The Minute Book
Thursday, 6 October 2016

Regulations for the Annual Drill (1880)
Topic: Canadian Militia

Regulations Issued for the Annual Drill (1880)

The Sarnia Observer, 14 May 1880

In order to bring the expenditure for drill and training of the active militia, for the fiscal year 1880-81, with the appropriation made by Parliament, the strength of the force to be drilled and pid for that year, has been limited by Order-in-Council to 21,250 officers, non-commissioned officers and men, and 1,275 horses. Payments for drill to be made after the commencement of the financial year (1st July.) As the nominal strength of the active militia is in excess of the number which can be paid, and as it is not desirable to reduce the strength of corps below that established for drill and training of 1879-80, viz., forty-two non-commissioned officers and men, including staff sergeants and bandsmen, provision has been made for the selection of the corps which may drill in the different districts, each district being allotted its full quota in proportion to the total strength of all corps therein. The maximum number of officers, non-commissioned officers and men to receive pay for drill in each district will therefore be:—

  • Mil. Dis. No. 1 – 2,500
  • Mil. Dis. No. 2 – 3,600
  • Mil. Dis. No. 3 – 2,000
  • Mil. Dis. No. 4 – 1,300
  • Mil. Dis. No. 5 – 3,300
  • Mil. Dis. No. 6 – 1,500
  • Mil. Dis. No. 7 – 2,200
  • Mil. Dis. No. 8 – 1,500
  • Mil. Dis. No. 9 – 2,200
  • Mil. Dis. No. 10 – 400
  • Mil. Dis. No. 11 – 300
  • Mil. Dis. No. 12 – 450
  • Total – 21,250

In the selections from corps for drill of 1880-81, field batteries of artillery are to be first taken; 2nd, corps in cities; 3rd, corps not drilled last year; 4th, to complete quota authorized, corps to be selected from the different arms in each district, in proportion as their strength bears to each other. When practicable, the selection is also to be by battalion.

Men going to camp a distance of five miles of more will be allowed one and one-half cent per mile in lieu of transport. Six days, exclusive of Sundays, are to be spent in camp. Officers to receive the pay of their ranks. Men will be paid 60 cents per day, and for horses $1 per day will be allowed. For rations—i.e., fuel, food, water, and light—25 cents per day for each man will be allowed, and for horses 35 cents. The officers, non-commissioned officers, gunners and drivers will be paid for the days (not exceeding ten) they are actually present in camp as follows: The officers and non-commissioned officers the pay of their ranks; the gunners and drivers at the rate of 60 cents, and for horses 41 per diem. Rations and forage will not be issued in kind, but an allowance will be granted in lieu thereof for rations (food, fuel, water and light) at the rate of 25 cents for each officer, non-commissioned officer, gunner and driver per diem, and forage at the rate of 35 cents for each horse per diem.

The Senior Subaltern


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Guns for New Fort at Halifax (1901)
Topic: Halifax

Guns for New Fort at Halifax (1901)

Military Wharves to be Extended and Other Improvements Made at Once

The Daily Telegraph, Quebec, 22 May 1901

Halifax, May 22—Orders were received from England to-day to have Bellevue, the residence of the commander-in-chief of British North America, put in thorough repair with all possible speed. This is taken to indicate the appointment of a new commander-in-chief before the arrival in Canada of the Duke and Duchess of York. It has also developed to-day that the steamer Evangeline, now on her way from England, has a number of guns for the new forts, southwest of York Redoubt. They are two 9.2 and four 8-inch quick-firing guns of the Cabot pattern.

York Redoubt is to have five new 9-inch and two 7-inch quick firing guns.

The present strength of MacNab's outside battery is two 6-inch breach-loaders and one ten-inch, all quick firing guns. These will be augmented by two more 7-inch guns.

Fort Cambridge will be supplied with two new 6-inch and four 4.7-inch quick-firing guns, while Ives Point battery will get two 9-inch and two 9.2-inch. Some of these are expected on the Evangeline.

Fort Ogilvie's two 6-inch quick-firing guns will be augmented by two more of the same calibre. The casement battery on MacNab's Island will be reconstructed, and three guns now there will be condemned and replaced by quick-firing ones.

It is intended to extend the military wharves on the island in order to get a sufficient depth of water to allow ocean steamers to land armament, etc., there. Fort Clarence is being extended, and a number of men on it will be kept busy there for some time to come. The old guns will be replaced by quick-firing ones.

It is stated that in the defence improvements contemplated, Great Britain is only keeping on her old policy of keeping pace in fortress improvements with those in the fleets of the different nations. Up to within a few years the Halifax forts were thought to be able, with the assistance of the British ships on the station, to cope with the fleet which any attacking nation might send, but there have been great improvements in fighting ships in recent years, and it is to keep pace with these improvements that the six years' work laid out is intended.

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Battery Locations at Halifax

The following map shows battery locations of the Halifax defences (from Defending Halifax: Ordnance, 1825-1906; A.J.B. Johnson, No. 46 History and Archaeology, Parks Canada, 1981):

The Senior Subaltern


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Equipment of Infantry (1943)
Topic: Militaria

Equipment of Infantry (1943)

… to equip an infantry division with war-like stores takes 179,101 packing cases, 4,165 road vehicles, and seven 10,000 ships. The equipment weighs 12,500 tons deadweight.

London Exhibition

The Sydney Morning Herald, Sydney, Australia, 5 January 1943
Our Staff Correspondent

London, Jan. 7.—For the first time in the history of the British Army, the complete equipment of an infantry division has been assembled under one roof.

This exhibition has been arranged by Ordnance to demonstrate the complexity of modern equipment. It is being visited by British, Allied, and Dominion officers.

In a great hall is ranged every type of the equipment required to put a British infantry division in the field.

There are many new weapons on the secret list and others which already have been tested on the field of battle.

Some new developments can be mentioned. There are the new rifle and bayonet which are being issued to the British and Canadian armies. The rifle is not substantially different from the older model, but its simplified design makes mass production easier, and it weighs a few ounces less.

The bayonet, in comparison with last war's model, seems absurdly short, light, and toy-like.

Silent Speech

The general tendency towards simplification is especially notable in wireless equipment. An interesting development is a one-man wireless set, in which the voice is transmitted not from the mouth but by vibrations from the throat, enabling "silent speech."

The display of soldier's rations includes tins of self-heating soup. They are ordinary tins containing a cylinder of heating matter, which can be lighted from a cigarette and heats the tin in four or five minutes.

Coloured graphs on the walls enable staff officers to see at a glance the transport required to move divisional equipment. For example, to equip an infantry division with war-like stores takes 179,101 packing cases, 4,165 road vehicles, and seven 10,000 ships. The equipment weighs 12,500 tons deadweight.

Canadian Army Battle Honours


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Monday, 3 October 2016

[US] Army Tries to Reduce Pack Weight (1963)
Topic: Soldiers' Load

[US] Army Tries to Reduce Pack Weight (1963)

The Bulletin, Serving Bend and Central Oregon, 11 June 1963

Washington—(UPI)—the Army is doing its best to reduce the pack of the foot-slogging soldier, but progress has been slow, the Defence Department reported today,.

The fully armed infantry man now carries a total of 90 pounds of clothing, weapon and pack.

This compares with just over 100 pounds when the GI's surged over the beaches on D-Day in World War II, and with 92 pounds in the frigid cold of Korea.

Scientific studies have shown that, ideally, the infantryman should not carry more than 50 pounds, preferably by hand—or not more than 40 pounds in a shoulder pack. So there still is a long way to go.

Asks for Study

According to the independent Army-Navy-Air Force Journal, Defence Secretary Robert S. McNamara has asked for a study of the weight of the soldier's pack. The publication said that the study was included on a list of projects not yet made public.

But the Journal noted that every previous defense secretary has asked for similar studies, with little noticeable result.

The Army said the World War II and Korea packs were almost the same, except the latter was "lightened by using a bed roll instead of blankets."

Somewhat lighter packaging and thinner cartridge cases have helped trim off another two pounds wince the Korean War.

Makup of Load

The current distribution of the soldier's weight-load was given as follows:

  • Clothing, including a nine-pound armored vest, 23 pounds.
  • Battle load, including a rifle, grenades, ammunition, and so forth, 31 pounds.
  • The pack, called the "existence and comfort load" and including bed roll, gas mask, toilet articles, rations and such, 36 pounds.

