The Minute Book
Sunday, 31 January 2016

Synopsis of Militia Act (1873)
Topic: Canadian Militia

Synopsis of Militia Act (1873)

The Victoria Daily Standard, 31 January 1873

  • The Militia consists of all the male inhabitants of Canada from 18 to 60.
    • 1st Class—Unmarried men and widowers without children, from 18 to 30.
    • 2nd Class—Ditto, from 30 to 45.
    • 3rd Class—Married men and widowers without children, from 18-45.
    • 4th Class—All men from 45 to 60.
  • The above is in the order in which they may be called to serve.
  • The Militia is divided into Active and Reserve.
    • The Active consists of Volunteer, Regular and Marine.
      • The Volunteer Militia is composed of Corps raised by voluntary enlistment.
      • The Regular, of men who volunteer for the same, or of men balloted to serve, or of both.
      • The Marine, of seamen, sailors, and persons whose occupation is on any craft navigating Dominion waters.
  • The period of service in the Volunteer Militia is three years.
  • Six month's notice to a Commanding Officer is required before a member can be permitted to retire in time of peace, and any man requiring to leave Canada must return all public clothing and property, and obtain a written discharge from his Commanding Officer. If he leave with any such in his possession he is guilty of embezzlement, and may be prosecuted at any future time.
  • The period of service in the Regular Militia is two years, and thence until relieved.
  • The Reserve consists of all who are not serving in the Active Militia of the time being.
  • A Military District is divided into Regimental Divisions. These into Company Divisions.
  • A Lieutenant-Colonel, and two Majors of Reserve, appointed to each Regimental Division. The senior officer controls the enrolment.
  • A Captain, Lieutenant and Ensign in each Company District make the roll. The Captain is responsible, collects the roll in duplicate, keeps one copy and forwards the other to the Lieut.-Colonel.
  • Enrolment renders all men liable for service.
  • False information, or refusal of information, involves a penalty of $20.00 for each name refused, concealed, or falsely stated.
  • Exemptions from service are Judges, Clergy, Professors in College, Teachers in religious orders, Wardens, keepers, and Guards of Penitentiaries, and Officers, &c., of Lunatic Asylums, persons disabled by bodily infirmities, and the only son of a widow, being her only support.
  • Also, (except in war or insurrection), Half-Pay and Retired Officers, sea-faring men in actual employ, pilots and apprentices during navigation, masters of Public Schools, actually teaching.
  • Further—Quakers, Mennonites and Tunkers and others whose religious doctrines forbid their bearing arms.
  • There is a simple oath of allegiance, sworn before a Justice of the Peace by the Commanding Officer, and by him administered to others.
  • When a Company Division furnishes more men than its quota, it is not again called upon until others have been equalized.
  • Men called upon to serve may be exempt by paying $30 to the Captain of the Company Division, which shall be paid by him to an approved willing substitute.
  • Active Militia Corps are liable to be called out in aid of the Civil Power. They then become special constables; but are to act only as a military body, and by order of their commanding officer, who will obey the lawful instructions of the magistrates.
    • The pay on such occasions is $1.00 per diem. Officers as in H.M. service, with addition of of $2.00 to mounted officers and $1.00 for each horse use by non-commissioned officers and privates.
  • Arms, accoutrements and clothing are supplied to non-commissioned officers and privates, but are not to be worn or carried except on duty.
  • The period of drill is not les than eight or more than sixteen days. The day may consist of three hours actual drill. Pay fifty cents, with seventy-five cents horse allowance.
  • Competent persons may be appointed to instruct and drill, with pay as may be ordered.
  • Officers Commanding Corps may order assembly at other times than the annual drill, of such members of corpse as reside within two miles of place appointed.
  • Her Majesty may, by order, dispense with an resume any drill or training of Active Militia.
  • Military schools are established, and no person shall be appointed an officer of Active Militia, except provisionally, until he has obtained a certificate from a School or a Board of Officers, and no officer, whose rank is provisional only, shall, under any circumstances, command an officer of the same grade, whose rank is substantive.
  • Active Militia on duty are subject to the Queen's Regulations, and articles of war. As are also Cadets of the Schools.
  • Passed Cadets may be ordered into a Camp of Instruction.
  • Her Majesty may sanction Rifle Associations and Drill Associations, but such are not provided with uniforms; also independent companies composed of Professors, Masters and Pupils of Universities, Schools and Public Institutions. Arms and accoutrements in such cases provided.
  • Active Militia Corps are subject to inspections as ordered.
  • Government aid may be granted towards the construction by local authorities of drill sheds and armouries.
  • Officers commanding a District or Corps, may, on emergency, call out the whole or any part of the force under his command until Her majesty's pleasure is known, and all ranks must obey and march wherever directed.
  • Her Majesty may call out Militia at any time on emergency of war, invasion, or insurrection—men, in such cases to serve one year, or longer if necessary.
  • In time of war no man shall be required to serve in the field continuously more than one year, except in emergency, when he may be called on for six months more.
  • Officers' pat on active service the same as in the [Imperial] army.
  • Militia men who, when on active service, absents himself from his corps for seven days, may be tried by court martial as a deserter.
  • Provision is guaranteed for wives and families of men killed, or who die from wounds, or disease contracted on service.
  • Also compensation for permanent disability from injuries or illness, on report of a medical board.
  • Persons lawfully required to furnish conveyance of any kind, for troops on active service, incur a penalty, in case of refusal or neglect, of not more than four hundred dollars.
  • No troops to be quartered or billeted on premises of any religious order of females.
  • Her majesty may convene Courts of Enquiry, and courts martial; but no officer of Her Majesty's regular army on full pay, shall sit on any militia court martial.
  • Certain penalties are enacted for failures in duty on the part of officers or men—such as refusal or neglect to make enrolments, to take oaths, to afford information, etc., and for false personation, neglect of orders to attend drills, etc., allowing arms, etc., to be out of order, or deficient, or disposing of, or removing arms, etc., or refusal or neglect to turn out, or obey orders, or resist a draft, or council, or aid any one to do so,—$100 or six months, or both.
  • Penalties under the Act, recoverable with costs, by summary conviction, on evidence of one witness, before one Justice.
  • Commanding officers' orders sufficiently notified by insertion in one newspaper in a regimental division, or if there be none, by posting a copy on the door of every place of public worship, or of some other public place, in each company division.
  • Gazette notices under the Act have the force of law, and the Governor-in-Council may make regulations, and by such, impose fines not exceeding $20, and imprisonment in default, for carrying the Act into effect.
  • Only one son of the same family residing in the same house, may be be drawn by ballot, unles the number on the roll be insufficient.

elipsis graphic

Editor Standard: In conversation a few days since with a gentleman from the country, it was mentioned that many persons in the district from which he came, appeared to entertain exaggerated ideas on the onerous nature of the duties which might be imposed upon them, by the initiation of militia organization.

As such fears, though very natural, have but little foundation, I have thought that among the many who derive information from your extensive circulation, not a few would probably be glad to know what the provisions of the Militia Act really are. I have, therefore, should you consider it worth a place in your columns, attempted a precis, or synopsis of such parts of the Act as embody the duties and liabilities of the citizen under it.

It may be worthy of mention, in explanation, that the necessity of enrolment need excite no consternation. It is simply a military census, and of itself involves no service in time of peace. The officers of the reserve, whose duty it is to carry it out, have nothing to do with the service required from the active force.

