Never sacrifice security for speed.
  • Practice fire discipline—shoot accurately and follow fire commands quickly. Fire at suspected enemy positions but don't squander your ammunition.
  • Listen to suggestions from others and adopt them if they are sound.
  • Use frag orders when the situation permits.
  • Don't overwhelm men with the "Big Picture."
  • Keep abreast of the tactical situation and keep your men informed.
  • Set the example.
  • Protect ammunition from deterioration. Use radio battery plastic covers and fuze cans for this purpose.
  • Move through jungle in multiple columns with all-around security using connecting files.
  • Move on concealed routes whenever possible.
  • Practice use of the compass, pacing and terrain orientation on all movements.
  • Use arm and hand or any other silent signals whenever possible.
  • Practice fire discipline.
  • Keep weapons immediately available for use. Maintain contact with the enemy once it is gained.
  • Test fire weapons before each operation.
  • Consider combat efficiency over personal comfort.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Friday, 25 September 2015

Basic Philosophy of Soldiering
Topic: Leadership

Colonel Glover Johns
Basic Philosophy of Soldiering


Col. Glover S. Johns Jr.

1.     Strive to do small things well.

2.      Be a doer and a self-starter—aggressiveness and initiative are two most admired qualities in a leader—but you must also put your feet up and THINK.

3.      Strive for self-improvement through constant self-evaluation.

4.      Never be satisfied. Ask of any project, How can it be done better?

5.      Don't over-inspect or over-supervise. Allow your leaders to make mistakes in training, so they can profit from the errors and not make them in combat.

6.      Keep the troops informed; telling them "what, how, and why" builds their confidence.

7.      The harder the training, the more troops will brag.

8.      Enthusiasm, fairness, and moral and physical courage - four of the most important aspects of leadership.

9.      Showmanship—a vital technique of leadership.

10.      The ability to speak and write well-two essential tools of leadership.

11.      There is a salient difference between profanity and obscenity; while a leader employs profanity (tempered with discretion), he never uses obscenities.

12.      Have consideration for others.

13.      Yelling detracts from your dignity; take men aside to counsel them.

14.      Understand and use judgement; know when to stop fighting for something you believe is right. Discuss and argue your point of view until a decision is made, and then support the decision wholeheartedly.

15.      Stay ahead of your boss.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Thursday, 24 September 2015

The Soviet Military Oath
Topic: Discipline

The Soviet Military Oath

FM 100-2-3&38212;The Soviet Army; Troops, Oraganization, and Equipoment, June 1991

The military oath

I, (name), a citizen of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, by joining the ranks of the armed forces; take an oath and solemnly swear to be an upright, brave, disciplined, vigilant soldier, to strictly preserve military and government secrets, and to execute without, contradiction, all military regulations and orders of commanders and superiors. I swear to learn conscientiously the trade of war, to protect with all means the military and peoples' property, and to be devoted to my people, my Soviet homeland, and the Soviet Government to my last breath. I will always be ready to report, by order of the Soviet Government, as a soldier of the armed forces for the defense of my homeland, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. I swear to defend it bravely and wisely with all my strength and in honor, without sparing my blood and without regard for my life to achieve a complete victory over the enemy. Should I break my solemn oath, may severe penalties of the Soviet Law, the overall hatred, and the contempt of the working masses strike me.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Wednesday, 23 September 2015

10 Diseases of Leadership
Topic: Leadership

Richard Holmes'
'10 Diseases of Leadership'

A Sandhurst Guide, Pilot version, Easter 2012

Brigadier Edward Richard Holmes, CBE, TD, JP
(29 Mar 1946 – 30 Apr 2011

1.     Lack of moral courage. In the military physical courage is often supported by the sense of team and shared commitment to a specific task. Moral courage is often a far lonelier position and so that much harder to undertake in practice.

2.     Failure to recognize that opposition can be loyal. Encourage constructive dissent rather than have destructive consent.

3.     Consent and evade. Do not consent to a plan that you do not agree with then evade its implications by doing something different without telling your commander.

4.     There is a need to know and you don't need to know. Some people use information and access to it to reinforce their leadership position.

5.     Don't bother me with the facts I've already made up my mind. There is always a point where the detail of a plan is confi rmed, after which there is a tendency to ignore any new information that might suggest a change to that plan is required. The British as a people have a greater tendency than most to succumb to this.