The Senior Subaltern


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Sunday, 2 October 2016

British Compiling Dictionary to Preserve Slang of Tommy (1921)
Topic: Soldier Slang

British Compiling Dictionary to Preserve Slang of Tommy

Words and Phrases Used by English Soldiers in the Trenches to Be Placed in Museum—Seek History of Words

St. Petersburg Times, 19 November 1921

London, No. 18.—An effort is to be made to preserve in the British museum the war time slang of the British Tommy. For the benefit of the students of the great war a dictionary is in the course of compilations dealing with the many words and phrases born of the war.

The secretary of the imperial war museum has issued a request for notes on the subject giving the slang terms used in the British army, together with the meaning of the words and, if possible, their derivation.

Much of this slang was a legacy of the old regular soldier at Mons and originated for the most part in the east. The most popular and most romantic and sentimental was "blighty." That is now almost universally used. It was derived from the Hindustani and means home.

However, the history of such expressions as "kip," "posh," "wangle," "eyewash," "swank," "square pushing" or "wind-up" is not yet written, and the secretary aforesaid is now carefully collating his data. In his request for data the secretary naively suggests "that, of course, many of the army terms are not polite and hardly fit for publication."

As a rule, however, the slang of the British Tommy has a much more wholesome derivation than most of the French "argot les tranches."

One Trench Language

Perhaps the most astounding thing about the army slang of the British is the generality of its uses. Those knowing Great Britain know that the dialect of no two counties is alike. The accent of the Lancashiremen is as different as possible from that of his neighbor, the Yorkshireman, while the troops from Northumberland were completely and wonderfully unintelligible to the rest of the British Army. Many of the Welsh regiments, too, could speak no other language, but their native Welsh. Yet the language of the trench was the same for all.

To all a "brass hat" was a staff field officer. True, the Scotsman put two extra "rs" into it, and the Northumbrian, as he is wont, "gutturalled" the "r" and made it appear like—well, certainly nothing which could be printed.

Some of the examples are as follows:

  • Air-flappers—Army signallers.
  • Archie—An anti-aircraft gun. (Probably a corruption of air-craft.)
  • Bully—Bully Beef—Tinned corned beef. (A relic of South Africa.)
  • Buchshee—Anything which is to spare or can be borrowed. (Derived from the African beggars' terms backsheesh.)
  • Blighty—Home, England. (Hindustani.)
  • Bynt—A young woman (Arabic).
  • Cushy—Soft. (Derived from cushion. A cushy wound is a slight wound. A cushy job is a task which can be performed sitting down.)

Some Hindu, Too.

  • Dekko—To look. (Hindustani.)
  • Eyewash—Over-elaboration, generally in some scheme to hoodwink a general.
  • Emma Gees—The signalling term for the initials M.G., i.e., machine gunner.
  • Jerry—A German soldier.
  • Kip—To sleep; a bed.
  • Lancejack—A lance corporal.
  • Leaf—Leave of absence (Corruption of leave.)
  • Monjy—Bread, or something to eat. (Corruption of the French.)
  • Posh—Ultra smart.
  • Padre—An army chaplain.
  • Quarter bloke—The quartermaster.
  • Red Cap—An army policeman who wears a red cap.
  • Scupper—To wipe out completely.
  • Square Pushing—To walk out with a sweetheart in a soldier's best uniform.
  • Sapper—An engineer.
  • Swanking—Four-flushing.
  • Snob—The regimental bootmaker.
  • Snips—The regimental tailor.
  • Wangle—To achieve an objective by doubtful means. "Wangling leaf" means to get leave of absence by giving a false reason.
  • Wind-up—To be nervous and apprehensive. It does not necessarily mean frightened; many of the bravest soldiers confessed to having the "wind up." In the officers' mess it was known generally as the "vertical breeze" or the "draught."
  • Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, 23 September 2016 9:25 PM EDT
Saturday, 1 October 2016

Over at the Camp (1900)
Topic: Canadian Militia

Over at the Camp (1900)

How the Militia Pass Their Time at Laprairie
Major-General's Visit
Inspected the men and Their Surroundings Yesterday—Was Well Pleased With What He Saw

The Montreal Gazette, 3 July 1900

Laprairie camp is not at its height, and hard work is the order of every day. Yesterday began the second week of training, and the soldiers now wear the look of veterans. Confederation and its memories were not allowed to interfere with the instruction of "Tommy," and yesterday was, if anything, the hardest day yet. Owing to the bad weather at the end of last week, not over much was done, and on Saturday the officers say that commands simply could not be heard even at short range, on account of the violent wind and rain storm.

The number of volunteers in camp is somewhat less than last year. In all three brigades there are 2,276 officers, non-commissioned officers and men. The cavalry brigade, which is quite a large one, occupies the lower ground to the west, next the river. Above this are the D.O.C.'s and staff headquarters. Then, extending in a long line, parallel with the river, and high up on the ridge, are the two main brigades, English and French, the latter being to the west.

Colonel Aylmer, adjutant-general, and acting Major-General Commanding, arrived at camp yesterday morning, and inspected the men and their surroundings. This was not the final inspection, which will only take place on Thursday, probably, but Colonel Aylmer expressed himself as very well pleased with what he saw, and spoke in particularly complimentary terms of the French brigade. Everyone knows that these men labor under considerable disadvantage, when competing against others, and the words of command are all necessarily in English. The adjutant-general will be at camp again today, and will likely remain until the end of the week. After a field day and inspection, the camp will break up on Saturday. Some of the regiments leave early in the morning.

The general health of the men is excellent. The weather has, of course, been quite cool, and consequently there have not been the usual number of sunstrokes, and other troubles. Drill lasts pretty continuously throughout the day, until four o'clock, when the men are free to do what they like; except those who are detailed for duties, as picquet, guard, etc. Discipline also has been well maintained, and good progress is being made in the drill.

The bearer company will go into camp on Thursday, and be inspected along with the rest. Major Birkett had been working hard, and has got them into good shape. Major Birkett himself has been at camp during the whole time. Accidents have been few, though one man shot his finger off at the ranges the other day. There is no artillery present in camp. They will probably go in September.

The men are all in good spirits, and have not had any "complaints." Many of them yesterday afternoon came across to the city to enjoy themselves as well as they might, after their day's routine was through. Among the officers and their friends there was some convivial confederation for the sake of the Dominion.

Canadian Army Battle Honours


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Friday, 30 September 2016

Operation Orders
Topic: Staff Duties

"It is essential that subordinates should not only be able to work intelligently and resolutely in accordance with brief orders or instructions, but should also be able to take upon themselves, whenever necessary, the responsibility of departing from, or of varying, the orders they may have received".

Operation Orders

Lectures on Land Warfare, A Tactical Manual for the Use of Infantry Officers, Pub. William Clowes & Sons, Ltd., 1922

Combatant officers of every rank are required to issue orders of some kind or other, and orders for operations should always be committed to paper when circumstances permit. The object of an operation order is to bring orders of about a course of action in accordance with the intentions of the commander, and with full co-operation between all units.

Operation orders of a complicated nature are unlikely be to required from the pen of infantry officers in the junior ranks, and the rules for drafting orders are stated in detail in the official text-books, for the use of officers of the ranks that will be required to issue them.

The general principles underlying orders of all kinds are that they should be "fool proof," and it has been remarked that the writer of orders should always remember that at least one silly ass will try to misunderstand them. They must, therefore, be void of all ambiguity, and while containing every essential piece of information, and omitting everything that is clearly known already to the recipients, they should be confined to facts, and conjecture should be avoided.

"An operation order must contain just what the recipient requires to know and nothing more. It should tell him nothing which he can and should arrange for himself, and, especially in the case of large forces, will only enter into details when details are absolutely necessary. Any attempt to prescribe to a subordinate at a distance anything which he, with a fuller knowledge of local conditions, should be better able to decide on the spot, is likely to cramp his initiative in dealing with unforeseen developments, and will be avoided. In particular, such expressions as 'Will await further orders' should be avoided" ("Field Service Regulations," vol. ii. (1921)).

Apart from the standing rules as to the printing of names of places in block type, including a reference to the map used, dating and signing the orders, numbering the copies, and stating the time and method of issue, etc., the general tenor of all operation orders will always be" The enemy are … My intention is … You will … In other words, all that is known about the enemy, and of our own troops, that is essential for the purposes of the order, should be revealed; then the general intention of the commander who issues the orders; then the part in the operations that is to be played by the recipient. But the method of attaining the object will be left to the utmost extent possible to the recipient, with due regard to his personal characteristics. "It is essential that subordinates should not only be able to work intelligently and resolutely in accordance with brief orders or instructions, but should also be able to take upon themselves, whenever necessary, the responsibility of departing from, or of varying, the orders they may have received" ("Field Service Regulations," vol. ii. (1921)).