This latter has hitherto been raised by pure volunteering, and in Canada (old) involves in effect, simply sixteen days' drill, of little more than one per cent. of the population. It is possible that the ballot may be resorted to this year, and it is probable that then proportion will be a little heavier on this small population. Still that will not prevent the acceptance of such volunteers as may come forward as part of the quota, which will, in itself, be probably small at first.

It may be borne in mind also that the nature of the drill may be modified by general orders. For instance, the authorities may not insist on its being carried out in camp, or in such manner as to occupy the whole time of the citizen for days together.

It may also be remembered that although the Act insists on the vital principle of every man's liability to serve, if called on, the authorities have always studiously consulted the convenience of the people, and evinced the strongest desire to render the duty of service as little burdensome as is at all compatible with the maintenance of a national force, which is now acknowledged by all who have studied it, to be a splendid success, and the first organization of its kind in the world.

I am, etc.,
January 24th, 1873.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Saturday, 30 January 2016

Military Surgery Mean Treating of Infected Wounds
Topic: Military Medical

Military Surgery Mean Treating of Infected Wounds

American Doctor Home from Berlin Tells of Hospital with 1,000 Sufferers

Ludington Daily News, Ludington, Michigan, 24 August 1916

Military Surgery No. 2 …

Berlin, Germany, Aug. 24.—(via Amsterdam.)—Dr. Jacob R. Buchbinder of Chicago has just passed through Berlin on his way to Norway, whence he will return to the United States early in September after six months of surgical practice at Naumburg, in the military hospital taken over by a number of American physicians. Dr. Buchbinder says he is glad he is going home, though his experience has been highly valuable to him.

Verdun Patients Seriously Wounded

"Military surgery," he said to me before leaving Berlin, "is different from civil surgery. It is like doing railroad or stockyard work on a large scale. Most of the wounded when the reached us were infected, which makes the practice totally different. We had 1,000 beds under our charge and all were filled when I left, many cases from the Somme and Verdun. The last transports were from the east front. The Verdun patients were nearly all suffering from shell wounds of grave character, while those from the Somme were wounded almost entirely by bullets from machine guns. Many had been wounded more than once.

"These were the first bullet wounds we had seen in months, for during ordinary trench fighting most of the wounded are injured by shrapnel, shells, bombs or grenades. The soldiers were all confident that the west front would hold out, but said the fighting had ceased being war and had become butchery. No, I did not see any bayonet wounds. As a matter of fact I have never seen one and I was never able to hear of one, though I inquired often. Most of the soldiers injured in hand to hand fighting are wounded by hand grenades. I did not see any dumdum bullets.

"We were kindly treated even during the days of the American crisis. Everywhere there was a desire to cooperate with us. We were always supported by the German surgical corps and the war ministry. We were promised serious cases and the promise was kept to the letter. I came to Germany fearing that I would find a general prejudice against Americans, which would make it difficult to live here. I had no trouble personally of any sort. Two of our party were spoken to on trains for talking English, but obviously it was by some one who had been embittered against the English because of special losses."

Dr Buchbinder said the German sanitary service filled him with admiration and he believed that it sis all that could be done under the exceptional difficulties. The care for details was really astonishing.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Updated: Sunday, 31 January 2016 3:42 PM EST
Friday, 29 January 2016

Canada's Militia; Thoroughly Demoralized
Topic: Canadian Militia

Canada's Militia; Thoroughly Demoralized

The Service in a Thoroughly Demoralized Condition
The Result of Departmental Mismanagement
What Militia officers Say Borne out by a Chicago Critic

The Montreal Herald and Daily Commercial Gazette, 29 January 1890

Some five or six weeks ago there appeared in the local columns of The Herald several articles, the substance of interviews with militia officers, pointing out the demoralized condition of the militia service, the unpreparedness of the men for active service at short notice, the unserviceableness of their equipment, including their rifles, and the consequent general waste of money spent by the Militia Department. No one has undertaken to call the statements made in question, simply because they were true, as many of our most public-spirited officers are quite ready to admit. A clipping bearing on this question, and which was published in a Chicago paper ten years ago, is appended. It is somewhat overdrawn, but, making allowance for exaggeration, it fully bears out the statements made in this paper referred to above. The clipping is as follows:—

"The Canadian Militia [circa 1880] is divided into two parts, the active and what is called the reserve. The total number of the active militia is about 42,000 men. Of this number about one half drill for twelve days each year, for which each militiaman receives $6. the corps are made up of city and country battalions, and as the authorities think the city corps are the most useful, they always give them the preference, and all the city corps are allowed to put in their annual drill. These corps, in round numbers, muster about 10,000 men, and thus the remaining 11,000 who are entitled to drill are selected by rotation, year after year. No country corps drill two years in succession, and many of them have been three, or even four years without having a muster. In the cities some of the corps are fairly efficient in drill. The men are clean, well dressed, obedient and willing. No one can find a reasonable fault with the rank and file of the Canadian militia, and in physique they stand comparison with any troops in the world. The climate makes them hardy, and more than once they have proved themselves of use to the State. But here it ends. Of internal economy the majority of the corps know nothing. There is not a semblance of a commissariat in the whole Dominion. There are simply 21,000 good men in uniform provided each year, put through a few evolutions, and there is the beginning and end of it. The officers make heroic sacrifices the keep their corps efficient; the State makes political capital out of the service, and so it goes on from one year to the other. There is not an ambulance wagon in Canada, and the medical staff is a fiction. In the principal city in the Dominion the militia are without a drill-shed, and the men are obliged to drill in places which, in your country, would only be regarded as fit for hen-roosts. With all this there are some good corps—the Queen's Own, of Toronto, undoubtedly coming first; then there is the Montreal brigade, the Eighth Quebec, the Governor-general's Guards and a couple of other troops in Ontario. But still these 21,000 are, all things considered, fairly efficient. Now, as for the country corps in general, they are, in most cases, men in uniform—nothing more and nothing less. The money spent on them is too often money thrown away. They meet, they love, and they are parted, knowing no more of their duties than could be gathered by two days' drill under the hands of an experienced instructor. This is no assertion of mine. It is almost word for word what the General in command (Luard) told a country corps near Quebec a few days ago. But they are there, and they are ready, and if required could soon be equipped into shape, but at present they count for little and they show for less. The officers are miserably deficient in their duties, the arms are in bad order, the equipment is far from serviceable and none of the troops are supplied with the Martini-Henry rifle. But let us grant that there are 42,— fairly equipped men. If put to the test no doubt these men would respond with alacrity and would submit to the discipline necessary to get them into shape with resignation. But here is the beginning and the end of the Canadian militia. As for reserve, there is none. When I say none, I mean none—not one mother's son. The reserve of the Dominion is a delusion, and it has no more existence than the man in the moon. But in order to impose on themselves, or the outside world, I know not which, a number of colonels, majors, captains and others appear in the army list as belonging to the reserve militia, while of that militia there is not, I venture to say, a muster-roll in the country. It does not exist even on paper, except that the officers are duly gazetted. These officers never had a uniform on their backs, never saw the men they are supposed to command, and they laugh at the thing as a huge joke. Marshal Saxe once said that it was legs, not arms, that won campaigns, but the Canadian militia reserve has neither legs nor arms. A stranger to the country who takes up the army list and counts 250 men for each Lieutenant Colonel on the reserve militia might, I suppose, count 400,000 or 500,000 men, but if a militia reserve can be manufactured by simply placing a certain number of names on the army list, then good-bye statistics for ever. Here is the condition of the Canadian militia. There are 42,000 men, all told. If these 42,000 there are about 21,000 fairly efficient, while the remaining 21,000 drill, on an average, six days in two or say three years. But to put it in round numbers, we call out 42,000 men, and good men too, but that is the strength, stock, lock, and barrel of the service, and it is to that that the 600,000 vanish like a dream."

