The Minute Book
Monday, 8 August 2016

Sexual Factors (1942)
Topic: Morale

Sexual Factors (1942)

Morale-Building Activities In Foreign Armies, United States War Department, 1942

a.     General

The venereal rate is one of the recognized indices of morale. Training manuals of foreign armies contain information on the dangers of venereal diseases. In some few instances, controlled houses of prostitution have been set up with the approval, of the military.

b.     Germany

Soldiers are specifically warned in the Training Manual against contact with commercial prostitutes, the prime consideration being the maintenance of health. Space voted to the dangers of venereal disease, with symptoms described in detail and explicit directions given for treatment. Unmarried soldiers on furloughs are provided with protective devices.

It has been reported that, in Poland, houses of prostitution are provided under the direct control of the military. The general plan followed is to provide girls who are young and attractive, and are volunteers. One of these houses has been described as follows: the lower floor is the quarters of the guard; the second floor is a soldier's canteen and reading room; the third floor is fixed up for the girls, who are encouraged to provide an attractive, home like atmosphere. They are on duty between 1600 and 2200 and keep all of their fee of 5 reichsmarks (about $2). Before a soldier goes to the third floor, he is given a medical examination. He must not be under the influence of liquor in any degree, nor are the girls permitted to drink or to have liquor in their rooms. The girl initials the soldier's service record, and the guard makes an appropriate entry for control purposes.

c.     Japan

Among the officers there are infrequent occasions for geisha parties which may be followed by a night spent with the geisha. The conscripts, having but little money, cannot afford this, and so must be content with the prostitutes of some cheap brothel in the locality. The physical aspects of sex are thus provided for, but romanticism is discouraged. Soldiers are not allowed to have of pretty girls in the barracks, as such pictures, it is thought, might distract from military duties.

An Italian military manual devotes two pages to a factual discussion of venereal diseases and prophylaxis. No effort is made in the manual to consider the "moral" aspect of the matter, or to intimidate the soldiers.

The following is reported in connection with the Ethiopian Campaign. Describing Asmara, headquarters of the northern Italian Army in Eritrea, which included 200,000 men, 1 eyewitness says: "A house of prostitution with 26 inmates was provided. Regulations provided for its use by enlisted men during the forenoon, price 10 lire (about 50 cents) ; non-commissioned officers during the afternoon, 20 lire (about $1) ; officers during the evening and night, 30 lire (about $1.50).

e.     Russia

The location of most army barracks in or near cities rather than at points isolated from the civilian population means that the men in the army have opportunities for feminine companionship usually available to civilians in the USSR. Further specific information is not available.

f.     Great Britain

The task of settling the men's sexual problems is turned over to the commanding officer of each unit. Suggestions in the army manuals to officers handling sex behavior are:

(1)     set a good example;
(2)     encourage men to keep in touch with their wives and families (married men in camps near their homes are provided with "sleeping out" passes whenever possible);
(3)     make sure that the men know the location of the prophylactic treatment room, and understand how to use it;
(4)     see that your men's evenings are filled with plenty of healthy interests and amusements.

Men are required to report for physical inspection not later than the morning following their return from leave. Cases of venereal diseases an immediately segregated and sent to base hospitals for treatment.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Sunday, 7 August 2016

The Victoria Cross for Heroes Only (1900)
Topic: Medals

The Victoria Cross for Heroes Only (1900)

How the Most Coveted Decoration in England is Won and How it is Bestowed

The Deseret News, Salt Lake City, Utah, 26 January 1900
By Curtis Brown in the St. Louis Globe*#8211;Democrat.

London, Jan. 11.—Lord Roberts of Kandahar, who will arrive at the Cape in a few days to take charge of the biggest British army that ever took the field, is a little man, as everyone knows, and there is not much room left on his coat for additional medals. You can see that for yourself by studying the accompanying picture of him, taken only a few weeks ago. But of all the honors betokened there, and all the others which a genuinely fond public has given him and will shower upon him later if he fulfils their hopes in the Transvaal, the simplest, the least expensive intrinsically, and by far the most democratic, is the one for which, if necessary, you may be sure he would sacrifice all others.

It is the Victoria Cross, the first in the row upon his breast.

Some of the humblest men, socially and financially, in the empire have decorations just like it. But general and private, white man and black, each had the proudest moment of his life when that little bronze cross was laid upon his breast. And Lord Roberts, sailing away to fight on the field where his only son had just been slain, probably was supported in his sense of loss by the consensus of opinion that the action in which the young man lost his life would would have won for him also the Victoria Cross if he had lived.

Lord Roberts won his V.C. in the Indian Mutiny, when only a lieutenant, forty-one years ago, in the course of an action that was unpleasant enough to be named Khodagunge. While the fighting was going on, he saw two of the enemy—Sepoys—making off with the British colors. He was on horseback, and started after them, when they turned on him and aimed their muskets at him. One missed him, the other's gun missed fire, and by that time he was on them, slashing away with his sword. He killed one. The other took to his heels, and the standard was safe. Only a few minutes before the lieutenant had saved the life of one of his men by cutting down a Sepoy who was about to kill him with a bayonet.

Lord Roberts wears nine decorations on his breast on dress occasions, as the illustration shows, and how many more he may have no one feels sure; even the religiously exact army list contents itself with naming five, and then says, breathlessly, "etc., etc."

In the picture one sees the general's six medals in a row, and three others beneath them. Of the medals, following from left to right, the first is the Victoria Cross; the second, the India Mutiny decoration, with three bars, one for Delhi, one for Lucknow, and one for the relief of Lucknow; the third is the Indian medal for 1854, with three claps for Burmah, Umbeylah and Looshai, meaning that this officer has distinguished himself afresh in each of these; the fourth is the Abyssinian medal; the fifth, the Afghan, and the sixth that of Kabul-Kandahar, in recognition of his remarkable march and victorious battle with Ayub Khan. The large decorations beneath are orders—two above and one below. Those above again from left to right, are the Order of the Bath and the Star of India, that below, the Order of the Indian Empire.

Gen. Sir Redvers Buller is another Victoria Cross man. His decoration was granted to him for saving three lives in a retreat after a battle with the Zulus. He was then a captain and a brevet lieutenant colonel. The Zulus were pressing the British troops hard, when an officer's horse was killed and its rider left in fearful danger. Buller galloped back, took the officer up behind him and carried him to a place of safety. Returning, he found a young lieutenant in precisely the same fix, and he did the trick over again. When he got back a trooper's animal had just fallen, exhausted, and for a third time Buller's horse carried a double load, and Buller exposed himself to the enemy to save a comrade although the Zulus were not a hundred yards away.

Sir George White, so long "bottled up" in Ladysmith, won the Victoria Cross under Lord Roberts in Afghanistan, by charging a fortified hill and taking it, backed by only a few men, at this time he was only a major in the famous Gordon Highlanders. They advanced under a racking fire, and on reaching the top of the slope found themselves outnumbered ten to one. Quick as a wink White grabbed a rifle from one of his men and shot the Afghan chief. His followers became demoralized, and the Gordons routed them. Later in the same campaign, on the march to Kandahar Roberts named White a second time in his despatches for having rushed on ahead of his men and captured a gun. He ended by succeeding his superior officer in becoming commander-in-chief in India.

I asked the officer in charge of the medal branch of the war office how a Victoria Cross was obtained after it had been won.

"Why, there isn't as much red tape about it as you would fancy," he said. "The action as a reward for which the cross is given must be performed 'in the presence of the enemy,' and it is desirable that the superior officer of the man who distinguishes himself should have witnessed it. It happens sometimes, however, that no officer is present, and in a case like that the candidate must prove by his companions that he really did do what he asserts that he did. When his immediate superior is satisfied that he ought to be rewarded he writes an account of the business and hands it to the officer in command of the forces and he indorses the papers and sends them on to the war office. Here they are laid before Lord Wolseley, the commander-in-chief, who passes upon them and decides to which applicants the cross shall be given.

"Of course, the cross goes most often to a soldier, sailor or marine, and when it happens that the fortunate man is in England he receives hi medal from the hand of the Queen herself. If he is in the field, however, or on ship board, he receives his decoration from the general or admiral in chief command on the semi-annual inspection day and in the presence of the men who were at the scene of the exploit."

"Then the men who have done brave things do apply personally?"

"Certainly they do. That is in keeping with the spirit of the warrant which the queen first issued in 1856, and which says that he majesty desires that the new decoration should be 'highly prized and eagerly sought after.' In that warrant she said that as the third class Order of the Bath was limited to officers in the higher branches of the service, and as no way then existed to reward heroes adequately for meritorious actions—for army medals of the ordinary kind are given only for long service and exceptional conduct—the Victoria Cross was instituted.

"Sometimes it has happened that several men have done a deed deserving of the cross, without any one of them having distinguished himself above his comrades. In that case the several officers meet and select one officer to be decorated; the non-commissioned officer to be decorated, and the soldiers, marines or seamen also gather an appoint two of their number to receive the crosses.

"Besides the ceremony of presentation in the presence of his comrades," he went on, "the Victoria Cross man has his name mentioned in a general order from the war office, with the particulars of his heroism, and his name also appears in the London Gazette, likewise with an account of what he did, and the original papers are kept sacredly forever afterward. That register is probably the most democratic roll in Great Britain, for upon it the names of nobles and highly placed officers precede and follow those of lowly privates and drummer boys, the one as much honored as the other.

"There have been erasures from that roll, but they can only be made by direct order of the queen, who decides personally all cases where charges are made against V.C. men. Treason, cowardice, felony or other infamous crime are the causes for which a former hero can lose his place in the register. The queen says in her warrant: "We, our heirs and successors shall be the judges of expulsion or restoration."

"Winning a Victoria Cross means a pension of $50 a year from the date of the act for which the cross is bestowed. Then, in cases where the holders of the cross become deserving of it once more, a clasp is added, and each clasp means an increase of $20 a year in the pension. Of course, dishonorable conduct on the part of a V.C. man deprives him of his pension, as well as his place on the register."

