The Minute Book
Sunday, 12 February 2017

The Canadian Army Round-Up for 1960
Topic: Canadian Army

The Canadian Army Round-Up for 1960

The Shawinigan Standard, Shawinigan, Quebec, 21 December 1960

The year 1960 saw the Canadian Army complete a decade of the most active and extensive operations in their peacetime history in service under the United Nations, the North Atlantic Treaty organization and, at home, in the vital role of planning national survival should the holocaust of nuclear war ever become reality.

During the same year, the Army entered a new, sensitive area of the troubled world scene as part of a UN protective force to preserve peace in the month-old Congo Republic.

Canadian soldiers now serve from the Middle east to the far east, from the Arctic Circle to the Congo equatorial belt.

Since 1950, more than 67,000 troops have served abroad in fulfillment of Canada's international obligations. Nearly half of them saw service in the Korean conflict. Another 3,000 have kept Canada's 5,500-man NATO brigade group at operational strength in West Germany. Others are serving with the UN Emergency Force on the Gaza Strip and with the Truce Commission in Indochina. Canadian soldiers also serve as UN Observers in Palestine, India, Pakistan, and Korea.

Across Canada troops of both regular and militia forces have become deeply involved in a new and serious role—planning for national survival under nuclear war. Army commitments in this field include responsibility for early warning of nuclear attack to the Canadian public and re-entry operations in devastated areas.

No small part of national survival preparedness has been the intensified programme during 1960 to qualify all troops in first aid under the St. John Ambulance. Some 17,000 soldiers received their official certificates from the St. John Ambulance.

Meanwhile the regular business of the Army in training for modern warfare goes forward. Militia units rendered obsolete by changing tactics of battle have been converted or absorbed. Brigade groups of the Regular Army continue to hold large scale exercises testing new battle tactics at major camps across Canada and in Germany. Mobile column are planned for national survival duties involving both regular and militia units.

In London, Ont., the 2nd Battalion, Royal Canadian Regiment, has maintained a state of combat readiness throughout 1960 as Canada's standby force to assist the United nations if called upon.

Announcement of adoption of the 762mm Honest John rocket system was made during the past year and troops have been training on the use of the new weapon at U.S. bases. Other new weapons and equipment are undergoing field trials, notably the canadian designed troop-carrying vehicle, the bobcat.

The Army also adopted a new, NATO pattern steel helmet in 1960 and continued exhaustive trials on newly designed combat clothing and boots.

A paramount factor in adoption of any new item for the Army still evolves around possible NATO standardization.

Historical milestones of 1960 brought about the centennial year of the Queen's own Rifles of Canada, the Army's oldest infantry regiment that is but five years younger than the Canadian Army itself. One of the youngest corps—the Canadian Provost Corps—observed its 20th anniversary.

In the far reaches of the north country, a team from the Ottawa-base Army Survey Establishment covered nearly 50,000 square miles mapping little known Banks Island, northern Victoria Island and the Western Arctic Archipelago. This was done during the short summer months inside the Arctic Circle.

At the same time Canadian Army Engineers continued to maintain the vital Northwest Highway System linking Alaska over a 1,221-mile stretch of roadway. An important link in this system was restored last summer when the new peace River bridge was opened.

While the Army assumes new duties in the tropics, one of the oldest jobs in the vast Canadian north has been passed on to the Department of Transportation (DOT). Operation of the far-flung Northwest Territories and Yukon Radio System, a responsibility of the Royal Canadian Corps of Signals for 36 years, was turned over to DOT last summer.

In the realm of personal amenities, 1960 was a good year for the soldier. Troops were granted a pay increase, Maple Leaf Services (MLS), a non-profit corporation operated by and for the Army, added new shopping centres in camps Petawawa, Borden and Valcartier. MLS chalked up nearly $13 million gross in sales, by far their biggest year yet. Every penny of net profit from MLS is channeled back to the soldier in providing recreation, welfare and related services.

Although the Canadian soldier is well fed in major camps, research continues to improve his rations in the field and isolated localities. A new rapid freeze-drying method of dehydrated foodstuffs has been developed. It will provide dehydrated raw pre-cooked meats the same in taste and appearance as the original following reconstitution by cooks.

In international competition, a Canadian soldier from New Westminster, B.C., Sgt. Gunnar Westling, won the coveted Queen's prize at Bisley, England, last July. This is the Commonwealth's highest shooting award.

Early in 1960, the Canadian Army became the first in the world to complete its official history of the Second World War. The third and final volume of this history completed the official story of Canadian soldiers at way from 1939 to 1945.

Canadian troops at home and abroad are encouraged to be good citizens as well as good soldiers. In Germany and other countries they are active in community affairs and helping the under-privileged. Soldiers serve on volunteer fire departments, scouting movements and charitable organizations. They are on call in times of disaster, search and rescue and the maintenance of order. During the past year troops were on hand to fight the rampaging floods of Quebec, the forest fires of the Maritimes and to blast away with artillery guns the threatening snow avalanches in the Canadian Rockies. Working with Department of Transport last summer, Army radar groups tracked rain-making aircraft as they seeded cloud formations.

Few nations in the world with a small peacetime regular Army are today maintaining such widespread global commitments for the preservation of peace as Canada. To provide for a reasonable rotation of troops serving on the more arduous and hazardous overseas posts, many soldiers have done two of more tours abroad during the past decade.

Because few complain may be one reason why senior officials have placed Canadian Troops 'among the most adaptable and resilient in the world.'

Canadian Army Battle Honours

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Saturday, 11 February 2017

Four Year Roundup; Top Posts and Topics
Topic: Commentary

Four Year Roundup; Top Posts and Topics

On 11 February 2014, I published a blog post identfying the ten most popular posts and post topics. Here's a revisit after three more years and nearly 1500 daily posts.

Top 20 Posts

1.     10 Diseases of Leadership
2.     Traditional Officers' Rank Insignia
3.     The Veteran on the Ten-Dollar Bill – Fact Checking
4.     The Canadian Forces Officers' Ceremonial Sword
5.     Pips and Crowns and Politics
6.     High Seas in a Melmac Cup
7.     Befuckled, and other Mission Task Verbs
8.     Drill
9.     Infantry Company Command (2016)
10.     Never Pass a Fault
11.     If You Don't Stand Behind Our Troops
12.     The Woods Recognition Cards; The Jokers
13.     Posed as Winner of Victoria Cross (1918)
14.     How the Legion Halls are Failing
15.     Characteristics of a Good Combat Order
16.     CF-104 Starfighter; the widowmaker
17.     Murphy's Laws of Combat Operations
18.     Button Backmarks of The RCR - Guelphic Crown Buttons
19.     The Heller Anti-Tank Rocket Launcher
20.     Rolls of Honour

Top 10 Topics

1.     Army Rations
2.     Canadian Army
3.     Cold War
4.     Militaria
5.     Wolseley Barracks
6.     Halifax
7.     Soldiers' Load
8.     CEF
9.     The RCR
10.     Tradition

The Senior Subaltern

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Canadian Army Battle Honours

Researching The Royal Canadian Regiment in the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Friday, 10 February 2017

How Canada Gets Along Minus Army (1925)
Topic: Canadian Militia

How Canada Gets Along Minus Army (1925)

Called Greatest Pacifist Nation Indifferent to Things Military
Militia is Reliance
3,000 Men in Uniform No One Interested in Soldiering

The Border Cities Star, Windsor, Ontario, 10 August 1925

Veterans of the C.E.F. for the most part brand any man who would join the army in times of peace as several kinds of lunatic at large.

Toronto, Aug. 10.—Under the heading "Canada, the Greatest of Pacifist Nations, Seems Indifferent to Things Military," the following article appears in the Toronto Weekly Star.

Until today, the world has never seen a great nation with flourishing seaports on two oceans, with ships carrying her merchant flag on the seven seas, and three thousand miles of frontier, unarmed and unprotected. It simply never happened in history.

Canadians are like no other people in the world. We are an Atlantic power, and a Pacific power. To the east is Europe carrying more bombs and side arms than in 1913, and to the west is the perennial yellow menace. In the Republic to the south last year the Government of the United states put on a "Defence day" and 16,000,000 Americans showed their interest in the affairs of arms by taking part. Even the South American republics have a total of 180,000 men under arms today. In the midst of all this Canadian go about the business of earning their daily bread with a general indifference to things military. It seems to be the accepted principle that it costs too much to have soldiers cluttering up the countryside. Maybe it is healthy.

Queer Lot

The permanent force is always the first to feel the knife of parliamentary economy which slices away methodically every year until infantry officers find they have only a few barrack sweepers to command and cavalrymen find nothing to ride in their riding schools.

We are a queer lot in Canada. Seven years ago we had an army of shock troops the equal of any fighting men in the world. Today, we have about 3,000 men in uniform and no-one is interested in soldiering. If there was any interest in it in Canada, it would have been capitalized by politicians and made a political issue long ago.

Next to tax collecting soldiering is the most thankless job, It takes genuine courage to hold His Majesty's commission in the Dominion in these piping times of peace—perhaps more courage than it did in the big bass drum days of Armageddon.