The Senior Subaltern


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Thursday, 29 September 2016

50,700 War Medals Still Unclaimed (1931)
Topic: Medals

50,700 War Medals Still Unclaimed

Number Represents About One-Seventh of Those Who Served Overseas

The Montreal Gazette, 31 December 1931
(By the Canadian Press)

Ottawa, December 30.—War medals are still awaiting distribution to 50,700 former members of the Canadian Expeditionary Force, or about one-seventh of the personnel who enlisted and proceeded to the front. Recently a general impetus seems to have been given to the demand for these decorations, and distribution has been made at a greater rate than for some considerable time past. Officials feel that the cause may lie in the growing feeling of the veterans that, with the rising generation which was in it infancy during the war asking the well-worn question: "What did you do in the Great War, Daddy," the tokens of service will be sufficient evidence to enlighten the questioners.

Replacements for lost discharge certificates are in great demand by ex-service men. Throughout the years many of these parchments have disappeared from family records, and for very much the same reason substitutes are being sought. In place of a duplicate of the discharge certificate the men are given a "record of service," which for all official purposes has exactly the same value.

With the Great War now fading into the past, veterans are more and more manifesting pride in the services which in the years between 1914 and 1918 they rendered to Canada and to the world.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 10 September 2016 1:32 PM EDT
Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Sam Boast
Topic: Officers

Sam Boast

The Regimental Handbook of The Duke Of Lancaster's Regiment, Preston, 2007

Sam Boast. In the late 1920s the officers of 2nd Battalion The South Lancashire Regiment subscribed towards a piece of silver which would serve as a memorial to those of their brother officers who had died in the Great War. The well-known sculptor Ried Dick was commissioned to make a silver statuette of a subaltern of the 82nd dressed in field service uniform. The honour of being the model fell to 2nd Lieutenant S.W. 'Sam' Boast MC because he seemed to symbolise the tradition of family service, the mutual trust and respect between officers and men, and the unifying and sustaining spirit of the Regiment. The Boasts had a tradition of service with the South Lancashires and at one time four of the family were serving together as Quartermaster, Platoon Commander, Drum Major and Drummer, while three Boast brothers won the Military Cross during the Great War. Sam, having been commissioned in the field, was decorated for gallantry in 1918. The sculpture was completed in 1930 and has had pride of place in the 1st Battalion Officers' Mess ever since. By tradition, Sam is never cleaned because the unpolished silver conveys the rugged feel of the mud of Flanders. His helmet, however, is shiny from the touch of generations of Regimental officers who, by leaning on Sam, can identify with the deeds of their forebears. At first sight, Sam looks rather stern and aggressive, but this is superficial. He represents, above all else, the good-humoured determination of the fighting men of Lancashire to succeed whatever the cost.

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Sam Boast's Medals

In 2015, Sam Boast's medals were acquired at auction by his Regiment.

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Dix Noonan Webb Auction; 25 Feb 2015 catalogue

M.C. London Gazette 3 June 1918:

'For distinguished service in connection with Military Operations in France and Flanders.'

Sidney William Boast arrived in France as a Corporal in the 2nd Battalion, South Lancashire Regiment on 14 August 1914, in which capacity he would have first gone into action at Frameries on the 24th. The Battalion suffered heavy casualties during the retreat from Mons, Captain H. Whalley-Kelly recording five officers and 149 other ranks killed, seven officers and 301 other ranks wounded or missing (Ich Dien - The Prince of Wales's Volunteers (South Lancashire) 1914-1934, refers).

Commissioned 2nd Lieutenant in his old battalion in October 1916, he was subsequently awarded the M.C. and mentioned in despatches (London Gazette 28 December 1918, refers). Mention of him is to be found in Ich Dien - The Prince of Wales's Volunteers (South Lancashire) 1914-1934:

'On the 23rd [October 1918], it was found that the enemy had destroyed the pontoon bridge by shell fire, but orders were issued for another to be constructed that night, and 'D' Company, under Lieutenant S. W. Boast, M.C., was detailed to establish themselves on the east bank. At 1.50 a.m. on the 24th the bridge was completed, and a platoon, under 2nd Lieutenant P. J. Nolan, crossed without opposition. Once across, Lieutenant Nolan advanced rapidly, no enemy being encountered until a burning house was reached several hundred yards beyond the river bank. At this point the platoon came under point-blank machine-gun fire from a building about 100 yards away, and also from other enemy post in the vicinity. One of these was located and rushed with the bayonet, whereupon two Germans were seen running from the building carrying what appeared to be the machine gun; they were fired upon, but the result is not known. Lieutenant Nolan then continued to work his way forward, but almost at once his platoon again came under heavy machine-gun fire, making further progress impossible, and he withdrew it to a position covering the bridge, where the sections entrenched. Meanwhile, Lieutenant Boast, with two of the other platoons, had crossed and established a position on the east bank. At 4 a.m. both banks were heavily shelled with gas and high explosive, and the pontoon bridge again destroyed, while 'D' Company's hastily organized defences became untenable as soon as daylight disclosed their exact location to the enemy. At 7 a.m. Lieutenant Boast withdrew his company to the west bank via the bridge on the front of the battalion on the right. The bold handling of 'D' Company on this occasion was a fine example of the policy of harassing the retiring Germans without intermission, even though the main advance might be temporarily held up owing to the difficulty of getting supplies forward across the devastated regions in the wake of the pursuers, and the desire to avoid needless casualties. These harassing tactics, in the conditions of open warfare now prevailing gave ample scope for initiative and skill on the part of company and platoon commanders, and the account of the various minor operations carried out in the last few weeks of the war shows that those of the Battalion let no opportunity slip.'

The Senior Subaltern


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Militia Organization in New Brunswick (1864)
Topic: Canadian Militia

Militia Organization in New Brunswick

Morning Chronicle, Halifax, Nova Scotia, 27 September 1864

Upon instituting a comparison between the condition of discipline existing in the militia of this [i.e., Nova Scotia] and the adjoining Province of New Brunswick, it would appear that in point of order and efficiency the contrast is strikingly in our favour. From all parts of Nova Scotia we have received most flattering accounts of the success of the movement, and notices commendatory of the earnestness, zeal, and attention which characterized the militiaman in the performance of the duties required of them, have occupied more or less space in all the local papers throughout the Province. With trifling exceptions, the best of order and decorum have been present without recourse to any stringent or severe measures for the enforcement of duty. Speaking generally, the militia have performed the service, by law demanded, with a readiness and cheerfulness worthy of all commendation. Our New Brunswick neighbors, however, have not been so fortunate in this respect. The Freeman, in noticing the annual muster of St. John militia on the barrack square, of that city, on Wednesday last, says:

"The men were almost as frolicsome if not as unruly as last year, and it was hard work to get them into anything like order, or to keep them in it; and they laughed, cheers, applauded, or hooted, as their fancy prompted. An attempt was made to drill them, but little success could be hoped for in so short a time and under such circumstances. Two or three disorderly men, it was said, were put under arrest and sent to gaol in the early part of the day."

The St. John Telegraph, in noticing the same muster, says:

"After the companies were got into position to muster, rolls were called and then the work of drilling commenced; and such drilling was surely never seen since the days of Falstaff and his ragged regiment. It was possible to get the militia into line after a fashion, but very attempt to move them resulted in general "demoralization." The most sage tactician in the service could not have marched companies around the town pump, even with the aid of a military guard to keep them straight, and the real soldiers who looked from the windows of the barracks upon the scene must have been much amused at the mockery of military drill that was displayed yesterday. Lieut. Col. Robertson threatened to keep some of the companies at drill until 6 o'clock, forgetting that to execute such an order would have required a much greater military force than he had at his command if the companies chose to rebel, which they undoubtedly would have done."

The following colloquy occurred between an officer of rank and a straggler:—

Colonel—"What the deuce are you doing here? This ain't your company."

Militiaman—"I'm looking for Capt. Tisdale's company"

Colonel—"Why the d—l don't you find it then?"

Militiaman—"I don't know where to find it."

Colonel—"I'll soon make you find it."

With this the Colonel ran at him with his horse and tried to run him down, but the man made his escape amidst a torrent of abuse.

Col. Robertson pronounced Company No. 3 the worst on the field, although it contained a number of first class merchants. We are sorry to hear such an account of them, but we fear they will never be able fully to appreciate the beauties of our Militia Law.