The number of crosses bestowed is kept down by a strict observance of the specification which the queen made in her original warrant in 1856, and made emphatic by another in 1881, that the cross should be given not on account of "rank, long service, nor wounds, nor any other service, circumstance or condition save the merit of conspicuous bravery." Politics, said the officer, never is allowed to play a part in the matter.

The queen arranged for the establishment of the cross in 1856, the nineteenth year of her reign, and signified in another royal warrant in 1867 that crosses would be distributed to officers and men who had distinguished themselves in the insurgent wars in New Zealand. In 1857 a second royal warrant had made members of the East India service eligible, and in 1881 came a third warrant, making stronger the phrase "conspicuous bravery," and stating that the warrant was issued as "some doubts had arisen" as to the exact qualification for the cross.

Although no official statement has been made on the subject, it is fair to assume that Lord Wolseley has already decided on a few, at least, of the V.C. winners of the Transvaal war. Winston Churchill has been declared by the public to be deserving of one for his efforts in behalf of the wounded when the armored train was attacked. Trumpeter Sherlock, the boy who shot three Boers with a revolver, and whose example every English boy is dying to emulate—some of them having run away from school with that project in mind—has established a clear claim to one.

More people than he himself will be disappointed if the "bugler boy of Elandslaagte" is not made a V.C. the story of his deed has travelled faster than his name, but he is true to the type of Napoleon's drummer boy who "didn't know how to beat a retreat." Attached to the Gordon Highlanders, who seem always to be prowling around when there is any storming of heights to be done, be it in Europe, Asia or Africa, he and they mounted the slope—at the crest of which the Boers had their stronghold—all cheering lustily and dribing everything before them until they reached the summit, with the Devons, Manchesters and Imperial light horse at their heels, when suddenly a bugle call rang out, "Cease firing! Retreat!" True, it was a Boer trick and a Boer trumpet that was being winded to demoralize the "redcoats," but they didn't know it. The British soldier is a machine, who obeys without thinking, and he did cease firing and was about to retreat when this pint-measure chap jumped into the breach.

"Retreat be damned!" he screamed, and then, lifting his bugle and putting his whole heart into one blow, he sent the "Charge!" rocketing over the hill. Some of the men hear the "swear" and all heard the bugle. They charged, and the Boer line was split and shattered.

It was a drummer who had the honor of being the youngest man who ever wore the Victoria Cross. His name was Michael Magnar, and his chance came at the storming of Magdala, under Lord Napier, in Abyssinia. The path leading to the gate of the fortress was filled with obstacles, and the defenders of the gate were pouring a withering fire over it. Led by the drummer boy, a small party climbed the hill by a circuitous path, forced their way through a breastwork of thorns and engaged the enemy, beating them back. Then the main body of the army advanced and the works were taken. The drummer boy was one of the first to enter.

Then there is Corp. Farmer, whom everyone knows as "Farmer, of Majuba Hill." He was a member of the army hospital corps, and, of course, it was his business to look after Colley's men in that ghastly massacre. Corp. Farmer and his comrades had gathered the wounded men together in a little hollow of the hill, for shelter, but the Boers were pouring bullets in everywhere, and the wounded soldiers were being wounded a second time. Farmer found a white flag and waved it over the little group, when a ball passed through his flag arm. He said, "Never mind, I've got another,"and lifted the flag again in his left hand, when that was shot through, too. Then he fell, only a few yards away from Gen. Colley.

"I've got tired telling the story," he said to me last night, when I asked if he would put it in his own words. He is assistant doorkeeper at the Criterion theatre, and after helping to for the long "cue" (sic) of people that wait outside the pit entrance every night he guards one of the exits.

"It was in February when I was shot," he said, "and I got my cross in August. I was sick in the hospital at Newcastle, though, until the last of May. Yes the queen herself gave me the cross, at Osborne House, in the Isle of Wight. My general went with me, and when we came in the queen said 'This is one of the bravest men I have, isn't he, general?' The general just nodded his head. The queen pinned the cross on my coat and said, 'I am proud of you, and I hope you'll have a long life.' My arm was all bandaged and in splints, and she laid her hand on it and caressed it. I left the cross where she put it until that coat was worn so's I couldn't wear it any longer.

"I'm a modest man," he went on. "Om one of the modestest of men, but I'll say this to you about what I did. Most of the who've won the cross have advanced on ambuscades or fought under a fire that came from they didn't know where. But I tell you I knew. I was shot through both arms by the same man, and I tell you it's hard to stand there and be potted, and then hold up ready to be potted again."

Farmer wears his cross all the time, but is inclined to be critical regarding the world's treatment of him. "I ain't one of the favored few of a wealthy nation," he said. "That Majuba Hill business was all right, and it got a lot of advertising; but there was no money in it. I've had my picture printed, no end of it, and I've got a whole book of newspaper clippings about me. A fellow is singing a song about 'Brave Corporal Farmer of Gory Majuba Hill' at one of the halls, and making money off it; but here I am working nights for 50 cents a night, and that precarious. One of my hands is half paralyzed too."

Everybody knows about him, however, and is more ready to tell his story than he is, and how he left a sweetheart at home in England when he went to the Transvaal, and how she was the proudest girl in the whole country. He married her the day after he came home, and she is his wife now, and cherishes every picture of him and newspaper reference to him even more than he does.

There is another V.C. man employed at the British Museum, and another at the Imperial Institute at Kensington. They won their crosses together, also in saving wounded men, this time from Zulus who surprised the hospital of which they were in charge.

There is only one case in which two brothers have won crosses, the men now being lieutenant generals, K.C.B. Gough is their name. The younger, Hugh Henry Gough, was in command of Hudson's Horse at Lucknow. He led a mighty charge across a swamp, resulting in the capture of two guns; his horse was twice wounded, and his turban cut almost from his head. He virtually won the cross again later on through another breakneck charge, and fought several duels in the course of the battle, finally being wounded by a shot just as he was charging down on the Sepoys armed with bayonets. Before he got the wound that downed him he had two horses shot under him and had been shot through the helmet.

His brother, Sir Charles, went through the Punjo campaign, as a boy of 17. Four times has he merited the cross, originally by saving the life of his fire-eating brother at Khurkowdah, when he killed the two men who were upon him. Three days afterward he led a cavalry charge and fount two men hand-to-hand, killing both of them. A year after, at Shumshabad, he engaged and sabered the leader of the enemy, and a month later he rescued still another officer and sent his opponent to kingdom come.

Canadian Army Battle Honours

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Saturday, 6 August 2016

The Discipline of Fear
Topic: Discipline

The Discipline of Fear

The Glasgow Herald, 19 April 1915

The last report of the British "Eye Witness" at the front contained some interesting allusions to certain methods current in the German Army for the purpose of maintaining its cast-iron rigidity and its mechanical, it not its spiritual, efficiency. "The discipline," he writes, "is principally that of fear, the men being in positive terror of their officers, who behave with a kind of studied truculence more befitting slave-drivers than leaders of men … This is borne out by the use of the cat-o'-nine tails, which is well established, one of these instruments having been captured by us near Neuve Chapelle … Such," he continues, "is the fear of the officers and the general mistrust that the men do not even speak to one another of their grievances for fear that their complaints should reach the ears of their seniors. Of the outward forms and restraints of discipline there is no relaxation even in the trenches. When an officer passes the men must spring to attention and must remain with shouldered arms, without moving a muscle, perhaps for a quarter of an hour., while the officer in question is near them. When they are relieved from the trenches every spare moment is devoted to drilling and training. The slightest fault is punished with extreme severity, the offenders often being tied to a tree for hours together."

Such evidence as this—and of course it could be greatly simplified if one took the trouble to quote from the many descriptions given of the War Lord' legions in the days of peace—indicates that the German system has not travelled in the direction of leniency since the days of Frederick II, when, as Macauley states, "Military offences were punished with such barbarous scourgings that to be shot was considered by the Prussian soldier as a secondary punishment." Probably in the eighteenth century Frederick's system did not differ greatly in principle from that to be found elsewhere. The difference nowadays is that, whereas every civilized country has imported into its methods of discipline, however inflexibly they may be maintained, the mitigating qualities of reason and humanity, Germany adheres to the brutal and brutalising formulas of the past, steadily refusing to countenance the idea that men can be as readily, perhaps more easily, led than drive.

"A thorough knowledge of the secrets of human nature," says von der Goltz, "is very essential to a general. An army is a very sensitive body, not a lifeless instrument, or a set of chessmen to be moved backwards and forwards, according to calculation, until the enemy is checkmated. An army is subjected to many psychological influences, and its value varied according to its general feeling." Again, "The general must understand how to look into the hearts of soldiers, in order to estimate rightly what may be required of them at a given moment." Yet this authority makes nothing of his own text. He is so ignorant of human nature that he regards the best army as being that in which submissiveness and uniformity have been most fully attained. The explanation is that the German officer, and not the German soldier, constitutes the German Army. "Non-commissioned officers and soldiers rapidly come and go in the Army; its officers alone are the constant element by which tradition is handed down." The British officer who a few months ago publishes that instructive volume "The German Army From Within," states that "the German axiom is that the greatness of an army lies with its men." Speaking with a knowledge derived from experience with both armies, he asserts the firm conviction that "one British Tommy is the equal of three Germans of the same rank." A system which operates to destroy personal initiative in the ranks is obviously inferior to one in which individuality is encouraged, even if stress were not laid on the fact that the human material to begin with starts in the one case from a slavish docility and in the other from what is usually and alert and independent intelligence. The German private is merely "cannon food," while the all-important officer is too often typified by that Colonel Nicolay who last August was the murderer of the unfortunate Englishman, Mr. Henry Hadley. Incidentally the hope may be expressed that, provided the arms of the Allies do not anticipate the work of justice, this specimen of German Kultur may be brought to a stern account. One can readily conceive of such men, the authors of countless infamies in Belgium and France, rallying their men in their trenches with blows and with words used by Frederick to his flying troops—"Scum of the earth, do you want to live forever?"

