The Minute Book
Saturday, 20 May 2017

Changes Leading to Existing Militia System (1908)
Topic: Canadian Militia

Changes Leading to Existing Militia System (1908)

The Old Militia Law of Canada, The New Militia Laws of Australia and New Zealand, and Lord Kitcheners Report; Extracts from a Paper by Lieut. -Col. Wm. Hamilton Merritt, R.O.. President Canadian Military Institute. (Read before the Canadian Military Institute at Toronto, Monday Events in evening, 21st Nov., 1910.)

…respect for superiors had almost vanished, when men would give such answers to their names as "Sitting on the fence," or "Chewing a quid of tobacco!"

The weakness of the old Militia System was in its rendering. In some Provinces the militia-man eventually was only taught to bear arms in one muster day a year, and there was no other training even in the matter of rifle-shooting. In other Provinces, such as Nova Scotia, a better state of things prevailed, but the general weak rendering of an otherwise perfect and necessary system for Canada caused efforts to be made to create an active militia which should have more training. This appears to have been the object of the partial change effected by the Act of 1846, and of the epoch-making Act of 1855. The Act of 1846 was the thin edge of the wedge. Its most noticeable features are the introduction of the classification of the old "universal service" militia and the authorization of "volunteer" companies. While the universal annual enrollment was retained, the men of 40 and over were formed into a second class, which was to be drawn upon only in war- time. The first class were to be drawn upon for a military force raised for "active" service, not more than 30,000 strong, the "period of service" to be two years. Only one day's training was still the extent of the service required. The Act of 1855 brought about a departure from the old "Patriotic Service" form of military organization in Canada, and contemplated the raising of some 5,000 men to form "corps d'elite" among the militia and the retention of the old "universal service." Two "divisions" of militia were now recognized, the "sedentary" and the "active" or "volunteer." The former was to be enrolled annually. The members of the active or volunteer force were to provide their uniforms and clothing free, but they were to receive pay for a specified number of days' drill in the year. In 1859 the volunteer militia were ordered to drill for 6 consecutive days in each year, with pay of a dollar a day. In the early sixties schools of military instruction in connection with the regulars, then in Canada, were established with $50 allowance to those who obtained certificates of qualification in a 56 days' course. In all, more than 6,000 certificates were thus obtained. In 1865 the volunteer militia was ordered 16 days' drill at 50c a day. In 1868, after Confederation, a Militia Act for the whole Dominion was passed, which is virtually the system at present existing, with an active militia and a dormant, or sedentary, militia as a reserve. The Militia Act of 1901 is, however, a more decided step in the direction of a standing army in that it provides for a permanent force of 2,000, increased in 1905 to 5,000.

The annual muster day was evidently kept up until Confederation, for Lt. -Col. James Walker of Calgary, commanding officer of the 15th Alberta Light Horse, informs me that he enrolled a company at Ancaster Village in 1867, on May 24th, Capt. Snider being then the commanding officer of the company. It seems amazing to realize, through Col'n. Walker, who is still a most active and efficient officer, what a short time has elapsed since the falling-away took place from the principle of "patriotic" or "universal" service, and the adoption of our present "mercenary or dollar” system. Col. Walker bears testimony to the disrepute into which the one muster-day had fallen, how the fine alone forced out the militia-man, where, indeed, he may not have been attracted by the Captain's customary "treat" at the nearest tavern, and how respect for superiors had almost vanished, when men would give such answers to their names as "Sitting on the fence," or "Chewing a quid of tobacco!"

It might be of interest to quote the opinion of one who fought through 1812-13 and 14, and who lived to see and lament the retrogade steps of new militia enactments. In the biography of the Hon. William Hamilton Merritt, who was Lieut, in the "Niagara Light Dragoons," 1812, and Capt. commanding a troop of "Provincial Dragoons" ("Niagara Frontier Guides") in 1813-14 until taken prisoner at the battle of Lundy's Lane, we find his biographer (J. P. Merritt, his son) states:—"1846.—A new militia bill was brought in, on which he expressed a preference for the old law of 1808, inaugurated under the immortal Brock, whereby flank companies were always kept enrolled and trained for an emergency, thereby forming an active force, ready at any time to take the field, and form a rallying body for the rest. The wisdom of this scheme was well tried in 1812, when nearly the entire militia force was ready to take the field in defence of their country in from 12 to 24 hours after the declaration of war." And again:

"1854.—In March of this year we find the first movement towards establishing a volunteer organization, which afterwards entirely supplanted the old militia, although we doubt if the results of the movements has paid us good interest on the money spent over its institution, as we are still without the efficient home army of 1794, 1812 or even 1837."

Canadian Army Battle Honours

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Friday, 19 May 2017

Commando Arms and Equipment
Topic: Soldiers' Load

Commando Arms and Equipment

British Commandos; Special Series No. 1, Prepared by the Military Intelligence Service, War Department, Washington, August 1942

Every man who joins the commandos brings his own rifle or pistol, and he is also provided with a fighting knife, which is used by the commandos with particular effectiveness.

In choosing the kinds of arms and equipment suitable for commandos, the determining factor was the type of operations in which they would engage. In the summer of 1940 the Germans were in positions along the coast line of Europe, from Narvik in northern Norway to Biarritz in southwestern France. Any part of this coast was within reasonable striking distance from the British Isles. In view of the Royal Navy's superiority at sea, the raiding opportunities for commando units seemed unlimited. The task was essentially one for an amphibious force…a sort of super-marines…who would fight only with equipment which could be carried on their backs from a boat to the beach. They would also need the guerrilla's traditional mobility on any terrain, which meant that vehicles larger than bicycles, and perhaps than a handcart, were not practicable. Any better means of transport would have to be captured at the scene of operations.

Consequently, regulation requirements for the number an allocation of weapons are not prescribed, but in every case distribution is made according to the tactical requirements of the particular mission to be performed. Every man who joins the commandos brings his own rifle or pistol, and he is also provided with a fighting knife, which is used by the commandos with particular effectiveness. Each commando headquarters has a separate store of extra weapons so that extreme flexibility in armament is assured. A typical store contains: Bren guns; Thompson submachine guns; calibre .50 antitank rifles; 2-inch and 3-inch mortars with a supply of both smoke and high-explosive shells; defensive (fragmentation) Mills hand grenades; offensive (plastic body, concussion type) hand grenades; smoke pots; Very pistols; "knuckle dusters"; (brass knuckles); "Limpets" (magnetic, acid, high-explosive mines), one type suitable for use against ships and another for use against tanks; and demolitions of all types. Each troops is equipped with Bren guns, Thompson submachine guns, an anti-tank rifle, and a 2-inch mortar; normally each sub-section is allocated one Bren gun and a submachine gun, the allocation of the anti-tank rifle and the mortar being left to the discretion of the troops commander.

