The Minute Book
Saturday, 26 March 2016

The Old Funding Argument; Militia vs. Regular
Topic: Canadian Militia

The Old Funding Argument; Militia vs. Regular

Extracted from "Military Chit-Chat," The Metropolitan, Montreal, 12 January 1895

We do not wish to under-rate the value of the Royal Regiments of Canadian Regulars, but we do protest against making the object for which the schools were originally formed—the instruction of officers and men of the active militia—a secondary consideration altogether. The camp at Levis last autumn must have cost a good deal of money, and many militiamen asked themselves how it was the money could be forthcoming to hold a long camp for the benefit of the well-drilled men of the permanent corps, when the country can only afford to drill our rural corps, who need it badly, but once in two years, and not always that. Then, again, look at the parsimony practiced toward the city corps, who find it difficult to obtain from a grateful Government even the bare necessities of their equipment. Every officer of a city battalion has to contribute largely from his private means towards the support of the corps in order to provide the men with a proper head-dress and other articles, which the Government have overlooked or forgotten, as being necessary to enable men to turn out properly dressed on parade. And when the officers have gone to the expense of providing the men with the balance of their equipment, and spent money in having tunics made to fit them, the inspecting officer will find fault at the annual inspection, because, perhaps, one man is lacking some small article which the Government does not supply. What funny looking regiments would turn out in Montreal, if the men were dressed only in the uniform and accoutrements supplied by the Government.

The Senior Subaltern


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Friday, 25 March 2016

Shrapnel Wounds Worst
Topic: Military Medical

Shrapnel Wounds Worst, Because of Bad Infection

The Pittsburgh Gazette Times, 13 February 1915

New York, Feb. 12.—Shrapnel, causing infection, makes the most troublesome wounds of the present war, but bayonet wounds are the most deadly, according to Professor Walton Martin of the department of surgery of Columbia university, who was recently engaged in the American hospital in Paris and who was a speaker today at the alumni day exercises at Columbia. The number of soldiers wounded by bayonets who reach the hospital is small, the surgeon said, and from his experience behind the British and French trenches he was convinced that few men this wounded ever left the trenches alive.

Fragments of uniforms, wood and stone and chunks of soil were probed out of the wounds of soldiers felled by shrapnel, Dr. Martin said.

"The great danger is from infection," he continued. "Shrapnel makes a big wound going in and a big wound coming out." Out of 100 cases under his charge 82 wounds were caused by shrapnel and every one of these was infected. Of those due to rifle bullets one-fifth were clean and the infection in the others was milder than that made by shrapnel. In the 100 cases there was only one bayonet wound.

One lesson taught by this wart, he stated, is the necessity for a large base hospital behind the fighting lines, as the fatality list increases according to the distance the wounded have to be moved. A deplorable circumstance in his connection, he noted, is that the wounded can be taken out of the trenches only at night.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Thursday, 24 March 2016

Tropical Diet
Topic: Army Rations

Tropical Diet

Tasty New Diet for Troops Based in Tropical Areas

The Age, Melbourne, Australia, 18 October 1962

Canberra.—The Australian army had discovered a way of feeding troops based in the tropics with good, edible and interesting meals and at the same time reducing the soldiers' load.

Cooked, minced, dried, compressed with 500 lb. pressure per square inch at freezing point and some months later, soaked in water—that is the pattern of food preparation for the tropical soldier of the future.

An army spokesman said today that work carried out at the army food research station in Tasmania had shown that meat processed in this way retained nutritional value—and still tasted like meat.

Still Wary

Many soldiers from the Second World War are still wary of any food marked "dehydrated," but the days of potatoes that taste like flour and peas resembling buckshot are gone for ever.

In most cases the difference between the taste of fresh food and that processed at the army research station are no more than the minor variations in different women's cooking.

The process for vegetables involves immersing them in hot water or steam to make organic life inactive, a dip in sulphite to aid rapid drying, and compression.

Before compression, the vegetables are held at a high temperature for a short period to obtain an even distribution of moisture.

Meat is cut into pieces about the size of a man's fist, placed on wire racks and cooked in steam ovens for 40 to 50 minutes, It is then cooled and minced.

Blended

The minced meat is placed in a dehydrator and the juice collected during cooking is reduced to a syrup. The syrup is then blended with the partly dried meat.

Drying continues at a slower rate until the moisture content is less than 5 per cent. This is followed by compression into small blocks.

Some months later, a small patrol operating many miles from its base soaks these blocks in hot water before cooking.

Under a tropical sun, the meal tastes like the food served by the catering corps back home in Australia, and the soldier is receiving the nourishment he needs.

A major advantage, according to the rank and file, is that the soldier's load has been lightened considerably and reduced in bulk.

The bulk reduction ratio between fresh and processed cabbage is 11 to 1.

A one-ounce block of cabbage occupies about 1 cubic inch of space, but when reconstituted it is five or six ounces of "fresh" cabbage—sufficient for one man.

Vitamin Loss

The army spokesman said there were some losses of mineral and vitamin during processing, but generally they were not as great as the losses incurred during canning.

Meanwhile the army is continuing work on finding the means of reducing these losses or making them good by addition at a later stage.

Work is also being directed to widening the variety of foods that can be reduced to these lightweight packs—making it possible for the digger to enjoy a diet similar to that he has known all his life, even though he may be miles from the nearest army cook house.

The Senior Subaltern


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Discipline of the Prussian Army
Topic: Discipline

Discipline of the Prussian Army

Morning Chronicle, Commercial and Shipping Gazette; Quebec, 30 August 1870

The discipline and daily routine of exercise for the Prussian army is to all foreigners a source of never ending wonder. The early morning is devoted to cleansing the quarters, and correcting any irregularities which may have arisen out of the previous days' duties. Later in the forenoon the hours are given to study—arithmetic, geography, geometry, theory and practice of military science; and even singing is not neglected. Great importance is attached to the studies of the soldiers, and by attaining a certain advancement in knowledge, each one, after satisfactory examination, can shorten his term of service from one to two years. In the afternoon of each day the bodily culture is attended to, and this consists not only of purely military drill, but also of every variety of physical exercise calculated to add either strength or suppleness to the human form—running, leaping, vaulting, balancing, bayonet exercise, lifting, shooting, bending, altogether such an innumerable variety of movements that no muscle of the body is without its daily exercise. These "squad" drill are followed by company and regimental parades, and at short intervals by grand field movements of brigades and divisions, and these once a or twice year by grand army movements with mock battles. I have not been fortunate enough to witness any of the grand tactics, but the exercise in detail by company, battalion, squadron, or battery, and in particular the artillery movements, seem to me to be as near perfection as patience and practice can make them. All this perfection pr preparatory knowledge and practice must, of course, have its weight on the struggle of actual war; but if there is any ground for doubt as to the power of the German militia, it would lie on its too great reliance which is here placed on scientific knowledge, and consequent distrust of a quick common sense which is not too overburdened with acquired wisdom.