Some of the officers did not appear to know much more about the drill than their men; others, however, understood their business better and presented a very creditable appearance.

The following speech was made by Captain Rowan to his Company, and may be accepted as a fair example of military eloquence:—

"Now, men if you would become soldiers, stand up straight; hold up your heads, eyes front; draw in your toes; lean well forward on your feet; expand your chest, draw in your belly; and stand ready for the word of command." (Merriment and "hear, hear" from the Company.)

He told them to keep in as straight a line as possible, which general order, we are sorry to say, was not precisely kept to the letter.

Some of the orders given by the officers on horseback to those on foot were quite singular to a professional ear—such as "More to the right, Davidson"—"Take up your dressing, Skinner"—"Do you call that dressing, Hammond."

After the militia had been put through their facings, and marched around the parade ground once—an experiment which they did not repeat—They were again brought to a stand and formed in line. Great insubordination had by this time begun to prevail, and every one wanted to get home. Some had notes to pay, some had bills to collect, and some wanted their dinners. Company 2 had been boiling over with indignation ever since the Colonel told them he would keep them on the field until 6, and swore they would not stay 15 minutes longer for all the Colonels in New Brunswick. At this juncture the Colonel seemed about to make a speech, but the cheering and yelling was so great that not a word could be heard. The only part of it they understood was the order to disband, and this they did with an alacrity which showed their hearts were in the work. In ten minutes not a civilian was to be seen in the field where a thousand stood before. Thus ended the greatest farce of the year."

The Senior Subaltern


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Monday, 26 September 2016

Officer's Right to Wear His Uniform
Topic: Discipline

Officer's Right to Wear His Uniform

Case Against Major ("Foghorn") MacDonald Opened in Police Court
Disputed Regulation
Defence Contended That Major Could Not Be Discharged During Duration of War

The Montreal Gazette, 14 September 1918

An earlier Minute Book entry on "Foghorn" MacDonald - "Foghorn" MacDonald Attains Distinction in Service at Front (1916)

Questions as to the legality of the act of the Adjutant-General of Canada in striking Major Neil Roderick ("Foghorn") MacDonald from the strength of the active list of the Canadian Expeditionary Forces and transferring him to the reserve of officers were set by Mr. W.K. McKeown, K.C., counsel for the defence, when the trial charging Major MacDonald with wearing a uniform without permission when off duty opened in the Police Court before Judge Leet yesterday.

Mr. McKeown, throughout the course of the proceedings, declared that it was the intention of the defence to prove that the act was not in conformity with the agreement entered into between the King and major MacDonald, when the latter enlisted as a private in the Canadian Army. Another serious question raised by the attorney for the defence was whether the Canadian Expeditionary Force is part of the Canadian Militia and governed by the King's regulations for the Canadian Militia, or whether it was part of the British army and governed by the King's regulations for the Imperial army. The legal points were the subject of much debate among the lawyers and Lieut.-Col. Hill. G.S.O., who was the star witness for the for the prosecution.

When the case was opened Mr. M.L. Gosselin, K.C., acting for the prosecution, declared that Major MacDonald had been struck off the strength of the Canadian Expeditionary Force on December 14, 1917 and that by routine order of march 18, 1918, Major MacDonald was transferred to the reserve of officers. He was off duty since December 14, and had been warned to take off his uniform, which he had been wearing in public. Mr. McKeown, however, contended that Major MacDonald had enlisted for the duration of the war and six months after it had concluded if necessary, and had made a contract with the King. He went overseas as a private and rose to the rank of major. Application was then made for his transfer to the Forestry Corps, and after serving for three years in France he was successful, last fall, in securing a furlough for three months. While in Canada, he was struck off the strength without his request. The defence, therefore, contended that a man could only be struck off the strength for three reasons, viz., death, discharge, and the stopping of pay.

Liable for Service

Judge Leet then asked Mr. Gosselin if Major MacDonald could be called upon to render military services while a member of the reserve of officers, and Mr. Gosselin replied in the affirmative, stating that any man is liable to be called up. In the meantime, however, he is not serving. "If they had needed Major MacDonald's services," said Mr. Gosselin, "they would have kept him on active service. This man has tendered his resignation."

Judge Leet—"Has it been accepted?"

Mr. McKeown—"No. My Lord, that's what we contend."

Lieut.-Col. Hill was then called to the stand to give evidence. He explained that Major MacDonald had no right to wear the King's uniform after December 14, when he was struck off the strength of the C.E.F., and his pay stopped. When asked who issued the order regarding Major MacDonald's discharge, Col. Hill said that it came from the Adjutant-General at headquarters.

At this point the question whether the C.E.F. was part of the Canadian Militia or the British army was raised. Col. Hill declared emphatically that the C.E.F. was part of the Canadian Militia, while Mr. McKeown was of the opinion that it was part of the British army, and Judge Leet seemed to think along the same lines as the lawyer.

"While in England," said the colonel, "they come under the direct control and supervision of the Overseas Minister of Militia. When in France they come under the British army."

Col. Hill, in continuing his evidence, said that Major MacDonald had received forms from the Adjutant-General asking him to fill them in if he desired to be placed on the Reserve of Officers. Instead of that Major MacDonald said he wished to return to the infantry.

Mr. Gosselin—"Did you see Major MacDonald last February?"—"In February or early in March."

"In connection with the uniform?"—"Yes. It was reported to me that this officer was appearing in public in uniform. I had written to him on February 28 about this matter, and had advised him not to wear it again. After he received the letter he came to see me. He gave me to understand that he was shortly to get his civilian clothes, and as soon as they were ready he would discontinue wearing his uniform.

Serve During War

Mr. Mckeown—By the declaration made by officers do they engage to serve during the war similar to the men?—I think so.

Do you know of any document signed by Major MacDonald which would modify those attestation papers?—he was notified that he was struck off the strength and was transferred to the reserve of officers. He acknowledged this and thereby accepted it.

Do you refer to the document regarding the transfer in which he stated that he wished to be transferred to the infantry?—Yes.

You referred to this as an application of transfer to the reserve. Is it not true that this document shows nothing of the kind, that there is nothing said in it indicating that Major MacDonald thereby applied to be transferred to the reserve? Is there any mention of the reserve in this document?—Not on the face of it.

Have you any other documents to indicate whereby Major MacDonald in any way modified the terms of the original attestation in December, 1914?—No, there is no record. There is a record of his having signed a document promoting him for commissioned rank.

You have stated, Col. Hill, that Major MacDonald was struck off the the strength on December 14, 1917, what was the procedure by which major MacDonald was struck off the strength at that time?—A letter from the Adjutant-General at headquarters to the O.C. of Military District No. 4 informing him that in accordance with his request Major MacDonald had been struck off the strength.

How long have you been with the Militia?—Twenty-two years.

Are you conversant with the King's regulations and orders which govern the Canadian Militia, which govern the British army?—We have the King's regulations for the Canadian Militia and there are also the King's regulations for the Imperials.

Which apply to members of the Canadian Militia?—Both.

Which has the precedence?—In Canada, the Canadian, overseas the Imperial.

From Adjutant-General

Are you familiar with these two sets?—Fairly well.

Can you indicate to the court the authority for the letter dated Ottawa, December 28, 1917, purporting to report that Major MacDonald had been struck off the strength from December 14, 1917?—That's a letter from the Adjutant-General or one of his deputies. That letter was written under the authority given the Adjutant-General,

Which set?—General order No. 1 of 1905, under the duties of the Adjutant-General.

Is there anything in the King's regulations and orders for the Canadian Militia giving authority for the letter, apart from section 11, paragraph c.?—Undoubtedly, I don't happen to know it.

I mean is there any other order which will justify this letter?—Not that I know of.

Can you indicate anything in the King's regulations and orders authorizing the striking off strength of officers and their transfer to the reserve list?—Paragraph 26.

Are there any other provisions in the King's regulations and orders dealing with the transfer of officers to the reserve?—Not that I know of.

According to you, under which set of these regulations does Major MacDonald fall?—The regulations for the Canadian Militia.

Is it not a fact that the officers are struck off the strength only in virtue of district orders, and not by letters?—Not necessarily. A letter from the Adjutant-General is sufficient authority.

Now is there any cause assigned anywhere for the action in striking Major MacDonald off the strength?—yes.