The clothing and equipment furnished commandos includes a variety of types. Normal clothing is "battle dress," a two-piece woolen garment, stout shoes, and leggings. In colder weather a sleeveless button-up leather jacket which reaches the hips is worn over or under battle dress; a two-piece denim dungaree is also provided for wear over battle dress in damp or rainy weather. The men are further equipped with cliff-climbing and with hauling materials, such as rubber soled shoes and toggle-and-eye ropes. A wool undervest and a heavy-ribbed wool cardigan with long sleeves and turtle neck are also available for cold-weather wear. All clothing is designed and worn solely with a view to comfort and utility under actual operating conditions. No leather belts are worn either by officers or enlisted men; a fabric waist-belt is provided. In addition to his weapons, the individual soldier generally receives such items as these: Tommy (individual) cooker; lensatic compass; skis and poles; individual waist life-bet ("Mae West"); Primus stove; 1-gallon thermal food-container; gas cape; wristlets. Troops are equipped with two-man rubber boats; plywood (sectionalized) canoes; collapsible canvas canoes; bamboo and canvas stretchers; 2-inch scaling ropes; 1-inch-mesh heavy wire in rolls for crossing entanglements; and toggle ropes. Transportation equipment for each commando includes Hillman pick-up 1,500-pound trucks, motorcycles, and one 3-ton truck. Communication equipment for each troops includes a number of portable radio sets, voice-and-key type, weighing 36 pounds with a voice range of 5 miles; semaphore flags; blinker guns; Very pistols and flares.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Thursday, 18 May 2017

The Mountain Gun and Mule Team (1916)
Topic: Militaria

The Mountain Gun and Mule Team (1916)

The Illustrated War News, 2 February 1916

In mountainous districts where no roads exist it is impossible to use ordinary field artillery, simply because transport on wheels is out of the question. To meet this difficulty a light mountain-gun is used, this weapon being so designed that it can be rapidly taken to pieces and the individual parts loaded on the backs of a number of mules, varying from three, in the case of the smallest gun, to five in the larger types. The 2.95- inch q.f. mountain-gun may be taken as a good example (Figs. 1 and 4). In its case, one animal, known as the "gun-mule," carries the gun-barrel, or "chase," with its details; another, the "cradle-mule," carries the cradle, or frame, in which the gun rests when put together for action; a third animal, called the "carriage-mule," transports the gun-carriage, or trail; and the "wheel-and-axle-mule" completes the team, carrying those parts on its back (Figs. 1 and 2) . A gun carried in this manner can be rapidly conveyed over rough ground to otherwise inaccessible positions, and, if advantage be taken of available cover, it generally happens that the transport of the gun can be carried out with the minimum risk of discovery by the enemy. The gun and its parts and gear can be removed from the pack-saddles, put together, and made ready for action within the space of a minute.

(Click to expand.)

A gun-mule, it is a curious fact, instinctively acquires special experience during his spell in the service of the battery, which extends in some cases over a period of twenty years, and that experience on the part of the animal adds considerably to the efficiency of the battery. A well-trained mule, for example, will always select the easiest path, and in climbing a stiff gradient will sometimes, if he can get hold of a convenient scrub bush or branch for the purpose, help to pull himself up by his teeth. Again, trusting to the gunners holding on to his tail as a brake, a trained mule will, without hesitation, slide down an incline of 45 degrees. When, with the 2.95-inch Q.F. Mountain Battery, the gun-mule carries a weight of 330 lb.; the cradle-mule, 300 lb.; the wheel-and-axle mule, 302 lb.; and the carriage-mule, 343 lb. These weights can be carried by the same animals all day if necessary, but it is usual to provide relief-mules, to which the loads can be transferred in half a minute as they trot up alongside for the purpose. A mule battery can often be very useful even in a level country, as it can be rapidly and secretly brought into action along a ditch (Fig. 3) or a foot-path through a plantation where such a course would be impracticable with a battery on wheels. In exceptional cases, when the mules cannot safely get up to a difficult position, the gunners themselves can turn to in their place and carry the various parts of each gun in a battery to the desired point, so as to come into action without delay.

When a battery is travelling by road, the guns are put together and their carriages fitted with a pair of shafts each, so that they can be drawn in the usual manner instead of being carried on the backs of the mules.

The 2.95 q.f. mountain-gun (Fig. 4) consists of a trail and carriage, (A) supported on its road wheels (B). Resting on the carriage is a cradle (C) in the form of a cylinder which encloses the gun-barrel, or "chase" (D). To the cradle (C) are attached a pair of piston-rods (E) which carry recoil-controlling pistons within the recoil cylinders. (F), the latter cylinders being rigidly fixed to the carriage (A). A column (G) is attached to the cradle (C) to carry the, "sight" of the gun. Eye-bolts (H H) are provided by means of which the "cradle" and the "chase" are secured to the pack-saddles for transport. In the Vickers-Maxim mountain-gun the trail is divided into three pieces, so that one or both of the after-parts can be removed when it is desired to use the gun in a cramped Position.

The shell fired by the British 2.95 q.f. gun weighs about 13 lb.; that of the Krupp gun of the same calibre, 14.3 lb. There is, in addition, a Krupp mountain-howitzer carried by twelve mules which weighs just over a ton and fires a 27-1b. shell.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Messenger Dogs and Carrier Pigeons (Germany, 1918)
Topic: CEF

Messenger Dogs and Carrier Pigeons (Germany, 1918)

Military Notes on Training and Instruction, No. 1; Training and Instruction Branch, War Plans Division, General Staff, US Army, Washington, August 1918

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

Detachment of Messenger Dogs.

(From French Military Advisory Mission Bulletin)

This detachment is commanded by a lieutenant, who has charge of the pigeon service at the same time.

The total personnel is about 70.

This detachment at the present time has 26 messenger dogs. Two men are thus assigned to each dog—the man who sends a message and the man receiving it. Except in the case of absolute necessity these men always work with the same dog.

These dogs have charge of the liaisons between the command posts of company commanders, battalion command posts in line or as support (K.T.K. or B.T.K.) and regimental command posts. They maintain liaison for 3 and 4 kilometer distances.

Men and dogs remain about 10 days in the sector and have 20 days' rest—the latter usually spent in training.

Detachment of Carrier Pigeons.

This section is commanded by the same officer who commands the messenger dog detachment.

The personnel includes 1 feldwebel; 5 pigeon attendants (Taubenpfleger) to take care of the pigeons; 5 porters (sometimes more) (Taubentraeger) who carry baskets of pigeons to the various command posts, either in wagons or on their backs.

These pigeons maintain liaisons between battalion and division command posts. Each battalion command post has, almost regularly, at least 4 pigeons. Company command posts are rarely provided with pigeons.

A movable loft is kept near the divisional command post. This is a wagon with one story slightly raised, harnessed to two horses. It can shelter about 150 pigeons, which is the normal allotment per division.

The use of night flying pigeons seems to have been very satisfactory so far.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Junior Officer in Battle
Topic: Officers

Junior Officer in Battle

Combat Lessons, Number 1, Rank and file in combat: What they're doing, How the do it. (US Army, 1944)

A company officer must build a legend about himself. He must take calculated risks.

Captain William T Gordon, Infantry, Sicily:

"Since November 8, I have had seventeen officers in my company, and I am the only one who started out with it who is left in the fight. In Tunisia, from troops pinned down in the dark, I have heard enlisted men call out such things as 'Where is an officer to lead us?'—'We don't want to lie here—we want to attack—where is an officer?'

"… In each case an officer or officers have risen to the occasion, but this nevertheless shows beyond anything else the demand for battle leadership.

"A company officer must build a legend about himself. He must take calculated risks. He must, on the other hand, do what he expects his men to do: he must always dig in; always take cover. His men must know that when he ducks they must duck; on the other hand, they must not believe that when the officer ducks they must run away. The officer must come through every barrage and bombing with a sheepish grin and a wry remark. Masterly understatement of hardship and danger endured plus a grin always pays dividends."