The Senior Subaltern


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Thunder by the Left
Topic: Drill and Training

Thunder by the Left

The Glasgow Herald, 22 October 1964
By Alastair Phillips

We never had much truck with the sergeant-majors cast in the classic and fabulous mould of Freddie Archer. There were no such giants in the R.A.F., but merely a few diligent but not very effective imitations, whom we suspected of trying to model their personalities on hearsay and tall tales that came down from places like Pirbright.

Indeed, our own strongest recollection of a warrant officer first class is not of a big man with a voice like a bull, bout of a small slightly palsied one with a hoarse and studiously friendly whisper.

We should explain, however, that during that association we enjoyed the peculiar privilege (although only an aircrafthand-under-training) of being the barman in an officers' mess, an appointment with singular influence that cut across most formal distinctions of rank and service.

The station warrant officer was a man of regular habit, so regular in fact that at 10.30 every morning he put his head through the back door of the beer store and said reassuringly:—

"Carry on, airmen … Just looking around …Everything under control?"

And he always managed to look surprised when we handed him his pick-me-up. We have heard others, less favourably placed, say that he had a mean temper and a nasty tongue, but we must say that he never bawled us out in public and was always extremely co-operative in the matter of crafty forty-eights, railway warrants, and travelling time at each end of a leave.

We have, however, heard other strident and fearful tales from colleagues who had the harder luck of seeing their service out in the Army, one of whom, indeed still trembles when he recalls how he stood mumchance and stricken on the parade ground while the voice of a sergeant-major of the Guards bounced off the adjacent walls, and the echo in diminishing harmonics repeated:—

"It's dopey ——s like you what turns my hair grey."

This is a traditional image of screaming discipline which the Army public relations departments are not at pains to banish, and to this end a company of journalists were this week invited to a Royal Engineers' camp near Farnborough to meet 50 regimental sergeant-majors and to see for themselves (as one of the exhibits said is a courteously conversational tone of voice) that:—

"the days of the pig-ignorant loud-mouth have gone."

elipsis graphic

We do not doubt that the r.s.ms can still summon up a resonant word of command; but we are not persuaded that though, like Bottom, they may aggravate their voices so that they will roar you as gently as any sucking dove, they have not still a discreet whisper for the erring recruit's ear that will leave him squirming in the ranks.

So much was hinted by one of these n.c.o.s, a little self-conscious as a father figure, who explained:—

"I may not kick 'em, but I'm not going to kiss 'em."

There are some conventional misconceptions about the voice of the regimental sergeant major. It is not appalling because it is a great virile bellow; it is sinister and menacing because it is a high searing note that seems to be on the threshold of hysteria. It does not envelop the soldier with two left feet like the rumbling of thunder, but pierces his central nervous system like a nail scratching on glass.

Nor was it true that the voice was the sound of inevitable doom, however fearful it might be. It is said of Regimental Sergeant Major Charles Bradley of the Coldstreams that he never put a man on a charge. He was a tall thin man with a high squeaky voice and, they say, a kind heart. Gerald Kersh recalls the dreadful moment on parade when he realised that he had forgotten the bolt of his rifle and, although he was in a rear rank, saw Bradley bearing down upon him, only to whisper in the passing:—

"You wouldn't be much good in a war, would you?"

We do not know what are the soft spoken concessions that the new sergeant-majors make to "the higher standard of intelligence among recruits," but we may well wonder if these are a sufficient substitute for the regimental personalities of the old Archers and Paddy Flynns who stood to attention when the spoke to an officer on the telephone; who held pay parades for their children's pocket money; who instinctively snapped "Put you hat on straight" even to women they met in the street; and who spoke in voices that could be heard only by dogs and guardsmen.

Of standing, even in innocence, before RSM Bradley, one of our colleagues says, and still with awe:—

"It was like being in the presence of God."

The Senior Subaltern


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 20 March 2016 12:25 AM EDT
Monday, 21 March 2016

Colours; Excerpts from Canadian Regulations
Topic: Militaria

All Colours which have been consecrated and presented to a unit of the Canadian Forces (CF), whether donated or provided at public expense, are and remain Crown property in perpetuity, and are controlled by the Department of National Defence on behalf of the Canadian government.

Colours

The following extracts are from the Canadian Armed Forces publication A-AD-200-000/AG-000, The Honours, Flags and Heritage Structure of the Canadian Forces (from a pdf copy dated 17 August 2001). Questions regarding Colours which have been laid up in churches or other places should be directed to the Directorate of History and Heritage at National Defence Headquarters.

Chapter 5 — Colours

Section 1 — Policies and Procedures

Colours are a unit's most prized possession. They are presented personally by the Sovereign or by an individual, normally the Governor General, nominated to act on the Sovereign's behalf. Historically, Colours marked and provided a rallying point for army regiments in the line of battle. Today, they are no longer carried in action or held by a unit in a theatre of war. They continue, however, as visible symbols of pride, honour and devotion to Sovereign and country.

On presentation, Colours are consecrated by the Chaplain General assisted by the unit chaplains; when the Chaplain General is unable to be present, he will personally designate a chaplain to officiate for him. Through this means, Colours are sanctified and devoted to service as symbols of honour and duty; all members of the unit, regardless of classification, rededicate themselves to constancy in the maintenance of these qualities. Once consecrated, Colours are closely guarded and they are honoured by the appropriate compliment while uncased.

elipsis graphic

Because of their symbolism and purpose, Colours belong to a separate class from other flags and are not paraded with other flags in any Colour party.

elipsis graphic

Parading Colours. In Canadian practice, Colours and Colour parties are never paraded separately from the military body whose presence they mark and whose honour and duty they represent. They are only paraded as an integral part of the formation or unit concerned. An order to a unit which implies giving up control of its Colour can be seen as a sign of disgrace. Except as detailed in sub-paragraph c. below, commanding officers are responsible for ensuring that their Colours are never paraded with or by another unit. Thus:

a.     In general, whenever a unit or a major portion of a unit is paraded on a ceremonial occasion, the unit's Colour or Colours may also be paraded.

