The Minute Book
Monday, 20 February 2017

What Soldiers Eat (1916)
Topic: Army Rations

What Soldiers Eat

How the Nations Feed Their Troops in the Field

The Evening Record, Windsor, Ontario, 12 May 1916

The principal meal of the Russian peasant soldier consists of "stchee," a sort of cross between a gruel and a soup, the chief ingredients of which are cabbages, potatoes, oatmeal, and fat meat—preferably pork. These are all boiled together with salt and other seasoning, the resultant mess being a thick, nourishing, and by no means unpalatable dish.

This constitutes his usual midday meal, and it is repeated in the evening for supper. For breakfast he takes, when he can get it, a big bowl of "kasha"—dry buckwheat and cold sour milk.

The staple diet of the "Turcos"—the splendid French-Algerian colored troops who are fighting so magnificently in Alsace—is "cous-cous," which is merely boiled semolina. It is eaten either plan or with the addition of vegetables, and very occasionally a little mutton or goat-flesh may be added; but the semolina is the mainstay. On this a Turco will march forty or more miles a day, carrying a weight of from eighty to one hundred pounds, more than is borne by any other soldiers anywhere.

Italian soldiers are also splendid marchers, and they, too, exist largely on a farinaceous diet, macaroni, spaghetti, and so on. They are also very partial to fruit, which is issued, together with wine and cigars, as part of their regular rations whenever possible.

No German considers his daily menu complete without a sausage of some kind or other, and the "higher" it is as regards to flavor the better he likes it.

The mainstay of the French soldier consists of his beloved "soup," as he calls it, but which is really a thick nourishing stew, made from meat, potatoes, and various other vegetables.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Sunday, 19 February 2017

The Principles of War
Topic: Military Theory

The Principles of War

The following comparative chart of Principles of War was published in the Fall 1960 edition of the Canadian Army Journal (Vol. XIV, No. 4). The chart accompanied an article on "The Principles of War" by Major M.J.W. Wright, Royal Engineers. It was previously published in the July 1960 edition of The Army Quarterly and Defence Journal (United Kingdon).

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Saturday, 18 February 2017

Fighting Men of India Brought Strange Problems of Food and Religion (1918)
Topic: Army Rations

Fighting Men of India Brought Strange Problems of Food and Religion

The Northern Advance, Barrie, Ontario, 24 Jan 1918
Lieut. A.M. Bealson

One of the commissariat problems of the war which has been solved satisfactorily, was the question of "Native meat." or the ration of meat for the Indian troops serving in Europe. The solution has been found in the institution of "Native butcheries." A native of high caste in India would, of course, not eat any meat that even the shadow of a European had passed over. In coming to France the Native troops have, however, been granted certain religious dispensations, not only with regard to food, but, in the case of Hindus, in being allowed to leave the boundaries of their own country. Doubtless a dip in the Ganges, for those who survive the war and return to India after it is over, will put matters right again! Nevertheless, their caste rights as to food are as strictly observed as the exigencies of active service allow. The goats and sheep, chiefly Corsican and Swiss, purchased for their consumption, are sent up in a truck to railhead alive, and are slaughtered by men of their own caste in a butchery arranged for the purpose, generally in a field or some open place in close proximity to the railhead. The Mohammedan will eat only goats or sheep slaughtered by having their throats cut, and the Hindu by their being beheaded. The latter method is carried out in the abattoir by a native butcher with the aid of a cavalry sword at one fell swoop, and of the two methods is certainly to be recommended as being the most rapid and instantaneous death. I need hardly add that the Native butchery is always looked on as an object of awe and interest, of not of excitement, by the French inhabitants, and none the less by the English soldiers, who consider it a tremendous joke.

The Natives do not object to their meat being handles by English soldiers, or to it being brought to them in the same lorry which also perhaps carried British ration beef, although the cow is a sacred animal to the Hindu and in the form of beef is naturally distasteful. The only point is that the goat's meat or mutton intended for their consumption must not actually come in contact with the beef, and this is arranged for by a wooden barrier between the two erected in the interior of the lorry. On one occasion, however, the native rations for a certain regiment had just been dumped on the side of the road, and were being checked by the Daffadar, or Native quartermaster, when at a critical moment an old sow, followed by her litter, came out of a farm gate and innocently ran over the whole show. A lot of palaver followed amongst the Natives, and there was no alternative; they would not have these rations at any price, and back they had to be taken to be exchanged. The pig is, of course, abhorrent to the Mussulman.

One story in connection with the rationing of the Indian cavalry whilst in the trenches at Ypres in the summer fo 1915 may be of interest. The cow being a sacred animal to the Hindu, it became necessary to replace the usual tins of bully beef by a suitable substitute. With this end in view, quantities of tins of preserved mutton were sent up for consumption by the Hindu personnel. The tins in which it was packed, however, unfortunately bore the trade mark of the packers, Messrs. Libby---a bull's head---and in consequence the Hindus would not have it that their contents could be anything but beef, until their own Native officers convinced them that such was not the case.