6.     The quest for the 100% solution. A good plan in time is better than a great plan too late.

7.     Equating the quality of the advice with the rank of the person providing it. Wisdom and insight are not linked inextricably to rank and experience.

8.     I'm too busy to win. Failure to exploit opportunities that arise by being focused on routine work.

9.     I can do your job too. Avoid the temptation to slip back into your old comfort zones. It will smother subordinates.

10.     Big man, cold shadow. Consider the effect of your presence and involvement in a task. Will it help or hinder?

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Tuesday, 22 September 2015

The Futility of the First World War
Topic: CEF

The Futility of the First World War

Trench Warfare, 1850–1950, Anthony Saunders, 2010

Although this article isn't specifically about the CEF, it has been tagged as such to keep it with other First World War material.

The popular view that the First World War epitomized the 'futility' of war, that it embodied the stupidity of obstinate generals who willfully sacrificed their men and that the horrors of trench warfare could have been avoided, is one that is very resistant to any evidence to the contrary. Indeed the notion that the First World War, the Great War, the war to End all Wars, was an aberration in which warfare descended into a kind of madness in which men were slaughtered in their thousands for a few square yards of ground is a view derived not so much from the actuality of what happened but from popularist versions of it fostered by memoirs published ten years after the war. Not least among those who claimed that the war had been generaled by the incompetent, but fought by heroes, was David Lloyd George, who fostered the view that so many deaths had not only been unnecessary but avoidable had the generals, Haig in particular, paid heed to his wise council. In the face of such 'evidence', it has always been very difficult to disprove such 'truths' as unnecessary sacrifice and futility. The anti-war sentiment is very much a British issue, however. The French, for example, do not hold such iews even though they suffered many more casualties than the British. The First World War was far from futile and the very antithesis of an aberration in military affairs.

There is no question that the First World War was unlike any previous war. Its scale and its intensity, the industrialized totality of the war and the four-year mutual stalemate that existed along the Western Front, the principal focus of the wart made the First World War unique in the history of warfare. However, unique does not equate with aberrant any more than stalemate equated with stasis. Indeed not only was the stalemate on the Western Front entirely predictable, although not while working to prevent each other from attaining that mobility, ensured that the Western Front was constantly changing. The dynamics of this process of change were complex but, by 1917, effective solutions to stalemate were being developed. By the spring of 1918, a new form of warfare had evolved. The nature of warfare was fundamentally altered by the need to overcome the stalemate of trench warfare on the Western Front. So profound were these changes that they formed the basis of the tactical doctrines employed in most armies across the world thereafter. It is a simple truth that this could not have occurred had the generals been quite so stupid and the fighting quite so pointless as the myth of the futility of the First World War dictates.

Predictable though the stalemate of the Western Front might have been, there is a gulf of difference between foreseeable and avoidable. While it is true that no army went to war in 1914 with the intention of remaining entrenched for four years, neither was any army trained to avoid this happening.

Canadian Army Battle Honours

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Monday, 21 September 2015

G.O.C. Inspection
Topic: Drill and Training

G.O.C. Inspection

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

The G.O.C.'s first inspection included the motor transport repair depots, and it was no cursory glance at immobile vehicles. Red tabs and all, Worthy wriggled under the machines to check their over-all condition, and the transport officer must needs crawl after him. On the first occasion the officer tried to avoid it by bending double and peering respectfully at his general below.

"Get under this damn thing, Major!" said the G.O.C. irascibly. "How in hell can I show you from there!"

So the major had to crawl under and lie on his back too while the General indicated the trouble spots where daily neglect took its toll. It was possibly the first time that officer had ever inspected an army vehicle from that angle, but certainly not the last. The impact on the men was terrific and they loved it. It made the G.O.C. human and efficient, for there is nothing a soldier likes better than to be led by a man who knows and appreciates the men's jobs.

Worthy on inspection was something to see, but those in the happy position of observers were the only ones to fully appreciate it.