b.     Except for the special case of guards, including escorts and guards of honour, when small portions of a unit are paraded separately they are regarded as detachments rather than the unit itself. In these cases the Colour or Colours remain with the unit.

c.     Colour parties from different formations or units are never combined into a single massed Colour party except immediately prior to joining their units at the beginning of a joint parade or after a joint consecration, or after being fallen out from their units to be lodged, deposited or laid up. Under special circumstances, Colour parties of several battalions of the same regiment may be combined when these battalions are brigaded on a purely regimental parade and not scheduled to manoeuvre separately; the combined Colour party then marks the entire regimental line. (If units manoeuvre, the Colours take post back with their battalion.)

elipsis graphic

Section 2 — Retirement and Disposal of Colours

All Colours which have been consecrated and presented to a unit of the Canadian Forces (CF), whether donated or provided at public expense, are and remain Crown property in perpetuity, and are controlled by the Department of National Defence on behalf of the Canadian government. The Colours are memorials to the brave deeds and sacrifices of the units and individuals who serve under them. If deposited or laid-up, they are the responsibility of the custodian and must remain accessible to the public. Formal permission from National Defence Headquarters (NDHQ)/Director History and Heritage (DHH) is required before removal for any purpose.

Custodians shall ensure that laid-up and deposited Colours are kept on display to the general public. They may not be stored or displayed in unaccessible areas, e.g. stored in sliding drawers in museum curatorial spaces with restricted access for scholarly research purposes only.

Under no circumstances are Colours or portions of Colours allowed to pass into the possession of private individuals. If the custodian can no longer preserve them, they must be returned to NDHQ/DHH for disposal, unless mutually satisfactory arrangements can be made with the unit and DHH.

When Colours are honourably retired and laid-up, they are left to decay and disintegrate, normally on their pikes or lances, until they cease to exist. Although the custodian may preserve the Colours under glass or otherwise handle them to retard disintegration, they shall never be restored. To do so would be akin to creating facsimiles of the consecrated originals. Although there are instances of replicas being made of Colours, NDHQ will not authorize their use or production. If replicas are identified, they must be clearly marked for historical or display purposes.They cannot be consecrated, carried or deposited, and they are not entitled to the honours accorded consecrated Colours.

Pieces which become detached while a Colour is laid-up, lose their sacred status and shall be burnt to ashes. Pikes, cords and pike heads for laid-up Colours shall not be replaced from public, non-public or private funds.

Serviceable Colours of a disbanded unit remain the property of the Crown and may be reactivated should the unit be reconstituted. In such case, DHH shall issue instructions through command headquarters to ensure that Colours can be reclaimed from the custody of those persons entrusted with deposit.

elipsis graphic

After Colours have been laid-up, they are considered memorials and are not normally displaced by Colours laid-up later, e.g., by the Colours if a regiment senior in precedence to the one whose Colours were originally laid-up. Laid-up Colours become extremely brittle and delicate over time. Custodians should ensure that they are disturbed as little as possible to extend their life.

Canadian Army Battle Honours


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 20 March 2016 9:48 PM EDT
Sunday, 20 March 2016

New Battle Honours (1954)
Topic: Battle Honours

New Battle Honours (1954)

Back to Armada

The Glasgow Herald, 9 October 1954

Battle honours dating back to the engagement of British warships against the Spanish Armada are being awarded by the Admiralty to naval vessels, naval establishments, and naval squadrons.

The aircraft carrier H.M.S. Eagle (40,000 tons), the largest ship in the Navy, will carry battle honours and so will the Admiralty tug Bustler. Ships of the Royal Canadian, Australian, New Zealand, Pakistan, and East African Navies, with ships of the South African and Indian navies share in the honours.

The Admiralty, in a fleet order, say that the awards are intended to foster esprit de corps among officers and ships' companies.

Among the 33 air squadrons qualifying for honours—which begin with the 1940 campaign in Norway and cover the period to the ending of the Japanese war in 1945—are four Royal Australian Navy squadrons, two Royal Canadian Navy squadrons, and seven R.N.V.R. squadrons.

The ships to be honoured include the Victory, Nelson's flagship now preserved in Portsmouth Dockyard, which is the oldest ship in the Navy.

The honours board of H.M.S. Diamond, a Daring class warship, will start with the battle with the Armada and lists 14 other engagements in which ships bearing her name have taken part.

Newest Carrier

H.M.S. Albion, the Navy's newest aircraft carrier will bear four honours—Algiers (1816), Navarino (1827), the Crimea (1854-5), and the Dardenelles (1915).

The ship with the longest list will be H.M.S. Orion, a cruiser of the Reserve Fleet, whose fighting career has covered 20 battles, beginning with the "Glorious First of June" (1794). Thirteen of her distinctions were gained in the Second World War, and she will carry the "Jutland" honour for her part in the 1916 battle.

The scheme of awards covers ships not yet in commission, although in building. Among these are H.M.S. Leopard, a frigate, and H.M.S. Tiger, a cruiser, whose 13 honours will range from the Armada to Jutland.

Canadian Army Battle Honours


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Saturday, 19 March 2016

Active Militia; Preparing for Active Service
Topic: Canadian Militia

Active Militia; Preparing for Active Service

The Canadian Volunteer's Hand Book for Field Service, Major T.C. Scoble, 37th Battalion (Haldimand Rifles), C.V.M., 1868

Should a company be warned for active service, the sergeant, whose duty it is to warn the men of his squad, shall be provided with a blank roll, the heading of which shall be as follows:

His Excellency the Commander-in-Chief has been pleased to order the battalion (or company) to be placed on actual service, and to muster at _____ o'clock at _____ .

This heading will be read to every man, who will then sign his name in acknowledgement of bis having received notice Should he refuse to tign his name, a remark will be made to that effect by the notifying sergeant, and signed by a witness who will invariably accompany him.

The officer commanding will lose no time in arresting all such volunteers belonging to his company or battalion, and reporting the same to the district staff officer. — (Regulations respecting Volunteer Militia).

On assembling his men the officer commanding should personally inspect each man, and ascertain tlrat he has proper articles of clothing under his uniform, and that he is provided with suitable boots for marching.