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Monday, 15 May 2017

Open Letter to General Herbert (1893)
Topic: Canadian Militia

Open Letter to General Herbert of Canada's Military Force

Not an Army of Defence

Military Notes, The Quebec Daily Telegraph, 15 May 1893

The duty of a public officer is to do as little as he can for his money and to get along as smoothly as he can.

The following open letter addressed to General Herbert explains itself:—

"Sir,—I have on more than one occasion, as an amateur journalist, ventured to criticise some of your acts unfavourably, and have even had the presumption at times to commend you for what you had done and encourage you to go ahead. Having pointed out some of your minor mistakes, you will pardon me if I point out some of your greater ones, and my excuse for doing so is that I have vastly more experience with the Canadian militia than you have. In the first place you seem to imagine that it is meant for an army of defence and should therefore be kept in an efficient state. You were never more mistaken in your life. You do not seem to understand that it is first and foremost a political machine, by means of which friends can be favored and advanced, and foes slighted. But you will say, it is my duty as a public officer to see that the force is kept as efficient as possible and that the country gets the worth of its money. Here you are again mistaken. The duty of a public officer is to do as little as he can for his money and to get along as smoothly as he can. When you go to inspect a battalion you should carefully shut your eyes to all defects, let the regiment be put through a few of the 'show' movements, carefully rehearsed beforehand, and at the close assure them in your most genial manner that you have been delighted with everything you saw, that no volunteer regiment in the world could excel them and that their drill and discipline would do credit to regulars. This will do very well for city battalions, but for country battalions you can alter your speech a little and praise the physique of the men. If that is hopelessly bad you can praise their smart, tidy appearance, but in any case assure the men that they are a credit to their country. A man who keeps a sharp lookout can always find something to praise if his conscience is elastic enough. But that will ruin the force as a military organization and render it next to useless in time of need? Why of course it will, but if the volunteers should be called out for active service against one or two hundred badly armed, half starved semi-savages you can get your 5,000 to 6,000 men within three-quarters of a mile of the enemy's trenches and then make a brilliant bayonet charge that will cover three days. You will thus get to the trenches within 48 hours from the time the enemy had retired and every paper in the country will be singing your praises as the greatest soldier of modern times. When you come back covered with glory and decorations, and perhaps a Parliamentary grant, you will acknowledge that I was right. Above all, do not disturb the existing position of affairs. Let it be your maxim that 'Whatever is is right'."

Canadian Army Battle Honours

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Sunday, 14 May 2017

Lessons Learned by the Wehrmacht, Poland (1939)
Topic: The Field of Battle

Lessons Learned by the Wehrmacht, Poland (1939)

The German Campaign in Poland (1939), by Robert M. Kennedy, Major, Infantry US Army, April, 1956

Bock expressed the opinion that the old adage "The infantry must wait for the artillery" should be changed to "The artillery may not delay the infantry."

Conclusions; General

The German campaign in Poland in 1939 has been regarded by many as little more than a maneuver for the youthful Wehrmacht. However, the casualty figures and losses in materiel for the period of combat show that the campaign was more than an exercise with live ammunition. Rundstedt supported this view on operations in Poland in one of his rare commentaries following World War II. The bulk of the German armed forces had to be committed to overcome the Poles, and the expenditure in ammunition, gasoline, and materiel was such as to preclude concurrent German operations on a similar scale in the west or elsewhere.

The unrealistic impression of the campaign was heightened by the German propaganda effort that proceeded apace with operations in the field. The German armies were depicted as highly motorized, with tank support out of proportion to the actual number of armored vehicles they had available, and with fleets of aircraft supporting ground units on short notice with maximum efficiency. Little mention was made of the horse drawn supply columns, of the infantry divisions which often marched on foot at the rate of 30 miles per day, or of the repeated Luftwaffe bombings of advance German units.

The exaggeration of the picture of the new German war machine should not be construed to mean that the Wehrmacht was not a most effective fighting organization and had not accomplished much in putting the theory of mobile warfare to the test of battle. "Panzer" division and "Luftwaffe" soon became familiar terms in English and other foreign languages. It was obvious even to those not versed in military affairs that the era of trench warfare on the World War I pattern had ended. The element of movement had been restored to war, even though fewer than one in six of the German divisions mobilized during the period of the Polish Campaign were Panzer or motorized divisions. Except for the XVI and XIX Corps, the German Panzer force had also been committed piecemeal, and full ad vantage was not taken of the shock power of the Panzer division in the campaign in Poland.

The opportunity for a successful Allied attack against the Westwall had passed by the time the Polish Campaign ended. Hitler and his generals were well aware of the risk they had taken in throwing almost all their resources into the gamble for a quick victory in the east, as exemplified in their redeployment of divisions and higher commands from the Polish theater to the Westwall before operations in Poland had been completed.

The situation faced by the British and French in October 1939 was that of a fait accompli. Germany had defeated Poland completely and redeployed to the Westwall forces sufficient to withstand a belated Allied offensive. Adolf Hitler's success in Poland also enhanced the Fuehrer's opinion of his own abilities as a strategist and further encouraged him to deprecate the advice of his military staff and senior commanders. Germany's increasing strength and the continued in activity of the Western Allies soon inclined Hitler to order planning to commence for a fast-moving campaign to subjugate France and destroy the British Expeditionary Force. Only the onset of winter and the strongest objections from his military advisers prompted Hitler to delay his campaign until the following spring.

Lessons Learned by the Wehrmacht

The German forces took advantage of the opportunity to observe the effectiveness and utility of their new weapons and other materiel, organization, and tactics in combat operations in Poland and a number of improvements were found necessary. Some changes could be made before the campaign in France the following spring, while others would have to wait.


Among the infantry weapons, the Model 1934 machine, gun was found to be subject to frequent stoppages in rugged field use, particularly in muddy or dusty areas. Research on a new machine gun was accelerated, and the Model 1942 that evolved would continue to operate despite exposure to many of the conditions that hampered the use of the Model 1934 weapon.

The higher rate of fire of the 1942 machine gun was to be of considerable significance in later operations. The effort expended by Germany in the development of artillery of all types was found to be justified. According to Colonel Blumentritt, operations officer for Rundstedt, the Poles themselves testified to the effectiveness of the German artillery fire in the attack on War saw. The defenders had received warning of air attacks with the appearance of German aircraft and the bombing had been of limited duration. The sustained artillery fire, however, wore down the resistance of the garrison of the Polish capital.

The 88mm antiaircraft gun was found to be especially effective in engaging bunkers and prepared fortifications. The VIII Corps made reference to this of the new gun in attacking the Polish fortifications at Nikolai. According to the VIII Corps account, the gun could penetrate the walls of bunkers and buildings reinforced as strongpoints.

The German Mark I tanks were found to be unsatisfactory in operations, and the Mark II tanks were useful only for reconnaissance. This served to confirm the belief that these tanks were too light for operations and should be replaced by heavier types. Panzer units were henceforth equipped with a larger proportion of Mark III and Mark IV tanks. The heavier of the two, the Mark IV tank, was singled out by Guderian as a highly effective weapon to be produced in quantity. The Mark II tank was utilized for a time as a reconnaissance vehicle, and eventually the Mark I and II tank chassis were utilized as gun platforms for the self-propelled gun units organized for assault operations. In general, the supply of spare parts and system of maintenance for tanks was found to be inadequate for the needs of Panzer units in combat.