The witness then produced a letter from the Adjutant-General to major-General Wilson, dated November 14, 1917, stating that Major MacDonald's leave expired on December 13, 1917, and that a communication had been received from overseas saying his services would be more valuable in Canada than overseas. The letter informing the Adjutant-General of this was written by Major Moorhead, director-general of timber operations.

In continuing the cross-examination, Col. Hill said that Major MacDonald's record was a clean one, and that he had risen from the ranks to a high post in the army.

Mr. McKeown told Judge Leet that there was absolutely no power or authority by which the militia could discharge Major MacDonald from the active force and transfer him to the reserve list.

Col. Hill also admitted that the transfer to the reserve did not change Major MacDonald's status, and that being struck off the strength did not affect his standing as an officer. It merely meant that he was not a member of the active force.

Capt. J.S. Livingstone, provost-marshal, was the second and last witness to be called by the prosecution.

Did you see him in the month of August in connection with the wearing of his uniform?—I did.

What was your object in speaking to him?—To have him take it off.

The witness declared that Major MacDonald had informed Col. Piche, acting O.C. for Military District No. 4, that he would take off his uniform.

This concluded the evidence, and Judge Leet announced that the case would be adjourned until Thursday morning next, when the defence will be heard.

elipsis graphic

Charge Against Soldier Dropped

Concerned Major ("Foghorn") MacDonald's Right to Wear Uniform New Order-in-Council Gave Power to Try By Courts Martial, But Major Appeared in Mufti

Montreal Gazette, 20 September 1918

An effective compromise in the case of Major "Foghorn" MacDonald's persistence in wearing his uniform in defiance of orders from the provost marshal and the military authorities to the contrary developed yesterday afternoon in the Police Court, when the defendant appeared for the first time in mufti and Mr. Louis Gosselin, K.C., representing the plaintiff, withdrew the case because the order-in-council under which he had been prosecuting the defendant had been superceded by a new order-in-council lately issued. Mr. W.K. McKeown, K.C., for Major MacDonald indicated that his client abated not one jot or tittle of his claims that he had the right to wear the uniform but had resumed mufti because his understood that it had been the intention to arrest him on the withdrawal of the police court proceedings in order to try the case by court martial under the new order-in-council. It was intimated by Mr. McKeown that the case would next reappear on the floor of the House of Commons.

Mr. Louis Gosselin, K.C., opened the proceedings by saying, "I wish to make a statement regarding the MacDonald case. The authority underlying the prosecution of Major MacDonald for the wearing of his uniform while not actually on active service and without permission was order-in-council, P.C. 17, dated January 4, 1918. Dince this case began the order-in-council 17 has been replaced by order-in-council P.C. 2161. The new order-in-council does not reserve any pending litigation. The authority under which this prosecution was commenced having lapsed, it had become necessary to withdraw this case. Such a case as the present one now finds authority under order-in-council P.C. 2161, which grants recourse either to a court martial under Section 40 of the Army Act or to the Civil Courts.

"I now find that since the adjournment this morning Major MacDonald has discarded his uniform and is now in mufti. This is in compliance with the law which was all we wanted. Under these circumstances, I suppose the case will be dropped.

Mr McKeown's Statement

Mr. W.J. McKeown, K.C., made the following statement on behalf of Major MacDonald:

"On behalf of Major MacDonald I wish to publicly declare that he has had no participation whatever in the move just made by the militia authorities in withdrawing the charge of wearing his uniform as a major without right.

"The proof already of record by the witnesses for the prosecution shows that from the time of his enlistment in September, 1914, to date, there has never been any charge whatever made against Major MacDonald, and that on the contrary his services to his king and country on the battlefields of Flanders earned for him successive promotion from private to the rank of major. After three years' service he applied for an was granted three months furlough and it was while Major MacDonald was here in Canada enjoying a well-earned rest, that the militia authorities took it upon themselves to dispense with his further services.

For Duration of War

"Major MacDonald's contention has always been and still is that in virtue of his attestation papers of September, 1914, and order-council No. 372, his enlistment was for the duration of the war and his status that of an officer of the British army, and that he is in no way subject to the orders of the Militia Department at Ottawa, and in any event, that no authority exists for the action of the adjutant-general taken in December last in striking him off the strength of the C.E.F. or for the routine and district orders of March following purporting to transfer him to the reserve list of C.E.F. officers.

"It having been intimated to Major MacDonald that it is the intention of militia authorities immediately upon the withdrawal of the police court proceedings, to cause his arrest for trial by court martial under an order-in-council dated the 5th of the present month, and not yet published in the Canada Gazette he has, upon advice of counsel decided to return to mufti so that the substantial question of his status and rights may be neither obscured nor jeopardized by a decision of a court martial upon a technical offence involving only the matter of his right to wear his uniform.

"It is, however, the intention of Major MacDonald's friends to pursue what they believe to be his rights in the connection, and to maintain the same by every legal means available and it is quite likely that the current subject will be aired upon continuance of the House of Commons in the next session. There is no objection to the withdrawal of the complaint on the present occasion."

Military Discipline

Judge Leet—"What is the distinction between the old and the new authority?

Mr. Gosselin—"The new authority provides that the man who wears the uniform without right is by that act made subject to military discipline and law and may be dealt with under Section 40 of the Army Act for conduct contrary to discipline. The fact of wearing a uniform subjects a civilian to military discipline for the purposes of that offence only. Under those circumstances I could not proceed but had to take the prosecution under the new order-in-council and that will only permit a trial before court martial. A man wearing the uniform is made subject for that purpose to a court martial. We are not after punishment of any kind but we did desire that the major should comply with orders. The theory of the Militia Department is that he is already discharged. He was requested to take his uniform off and on two occasions he promised. He is in mufti now, and we are satisfied."

Judge Leet—"As the original authority has been superseded, I don't see that there is anything to do but to allow the withdrawal."

The Senior Subaltern


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Sunday, 25 September 2016

Bayonets and Sabres (1878)
Topic: Cold Steel

Bayonets and Sabres (1878)

Boston Evening Transcript, 13 August 1878
[From the New York Times]

General Winfield Scott used to assert that such a thing as a bayonet wound inflicted in a charge was almost unheard of in his experience; and General Grant says in effect that in modern warfare "neither the sabre nor the bayonet is of use."

General Grant is reported to have said recently, at Berlin, to an officer in the German Army detailed to his suite, that he questioned very much whether in modern war the sabre of the bayonet was of use. "What I mean," said the general, "is this: Anything that adds to the burdens carried by the soldier is a weakness to the army. Every ounce he carries should tell in his efficiency. The bayonet is heavy, and if it were removed, or if its weight in food or ammunition were added to its place, the army would be stronger. As for the bayonet as a weapon, if soldiers come near enough to use it, they can do as much good with the club end of their muskets. The same is true as to sabres. I would take away the bayonet, and give the soldiers pistols in place of sabres. A sabre is always an awkward thing to carry."

The general had no doubt war showed instances when the bayonet was effective, but those instances were so few that he did not think that they would pay for the heavy burden imposed upon an army by the carrying of the bayonet. The German officer was not convinced by the general's reasoning, and said he "knew of cases where effective work had been done with the bayonet, and that the Prussians would not abandon it."

Now, he could hardly have read the statistical abstract, published in 1877, of the returns of killed and wounded on the German side in what is officially known as the "German Campaign in France," for where, in that great war, the bayonet killed its units and tens, the bullet destroyed its thousands and tens of thousands. Nor, comparatively speaking, were the wounds inflicted by cold steel severe. Three officers and eighteen men were killed by lance or bayonet, to a total of five hundred and seventy-four injured by those weapons. The most harmless, however, of all instruments of warfare would seem to be the sabre, which, in the furious charges of the valary regiments engaged at Sedan, and in all the battles of the war, killed but six men.

Great interest is being taken in many countries in this subject of "cold steel in time of war." and efforts are being made to prove the truth of falsity of the saying attributed to the humorous though ferocious Souvaroff, that "the bullet is a silly thing, but the bayonet firm and heroic."

In our own army the discussion was initiated by General Sherman, upon a recommendation of General Benet, chief of ordnance, that the bayonet and sabre shall cease for form part of the armament of troops. The general-in-chief called, not only for the views of officers of the line and staff who can speak as experts, and commanders whose men are thus armed, but also instructed Lieutenant Green, our military representative with the Russian Army in the late campaign, to make a special study of the question involved. So far as the views of our officers are concerned, a majority of them seem to be in favor of a retention of these time-honored weapons; but the theory of the minority is equally good argument for their abolition. Lieutenant Green, however, had excellent opportunities for proving the truth of the maxim of Napoleon, that "theory and practice are not the same thing in war." In the Turco-Russian was several instances occurred in which bodies of men closed with one another on the actual field of battle, and when, consequently, the bayonet was used, with more or less decisive effect. These hand-to-hand encounters were, it is true, never of very long duration, but while they lasted the fighting was exceedingly fierce. On more than one occasion, so it is reported, no quarter was either asked for or given after once bayonet had crossed bayonet; but official statistics may possibly disclose the fact that these sanguinary and stubborn contest were not more fatal than during the German campaign.