He will also, at the first muster-parade, personally ascertain that each man is in possession of the articles of equipment below enumerated, and will immediately report any deficiencies to the commanding officer of his battalion, who will report to the district staff officer:—

  • 1 rifle with small stores complete.
  • 1 set of accoutrements capable of carrying 60 rounds.
  • 1 knapsack and straps complete, with canteen if supplied.
  • 1 haversack.
  • 60 rounds of ball ammunition.
  • 1 water bottle or canteen.
  • 1 great coat.
  • Should be in every man's knapsack, or haversack; provided by the men themselves.
    • 1 change shirt, flannel or cotton.
    • 1 do. pair socks.
    • Needle and thread.
    • Knife, fork, spoon, tin plate.
    • Piece of soft soap,
    • Towel, brush, and comb.
  • 1 pint tin mug with handle, if no knapsacks are supplied.
  • 1 day's rations bread and cooked meat.
  • 1 small packet of salt.

Where a corps placed on actual service is ordered away from its permanent head quarters, if the men be furnished with knapsacks, the commanding officer will not allow any of his men to take with them any other article of baggage.

When any volunteer corps placed on actual service is sent away from its permanent head quarters, every man will be supplied with a good pair of boots, on application being made by the commanding officer to the district staff officer; for which a stoppage will be made from his pay of 25 cents per week for short boots (price $1.50) or 35 cents per week for long boots (price ___) until the cost price be made good." — (Regulations respecting Volunteer Militia).

The Senior Subaltern


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Friday, 18 March 2016

Ordered to Wear Swords for King
Topic: Cold Steel

Ordered to Wear Swords for King

Military Arm for Officers Now Practically Obsolete in Active Service

The Spokesman-Review, Spokane, Washington, 6 December 1915
(Correspondent of Associated Press.)

London, Nov. 15.—A curious survival of the martinet spirit of the old army appeared furing the recent visit of the King to the British troops in France, when an order was issued that the officers should appear with swords during the royal review. It was a costly order for the young officers, as few were provided with swords, which are a most expensive part of a kit.

Swords are obsolete as part of an officer's equipment in the field. Officers who had them left them at home when they came to the front. A small bamboo cane has taken the place of the sword except when in action, and then some officers carry rifles.

In anticipation of the royal review an order was issued at the headquarters by France for all officers to provide themselves with swords. This piece of antiquated etiquette fell heavily upon the purses of the subalterns. The King, on account of falling from his horse, was unable to review his troops after all. And it is said that the King would have been the last man in England to place this heavy tax on his officers for the sake of mere form had he known of the order.

The Senior Subaltern


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Thursday, 17 March 2016

Development of the Soldierly Spirit
Topic: Drill and Training

Development of the Soldierly Spirit

Cavalry Training, General Staff, War Office, 1912

1.     Soldierly spirit is the product of a high sense of personal honour and duty; of self-reliance and of mutual confidence between all ranks.

A sound soldierly spirit cannot be developed by rules, but much can be accomplished by force of example in teaching high ideals of personal conduct. Officers and N.C.O.'s must be careful, therefore, on all occasions to set a high moral, intellectual, and physical standard to their men.

Men should be taught by example to meet privations cheerfully and never to grumble at hard work or hardship.

2.     Efficient instruction and good example will instill into individuals absolute confidence in their instructors and comrades. Instructors must endeavour to increase the soldier's initiative, self-confidence, and self-restraint; to train him to obey orders, or to act in the absence of orders for the advantage of his unit under all conditions; and finally to produce such a high degree of courage and disregard of self, that in the stress of battle he will be able to use his weapons and his brain coolly and to the best advantage.

3.     In order to impress him with the necessity of upholding the reputation of the army, of our cavalry, and of his own regiment, the soldier should be instructed in the deeds which have made each famous.

Manly games have a great effect on the military spirit, especially if they are arranged so that all ranks generally, and not only selected teams, take part.

Drill is also an important factor, producing that habit of instant obedience which is so essential in war.

The Senior Subaltern


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 17 March 2016 12:03 AM EDT
Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Analyze Wound Cause
Topic: Military Medical

Analyze Wound Cause

Most of War Injuries Result of Firearm Action

Toledo Blade, Toledo, Ohio, 18 March 1915

The subject of war wounds from firearms is of special interest to the reading public at this time:

1.     Because the recent improvements in armaments have brought about interesting changes in the source and character of wounds.

2.     In the case of lodged balls, and in bone injuries, the character of the injury through the medium of X-ray evidence gives a striking exhibit of the wounded part.

3.     A knowledge of first aid to the injured is so essential in these days of preventive medicine that modern civilization expects people generally to become familiar with the causation of war wounds, and the most effective means of ameliorating suffering while one is in the presence of the wounded, in the absence of a surgeon. With this end in view, every officer and soldier of the line in all armies is taught first aid to the injured.

War wounds are mostly caused by firearms, while a few, not exceeding 3 per cent., are cause by bayonets, swords, lances. Wounds by firearms are inflicted by the so-called hand weapons, like the military rifle, pistol, revolver and the military arms.

In our civil war 90 per cent. of gunshot wounds were inflicted by the hand rifle, pistol and revolver; 5 per cent. by artillery and about 3 per cent. by the bayonets, swords and other cutting instruments.

The Senior Subaltern


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Canadian Militia Reform (1911)
Topic: Canadian Militia

Canadian Militia Reform

Scheme to Make it More Efficient
Outline Proposed by Sir John French
6 Infantry Divisions, 4 Cavalry Brigades
Thirty-Four Additional Companies of Field Artillery

Boston Evening Transcript, 10 May 1911

Ottawa, May 10—The Minister of Militia has made a statement in regard to the action which the department proposes to take for carrying out the recommendations of Sir John French. He began by a brief reference to the spirit in which the British inspector general made his inspection of the Canadian militia.

"Sir John French," he said, "as a professional soldier looks on soldiers from the point of view of efficiency as armed troops on duty. He was naturally disappointed, as far as the Canadian militia was supposed to represent a force of that kind. We know that the Canadian militia has never been a force ready for war. That has not been the principal idea in its organization. Only in the last four or five years has such an idea been suggested. The business of the Canadian militia has been to assist the British army when difficulties occur in Canada. The British Government until recently kept the nucleus of an army at Halifax and Esquimalt.

Sir Frederick also distributed to the members a statement in which he further made reference to the report of Sir John French. The memorandum opens by stating:

"The recommendations of Sir John French can be classed as coming under two main heads, viz.:

(A)     changes in organization, and

(B)     improved methods of training and education.

"The militia in Eastern Canada will, as recommended, be organized as cavalry brigades and infantry divisions. The ten military districts will form six divisional areas, each of which will furnish one division, and collectively, four cavalry brigades. This reorganization can be effected with practically no dislocation of the existing system, as each divisional command will include one or more of the present districts. The result of this change will be to place under each divisional commander the troops to form the division he would command on mobilization, and tend to associate, during training, the units which would work together as a division in the field."