The rapid and overwhelming successes and light personnel losses of the new German tank force in the Polish Campaign, as illustrated by the movements of the XIX Corps across the Polish Corridor and from East Prussia to Brzesc, convinced Hitler of the effectiveness of this new weapon. In 10 days of operations the XIX Corps covered 200 miles in its drive on Brzesc. Polish reserve units still assembling in the rear areas were completely surprised and destroyed before they could organize a defense. In an action at Zabinka, east of Brzesc, elements of the XIX Corps interrupted the unloading of tanks at a rail siding and destroyed the Polish armored unit before is could deploy and give battle. The corps' losses totalled 2,236, including 650 dead, 1,345 wounded, and 241 missing, less than 4 percent of Guderian's entire force. Henceforth, as in the coming French Campaign, Panzer units were to play an increasingly important part in German planning.


Guderian recommended that battalion and regimental headquarters of Panzer units be located farther forward to direct the battle. Headquarters should be more mobile, restricted to a few armored vehicles, and well equipped with radio communication. The XIX Corps commander also recommended better communication with the supply columns and trains of the armored and motorized units.

The light divisions were found to have little staying power in sustained operations in Poland. These divisions already had at least one tank battalion each. The addition of a sufficient number of tanks to form a tank regiment for each division made it possible to complete the planned conversion of all four light divisions to Panzer divisions, bearing the numbers 6 through 9.

The motorized infantry divisions were found to be unwieldy in operations in Poland. To permit better control, one motorized infantry regiment was detached from each of the motorized divisions.


Some infantry commanders complained of the awkward and heavy packs carried by the troops, recommending changes to permit the individual soldier greater freedom of action and more comfort. One commander recommended the carrying of machine gun ammunition by the ammunition carriers of gun crews in containers similar to those used by mortar crews, i.e., in a special pack carried by the individual soldier rather than in boxes carried by hand. This would permit the ammunition bearer to operate a rifle, giving the gun crew more protection and fire power. In addition a special grenade sack was recommended for the individual soldier. It was also requested that one rifleman in the infantry squad be provided with a telescopic sight to permit accurate fire on small or more distant targets.

The 57th Infantry Division prepared a report on its experiences illustrating a number of the small oversights that added to the problems of the commanders of lower units. The division was a Wave II organization composed largely of reservists who had recently completed their periods of active service. During their two years of active duty, the men had been trained on the Model 1934 machine gun. When they were mobilized for the campaign in Poland, many did not know how to operate the older World War I type weapon with which some Wave II units were still equipped. Another oversight was the supply of horseshoes, made to a size common to military horses but far too small for the splayed hooves of many farm horses requisitioned at the time of mobilization.

Some fault was found with the equipment carried by assault engineers. Their heavy gear made it difficult for the engineers to carry out their assault role with the infantry. It was recommended that their equipment be so distributed that the engineers would be able to operate effectively as part of the infantry-engineer team in assault operations.

Training and Tactics

The infantry tactics of the Germans were criticized by Bock, who felt that too much was sacrificed to caution. This may seem somewhat contradictory, in view of the brief period of time in which the Ger mans destroyed a Polish force almost as strong as their own numerically and captured a number of heavily fortified areas that the Poles defended stubbornly. Bock actually had reference to the frequent delays incurred when artillery had to be brought forward to the sup port of infantry units. The general felt that some artillery batteries should always be attached directly to infantry units, to give close support in an attack or movement forward. The remainder of the artillery should be sufficiently mobile to move forward to support at tacking infantry with little delay. Bock expressed the opinion that the old adage "The infantry must wait for the artillery" should be changed to "The artillery may not delay the infantry."

Bock further felt that the German infantry training directives were obsolete and verbose. The commander of the northern army group was of the opinion that these regulations should be shortened and should stress the mission and aggressive action to accomplish it. Brief and pertinent regulations would be easier to remember and would impress on the officer, noncommissioned officer, and soldier the all-important task he was to perform in combat, with minimum distraction.

Another characteristic of warfare in eastern Europe as learned by the Germans was the considerable guerrilla activity in rear areas. As a consequence, it was recommended by a number of commanders that supply trains, workshops, and other rear installations be better equipped with weapons, particularly automatic weapons, and support personnel trained in their use.

The successful night attacks of the Poles made a considerable impression on the Germans. Although already aware of the advantage of moving by night, a device they used repeatedly, the Germans did not fully appreciate the potentialities of attacking under cover of darkness until shown by the Poles. With adequate security, these operations could cause considerable confusion when launched at the boundaries between units, as demonstrated by the Polish night attack of 12 September at the junction of the 207th Infantry Division and Brigade Eberhard lines before Gdynia.

Air Support

The Luftwaffe in Poland succeeded in proving its offensive power as an attack weapon, despite the protests of some senior army commanders whose troops had been bombed in close support operations. The Luftwaffe demonstrated its capabilities in isolating the Polish front by bombing bridges and rail lines, and preventing the movement of Polish supplies and troops by bombing and strafing truck columns on the roads. The Luftwaffe also rendered material assistance to advancing German armored columns and dive bombed Polish fortifications prior to attack by the ground forces. From this point the Luftwaffe was to have an important role as part of the German attack team.

The complete cover given ground forces by the Luftwaffe in Poland worked a disservice to the Army as far as camouflage was concerned. Despite instructions, there was little actual need for advancing units to utilize available cover and concealment at halts; for artillery to put up camouflage nets to hide guns, ammunition, and prime movers; or for command posts to limit vehicular traffic in their immediate vicinity. The Polish Air Force was unable to take advantage of this laxity on the part of many units, and the pace of the campaign made it impossible for higher commanders to take corrective action while operations were still in progress. As a consequence, a poor start in camouflage discipline was made by many units, and the lack of offensive action by the Polish Air Force made it impossible to point out examples of what might occur were the Wehrmacht to be committed against an enemy possessing an air force comparable to the Luftwaffe.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Saturday, 13 May 2017

US Army Soldier's Handbook (1966)
Topic: US Armed Forces

US Army Soldier's Handbook (1966)

Each Individual in this nation has the duty to contribute as much as he can to the wellbeing of the nation and its people. Military service is one form of such a contribution.

You, An American Soldier

When you entered the Army, you raised your right hand and swore that you would bear true faith and allegiance to the United States of America, and that you would serve them honestly and faithfully against all their enemies whomsoever. This is a sacred oath token by you and there is a great trust placed in you by the people of America that you honor this oath.

As you look around you will not find a "typical American soldier" in height, weight, color of eyes and hair, family origin, education, wealth, intelligence or similar characteristics. The soldiers you hove met and will meet are from all walks of life and all parts of our country. But all of you have two things in common. first, you are all serving the United States of America and believe in the principles that make it a free country. This not only gives you a common bond with your fellow soldiers but also guarantees you the same chances as the next man to get ahead. This American tradition is cherished in your Army as it is in all phases of American life. Second, the responsibility of all Americans is outstanding in the world today. The spirit of teamwork instilled in you at home, school and church, at work and play, aids in the cooperation needed for you to meet any and all tasks.

The habits of obedience you learned while growing into maturity are a necessary part of Army life. Obey promptly and cheerfully the orders given to you. Obedience and teamwork will make your performance better and your fellow soldier's tasks easier.

Service in the Army is a duty and a privilege. Each Individual in this nation has the duty to contribute as much as he can to the wellbeing of the nation and its people. Military service is one form of such a contribution. From the oldest times It has been considered a privilege to be permitted to bear arms in the defense of one's nation or people. This privilege is afforded only to those who are individuals of good standing and good reputation.