Proceeding down the line, head thrust forward, a piercing and discerning eye taking in every detail, he would stop at every third or fourth man. He might ask the man's name, his home town, his employment before enlisting, or say, "Do you like your job?" or more embarrassing still, "Do you think you're well turned out?" Again, he might order a rifle into the "inspect arms" position and pull down the muzzle to check it, or have a man remove and unpack his kit. Men often used wire frames inside their packs to square them up, greatly simplifying kit-packing, but after one or two inspections there was a marked decline in wire frames and an increase in properly packed kits.

The inspection of the rear of the file was even more nerveracking for they couldn't see what was going on. A soldier was more than likely to be told to bend his knee and raise a boot sole for inspection. Invariably the boots of the chosen soldier were in need of repair. It happened so often that rumours of X-ray eyes circulated, but Worthy had a secret formula for spotting worn soles and his ability to pick the equipment that was in poor condition amounted to genius.

Nor were the officers spared. One dental officer, ordered to draw his pistol and point it at the eye of his Commander, trembled so that his field of fire could have killed a platoon.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Sunday, 20 September 2015

The Six Rules of Soldiering
Topic: Military Theory

The Six Rules of Soldiering

Martin van Creveld, Fighting Power; German and US Army Performance, 1939-1945, referencing a German training manual "Heeres Dienstvorschrift 300 - Truppenfuhrung" (Army Manual 300 - Command of Troops, 1936)

1.     Develop individual initiative and responsibility.

2.     Never follow orders blindly.

3.     Develop proper discipline.

4.     Develop primary groups.

5.     Develop an unremitting attack philosophy.

6.     "The Golden Rule" — It is better to do something wrong but decisive, than to wait for orders which may never arrive.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Saturday, 19 September 2015

The Soldiers Load; Australia
Topic: Soldiers' Load

The Soldiers Load; Australia

A Review of the Soldier's Equipment Burden, Chris Brady, Derrek Lush and Tom Chapman; Land Operations Division, Defence Science and Technology Organisation, 2011

Content of Load Carriage Ensemble (LCE)

All infantrymen were asked to describe the total number and volume of different items in their LCE. Some of these items were not present during the interview but the soldiers said there was little variation between missions for these items. As is typical, all soldiers had equipment packed for 72 hour operations.

It should be noted that since this data collection was carried out in 2006 some items that were not on SOP lists are now Government Furnished Equipment (GFE) and are issued to soldiers.

2.5.1 Amount of Water

The majority of soldiers carried two litres of water in their webbing (or Camelback™) and eight litres in their packs. There was some variation in this, with some carrying more. The total weight of 10 litres of water is 10 kilograms, plus the weight of the various water storage containers.

2.5.2 Amount of Ammunition

Typically F89 Gunners carried 800 linked rounds, of which 500 was carried on their webbing, the rest given to another soldier to carry or (occasionally) in their packs. Total weight of 800 linked rounds is 10.8 kilograms.

The most common volume of rounds carried by those using the F88 rifle was 210 rounds (seven magazines). A few Section Commanders plus others carried from one to seven additional magazines. All ammunition (except perhaps those carrying large additions) was carried in webbing. Total weight of 210 rounds is 3.5 kilograms.

2.5.3 Amount of Rations

The average amount of rations carried was 3 days' worth. The majority of soldiers broke down their ration packs. Typically only one meal and/or snacks was stored in the soldier's webbing, the rest was in the pack. When the ration packs are broken down some items are normally discarded (Forbes-Ewan, 2001). The items discarded are usually done so because the soldier did not want to eat them, and not specifically because they were considered too heavy. Combat rations typically weighs 1.8 kg per soldier per day when complete. Patrol rations (a.k.a. 'dehyd' rations) typically weigh 1.1 kg per soldier per day when complete.

Note that water must be carried in addition to the patrol rations to re-hydrate them. Total weight for three days of combat rations is 5.4 kilograms.

2.5.4 Issued but not Carried

All soldiers' loads are determined by a unit SOP list. Soldiers in this study were asked if there was any equipment on their SOP list that they regularly did not carry with them, and why. There was only a small amount of kit from the SOP list not packed (Table 6). The bayonet cannot be used by soldiers with the underslung GLA, so they do not carry it with them. Many soldiers do not carry their mess kit, since most rationed food can been prepared and eaten without it. Quite a number of soldiers reported not carrying their issued sleeping bag. If the weather is warm then no cold weather kit was packed. Often no spare uniform is packed if the soldier is to be away for only 72 hours.