Veterans of the C.E.F. for the most part brand any man who would join the army in times of peace as several kinds of lunatic at large. The soldier is looked at askance as the most insignificant of civil servants, a sort of economic liability who must be tolerated for sake of old times. The permanent force is always the first to feel the knife of parliamentary economy which slices away methodically every year until infantry officers find they have only a few barrack sweepers to command and cavalrymen find nothing to ride in their riding schools.

Yet working quietly at their jobs every day, are a group of men who are making the most of the money appropriations for national defenses of this country. There are no grand manoeuvres every year in Canada. There are no great, glittering reviews. But the Canadian headquarters staff of the Department of National Defense—men who would be a credit to the Imperial war office—are from day to day working at the defense problems of Canada.

League's Opinion

In the lobbies of the League of Nations building at Geneva last year the younger men of the secretariats used to gather and talk informally. Conversations invariably turned to disarmament and the Canadians always interjected "Well, when you chaps get down to our basis of disarmament we'll begin to talk to you." But there was usually someone present who gently ruined the effect of the statement with a reminder that the British navy and the Monroe Doctrine made an ever-present row of bayonets around Canada, and that the unarmed condition of the Dominion was largely a matter of dollars and cents. It never failed to leave the Canadians without a "come back," and in their hearts they knew that their countrymen were more indifferent to armaments than any political influential people in the world.

By statute the enrolment in the Canadian permanent force is limited to 437 officers and 6,000 men. Actually the present strength is 413 officers and 3,085 men. The maintenance is of course in the hands of parliament. In 1924 when United States demonstrated its was resources on Defense day, Canada reduced her estimates for national defense by $1,000,000.

Horrible Example

South American republics have made such good fiction with the supposedly musical comedy armies made up mostly of generals.

So, with half the authorized strength, Canada's professional soldiers carry on. Pacifists say, "Well done, an example to the world," while militarists say "A horrible example of unpreparedness." Certainly it never happened before. No country claiming equality of nationhood with any nation on earth and about to send an ambassador to a foreign capital, ever stood in the international arena with a few minesweepers and about one battalion of infantry to back its claims.

Denmark not long ago announced that she was about to disarm and the world was amazed. Denmark's disarmament constituted a reduction of an army of 11,000 to a civil police force of about 6,000. Canada has done better (or worse) than that. Canada, with a score of lakes that could absorb Denmark, could parade the army, the navy, and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and still go recruiting for enough to equal the 6,000 of "disarmed" Denmark.

South American republics have made such good fiction with the supposedly musical comedy armies made up mostly of generals. But, Chile with an army of 21,000 German-trained troops constantly under arms and the Argentine with a regular army of 18,000, assume the proportions of world powers. Brazil, with compulsory military training, has 42,000 men carrying arms, and Mexico, with a more stable government than she has had for 30 years, keeps 65,000 active soldiers.

Armed Powers

A few other examples of armed power are interesting: Japan, 16,000 officers and 216,000 other ranks; Russia (army and navy) 562,000; United States, army 36,500, navy 100,000; Irish Free State, 1,080 officers, 14,600 men. New Zealand has compulsory cadet training for all men between the ages of 12 and 25. South Africa requires men between 21 and 25 to belong to a rifle association and learn to handle firearms. Australia with compulsory military training of a senior cadet nature maintains nearly 6,000 active troops and a sea-going naval reserve of 8,000.

Analyzed, the condition of the Canadian permanent force is as follows. The figures speak for themselves and offer good arguments for pacifists and militarists. The Royal Canadian Dragoons consists of 17 officers and 272 men; and the net expenditure for the regiment was $64,814 during the fiscal year ended last March (a trifle less in the cost of upkeep than Mister Coolidge's White House policemen). Lord Strathcona's Horse maintains 16 officers and 183 men at a cost of $64,317. The Royal Canadian Artillery kept 56 officers and 617 men at a cost of $203,970. The three infantry regiments were: The Royal Canadian Regiment, 404 all ranks, $104,631; Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, 269 all ranks, $93,391; Royal 22nd Regiment (French-Canadian), 189 of all ranks, $43,396.

Military Costs

The Royal Military College at Kingston cost Canada $338,082 in the last fiscal year. The attendance for the year was 165, and as well as the regular studies for cadets, the college carried on staff courses for officers of the permanent and non-permanent militia.

On cadet service $450,000 was spent in 1923-24, which was the largest amount expended on this work since the war. The estimates for cadet work for 1925 have been reduced to $400,000. The total number of enrolled cadets was 110,000 for the year ending last March.

That is where Canada stands in military matters. The headquarters staff is concentrating its efforts on the maintenance of a training service. Consequently nearly a full quota (under the statute) of officers is maintained. The theory is that the officers will constitute a training staff for the non-permanent militia and a skeleton organization for a fighting force in times of emergency. It is tough work. Officers without men to command must have their hearts in their work to carry on.

Has War Plans

Present strength of the non-permanent militia is, on paper, 140,000. The figure is not to be taken literally. It is extremely optimistic but headquarters continues to carry the names of authorized militia units which are barely breathing, rather than let the slimmest organization be lost.

Canada has war plans. There are two complete combat schemes filed in the National Defense department. One is to meet emergencies of home defense, the other is to place an expeditionary force abroad in the event of Canada responding to an empire call. They don't talk much about them at headquarters but they think a lot about those plans and they don't tell the world their thoughts. Headquarters bets on the militia. In the long run they count on the all-round citizen soldier of Canada to do the big fighting jobs, and they tell you without boasting that there is no finer militia material in the world than in Canada. Present strength of the non-permanent militia is, on paper, 140,000. The figure is not to be taken literally. It is extremely optimistic but headquarters continues to carry the names of authorized militia units which are barely breathing, rather than let the slimmest organization be lost.

So, at Ottawa with sincerity and that devotion to duty which has always characterized their profession, a small group of highly trained officers works thoughtfully on iron rations. To these men the St. Lawrence River development, obscure harbors on the British Columbia coast, and the sand dunes of Sable Island have a significance unknown to civilians.

Meanwhile the world wonders. Is in Canada the pacifist vision coming true, or is she indifferent to the rattling sabres of the world?

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Thursday, 9 February 2017

The Military Ball (Fredericton 1888)
Topic: The RCR

The Military Ball (Fredericton 1888)

The Beauty, Chivalry, and Aristocracy of the Capital Entertained by the Officers of the Infantry School Corps and Their Ladies—The Drill Hall Gorgeously Decorated—Who Formed the Quadrille h'Honneur—The Names of Those Invited, and the Guests Present

The Capital, Fredericton, N.B., 11 February 1888

Although the invitation card merely contained the words:

The Commandant Royal School of Infantry,
Officers "A" Company, Infantry School Corps,
Thursday Evening, 9th February, 1888,
at 8.30 o'clock.
Dancing—Drill Hall. An answer is requested to Mess Secretary.

The affair, on Thursday evening, in every respect, was a ball, an unequaled success, and a most enjoyable one to all who had the good fortune to be present.

The Drill Hall was so completely metamorphosed by the gay decorations as to be almost unrecognizable. From a large, plain raftered hall, designed only for the winter parades of the Infantry School Corps and instructional purposes for the Officers, N.C.O. and men attached from time to time, and for the 71st Battalion, the rare good taste of Adj't Young, Lieut. Hemming, Quarter Master Sergt. Walker, Mess Sergt. Boutelier, and Sergt. Kearney, ably assisted by numbers of the rank and file of the infantrymen, who declared their determination that the decorations of this ball of their officers should surpass all previous affairs in the history of the Permanent Corps,—the Drill Hall was changed into a really magnificent Ball Room.

The decorations were in harmony with the traditions of the imperial troops. Dazzling stars, made of bayonets and crossed swords and rifles, adorned the walls in every direction, while evergreens, bunting in profusion, and beautiful pictures and photographs were utilized with the most charming effect.

The Commandant's orderly room, on the ground floor, on the right-hand side of the entrance to the Drill Hall, was transformed into a pretty drawing room; while the opposite orderly room, on the left-hand side of the entrance, was used as the Ladies' Dressing Room. Up-stairs, overhead, the Recreation Rooms thus did duty:—No. 1 Room as a Gentlemen's Dressing Room, and No. 2 Room as a Card Room. The Band, under the baton of Bandmaster Hayes, occupied the Gallery over the inside front entrance to the Hall. On the upper end, adjoining the Band Room and Orderly Room of the 71st Battalion, the Supper Room was partitioned off, the tables being plentifully supplied, during the whole evening, with the choicest dainties prepared under the special directions of that eminent caterer, mess Sergt. Boutelier, and which was an attractive quarter during the entire evening.

The Band Gallery was very beautifully ornamented with caribou heads, bayonet stars, bunting, and evergreens; while from the centre was suspended the Colors of the Corps.

On the left-hand side of the Ball Room, bayonet stars, crossed rifles, and crossed swords were arranged with grand effect. At intervals, all along this side, pictures in various colors and gilded frames lit up by the sombre tint of the greening.