The memorandum goes on to point out that there are not at present a sufficient number of units to fully form the six infantry divisions, and that before they can be made complete the following will have to be raised: 34 batteries of field artillery; 10 howitzer batteries, one heavy battery and ammunition column, 6 divisional ammunition columns, 7 field companies of engineers, one telegraph department, 13 companies of Army Service Corps, and four field ambulance units.

Similarly, to complete the four cavalry brigades, it will be necessary to raise one regiment of cavalry, one battery of field artillery, three field troops of engineers, and one company of Army Service Corps.

"It is not proposed," the memorandum continues, "to proceed in the work of completing the divisions and cavalry brigades any faster than the usual votes will permit. A continuance of the vote of $1,300,000, which has been annually granted since 1903-4, will be asked, and out of this money the required guns, ammunition and equipment will be purchased. To complete payment of the orders already given for rearming the existing batteries of field artillery with modern guns and for other needs, the entire amount of this vote for 1911-12. About seven years will be required to fully complete the organization on this plan.

"Of equal, if not of greater, importance than the subject of organization is that of training and education. There is an increasing demand on the part of officers of the militia for instruction and education, which cannot, at present, be satisfactorily met. The training and efficiency of militia officers is the first essential for the efficiency of the force itself, and the teaching can only be supplied by obtaining highly qualified men as proposed above. Their duties include lectures and theoretical instructions; supervision, under their divisional commanders of all field training, musketry, signalling and camp training."

The House of Commons put through without discussion the items of $1,325,000 for annual drill and $110,000 for allowances, with the understanding that the general condition of the militia and the selection of the Coronation contingent will be discussed later.

The Senior Subaltern


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Monday, 14 March 2016

Army Bayonet Altered
Topic: Cold Steel

Army Bayonet Altered

Length Has Been reduced From 20 Inches to Nine

 

The Montreal Gazette, 21 April 1931
(Special Cable to The New York Times and Montreal Gazette.)

London, April 20.—Eleven inches has been taken off the length of the British Army bayonet and the soldier's load lightened by about half a pound as the result of modifications in the army rifle just approved.

The new bayonet is only nine inches long against the twenty of the present sword bayonet. The design has also been changed from a flattish blade to a sort of short, sturdy triangular prog. The Belgian bayonet is now 9 ½ inches, Italian 11 ¾ and the French and German about 15 inches long. Moreover, the accuracy of shooting is expected to be improved by the introduction of the aperture sight, instead of the V-sight hitherto exclusively used on the British Army rifle.

The Senior Subaltern


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Sunday, 13 March 2016

The Offensive in War (Liddell Hart)
Topic: Military Theory

The Offensive in War

Defence the Best Strategy—True Strategy in the West

By Captain B.H. Liddell Hart
The Sydney Morning Herald, Sydney, Australia, 11 October, 1939

[In the following article, Captain Liddell Hart, who has for long been regarded as one of the most brilliant military critics in Britain, examines the basic problem of modern warfare with results which both illuminate and vindicate the course taken by the Allied High Command on the Western Front.]

The idea of an irresistible offensive dominates the official doctrines of the Continental military machines which admit no aim less than that of victory achieved by the complete destruction of the opposing forces in battle.

German military literature is lit up with the theme of the "blitzkrieg"—the lightning war. The Italian military authorities made the pronouncement only a few years ago that "trench warfare is obsolete"—because "the first onslaught of tanks and fast-moving vehicles would break through trench-lines, force fighting into the open and make movements so rapid that nothing would be gained by digging new trenches." Their experience in Spain may have disillusioned them—but the military hierarchy everywhere has hitherto shown a much greater capacity for explaining away its mistakes than for overcoming more concrete obstacles.

The new Field Service Regulations of the Russian Army, issued after the Spanish War had been in progress for some time, declare: "the fundamental aim of the Soviet Union in any war which is forced upon it will be to secure a decisive victory and utterly overthrow its enemy … The enemy must be caught throughout the whole depth of his position and there encircled and destroyed. Modern technical means make possible the simultaneous defeat of the enemy along the whole of his battle front and throughout the whole depth of his position." The steam-roller of 1914 has become, in theory, the mechanized avalanche of 1939.

Limits of the Offensive

The case for the offensive is so obvious that it can be expressed briefly. Indeed, it can be epitomised in a single sentence—only by the offensive can an enemy country, or position be occupied, and its surrender compelled. It is thus the only way in which a war, or a battle, can be won in the precise sense of the term. Furthermore, the offensive has great psychological advantages as a means towards this end—because it keeps the initiative over the opposing command, and acts as a tonic to one's own troops so long as it produces result proportionate to the effort expended.

The offensive, however, is the more exhausting form of action. Nothing does more to ruin any force, or nation, then offensives which show no profit commensurate with their cost. The sands of history are littered with the wrecks of kingships which set their compass on an offensive course. Napoleon is the greatest of all these wrecks. Yet his career came to its disastrous end before the tide of the attack itself was on the ebb.

While recent wars have provided abundant examples of offensives failing, they have provided a few examples of these succeeding—up to a point. But it is difficult to find any cases where the attacker has not had an immense superiority of armament or the defender has not been in a state of declining morale from other causes. Even the best offensive technique developed from prolonged experiment in the course of the last war required a quantitative superiority of nearly three to one to make an offensive effective. There appears little likelihood of such favourable odds in the Western theatre of war. To organise and train an army primarily for the offensive is therefore to stake the national fortunes on a very dark horse.

Lessons of 1870

Soldiers who oppose the idea of defence by defence commonly support their abstract argument against it by citing the experience of the 1870 war as proof of its dangers. They assert that the French suffered defeat by adopting the defensive as a deliberate policy on the assumption that it would enable them to profit by their superior firearms, the needle-gun in particular. Even if such a belief were well founded the argument from it would not be a credit to the mental adaptability of those who employ it. For, in view of the immense development in weapons, a failure of the tactical defensive more than half a century back, even if it were true, would not be a reasonable ground for dismissing all the evidence of the power of defence under modern conditions. The weapons of 1870 were not the weapons of 1914, still less the weapons of 1939. But it is not even true that the French doctrine was defensive.