2.5.5 Alternative Version of Issued Kit

Soldiers were asked if they replaced GFE with their own personally procured items. Table 7 has a list of all reported non-GFE carried. Many soldiers did not carry the issued sleeping bag because it was considered bulky and heavy. The preferred alternative was the Merlin Softie™ series of sleeping bags, which was considerably smaller and lighter, and reportedly offered the same (if not better) heat insulation.

Some used non-issued versions of the raincoats, though no reason was given for this. Many soldiers also used a Maglite™-brand torch instead of the issued utility torch. The Maglite was supposedly brighter, lighter and smaller than the issued torch. Many soldiers carried a Leatherman™ or some other utility knife. Ka-bar™ knives were often carried also.

2.5.6 Additional Kit Carried

Many infantrymen carried additional equipment; kit that is not on the SOP list. The most common was the bivvy bag, which is a weather-proof outer to the sleeping bag. Camelbacks were also used by the majority of soldiers. Some also carried umbrellas, gas bottles and burners for added comfort when in the bush.

Table 6: List of reported equipment not carried (left), replaced (middle), and in-addition to the SOP list (right)

Issued but not CarriedAlternative Version of GFEAdditional Kit Carried
BayonetCam cream (alt type)Bivvy bag
Cold Weather UniformGun oil bottle (larger)Caribena
Pan Mess KitKnife (combat)Gas bottle & burner
Sleeping BagKnife (utility)Pegs
Spare uniformMozzie RepellentTorch (head light)
Softie sleeping bag (Merlin)Plastic Entrenching Tool

Some items were listed by soldiers as personal equipment but are now (or are soon to be) issued items. These include the Camelback and any additional water bladders, the Silva compass, the large (2 litre) water bottles and Maglite torches.

2.5.7 The Current Load

This report is not aiming to prove there is a soldier load carriage problem. The problem is so prevalent that no further proof is considered necessary; and previous studies have addressed this issue sufficiently (Knapik 2004; Allen & Vanderpeer 2007). Whilst there is no need to exhaustively list measured weights, and since the load distribution varies between Battalions, Platoons, and even soldiers, it will be useful to determine the average current weight for issues discussed in this report.

The weight of the equipment the infantryman must carry often exceeds 50 kg, but this has not always been the case. Knapik et al. (2004) reviewed data on the weights carried by soldiers throughout history. It is clear that the modern dismounted infantryman must carry a weight greater than soldiers in past conflicts. Part of this increased weight is because there is reduced auxiliary transport so the soldier must carry their own equipment. In fact, a key advantage of the dismounted infantry is that they can penetrate where support vehicles can't follow.

Load weight has also increased as the capability of the soldier has increased; the soldier can now do more by utilising new equipment previous generations of soldiers did not have access to. However, it is likely that the equipment burden has now increased to the point where capability is compromised. As Paulson (2006 p.81) notes; 'the weights carried at the moment are incongruent with the notion of manoeuvre warfare'.

Numerous studies have reported the weight carried by soldiers from various countries in different conflicts. The results of this survey are compared to previous studies in Table 7. It is important to acknowledge that the weights carried changes over time as food is consumed, water drunk and ammunition used (especially during training). As such a full load does not remain full for long and weights quoted are often full loads.

Table 7: The Weight (in kg) of Soldier Equipment by survey

Load-outDescriptionDuration wornSOP (2)Land 125 SOP (3)Survey (4)
Light PatrolWebbing Only8 hr24.938.3
Patrol OrderWebbing & Day Pack8-24 hr37.734.748.1
Marching OrderWebbing & Field Pack24-72 hr60.2.9.346.057.0

*averaged over the section
(2) – 2 litres of water for patrol order. 4 litres of Marching order (though 3 days rations and ammo).
(3) – 8 litres of water for marching order. 4 litres for patrol order. 2 litres for light patrol order. From the Land 125-01-02 (MAR 02).
(4) – Includes typical load: Pack webbing and contents. 10 litres water, 3 days rations, front line ammo & weapon Excludes section and platoon level equipment: radios, med kits, batteries, GPS, binoculars & NVG.

In summary, although there is some difference between soldier roles and operations, in general it is likely that 55 kg is typical.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 29 August 2015 10:21 PM EDT

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