Occupying conspicuous places on the walls, were pictures of the Queen, the Prince and Princess of Wales, the Marquis of Lorne and Princess Louise, General Middleton, and a group of officers in full uniform, consisting of Col. Turnbull, Commandant of the Cavalry School, Quebec; Col. Maunsell, D.A.G, Commandant of "A" School, Fredericton: Col. D'Orsonnens, Commandant of "B" School, St Jean's Que.; and Col. Otter, D.A.G., Commandant of "C" School, Toronto. There were also pictures of groups of officers comprising the various Permanent Corps in the Dominion, and several groups of officers who have been attached to the Fredericton School. The right-hand side, or that nearest the river, was profusely decorated with flags, evergreens, stars of burnished swords, bayonets, etc., while a handsomely designed monogram of the Corps—"Pro Patria"—added to the embellishment.

On entering the Ball Room, the eye was dazzled with an Italian garden scene, with feudal castle in the background, and lake and forest scenery, at the opposite end. By a skillful use of the theatrical scenery of the Corps, this gorgeous effect was produced. Behind this was the Sapper Room. Overhead, the rafters were entwined with evergreens, and suspended from them were many-colored Chinese lanterns, gold and silver balls, and brilliant chandeliers, which threw a blaze of light over the fairy like scene.

In the upper right-hand corner of the room there was a very picturesque log-cabin. In it, by a subdued, tranquilizing light, many a tete-a-tete was had by those preferring to "sit out a dance."

Opposite this was a small blanket wig-wam, while near the entrance, a bell-tent was pitched, carpeted with furs, the trophies of Col. Maunsell's rifle.

Although 8.30 was the hour named on the card, it was after nine before any considerable number of guests arrived—the fear of being the first-comers, no doubt, causing the delay. They were received most cordially by the wives of the officers of the Corps, viz.:—

  • Mrs. Maunsell,
  • Mrs. Brown,
  • Mrs Douglas Young,
  • Mrs. Hemming.

The absence of Mrs. Gordon (owing to her being on a visit to Kingston) was universally regretted.

The gusts were announced by Staff-Sergeant Polkinghorn, in full uniform.

Outside the Officers of the I.S.C. (who wore shell jackets), the three arms of the service were represented by officers in the full uniform of their respective Corps; vis., by Capt. Campbell, 8th Cavalry; Capt. George Seely, Garrison Artillery; and by several Officers of the 71st Infantry.

At 9.30 the programme was commenced. The quadrille d'honneur was composed of:—

Col. MaunsellMiss Temple
Judge FraserMrs. Maunsell
Surgeon BrownMrs. Hilyard
Thomas Temple, MPMrs. Douglas Young
Att'y General BlairMrs. T.C. Allen
Adj't Douglas YoungMrs. Chas. W. Beckworth
Hon. B.R. StevensonMrs. Brown
Sheriff SterlingMrs. Geo. N. Babbitt
Lieut. HemmingMrs. O'Malley
Mayor HazenMrs. Hemming

The following was the programme:—

2Bouquet of Valses Ar'd Hayes
4LanciersHit and MissAr'd Hayes
5ValseFern HillCol. Maunsell
8QuadrilleEscapadeAr'd Hayes
9ValseGerman Love SongsStrauss
10MazurkaAnnaCol. Maunsell
11PolkaBon BouchaWaldtenfeld
13ValseSpirit of LoveHartmann
14ValseMy DreamWaldtenfeld
16ValseSoldiers' SongsGungi
17PolkaJubileeCol. Maunsell
18LanciersBric a BracHayes
19ValseLove's DreamlandRoeder
20GalopGay and HappyRipley
God Save the Queen.

Dancing was kept up until 3 o'clock in the morning, the excellence of the music attracting the notice of all present, and being the subject of universal praise.

(The orginally published article concludes with a list of the invited gusts, which is annotated to show who attended the ball.)

The Royal Canadian Regiment Museum

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Panic Said More Harm Than Gas (1938)
Topic: Canadian Army

Panic Said More Harm Than Gas (1938)

R.C.R. Lieutenant Disputes the Theory That Poison Gas Can Wipe Out Whole Communities

The Stouffville Sun-Tribune, Stouffville, Ontario, 26 May 1938

Mammoth air raids, with gas attacks which would wipe out entire communities as large as Hamilton, were visualized by the uninformed, in the event another war occurred, but there was no likelihood of such atrocities, Lieut. J.H.W.T. Pope, of the Royal Canadian Regiment, Toronto, declared last week when he gave an address and demonstration on chemical warfare before members of Hamilton Academy of Medicine.

To stage a chemical attack upon the Queen City, a concentration of gas would be necessary and 25,000 200-pound air bombs would have to be dropped to accomplish this. This effort would require 6,300 planes, and for any power to provide the necessary equipment would be impossible, the speaker said. Panic and fear resulting from the use of gas were the greatest casualty producers and not the poisonous fumes.

"It is an unpleasant way to talk, but the important effect of gas in war is that it is a casualty producer, which is considered more important than a mortality producer. If a man is dead, you do not have to worry about him, but if he lives and is unable to work he must be maintained. Thousands of such casualties create a great problem," said the speaker.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Canadians Excel in Raiding
Topic: CEF

Canadians Excel in Raiding and Trench Warfare

Official Statement From War Records Office Praises the men
Sneak on Huns
And Then With Bombs or Bayonets They Make Short Work of Enemy

The Montreal Daily Mail, 7 February 1917
(Canadian Press Despatch)

London, Feb. 6—The following communique was issued by the Canadian War Office Records to-day.

The Canadians have not been slow to take advantage of the hard weather which has made the ground, hitherto waterlogged, comparatively easy to move over. The German trenches have been entered on no less than four occasions by parties of various sizes. A number of prisoners have been taken and severe casualties inflicted on the enemy.

One daring little enterprise was carried out on a bright, starlit night. The raiders, dressed in white canvas to render themselves invisible as possible against the snow, crossed to within 10 yards of an enemy post without being detected. When the German sentry eventually did detect his assailants it was too late. The post, a particularly strong one, was rushed and the defenders quickly taken care of.

Take Many Prisoners

Another operation on a rather larger scale was carried out one morning by an Edmonton battalion. Two parties, each under an officer, stormed the enemy's trenches under cover of a bombardment. Many prisoners were taken and all dug-outs in the neighborhood were destroyed before the raiders returned. The excellent operation was carried out with a loss of two men slightly wounded.

By no means the least satisfactory feature of these raids which have been carried out so frequently is the remarkably few losses which our troops have suffered in their execution and of the many useful purposes they serve. The two most important are the wearing down of the enemy's morale by keeping him in a constant state of nervous expectation and the experience our men gain in what is known as "going over the parapet,' or in other words getting accustomed to the element of uncertainty which most men feel in crossing "No Man's Land' to the attack for the first time.

Have Established a Record

Canadian raiding exploits are well-known and in capturing 200 prisoners during the last three months of purely defensive warfare our troops have made ready for themselves a record of which they may justly be proud.

No other events of interest have occurred during the past week. Hard frost has prevailed and while this makes life in the trenches more rigorous the temporary absence of mud is a source of satisfaction.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Monday, 6 February 2017

The Canadian Navy Overseas (1944)
Topic: RCN

The Canadian Navy Overseas (1944)

Ottawa Citizen, 29 August 1944

The navy is figuring less on front pages at present, but cabled reports tell of Canadian fighting ships in almost continuous operation. Motor torpedo boats are exceedingly busy in actions along the French coast where enemy warships have to be kept away from the troops landing craft and transports.

The german navy has a powerful speedy craft known as the E-boat, considerably larger than the MTB. The E-boat is more than 100 feet long. It is engined with three Diesel engines of modern design, they give the German sea fighter a terrific speed, probably above 35 knots. The E-boat's armament includes two torpedo tubes, Oerlikon and other guns. They are tough customers to tackle, but the Canadian navy has been well represented in numerous battles with the enemy across the choppy English Channel.

elipsis graphic

Like flying, the jousts at thirty knots or more in motor torpedo boats is the business of lads of football age, like the Ottawa boy whose story of service with the R.C.V.N.R. overseas appeared in the Evening Citizen recently, Canada has an MTB flotilla based at an English port within handy distance of German E-boat haunts. Enemy mineships are chased back to port. U-boats are kept under, and German freight ships in convoy are attacked. British, canadian and American light naval forces have been engaged in far more fighting along the European coast than is generally appreciated on this side of the ocean.

elipsis graphic

Canada's fleet of destroyers, frigates and corvettes would make an imposing array of seapower. While they are relatively small ships as compared with battleships, aircraft carriers and cruisers, they are making a vital contribution—as are also the Canadian landing craft and troopships, including the converted prince liners. They seem to be operating everywhere around the European battle arena from the Mediterranean to Murmansk.

At the same time, it is doubtless still necessary to maintain a considerable number of fighting ships on Canadian seaways. The battle of the Atlantic has apparently been won, but only because there are warships—and complete air coverage—to keep the U-boats down. There can be no relaxing of convoy escort operations; the continuous stream of cargo ships has to be maintained at a greater rate of tonnage than ever.

elipsis graphic

There is another Canadian naval responsibility to keep in mind. The St. Lawrence River has been visited by U-boats. They penetrated well up toward Quebec towns where U-boat gunfire could do shocking damage. Submarine mines have been laid too off Canadian ports. It would be much according to the Nazi book suddenly to surprise Canada with another visit.