Army History

To write a full history of the United States Army would not be appropriate for this handbook. However, here are some historical highlights that may interest you.

The United States Army has its origin in the colonial militia. On 14 June 1775, the Continental Congress voted to adopt the militia and volunteers, fighting the British around Boston, as the Colonial Army. These were Infantrymen; so the Army is the senior of the services and the Infantry the senior branch of the Army. This Army defeated the British.

Cornwallis' surrender at Yorktown on 19 October 1781 ended the last major battle of the Revolution. The formal treaty of peace was signed on 3 September 1783. The Indian wars followed and the Army inherited the job of guarding the frontier against Indian tribes. The Army continued to do this job for a century, a job which coiled for great endurance, skill, bravery and patience.

During the war of 1812-15 our Army again fought the British on American soil. The 30 years of peace that followed actually spanned three other wars. In 1817, the Seminole War; in 1832 the Black Hawk War; and from 1832-42 the second Seminole War.

The War Between the States, 1861-65, Civil War, was a tragic and bitter conflict. Within a year soldiers of both armies were veterans, fighting with a skill rarely surpassed by any country at any time, World War I saw our Army enter the conflict in 1917. Early in the fall of 1918 the Allies began on attack that did not stop until the war was won. American doughboys had a rough sector to take known as the Meuse-Argonne. In this area they showed ability to dish it out, as at the Marne; they had proved they could "take it." Their attack helped force the enemy to ask for on armistice in November 1918.

World War II. In 1918 the American soldiers thought they had helped "to end all wars." On 7 December 1941, we were once again at war. This war was different, even more than in the first war our soldiers fought as individuals; no more did they know the companionship of trench fighting, but fought from individual positions and the name "foxholes" was born. Many battles were fought in all parts of the world. The supreme assault come on 6 June 1944 on the Normandy Peninsula in France and our soldiers began the bitter advance. On 7 May 1945 the war in Europe was over and Japan surrendered on 14 August 1945.

The Korean War was a further test of American fighting ability and as part of the United Nations the American soldier again proved he was a determined fighter who could function under nearly impossible conditions. The conflict ended on 27 July 1953 adding another page of glorious history to the United States Army.

Today, communism is the major threat to our Nation. This threat is the primary reason for the Army ta constantly train men as part of the U.S. fighting force. Your training and eventual performance of duty with a unit is a vital part of this Nation's defense.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Friday, 12 May 2017

How It Works: The Rangefinder (1915)
Topic: Militaria

How It Works: The Rangefinder (1915)

The Illustrated War News, 31 March 1915

The Range-finder, as the name implies, is an instrument for ascertaining the distance to any visible point on the landscape from the position occupied by the observer, or operator, who is known as the Range-Taker. Range-finders are of two types: the double-observer type, such as the Mekometer, or Telemeter, used in our own service; and the "one-man" type. In both cases the distance to the object (or range) is found by triangulation, the angles being taken from the ends of a known base…a very short base of about three feet in the case of the one-man range-finder, and a normal base of fifty yards for the Mekometer artillery instrument, and twenty-five yards with the infantry instrument.

(Click to expand.)

Fig. I on the opposite page illustrates the Mekometer instrument in use, and shows clearly the base, which is the known length of cord stretched between the two instruments, held by the two observers. The man, marked A, with the reading instrument sights an object (in this case, a church) of which the range is required. The second man, marked B, advances until he can, through his right-angling instrument, see both the same object and the sighting-vane on A's instrument. When these two coincide, he shouts "On," and A, by turning the range-drum on his instrument until he also makes the reflection of B's sighting-vane coincide with the object seen in the instrument, is then able to read the range off the range-drum in yards. This instrument was employed at the time of the South African War, but owing to its having a very long base (25-50 yards), and requiring two men to operate it, was found extremely difficult to use because of the lack of cover. In one-man range-finders the base is a bar, or frame, of short length, with a telescope mounted at each end, and having an eye-piece in the middle into which the rays are reflected. With this instrument, measuring only 37 inches long by 3 inches in diameter, and weighing 5 ½ lb., one man is able rapidly and accurately to take ranges of objects up, to 20,000 yards distant. In taking the range the operator directs the telescopes of the instrument on to a clearly defined object, and by turning the range-drum (Figs. 3 and 2) the right-hand telescope is inclined inwards until the two images seen in the central eye-piece coincide. The range given on the drum can then be read.

A typical one-man range-finder is illustrated, diagrammatically, in Fig. 6. It shows the two telescopes already mentioned running at right-angles to the single eye-piece fixed in the centre of the range-finder tube. The rays from the distant object entering the end apertures (a a) of the range-finder base, are received by the left and right prisms and transmitted through the left and right objectives towards the central reflectors, which reflect them outwards through the eye piece. The observer looking into the eyepiece will see the field of view divided by a thin "dividing line." Anything seen above this horizontal line is formed by the left-hand telescope, and that seen below the dividing-line by the right-hand telescope (Figs. 4 and 5). The view will be similar to the images shown in Fig. 4. before coincidence. By turning a drum, these images can be brought into coincidence, and the correct range can be read from the range-drum.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Thursday, 11 May 2017

The Leader (1940)
Topic: Leadership

The Leader (1940)

FM 7-5; Infantry Field Manual; Organization and Tactics of Infantry, the Rifle Battalion; Prepared under direction of the Chief of Infantry, Washington, 1940

Necessity For Leadership

The condition for group solidarity is efficient and respected leadership. The vitality of a military unit flows from the full exercise of leadership in every grade. Commanders who are merely good administrators may obtain superficial results in training; in battle their results will prove a disappointment.

Duties and Qualities

a.     General.…Leaders must develop the physical vigor, self-denial, willpower, and knowledge that will enable them to master difficult situations. The salient American characteristics of courage, self-reliance, initiative, and vigor provide excellent foundations for the leadership which can itself rise above the depressing influences of the modern battlefield and at the same time carry along the members of the group.

b.     Example.…The leader must manifest to the highest degree the soldierly qualities which command the respect of his unit. He must share his troops' hardships and dangers.

c.     Care of troops.…The leader must understand and appreciate the thoughts, problems, and feelings of the troops. In the development of an organization the first duty of a leader is the welfare of his men. Only when he has met this demand will there be that unity in his group which is the basis of victory. He makes every effort to protect the rights and interests of the troops. He does not fatigue them or expose their lives unnecessarily. He will, thus, in critical situations, on the march or in combat, be able to secure from every man the expenditure of his entire moral and physical force.

d.     Force.…The leader requires strict and complete obedience. He intervenes decisively and promptly where there is any relaxation of discipline or damaging influence. Where necessary to the execution of his mission, he demands and receives from his unit the complete measure of sacrifice.

e.     Firmness and justness.…The leader brings about conformity with required standards through the firm and impartial administration of justice. Standards required of trained troops should be gradually applied to a newly organized formation.

f.     Sense of responsibility.

(1)     The leader must have a firm character and a sense of responsibility. He must be able to make prompt decisions in combat. Hesitation and indecision are more dangerous than errors in the choice of means.