The notion that the French came to disaster by relying on the tactical defensive is merely a myth which gained currency by constant repetition on the part of the French advocates of the "offensive a outrance" during the generation which preceded the last war. The myth does not stand examination. While the German successes mere maintained merely due to strategic manoeuvre, helped by their great superiority of numbers, the French vied with them in attempting attacks—which were crushed by the superior German artillery. The actual policy which the French adopted was the tactical offensive combined with the strategic defensive—if what was really strategic paralysis caused by epidemic incompetence can be thus described. This combination was the opposite of what I suggest. Only on rare occasions did the French take up a defensive position proper, and then repulsed attacks with striking success. The disregard of these lessons by the "offensive" zealots of the next generation showed how often military theory is built on faith instead of a dispassionate analysis of facts. Likewise, the repetition of this 1870 myth as an argument to-day shows how far the case against the defensive is based on emotional repugnance rather than on scientific investigation.

A National Nightmare

Under present conditions it would be unwise for Britain and France to attempt an offensive strategy in the West, at any rate, in the early stages of the war. This should become clear when the potential strengths of the rival armies is considered, since no skill of general ship would be likely to achieve a local concentration of sufficient superiority.

In the West, the ratio of space to force is such as to offer no adequate scope for an offensive strategy against opponents who are at least equal in equipment. Battering rams also, are out of date. In face of such conditions, nothing could be more dangerous to the capacity of Britain and France than to indulge in a combined general offensive which suffered a costly repulse. In the tactical sphere, the costliest fiascoes of the last war were the attempt to carry out the old conception of a "holding attack"—in which more slender resources are used than those required for a decisive attack. By 1918, all the armies had learnt by hard experience the uselessness of this method. It would be madness to reproduce it on a greater scale in the strategic sphere.

On the other hand, the advantage of the general defensive could be enhanced, its risks diminished, and its common value increased by combining it with a "harassing offensive." This could be pursued by:—

(1)     Carrying out local or limited attacks, carefully mounted as a surprise, and with the maximum fire-power, against weak points on the main front;

(2)     Utilising artillery fire and air bombing to harass the enemy's routes of supply and rest camps;

(3)     Utilising sea power to isolate, and then to concentrate a decisive superiority of land force against detached bases and territories which the opponent cannot reinforce. As regards this, it must be appreciated, however, that a landing on a hostile shore has become almost impossible unless the defender's air force can be dominated.

Wellingtons_squares_crop_rd700px.jpg

(4)     Utilising sea power and air power combined to cause a general disturbance of the enemy's system of supply and internal life. So far as there is any scope for the offensive in modern war between more or less evenly matched opponents it seems it lie in developing such a super-guerrilla form of warfare.

Defence as Attack

Above all, it should be realised that defence is a psychological attack—on the mind and morale of the enemy's peoples. Now that professional armies have been superseded by nations in arms, these have to be convinced of the justification for the war aims of their Governments and High Commands. Nations contain far more discordant elements than professional armies, and are inherently more susceptible to internal disruption. It is easier to launch a nation into an aggressive war than to hold together its multitudinous components in a prolonged struggle, and maintain their will to continue fighting for palpably aggressive aims. If such an attack is met by attack the aggressor Government is enabled to consolidate its people by representing to them that they are fighting to defend their homes.

Such misrepresentation becomes far more difficult to maintain if the attack is met by defence. This tends to weaken the will of the enemy people, and foster unrest among them, by making it clear that their rulers are the aggressors and are responsible for keeping alight the cauldron in which the nation's manhood is consumed. This state of mind, and loss of spirit, will develop all the sooner if the offensive campaign produces no results comparable with its cost. There is nothing more demoralising to troops than to see the corpses of their comrades piled up in front of an unbroken defence, and that impression soon filters back to the people at home. Locally, where conditions are favourable, it may still be true that "attack is the best defence." But, on the whole, in a modern war of peoples a new truth is becoming apparent—that defence is the best attack.

The Senior Subaltern


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

Active Militia; Officers of the Day
Topic: Officers

Active Militia; Officers of the Day (1868)

The Canadian Volunteer's Hand Book for Field Service, Major T.C. Scoble, 37th Battalion (Haldimand Rifles), C.V.M., 1868

Form of Report for the Captain of the Day

Place.
Date.

As captain of the day, yesterday, I visited the right or left wing (as the case may be) of the barracks, at the hours of breakfast and dinner; found the messing good, the men all present, the barracks clean and regular, and no complaints, (or otherwise).

I visited the guard by day, and found I visited the all correct, (or otherwise).

I visited the hospital and school, and found them clean and orderly.

Enclosed is the report of the subaltern of the day.

Signature

Report of the Subaltern of the Day

Date.
Place.

1.—Bread and Meal.—As subaltern of the day yesterday, I attended at the delivery of bread and meat, and found them of good quality and the bread of proper weight, or otherwise.

2.—Meals.—I visited the right or left wing (as the case may be) of the barracks at the hours of breakfast, and dinner, and evening meal, found the Messes regular, well supplied, the men all present, and no complaints, (or otherwise).

3.—Guards and Prisoners.—I visited the different guards and sentries by night, also the prisoners in the guard room, defaulters' room, and cells, and found all correct, (or otherwise.)

4.—School.—I visited the school of the non-commissioned officers and the canteen; found everything correct and regular.

5.—Tattoo.—I attended at the hour of Tattoo when all the non-commissioned officers were reported present and regular, and the men reported all present, (or otherwise).

6.—Lights.—I saw the lights and fires extinguished at the proper hour.

7.—Dinners.—I saw the guards' dinners marched off at the proper hour.

8.—Cook Houses.—I visited the cook houses previous to the time of the meal at dinner time and found all regular.

Signature.

The Senior Subaltern


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Friday, 11 March 2016

Sending Men to Death by Overloading
Topic: Soldiers' Load

U.S. Said Sending Men to Death by Overloading Them in Battle

The Montreal Gazette, 5 March 1951

Washington, March 4.—(AP)—Out of the United States Army's studies of the Second World War has come a long overdue disclosure that some military commanders sent soldiers to certain death by piling too much weight on their backs.

"In fact," the report says, "we have always done better by a mule than a man."

And there is a warning that overloading of combat troops has cut down the striking power of the American Army in the firing line—while the Russians are stripping weight off their fighting men to give them more mobility in battle.

This report, gleaned from the battlefields of the last war, says:

1.     Men were killed unnecessarily because staff officers failed to realize that overloading a soldier cuts down his chances for survival.