Even without contemplating the possibility of rocket bombs launched from submersible destroyers, it would be foolish complacency to dream that Canada is now immune from German attack. The navy is contributing magnificently to the winning of the war where it has to be won, on the European side of the ocean. It is also part of the Canadian navy's task to keep the enemy confined to Europe, away from Canadian shores and seaways.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Sunday, 5 February 2017

RMC Kit Layout 1926
Topic: Drill and Training

RMC Kit Layout 1926

From the January, 1926, Standing Orders of the Royal Military College of Canada, come these illustrations of the kit layout required of Cadets for inspections.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Saturday, 4 February 2017

England's Most Coveted War Medal
Topic: Medals

England's Most Coveted War Medal—the Victoria Cross (1918)

The Spokesman-Review, Spokane, Washington, 4 February 1918
(Via Scribner's)

The Victoria Cross, one of the most coveted of military decorations, and the most rarely conferred, was instituted during the Crimean war, and is made from the bronze of captured cannon. It is not a Maltese cross, but a cross pattee, its obverse center bearing the royal crest of a lion passant, gardant, upon the British crown, above a ribbon inscribed "For Valour." On the reverse if a circular space reserved for record of the act that gained the decoration. The name and rank of the recipient are on the bar above. The ribbon is red for the army and blue for the navy.

The cross was instituted in 1856, but its award was made retroactive, so that it happened that the first Victoria Cross was awarded for an act of valor on June 21, 1854. The recipient was "Mr. Lucas," then mate on board H.M.S. Hecla. A live shell fell on the deck of the Hecla and, without an instant's hesitation, Mr. Lucas picked it up and threw it overboard.

The Victoria Cross is a dignified piece of sculpture, dominated by a lion worthy of Barye. Its possession, like those of most of the British crosses, confers a sort of military "degree," in certain cases, permitting the wearer to write V.C. after his name. Moreover, the cross carries with it an annuity of £10, which, in case of extreme want, may be increased to £50. Every recipient of a Victoria Cross is the ward of a grateful nation.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Friday, 3 February 2017

Gunnery (1855)
Topic: Militaria

Gunnery (1855)

From: Field Service; The Sydney Morning Herald, Sydney, Australia, 11 May 1855
(From the Household Words)

The management of battering trains requires great energy, patience, and attention from the artillery officer. First, he had to consider the quantity of ordnance—six guns being used to every four howitzers or mortars, besides allowing for spare guns; then, the ammunition; and next, the means of transport. With regard to the ammunition, it is stated that at the siege of Ciudad Rodrigo, in six days, eighteen hundred and twenty-five barrels of powder were expended; at Badajoz, in eight days, two thousand two hundred and seventy-one barrels; and at the two sieges of Saint Sebastien, five thousand and twenty-one barrels. As to shot, the average per gun may be (this is speaking roughly) about five hundred; and of shells, one hundred and twenty; but the general conclusion from former sieges is that a breach, one hundred feet wide, can be made by the expenditure of ten thousand six hundred twenty-four-pounder shot, at five hundred yards distance. With a commanding position, much less will suffice.

Upon enquiring into the execution done, we find, from elaborate experiments tried in eighteen hundred and thirty-four at the great artillery school at Metz, a thirty-six pounder, with only one-third charge, at one thousand yards, penetrated twelve inches into good rubble masonry, thirty-one inches into sound oak, and nearly six feet into a mass of earth, sand, and clay. An eight-inch shell penetrates twenty-three feet into compact earth. One thirteen-inch iron mortar, at an angle of forty-five degrees, with a charge of twenty-five pounds, ranged four thousand eight hundred and fifty yards. Weak powder is sensibly improved by heating it, with proper care. Exposure to the sun is useful.

Double shotting, which is chiefly practised in the navy, may be safely tried at short distance with heavy guns. It would seem easy to sink a ship by hitting her below water; but the fact is, the resistance of the water is so great, that a shot can hardly penetrate it; and the only way to damage the ship, would be to catch her as she heels over. Steamers, with their machinery below the water-line are as safe as sailing vessels; even many holes in the funnels are of slight consequence.

The smooth bored percussion musket will fire sixty rounds in thirty minutes, and carry two hundred yards. The carbines used by the artillery and cavalry carry one hundred and fifty yards. These however, are nothing to the new rifle muskets and carbines with Minié balls which are good at eight hundred to one thousand yards. Artillery do not need carbines carrying beyond three hundred yards, as their heavy ordnance effectually keep the enemy at a respectful distance.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Thursday, 2 February 2017

Banners of Regiments Sacred (1924)
Topic: Militaria

Ancient Tradition Makes Banners of Regiments Sacred (1924)

The Border Cities Star, Windsor, Ontario, 1 March 1924
By Deanna Van Luven

Since the formation of the earliest military and naval organizations in the dim, dark ages, it has been the custom to deck out the fighting units with badges, banners, crests and similar signs.

In heathen times the warring tribes would carry some sacred sign into battle, usually an image of their particular god, thus giving them courage and inspiration.

Down through the ages the custom continued, and when the science of military strategy and tactics became more developed these signs became rallying points of armies and the various divisions of the fighting forces.

In Early Times

It is recorded that the early Egyptians, Assyrians, Jews and Persians carried banners. These would generally consist of cloths, varying in size, shape and colors, or figures of birds and animals.

The armies of the early Egyptian kings carried a fan-shaped design bearing the initials of the reigning sovereign, while the Roman eagles are equally familiar in the pages of history.

The word "flag," which is of Teutonic origin, meaning "a piece of cloth waving in the wind," was adopted to distinguish the banners flown at sea. It was later used as a term for both naval and military banners.

Flags of Barons

To come down to the Middle Ages, the days of the feudal barons, each of the lordly landowners adopted a particular banner, and his followers wore distinctive badges. In the days of the early Crusades the armies were a riot of colorful banners, crests and designs.

The King's banner was carried by the regiments of "mercenaries" when they were introduced, and the men wore the King's badges.

Although St. George had been the patron saint of England from the earliest times, it was not until the reign of Edward III that this was officially recognized, and Henry V was the first to bear a banner with the cross of St. George embodied thereon. St. Andrew was adopted as the patron saint of Scotland about A.D. 750.

First Union Flag

When James VI of Scotland became James I of England he ordered the cross of St. George and the celtire of St. Andrew to be combined, thus making the first Union Flag. It was then commonly known as the "Jack" after Jacques, the French version of the King's name. This flag was carried by the British armies, with some slight variations, and with the exception of the Commonwealth period, until the year 1800, when the celtire of St. Patrick of Ireland was added to then design.

The flags assigned to the various regiments in the British army are known as "Colors," "Standards," or "Guidons," according to the branch of the service concerned. The latter two terms concern the cavalry, while "Colors" are borne by infantry only. Regiments of rifles, artillery and hussars carry no colors or standards.

In the infantry regiments two distinct colors are carried, the first being the King's Colors, a "Union Flag," with the cypher of the King and the name of the regiment enscribed in the centre, and the other being the Regimental Color, which is of variable design.

Regimental Colors

Regimental Colors for the various infantry regiments are as follows: English, cross of St. George; Scotch, yellow; Irish, green (non-existent), royal regiments always blue; and special regiments, corresponding to uniform facings. The crest of the regiment is enscribed in the centre, and encircled by wreaths of entwined rose, thistles, shamrocks or oak leaves as the case might be. The wreath is of maple leaves in Canadian units.

Battle honours are scrolls with the names of "actions" embroidered on them and are awarded to those regiments which have specially distinguished themselves.

Although rifle regiments and certain other branches of the service carry no colors their honors are inscribed on their badges. "Rifles" were originally scouts and skirmishers, and their particular role made the carrying of colors impossible. Later, when formed into units the old tradition remained. The fact that batteries of artillery have no colors may possibly be traced back to the ancient customs of the Prussians in having carved chariots accompanying their field troops instead of banners.

Carried by Subalterns

Colors are usually carried by two subalterns (lieutenants or second lieutenants), with an escort of three N.C.O.'s or men with fixed bayonets. The colors of a regiment must not be confused with the regimental "colors," which are really "club" designations.

Since 1879 colors have not been carried in action by British regiments. In that year, in one of the campaigns against savages, two officers lost their lives while endeavouring to save the colors. It was then decided an unnecessary sacrifice in savage warfare, and the custom has not been revived to the present. It is contended by military authorities that their use would be extremely valuable in civilized warfare, especially in the assault, as they would serve as distinguishing marks and guides where a large body of troops are working together. This, of course, would apply in a campaign of the "open" variety only. They were used to this end in the Russo-Japanese war.

At all times the colors are paid the highest honours, as they are consecrated, and are the epitome of the history of the regiment concerned. The represent Honor, Death and Glory, and the self-sacrifice of thousands of the finest men of a nation. They are a symbol of the trust placed in that regiment by the king.