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Thursday, 28 January 2016

War Honours Report (1956)
Topic: Battle Honours

War Honours Report (1956)

Issue of Battle Lists

The Glasgow Herald, 28 January 1956
From our Military Correspondent

Ten years and more after fighting has ceased a War Office Committee with the fine-sounding title of "Battle Nomenclature Committee" have presented their report and recommendations on the numbers and names of battle in the Second World War.

In old-time wars these were easy to define; when war was global—and in the last war it stretched from East to West, from the Sea of Japan through Hong Kong, Burma, Mesopotamia, Ethiopia, North Africa, and Italy to Normandy and to the Elbe, not forgetting our own islands where the casualties exceeded those of many of our famous fights—it is not so easy.

Baffling Question

How to distinguish the phases of a long battle is a matter for grave discussion. There was a Battle of Normandy certainly; was there a Battle of Caen and a Battle of Falaise?

At the time it mattered little what one called them; they could not be mentioned then in any case because there was a censor who bore intense dislike of that very nomenclature which has occupied the committee. But is matters considerably now, for on exactitude in the matter depends the award of battle honours.

The battle honours concern the colours, and the colours are important things. Only the cavalry, now nearly all mechanised, carry colours, the guidons of the regiments, and the infantry. The other corps have no colours; to the gunners the gun itself is the colour, and as they would all say that, so far as the last war was concerned, there was not a single engagement at which at least one of their members failed to put in an honourable appearance, there would be no room in any colours they had for the emblazonment of all their battle honours.

First Award

A battle honour at the beginning did not necessarily concern the colours. It was awarded to a regiment for a particular feat, and the first was awarded as late as 1760 to the old 15th Hussars for their conduct at Elmsdorf; officers and men wore it on their headdress, very much as the Black watch wear the red hackle.

Later, when battles had passed into history, there were general awards; and the names of earlier battles were emblazoned on the guidons of the cavalry and on the Queen's Colours of the infantry.

The earliest, borne only by the Grenadier and Coldstream Guards, by the Royal Scots and the Queen's, and by the 1st Royal Dragoons, was for "Tangier."

Staking Claim

With the publication of the Second World War list it is now the task of the regiments to make their claim to the right to be awarded a battle honour for this action or that. The claims are made through the Colonel of the Regiment; they will be examined and those admitted will be promulgated in due course. No more than 10 "Honours" may be emblazoned.

The field of selection is extremely wide. The committee lists 19 operations, or, as the older generations would have said, campaigns. When the list is extended to include campaigns in which Australian and New Zealand units were primarily concerned it will contain some 1100 names of "battles, actions, and engagements."

Thus the short Norwegian campaign lists no battle but nine separate engagements. The long campaign in North-West Europe in 1944-45 lists 11 battles, 8 separate actions, and 67 separate engagements. Famous names are sometimes included in a general battle title; thus Arnhem is an action included in the Lower Rhine Battle but El Alamein stands as a battle by itself.

Dunkirk Position

It is for the regiment to decide; to some a single action or even an engagement will be more important, more deserving of remembrance, than an inclusive battle title. That is true of Arnhem; it is certainly true of Walcheren and of others besides.

The committee table nothing here except geographical and military historical particulars. They anticipate no regimental claims. They list no Battle of Dunkirk in 1940, but list the action of Dunkirk. It is not customary to grant a battle honour for a defeat, and some of our famous fights for that reason do not appear on the colours. Was Dunkirk a defeat or a victory? Does a great deliverance fulfil the conditions of an honour? It will be interesting to see if "Dunkirk" is claimed; there are few names with greater entitlement to be honoured.

Canadian Army Battle Honours

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Regimental Records in Hands of the Boers
Topic: The RCR

Regimental Records in Hands of the Boers

Colonel Otter Reports Loss While Being Taken From Bloemfontein
Some Remarkable Marching Done
First Contingent Achieved 1,000 Miles' Continuous Progress

Daily Mail and Empire, Toronto, Ont., 6 October 1900
Special to the Mail and Empire

Ottawa, Oct. 5.—The South African mail, which arrived to-day, brought several reports to the Militia Department. Lieut.-Col. Otter, in his report for the week ending 24th August, from Krugersdorp, says:— "In connection with the past month's service it may interest you to know that the battalion has so far completed 1,000 miles of straight marching since its arrival in this country, and that during the last two weeks we have not had a man fall out on the march, although our average was 17 miles a day. The battalion when it reached Krugersdorp, August 22, was very weak, under 400, all ranks, but was certainly in first class marching trim. General Hart, on our leaving Krugersdorp, took occasion to express his gratification with the conduct of the battalion, and his regret at parting with it, and wished it every good fortune. This expression from an officer of general Hart's stamp I consider a great compliment. During our recent marches I have tried the experiment of organized singing, and found this to work admirably.

"I am very glad to be able to report that Capt. MacDonnell has rejoined the battalion from being a prisoner in the enemy's hands since June 7th last. He has appeared before the usual board of officers (Imperial) and has been exonerated from all blame. He is looking very well, and gives a very interesting account of his experience in the enemy's hands. Although well treated, he still underwent a good deal of priva and physical hardship while being hurried across the country with Gen. De Wet's commando."

Regimental Records Lost

Col. Otter reports with regret the loss of the following regimental records:—

  • Order books from date of debarkation to February 11;
  • Record officers' services,
  • Regimental defaulters' books,
  • Court-martial,
  • Boards of officers,
  • Courts of enquiry,
  • Files of important regimental papers,
  • of reference, and
  • Medical sheets.

These records were left at Bloemfontein in charge of a non-commissioned officer for safe-keeping, but when Capt. MacDonnell came along he undertook to transport them to the regiment, and they were lost when he fell into the enemy's hands at Roodeval on the 7th June. The matter will be enquired into.

The Royal Canadian Regiment Museum

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Tuesday, 26 January 2016

The Potential of Aviation (1910)
Topic: RCAF

The Potential of Aviation (1910)

From the Montreal Witness, 29 June 1910, quoted in the Militia Headquarters Intelligence Diary, July 1910

The importance of the aeroplane from a military standpoint was demonstrated at the Aviation meet at Montreal, on June 28th, before the Minister of Militia. The portion of the programme most interesting to the Minister was an exhibition of bomb dropping at a mark given by Mr. Walter Brookins. Sandbags were taken up, and a white tarpaulin was placed on the field as a target. With five bags, the aviator started his machine and commenced to ascend in huge circles. As he circled, he directed his course so as to pass over the white target. When about 200 feet from the ground, the first of the mimic bombs fell, landing a few feet from the target. When the five bombs lay scattered about the target, the aviator descended.

The Minister of Militia questioned Mr. Brookins as to his opinion on the possibilities of the aeroplane in war, to which the aviator replied that he thought the possibilities very great for bomb-throwing, scouting and surveying. He expected to see the application of a special apparatuis by which the relation of the machine to the target, and the effect of the wind at any particular height can be ascertained.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Monday, 25 January 2016

Technique Changes But Bayonet Is Still Handy
Topic: Cold Steel

Technique Changes But Bayonet Is Still Handy

Sarasota Herald-Tribune, 25 April 1954

Washington—(UP)—Hand-to-hand fighting in Korea showed the armed forces that the bayonet has not been outmoded by "push button" warfare, but that some changes are needed in technique.