The contrast in methods carries us back to fundamentals. It is not, as some may suppose, a question of conscription versus voluntary service, although it may be granted that the regime of the Junker would have short shrift in any volunteer army that we can imagine. There is conscription in every Continental country, yet so far as we know the discipline obtaining in the German Army stands in inglorious isolation, bearing no resemblance either to the paternalism of Russia or the camaraderie encouraged by the democratic Gallic spirit. It is the something wrong with German human nature, the primitive brute lying so near to the surface of Germany's ingeniously organised national life, that we detect using the forms of discipline to express itself. It is Heine's "braggart with the capacious maw, carrying like a corporal's staff, which he first dips in holy water before bringing it down on one's head" that we perceive—the rude and savage Prussian, who has learned nothing from human progress but the means for augmenting his rudeness and equipping his savagery with the diabolical resources of science. Grant this native imperviousness to the gentler virtues of the race, transfer to a State which exalts itself above every human institution all the ruthlessness of individuals whose culture is only skin-deep, and you get the German Army, a marvellously efficient machine, whose efficiency up to a certain point is the greater by its suppression of the units of which it is composed, even at the cost of their degradation and bruitalisation as human being. But one is inclined to wonder what enormities mat be possible to such a machine if by sudden reversion to the human nature it outrages it should turn upon its authors and engineers. The German Government have only known it as a victorious force or, at all events as a force in which the belief in victory is still strong. What will it be in the hour of defeat.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, 22 July 2016 10:34 AM EDT
Friday, 5 August 2016

Regimental Canteens
Topic: British Army

Regimental Canteens

The Quebec Saturday Budget, 6 October 1906


Broad Arrow says: "the regimental canteen to-day is cleaner, more sanitary, more respectable, and better conducted than any public-house in the United Kingdom, and is also directly responsible for a great decrease in drunkenness and immorality. Those who would do away with canteens can have no knowledge, and are powerless to form any conception of the conditions which prevail in the immediate neighbourhood of garrisons in the east, along the China coast, in the West Indies, in South Africa, or even nearer home in the Mediterranean. Abolish the regimental canteens and to what are our soldiers condemned who are not total abstainers? To the low dens where bad or native liquor is sold, where vice is rampant, and in regard to which there can be little or no supervision."

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Thursday, 4 August 2016

Miss Manners' Rules of Military Desert Etiquette
Topic: Discipline

Miss Manners' Rules of Military Desert Etiquette (1991)

Don't flatulate in closed tents. A professional steps outside.

Times Daily, Florence, Alabama, 18 February 1991

1.     Don't leave half-drunk, open water bottles. Finish them.

2.     Don't leave dip cups (spittoons) lying around. Empty them.

3.     Never separate a soldier from his or her cot.

4.     Rinse out the wash basin after use. No one wants your soap scum and hair.

5.     Don't flatulate in closed tents. A professional steps outside.

6.     Never open a new case of MREs just because you don't like any of the meals left in the open box.

7.     Never relieve yourself in the presence of soldiers of the opposite sex. If by accident this happens, always apologize.

8.     Never hog the shower water. Always turn the shower off until you need to rinse.

9.     Always drive on the dust down side of pedestrians. It is very improper to 'dust' walking soldiers.

10.     Be cautious when playing volleyball in boxer shorts.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, 22 July 2016 10:45 AM EDT
Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Characteristics of Light Infantry Fighting
Topic: Drill and Training

Characteristics of Light Infantry Fighting

The Operations of War; Gen. Sir Edward Bruce Hamley, K.C.B., K.C.M.G., 1922

The characteristics of Light Infantry fighting may be briefly described.

1.     The men must be accustomed to work at any interval and in any formation that may be ordered.

2.     Accuracy and regularity, except in maintaining the direction and a rough general line, are not demanded.

3.     The section will be the unit of command, but it will work in due co-operation with the remainder of the company, and the company will keep touch with the battalion.

4.     The section will be divided into two sub-sections or groups, and every group will endeavour to render support to those on either hand.

5.     The section will move in such fashion as circumstances dictate, either by rushes, by creeping up, in quick time, or at the double. It is often desirable that a few men should creep up at a time.

6.     In moving either to front or rear every man will endeavour, without crowding his comrades, to expose himself as little as possible to the enemy's fire.

7.     Every man, when ordered to halt, must make the best use of cover that he finds before him.

8.     Whenever independent fire is ordered every man, as a rule, will choose his own target.

9.     The men must be accustomed to the intermixture of sections, companies, battalions.

10.     They must be trained to observe and report on the movements of the enemy, thus using their intelligence to assist their section leader.

11.     The men should be trained to concentrate rapidly at any point the section leader may indicate. If there is some spot to the front whence the section, while sheltered itself, can bring an effective fire to bear upon the enemy's lines, a rush will be made for it.

12.     They should be trained to extend as they leave cover, even when rushing from one shelter to another.

13.     They must be taught that when their leaders are down, or when the tactical unity of their companies and sections has become dissolved, that they are to go on fighting, maintaining their ground or pushing forward as the case may be, but always seeking to combine with others, and to use their rifles to the best effect.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 3 August 2016 12:05 AM EDT
Tuesday, 2 August 2016

The Salute
Topic: Discipline

The Salute

US War Department Pamphlet 35-3, WAC Life, May 1945

One of the most important of military courtesies is the salute. It is a respectful greeting, a sign of recognition between military persons.

It is that, and no more. There has been a good deal of misunderstanding about the salute, most of it on the part of people who don't know how soldiers feel about it. Many civilians completely misinterpret its purpose and meaning. They take it to be an acknowledgement of the soldier's inferiority to his superiors. Nothing is further from the truth. Salutes are given and returned. They are a privilege of the military alone. Every officer salutes every other officer, just as every enlisted man salutes every officer. The highest-ranking general in the Army is required to return the salute of the greenest buck private. The fact that the subordinate salutes first is simply common-sense courtesy applied to a military expression; it is for the same reason that gentlemen step aside for ladies in doorways and younger people are introduced to their elders rather than the other way around.

The salute has an additional purpose. It is evidence of respect for authority. In the Army, an officer does not determine his own authority nor just assume as much of it as he feels he should have; his authority is prescribed and becomes his duty and responsibility whether or not he likes it. In saluting, you acknowledge respect for the position and authority of the officer who holds that position.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Monday, 1 August 2016

Amnesty Proclamation, Dodgers and Deserters
Topic: CEF

Amnesty Proclamation, Dodgers and Deserters, August 1918

The following proclamation was published in Canadian newspapers in August 1918. This image is taken from the 5 Aug 1918 edition of the Toronto World.

"A proclamation of conditional amnesty respecting men belonging to Class I under the Military Service Act, 1917, who have disobeyed our provcl;amation of 13th October, 1917, or their orders to report for duty, or are deserters or absent without leave from the Canadian Expeditionary Force."

elipsis graphic

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Sunday, 31 July 2016

What Soldiers Have For Food (1914)
Topic: Army Rations

What Soldiers Have For Food (1914)

The Day, New London, Connecticut, 16 October 1914

The suffering from hunger said to have been experienced by great numbers of German soldiers during the present war is alleged in the news despatches to have been due largely to the fact that they were not provided with emergency rations. This, if true, is certainly surprising, inasmuch as the Kaiser's troops are ordinarily supplied with the best of all concentrated food, in the shape of "erbswurst," or pea sausage—a species of provender so sustaining, and furnishing so much nourishment in small bulk, that the Prussians 44 years ago declared that without it they could not have endured as they did the fatigues of the rapid campaign against the French.

If such value is this peas sausage as a war food that an effort was made to utilize it in the British army. But Tommy Atkins would have none of it—illustrating the fact that a ration found suitable for the fighting man of one nation is not necessarily acceptable to those of another. A war food must be not only wholesome and nutritious, but also palatable, and national tastes in matters gustatory differ. Some years ago an attempt was made to introduce in the German army a biscuit composed of meat and flour, but the soldiers refused to eat it.

An emergency or "iron" ration is not meant to be eaten under any ordinary circumstances, but only when the soldier finds himself separated from his command and cut off from the supply train. Then only is he permitted to utilize his small store of condensed provender, which he carries in his knapsack, in order to avoid starvation. For this purpose the German fighting man is provided with a one-pound can of preserved meat, a small quantity of hard bread, and a pea sausage. The same kind of sausage, however, is an important part of the regular ration. It is eight inches long, is wrapped in white cloth, bag-fashion (tied at one end with a string), looks somewhat like a fat firecracker, weighs eight ounces, and its contents emptied into a pot of boiling water, will make 12 plates of excellent porridge.

This kind of sausage owes its invention to a cook, whose rights to manufacture it were purchased by the German government for $25,000. It is composed of pea meal, fat and bacon, with a few other ingredients added for flavouring. The most important point, however, is the method of its preparation, by which it is rendered proof against decay or deterioration. Hard as a brickbat, it will keep perfectly good for years.

The Belgian emergency ration is a ten-ounce can of corned beef, put up in a liquor flavoured with vegetables. For the same purpose the British use a compressed pea soup. At the opening of the Afghan war, in 1878, an enterprising Englishman supplied the army with this product, in the form of a yellow soup, put up in four-ounce cans, bearing directions that the contents be mixed with a quart or so of water and then boiled to the proper thickness. When General "Bobs" made his famous march on Kandahar, his troops were fed almost wholly on this soup, which occupied such a small space that a single mule could carry a day's food for the whole battalion. Subsequently, in the Zulu and other campaigns it was largely utilized.

The popularity of peas as a war diet is attributable to the fact that they are the most nutritious of known foods, surpassing in this respect even lean meat. Another advantage they have over meat is that they afford what is called a "balanced ration," containing as they do both fuel stuff to keep the fighting machine going and "protein" to make muscle and blood. The army soup above described is made by steam-roasting the peas, grinding them fine, adding some beef extract for stock (with suitable seasoning), and reducing the mixture to the smallest possible bulk by elaboration and pressure.

The British army also uses a kind of hard bread which looks something like a dog biscuit, four inches square and weighing three ounces. It is of whole wheat, compressed—a sort of condensed loaf. For the Russian troops in the field is provided a "war bread," the ingredients of which, as well as the process for making it, are a government secret. When a piece of it is put into hot water or soup, it swells up like a sponge, and is said to taste much like fresh bread.