The organization for rationing Native troops is such that they are able to be fed in accordance with the rites of their caste, surely not an unimportant factor. There are various special articles.

Atta is coarse ground flour, very similar to that of which so-called "standard" bread is made at home. Of it the Natives make chupattis, which are round flat cakes of baked dough. Dhal consists of pried pease. Ghi is a kind of butter, which, judging by its smell, would appear to be rancid. Gur is simply brown sugar or molasses. It may be mentioned that the Native meat ration is very small. The Natives are not meat-eaters in the accepted sense of the word, and their small ration they invariably "curry" with the ration of ginger, chillies, turmeric and garlic, which are the raw ingredients of curry powder. Not infrequently also they are issued with a ration of rice and also dried fruits.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Friday, 17 February 2017

Change of Button With the New King
Topic: Militaria

Change of Button With the New King

Letters "E.R.I." Must Give Place to "G.R.I." on all Uniforms

The Evening Record, Windsor, Ontario, 21 May 1910

"At the time of the German warship's [Huerta] visit [1 October 1913], consideration was being given to the Regiment's badges. The designs bearing the V.R.I. cypher of Her Majesty Queen Victoria were still in use in some instances, but had been replaced in others by types bearing the cypher of His Majesty King Edward VII or that of His Majesty King George V. A number of designs were submitted to Lieut.-Col. Fages, but no decision was reached until, as mentioned later in this book, the point was eventually settled by the restoration to the Regiment of the right to use the V.R.I., "in memory of the Sovereign in whose reign the unit was raised and in view of the services the Regiment rendered in the Great War." - (pp. 193, The Royal Canadian Regiment; 1883-1983, R.C. Fetherstonaugh,1936)

"V.R.I." altered nine years ago to "E.R.I.," must now be changed to "G.R.I." on the buttons and badges of those in the service, military or civil, of the British governments.

Every button on every serge and tunic and service cap in the active militia of Canada, every helmet and cap badge in the Royal Canadian regiment (sic), and many other corps as well, has been displaying in monogram form that Edward VII was Rex and Imperator, just as they were used to announce to the world that the wearer owed allegiance to Victoria, Regina and Imperatrix.

Postmen of Canada wear the royal monogram on the collar as well as on brass buttons. It is invariably found on the uniforms of customs officers, and sometimes on police buttons. As new clothing is ordered for these the new buttons will appear. In the case of soldiers of the permanent forces, the old buttons will be replaced before new clothing is needed. As soon as the "G.R.I." buttons are to be had by the regimental tailor the change will begin to take place.

Customs, parliamentary and other government stationery usually bears the monogram prominently, and here a change is due in new supplies.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Thursday, 16 February 2017

90.5 Per Cent of Privates Get Top $1.50 a Day
Topic: Pay; the Queen's shilling

90.5 Per Cent. Privates Get Top $1.50 a Day

The Montreal Gazette, 16 February 1944

Ottawa, February 15.—(CP)—Defence Minister Ralston said tonight in the Commons that 90.5 per cent. of Canadian privates overseas were receiving the top pay of $1.50 a day as authorized under pay increases last year.

Privates are placed in categories, usually governed by their degree of traininjg, of $1.50, $1.40, and $1.30 a day.

Fifty per cent. of Canadian Women's Army Corps privates overseas received the top pay of $1.20, said the minister.

More than 65 per cent. of the privates stationed in canada received the top pay of $1.50 and 60 per cent. of C.W.A.C. privates received $1.20.

Gordon Graydon, Progressive Conservative House leader, asked why women's pay was less than that of men in the army. Col. Ralson replied that women were not adaptable for all forms of service and their pay was on the basis of 80 per cent. of that given men.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Guard Duty
Topic: Drill and Training

Guard Duty

Home-Reading Course for Citizen Soldiers (Lesson No. 19, of 30)

Even though a sentinel be only a private soldier, he is in a position of real dignity and authority. He represents the commanding officer.

Spokane Daily Chronicle, Spokane, Washington, 19 September 1917

In addition to drilling and fighting as a member of a squad, company, regiment, or other "team" of the army, you will have certain important duties as an individual soldier. These duties call for a higher level of intelligence and self-reliance and throw on you a greater personal responsibility.

In the training camp your company will be required at times to perform guard duty. This means that one or more of your commissioned or non-commissioned officers, and a number of privates will be detailed for this duty. Customarily a detail of this kind continues for 24 hours, from noon of one day to noon of the next, each private takes his turn at standing guard.