Bayonet practice is an integral part of all U.S. Army and Marines Corps training, the purpose being to give the soldier in confidence in his ability to fight with the weapon when he cannot fire a shot.

The soldier must learn to handle his rifle and bayonet in any type of condition, while scaling a wall, crawling through wire obstacles or balancing on a log bridge over a gully. He must also get the "spirit of the bayonet," accompanying each movement with the most ferocious shout or roar he can muster.

In early bayonet training the soldier was taught four main parries, with 30 "radical movements."

Boxing Technique

The change was brought about when it was noted in Korean fighting that soldiers would revert to more natural positions than those taught at the training camps.

It was also observed that most of the basic movements, similar to those taught by the armed services as far back as 1905, were difficult to execute well and that the soldier was off-balance while executing them.

An article by Dr. Arnold H. Seidler and Maj. George Golleher in the Marine Corps gazette describes the new method.

"The newly devised experimental method," the article states, "is a system of bayonet fighting closely approximating the techniques of the boxer…"

The theory underlying the new method is that the rifle and bayonet are used primarily as a quarterstaff. The five main strokes in this method are the slash, the horizontal slash, the vertical butt strokes, the horizontal butt stroke and the jab.

One point both the old and new techniques in bayonet fighting agree on is the spirit. There is no substitute for aggressiveness in bayonet combat.

Even in this day of jets and atom bombs, if the need ever comes for sudden, offensive action at close quarters, the armed forces of the Unites States will be ready with fixed bayonets.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Sunday, 24 January 2016

General MacArthur's Principles of Leadership
Topic: Leadership

General MacArthur's Principles of Leadership

Leadership Principles for the new ADP 6-22; A Monograph by Major Gregory W. McLean, US Army, SAMS, AY 2012-001

General Douglas MacArthur's principles of leadership are another example of how a leader can briefly explain what is expected from his subordinates to be successful. General MacArthur's principles were written during peacetime operations, but the Army still has to function while not conducting combat operations and his principles focused on garrison activities are useful as well. His principles are a concise way for leaders to understand what should be expected from them.

  • Do I heckle my subordinates or strengthen and encourage them?
  • Do I use moral courage in getting rid of subordinates who have proven themselves beyond doubt to be unfit?
  • Have I done all in my power by encouragement, incentive, and spur to salvage the weak and erring?
  • Do I know by NAME and CHARACTER a maximum number of subordinates for whom I am responsible? Do I know them intimately?
  • Am I thoroughly familiar with the technique, necessities, objectives, and administration of my job?
  • Do I lose my temper at individuals?
  • Do I act in such a way as to make my subordinates WANT to follow me?
  • Do I delegate tasks that should be mine?
  • Do I arrogate everything to myself and delegate nothing?
  • Do I develop my subordinates by placing on each one as much responsibility as he can stand?
  • Am I interested in the personal welfare of each of my subordinates, as if he were a member of my family?
  • Have I the calmness of voice and manner to inspire confidence, or am I inclined to irascibility and excitability?
  • Am I a constant example to my subordinates in character, dress, deportment, and courtesy?
  • Am I inclined to be nice to my superiors and mean to my subordinates?
  • my door open to my subordinates?
  • I think more of POSITION than JOB?
  • I correct a subordinate in the presence of others?

These questions/principles are uncomplicated – which is what makes them timeless and so much more useful than hundreds of pages of over-explained values. General MacArthur said "in the end, through the long ages of our quest for light, it will be found that truth is still mightier than the sword. For out of the welter of human carnage and human weal the indestructible thing that will always live is a sound idea." General MacArthur also believed, "It is easy, of course, to overemphasize the influence of machinery in war. It is man that makes war, not machines, and the human element must always remain the dominant one. Weapons are nothing but tools and each has its distinctive limitations as well as its particular capabilities. Effective results can be obtained only when an army is skillfully organized and trained so as to supplement inherent weaknesses in one type of weapon by peculiar powers in others." General MacArthur focused his principles on the human dimension, and understanding your subordinates is one of the most important qualities a leader can have. He also understood leaders must be calm during times of duress, a constant example, and encouraging.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Updated: Tuesday, 29 December 2015 6:21 PM EST
Saturday, 23 January 2016

Message of His Majesty the King
Topic: Canadian Militia

General Orders 1939

G.O. 86
Message of His Majesty the King

The following message addressed by His Majesty the King to the Minister of National Defence, is promulgated for the information of all members of the Canadian Militia:—

Halifax, N.S.,
15th June, 1939.

To the Minister of National Defence,

Before we leave you to-day I wish to congratulate you sincerely on the Defence Forces of the Dominion. Time has not permitted me to assist in the training exercises which are the only test of defence that peaceful conditions can provide. Our contact has, of necessity, been one of ceremonial. Even so, it has been easy to detect among all ranks that spirit of discipline and keenness to serve, without which the most thorough training would be useless.

In both Oceans the Canadian Navy has been our escort, and on land as well there has been ample opportunity to see the smart efficiency of all ranks. Not only at Victoria, where I presented colours to the regular force, but repeatedly along our route where we have been greeted by detachments of the Naval Volunteer Reserve, have I been proud to notice that the same high standard has been maintained.

With the Army too, both Permanent and Non-Permanent Militia, I have been deeply impressed. Wherever we have passed, escorts have been provided and streets have been lined by regular troops and by men who are prepared to devote a generous portion of their spare time to the military service of their Country. In every case their bearing has done the greatest credit to the uniform which they wear.

I regret that time has prevented me from seeing more of the Air Force. Faultless escorts I have seen and on more than one occasion Airmen and Air Force bands have contributed, second to none, to the pageantry of the streets. I am confident that the Air Force, though the youngest of the Services, has already established a tradition no less brilliant than that of the senior branches, and that before it, associated with the Air Development of this vast land, lies a great and vital future.

As head of the three Services I send my congratulations and thanks to all. Since the day on which The Queen and I first sailed into Canadian waters they have contributed in no small measure to the success and interest of out progress. I am proud to have made their close acquaintance.

(Sgd.) GEORGE R.I.

H.Q. 293-135

By command:
H.H. Matthews,

Canadian Army Battle Honours

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Friday, 22 January 2016

More Native Canadians with Second Contingent
Topic: CEF

More Native Canadians with Second Contingent

Percentage Will Be Greater Than Was Alleged in the Case of the First Contingent—Many College Men in Ranks

The Journal of Commerce (Montreal), 24 October 1914

Reports from various parts of the country state that a larger percentage of native born Canadians are enlisting in the second contingent than went out with the first. In the first contingent it is said that only thirty per cent. of those who volunteered were native born Canadians, the remainder being British born, many of whom had some previous military training. Another factor noticeable in connection with the recruits for the second contingent is that they are a better type of men. The first contingent was largely made up of adventurers, while the recruits for the second contingent consist very largely of men holding responsible positions, who are throwing these up and going to the front from a sense of duty. Hundreds of college men will go out with the second contingent, while numbers of college professors from different universities have enlisted and are taking their places in the ranks. Business men from big corporations, banks, farmers' sons and others are vieing with one another in rallying to the call for men.

It has apparently taken some little time for the native born Canadian to realize the dangers confronting the Empire, and his own responsibility in repelling the world's War Lord. Recruiting officers declare that Canada's second contingent will be composed of the very flower of the country's young manhood.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Thursday, 21 January 2016

Discipline in the Navy
Topic: Discipline

Discipline in the Navy

Nothing is more injurious to discipline than to give way to insubordinate demands or refusals to carry out legitimate orders.