Overseas Honors

At the conclusion of the Great War, 1914-18, a special King's Color was presented to all overseas units taking part therein. The late King Edward VII presented a similar banner to the Royal Canadian Regiment upon the conclusion of the South African War, 1899-1902, and an elaborate ceremony is still carried out by that regiment on Paardeburg Day, the 28th of February (sic) of each year, and this color is "trooped" on this anniversary.

Many old and historic colors now repose in St. Paul's Cathedral, London, England, battle-scarred and torn, but honored by the entire nation. In Canada the majority of the colors of overseas units in the C.E.F. have been "hung" in various churches, and those of one of the units formed in this district may now be seen in the vestry of All Saints' Church, Windsor.

Canadian Army Battle Honours

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Fought Duel With Pistols (1909)
Topic: Officers

Fought Duel With Pistols (1909)

German Infantry Captain and Lieutenant of Reserves Had a Go.

The Montreal Gazette, 2 February 1909 (Special Cable Service.)

Berlin, February 1.—A duel with pistols was fought today near Frankfurt-on-Main by Baron Von Oertzen, an infantry captain, and Lieut. Von Stuckrad, of the reserves. The two were formerly close friends until Lieut. Stuckrad, during Captain Oertzen's absence during the manoeuvres some time ago, eloped with the latter's wife. The woman's parents tracked the couple to New York and traied vainly to persuade their daughter to return. Capt. Von Oertzen subsequently obtained a divorce, but this had hardly been granted when Lieut. Von Stuckrad quarreled with the woman, whom he forsook, leaving her in America, and returned to Krueznach, where his father, a retired Burgomaster, resides. After the duel Von Poertzen surrendered himself to his superiors. Probably the only penalty imposed on him will be a formal reprimand.

elipsis graphic

More to the story, as reported in various paper, including the Mill Valley Independent of Mill Valley, Marin County, California (Number 43, 23 April 1909):

Eloper Slain in Duel

Baron von Oertzen Kills Stuckrad, Who Stole His Wife.

A sequel to the romance of the Baroness von Oertzen and Herr von Stuckrad, who eloped to New York last August, has come from the Stadtwald. near Fraukfort-on-the-Main, where the baroness’ husband killed Herr von Stuckrad in a duel, a Berlin correspondent of the Philadelphia Ledger says. Baroness von Oertzen is believed to be in New York.

Baroness Rudolph von Oertzen and Herr von Stuckrad were friends when in garrison together at Neu-Ruppin, and their parents and both their families were also bound together in ties of friendship. Baron von Oertzen was married to the beautiful daughter of Herr Malm, the great manufacturer of Rostock. Herr von Stuckard was a frequent guest at the house and while maintaining outward appearances of friendship for the baron, made love to the baroness.

Last summer the baron was obliged lo leave home to attend the maneuvers with his regiment. Herr von Stuckrad. who had quitted military service for private reasons, remained at Neu-Ruppin. When the baron returned from the maneuvers he discovered that his false friend had persuaded his wife to elope with him to America. The two were trailed to Bremen and thence to New York. The parents of the baroness, who had crossed the Atlantic by the next ship, found her with Stuckrad and did their utmost to persuade her to return home, but without success. The baroness refused to leave Stuckrad or return to her husband. Baron von Oertzen initiated divorce proceedings on the ground of desertion. The case was tried in December and terminated in his favor.

Scarcely had the divorce decree been pronounced when Stuckrad quarreled with the baroness, left her and returned to his home at Kreuznach, where his father, a retired general, is burgomaster. Baron von Oertzen, on hearing of his return, sent his seconds with a challenge to a duel, which Stuckrad immediately accepted, the conditions being pistols at twenty-five paces’ distance and three rounds. A secluded spot in the Stadtwald was selected as the place where the deadly quarrel of the two men could he fought out without interruption.

Baron von Oertzen arrived on the scene with two brother officers, who acted as seconds, and a physician. A few minutes later Herr von Stuckrad drove up from another direction with his two seconds. The seconds measured the distance and the combatants placed themselves in position. Both took careful aim and the shots seemed to be simultaneously. Baron von Oertzen’s bullet lodged in Stuckrad’s body, inflicting terrible injuries to the internal organs, Stuckrad’s shot missed its aim and the baron remained standing uninjured. After witnessing his opponent’s death the baron, accompanied by one witness, drove to Frankfurt-on-the-Maln to report himself to the military authorities, while the other witnesses of the fatal duel removed Stuckrad’s body to the nearest mortuary.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Cleanliness in Camp (1917)
Topic: Drill and Training

Cleanliness in Camp

Home-Reading Course for Citizen Soldiers (Lesson No. 6, of 30)

The best safeguards against disease, either in the army or out of it, are soap and sunshine.

Spokane Daily Chronicle, Spokane, Washington, 1 September 1917

When large numbers of men are assembled in camp it is necessary for the good of all that strict rules of personal conduct and sanitations should be enforced. These rules are by no means a hardship. They are a protection. By insisting on strict obedience to these rules, the diseases which once took so heavy a toll in nearly all military camps have been brought under control; some have been practically eliminated.

Suppose you were asked to make a choice; either to live under conditions in which smallpox, typhoid fever, diarrhoea, dysentery and cholera flourish; or to live under strict regulations, which make these diseases far more of a rarity in military than in civil life. Your good sense would lead you to choose the latter. Bear this in mind. See to it that you cooperate with enthusiasm in the measures that will be taken to keep your camps clean, comfortable and healthful.

One of the pests of camp life, if perfect cleanliness is not observed, is the presence of swarms of flies. Flies are not merely annoying. They are dangerous. Somebody has said, with perhaps a slight exaggeration, that to soldiers they are more dangerous than bullets.

The best way to keep flies away from camps is to destroy the places where they breed and feed; in other words, keep the camp spotlessly clean. For this reason the daily "policing" (or cleaning up) of the camp is a matter of first importance.

This is a duty which an experienced soldier usually performs with more interest and thoroughness than the raw recruit, for he realizes its importance.

The best safeguards against disease, either in the army or out of it, are soap and sunshine.

The good soldiers is almost "fussy" in the care of his person, his clothing, his bedding and his other belongings. Personal cleanliness includes using only your own linen, toilet articles, cup and mess kit. Most annoying skin troubles and such diseases as colds and infectious fevers are often passed from one person to others by using articles in common.

In the training camp there will be plenty of shower baths, and you will, of course, make free use of them. If in temporary camps or at any other time you cannot obtain a bath, give yourself a good, stiff rub with a dry towel. Twice a week, or oftener if necessary, your shirts, drawers and socks should be washed and fresh underclothes put on. In case it is necessary to sleep in your underwear, as it probably will be, put one aside to wear at night, so that you will always feel fresh and clean in the morning.

The scalp should be thoroughly cleaned about as frequently as the rest of the body. This will be made easier if you keep your hair cut short.

The teeth should be brushes at least once a day; twice a day is better. Neglecting this practice will cause decay of the teeth, resulting in failure to chew food thoroughly and probably ending in stomach troubles.

The medical corps of the army and your own officers will use every means within their power to safeguard and improve your general health. Within recent years better methods of medical supervision have greatly reduced the losses and the disabilities due to warfare.

But the responsibility for keeping yourself in good health can not rest wholly upon your officers. Just as in civil life, you are expected to use a reasonable amount of good sense in looking after yourself. You will do this partly because it adds to your own comfort and safety. You will take care of yourself, also, because it is a duty that every soldier owes to the country. You will have plenty of fresh air, exercise and good food, which are after all the chief essentials of good health. It should be a comparatively easy thing for you to look after the smaller things.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Monday, 30 January 2017

The Food of Armies (1918)
Topic: Army Rations

The Food of Armies (1918)

Some Strange Looking Specimens of Highly Concentrated Rations Prepared for the Nourishment of Soldiers on the Trenches and on the Battlefield

Coffee, tea, chocolate, cocoa, and so on, are indispensable, and in some armies, such as the French, light wine is furnished as part of the regular diet of the soldier. The Germans prefer beer.

The Spokesman-Review, Spokane Washington, 12 January 1918

As long as an army is fed it can fight, provided, of course, that its guns are fed also. We hear more about the food of the guns than about that of the men, but the latter is the more important of the two, as was shown recently when come of our boys in France, having no guns, fought their way out of German captivity with their fists.

The improvements in army food also keep step with those in powder and projectiles. High-powered powder and high-concentration foods are the twin winners of modern battles. Some of the foods used as "emergency rations" are curious indeed, and some possess astonishing powers of nourishment locked up in a very small space. Modern improvements and discoveries in the preservation and concentration of foods have, perhaps, been as effective in extending the range of military campaigns, accelerating the rapidity of strategic movements and increasing the power of sudden blows as any advance in armament.

Meat stands, as it always has done, at the head of the list of essential foods for an army. Bread, in its various forms, comes next. Fruits and vegetables must generally be furnished in preserved and concentrated forms in which shape they supply some of the sugar, which is a very essential element of an army's rations. Coffee, tea, chocolate, cocoa, and so on, are indispensable, and in some armies, such as the French, light wine is furnished as part of the regular diet of the soldier. The Germans prefer beer.