Vegetables are necessary to health. Accordingly, Whenever practicable they are supplied as part of the regular ration of an army. The French have a concentrated mixture of vegetables and meat, which comes in six ounce tin boxes, holding 21 tablets wrapped separately in red paper. One of these, dropped into a pint of boiling water yields a plate of delicious soup.

Onions and carrots are deemed especially valuable. The German army is supplied with carrots evaporated to absolute dryness and granulated to the size of snipe shot. Onions are provided in one pound tins, similarly desiccated. There is much water in onions, so that this quantity of the concentrated vegetable is equal to ten pounds of the fresh. One pound represents a day's ration for 48 men. Cabbages, prepared in the same way, come in four ounce tablets.

The old process of evaporation by heat is not used in the preparation of concentrated vegetables for use by the European armies now in the field, because it incidentally deprives the cabbages, onions, or what not of the volatile essential oils and ethers which have much to do with their flavours. A method of comparatively new invention is employed, the material being shredded, spread on shallow trays, and run on cars into a tunnel through which dry air of only moderate warmth is continually passing. The dry air sucks the moisture out of the vegetables, which, when out up in tine with screw tops, will keep indefinitely. When wanted for use, it is necessary merely to restore the water, incidentally to cooking. The taste like fresh vegetables. Soup greens preserved as a mixture in this fashion are particularly good.

The main standby of the Japanese troops now moving against the Germans in the far east is rice—not supplied in the raw state, be it understood, but cooked and there-upon made water free by evaporation and pressure. It is furnished to the soldiers in the shape of balls, one of which, dropped into a pot of boiling water in camp, affords a hearty meal for several men. Or if preferred, the balls may be cut into slices and roasted.

Another item of the British rations is desiccated beef, one ounce of which is equal to five ounces of ordinary meat. It is absolutely water-free, and so hard that the fighting man can hardly cut it with a jack-knife. He chops off a small hunk of it, puts it into a little machine resembling a coffee mill and grinds it up. It comes out in small shavings, which may be eaten on bread or used for soup stock. Two ounces of this beef will make soup for eight soldiers.

Mutton is supplied in the same way, in little rectangular blocks three inches long, two inches wide, and one inch thick. A manufacturer in England who puts up such concentrated food for army use says that he can compress the edible parts of ten sheep into the bulk of one cubic foot. Into the same space he can condense 3,000 eggs, rendered water-free by evaporation and reduced to the hardness of a brick by hydraulic pressure.

The news despatches a few days ago stated that the German crown prince had wired to Berlin for large supplies of tobacco, needed immediately for his troops. An American woman in London gave $20,000 to the British war fund, expressing a wish that the money be spent in the purchase of "chewing" and "smoking" for the soldiers of the expeditionary force now fighting in France. There is no doubt that the idea was an excellent one, judging from an opinion expressed on the subject not long ago by our own military authorities.

The bureau of subsistence of our war department, in an official report said: "Under the influence of tea, coffee or tobacco a man seems to be brought to a higher efficiency than without them. They keep up cheerfulness and enable soldiers to endure fatigue and privations, while deprivation of them may cause depression, homesickness, feebleness and indeed may lead to defeat in battle. Depressed troops do not fight well. A wise military leader will see to it that he men are not deprived of tobacco, or he will regret his carelessness.

The British soldiers now fighting in France, privates as well as officers, take their cup of tea regularly. It is a national habit which even battles can hardly interrupt. Also, the commissariat provides candy, which the men are encouraged to buy. In our own army candy (a highly concentrated kind of food) is supplied—not chocolate creams and bonbons, of course, because they too are perishable, but such sweets as lemon drops, hard gum drops and chocolate.

The enormous total quantity of provender required to supply armies that number millions of men may be judges from the fact that in 24 days a soldier consumes just about his own weight in food and water. Half the water he takes into his body is in the food, the other half is drink. The total dry matter in the food consumed daily is in round numbers one per cent of the weight of the body. Thus in 100 days a man weighing 150 pounds will absorb his own weight of dry matter—not reckoning, that is to say, the water his food contains.

Speaking of water, it is curious how many different solutions of the canteen problem have been found by various nations. The canteen carried by the British soldier is of glass, covered with canvas. That of the Italian fighting man is of wood, while the Spaniard's water vessel is a goatskin. The regulation canteen os the United States army is of tinned iron.

For emergency rations our own army formerly used a mixture of dried lean meat and toasted cracked wheat. This, deprived of moisture and pressed to the hardness of a brick, was put up in three packets, each containing also a tablet of chocolate—the whole representing one day's meals, to be carried in the knapsack.

Special machinery was required to put the stuff up, and the war department, in order to make it worth while for the manufacturer to produce it, was obliged to order it each year in large quantities. It had to be used up somehow and, to get rid of it, was fed out to the soldiers at army posts, who were thus obliged, however unwillingly, to consume emergency rations for their regular meals. As may well be imagined, there was much grumbling.

In 1910 a new kind of emergency ration was adopted. It was a mixture of chocolate, sugar, egg and malted milk, put up is such a shape as to look like ordinary commercial chocolate, in flat cakes wrapped in tinfoil. Three cakes, three meals. Weight, 12 ounces for the three, including the can containing them.

What has already been said will serve to show that the soldiers of the various armies now fighting in Europe are much better and more luxuriously fed than troops in any previous war in history. It costs money, but it pays; for, other things being equal, it is the well fed man that wins in battle, when opposed by an under-fed adversary.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Saturday, 30 July 2016

German and British Armies (1882)
Topic: European Armies

The German and British Armies (1882)

A Military Organ Contrasts the Two Forces—A Pair of Blue Spectacles

Montreal Daily Witness, 19 July 1882

The Big Battalions of Bismarck are a perpetual source of discomfort and irritation to the little battalions of Britain. The Army and Navy Gazette indulges in the following:

"We see by the German papers, says the Army and Navy Gazette, that the German Army are to manoeuvre this autumn with eight Army Corps, that is, 250,000 men, if the corps are brought out at war strength. Even on the peace establishment over 200,000 men will take the field. Moreover, many thousands, of the Reserve are to be called out to drill. Per contre, The Imperial Army of Great Britain—better known as the harmonious and territorial whole of the modern Army reformer—are also to take the field of mimic war at Aldershot, and the Grand Army is, we are told, already with much trumpeting, to consist of 35,000 men. But the effect is much marred when we find that the number is made up from the militia and volunteer armies—our gallant auxiliary forces. We hope Germany may not become alarmed and double her armies; but we think she is more likely to send some sharp officers to take a careful look at the army of England, as it now appears on parade before the Queen and the world in general. When the Queen reviewed the divisions at Aldershot a few days ago, there were only 10,000 out of 14,000 men and boys on parade—nearly one-third, in fact, were casuals. As the reserves cannot be called out until national danger or great emergency is manufactured, they are comparatively useless for ordinary war, and therefore quite unreliable. Moreover, as the Government have never ventured to call them out for drill, they will forget their discipline and taste for soldiering; and, eventually, they will become impressed with the notion that they cannot be called out—except in case of invasion—like the auxiliary forces. After the army has been tinkered for twelve years, under the short service system and divers and numerous reorganizations, the results of their first performance in public will be watched with most critical eyes. The hard strain of a European war can alone test the merits of all these reorganizations; and if the new army turns out to be a complete failure, the country will demand a heavy reckoning."

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Friday, 29 July 2016

Training a Citizen Army (1939)
Topic: Drill and Training

Training a Citizen Army (1939)

Recruit to Finished Soldier
The Militia Learns Its Job

The Sydney Morning Herald, Sydney, Australia, 1 November 1939
By a Special Correspondent

The Australian citizen soldier, who is now being trained in the military art in a score of camps throughout the Commonwealth, is undergoing a type of training which will produce materially different results from those which characterise the French, British and German armies which face each other in Europe.

The military training which is being accorded to the 80,000 members of the Militia, and the 20,000 men of the Second A.I.F., is not an ephemeral product of haphazard thinking, hastily applied to meet some nebulous or unexpected military situation. Australia's defence authorities, and the British Army experts who have advised them for more than 30 years, have tried to shape the training to meet specific Australian needs and problems, the chief of which is the problem of resisting an invasion from the sea.

Australia is an island continent. It is, of course, impossible to invade out shores in the manner in which the Germans invaded France in 1914, and Poland in 1939—by mobilising 1,000,000 men and vast quantities of artillery behind a land frontier, and suddenly giving them the order to march. No enemy forces can occupy Australia without first effecting a landing in boats, preferably at a number of points simultaneously, in order to divide the defenders. The prime need of the defending forces, taking naval action out of account, is, therefore, to meet the attacks wherever they may occur, and the availability of highly mobile reserves to reinforce the defenders wherever the pressure is greatest.

The Australian soldier need not expect to face an enemy massed in overwhelming numbers, since the size of an invading army would be strictly limited by the number of transports which could be assembled, nor would he expect to deal with anything like the concentration of heavy artillery and mechanised equipment employed in military operations in Europe. His superiority over such an enemy would rest with his prepared position, his power of concealment, his land (instead of sea) communications, and his intimate familiarity with the terrain. In all of these respects the enemy would be at a serious disadvantage.

Training to Timetable

It is with such factors as these in mind, that the Australian army training system has been devised. It aims at providing the militiaman with a complete all-round training system has been devised. It aims at providing the militiaman with a complete all-round training in four months, a tall order, it is true, but one from which there can be no escape in the immediate future.

The work is divided into sections, and it is performed to a time schedule. Thus the first month is devoted to elementary instruction in arms, musketry, close order dill, and a general shaking down to camp routine. The only team work accomplished in this month is restricted to company drill. In the second month, more complicated tasks are undertaken. The soldier may be introduced to bayonet practice, musketry instruction, moves from the short range to the longer rifle range, and from company drill the men graduate to battalion drill, undertaking field exercises on a miniature scale. At the same time all the work done in the first month is revised.

When the third month is reached the soldier moves on to more advanced work. In this period, brigade field exercises may have a place. Route marches may be undertaken now that muscles have become hardened, instructions may be given in trench digging and wiring, and simple tactical exercises may be practised under active service conditions. As before, there is a good deal of repetition of the second month's work on the principle that practice makes perfect.