From the Report of Admiral of the Fleet Viscount Jellicoe of Scapa, G.C.B., O.M., G.V.C.O., on Naval Mission to the Dominion of Canada (Nov-Dec 1919)

The most efficient ships, in which a high standard of discipline (associated with kindness, courtesy and sympathy) is maintained, are always the happiest. Men-of-war which are really efficient in gunnery and torpedo work, coaling and steaming, boat-pulling and games (proficiency in each of which can only be obtained after much hard work) are probably correct in all essentials, including the mental and moral well-being of officers and men. Without good discipline the above achievements are not within reach.

elipsis graphic

Very briefly, the following are the essential rules for teaching and maintaining discipline:—

(1)     All officers must be thoroughly disciplined, and must be as efficient as possible so as to win the respect of their men.

(2)     Justice must always be given—infinite pains being taken in hearing defaulters.

(3)     Unkindness (including sarcasm, i.e., unkind words) must never be allowed.

(4)     Courtesy must always be practiced.

(5)     Reproof must always be impersonal, for it is administered because the offender has not acted up to the high standard of the Navy.

(6)     Kindness from a superior must never be mistaken for weakness.

(7)     Discipline must be maintained. Nothing is more injurious to discipline than to give way to insubordinate demands or refusals to carry out legitimate orders.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Syllabus - Canadian Machine Gun Corps
Topic: Drill and Training

General Orders 1920
G.O. 150; King's Regulations and Orders for the Canadian Militia, 1917—Amendments

Syllabus – Canadian Machine Gun Corps

For Lieutenant's Certificate

(a)     Machine Gun training; squad, section and company drill.
(b)     The Vickers Machine Gun.
(c)     Stores and Instruments.
(d)     Elementary tactics and field training.
(e)     Rifle and revolver exercises; guards, ceremonial.
(f)     Care of arms and elementary musketry.
(g)     Topography.
(h)     Discipline and military law.
(i)     Organization, duties and interior economy.
(k)     Equitation, animal management and mounted drill. (For Cavalry Branch only.)
(l)     Care of mechanical transport and motorcycles. (For Motor Branch only.)

In addition, lectures are to be given on the following heads, sufficient to ensure a candidate possessing an intelligent knowledge of each subject:—

  • Automatic rifles.
  • Anti-gas measures.
  • Explosives and grenades.
  • Leadership, morale, Esprit-de-Corps.
  • Trench warfare and machine gun emplacements
  • First Aid, hygiene and sanitation.



(a)     Machine Gun Training, 1919, Part I.
(b)     Handbook for then .303" Vickers Machine Gun.
(c)     The Tactical Employment of Machine Guns, S.S. 192, January 1919.

For Captain's Certificate

Officers entering upon this course must have a thorough knowledge of the work comprised in a Lieutenant's Course:—

(a)     Machine gun training.
(b)     Co-operation with, and sound knowledge of the tactics of, other arms.
(c)     Infantry, Cavalry, or M.T. Drill, according to branch of the Machine Gun Service the officer belongs to.
(d)     Musketry and Machine gun fire.
(e)     Use of Signalling apparatus. Telephony and visual signalling.
(f)     Tactics and field training.
(g)     Topography.
(h)     Military law.
(i)     Organization, administration and equipment.
(k)     Physical Training.


(a)     Machine Gun Training, 1919, Part I.
(b)     Handbook for then .303" Vickers Machine Gun.
(c)     Infantry Training, Chapter II, III, IV, Cavalry Training, Chapter I, Chapter II, Sec. 15-28, Sec 40-49; Chapter III, Chapter IV, Sec. 109-136. (According to branch of the Machine Gun Service the officer belongs to.)
(d)     Training and Manoeuvre Regulations; Field Service Regulations, Parts I and II.

For Field Officer's Certificate

Officers entering upon this course must have a thorough knowledge of the work comprised in Lieutenant's and Captain's Courses:—

(a)     The practical handling of a Machine Gun Company and Brigade in drill and in the Field.
(b)     Co-operation with other arms.
(c)     Organization and administration of a Machine Gun Company and Brigade in billets and in the Field.
(d)     Tactics and Field Training, Disposition of Machine Gun Units and fire Oraganization.
(e)     Machine Gun transport.
(f)     Equitation and horsemastership.

Note:—Details regarding each subject and information concerning courses are published in pamphlet form for general information.

For Sergeant's Certificate

The subjects will be laid down as for the Lieutenant's qualifying course on appointment, but the scope adapted to the knowledge essential for the performance of his duties in camp and the tactical instruction and handling of his unit in the field.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Tuesday, 19 January 2016

NWMP Ration Scale (1900)
Topic: Army Rations

NWMP Ration Scale (1900)

From the Orders-in-Council documents archives on line by Library and Archives Canada, we find this memorandum on the ration scale for the North West Mounted Police which was submitted for the approval of the Governor General.

On a memorandum dated 4th August 1900, from the Right Honorable the President of the Privy Council, recommending that the scale of rations for the North West Mounted Police, approved by an Order-in-Council dated 29th Nov 1893, be cancelled and the following substituted therefore, to take effect from the 1st November, 1900:—

  • Beef – 1 lb., 8 oz.
  • or Bacon or Corned Beef – 1 lb.
  • Flour or Biscuit – 1 lb., 4 oz.
  • or Bread – 1 lb., 8 oz.
  • Butter – 2 oz.
  • Apples or other dried fruit – 2 oz.
  • or Jam or Syrup – 2 oz.
  • Potatoes – 1 lb.
  • or Beans – 4 oz.
  • Evaporated vegetables – 2 oz.
  • or Canned vegetables (tomatoes, peas, or corn) – 2 oz.
  • Coffee – ½ oz.
  • Tea – ½ oz.
  • Pepper – 1/36 oz.
  • Salt
  • Rice or Barley – 1 oz.
  • Sugar – 4 oz.
  • Oatmeal – 2 oz.

Lime juice and vinegar to be issued when and in such quantities as may be recommended by the Surgeon.

Small detachments on patrol or outpost duty may, in the discretion of the Commissioner, be allowed an extra issue, not exceeding 25% of the regular ration.

Commissioned Officers, and such married Non-Commissioned Officers as are specially authorized by the Minister, may draw two rations.

The Committee submit the same for your Excellency's approval.

(signed)Wilfred Laurier

The memorandum was counter-signed in approval on 27 August, 1900, by the Deputy Governor General.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Monday, 18 January 2016

Canadians Cited for Bravery
Topic: Canadian Army

When we talk about courage and soldiers, all too often our minds and conversations focus on battlefield actions, combat arms soldiers, and significant awards such as the Victoria Cross. Once that habit becomes entrenched, we begin, collectively, to forget about the many other awards of bravery, both on and off the battlefield that have been awarded to soldiers. The article which follows is about three of those brave soldiers who also deserve to be remembered for their actions in time of crisis. - TRR

Canadians Cited for Bravery

Ottawa Citizen, 26 June 1942

London, June 25—(C.P. Cable)—Three Canadian soldiers were cited tonight in Canadian army routine orders for distinguished conduct during a serious fire in the ordnance workshop of a Canadian infantry division.

The soldiers, Privates Thomas Francis Mitchell, of London, Ont., and John Ernest Kilcourse, of Tillsonburg, Ont., and Staff Sgt. John Wallace James of Verdun, Que., saved valuable machinery, including an army lorry valued at $17,000, from destruction by fire. The blaze occurred Feb. 21.