It is asserted that tea is the most sustaining of all the army beverages because it is especially effective in arresting waste of the bodily tissues. It ranks next to milk in this quality. The Russians are the great tea drinkers, and the English are fond of it, but it has never had the popularity of coffee with American men. The Russian army has many forms of compressed tea in its rations, and it is averred that the Russian soldier could hardly fight without tea. One of the illustrations shows a round disk of compressed tea for the Russian army made of whole leaves of prime quality, and weighing three pounds, yet not too large to be slipped into a coat pocket. Other forms in which the tea is preserved are bars, slabs, and balls.

There is an emergency meat ration called the "chain-shot ration" on account of its form. It is used by the Belgians, French and Germans as a winter ration, being too oily for summer use, and L. Lodian says of it in the Scientific American that it "is the finest combination of sustaining and heating qualities known among the meat foods." Each ball is a chain constitutes one complete ration.

But the celebrated "pea-sausage," or erbswurst," of the German army gets a setback on the same authority, for it is said to be "about as unsatisfactory a concentrated ration as any extant, and is actually inedible when uncooked, being of a nauseating, bitter and raw flavor."

The notable ration of the Swiss army is "white chocolate," which consists of nothing but cocoa butter and sugar, the brown parts of the cocoa being removed. Moulded into a cake it resembles in color and gloss a billiard ball. It is more nutritious than brown chocolate.

The emergency ration of our own army, as prepared for the trenches, consists of chocolate tablets and packets of parched cornmeal. The latter seems to have been suggested by the parched corn of the Indians who often, when on the warpath and compelled to undergo great fatigues, subsisted for days on this food alone. Still, as a ration, the pemmican which some of the American tribes ultimately adopted, is said to be much superior in sustaining power to the cornmeal, or any other cereal food, since it contained chopped meat together with grain.

The Italian rations contain chocolate stuffed in sausage-like cases and a kind of plum duff, stuffed with raisins, and inclosed in a long membrane, in which it can be cooked with steam, while the empty case will serve for a tobacco pouch.

The Italian duff is said to be more nourishing than the British plum pudding. A kind of "spotted dog" is prepared with dark Italian wines instead of water, while rich nut meats are used for shortening. This recalls the rye hardtack of the Russians, in the making of which beef blood is emplyed instead of water.

But the nearest approach to the ideal emergency ration is said to be "the unsalted, sun-dried, paper-thin meat sheets" issued to some of the Latin American armies. It can be folded up and pocketed like paper, and is ready to be eaten withour preparation of cooking. Similar sun-dried meats in sheets are used by the soldiers of some Asiatic and African tribes.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Sunday, 29 January 2017

Victoria Cross (1903)

Victoria Cross

The Pittsburgh Press, 26 July 1903
(From the St. James Gazette)

January 29th is the anniversary of the institution of the soldiers most precious decoration—perhaps the most precious decoration in the world—the Victoria Cross, for it was instituted by Her Majesty, the late Queen Victoria, on the 26th day of January, 1856, and so is not quite 50 years old. While it is the most prized of all the decorations and orders an Englishman can win, it is also the most democratic decoration in the world, although it is the official badge of an actual personal courage and daring, it has no concern with rank, long service or wounds, and it may be worn by one who has been only a few months, or even weeks, in the army, while other who have spent their lives in the service and gained rank and other decorations may not possess it.

It may be worn by a private soldier or a field marshal, and on the roll of the heroes' names are to be found almost every rank in both the services, for the winning of the cross is possible to any one, as it was granted "as a reward for conspicuous bravery or devotion to the country in the presence of the enemy,' or as the inscription upon it records, "For Valour.'

The Victoria Cross had its birth during the Crimean war, when Queen Victoria felt that some recognition of the personal daring and heroism of her soldiers in that terrible struggle was needed. The royal warrant clearly lays down the conditions under which the cross may be won, but the whole of them may be summarized in one sentence. `For conspicuous bravery or devotion to the country in the presence of the enemy.`

There are not many who are unfamiliar with the appearance of the cross, but for the benefit of those who have only seen it in photographs or pictures it may be said that it is about an inch and a half wide and has in the obverse center, a crowned lion, underneath which is an scroll bearing the words, "For Valour.' It is attached to a bar on which is a spray of laurel leaves and is suspended by a broad ribbon, which is blue for the naval service and dark red for the military. Both the cross and the bar are made from bronze which formerly formed part of some of the Russian guns captured during the Crimean was and complete with the ribbon and pin weighs just under an ounce, or 342 grains, to be exact. It is engraved with the name and regiment of the recipient, as well as the date on which he won it, and as soon as this is done it is dispatched from the makers to the sovereign to bestow upon the hero.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Saturday, 28 January 2017

Cold Steel Yet Winner of Wars (1922)
Topic: Cold Steel

Cold Steel Yet Winner of Wars

Doughboy and Bayonet Are Hopes in Battle, Says Army Questionnaire
Tin Hat His Armor
Clothed Only Against Weather and With "Own Agility Is Most Vulnerable"

"That man remains the fundamental instrument in battle, as as such can not be replaced by any imaginable instrument short of a more perfect thing than the human body, including the mind."

The Spokesman-Review, Spokane, Washington, 14 February 1922
By Associated Press

Washington, Feb 13.—The "dough boy" with a bayonet still is the "basic combatant" unit in battle. This is the virtually unanimous judgment of the American army, officially rendered in cold post-war analysis. Aircraft, tanks, bombs, machine guns, cannon, merely are valuable auxiliaries for the infantry "man in the bulk," armed with rifle and bayonet, and each foot soldier armored only by his "own agility" and a steel helmet.

For "battle is normally determined by physical encounter with the bayonet or the fear thereof," the official conclusion of the army made public today asserted. It is based on answers to a widespread "questionnaire sent recently through the war department bureaus and out through corps and divisional areas, even down to commanders of regiments, to lay the ground work for the doctrines of tactics and of training on which post-war building of the army shall proceed."

Cold Steel Always Best

The answers were unmistakable. There has been no change—soldiers who fought in France believe in the age-old-gospel of "cold steel" in war. As it was with Cromwell's grim host, striving for victory "with push of pike," with Napoleon's old guard that "dies but never surrenders," with Pickett's flower of the south" at Gettysburg, so it was with Pershing's "buddies" in France. Cold steel was the ultimate arbiter of battle.

The conclusion follows "an exhaustive study of the influence that modern scientific development will have upon the technique of warfare, especially with regard to aviation, motor transport and tanks." Chiefs of all combat branches had their say on the questionnaire, designed to bring out the best present military thought," both on basic principles and as to changes in fighting technique necessitated by new weapons.

Planes and Guns at Issue

As the research work goes on tests will be made "to solve debatable questions." Among these is the "comparative value of bombing planes and fixed heavy guns in sea coast defences."

"It is possible at this time," the statement added, "to announce the conclusion of the war department resulting from the answers to the basic question as to which there was substantially unanimous agreement. It is concluded, and doctrines of tactics and of training will be based accordingly:

"That man remains the fundamental instrument in battle, as as such can not be replaced by any imaginable instrument short of a more perfect thing than the human body, including the mind."

Fights Best on Foot

"That man in the bulk—meaning the greater portion of the armed forces—fights with the greatest freedom of action and with greatest efficiency when on foot, not on horseback, in a tank, in an airplane, in a fixed fortification, etc.

"That to achieve decisive action he is best armed with the rifle and bayonet or the fear thereof; all other [arms support the infantry soldier who is most] vulnerable when merely clothed against the weather and armored by his own agility with steel helmet.

"That battle is normally determined by physical encounter with the bayonet or the fear thereof, all other agencies of destruction, as artillery, machine guns and aircraft, are auxiliary in their effect, however potent, and serve to make possible the advance of the foot soldier to hand-to-hand encounter.

"That infantry is the basic combat arm upon whose success normally depends the success of the army; the primary duty of other arms when associated with infantry is to assist the infantry to achieve its mission by protecting and aiding it in every way and by destroying enemy resistance to its efforts.

Infantry Against Infantry

"That no arm except infantry can be expected under normal conditions to destroy an approximately equal force of enemy infantry armed with rifle and bayonet.

"That while infantry is normally the basic arm of war, under certain circumstances or during certain phases, cavalry may replace it as the basic arm, for example in operations against mounted forces or against foot troops whose efficiency is below normal for any reason."

Misconceptions arise in the public mind, the statement said, as to the possible efforts of new agencies of war and in making public results of its studies the war department "hopes to insure that the heresymerely clothed against the weather shall never become implanted in the country that any material means can ever replace in war the individual soldier who is willing and able to fight."