In the fourth month, the earlier instruction is supplemented by divisional field exercises. The soldier at last rehearses complicated battle manoeuvres on a scale comparable with what might be expected in war. The route marches are now carried out in full service kit, there are exercises in which co-operation is lent by the Navy, artillery and Air Force, and the men learn the difference between manoeuvres carried out by day and under cover of night.

Field Manoeuvres

By now the soldier has made the acquaintance of the entire training manual, he is physically fit and seasoned, he understands the meaning of discipline, and he appreciates the value of individual resource. He knows what is expected of him, and if lacks the complete efficiency and versatility of the European soldier, trained to arms over a period of years, rather than months, the deficiency can be repaired by a few months of intensive training, if the need should arise. Or at any rate by an additional period of training in the second year.

The more advanced stage of militia training includes exercises for the repulse of beach landings. As a result of careful staff work, these exercises have attained a high degree of efficiency. They are usually carried out at night and involve the close co-operation of artillery, machine-guns, reconnaissance planes, Signal Corps, transport, and commissariat department.

Another exercise which is now a regular part of militia training involved the crossing of unbridged rivers at night. It is an infantry as distinct from an engineers' operation. The instrument used for effecting the crossing is a kapok bridge or pontoon, which is assembled a short distance from the river bank at about 3 a.m. the floats, carried up the communication lines by the men, are lashed together with lengths of decking, so that long before dawn the finished bridge lies on the bank ready for launching. The operation is carried out in complete darkness and silence to conceal the manoeuvre from the enemy.

At zero hour the bridge is launched and the infantry crosses the river with its machine-guns, taking the enemy by surprise. Rivers 80 ft wide have been crossed successfully in this way, the troops being equipped with full war kit, including gas masks. As a substitute for the kapok bridge recourse is sometimes made to collapsible pontoons, each holding eight men.

Practising Retreat

It is proposed this year to devote considerable attention to the operations involved in tactical withdrawal. This form of field exercise, possibly the most difficult of all, has been neglected in Australia, except on paper, although it is a necessary part of army training in every other country in the world. With the extension of camp periods from 18 days to four months, it will now be possible to devote some useful time to this important manoeuvre.

The practice of tactical withdrawal, or retreat, is difficult, not only because its component operations are in reverse movement, but also because its success depends on even more careful timing than is involved in an offensive action. The essence of the plan is to withdraw the defending force at such time, at such speed, and with such measure of concealment that the enemy is not aware of the manoeuvre until his forces have moved forward to the assault. It has its maximum effect when, at the moment the enemy has gathered himself to advance, he finds that the defenders have vanished, confronting him with the fresh and laborious task of locating them and preparing other plans for attacking new and unmapped positions.

Such a movement imposes considerable strain upon the retreating forces, and calls for a high degree of discipline and resource. Men who are unfamiliar with the manoeuvre, and who may be left behind to act as a covering force, with orders to increase their rate of fire to deceive the enemy, are apt to fire so so rapidly that the curiosity of the enemy is aroused and the whole stratagem is defeated. The withdrawal will be jeopardised, too, if one battalion delays its retirement, necessitating a modification of the manoeuvre while the unit is relieved and extricated.

The new camp training schedule is designed to give militiamen, and especially officers and non-commissioned officers, a clear understanding of the intricate operations involved in withdrawal and, at the same time, fill in a hitherto conspicuous gap in military practice in Australia.

School for Officers

The improved efficiency which may be expected from officers and N.C.O.'s as a result of the extension of the camp training period is, indeed, one of the hopeful aspects of the new training scheme. For the task is not merely to train 100,000 clerks, labourers, farmers, miners, professional men, and so on, and to become good soldiers, but to increase the competency of the young militia officers and N.C.O.'s who will be the Army leaders and instructors of to-morrow.

Great importance, therefore, attaches to the officers' training school which has ben established at Studley Park, Camden, under the revised Army system. Here the officers attached to militia units in the Eastern command, including subalterns, warrant officers, and senior non-commissioned officers, are receiving advanced training in arms and military tactics. Instruction in the three wings of the school, namely, infantry, artillery, and cavalry, is given by Staff Corps officers, assisted by sergeant-majors drawn from the Australian Instructional Corps. Each course of training lasts for two weeks, and the school is so busy that it is open continuously, one batch of officers going in as the other goes out.

The Studley Park establishment is an extremely valuable adjunct to the training scheme. It will quickly improve the capabilities of militia officers and inspire renewed confidence and enthusiasm in the ranks of the men whim they will lead.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Thursday, 28 July 2016

The Ineffective British Army (1903)
Topic: British Army

The Ineffective British Army (1903)

Boston Evening Transcript, 7 February 1903
By Jack J. Hart, Late of the Grenadier Guards

It is notable that reforms effected in the British naval and military services have always been the result of outside agitation. In England the war office and admiralty are only nominally the executive powers of the services of which they are at the head. The real executive in both cases is the voice of the country. Particularly of the war office it may be said that not until the press has been spoken in a voice so loud that it cannot be disregarded will it take action in anything more important than selecting the pattern on a soldier's button. Perhaps it is because the war office believes that a task which is now before it is peculiarly difficult of accomplishment that not even the voice of public opinion can move it; and that instead of beginning the work, it appears to be engaged in solving the, often for it, momentous problem: "how not to do it" by making various changes in ceremonial drill. When the improved weapons of warfare were—for the first time—put to test on South African battlefields, military experts were confounded and it was clearly proven to the world that in military tactics a new era had begun, numbers, discipline, and even generalship, took a second place, and individual intelligence of the soldier was proven to be of first importance.

There was a time when warfare was the clashing together and wrestling of great masses of men. But it has gone forever. By the invention of gunpowder the medieval art of war was changed into the modern. With the improvement of firearms, gradually individual intelligence of the combatants became more essential to their efficiency united; albeit commanders were very slow in recognizing the fact. On the advent of quick-firing guns, unknown to the doctrinaires who fought battles on paper, numbers, discipline, and even generalship, took a second place, but it was not until the highly organized regiments of Britain were led against South African farmers that the world realized the fact, then clearly demonstrated, that in the battle of the future the individual intelligence of the soldier would be first in insuring victory.

It might be expected that Great Britain, having learned the lessons of the South African War by experience and to her cost, would, for that reason, be the first to profit by them and to adapt herself to the new order of things. Such, however, is not the case. Although reforms have been mooted, her military system, in its constitution as in its government, is still wedded to conservatism and old traditions. Practically nothing has been done that would tend to develop the individual intelligence of the soldiers, and so render him capable of acting judiciously in dangerous situations on his own initiative. The slavish respect for his superiors which is inculcated into the British soldier in his daily life is not well calculated to teach him self-reliance; and the fact that British officers are drawn from the titled classes, which Englishmen almost worship, makes this slavish respect, in English regiments at least, particularly difficult of elimination. The officer is the ruling intelligence. His authority must never be questioned. His judgment is infallible. If a private soldier criticises him adversely, the private is guilty of, in the language of military law, "conduct to the prejudice of good order and military discipline." In the ranks of the old British army, blind obedience to superiors on all occasions is the erroneous principle that guides. Concatenation is the necessary consequence. The subordinate is dependent on his superior. He is slow, because unaccustomed to act without his superior's commands; and, in situations where quick and decisive action is of prime importance, he is easily outwitted by the versatility of a self-reliant opponent.

Concatenation and lack of self-reliance among the rank and file of the British army may be said to constitute its greatest weakness, inasmuch as both hamper its operations in the field. If the number of drilled troops in South Africa at the outbreak of the last war had been so many undisciplined rough-riders knowing no more of military tactics than how to "sight" a rifle and press the trigger, I do not hesitate to say, the long and bitter struggle which cost England dear in blood and money and turned a fertile country into a "howling wilderness" would (with all respect to the Boer as a fighter) have ended before three months in the defeat of the republican armies. The undisciplined rough-rider would have fought the Boer with the Boer's own weapons, and numbers would have prevailed. The instinct of self-preservation would have taught the undrilled soldier to take advantage of available cover on all occasions; and if he found himself standing before a fusillade so deadly that common sense told him it would be suicide to remain, he would not have waited the command of a superior to advance, or retreat. It might at first sight be thought that concatenation in an army is desirable inasmuch as it secures uniformity of action, for if each part of a whole is dependent on another part none will act alone and the strength of concerted action is the result. But modern warfare, especially that carried on in a hilly country, has become a game of hide-and-seek, developing fresh surprises at every turn, that quick, independent and decisive action, suiting itself to the exigencies of occasions; is, for the different units of a division and for individual composing them, a matter of paramount importance. Concerted attack, by which a force is directed against one point in an enemy's line, is a thing of the past.

The system of training followed in the British army does not contribute much to rendering it more efficient as a fighting machine under the conditions of modern warfare. The greater part of the soldier's time during the first three months of his service as a recruit is spent in useless ceremonial drill. Almost the entire time at the depot from which he derives any benefit is the daily hour spent in the gymnasium. Up to the time of joining his battalion, he has not once used his rifle at the target. A few months after leaving the depot he is exercised in a recruit's course of musketry, and is then called a trained soldier. After this, he is allowed forty-two rounds of ball ammunition annually, and by the practice thus afforded is expected to become a marksman. Rivalry, however, often exists between the different companies of a battalion, and this induces captains of companies to purchase ammunition at their own expense—in the hope that by extra practice their companies may become more proficient and win the shooting trophies that are so greatly prized.

During autumn manoeuvres, the soldier would learn much that would be of use to him were it not for the indifference of his officers. Hostile forces oppose each other and fight, day by day, among hills, woods and valleys; but ask a soldier what it all means and he will reply that he does not know. He only knows that he obeys orders. He cannot even tell whether the division to which he belongs is attacking or defending, advancing or retiring. His officers will not take the trouble to tell him; some of them do not know. Yet, if the whole plan of the manoeuvres were intelligently explained to the soldier and maps of the country placed in his hands, the benefits he would derive from this annual exercise are incalculable.