The citation said James entered the burning building and removed valuable equipment until almost overcome by fumes when he had to be lifted through a window. Mitchell and Kilcourse entered the building and drove a truck through a wall after local firemen had abandoned attempts to recover it.

elipsis graphic

The Award Citation

The text of the citation for James, Mitchell, and Kilcourse is shown below:

elipsis graphic

A Subsequent Award

Private Thomas Francis Mitchell was subsequently awarded the British Empire Medal for his actions on the night of 21 February 21942.

Canadian Army Battle Honours

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Sunday, 17 January 2016

Ranger Leadership
Topic: Leadership

Ranger Leadership

SH 21-76 United States Army; Ranger Handbook, July 1992

1-1.     General.

The most important element of combat power is competent and confident leadership. Leadership provides purpose, direction, and motivation in combat. It is the leader who will determine the degree to which maneuver, firepower, and protection are maximized; who will ensure these elements are effectively balanced; and who will decide how to bring them to bear against the enemy.


  • Mission
  • Enemy
  • Terrain (OCOKA)
  • Troops
  • Time


  • Observation and Fields of Fire
  • Cover and Concealment
  • Obstacles (man made and natural)
  • Key or Decisive Terrain
  • Avenues of Approach

While leadership requirements differ with unit size and type, all combat leaders must be men of character who must know and understand soldiers and the tools of war. They must act with courage and conviction during the uncertainty and confusion of battle. The primary function of tactical leaders is to inspire soldiers to do difficult things in dangerous, stressful circumstances.

A good leader will:

  • Take charge of his unit by issuing appropriate orders, establishing priority of tasks, and establishing / maintaining security.
  • Motivate his men by setting the example and always maintaining a positive can-do attitude.
  • Demonstrate initiative by taking positive actions in the absence of orders and by making sound and timely decisions based on METT-T.
  • Effectively communicate by giving specific instructions to accomplish the mission, keeping the unit informed, and by involving key leaders in the decision-making process.
  • Supervise by inspecting to insure tasks are accomplished to standard, making appropriate corrections, and holding immediate subordinates responsible for assigned tasks.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Saturday, 16 January 2016

Rum in the Trenches
Topic: CEF

Rum in the Trenches

Excerpted from "Canadian Medical Services Under Fire in the Commons," Ottawa Citizen, 7 February 1917

Gen. Alderson's Wet Canteen

Sir Sam Hughes stated that, profiting by experience at Valcartier, where one contractor had been found to have made $33,000 profit in three weeks, he had instituted the regimental dry canteen system in Canada and desired to follow suit in England. But in 1914 when he had gone to the Old Country he had been told that this matter was in General Alderson's hands alone. General Alderson had told the Canadian soldiers he was going to make free men of them with the wet canteen.

Hon. Charles Marell interjected to inquire on the issuing of rum to the troops in the trenches as a daily ration. Many people in Montreal were objecting to their sons running such risks.

Sir Robert Borden said he had never heard that rum was given to the men before going into action. It was merely a medicine.

Rum as a Stimulant

Sir Sam Hughes confirmed this with the statement that rum was allowed in the front line trenches as a stimulant for troops who often had to stand waist deep in cold water. Sir Sam said he took second rank to no man as a temperance advocate but did not want to hear any nonsense talked against this practice.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Friday, 15 January 2016

Year's Work of Canada's Militia
Topic: Canadian Militia

Year's Work of Canada's Militia

Annual Report of Militia Council is Presented by Col. Sam Hughes
No Important Changes
Permanent Force Now Comprises 3,118 Men, Including Officers—Increased Expenditure was $791, 947

The Montreal Gazette, 15 January, 1913

General Otter goes on to say that not enough serious thought is given to neglect of preparation for defence.

Ottawa, January 14.—The year's work in the Canadian Militia is reviewed in the annual report of the Militia Council presented by Colonel the Hon. Sam Hughes. The one object sought, says the report in part, was preparedness for war, the power to mobilize at short notice a force of adequate strength, well-trained and fully equipped. In the scheme of defence a few readjustments have been made, but no important changes introduced.

Respecting mobilization, the general scheme is assuming definite shape. It depends for its success on decentralization. Division commanders will be given as free a hand as possible and not required to adopt a uniform system. The peace strength of the militia compared to war establishment is relatively low.

An inter-departmental committee, composed of the director of naval service, chief of the general staff, and general staff officer for mobilization has been formed. Seventeen officers took instructional courses in England during the year. The report deals at length with the instructional schools of the militia in Canada, which in the last fiscal year granted certificates to 1,724 officers. In the year forty officers were appointed to the permanent staff.

The permanent force now comprises 3,118 men, of which 202 are officers. The lagest number, 1,201, are at Halifax. Quebec coming second with 404, Toronto with 345, and Kingston with 344. the year's expenditure under votes was $7,558,284, and by statute, $21600. This was an increase of 791, 947. A total of 38,994 men received efficiency pay aggregating $174, 053.

The Inspector-General reports fifteen city corps as good, twenty-one as fair, three indifferent, and two disorganized. In regard to rural corps, eight are classed as good, 29 as fair, 18 indifferent, and three disorganized. The establishment is 1,409 officers and 16,825 non-coms. and men, while the number trained was 1,019 officers and 11,558 men.

"The main obstacles to our efficiency," remarks General Otter, "present themselves in two forms—lack of money on the one hand and the profusion of it in the form of successful enterprises on the other. The former, militating against the provision of armories and equipment, rifle ranges and training grounds, and so placing obstacles in the prosecution of effective training in its full significance; the latter prevents individuals from sparing the time necessary to fit themselves for the military duties they have assumed."

General Otter goes on to say that not enough serious thought is given to neglect of preparation for defence. Is it not imperative, he asks, that we possess a military force adequate to bear the first brunt of conflict or in any event cause the intruder to stop and think on the threshold. He expresses the belief that the plaudits for church or ceremonial parades may have lulled us into the belief that we are fit and capable for any invasion and that we are encouraging a rude awakening and irreparable loss some day.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Thursday, 14 January 2016

US Army Emergency Ration (1906)
Topic: Army Rations

The US Army Emergency Ration (1906)

Test of the Ration of the Army

Emergency Food for This Summer's Marches
One Day's Supply Weighs a Pound and a Quarter

Nashua Telegraph, Nashua, New Hampshire, 28 July 1906

With a view to having the officers and men of the army know exactly what they are eating and why, 86 officers from Fort Leavenworth and from Fort Riley went to Kansas City, where in one of the big packing houses they saw the manufacture of the army emergency rations from beginning to end.

The emergency ration, used only in cases of extremity and dire need, is one of the most important things with which the commissary department of the army has to deal. The present ration is one of the best in the world, and its existing form is the result of many years of investigation, experimentation and observation in war times by American officers with the armies of other countries. The result is satisfactory and the little life saving cans of food, weighing only a pound and a quarter, have enough nourishment in them to keep a man in his normal physical condition for a day.

The idea of the ration is not merely to ward off starvation until relief can be procured, but to provide food to be used only in case of necessity without impairment to vigor and health. Under existing army regulations there is a three days' supply at every post, and three days out of the year, usually when soldiers are on practice marches, they subsist on this emergency ration.

During the practice marches which will take place this summer the emergency ration will have a further test says the New York Sun. Practically all of the soldiers of the country will take part in these marches, traveling to and from the practice camps on foot or horseback, a distance of 400 or 500 miles.