(2)     The leader does not in the presence of the unit add his criticism to adverse comments made by a higher commander. He accepts responsibility for the deficiency then and thereafter.

g.     Initiative.…The leader must not only possess initiative himself but he must foster its proper exercise by others. During training periods he avoids infringing upon the prerogatives of his subordinates. In combat he cannot be everywhere, and in his absence his subordinates must feel free to act vigorously in accordance with their mission and the situation, without awaiting precise instructions covering every point. They must feel that they will be supported in their exercise of a proper initiative.

h.     Newly assigned leaders.…A newly assigned leader who takes over a battle unit is under critical observation. He must demonstrate qualities of leadership to take his place as leader in the minds of the group.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Wednesday, 10 May 2017

The Soldier's Load, Canadian Militia (1868)
Topic: Soldiers' Load

The Soldier's Load, Canadian Militia (1868)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Forage caps should be worn. The haversack should be put on first, and hang in the hollow of the left side; the pouch-belt next, so arranged that the pouch may lie well in the centre of the small of the back: the waist-belt above, and confining the pouch-belt, rather tightly than otherwise; the water-bottle in the hollow of the right side, as close under the armpit as possible; the great-coat folded flat 20x16 inches; strapped well up on the shoulder, if great-coat straps are used, with the slides of the straps protecting the arms; the right upper-strap passed through the handle of the tin cup. Stocks should be worn.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Viet Cong Discipline
Topic: Discipline

Viet Cong Discipline

Know Your Enemy: The Viet Cong, Armed Forces Information and Education, Department of Defence, DoD GEN-20, DA Pam 360-518, Washington, 1966

Appeals to the mind and the heart are the principal way in which the Viet Cong seeks to control its members.


Scholar or street urchin, professional officer or farm boy, they all tell the same story of relentless indoctrination of discipline playing on every human emotion,constantly applied. The soldier is required to memorize basic codes of conduct (a oath of honor and a code of discipline) which put him in the position of a hero, a patriot, a friend, and protector of the people. He is never allowed to forget this role. Perhaps the most effective reminder is his unit's daily indoctrination and self-criticism session. In this, his indoctrination is continued and reinforced, his sup­posed motives are reviewed and discussed by the group, and he is told by his leader what his future actions will be. After this, he must explain his reactions, and he must publicly confess and criticize his own shortcomings and weaknesses in thought and deed.

After every fight there is an almost immediate critique, with no holds barred, which gives every man a chance to let off steam. It also lets the cadre know what his men are thinking. This contributes to the effectiveness of the constant surveillance program, maintained primarily through the cell system (usually three-man) which is applied to every possible unit.

Appeals to the mind and the heart are the principal way in which the Viet Cong seeks to control its members. Regular units employ standard forms of military courtesy, and strict obedience is always expected, but emphasis is placed on making compliance with regulations appear to be voluntary. For those who fail in their duty, if such normal punishments as public criticism, extra duty, and brief confinement do not bring reform, the penalty is often discharge, in terms that make the man feel a traitor and an outcast from the human race. The fear of corporal punishment or death seems to be of less importance although either may be visited on the individual or his relatives.

elipsis graphic

Viet Cong Oath of Honour

1.     I swear I am prepared to sacrifice all for Vietnam. I will fight to my last breath against imperialism, colonialism, Vietnamese traitors, and aggression in order to make Vietnam independent, democratic and united.

2.     I swear to obey absolutely all orders from my commanders, executing them wholeheartedly, promptly, and accurately.

3.     I swear to fight firmly for the people without complaint and without becoming discouraged even if life is hard or dangerous will go forward in combat without fear, will never retreat regardless of suffering involved.

4.     I swear to learn to fight better and shape myself into a true revolutionary soldier battling the invading American imperialists and their servants, seeking to make Vietnam democratic, wealthy, and strong.

5.     I swear to preserve organizational secrecy, and to keep secret my unit's plans, the name of my unit commander, and all secrets of other revolutionary units.

6.     I swear if taken by the enemy I will not reveal any information even under inhuman torture. I will remain faithful to the Revolution and not be bribed by the enemy.

7.     I swear in the name of unity to love my friends in my unit as myself, to work cooperatively with them in combat and at all other times.

8.     I swear to maintain and protect my weapons, ensuring they are never damaged or captured by the enemy.

9.     I swear that in my relationships with the people I will do three things and eschew three things. I will respect, protect, and help the people; I will not steal from, threaten, nor inconvenience the people. I will do all things to win their their confidence.

10.     I swear to indulge in self-criticism, to be a model soldier of the Revolution, and never to harm either the Liberation Army or Vietnam.

elipsis graphic

Viet Cong Code of Discipline

1.     I will obey the orders from my superiors under all circumstances.

2.     I will never take anything from the people, not even a needle or thread.

3.     Iwill not put group property to my own use.

4.     I will return that which is borrowed, make restitution for things damaged.

5.     I will be polite to people, respect and love them.

6.     I will be fair and just in buying and selling.

7.     When staying in people's houses I will treat them as I would my own house.

8.     I will will follow the slogan: All things of the people and for the people.

9.     I will keep unit secrets absolutely and will never disclose information even to closest friends or relatives.

10.     I will encourage the people to struggle and support the Revolution.

11.     I will be alert to spies and will report all suspicious persons to my superiors.

12.     I will remain close to the people and maintain their affection and love.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Monday, 8 May 2017

Artillery Horses (1939)
Topic: Militaria

Artillery Horses (1939)

FM 6-5; [US Army] Field Artillery Field Manual, Organization and Drill, Washington, 1939

The two horses assigned to a single driver are called a "pair"; the horse on the left side is called the "near" horse, and the horse on the right, the "off" horse. The driver rides the near horse. The pairs assigned to draw a carriage are termed collectively a "team." A team usually consists of three pairs, designated in the order from front to rear as "lead," "swing," and "wheel" pair. When a team consists of four pairs, they are designated from front to rear as "lead," "lead swing," "wheel swing," and "wheel." The middle pair of a team of five pairs is called the "middle swing" pair. The driver stands to horse on the near side of his near horse, and when necessary to control the off horse also holds the coupling rein, detached from the saddle, in his right hand.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Sunday, 7 May 2017

The Sap and the Mine (1915)
Topic: CEF

The Sap and the Mine (1915)

The Illustrated War News, 24 March 1915

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

When the enemy's trenches are only at a distance of a hundred yards or so, real trench-warfare may be said to begin. It is characterised by the making of saps which permit of an advance under cover towards the enemy's lines; and it is then that the sappers play their great part. Every thirty or forty yards the sap-heads are joined by parallels. When the saps are near enough to the enemy to enable him to stop the advance by throwing grenades and bombs on the workers, the sappers start an entrance to a mine-gallery to lead to a mine-chamber for explosives the power of whose charge varies with the depth of the chamber beneath the ground. These chambers are generally placed under a salient, or under points particularly guarded (a fortified house, machine-gun shelter, fortlet, castle, etc.) of the enemy's line. Their number depends on the results to be obtained, and the importance of the action. The explosion of the mine-chambers gives the signal of attack, at the same time as producing craters in the ground, destroying the flanking adjustments of the enemy, and making a breach in the wire-entanglements which protect his front, These craters are immediately occupied and organised, thanks to the surprise-attack, and one or several lines of trenches are sometimes taken.

(Click to expand.)