In its constitution, the British army has many defects; the principal being the paucity of numbers of the medical corps and the commissariat. Even in a country easy of transport as South Africa, the latter proved itself wholly incapable of performing the work that devolved on it. The medical corps would there have been a still greater failure were it not for the voluntary service by which it was supplemented. The regimental constitution is, in some of its effects, detrimental to the efficiency of the soldier. For from the private to the colonel, each must unquestionably obey the will of his superior and it will be admitted that there is little room for initiative, or development of intelligence in the ranks.

Of the war office, as the governing authority, little need be said. In England it has become a synonym of stupidity. Its actions are often incomprehensible. One instance will suffice: During the South African War Canada raised a regiment to garrison Halifax, and maintained it at the expense of the Dominion until after the declaration of peace. The Imperial Conference in London followed, and it was proposed that Canada should contribute to the maintenance of the British navy. The Dominion dissented, but offered to permanently garrison Halifax and Esquimalt, thus to relieve the Imperial Government of the expense of maintaining troops at those places. After the conference, Canada's policy was severely crticised in England, and the cry was again raised that she was unwilling to bear her fair share of the expense of imperial defence. Then the war office, instead of allowing the Dominion to maintain its own garrisons, caused the Royal Canadian Regiment at Halifax to be disbanded, and incurred the expense of sending troops from England and maintaining them in its place. Various pleas have been urged in defence of this action. Among them, that imperial troops in Canada constitute a visible tie between that country and England which it would be dangerous to sever; but this, on the face of it, is little short of an insult to the loyalty of the Canadian people.

Though last to be considered here, the morale of an army is hardly last in importance in estimating the probabilities of its success in the field. It is a fact, though some are slow to admit it, that professional soldiers are not, as a rule, patriots. To the civilian, the defence of his country is a sacred duty. To the professional soldier it is the ordinary humdrum business of everyday life. Composed of three distinct nationalities as the British army is, it is only natural that a common patriotism should not be its pervading spirit. Irishmen, Englishmen, and Scotchmen have not blended into one race in the past and the probabilities are that they never will. There are many Irishmen in the British army today who are hostile to the very name of England. The gallant charges of Irish regiments on South African battlefields prove nothing to the contrary. Irishmen—because it is in their nature—will fight hard when facing any foe, merely for the glory of a "scrap."

It is on account of this diversity of race that the regular army of Britain can never become a body animated by a common spirit. Whatever may have been the talisman, patriotism did not win its victories of the past. I would rather attribute them to the caution of the Scotchman, the dogged persistence of the Englishman, and the dashing bravery of the Irishman.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Wednesday, 27 July 2016

"Knew Their Trademark"
Topic: Humour

"Knew Their Trademark"

The Spokesman-Review, Spokane, Washington, 29 April 1915
From the Omaha World-Herald

A sentry was giving closest attention to his post in the neighborhood of a British army camp in England, challenging returning stragglers late after dark. The following is reported as an incident of his vigil:

"Who goes there?" called the sentry at the sound of approaching footsteps.

"Coldstream Guards!" was the response.

"Pass, Coldstream Guards!" rejoined the sentry.

"Who goes there?" again challenged the sentry.

"Forty-nine Highlanders!" returned the unseen pedestrian.

"Pass, Forty-nine Highlanders!"

"Who goes there?" sounded a third challenge.

"None of your damned business!" was the husky reply.

"Pass, Canadians!" acquiesced the sentry.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Salutes Important Part of Discipline
Topic: Discipline

Salutes are Important Part of Their Discipline

Men of Army, Navy and National Guard Strict in Their Observance of This Requirement When Sometimes Otherwise Lax

The Day, New London, Connecticut, 25 July 1912

Colonel Rogers emphasized the importance not only of saluting but made it plain that it was just as serious an offence to fail to return a salute of a subordinate.

Adam, the man with the fig leaf uniform, is said to have been a lance corporal when the story about 75 cent epaulets was new. This story, which is alleged to be just off the griddle every time it is told, runs thus:

A young C.N.G. officer passing a rookie private, notices he does not salute. Calling the enlisted man to attention the young officer in sharp tones inquires: "You see these shoulder straps! Well, I paid 75 cents for them, and when you go by you salute them. Se11!'

Exactly when the 75 cent shoulder strap story broke into the Connecticut National Guard cannot be determined, but it used to be perpetuated at about all the Niantic camps to the discomfort of not only the poor privates involved, but the officers and enlisted men who had been to more than one camp. Once a rookie second lieutenant tried to tell of this funny method of instilling respect for superiors into enlisted men as he had exemplified it. An officer with a 15-year service medal grunted and promptly informed the narrator that the origin of the tale had been traced to one of the tours of duty of Eden.

Among the citizen soldiery of this state the importance of the military salute was not fully realized until the Spanish-American war. Each of the volunteer regiments was braced up by a regular officer entering it who had most of the whipping into shape to do. The New London regiment, the Third, had no less a martinet that the them Maj. Alexander Rodgers, who became a colonel of volunteers, and is now a colonel of cavalry. Colonel Rogers emphasized the importance not only of saluting but made it plain that it was just as serious an offence to fail to return a salute of a subordinate. Many a man of good intention scan testify to this. It was sandy, as he was affectionately referred to, when out of hearing, who used to look a man square in the eye and demand: "Put your heels together!' The victim would comply; salute again and wonder how in thunder the colonel could see that his heels were not clean together.

After Colonel Rodgers got through his whipping into shape, when the Third was mustered out, his legacy was a better understanding in the C.N.G. of what soldiering really was. Subsequent camps found it to be no uncommon state of affairs for the proprietor of a drug store, who happened for the week to be squeezed into the uniform of a hospital corps sergeant, to be gracefully saluting and be recognized by his $9 per week soda jerker, who more fortunately expanded his chest in the blouse of a second lieutenant. As many of the volunteers went back into the Third infantry as commissioned or non-commissioned officers, it has been passed on until the coast artillerymen, who transferred from that regiment, came to associate with the regulars at the island, when the necessity for the "walloping' promptly was not a novelty.

Regular soldiers have various terms for the act of saluting, though walloping is a favorite. It is such a matter of routine for them that they wondered why a civilian should be curious about the custom. The regular used to be loath to salute a National Guards officer and the sensitive guardsman got sore. Then along came the Dick bill that made the national Guards of the several states the reserve of the regular army and there was no room for doubt. It is rare that a National Guard officer passes a regular soldier and does not "get the wallop.'

It is provided in regulations that the enlisted men of the army and the enlisted men of the navy must salute the commissioned officers of the navy or army and that the salutes must be returned. Army records are said to show instances of court martials for officers who ignored the salutes of enlisted men.

A group of 15 men, mostly privates from a New York national guard regiment, showed their ignorance in first rate shape at State and Bank streets one afternoon last week. They lounged about in a most distressful manner, leaning against the building wall, hanging onto awning brackets, smoking and talking, while an ensign of the navy found it necessary to pass and repass them. Not a one of the guardsmen offered to indicate that he had any respect for the ensign's rank. The ensign did not seem to mind whether they noticed him or not.

A nattily dressed sailor on the curb crooked his elbow and touched his cap and the ensign reciprocated. The jackie looked disdainful at the New Yorkers and murmured, "Tryin' to make tin soldiers o' themselves.'

A negro sailor passing the Neptune building repeatedly saluted the clerk from the army recruiting office, who was attired in a white uniform and looked like an officer. The sailor evidently had a few salutes to spare.

In the navy it is the midshipman on the way down the scale who is the last man entitled to the salute. In the army the second lieutenant is the last.

The army claims to observe the rule of saluting most stringently, a condition due possibly to the fact that officers and men do not come into contact as frequently as in the navy. Aboard a torpedo boat destroyer where there is little room the officers usually require no saluting of men in continual passing back and forth. More than once an obliging officer has been known to say in the morning, "You need not salute me any more today.' The suspension of the rule saves time and physical effort without impairing discipline.

Officers in civilian clothes are very generally saluted, when it is known that they are officers by the men of their command or others. A regular colonel who wore his "cits,' raised a rumpus in the Crocker house one evening because some naval cadets did not salute him. He had strong reasons for thinking that the cadets knew who he was. At any rate they felt particularly well acquainted with him, when he got through with them.

A big sailor, who is classified as a coal passer, gave a brilliant example of his respect for superiors in bank street during the past week. To watch him coming up the sidewalk not one in a hundred would say he could undertake any more difficult task than taking a nap and getting away with it. He had "a big bundle,' which occupied pretty much all of his time. Down the street came an officer, eyeing him closely. Mr. Jack gathered himself together like a flash and swung his hand to his cap in neat style, while he braced his big bulky form as stiffly as if he hadn't had a drop to drink. The officer of the patrol evidently considered the coal passer able to take care of himself when he could do as good a job as that for he passed him by.

In civil life a man is considered ill-mannered who does not remove his cigar, cigarette or pipe from his mouth when saluting. It is considered bad manners in the army and navy. In fact it is regarded as such a breach of etiquette that a man who tried it would probably never forget the date. The soldier salutes with the elbow close to his side, the sailor with the elbow raised so that the upper arm is extended. Both are required to be snappy in the performance of the salute and usually pains are taken to see that they do nor become negligent and skip a few of the motions.

To the observing citizens the salute is impressive. Not a few men, who have been watching sailors and soldiers on the streets lately, express admiration at the way the most of them carry their most distant hand to their caps in respect to the uniforms of the officers they meet. Undoubtedly, most of them have heard the story of the 75 cent epaulets.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Monday, 25 July 2016

Vimy Pilgrimage is a Reminder
Topic: Vimy Pilgrimage

Vimy Pilgrimage is a Reminder…

…To Young Canadians a Trust Passed On by Heroes of War

"Uncle Ray's Weekend Mail Bag," The Evening Citizen, Ottawa, Ont., 25 July 1935

The past couple of weeks we have been hearing and thinking a great deal about the peace Pilgrimage in Vimy Ridge for the unveiling of the Canadian memorial to those who gave their lives in the great World War. Perhaps some of Uncle Ray's nieces and nephews were down at the train or boat to wave good bye to daddies, uncles, grandfathers, mothers or aunts leaving for France. You wished them a pleasant journey. Though you felt you would miss them in the few weeks they would be away, already you were looking forward to the stories they would tell on their return.