It is the aim of those now in charge of the commissary department of the army to have the emergency rations cared for with as much regard to avoiding waste as is the ammunition given out to the men. The ration is intended to be a life saving device, not in the sense that it will prevent starvation, but with the idea that having it on hand in time of battle will give strength and power to the soldiers, in the event that the food supply has run short, and make movement possible which would be out of the question without more food.

For this reason the soldier to whom the ration is given is cautioned, both through orders and by directions printed on the ration can, to take care of it and not to open the can unless he has orders to do so, or in an extremity. If a soldier loses a rations its money value is taken from his pay. This tends to impress on the enlisted men the necessity of keeping the little tin can until it is absolutely essential that he dispose of its contents.

The emergency ration now used by the army, adopted after many months of research in 1901, and altered only slightly since, is packed in a hermetically sealed lacquered can, 6 ¾ inches long, with an oval base about 1 ¾ x 2 7/8 inches.

In the bottom of this can, which weighs 20 ½ ounces, there is a cake of chocolate. Next comes a cake of bread and meat, then another cake of chocolate, another or bread and meat, one more of chocolate, and bread and meat again, with salt and pepper on top.

Each cake is wrapped in foil or paper. A tape is wrapped around the contents, so that they may be withdrawn easily.

On the outside of the box are the instructions to use only by order of an officer or in extremity and directions for preparing the food. The emergency rations go into the field in boxes of 50.

The bread component of the bread and meat cake is prepared by taking cooked wheat, kiln dried, with outer hull of bran removed, parching it and grinding it into a coarse powder. The wheat is then cooked in steam until it can be crushed in the hand and then goes into the kiln to be dried again.

It is parched once more, this time to a palatable state, without grit. After being parched there is not more than 5 percent moisture.

The meat component is of fresh, lean beef, free from visible fat and sinew, which is ground in a meat grinder. It is then freed of its moisture be evaporation until it is dry, care being taken that the heat never becomes great enough to cook the meat to the slightest degree.

While in this state the meat is practically dry, it has less than 5 percent of its moisture in it. The product thus produced is reduced to a powder and carefully sifted.

To produce the bread and meat cake which forms the most important portion of the ration, 16 parts by weight of the meat flour, 32 parts of the bread component and one part of common salt are thoroughly mixed together in such a manner and in sufficiently small quantities as to insure a perfectly homogeneous product.

This is then compressed into the cakes weighing four ounces each, not more than one and three-fourths inches thick and conforming to the shape of the ration can. Each cake is wrapped in paper.

The cakes of chocolate in the ration, weighing one and one-third ounces and consisting of equal parts pure chocolate and pure sugar, are regarded as highly important. They were introduced by Major-General John F. Weston, former commissary general of the army. General Weston found that the chocolate was a great stimulant and of much value for the purpose of the emergency ration. Accordingly it was incorporated in the contents of the can.

The final portion of the ration is the seasoning, which is in a pasteboard box or small envelope in the top of the can. There is three-fourths of an ounce of salt and a gram of black pepper.

The directions printed on the outside of the can explain many things which can be done with the contents:

Bread and meat component may be eaten dry, or stirred into cold water, or one cake may be boiled five minutes or longer in three pints of water and resulting soup, seasoned to taste, or one cake may be boiled in one pint of water, making thick porridge, to be eaten hot or cold; when cold may be sliced and fried is bacon or other fat is available.

It took years for the army to reach the conclusions which resulted in the adoption of the present form of emergency ration, and it is now believed that every end desired has been reached. The experiments have been very extensive.

In 1901 there was a board appointed to investigate the subject, and the existing emergency ration is the result of the report of that board. The board made practical tests on the enlisted men of the army.

Fifty-six men were selected for the duty, and for five days they lived on nothing but the emergency ration. They were examined physically and weighed before the five days began and at the end of the period of experimentation.

There was only slight change in weights and none of the men suffered. A few gained in weight, and all declared that they had not felt pangs of hunger at any time. Before the next experiment the men were told that if at any time they felt that they were suffering ill effects from the use of the ration they would get the regular fare. None asked for it.

Before adopting the ration the army had reports from every country maintaining a large army. During the recent war in Manchuria the Russian had no such things as an emergency ration. The Japanese emergency ration was composed of either 14 ounces of dried rice, or one pound and 14 ounces of hard bread, five ounces of canned meat and a little salt. Upon this ration the Japanese have no trouble keeping their strength and vigor.

The English emergency ration is composed of four ounces of concentrated beef and five ounces of cocoa paste. The German iron ration, so-called because of the can in which it is packed, consists of nine ounces of biscuit, seven ounces of preserved meat or bacon, seven-eighths of an ounce of coffee and an equal amount of salt. The total weight of the ration is one pound and ten ounces.

The French emergency ration is comparatively vary heavy, weighing nearly three pounds. It has 33 ounces of bread, about nine ounces of preserved meat and five and a half ounces of groceries including rice, legumes, salt, sugar and coffee.

The iron ration of Switzerland, which is carried in active service, consists of 500 grams of biscuit, or 550 grams of flour, or 750 grams of dessicated bread; 250 grams of smoked, canned or dried meat; 15 grams of salt and 20 grams of sugar. Fresh or canned vegetables may be substituted in this ration for the meat component.

In the Austrian army, in all cases of emergency the following portion of the reserve portion of the regular ration is used: 400 grams of bread, 200 grams of Fleischgemuse (meat vegetables), 25 grams of green coffee and an equal amount of sugar. Coffee tablets are sometimes substituted for the coffee and sugar.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Of Military Discipline (Saxe)
Topic: Discipline

Of Military Discipline

Reveries, or Memoirs, Concerning the Art of War, by Maurice Count de Saxe, Marshal-General of the Armies of France (Translated from the French, MDCCLIX)

Next to the forming of troops, military discipline is the first object that presents itself to our notice. It is the soul of all armies; and unless it be established amongst them with great prudence, and supported with unshaken resolution, they are no better than so many contemptible heaps of rabble, which are more dangerous to the very state that maintains them, than even its declared enemies.

It is a false notion, that subordination, and a passive obedience to superiors, is any debasement of a man's courage; so far from it, that it is a general remark, that those armies which have been subject to the several: discipline, have always performed the greatest things.

Many general officers imagine, that in giving out orders they do ail that is expected from them; and therefore, as they are sure to find great abuses, enlarge their instructions accordingly; in which they proceed upon a very erroneous principle, and take such measures as can never be effectual in restoring discipline in an army wherein it has been lost or neglected.

Few orders are best; but they are to be executed with attention, and offences to be punished without respect of either rank or extraction. All partiality and distinction must be utterly abolished, otherwise you expose yourself to hate and resentment. By enforcing your authority with judgment, and setting a proper example, you may render yourself at once both beloved and seared. Severity must be accompanied with great tenderness and moderation; so displayed upon every occasion as to appear void of all manner of design, and totally the effect of a natural disposition.

Great punishments are only to be inflicted for great crimes: but the more moderate they are in general, the more easy it will be to reform abuses, because all the world, concurring in the necessity of them, will cheerfully promote their effect.

We have, for example, one very pernicious custom; which is, that of punishing marauders with certain death, so that a man is frequently hanged for a single offence; in consequence of which they are rarely discovered; because every one is unwilling to occasion the death of a poor wretch, for only having been seeking perhaps to gratify his hunger.