Your duties as a sentinel are best expressed in the general orders which every sentinel is required to repeat whenever called upon to do so. Memorize these general orders now and never permit yourself to forget them. Think them over and you will see that they are clear and exact. They are meant to be strictly obeyed.

Duties of Sentinels

My general orders are:

1.     To take charge of this post and all government property in view.

2.     To walk my post in a military manner, keeping always on the alert and observing everything that takes place within sight or hearing.

3.     To report all violations of orders I am instructed to enforce.

4.     To report all calls from posts more distant from the guardhouse than my own.

5.     To quit my post only when properly relieved.

6.     Te receive, obey, and pass on to the sentinel who relieves me all orders from the commanding officer, officer of the day, and officers and noncommissioned officers of the guard only.

7.     To talk to no one except in line of duty.

8.     In case of fire or disorder to give the alarm.

9.     To allow no one to commit a nuisance on or near my post.

10.     In any case not covered by instructions to call the corporal of the guard.

11.     To salute all officers, and all colors and standards not cased.

12.     To be especially watchful at night, and, during the time for challenging, to challenge all persons on or near my post, and to allow no one to pass without proper authority.

Sentinel Must be Obeyed

Even though a sentinel be only a private soldier, he is in a position of real dignity and authority. He represents the commanding officer. He must be respected and the orders he gives as as a sentinel must be strictly obeyed, not only by other soldiers but by officers, whatever their rank.

During the night the sentinel will challenge any person or party who comes near his post, calling out sharply, "Halt. Who is there?" the person challenged, or one of the party if there are several persons, may be permitted to approach for the purpose of giving the countersign or of being recognised. In case of doubt it is a sentinel's duty to prevent any one from passing him and to call the corporal of the guard. A sentinel will never allow himself to be surprised, nor permit two parties to advance on him at the same time.

Scouting Duty Is Important

One of the most responsible duties to which a soldier may be assigned is patrolling or scouting. An infantry patrol usually consists of from 3 to 16 men. It is sent out for the purpose of obtaining information as to the enemy, his numbers, and the nature of the country over which the patrol travels. It is not usually intended that the patrol should fight, since its prime purpose is to obtain and bring back information. However, it may be forced to fight, if discovered, in order to protect the escape of at least one of its members with a report of the information secured.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Birds Sing Gaily Over the Trenches
Topic: CEF

Birds Sing Gaily Over the Trenches, Despite Gunfire

Soldiers Feed Plucky Songsters as Well as Great Variety of Pets Kept in Dugouts

The Windsor Evening Record, Windsor, Ontario, 3 March 1917

Although this article isn't specifically about the CEF, it has been tagged as such to keep it with other First World War material.

With the British Armies in France, March 1.—One of the distinct surprises to the newcomer at the war is to find larks singing over the front line trenches. One would think that birds of every sort had long since been driven far from the war zones, but, instead, they lurk in and about in great numbers. Very often the sudden flight of a covey from as secluded thicket or remnant of wood has given the first signal of a shrapnel attack.

The drumming of big guns, the "pat-pat-patter-patter-patter" of machine guns, the whirr and "bang" of "plum puddings" and "run jars" sent over by the enemy trench mortars, seen to have lost all terror to the feathered songsters. The chirp as gaily and loudly over the muddy "line" as if there was no such thing in all the world as war.

The British Tommy is very fond of pets. When he can safely do so he throws crumbs over the parapet for the larks, and if he had his way he would fill up every nook and corner of the trench with some sort of animal mascot. As it is, there is a strange mixture of pets and pests in these deep cuttings in the earth—the outposts of battle—where the men themselves live a sort of animal life. It is a life no human being was ever intended to live, and yet the health of the troops is positively amazing.

Rat Is Premier Pest

Of all the trench pests the rat, of course, by reason of his size, takes precedence. He is everywhere. No amount of cleaning up has tended to wipe him out. In fact he waxes fatter and fatter as the war goes on.

Of the pets the dog is by far the most numerous and popular. There are goats and cats and canaries and various species of mascot, but the dog becomes more a part of the life than any of the others.

Many a subaltern of company commander has gone "over the top" into battle with his dog leaping and barking happily beside him. Scores of dogs have been killed beside their masters and hundreds wounded. In the fighting about mametz, during the great "push" on the Somme, a Red Cross searching party came upon a pathetic little group composed of a subaltern his dog and four private soldiers, just as they had sprawled to their death in a burst of machine gun fire.

The dogs in the trenches have great fun chasing rats. They will even leap over the parapet after them into "No Man's Land." And sometimes old "Fritz" from the enemy trenches will snipe them. There is one old terrier now in the front line who has been wounded four times. If he survives this war, this old veteran is going to have a collar with four gold stripes on it.