It was very different with the boys and girls who saw the troops trains go in the years 1914-1918. Loved ones were going to face such terrible dangers it would seem a miracle if they returned. The honor roll of those who did not come back bears the names of nurses, girl ambulance drivers, voluntary aid workers as well as brave soldiers, chaplains, doctors. No doubt the thousands of ex-service folk who have crossed the ocean to do honor to fallen comrades are remembering that these died in the belief they were engaged in war to end war. To allow strife to come again would be to break faith with those who have gone. That is why so many veterans are so strongly opposed to the idea of war.

Why did daddies and uncles, big brothers, yes and grandfathers answer the call to serve between August 4th, 1914 and November 11th, 1918, knowing they would be obliged to endure great hardship and possibly suffering and death? To make Canada and the world free and safe for you. They were thinking of the young Canadians still to be born as well as beloved sons, daughters, nieces and nephews and little brothers and little sisters at home. Each of Uncle Ray's young Canadians has a share in the task of keeping faith with those who came back and the thousands whose names are engraved on the Vimy War Memorial. The best thank-you that you could give them would be to begin now and to continue all your lives to live and to work to keep your neighborhood, country and the world friendly and peaceful.

Uncle Ray.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Sunday, 24 July 2016

Army Rations for One Day
Topic: Army Rations

Army Rations for One Day

What Soldiers of Various Countries Have While on March

Morning Oregonian, Portland, Oregon, 2 December 1908
London Special to New York Times.

Herman Senn, the organizer of the Universal Cookery and Food Exhibition, which has just been opened here, has received, as one of the most interesting exhibits, specimens of the ideal army rations of the leading countries of the world. The exhibits present a day's rations for men on the march, and nearly every country is represented.

The Japanese dietary scale is the most frugal, and is as follows:

  • Rice – 5.64 oz.
  • Meat – 7.05 oz.
  • Fish (which may be had Instead of meat) – 3.50 oz.
  • Cabbage Or other vegetable – 5.29 oz.
  • Biscuit – 20.00 oz.
  • Tea. – .71 oz.

Great Britain's soldier gets in one day:

  • Fresh moat – 1 1/4 lb.
  • Or, preserved meat – 1 lb.
  • Bread – 1 1/4 lb.
  • Or biscuit or flour – 1 lb.
  • Tea – 5/8 oz.
  • Jam – 1/4 lb.
  • Sugar – 2 oz.
  • Salt – 1/2 oz.
  • Pepper – 1/36 oz.
  • Fresh vegetables – 1/2 lb.
  • Or dried vegetable – 2 ox.
  • Or preserved fruit – 4 oz.
  • Lime juice (with 1/2 oz. sugar on days when fresh vegetables are not issued) – 1/20 gill.
  • Rum – 1/4 gill.
  • Tobacco (per week), not exceeding – 2 oz.

The scale of Germany is as follows:

  • Bread – 26.60 oz.
  • Or biscuit – 17.00 oz.
  • Fresh or salt meat – 13.00 oz.
  • Or salted beef or mutton – 9.00 oz.
  • Or bacon – 5.70 oz.
  • Rice – 4.40 oz.
  • Barley or groats – 4.40 oz.
  • Or peas, beans or flour – 8.60 oz.
  • Potatoes – 52.80 oz.
  • Salt – .70 oz.
  • Coffee (roasted) 1.00 oz.

The French soldier on a march gets per day:

  • Meat without bone – 8.40 oz.
  • Bread – 35.30 oz.
  • Or biscuit – 26.50 oz.
  • Dried vegetables – 2.12 oz.
  • Salt – .50 oz.
  • Sugar – .70 oz.
  • Coffee – .60 oz.

The Belgian dietary scale includes concentrated bouillon. Prunes, tomatoes and apples are among the American soldier's rations, and the Dutch army's diet includes horseflesh.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 24 July 2016 12:07 AM EDT
Saturday, 23 July 2016

Officers Mess Auction (1855)
Topic: Officers

Officers Mess Auction (1855)

With the rotation of British regiments in and out of garrisons throughout the Empire, or the reorganization of locally raised units, there were occasions which caused the Officers' Messes to dispense with property that could not economically be moved on to their next garrison location. The following newspaper notice, published in "The Public Ledger" of St. John's Newfoundland on 27 February, 1855, announces the auction sale of mess property at Fort Townshend. The funds raised would probably be used by the officers to establish their new mess wherever they were headed. The mess property list offers a glimpse of how well the officers lived once they had established and furnished their mess.

elipsis graphic

Major Edward D'Alton

Through the pages of the London Gazette, we can trace the career of Edward D'Alton:

  • Through the pages of the London Gazette, we can trace the career of Edward D'Alton:
  • 83rd Foot, Edward D'Alton, Gent. to be Ensign, without purchase, vice Keating, promoted in the 13th Foot. Dated 13th June 1830. – London Gazette, 11 Jun 1830
  • 83rd Foot, Ensign Edward D'Alton to be Lieutenant, by purchase, vice John James Edward Hamilton, who retires. Dated 2nd August 1833. – London Gazette, 2 Aug 1833
  • 83rd Foot, Ensign Edward D'Alton to be Captain, by purchase, vice Kelly, who retires. Dated 20th September, 1939. – London Gazette, 20 Sep 1839
  • 83rd Foot, Captain Samuel Burgess Lamb, from half-pay, Unattached, to be captain, vice Edward D'Alton, who exchanges. Dated 12th January 1848. – London Gazette, 12 Jan 1949.
  • Royal Canadian Rifle Regiment. Captain Edward D'Alton, from half-pay Unattached, to be Captain, vice Colman, who exchanged. Dated 14th October, 1851 – London Gazette, 14 Oct 1851.
  • To be Majors in the Army:—Edward D'Alton, Royal Canadian Rifle Regiment. – London Gazette, 11 Nov 1851.
  • Royal Newfoundland Companies. Brevet-Major Edward D'Alton, from half-pay Royal Canadian Rifle Regiment, to be Captain, vice Osborne West, who exchanges. Dated 6th July, 1852. – London Gazette, 6 Jul 1852.
  • To be Ensigns, without purchase:—Royal Newfoundland Companies. Captain Malcolm MacGregor, from half pay Unattached, to be Captain, vice Brevet-Major Edward D'Alton, retired on full pay. Dated 14th September, 1856. – London Gazette, 14 Nov 1856.
  • Brevet-Major Edward D'Alton, retired full-pay Royal Newfoundland Companies, to be Lieutenant-Colonel in the Army, the rank being honorary only. Dated 19th September, 1856. – London Gazette, 19 Sep 1856.
  • The New Army List, and Militia List, No. LXV. 1st January, 1855.

    "Major D'Alton served in the 83rd during the suppression of the Insurrection in Lower Canada in 1837; also in repelling the attacks of the American Brigade who landed near Prescott, Upper Canada, in 1838."

    The Senior Subaltern

    Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
    Updated: Saturday, 23 July 2016 12:27 AM EDT
    Friday, 22 July 2016

    "War is a Funny Game, Mother"
    Topic: Military Medical

    "War is a Funny Game, Mother"

    The Age, Melbourne , Australia, 31 January 1900

    The following extract is from the letter of an officer who was shot by a Boer at Elands Laagte while protecting another Boer who had surrendered. After describing how he was "knocked over" from behind, he says:—

    "I lay where I fell for about three-quarters of an hour, when a doctor came and out a field dressing on my wound, gave me some brandy, put my helmet under my head as a pillow, covered me with a Boer blanket which he had taken from a dead man, and then went to look after some other poor beggar. I shall never forget the horrors of that night as long as I live. In addition to the agony which my wound gave me, I had two sharp stones running into my back, I was soaked to the skin and bitterly cold, but had an awful thirst; the torrents of rain never stopped. On one side of me was a Gordon Highlander in raving delirium, and on the other a Boer who had had his leg shattered by a shell, and who gave vent to the most heart-rending cries and groans. War is a funny game, mother, and no one can realize what its grim horrors are till they see it in all its barbarous reality. I laid out in the rain the whole of the night, and at daybreak was put into a doolie by a doctor, and some natives carried me down to the station. The ground was awfully rough, and they dropped me twice; I fainted both times. I was sent down to Ladysmith in the hospital train; from the station I was conveyed to the chapel (officers' hospital) in a bullock cart, the jolting of which made me faint again. I was the last officer taken in. I was then put to bed, and my wound was dressed just 17 hours after I was hit. They gave me some beef tea, which was the first food I had had for 27 hours."

    The Senior Subaltern

    Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
    Thursday, 21 July 2016

    Physical Training of British "Tommy"
    Topic: Drill and Training

    Physical Training of British "Tommy" Fits Him For Service

    The Deseret Times, Salt Lake City, Utah, 29 December 1916

    New York, Dec. 29.—In an interesting address on "The Making and Remaking of a Fighting Man" delivered at the annual meeting pf the National College Athletic association here yesterday. R.Tait Mckenzie, professor of physical education at the University of Pennsylvania and late Major R.A.M.C. England, said, in part:

    "You do not need a watch to tell when it is 9 o'clock at the headquarters gymnasium at Aldershot. For 15 minutes or more groups of men in black trousers and jerseys, or officers in tennis kit, have been accumulating, and at 9 o'clock precisely a shrill whistle petrifies them in the position of 'attention.' There is a dead silence and the sharp command 'fall in' is succeeded by a scramble out of which emerge 20 classes of officers and men, each in a proportion of about 4 to 1, neatly arranged on the floor, each with a staff instructor in charge. At the command 'staff fall in' each instructor doubles to where the sergeant-major stands, and where they stand at attention to receive the day's orders. These given, they make a right turn, rise on the toes and scurry off to their respective classes. Another silence, and the sharp command 'carry on' is followed by a babel of orders as the various groups march out of the four doors to selected places in the 20-acre ground that surround the gymnasium. For the next hour and a half each class is put through the table of exercises for the day; each exercise detailed, repeated and corrected until officers and men have the proper speed and accuracy for which they strive.