2.     Too much weight probably caused more deaths on bloody "Omaha Beach" in Normandy than enemy fire.

3.     Men have been called before a firing squad for cowardice when perhaps they were guilty of nothing more than extreme fatigue which could have been cured by a few salt tablets.

4.     The Army has become so engrossed with machines of war that it has neglected the human machine—the weary old infantryman who carries the real burden of combat.

5.     The Army must strip down its supply services—because oversupply can bog down an Army as surely as shortages of gasoline and ammunition.

This expert study of the American Army in action comes from Col. S.L.A. Marshall, a First World War veteran who did battlefield research in the last war and then became a theatre historian on the staff of Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower.

In peacetime, Marshall is an editorial writer for the Detroit News. But he is now in Korea making other battlefield studies for the Army.

Marshall has condensed part of his studies in a booklet "The Soldier's Load and the Mobility of a nation" published by the Combat Forces press of Washington.

Marshall's main argument is that the army may move swiftly on wheels—but true mobility in battle is the key to winning, and this can be achieved only by having strong troops who can move swiftly.

The accepted theory for years has been that 65 pounds on a soldier's back is a fair weight for marches and for combat. That's about what the Roman legionaries carried 2,000 years ago.

But Marshall contends from first-hand study that fear and fatigue make it impossible for most soldiers to carry such weights into a fight.

He thinks the weight limit should be about 40 pounds.

elipsis graphic

Canadian Load Lighter

Ottawa, March 4.—CP—An army official said today Canadian infantrymen are "stripped to the essentials" in combat.

"I believe we don't load our men as heavy as the Americans," he said.

The spokesman said Canadians carry ":nothing like 65 pounds_—a weight considered for years a "fair" soldier's carry. The Army didn't enforce any standard load.

A commanding officer decided what a Canadian soldier wore and it depended on the type of operation. There would be heavier gear in an approach to a battle area than in an attack.

The Senior Subaltern


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Thursday, 10 March 2016

Punishable by Death (1879)
Topic: Discipline

Punishable by Death (1879)

The Army Discipline and Regulation Bill

The Glasgow Herald, 10 July 1879

The following memorandum has been issued, explanatory of the Schedule related to Corporal Punishment, and containing a list of offences punishable under the bill with death:—

A person liable to military law, when on active service, is punishable with death is he commits any of the following offences:—

1.     Shamefully abandons or delivers up any garrison, place, post, or guard, or uses any means to compel or induce any governor, commanding officer, or other person shamefully to abandon or deliver up any garrison, place, post, or guard, which it was the duty of such governor, officer, or person to defend.

2.     Shamefully casts away his arms, ammunition, or tools in the presence of the enemy.

3.     Treacherously holds correspondence with or gives intelligence to the enemy, or treacherously or through cowardice sends a flag of truce to the enemy.

4.     Assists the enemy with arms, ammunition, or supplies, or knowingly harbours or protects as enemy not being a prisoner.

5.     Having been made a prisoner of war, voluntarily serves with or voluntarily aids the enemy.

6.     Knowingly does, when on active service, any act calculated to imperil the success of Her Majesty's forces or any part thereof.

7.     Misbehaves or induces others to misbehave before the enemy.

8.     Leaves his commanding officer to go in search of plunder.

9.     Without orders from his superior officer leaves his guard, picquet, patrol, or post.

10.     Forces a safeguard.

11.     Forces or strikes a sentry.

12.     Impedes the provost marshal, or any officer legally exercising authority under of on behalf of the provost marshal; or, when called on, refuses to assist in the execution of his duty the provost marshal or any such officer.

13.     Does violence to any person bringing provisions or supplies to the forces; or commits any offence against the property or person of any inhabitant of or resident in the country in which he is serving.

14.     Breaks into any house or other place in search of plunder.

15.     By discharging firearms, drawing swords, beating drums, making signals, using words, or by any means whatever intentionally occasions false alarms in actions, on the march, in the field, or elsewhere.

16.     Treacherously makes known the parole or watchword to any person not entitled to receive it; or, without good and sufficient cause, gives a parole or watchword different from what he received.

17.     Irregularly detains or appropriates to his own corps or detachment any provisions or supplies proceeding to the forces, contrary to any orders issued in that respect.

18.     Being a sentinel, commits any of the following offences (that is to say):—(a.) Sleeps or is drunk at his post; or (b.) leaves his post before he is regularly relieved.

19.     Causes or conspires with any other persons to cause any mutiny or sedition in any forces belonging to Her Majesty's regular, reserve, or auxiliary forces, or navy.

20.     Endeavours to seduce any person in Her Majesty's regular, reserve, or auxiliary forces, or navy, from allegiance to Her Majesty, or to persuade any person in Her Majesty's regular, reserve, or auxiliary forces, or navy, to join in any mutiny or sedition.

21.     Joins in, or being present does not use his utmost endeavours to suppress any mutiny or sedition in any forces belonging to Her Majesty's regular, reserve, or auxiliary forces, or navy,

22.     Coming to the knowledge of any actual or intended mutiny or sedition in any forces belonging to Her Majesty's regular, reserve, or auxiliary forces, or navy, does not without delay inform his commanding officer of the same.

23.     Strikes or uses or offers any violence to his superior officer, being in the execution of his office.

24.     Disobeys any lawful command given by his superior officer in the execution of his office.

25.     Deserts or attempts to desert Her Majesty's service.

26.     Persuades, endeavours to persuade, procures or attempts to procure, any person subject to military law to desert from Her Majesty's service.

Note.—Treason, murder, and other offences (if any) punishable by the law of England with death, if committed by persons subject to military law, can, under the circumstances specified in the bill, be tried by court-martial and be punished by death.

The Senior Subaltern


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Iron Ration (1933)
Topic: Army Rations

Iron Ration Up to Date

The Glasgow Herald, 26 July 1933

I understand that the new type of iron ration which is the subject of investigation by the Army medical authorities as an alternative to bully-beef and biscuits is to be issued experimentally to troops during the present training season in order to test it under field service conditions. One of the main objects of the proposed change has already been explained as the desire to lighten the soldier's load, and in the ration to be tried this has been achieved to the extent of over 1 ½ pounds. Made up into a solid slab and resembling a block of chocolate, the substitute for bully and biscuits is a scientifically prepared product of which the biggest proportion, 29 per cent., is pea flour. Cocoa butter and sugar each represent 25 per cent., and cocoa powder and sugar each 10 per cent., while the remaining one percent. is oil of lemon.