While the weight of evidence given by American officers is in favor of the retention of the sabre and bayonet, that of foreign officers is in the opposite direction. This is particularly true as regards the sabre. Colonel Dennison, in his prize essay on cavalry, goes so far as to pronounce the the sabre contemptible, and advocates a charge revolver in hand. An "English Cavalry Officer," in a work entitled "Notes on Cavalry tactics, Organization, etc.," is of opinion that the sabre of lance is the first weapon of the cavalry soldier; but he thinks firearms of some sort, in fact, indispensable. The Germans go beyond this. In a precis of an article from the Militair Wochenblatt, Colonel Ouvry says, "The view that the sabre is the arm which forms the essential characteristic of the cavalryman must, since the experiment of 1870-71, falls to the ground. The most complete independent action for cavalry must be the watchword in the future, and to aid this a good firearm must be supplied." We may add that in Germany even the lancers have a certain proportion of rifles in every squadron.

What is so much lost sight of in this kind of argument is the fact of the enormously increased value of firearms. The increased use of intrenchments on battle ground will, it is believed, tend to circumscribe the action of cavalry. The extreme range and rapid firing of the rifle and the increased power of the cross fire will, as a rule, enable the infantryman to hold his own, not only against horsemen in any formation and moving at any speed, but against infantry charges as well. But opportunities may occur in the best regulated battles, and, though they would suffer dreadfully in passing the zone of fire, the attacking party might, in a hand-to-hand fight, have their revenge. With a view, however, to such a chance, a cavalryman should be armed with a straight weapon, being the one best adapted for giving point, inasmuch as a cut is seldom deadly, while a thrust is generally so. As for "terror in a long line of glittering steel," or as to its not being "in human nature to stand and wait for bristling bayonets," there is perhaps a good deal of nonsense in such expressions. At any rate, the Confederate soldiers in front of Thomas at Chickamauga, and of Schofield at Resaca, were not so intimidated, much to the surprise, not to say disgust, of those who were trying hard to convince them that these charges were irresistible. The testimony on this subject of three great captains may be epitomized as follows: Napoleon, at St. Helena, said that he knew not "a single instance in which twenty pieces of cannons, judiciously placed and in battery, were ever carried by the bayonet"; General Winfield Scott used to assert that such a thing as a bayonet wound inflicted in a charge was almost unheard of in his experience; and General Grant says in effect that in modern warfare "neither the sabre nor the bayonet is of use." Such testimony as this should strengthen rather than weaken the recommendations made by the chief of ordnance. It is by no means unlikely that such fighting behind earthworks will have so large a place in warfare of the future, some armor covering for the head, neck, and perhaps arm, may be desired for infantry, in which event they will have to be relieved of much of the weight they now carry.

The Senior Subaltern


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Bayonets and Sabres (1878)
Topic: Cold Steel

Bayonets and Sabres (1878)

Boston Evening Transcript, 13 August 1878
[From the New York Times]

General Winfield Scott used to assert that such a thing as a bayonet wound inflicted in a charge was almost unheard of in his experience; and General Grant says in effect that in modern warfare "neither the sabre nor the bayonet is of use."

General Grant is reported to have said recently, at Berlin, to an officer in the German Army detailed to his suite, that he questioned very much whether in modern war the sabre of the bayonet was of use. "What I mean," said the general, "is this: Anything that adds to the burdens carried by the soldier is a weakness to the army. Every ounce he carries should tell in his efficiency. The bayonet is heavy, and if it were removed, or if its weight in food or ammunition were added to its place, the army would be stronger. As for the bayonet as a weapon, if soldiers come near enough to use it, they can do as much good with the club end of their muskets. The same is true as to sabres. I would take away the bayonet, and give the soldiers pistols in place of sabres. A sabre is always an awkward thing to carry."

The general had no doubt war showed instances when the bayonet was effective, but those instances were so few that he did not think that they would pay for the heavy burden imposed upon an army by the carrying of the bayonet. The German officer was not convinced by the general's reasoning, and said he "knew of cases where effective work had been done with the bayonet, and that the Prussians would not abandon it."

Now, he could hardly have read the statistical abstract, published in 1877, of the returns of killed and wounded on the German side in what is officially known as the "German Campaign in France," for where, in that great war, the bayonet killed its units and tens, the bullet destroyed its thousands and tens of thousands. Nor, comparatively speaking, were the wounds inflicted by cold steel severe. Three officers and eighteen men were killed by lance or bayonet, to a total of five hundred and seventy-four injured by those weapons. The most harmless, however, of all instruments of warfare would seem to be the sabre, which, in the furious charges of the valary regiments engaged at Sedan, and in all the battles of the war, killed but six men.

Great interest is being taken in many countries in this subject of "cold steel in time of war." and efforts are being made to prove the truth of falsity of the saying attributed to the humorous though ferocious Souvaroff, that "the bullet is a silly thing, but the bayonet firm and heroic."

In our own army the discussion was initiated by General Sherman, upon a recommendation of General Benet, chief of ordnance, that the bayonet and sabre shall cease for form part of the armament of troops. The general-in-chief called, not only for the views of officers of the line and staff who can speak as experts, and commanders whose men are thus armed, but also instructed Lieutenant Green, our military representative with the Russian Army in the late campaign, to make a special study of the question involved. So far as the views of our officers are concerned, a majority of them seem to be in favor of a retention of these time-honored weapons; but the theory of the minority is equally good argument for their abolition. Lieutenant Green, however, had excellent opportunities for proving the truth of the maxim of Napoleon, that "theory and practice are not the same thing in war." In the Turco-Russian was several instances occurred in which bodies of men closed with one another on the actual field of battle, and when, consequently, the bayonet was used, with more or less decisive effect. These hand-to-hand encounters were, it is true, never of very long duration, but while they lasted the fighting was exceedingly fierce. On more than one occasion, so it is reported, no quarter was either asked for or given after once bayonet had crossed bayonet; but official statistics may possibly disclose the fact that these sanguinary and stubborn contest were not more fatal than during the German campaign.

While the weight of evidence given by American officers is in favor of the retention of the sabre and bayonet, that of foreign officers is in the opposite direction. This is particularly true as regards the sabre. Colonel Dennison, in his prize essay on cavalry, goes so far as to pronounce the the sabre contemptible, and advocates a charge revolver in hand. An "English Cavalry Officer," in a work entitled "Notes on Cavalry tactics, Organization, etc.," is of opinion that the sabre of lance is the first weapon of the cavalry soldier; but he thinks firearms of some sort, in fact, indispensable. The Germans go beyond this. In a precis of an article from the Militair Wochenblatt, Colonel Ouvry says, "The view that the sabre is the arm which forms the essential characteristic of the cavalryman must, since the experiment of 1870-71, falls to the ground. The most complete independent action for cavalry must be the watchword in the future, and to aid this a good firearm must be supplied." We may add that in Germany even the lancers have a certain proportion of rifles in every squadron.

What is so much lost sight of in this kind of argument is the fact of the enormously increased value of firearms. The increased use of intrenchments on battle ground will, it is believed, tend to circumscribe the action of cavalry. The extreme range and rapid firing of the rifle and the increased power of the cross fire will, as a rule, enable the infantryman to hold his own, not only against horsemen in any formation and moving at any speed, but against infantry charges as well. But opportunities may occur in the best regulated battles, and, though they would suffer dreadfully in passing the zone of fire, the attacking party might, in a hand-to-hand fight, have their revenge. With a view, however, to such a chance, a cavalryman should be armed with a straight weapon, being the one best adapted for giving point, inasmuch as a cut is seldom deadly, while a thrust is generally so. As for "terror in a long line of glittering steel," or as to its not being "in human nature to stand and wait for bristling bayonets," there is perhaps a good deal of nonsense in such expressions. At any rate, the Confederate soldiers in front of Thomas at Chickamauga, and of Schofield at Resaca, were not so intimidated, much to the surprise, not to say disgust, of those who were trying hard to convince them that these charges were irresistible. The testimony on this subject of three great captains may be epitomized as follows: Napoleon, at St. Helena, said that he knew not "a single instance in which twenty pieces of cannons, judiciously placed and in battery, were ever carried by the bayonet"; General Winfield Scott used to assert that such a thing as a bayonet wound inflicted in a charge was almost unheard of in his experience; and General Grant says in effect that in modern warfare "neither the sabre nor the bayonet is of use." Such testimony as this should strengthen rather than weaken the recommendations made by the chief of ordnance. It is by no means unlikely that such fighting behind earthworks will have so large a place in warfare of the future, some armor covering for the head, neck, and perhaps arm, may be desired for infantry, in which event they will have to be relieved of much of the weight they now carry.