Work of Red Cross Dogs

The Red Cross Dogs of the French hardly come under the head of pets. They are a lasting tribute to the part dumb animals have played, and are playing in the great world conflict. The dogs, however, render a service scarcely more notable than the little French donkeys that carry ammunition to the front line trenches. These little burros are as wise as they are grey. Their long straight ears, always poking forward, are attuned to the sounds of battle, and when the firing gets too heavy they dart for the shelter of shell holes and lie there with the drivers until danger temporarily is past.

Some of the strangest animals of the war are the wild cats of Ypres. The old mother and father cats of Ypres were once domesticated. But when the frightened population fled at the first bombardment, the cats, true to all cat traditions, remained behind. Now Ypres is a wilderness of ruins, and all cats born and living there have become like wild animals.

Lion Cub Is Pet

A Canadian sergeant-major came marching out of the "line" a few days ago with a magpie sitting on his shoulder. A private in the same company had a kitten curled up on the top of his knapsack. All the overseas troops bring mascots with them. The South Africans started out with as great collection of springboks, baboons, duikers, but the climate of northern France in winter mood is far from friendly, and the warm weather pets have mostly been "done in."

Probably the most amazing of all war pets, however, was the lion cub adopted by the American in the French aviation service. They read in a Paris paper that a "perfect dear of a cub" was for sale and promptly sent emissaries in to buy it. They said when it grew up they were going to drop it in the German lines, but it was spoiled by being pampered.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Monday, 13 February 2017

Brother Officers
Topic: Officers

Brother Officers

The Age, Melbourne, Australia, 1 July 1939

Two men, who had served as officers in the same regiment in the Great War met again on May 6 last in the Greenwich police court. One of them, Mr. Frank Powell, sat on the bench as the presiding magistrate, and the other, George Robertson Lightbound, stood in the dock charged with obtaining £1000 by fraud.

The magistrate did not recognise Lightbound as a brother officer until Detective Sergeant Hare read out his record. The detective said that the prisoner was educated at a public school and military college. His relatives held responsible positions in Canada. He retired from the Canadian army with the rank of major, and became a district magistrate in South Africa. At the outbreak of the Great War he went to England and obtained a commission in the King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry.

Mr. Powell interjected, The Yorkshire Light Infantry! I was in that regiment myself. I remember the man now.

The case against Lightbound was that he had obtained £1000 from his employer, a printer, at Catford, by pretending that he was entitled to a share in an estate in Canada.

The magistrate, in sentencing him to 12 months' imprisonment, said with some emotion, I never thought it would be my lot to sentence a brother officer.

elipsis graphic

George Robertson Lightbound

A few notes on the early military service of George Lightbound can be gleaned from online files at the Library and Archives Canada, and the Canada Gazette:

A mining broker in Montreal, George Robertson Lightbound was serving in the 3rd Regiment, Victoria Rifles of Canada, when he enlisted on 26 October, 1899, for service in Canada's First Continent in the South African War. As 7795 Pte. G.T. Lightbound, he served overseas as a private soldier in the 2nd (Special Service) Battalion of The Royal Canadian Regiment.

Completing his service with The RCR in South Africa and discharged on 4 November, 1900, Lightbound was awarded the Queen's South Africa medal with three clasps; Paardeberg, Dreifontein, and Cape Colony.

George Lightbound returned to South Africa as an officer in the South African Constabulary. The Canada Gazette of 14 April 1901 notes that Provisional 2nd Lieutenant G.R. Lightbound, having been appointed to the South African Constabulary, his name is removed from the list of Officers of the Active Militia, 21st march, 1901. His service with the SAC would add a fourth clasp, Transvaal, to his medal.

Having returned to Canada, and to the Victoria Rifles of Canada, after serving in South Africa, Lightbound resigned his commission in the Canadian Militia on 25 March 1909.

elipsis graphic

A litle more information can be gained from a post on the Great War Forum by member Granite-Yorkie:

I've just been digging around- I'm guessing that officers holding temporary commissions could not resign their commissions per se, so instead they relinquished their commissions.

I've come across the case of Alfred E. Swann, late Natal Police, who served with the Yorkshire Light Infantry- who "relinquished his commission" after receiving an adverse report from his Commanding Officer. A more interesting case, referred to in passing in the memoirs of Basil Liddell-Hart, was that of George Robertson Lightbound—who relinquished his commission in the Yorkshire Light Infantry on 11th September 1916, shortly before being sent to prison for embezzling the battalion mess-funds (Liddell-Hart refers to the 11th's 2i/c—not by name—but it happened to be Lightbound; being a "foul-mouthed bully, later sent to gaol for embezzling embezzling mess funds": Memoirs, p.12). Lightbound was also jailed for fraud in the 1930s, the magistrate who sent him down happened to be Frank Powell, who had served as a 2nd Lieutenant with Lightbound after being gassed at Loos (Powell was in the 9th Battalion).

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
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

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