The method of driving a mine-gallery employed by the Royal Engineers is, briefly, as follows. First, a steel shield is placed over the head of the sap, from beneath which the sapper cuts the earth, inclining his trench downwards. When he has sloped it down to about eight feet, he prepares for mining. He begins by placing a stout timber framework, consisting of a top sill, two side-pieces, and a ground sill, against the face of the earth (now widened to about six feet) and drives heavy sheeting-planks with a maul, to support the earth over his head as he works beneath them, propping them with uprights as he moves forward. The process is repeated as often as necessary. Having thus made a kind of ante-chamber for the collection of gear, pumps, trucks, and so on, he begins to drive the ordinary mining-gallery, either by means of frames and sheeting-planks, as before, or by placing a series of cases like the four sides of a stout box framed together at the angles. The task is extremely trying, as the space within which the miner works measures only four feet in height and two feet in breadth, the light is only that of candles, and the air soon becomes very foul, in spite of fans and bellows. The man at the face, therefore, only works for a short spell. The earth dug out is removed in little handtrucks, and has to be carefully disposed of so as, not to let the enemy get wind that. a mine is in progress. When the gallery has reached the point required near the enemy s trench, a small mine-chamber is driven from it sideways just big enough to contain the charge, the laying of which is always done by an officer. When the box is packed, the electrical fuse is inserted and the insulated cable laid. Then comes the work of "tamping"…i.e., filling up the gallery for some distance with sand-bags, to prevent the explosion from breaking back towards the sappers and to force it to tear its way out through the enemy's trench. If the distance from the mine-chamber to the trench is 15 ft., with 20 ft. of earth overhead, the tamping has to extend for about 30 ft. along the gallery. When all is ready, the mine is fired, and the infantry, with fixed bayonets, dash forward to occupy the crater which the explosion forms.

(Click to expand.)

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Saturday, 6 May 2017

Keep Your Mission in Mind!
Topic: Leadership

Keep Your Mission in Mind!

Combat Lessons, Number 1, Rank and file in combat: What they're doing, How the do it. (US Army, 1944)

Greater emphasis must be placed on inculcating in junior officers and NCO's the will to accomplish assigned missions despite opposition.

Lieutenant Colonel E. B. Thayer, Field Artillery, Observer With Fifth Army, Italy:

"Difficulty was experienced in making patrol leaders realize the importance of bringing back information by a specified hour, in time to be of value. Patrols often returned, after encountering resistance, without accomplishing their mission. Sending them back to accomplish their mission, despite their fatigue, seemed to be the most effective solution to the training problem involved, although the information required often arrived too late."

elipsis graphic

Lieutenant Colonel T. F. Bogart, Infantry, Observer With Fifth Army, Italy:

"Greater emphasis must be placed on inculcating in junior officers and NCO's the will to accomplish assigned missions despite opposition. A few accounts of patrol actions illustrate this point:

"(1)     A reconnaissance patrol consisting of a platoon was sent out, at about 1900 one evening to determine the strength of a of any of the Germans in two small towns, the first about two miles away and the second about three miles farther on. The patrol reached the outskirts of the first t,own and met an Italian who told them there were no Germans in the town and then started to lead the patrol into town. A few hundred yards farther a German machine gun opened up, the Italian disappeared, three of the patrol were killed, and the others dispersed. They drifted back to our battalion during the night, and it was not until nearly daylight that the practically valueless report of the action was received. Not the slightest conception of the strength in the first town was obtained and no information of the second town. It was necessary to send out another patrol with the same mission.

"(2)     A patrol was sent out with the mission of determining the condition of a road, especially bridges, over a three-mile stretch to the front. When this patrol had covered about a mile it ran into a motorized German patrol. Two of the Americans were killed, and the platoon leader claimed six Germans. The patrol leader forgot his mission, returned to the battalion CP with the remainder of his patrol, and had to be sent out again with a great loss in time in getting the information desired.

"(3)     On several occasions patrols were sent out on ‘reconnaissance missions with instructions to get certain information by a specific time. The hour would pass and sometimes several others without a word from the patrol. Sometimes it was due to difficulties encountered, sometimes to mistakes in computation of time and space factors, but in all cases there was no good reason why some information did not get back by the specified time."

COMMENT: The failure of patrols in these instances stems from a lack of appreciation on the part of NCO's and junior officers of their missions. In patrol actions, as in the operations of larger units, the mission must be kept uppermost in the minds of all ranks, and no action should be undertaken which does not contribute directly to the accomplishment of that mission. Conversely, no incidental or inadvertent contact with the enemy should deter or divert patrols from the complete accomplishment of their missions, to include compliance with all instructions given, where humanly possible.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Friday, 5 May 2017

The Militia; Active Force (1859)
Topic: Canadian Militia

Adjutant General's Office, Toronto, 5th May, 1859

Militia General Orders – Active Force

The several Corps of the Active Force of the Province will assemble at noon on the 24th instant, Her Majesty's Birthday, and fire a Feu de Joie.

1.     With reference to section Four of the new Militia Act, intituled, An Act to amend and make permanent the Laws relating to the Militia of this Province, Hi Excellency the Right Honorable the Governor General and Commander in Chief, requests Officers commanding Corps of the Active Force, class A, to go through the Drill therein authorized for the present year at such time as may be most convenient to the several Corps.

The number of days drill for which payment is allowed for the present year, under the provisions of said Act, are detailed in section Four aforesaid, which is herewith subjoined for general information, viz.:

"The Volunteer Militia Companies shall be drilled and exercised at such time in each year and at such places as the Commander in Chief may from time to time appoint; the Volunteer Field Batteries being so drilled and exercised during twelve days in each year, of which at least six days shall be consecutive, and the other Volunteer Corps once in each year during six consecutive days, (Sundays not reckoned in either case,) and the Companies under drill being encamped during the whole or any part of the period for drill, if the Commander in Chief sees fit; provided that, inclusive of the pay for the year one thousand eight hundred and fifty-nine, and annually hereafter, the money to be paid for pay for each day on which Companies shall be so drilled, shall be paid only in the month of December of each year, and upon the Pay List and affidavit thereto being duly furnished to the Adjutant General as hereinafter required."

The Second clause of section Seven of the Act aforesaid, relating to the pay of the Volunteer Force for the present year, is also herewith subjoined for general information, viz.:

"For the year one thousand eight hundred and fifty-nine, the non-commissioned officers and men of Class A shall be paid for each days actual and bonâ fide drill the sum of one dollar, and for each horse actually and necessarily present and used for such drill, and belong to or used by such non-commissioned officers or men, the further sum of one dollar per diem."

The numbers of men and horses included in the Pay List for the present year, are not to exceed those previously authorized for the several Corps, exclusive of the Drill Instructors.

2.     It must be distinctly understood that those Volunteer Corps who may have already performed their Drill for 1859, subject to the vote of Parliament for the payment thereof, can only receive the amount voted by Parliament, viz, six days pay under the provisions of section Four as aforesaid.

3.     A copy of the new Law will be forwarded to all Commanding Officers for their information and guidance as soon as possible, and duplicate Pay Lists will also be sent as soon as they are printed.

4.     The several Corps of the Active Force of the Province will assemble at noon on the 24th instant, Her Majesty's Birthday, and fire a Feu de Joie in the manner prescribed by the General Order of the 5th May, 1857.

At the Garrisons of Montreal, Quebec, and Kingston, the Corps of the Active Force will act in conjunction with Her Majesty's Troops in case the Officers commanding the Garrisons at those stations should desire such co-operation; and the Officers in command of Corps of the Volunteer Force will place themselves in communication with the Officers commanding Her Majesty's Troops for that purpose.

5.     It having been brought to the notice of the Commander in Chief that the Muzzles of some of the Rifled Muskets belonging to certain Volunteer Corps have coarsely filed on the outside to enable the bayonets to slip on more easily, and that the Nipples of some of the said Muskets have also been filed and altered, His Excellency hereby expressly forbids such practices and will hold Commanding Officers of Corps responsible for the due observance of this order; and in the event of the Arms of Accoutrements requiring to be repaired at any time, such repairs must be effected by a competent Tradesman.