If, instead of this method, we did but send them to the provosts, there to be chained like galley-slaves; and condemned to subsist upon bread and water for one, two, or three months; or to be employed upon some of those works which are always carrying on in an army; and not to be restored to their regiments, till the night before an engagement, or till the commander in chief shall think proper: then all the world would join their endeavours to bring such delinquents to punishment: the officers upon grand guards and out-posts would not suffer one to escape; by whose vigilance and activity the mischief would thus be soon put an entire stop to. Such as fall at present into the hands justice, are very unfortunate indeed; for the provost and his party, when they discover any marauders, immediately turn their eyes another way, in order to give them an opportunity to escape: but as the commander in chief is perpetually complaining of the outrages which are committed, they are obliged to apprehend one now and then, who falls a sacrifice for the rest. Thus the examples that are made have no tendency towards removing the evil, or restoring discipline; and hardly answer any other purpose, than to justify the common saying amongst the soldiers, "That none but the unfortunate are hanged." Perhaps it may be observed, that the officers likewise suffer marauders to pass by their posts unnoticed. But that is an abuse which may be easily remedied, by discovering from the prisoners what particular posts they passed by, and imprisoning the officers who commanded them, during the remainder of the campaign. This will render them vigilant, careful, and severe: nevertheless, when a man is to be punished with certain death for the offence, there are but few of them who would not risk two or three months imprisonment, rather than be instrumental to it.

All other military punishments, when carried to extremes of severity, will be attended with the same consequences. It is also very necessary to prevent those from being branded with the name of infamy, which should be regarded in a milder light; as the gantlope [sic, i.e., the gauntlet], for instance, which in France is reputed ignominious; but which, in the case of the soldier, deserves a different imputation, because it is a punishment which he receives from the hands of his comrades. The reason of its being thus extravagantly vilified, proceeds from the custom of inflicting it in common upon whores, rogues, and such offenders as fall within the province of the hangman ; the consequence of which is, that one is obliged to pass the colours over a soldier's head, aster he has received this punishment, in order, by such an act of ceremony, to take off that idea of ignominy which is attached to it: A remedy worse than the evil, and which is also productive of a much greater: for after a man has run the gantlope, his captain immediately strips him, for fear he should desert, and then turns him out of the service; by which means this punishment, how much soever necessary, is never inflicted but for capital crimes ; for when a soldier is confined for the commission of any trivial offence, the commanding officer always releases him, upon the application of his captain, because, forsooth, the loss of the man would be some deduction from his perquisites.

There are some things of great importance towards the promotion of discipline, that are, notwithstanding, altogether unattended to ; which, as well as the persons who practise them, are frequently laughed at and despised. The French, for example, ridicule that law amongst the Germans, of not touching a dead horse: which is, nevertheless, a very sensible and good institution, is not carried too far. Pestilential diseases are, in a great measure, prevented by it; for the soldiers frequently plunder dead carcases for their skins, and thereby expose themselves to infection. It does not prevent the killing and eating of horses during sieges, a scarcity of provisions, or other exigencies. Let us from hence, therefore, judge, whether it is not rather useful than otherwise.

The French also reproach the Germans for the bastinade, which is a military punishment established amongst them. If a German officer strikes, or otherwise abuses a private soldier, he is cashiered, upon complaint made by the party injured; and is also compelled, on pain of forfeiting his honour, to give him satisfaction, if he demands it, when he is no longer under his command. This obligation prevails alike through all ranks; and there are frequently instances of general officers giving satisfaction, at the point of the sword, to subalterns who have quitted the service ; for there is no refusing to accept their challenge, without incurring ignominy.

The French do not at all scruple to strike a soldier with their hands; but they are hardly ever tempted to apply the stick, because that is a kind of chastisement which has been exploded, as inconsistent with that notion of liberty which prevails amongst them. Nevertheless prompt punishments are certainly necessary, provided they be such as are not accounted dishonourable.

Let us compare these different customs of the two nations together, and judge which contributes most to the good of the service, and the proper support of the point of honour. The punishments for their officers are likewise of distinct kinds. The French upbraid the Germans with their provosts and their chains; the latter retort the reproach, by exclaiming against the prisons and ropes of the French; for the German officers are never confined in the public prisons. They have a provost to every regiment; which post is always given to an old serjeant, in recompense for his service; but I have never heard of their officers being put in irons, unless for great crimes, and after they had been first degraded.

These observations which I have been making, serve to demonstrate the absurdity of condemning particular customs or prejudices, before one has examined their original causes. After having thus explained my ideas concerning the forming of troops, the manner in which they ought to engage, and lastly, concerning discipline, which, is I may use the expression, is the basis and foundation of the art of war.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Tuesday, 12 January 2016

On the Psychology of Military Incompetence
Topic: Leadership

A Review
'On the Psychology of Military Incompetence'

A Sandhurst Guide, Pilot version, Easter 2012

Norman Dixon's book looks at incompetence in military leaders throughout history and considers whether, rather than being random occurrences, they are, in fact, a result of the military system. In particular he considers whether people with certain psychological characteristics are drawn to a military career, and whether the military insulates and exacerbates these characteristics in them.

Some might feel that Dixon's study has little relevance to the British military of today, with much of his evidence drawn from the characters and experience of the late-Victorian and Edwardian army. He bases many of his hypotheses on the mostly public school background of military offi cers, theories that perhaps require revision in an age when the demographic of offi cer candidates is considerably broader. Modern military readers might also struggle to relate to Dixon's fascination with the issue of toilet-training and its infl uence on character, as well as his perception of military men inevitably being the progeny of distant, disciplinarian parents and affection-starved childhoods.

If one persists, there is much in Dixon's book that remains applicable to the British military today. Most military readers are likely to fi nd something of themselves in his examples. His assertion that the institutional culture of the military breeds an intellectual conservatism, resulting in dangerous 'group-think', should serve as a warning to all military leaders. He also cautions against military leaders becoming so invested in their own plan that their mind fi lters information, accepting that which reinforces their perception of a situation, but discarding that which doesn't. Dixon draws attention to the military need for order and discipline, suggesting that this conditions military minds to comfortable certainties, despite disorder and uncertainty being the prevailing characteristics of the battlefi eld. He also argues that most military failures result not from being too bold, but from not being bold enough, and that the higher a military leader rises in rank the more they are motivated by fear of failure, rather than hope of success, resulting in a reduced willingness to take risks.

Dixon's book is also very useful in helping to understand how the culture, values, and ethos of British military leadership have emerged from a largely amateur tradition. He divides leaders into two broad types, task-specialists, concerned principally with output, and social specialists concerned principally with the maintenance of harmony and cohesion in a group. Dixon considers the phenomenon of how some of Britain's most incompetent military leaders were still loved by their men, despite leading them to slaughter. He concludes that, although poor task specialists, they were excellent social specialists, with reputations, often made as junior leaders, for being brave and caring. Principally, their incompetence resulted from being promoted beyond their capability.

Obviously, the ideal military leader is both a task and social specialist, and reading Dixon's book, the reader will no doubt see how much more output-related modern military leadership has become. Never-the-less the book challenges the reader to look at some of the cultural attitudes that do persist in our military today and ask if they are still relevant. Is it still important that our leaders are gentlemen, or have a 'sense of otherness'? Given the much improved educational standard of our soldiers, can we still assume that the leader is more knowledgeable than those he leads, and if not should this result in a less autocratic, and more cooperative style of leadership?

This is a challenging and informative book that should be read with an open mind. It highlights some uncomfortable truths about the military psychology and the dangers inherent in the military culture for decision-making and leadership, and provides useful warnings to be heeded from its negative historical examples.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST

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