The Senior Subaltern


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Tuesday, 8 March 2016

The Militia Report (1876)
Topic: Canadian Militia

The Militia Report (1876)

The Times, Ottawa, Ont., 19 February 1876

The report of the state of the Dominion Militia, presented by Major-General Selby Smyth to the Minister of Militia and Defence, is a most intresting one. The Major-General states that he has inspected most thoroughly the Dominion forces from the shores of the Atlantic to the Pacific Coast. He alludes also to the result of his conferences with the general officers of the United States army, commanding in Montana, Washington and Oregon Territories, to whom he was accredited by the American Government—results which have already been submitted to the Department, and he states that he met with a most friendly reception. His official tour extended in point of time from the 24th May to the 15th November, and embraced a distance traveled in going and returning of about 11,000 miles, of which over 2,000 miles were performed on horseback, and 600 miles with pack animals. In speaking of the force in Prince Edward Island the General states that he found the militia had not been reconstituted since Confederation, and that considerable misconception existed upon the subject. In the year 1851, it had been disbanded, but at the time of the Fenian commotion a few independent companies were organized in consequence of a despatch from the Secretary of State—these were kept together until July, 1873. At the time of his visit there appeared to be considerable apathy in all matters connected with the militia of the Island. The force within the province consists of 700 men, in four regimental districts, or divisions, with four batteries of artillery and twelve infantry companies. Some detailed statements are also given to the clothing and arming of the Island militia, which has been placed on a more satisfactory basis than heretofore.

With respect to Manitoba, the report says that the garrison now consists of only 100 men, of whom 25 are artillery, with two 9-pounder rifled guns, and two 7-pounder mountain howitzers; two of the latter description have also been supplied to the Winnipeg battery of militia artillery. The militia of Manitoba is composed of two companies of infantry and the battery of artillery. The latter is in fair condition, while the infantry has but little solidity. The Deputy Adjutant General was about to reconstitute the infantry companies, which he hoped to render more serviceable. Recently an application has been made for more military protection at Portage Laprarie, about 100 miles west of Winnipeg, based upon a minute of the Provincial Council relative to a murder of a Sioux Indian by one of his own tribe. In the opinion of Gen. Smyth, if an armed force is considered necessary, it should be established at Totogon, in preference to Portage Laprarie, as the former commands a larger sweep of country from White Mud River to the open plateau near Poplar Point, both places being respectively 90 and 42 miles from Fort Garry.

The report then proceeds to set forth the state of the militia force in British Columbia and Vancouver's Island, and the report shows the most satisfactory state of affairs. The efficiency of the Dominion army is spoken of in the highest and most complimentary terms and some good wholesome advice is given to young officers, commissioned and non-commissioned. It is urged upon them to pay the strictest attention to their drill, and by their conduct to set an example to those in the ranks. The new clothing issued is condemned in flat terms as a failure; to use the words of the report:—

"The shape of the frock is extremely unpopular, and the serge material very bad. A shower of rain reduces the scarlet to a neutral tint approaching black. Money is always badly laid out in purchasing cheap materials, popular feeling must be respected in a purely volunteer force, encouragement must be given to maintain that feeling. One and all, I believe, condemn the serge frock, and for my own part, I think it looks unbecoming and proves unserviceable. All desire the cloth tunic, it is the uniform of the British Army which the Militia with becoming pride desire to emulate. I recommend the universal resumption of that dress. The forage cap invented here is equally unserviceable. Anything with paste board in its composition is totally useless for a soldier's wear. The men complained that the former forage cap afforded no shade from the sun nor shelter from rain. Militiamen are accustomed the year round in their ordinary work to wear broad brimmed hats, and so they dislike the round forage cap; but I believe the Kilmarnock with a back and front peak, as formerly worn by some regiments of the line in India, would answer the purpose, affording both shade and shelter, and causing a circulation of air round the back of the neck. A headdress combining grace and utility is a matter of taste still far from decided on. The Glengarry cap is smart, but would be worn probably for general use and the shako is not required for the short summer drills."

The following statistic table will show the numbers trained in each Province during the past season:—

  • Quebec, 8,168;
  • Ontario, 14,836;
  • Nova Scotia, 3,033;
  • New Brunswick, 2,124;
  • Manitoba, no return;
  • British Columbia, 200;
  • Prince Edward Island, 484.

In regard to military stores, it is stated that there is now in reserve throughout the Dominion:—

  • Gunpowder, 188,576 lbs;
  • Small arms ammunition, 6,902,576 rounds;
  • Snider rifles, long and short, 19,820;
  • Camp equipment, for about 50,000 men.

The Mounted Police is spoken of in the highest terms of praise and its maintenance is urged in the most vigorous terms. It has already done good service, and the men appear, as a rule, to be thoroughly satisfied with their lot. Some changes in the mode of arming are recommended, such as the substitution of the improved Adams revolver for the Smith & Wesson. The report denies that the force is, as has been stated, "a complete failure," and cites several instances where it has been of essential use, especially in the protection of trading posts and the fur hunters. The force is efficient in every respect, and its presence has been the means of promoting a feeling of security throughout the country. The remainder of the report is composed of reports from the commandants of the various military districts, and they are very interesting reading.

Canadian Army Battle Honours


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Monday, 7 March 2016

Abolished Sword as a Cavalry Weapon
Topic: Cold Steel

Abolished Sword as a Cavalry Weapon

The Rifle is to Take its Place

Boston Evening Transcript; 17 September 1902
(Special to the Transcript)

Montreal, Sept, 18—A militia order just issued by the new commander-in-chief of the Canadian Militia, Lord Dundonald, practically abolished the sword as a cavalry weapon. He has decided that, for the future, mounted troops, whatever they may be called, shall consider the rifle as their principle weapon. They may use swords on parade, but not on the field. Drill of the simplest kind is to be provided in order that men may get into rendezvous formations, moving from place to place and getting rapidly into position for dismounted work. Rapidity in mounting and dismounting, outpost and reconnaissance work, attack and defence of a position, defence of a bridge, arrangements for ambush, pioneering, map reading, how to find way by compass and stars are recommended as proper exercises to fit mounted troops for the best work. The general expresses his desire, in making this change, to impress upon mounted officers and men that he is not depriving them of opportunities to distinguish themselves, but is rather adding to those chances. He intimates that it may be possible later to arm men with a light sword bayonet, but is satisfies that the greatest efficiency lies in the use of the rifle. He wishes the mounted man to learn from the infantryman and the engineer all that is useful to him, while retaining the dash and "go" which should always distinguish the cavalryman.

The Senior Subaltern


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST

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