The Senior Subaltern


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Saturday, 24 September 2016

They Attacked Halifax
Topic: Halifax

They Attacked Halifax

A Mimic Storming of Canada's Fortified Stronghold
It Proves Unsuccessful
The Garrison Are Able to Hold Off the Attackers, Made Up of the Sailors of the Blake and Tartar

The Montreal Gazette, 11 October 1893

Halifax, N.S., October 16.—There was a mimic war around Halifax to-day. The regulars and local forces, assisted by the various forts, successfully repulsed an attack by the navy. The imperial troops engaged were the King's regiment, the Royal Engineers and Royal Artillery, and the Militia consisted of the 66th Fusiliers, 63rd Rifles and Halifax Garrison Artillery. The warships in the "fight" were H.M.S. Blake and Tartar. The ships attempted to land a force but were driven off by the forts and infantry and artillery. The battle raged furiously, but it was demonstrated that Halifax can successfully repulse an army. A sailor of the Blake had his arm clown off by a cannon discharge and a militiaman had his face scorched, otherwise there were no accidents. To-night two torpedo boats attempted to run the gauntlet of the forts at high speed under cover of darkness, but were discovered by search lights from the first, and figuratively speaks, blown to pieces.

The Senior Subaltern


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Friday, 23 September 2016

Reserve Units to be Disbanded or Merged (1954)
Topic: Canadian Militia

Some Reserve Units to be Disbanded or Merged With Others In Shake-Up (1954)

Ottawa Citizen, 21 June 1954

The reserve army is to be shaken up.

Announcement was made in the Commons last night near the end of the day-long scrutiny of the $2,000,000,000 defence appropriations which were approved.

Number of reserve force units will be substantially reduced but there was no immediate indication which units will be disbanded or merged with others.

Maj.-Gen. G.R. Pearkes, VC (Esquimalt-Saanich), progressive Conservative military critic, asked that names of units to be merged, disbanded or otherwise affected by published as soon as possible so that commanders can plan training schedules.

Earlier, Opposition Leader Drew said the 57,000-member reserve force---to be renamed the militia---is less capable of assuming its responsibilities in case of an emergency than at any time in the last 50 years.

For that reason the government should make public the report on the reserve army prepared for the Defence Department and which served as the basis for the sweeping changes in militia reorganization.

Claxton Statement

Mr Claxton said:

"There will be an extensive reorganization of militia units to relate them more closely to possible wartime requirements, effective peacetime training and local support.

"The changes proposed are planned to tap the resources of interested and available personnel so as to provide the best basis for the build-up of forces that may be required in the second or later stages of another world war.

"The over-all number of units will be substantially reduced. It is expected that at the outset these changes may result some reductions in the total number of officers and men on strength. But it is expected that they will result in more effective use of personnel.

"It is hoped to work out all these changes so that there will be as few as possible actual disbandments and no loss of existing support or local interest."

Major Changes

Some of the major changes:

1.     Maj.Gen. H.F.G. Letson of Vancouver, one of three reserve force officers who wrote the report, is to be adviser on militia matters to the chief of the general staff. The other two authors were Maj.-Gen. Howard Kennedy of Ottawa, chairman, and Maj.-Gen. E.J. Renaud of Montreal.

2,     Minimum attendance equivalent to 15 days' training will be necessary before a militia member is entitled to receive pay.

3.     A new bonus will be [paid each member attending annual campo provided he has attended not less than 75 percent of local unit training in the six months preceding camp.

4.     Income tax will be deducted at source for all members unless a member claims that his total next taxable income is below the minimum taxable and requests that no deductions be made.

5.     Present brigade and other formation headquarters will be replaced by a new type to be known as militia group headquarters.

6.     A number of artillery units will be converted to armored units; "excess" anti-aircraft will be converted to other types of artillery or amalgamated with units of other corps; coast defence units will become harbor defence units.

7.     A new directorate combining militia and cadets will be set up at army headquarters.

8.     Additional facilities will be provided for the militia "as funds permit."

Mr. Claxton said the militia itself approves of the reorganization and the changes had been discussed with the Conference of Defence Associations, which represents the 12 corps associations and all reserve force units in Canada.

Main Points

During the long debate on the service appropriations, these were some of the points made:

1.     Mr. Claxton said Canada would be expected to supply a full division in Europe in event of war. Equipment was being stockpiled in Europe for it.

2.     Gordon Churchill (PC, Winnipeg South Centre) said the Canadian Army has too little armor.

3.     Mr. Claxton said the army is trying to develop a new armored personnel carrier.

4.     Mr. Claxton indicated that he favors adoption of the Belgian .300-caliber Fabrique Nationale rifle as the army's standard infantry weapon. The standard rifle now used is the .303 Lee-Enfield.

5.     Douglas Harkness (PC, Calgary North) contended that the army's equipment is inadequate and outdated.

6.     Mr. Claxton said it would be impossible to close down RCAF fields near commercial air lanes as an air safety measure.

Canadian Army Battle Honours


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Thursday, 22 September 2016

Montreal Tailor; Officers' Kit (1915)
Topic: CEF

Montreal Tailor; Officers' Kit (1915)

From the 20 November, 1915, edition of The Montreal Gazette comes this advertisement of officers' uniforms and kit. As officers were responsible to provide their own equipment, tailors who likely had a well established business providing for the officers of the Canadian Militia were ready to expand into this new area supporting the officers and men of the Canadian Expeditionary Force.

elipsis graphic

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Principles of Training (1922)
Topic: Drill and Training

Principles of Training (1922)

…while skill is being acquired, the fostering of moral, which includes the fighting spirit and a high state of discipline, must be borne in mind, so that the two qualities may grow together.

Infantry Training, Vol. I; Training, 1922, Provisional

1.     The training of an army has but one object in view—the defeat of the nation's enemies in war.

The foundation of successful training is mutual confidence between all ranks.

2.     All past wars have proved that victory can be won only as the result of skilled leadership and bold offensive action, while recent experience has shown that the increased decentralization of command necessitated by the power of modern weapons calls for increased initiative on the part of subordinate leaders and increased tactical knowledge on the part of the men.

3.     The success of a campaign depends, therefore, on sound training and skilful leadership, and on the degree to which, as a result of this training and leadership, the troops possess:—

i.     The will to go forward.

ii.     The skill to defeat the enemy.

These two military qualities reinforce each other, but the one cannot replace the other; both are necessary and both can be developed. Upon their development all training for battle must be based.

4.     The pages of this manual are mostly devoted to teaching the leader to lead and the soldier to fight. But throughout the details of training; while skill is being acquired, the fostering of moral, which includes the fighting spirit and a high state of discipline, must be borne in mind, so that the two qualities may grow together.

5.     An army can exert its full power only when all its parts act in close combination. Infantry is the arm which in the end wins battles. It is the arm which can break down the last strands of resistance and seize and hold a hostile position. But against a force of all arms equipped with modern mechanical weapons it can achieve nothing without the support of other branches of the service. Throughout their training, therefore, all ranks of infantry must be taught to realize the close relationship between their own rôle and that of the other arms in battle. They must understand the methods employed by cavalry, engineers, aircraft, artillery and tanks to support them; they must appreciate the importance of close liaison and intimate co-operation during the preliminary arrangements for a battle and throughout every stage of the action.

To assist in the attainment of this object higher commanders will arrange for the temporary attachment of infantry officers and N.C.Os. to branches of the service other than their own. Similarly officers and N.C.Os. Of other branches will be temporarily attached to infantry units. Higher commanders will create opportunities for training the various arms together by means of combined exercises and operations.

6.     It must be the aim of all officers, warrant officers, and N.C.Os. to fit themselves to carry out efficiently the duties of the rank next higher than their own.