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Friday, 27 January 2017

The Canadian Militia (1879)
Topic: Canadian Militia

The Canadian Militia (1879)

The Montreal Gazette, 4 March 1879

The remarks of Lieutenant-General Sir Selby-Smith, in his annual report, on the necessity of an organized force which could always be depended on in case of such disturbances as those of which the country has recently has experience, are worthy of careful attention. The inconvenience of employing volunteers for the purpose of quelling riots in which their own fellow-citizens are the actors has often been felt; and we have not to go far in either space or time for illustrations of some of the bad results of the system. The formation of a small permanent force such as that which General Smyth suggests would remove that inconvenience and make the repression of disorder practicable without the risk of provoking complications that are the most difficult to deal with. As to the plan on which such a force should be raised, General Smyth has certainly quite sufficient military knowledge and experience, and well as acquaintance with the needs and capabilities of the Dominion, to enable him to frame one in every way suitable. It will have been seen that he proposes that three regiments should be maintained by the Federal Government, composed of two battalions each, to be raised and recruited in Canada, each battalion to serve in the old country and here for alternate terms of three years, thus completing their period of enlistment, which should be fixed at six years. At the close of their six years' service the men composing the battalions should pass into a reserve and receive a grant of land or some other inducement to settle permanently in the country, with a stake in it. By this system of alternation and interchange, complete solidarity would be established between the soldiers of Canada and that of the Empire, and our little Canadian force have full opportunity for thorough training, and be imbued with a British spirit. In case of war the system would be capable of expansion to any limits required. Another scheme proposed was that only three Canadian battalions should be formed, whioch should be interchanged triennially with an equal British force of the line. Hitherto, it appears that nothing has been done towards giving either suggestion a practical form, but it is hoped that the matter will not be lost sight of. Of course, the carrying out of such a plan would not interfere materially with our Canadian militia, as at present organized and composed. It would be from the militia that, in all likelihood, such a force would be, to a great extent, supplied and on it also it would have to mainly depend for the enlargement which extraordinary contingencies might necessitate. The value of such a force may be inferred from what general Selby-Smyth says in another part of his report regarding the probable effect of the muster of volunteers is this city last Queen's Birthday on the Fenian raiders who were at that time rumoured to be about to cross the line into Canada. He thinks, and with good reason, that there were Fenian spies present on that occasion and that the sight of so large a body of well trained and well equipped soldiers, whom they would have to encounter, if they attempted to put their project into execution, had a salutary influence in deterring them from the menaced movement. How much more would such disturbers be cowed into tranquility is a permanent force, always armed and prepared to meet invasion, were maintained in the Dominion! In a short time we should probably be put to no more trouble or expense (and such occasions have cost us our share of both) from such unscrupulous free booters.

The report goes on to make some excellent suggestions as to the proper administration of the militia force. It is to be noted that some of these suggestions merely call for the enforcement of the existing laws on the subject—a telling commentary on the manner in which it has been hitherto neglected. We do not intend just now to take them all into consideration, but we have no dough that they will receive from the proper authorities the attention which is their due. Of […missing line of text…] Corporation of Montreal—that which regards the rebuilding of the drill shed. It is advised that the Government should urge on our Municipal Council the duty of re-construction or, in the case of refusal or neglect, due for the value at stake, $12,000. This is a matter which demands immediate settlement, and it is hoped it will be arrived at with as little delay as possible. Both this and several others of the suggestions to which we direct attention have already been made to no purpose. It is evident from them and from the whole tenor of the report that our militia force has, up to the present, by no means received the attention of which such a force in a country of the extent, population and position of Canada is worthy.

In a paper contributed to the February number of Rose-Belford's Magazine, entitled "A Plea for the Militia," by "Two Militiamen," the whole case is very clearly and patriotically stated. After speaking of our national pride, our great extant and resources, and our growing importance, the writers very opportunely ask how we should maintain our rights, protect our liberties and retain our possessions, if Great Britain's naval and military assistance were withheld or withdrawn. They then very pointedly contrast our position from a military standpoint with some of the smaller European powers, giving a result which is far from flattering to our self-love. The Netherlands, with a population of less than 4,000,000, expend for military purposes £1,541,909, have an army of 61,947 men, a navy of 47 ships, with 705 guns, manned by 9,200 men, and a militia of 100,323 men. Switzerland, with a population of less than 3,000,000, expends £586,237, has an army of 84,369 men, a reserve of 50,069 men, and a militia force of 65,981 men. Sweden, with a population of less than 4,500,000, expends £925,000, has an army of 7,885 men and a reserve force of nearly 140,000 men. Norway, with a population of less than 2,000,000, has an army of 12,750 (peace footing), and of 18,000 (war footing), 20 ships of war, with 156 guns, manned by 2,393 men, and a reserve of 62,000. Denmark, with a population of less than 2,000,000, expends £1,114,000, has an army of 37,000 men, 33 ships, with 291 guns, manned by 1,125 men and a reserve of 32,393. Greece, with a population of less than a million and a half, expends £336,757, has an army of 14,061 men, a navy of 14 ships, manned by 653 men, and a reserve of 24,000. Canada, with nearly 4,000,000 of population, has only a poorly equipped militia force of 43,729, of which she expends only £200,000. These figures speak for themselves, and almost make unnecessary the excellent argument which follows, by which the plea is so well supported. Let any Canadian compare Canada with the Netherlands or with Denmark, and he will appreciate the motive of these two loyal militiamen in presenting their plea. Again, "in Great Britain the people are taxed $6.86 per head per annum; in France $4.50; in Prussia, $2.20; and in the United States (exclusive of the State militia) $1.39 per head, while in Canada we only burden ourselves with 14 cents per head of our population for militia purposes."

Most readers will agree with the writers that no "Canadian would object to that tax being doubled or quadrupled." To the question why a militia should be supported which in peace is not required, and in war would be inadequate as a protection against invasion, "Two militiamen" answer by an appeal to history. They recapitulate the services of the Canadian militia from 1775, when Quebec was held by it against the enemy till the arrival of British reinforcements, until the occurrence of the riots of the last few years. In 1812, 1813, in 1837, in 1862, in 1865, in 1866-70, what would the country have done had there been no militia to repel such attacks? "Two militiamen" then deal with the question as to what principle will render the force most efficient at least cost, and come to the conclusion that the nearest approach to our system, as defined by law, is the Danish system. Having glanced at its working and results and given a brief sketch of the Swiss system, they ask, "What are we to do towards the same end?" To this they reply that "no hurried extension of the present system is necessary or would be prudent." "But," they add, "the framework must be built in time of peace, upon such solid foundation that it will neither shrink nor give war under pressure of war." Sufficient funds must be provided to carry on the work regularly, and the vote should be a standing sum, not subject to legislative caprice. Once the country has decided what it can afford to spend annually, let those persons who are held responsible for the efficiency of the force be held responsible for its proper expenditure. After showing that there is no object for which the people at large are more willing to submit to outlay, and that there is no money so evenly distributed through the country as the money paid to the militia, the article closes with an appeal to the community to conquer the the apathy with which the past struggles for existence of the militia force have been regarded. And this appeal is accompanied by the warning that, if the present force is discouraged to death, the law providing for the establishment of the ballot must be executed and, instead of employees, employers may be pressed into the ranks. All that is asked is that the provisions of the militia law be slightly emended and rigidly enforced, that a little more money be spent in the actual training of the men, and that the Canadian people take a living interest and pride in their citizen soldiery and encourage them by precept and example, stimulating rather than retarding their efforts to fulfill their duty.

Canadian Army Battle Honours

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Thursday, 26 January 2017

U.S., Canadian Army Deserters (Rome, 1944)
Topic: Canadian Army

U.S., Canadian Army Deserters held for Gang Robbery in Rome

The Montreal Gazette, 10 November 1944

Rome, November 9.—(AP)—Two gangs, composed in part of deserters from the United States and Canadian armies and the French Foreign Legion, have been rounded up by military police after terrorizing Rome and Naples for several weeks, it was announced today.

Allied Headquarters said in an official announcement that the gans were charged with kidnapping military policemen, stealing their motorcycles and committing :many other hold-ups and robberies."

One of the gangs, led by a 23-year-old American soldier from Pennsylvania, was made up entirely of soldiers—six Americans and two Canadians—all absent without leave.

The second, led by a Yugoslav and a Corsican, both deserters from the French Foreign Legion, included five other deserters from the Legion, one American deserter and five Italian and Spanish civilians.

The American and Canadian soldiers face court-martial.

The all-soldier gang is accused of a number of hold-ups and other acts of violence, including the theft of the automobile of Lt.-Gen. Wladyslaw Anders, commander of the Polish Army Corps, and the kidnapping of several military policemen between Rome and Naples.

The break-up of this gang came after a jeep was wrecked in Rome and one of the Canadian members was injured. Military police charged that he carried a revolver taken from an American M.P. on the Rome-Naples road.

A guard was placed on the jeep and that night another Canadian, dressed as a United States officer, and an American dressed as a staff sergeant came to get it. Arrested, they tried to shoot their way out, but were overpowered. The prisoners were found to be ill and they were confined in a Rome hospital.

Then fellow gangsters appeared at the hospital attired as military policemen in an effort to "spring" the prisoners, but police scared them off.

From the three men in custody the police learned about the haunts of the gang and captured four more of the deserters at a Rome cafe.

The larger gang which used U.S. Army weapons as part of its equipment was taken into custody on information from a Spanish civilian.

Lt.-Col. Geoffrey White, deputy provost marshal in Rome, said the fact that many men A.W.L. were stranded in Rome without funds was responsible for the crimes. He said that even though these two gangs were broken up, it was probable that similar gangs in Rome and other cities remained.