    The Day's Work

    "At 10:30 the whistle breaks the classes up into groups for a brief rest. After 15 minutes the same proceeding is gone through again, but this time the men are paired off; No. 1 teaching the last hour's work to No. 2 and back again from 2 to 1, under the fire of the instructor's criticism. Again a short rest and the bayonets are fixed, and the position of 'on guard,' 'point,' and 'parry' are explained, shown and demonstrated. There is an interval for lunch and at 2:15 the classes reassemble, and now they are marched out, combined into one mass drill of exercises selected from the eight tables of the British gymnastic law. After this display the mass breaks into its component classes and the detiling of exercises, bayonet fighting and gymnastic games fills the time until 4 o'clock, when the day's work is over. Every month a new class replaces those who have gone out into the great training camps.

    "When the war broke out in August, 1914, the staff of gymnastic instructors, up to the inspector himself, dissolved overnight and rejoined their regiments, and after 10 days this department had no head. The new inspector was confronted by an urgent demand for instructors, with none to send, but he at once re-enlisted men who had gone into civil life (teachers in board and private schools), in fact anyone who had had training, and he reconstructed his staff from these veterans. Soon, however, their numbers were augmented in another way. Familiar faces reappeared (men from the trenches) one with a bullet through his shoulder blade, another with part of his foot gone from shrapnel. They were not fit for active service, but their experience as teachers was invaluable.

    "The new armies had tapped every stratum of English society; the ill-disciplined lordling, whose whim was his only law; the stripling just from school and college; lawyers, doctors, merchants, clerks (soft from a sedentary life); ironworkers, navies, laborers (slow of action and speech)—all had to be wielded into a homogenous body, quick and alert of actions, sure of eye and hand and, about all, capable of endurance; able to march and take care of themselves; ready to obliterate themselves before a hostile aeroplane by day or a star-shell at night; able to dig like badgers even after a hard day's march; steady with the rifle; quick, powerful and relentless with the bayonet.

    "The shooting and digging are taught elsewhere, but the headquarters gymnasium is the source of all knowledge on those fundamental exercises that train in accuracy, balance, and speed, without which the musketry instructor instructs in vain and the drill sergeant's shouts are futile. It is also the source from which has come the new practical methods of teaching the use of the bayonet. There is no hesitation or sparring for an opening or elaborate parrying; just a short jab, and on the next, the two simple parries taught being not for defence so much as to clear the way for attack, a subtle but important mental difference. This is the gist of the new bayonet fighting.

    Another Function

    "Physical training has, however, another function in the great armies that have already tasted the hardships and casualties of life at the front. The wounded man, treated first at the dressing station, then at the field station, sent back to the base hospital, and finally to a hospital at home, is frequently capable os being returned fit for active service if time and care can only be given to his treatment. From the general hospital all such cases are transferred to the convalescent camp or depot, and many are put under physical training at once, and return to their regiment within six weeks, but in the slower and more grave conditions a cure must be effected in months rather than weeks. It is these men who are sent to the command depots, after a 10 days' furlough, and they once again come under military discipline after their month or two of hospital life. From a standpoint of discipline, this month or two has produced great changes in most of them. Many of these cases of scarred and injured limbs, stiffened joints, and other painful wounds can begin only by the gentlest form of massage, given after the injured limb has been prepared by soothing baths of running water, or by the application of electricity or radiant heat. From this they go on to more active massage, regaining the strength and agility that have apparently left them.

    "The injuries from which men suffer so enormously vary in extent and gravity that it is not possible bring all men up to this state, and some, although unfit for active service in the full sense of the word, are still able enough for service on lines of communications, or for garrison duty either at home or abroad, while others are unable to do more than sedentary work at home, or when not even this improvement can be obtained, they may be discharged from the army as unfit for all military service.

    "By these means, however, at least half of these men who begin such a course of graduates treatment and exercises can be counted on as becoming effective members of the army once again, and the training which they have undergone, either at the beginning of their career, or after they have borne the burden and heat of the day, produces a lasting effect, and brings them to a higher level of physical efficiency and mental alertness than they could ever have hoped to reach without it."

    The Senior Subaltern

    Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
    Wednesday, 20 July 2016

    Few Armies Are So Unlike
    Topic: European Armies

    Few Armies Are So Unlike as Those of France and Germany

    Soldiers of the Fatherland Form Force of Greater Strength and Strict Discipline—French Somewhat Lax, But Almost as Efficient

    The Milwaukee Journal, 18 October 1914
    By the Journal's Military Expert

    The world war undoubtedly is the most gigantic struggle in history. To understand the situation one must compare the armies. It would be difficult to find two armies more unlike in every detail than those of France and Germany. The German army is a force of great strength and strict discipline. In France the discipline is less strict. Officers and men are closer, but efficiency is almost as great.

    The largest military formation in Germany is an army corps, in time of peace about 22,000 men and in war about 45,000 men. Several army corps, generally four, form in time of peace an army inspection and in war time, a field army under a field marshal.

    Has 25 Army Corps

    The German army has twenty-five army corps. Each army corps has two or three divisions. The commanding general is a general of infantry, cavalry or artillery. A division commanded by a lieutenant general has two or three brigades of infantry, one brigade of cavalry and one brigade of artillery. A brigade is commanded by a major general and has two regiments, each regiment commanded by a colonel.

    A regiment of infantry consists of three battalions. In time of war each battalion is 1,000 strong and is commanded by a major. A battalion has four companies, commanded by captains. A company has in war time 250 men and consists of three platoons. Each platoon, under a lieutenant, has in time of war eighty men. A platoon has five sections, each sixteen men under a sergeant. Eight men form a squad under a corporal.

    A regiment of cavalry has five squadrons in time of peace, but only four during war. Each squadron is commanded by a captain and has two hundred men. A squadron has four platoons commanded by lieutenants.

    A regiment of artillery has two battalions, each having three batteries. A battery has four guns in peace, six in war. A battalion is in charge of a major, each battery commanded by a captain. Two guns are a platoon in charge of a lieutenant. Besides these troops, an army corps has one battalion of sharpshooters, one of engineers, a supply train, rapid fire gun detachment, signal corps, hospital corps, ammunition and special supply detachment, aeroplabe detachment, and automobile corps.

    Carry Full Knapsack

    What is the field equipment of the German infantry man?

    1.     In his knapsack each man has: One shirt, one suit or underwear, four pairs of socks, a pair of lace shoes, a clothes and hand brush, a bottle of oil, cord and waste for cleaning his rifle, three little poles for his tent, three tent cords, three poles with iron tops, a prayer book, thirty rounds of ammunition and the "iron portion," consisting of a box of canned meat, three boxes of coffee, a package of canned vegetables, a package of biscuits, and a slt and pepper box.

    2.     On the knapsack each man carries an overcoat (rolled), a tent folded (used also as a waterproof wrap) and a tin kettle with drinking cup.

    3.     In the belt a bayonet knife, two cartridge boxes with 90 rounds of ammunition, a small shovel or hatchet, or crow-bar, or scissors to cut wire, a waterproof bag for bread and thirty rounds of ammunition. Each squad has a large waterbag.

    4.     Inside of the coat, a small package or dressings and bandages, with a description how to use them.

    The entire outfit, including helmet and rifle, weighs seventy pounds. The uniform is made out of the best cloth. All material is stamped with the regimental, battalion and company number and has the name of the man inside. Every man has a metal shield for identification.

    Service Begins at 20

    The liability to serve begins at 17 and ends at 45. Actual service commences as 20. With the active army the term of service is seven years, two in the ranks and five in the reserve, for the infantry, five in the ranks and four in the reserve for the cavalry and horse artillery. The soldier is permanently attached to some corps and during his reserve service is twice summoned for training for eight weeks. From the active service the soldier passes into the landwehr. Landwehr I., five years for the infantry and three for mounted troops. Landwehr II., six to seven years for the infantry, eight and nine for mounted troops. The reserve is the landsturm, a force purely for home defence, in which the men remain until they have reached 45. Landsturm I is composed of all men between 17 and 39, who for any reason have received no military training. Landsturm II is composed of all men between 39 and 45.

    The French Field Army

    The French field army is composed of twenty army corps. Each army corps has two divisions, each division two brigades, and each brigade seven or eight battalions. Every division has a regiment of artillery of nine batteries of four guns each. The corps artillery directly under the command of the commanding general, includes nine field and three howitzer batteries, to which six reinforcing batteries are added upon mobilization.

    Furthermore an army corps in the field includes a cavalry brigade of two regiments, one chasseur (cavalry) battalion, engineers companies, sanitary and service troops, etc.

    The cavalry divisions are composed of three brigades of two regiments each, together with three batteries of horse artillery.

    Military Service Compulsory

    When mobilized the strength of an army corps is 33,000 men. The reserve army has two divisions, corresponding to the active army. Upon mobilization, the thirty-six reserve divisions contain virtually the same organization and strength as the troops of the first line. The territorial army has thirty-six divisions. Military service is compulsory from 20 to 48, the only exemptions being physical disability. After three years in the active army, the soldier passes to the reserve for eleven years, followed by seven years in the territorial army and seven in the territorial reserve. The troops stationed along the German fronteir are kept at a considerably higher strength than the others.

    Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

    Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT

    Newer | Latest | Older

    The Regimental Rogue.

    Follow The Regimental Rogue on facebook.

    « August 2016 »
    S M T W T F S
    1 2 3 4 5 6
    7 8 9 10 11 12 13
    14 15 16 17 18 19 20
    21 22 23 24 25 26 27
    28 29 30 31
    Entries by Topic
    All topics  «
    Army Rations
    Battle Honours
    British Army
    Canadian Armed Forces
    Canadian Army
    Canadian Militia
    Cold Steel
    Cold War
    DND - DHH
    Drill and Training
    European Armies
    Forays in Fiction
    Martial Music
    Military Medical
    Military Theory
    Pay; the Queen's shilling
    Sam Hughes
    Soldier Slang
    Soldiers' Load
    Staff Duties
    Stolen Valour
    Taking Advantage
    The Field of Battle
    The RCR
    The RCR Museum
    US Armed Forces
    Vimy Pilgrimage
    Wolseley Barracks

    You are not logged in. Log in
    Blog Tools
    Edit your Blog
    Build a Blog
    RSS Feed
    View Profile