7.     The principles of training and fighting herein enunciated are based on wide experience and are well-established. But principles on paper apart from their application have little value. Their usefulness depends mainly upon the effort of the commander to translate them into the every-day life of his men. The virtue most to be cultivated in training, as in war, is energy. Folded hands and fatalism bring certain failure. To do nothing is to do something definitely wrong. Energy in training, energy in fighting, pride in his work, combined with strict discipline, and pride in and sympathy for his men are the commander's sure ingredients to success.

The Senior Subaltern


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Calling Out the Militia (1868)
Topic: Canadian Militia

Calling Out the Militia (1868)

The Canadian Volunteer's Hand Book for Field Service, compiled by Major T.C. Scobie, 37th Battalion, Haldimand Rifles, C.V.M., Approved by the Adjutant General of Militia, Canada, 1868

An extract from the Militia Act of 1868.

60.     The officer commanding any military district or division, or the officer commanding any corps of active militia, may, upon any sudden emergency of invasion or insurrection, or imminent danger of either, call out the whole or any part of the militia within his command, until the pleasure of Her Majesty is known, and the militia so called out by their commanding officer shall immediately obey all such orders as he may give, and march to such place "within or without the district or division as he may direct."

61.     Her Majesty may call out the militia or any part thereof for actual service, either within or without the Dominion, at any time, whenever it appears advisable so to do by reason of war, invasion or insurrection, or danger of any of them; and the militiamen, when so called out for actual service, shall continue to serve for at least one year from the date of their being called out for actual service, if required so to do, or for any longer period which Her Majesty may appoint:

(2.)     And Her Majesty may, from time to time, direct the furnishing by any regimental division, of such number of militiamen as may be required either for reliefs, or to fill vacancies in corps on actual service; and whenever the militia or any part thereof are called out for actual service by reason of war, invasion, or insurrection; Her Majesty may place them under the orders of the commander of her regular forces in Canada.

62.     In time of war no man shall be required to serve in the field continuously for a longer period than one year; but any man who volunteers to serve for the war or any longer period than one year shall be compelled to fulfil his engagement; but Her Majesty may, in cases of unavoidable necessity (of which necessity Her Majesty shall be the sole judge), call upon any militiaman to continue to serve beyond his period of general service, or voluntary engagement, or beyond his one year's service in the field, for any period not exceeding six months.

63.     Whenever the militia or any part, or corps thereof, shall be called out for actual service, the officers, non-commissioned officers and men so called out shall be paid at such rates of daily pay as are paid to officers, non-commissioned officers, and men of the relative and corresponding grade in Her Majesty's service, or such other rates as may for the time being be fixed by the Governor in Council.

64.     The active militia shall be subject to the Queen's Regulations and Orders for the army; and every officer and man of the militia shall, from the time of being called cut for actual service, and also during the period of annual drill or training under the provisions of this Act, and also during any drill or parade of his corps at which be may be present in the ranks or as a spectator, and also while wearing the uniform of his corps, be subject to the rules and articles of war and to the Act for punishing mutiny and desertion, and all other laws then applicable to Her Majesty's troops in Canada, and not inconsistent with this Act; except that no man shall be subject to any corporal punishment except death or imprisonment for any contravention of such laws; and except also that Her Majesty may direct that any of the provisions of the said laws or regulations shall not apply to the militia force; but any officer, non-commissioned officer, or man charged with any offence committed while serving in the militia, shall be held liable to be tried by Court Martial, and if convicted to be punished therefor, within six months after his discharge from the militia or after the corps to which he belongs or belonged is relieved from actual service : notwithstanding that he shall have been so discharged from the active militia, or that the corps to which be belonged shall have been so relieved from actual service: and any officer, non-commissioned officer, or private of the militia may be tried for the crime of desertion at any time, without reference to the length of time which may have elapsed since his desertion.

65.     It shall be the duty of the captain or other officer commanding any company of active militia, with the assistance of the officers and non-commissioned officers of his company, to make and keep at all times a correct roll of the company in such form as Her Majesty may direct; and it shall be the duty of the lieutenant-colonel or other officer commanding any battalion of active militia, and under him especially of the adjutant, to see that the company rolls above referred to are properly made out, and corrected from time to time by the captains or other officers commanding companies in such battalion, and to report such officers as fail to perform their duty in this respect.

66.     Any militiaman who when called out for actual service, shall without leave absent himself from his corps, for a longer period than seven days, shall be deemed a deserter, and may be tried by Militia Court Martial.

67.     Each militiaman called out for actual service shall attend at such time and place as may be required by the officer commanding him, with any arms accoutrements, ammunition, and equipment he has received, and with such provisions as such officer may direct.

68.     When any officer or man is killed in actual service, or dies from wounds or disease contracted on actual service, provision shall be made for his wife and family out of the public funds:

(2)     And all cases of permanent disability, arising from injuries received or illness contracted on actual service, shall be reported on by a medical board, and compensation awarded, under such regulations as may be made from time to time by the Governor in Council; and any medical practitioner who shall sign a false certificate in any such case, shall incur a penalty of four hundred dollars.

The Senior Subaltern


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, 8 August 2016 7:38 PM EDT
Monday, 19 September 2016

Superior Weapon
Topic: Cold War

Superior Weapon

Canada's Antitank Gun Interests Britain, U.S.

Ottawa Citizen, 29 September 1955
By the Canadian Press

Britain and the United States are showing a lively interest in the Heller, the Canadian Army's new tank-killing weapon for infantrymen.

The Heller has been demonstrated for senior American officers and a number have been lent to the U.S. Army for trials. The British Army also is putting the weapon through tests.

There is a good chance, it was learned Wednesday, that the U.S Army, if it does not adopt the weapon itself, will employ the new propulsion principle embodied in the Heller.

Twin secrets of the success of the Heller are the high velocity of the projectile fired from the launcher and the telescopic sight. The weapon has a muzzle velocity of 710 feet per second compared to 340 feet per second for the American bazooka, Second World War anti-tank weapon.

Maximum penetration of the Heller has not been disclosed but in a demonstration here last spring it cut through three inches of steel plate at 300 yards like a sword through cream cheese. Tange and accuracy are far advanced over the bazooka.

The Canadian Army has said that the Heller fires a projectile which burns through heavy armor and generates such intense heat "that a hit almost anywhere on a tank will ensure its destruction."

The Heller is the first weapon ever designed, developed and manufactured in Canada. The army claims there is no equal to it anywhere in the world. It has been on production for 1 ½ years.

The new weapon is mostly the work of Earl Guy, 39, of St. Catharines and Quebec City, who spent four years on its development at the Canadian armament and development establishment at Valcartier, Que.

The launcher part of the Heller is 54 inches long and weighs 32 pounds. The rocket itself is 26 ½ inches long and weighs 8 ½ pounds. It can be carried by one soldier and be fired from the shoulder while sitting, kneeling or standing. There is no recoil.

The Royal Canadian Regiment Museum


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Sunday, 18 September 2016

Tanks (1920)
Topic: Military Theory

Tanks (1920)

Field Service Regulations, Volume II; Operations, 1920 (Provisional), General Staff, War Office

1.     The tank is a mechanically propelled armoured vehicle which affords protection to its crew, armament, and machinery from ordinary rifle and machine gun fire and from shrapnel bullets. Its fire power and mobility make it essentially a weapon of offence. Its capability of delivering a large volume of accurate fire during movement is an important characteristic. Its moral effect on hostile troops is very great.

2.     The tank can move over country where roads and tracks do not exist; it can cross trenches and surmount obstacles; when moving through entanglements it crushes down the wire to form lanes passable by infantry in single file. The weight of the tank can be utilized to destroy hostile weapons and personnel by passing over them.

Deep cuttings, swamps, very heavily shelled ground, rocky mountainous country, and thick woods are serious obstacles.

3.     The size of the tank makes it a conspicuous object, and the noise of its engine, when running at high speeds, necessitates driving at low speed in the vicinity of the enemy when surprise is intended. The track of a tank make a distinctive mark on ground which is not very hard.

4.     The limiting factors of the tank are its visibility and its vulnerability to shell fire, which render effective counter battery support of great importance. The radius of action is governed by the amount of petrol, &c., that can be carried on the tank and the physical endurance of the crew.

5.     The power of delivering successful surprise attacks against almost any type of defences is one of the most important advantages of the use of tanks in large numbers.

6.     The size, weight, speed, armament, strength of crew, and other factors vary with the different types of tanks. These details are given in the training manual of that arm.

Canadian Army Battle Honours


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT

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