Canadian Army Battle Honours

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Rations for a Big Army (1900)
Topic: Army Rations

Rations for a Big Army (1900)

Few Realize the Great Work Required to Get Supplies
Need Enormous Quantities
Collecting Them Involves a Vast Amount of Labor
Fighting Men Have Plenty

It is very probable that 90 people out of every 100 think of an army as a great aggregation of fighting men, armed to the teeth with rifles, swords and what not, while they never once give a thought to the "men in the rear."

The Pittsburg Press, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 18 April 1900 (From the Detroit Free Press)

It is very probable that 90 people out of every 100 think of an army as a great aggregation of fighting men, armed to the teeth with rifles, swords and what not, while they never once give a thought to the "men in the rear." Yet these men in the rear are an important part of the fighting machinery.

When an army is encamped in a friendly country there is not so great a difficulty in feeding it as when it is penetrating hostile territory and has separated from its own country. And yet in either case it is no light task to furnish and distribute the food that is to keep, say, 30,000 stomachs satisfied and 30,000 hearts in the right place. This is the work of the commissary department.

When an army division or an army corps is encamped at home the problem of getting supplies is comparatively simple. Sometimes they are furnished on contract, sometimes bought in large quantities a week or more in advance of the time at which they will be needed. The commissary general is responsible for the procuring of these supplies and having them deposited at a depot within easy reach of the troops.

Each company of a regiment has its cooks, each regiment has its commissary depot, where supplies are kept sufficient, say, for a week or ten days for all the men. Men are detailed from each company to assist in the work of getting the supplies from the regimental depot to the company kitchens every day. Others are detailed to help transport the supplies to regimental depots from the general headquarters whenever the stores in the former are getting low.

As all supplies are issued from headquarters only on orders and receipts are given for everything secured, it can be seen that there is an immense amount of clerical work necessary to the smooth and uninterrupted work of the department.

When the troops are in barracks the work of the kitchen can be better attended to than in the field. Ranges and all necessary utensils are on hand and hot meals are served to the different mess tables with regularity. When in the field, either field stoves are used for cooking or partially covered trenches are constructed with an opening for the huge coffee kettle and an oven for the baking of bread.

Suppose an army to have landed on a foreign coast. The first move after the landing of the men and arms is to secure a convenient spot for a depot of supplies. These are landed and piled high on the shore until there seems to be a mountain of boxes inextricably mingled in the general mass. Gradually these are separated into different piles and order begins to make its appearance out of chaos, until all the supplies are properly housed.

For an army of 30,000 men and 10,000 horses for three months it is estimated that there are necessary 11,000 tons of food and forage. This must be made up of palatable and strength-giving supplies, with a proper proportion of meat. Vegetables, coffee and flour for bread or biscuits. The meat is generally canned, although sides of bacon are abundant, and even herds of cattle are taken along for fresh meat.

Whenever any important move is to be made by the army each soldier is usually supplied with rations for a day, which he carries in his haversack. These he is not to use unless ordered to do so. There are, besides, two days' rations carried in transport for each fraction of a command to tide the troops over the march. In the English army there are even wagon arrangements for cooking meals on the march, great quantities of soup being heated and meat and potatoes being prepared while on the march. But when the army moves away from its base of supplies then it is that the feeding problem becomes more complicated.

There are always a number of men detailed from each regiment to assist in the work of bringing up supplies. The keeping open of a line of communication with the base of supplies is the first thing that a commander must see to, for it means the safety of his army. If this line of communication is but a day's march, the work is simple, and it does not take many men detailed to wagon driving to replenish the impoverished stock of the regimental or division larder. But when the distance is increased to sixty or one hundred miles the trick is one of great difficulty.

There are along this line of communication two lines of transport wagons constantly on the move and in opposite directions. The one line is for wagons filled with stores and supplies for the army. The other is made up of empty wagons going back to base for other loads. Easy stages are made of the journey.

For instance, one set of loaded wagons will start from the base and go an easy distance, when another lot of empty ones will be coming in the opposite direction. The drivers and horses will be exchanged, those on the loaded wagons returning with the empty ones to the base of supply and those on the empty wagons taking the loaded supplies one stage nearer the army, at the end of which the same thing is repeated which the transportation of supplies and ammunition, too, is being carried on.

Within easy reach of the army is established a second base of supplies where a great amount of stores is accumulated in order to enable the army to extend its operations further from its principal base. Of course, a railroad makes the thing doubly sure and quick. But there is usually a good deal of wagon hauling to be done even with the railroads, because it is not often possible for an army to confine its operations to the line of rail communication. In any case, from the nearest base supplies are brought to the division or regimental wagons, which are filled on requisition and receipts are given for the supplies received.

A week's supply or even ten days' food should be at hand with the army. From the regimental depots the company gets its food for each day, and it is transferred to the company kitchen. Here are great kettles of coffee steaming over the fire, with bacon or other meat steaming in the pans. Thus the food which started as the contents of one of the boxes in the mountain on the shore, finally comes to the plate of the soldier to give him strength.

Sometimes a flying column takes no commissary train with it, cuts itself off from its base of supplies and moves swiftly through the country taking a few days' rations. This cannot be done unless the country is thoroughly known and can be depended on for food.

Sir George Head, writing of his experience in charge of the commissary in the peninsular war, says that 3 o'clock ever morning found him in the presence of the commanding general, where he was told of the movements of the army for the day. He would then go to his own quarters, where he found scores of representatives of the different parts of the army waiting for information. Sometimes, he said, he was obliged to ride out in the rain and scour the country for wheat to be made into flour for that night's distribution.

The worry of such a position can scarcely be imagined, for even after a supply of wheat was found, it had to be transported to mill, ground and carried to a convenient place for distribution among the parts of the army, which operations required the services of many men and teams.

There is considerable red tape required to get provisions, no less than seventy-five different kinds of blanks being supplied to use as requisitions.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Your Equipment and Arms
Topic: Drill and Training

Your Equipment and Arms

Home-Reading Course for Citizen Soldiers (Lesson No. 9, of 30)

Spokane Daily Chronicle, Spokane, Washington, 5 September 1917

Each soldier in a modern army carries with him sufficient food, clothing, shelter, fighting arms and ammunition to take care of himself for a short period in case he should be separated from his company. The total weight of his load, in addition to the clothes he wears, is 50 to 70 pounds. The number of articles is surprisingly large. They are so devised, however, that by ingenious methods of packing and adjusting they can all be carried with the least possible effort.

You are personally responsible for all the arms, clothing, and supplies issued to you.

You will receive on enlistment and ample supply of clothing, including not only your uniform, but extra shoes, shorts, underclothes and socks. You may not be able always to keep your clothes spotlessly clean. But when it becomes dirty or spotted, take the first opportunity to clean it thoroughly.

Your shoes must be cleaned and polished frequently. Wet shoes should be carefully dried.

In general, see to it that all your clothing is as neat and clean as possible at all times. Mend rips and sew on buttons without delay. This will add to your comfort as well as appearance.

Wear your hat straight. Don't affect the "smart aleck" style of tilting the hat. Keep all buttons fastened. Have your trousers and leggings properly laced. Keep yourself clean shaved. Carry yourself like a soldier.

A Soldier's Baggage

Besides his extra clothing, a soldier carries a blanket, a rubber poncho, a canteen, fork and spoon, a cup, toilet articles, a first-aid package and some minor belongings.

One of the most useful pieces is one-half of a shelter tent, with rope and pins. The shelter tent is said to be a French invention which was introduced into the American army during the civil war.

Two men can combine their halves and set up a shelter tent in a few minutes. While it cannot be described as roomy, it is just what its name implies, a "shelter" from wind and rain. It is used only in temporary camps.

Your chief fighting tools will be a rifle, a bayonet in a scabbard, a cartridge belt, and an intrenching tool. Other weapons or defences needed in modern trench warfare will be referred to later. Do not under any circumstances lose track of these articles while on field duty. So long as you possess them, you are an armed soldier capable of defending yourself and of performing effective service. Without them you are for all practical purposes helpless.

The rifle is the soldier's closest friend. His first thought should be to guard it and care for it above all his other possessions. He expects it to take care of him in emergencies. In ordinary times he must take care of it.

In caring for a rifle it is especially important to keep the bore clean. In so doing be sure to avoid injuring the delicate rifling which causes the bullet to spin as it is forced out and this increases the accuracy of firing. Never put away a rifle that has been fired or exposed to bad weather without first cleaning it. Never lay a rifle flat on the ground. Rest it securely against something.

elipsis graphic

Anybody in normal physical condition can learn to be a good shot. Two of the most important points to remember are to take a deep breath just before completing your aim so that you may hold your rifle with perfect steadiness, and to squeeze the trigger so that the gun will not be jerked from its aim at the moment of firing.

In modern warfare the intrenching tool is an essential part of your fighting equipment. The eight men in each squad carry these eight tools: four shovels, two pick mattocks, one pole or hand ax, and one wirecutter. In ordinary soil you can quickly throw up a shallow trench which will protect you to a great extent from the enemy's fire. After a trench has once been started, it can be deepened and extended, even in the face of the enemy, without the soldier exposing himself to direct fire.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST

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