By Command of His Excellency the Right Honourable the Governor General and Commander in Chief.
D. Macdonnell,
A. de Salaberry, Lt. Col.

Canadian Army Battle Honours

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Thursday, 4 May 2017

The Iron Cross Business (Germany, 1919)
Topic: Medals

The Iron Cross Business (Germany, 1919)

Candid Comment, on the American Soldier of 1917-1918 and Kindred Topics, by the Germans, prepared by the Intelligence Section, GHQ, AEF, Chaumont, France, 1919

Interrogation of Fianale Fappen, of NEUENAHR.

Frau Farpen is the owner of a novelty shop in Neuenahr. Having been in the novelty business for years, she gives some interesting facts concerning her business. She cannot understand the general desire of the American soldier for the “Gott mit uns” belt buckles and the German Iron Crosses, as these seem to be the only souvenirs they care to buy. She states that she alone has sold more Iron Crosses to American soldiers than the Kaiser ever awarded to his subjects. Another strange thing in her line of business is the fact that it was absolutely impossible to buy leather pocketbooks or waist belts until the Americans came to this area. Now she can buy any amount of leather waist belts she desires.

Summary of Intelligence, #260.
42nd Div. Feb. 25th, 1919.

elipsis graphic

The feeling against the sale of Iron Crosses to Americans has grown so strong that some stores which formerly sold large numbers of them, now not only have ceased to sell the Iron Crosses themselves, but decline to sell articles decorated with an Iron Cross design.

Intercourse between, our soldiers and the German civilians continues normal and without friction. The Germans still make a point of dealing fairly and try to retain our good will by courtesy and unchanged prices.

Summary of Intelligence, #260.
Feb. 25th, 1919.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Wednesday, 3 May 2017

5-in-1 Ration
Topic: Army Rations

The ration is not palatable when eaten cold.

5-in-1 Ration

Command Report - HQ 8th US Army (EUSAK); Sec II: Supporting Documents; Book 21: Quartermaster, April 1951

The 5-in-1 ration is generally unacceptable for the following reasons:

1.     Because of their tactical deployment, troops cannot assemble to eat.

2.     Equal distribution of the ration is quite difficult under combat conditions.

3.     Food must frequently be prepared in the mess gear, which is undesirable because washing facilities are not available to the individual soldier in contact with the enemy.

4.     Transportation of the 5-in-1 presents a problem since the individual must carry his own food in combat.

5.     There is a large percentage of waste because of the size of the food containers.

6.     The ration is not palatable when eaten cold.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Multiple Sons in the CEF
Topic: CEF

Multiple Sons in the CEF

The Canadian Annual Review of Public Affairs, 1917; by J. Castell Hopkins, FSS, FRGS, pub. Toronto, 1918.

A feature of the military life of Canada in this war was the number of families who contributed all their eligible sons three, four and upwards to the Army, with very often the Father also. Reference has been made in preceding volumes to some of the better- known cases; a few more instances may be given here. The six sons of H. O. Bell-Irving of Vancouver all distinguished themselves in different branches of the Service: Lieut. Henry B. Bell-Irving, D.S.C., Dover Patrol; Major Richard Bell-Irving, R.F.C.; Major Fred. Bell-Irving, M.C., 14th Battalion; Capt. M. Bell-Irving, M.C., D.S.O., Royal Flying Corps; Fl. Comm. Duncan Bell-Irving, M.C., and Bar and Croix de Guerre; Lieut. A. Bell-Irving, R.A. The Lieut.-Governor of Nova Scotia, MacCallum Grant, had 5 sons on active service: Lieut. Eric M. Grant, 13th Batt., Capt. Gerald W. Grant, C.A.M.C., Lieut. J.M. Grant, R.C.N., Lieut. G. Grant, V. Battery, Mid'n H. S. W. Grant, R.C.N. The Stair family of Halifax grandsons of Hon. W.J. Stair—included Gavin and George, who were killed, and Herbert and Denis fighting in Flanders during 1917. Major- Gen. S.C. Mewburn, C.M.G., M.P., Minister of Militia, had a son killed in action, 8 nephews and 14 cousins on active service. The family of the late Thomas Brown, Toronto, had 24 members in the Army, of whom one was the late Lieut. G.A. Ewens and another Major Howard Jeffs, M.C. Mr. and Mrs. J.A. Sullivan of Winnipeg boasted 3 sons and 4 sons-in-law on active service; J.G. Cosgrove of Winnipeg had 3 sons at the Front and with them were 9 cousins— all of Manitoba; Mr. and Mrs. J.W. Glenday of Toronto had 12 sons or nephews on service.

The following statement compiled from all parts of Canada further illustrates this point

ParentResidenceNo. of Sons on Service
Eustace CollinsMontreal8
Thomas O'Shaughnessy 5
Mr. Mawhinney 8
James Barnard (Father and 3 Sons)
Mrs. M. Morrison 4
Corp. James Murdock (Father and 3 Sons)
Charles CushingWestmount5
Donald McDonaldToronto7
J.E. Boswell 4
Mrs. Priscilla Hay 4
Philip W. Moore 4
William Cooper 4
Pte. H. Marshall (Father and 3 Sons)
Pte. John Parm (Father and 3 Sons)
John Daly 4
Mrs. David AshdownEast Toronto7
John A. LongOttawa6
Mrs. McColl 4
A. DobbieVictoria4
Sergt. F.J. Barker (Father and 3 Sons)
Sergt. J.A. Kenning (Father and 6 Sons)
Mrs. N. Pellow 4
S. N. Reid 4
Capt. A. G. Sargison (Father and 3 Sons)
Mrs. Malcolm 4
J. K. NichollHalifax4
J.W. Nicoll 4
Mrs. Annie Ambrose 4
John SimpsonWinnipeg5
G. H. Heath 5
Arthur J. HebbLunenburg5
Mrs. Letitia Meister 5
Mrs. L. KendallVancouver4
William Tough (Father and 3 Sons)
Thomas Campbell 5
S. G. Ball 10
Mr. WattsSouth Vancouver(Father and 7 Sons)
L. G. DoidgeNorth Vancouver4
Pte. Charles E.G. AdamsKelowna, B.C.(Father and 4 Sons)
Pte. M. A. Berard (Father and 3 Sons)
Thomas HillColdwater5
John EnnisAyr, Ont4
John McLeanSydney, C.B4
Mrs. Solomon MatthewsSt. John's4
James W. MacintoshNew Glasgow5
Robert MathersClaburn, B.C(Father and 8 Sons)
Miles SimpsonShoal Lake4
Ernest GrattoTruro, N.S6
Hugh RobertsonVerdun, Que5
Lieut. Seymour GreeneDuncan, B.C(Father and 5 Sons)
Mr. SleightTisdale, Sask4
Pte. George P. KennedyPilot Mound(Father and 3 Sons)
J. B. CarruthersKingston4
Mrs. A. ColburneCumberland, N.S6
Thomas BoveyGananoque5
M. ThorsteinsonSturgeon Creek, Man.4
Mrs. J. LeavittVerdun. Que4
Mrs. A. D. TelferEdmonton4
J.W. MacDonaldPortage la Prairie4
Mrs. J. F. RichardsonMaitland, Ont4
H. RathboneGrand Mere, Que5
G. D. CampbellWeymouth, N.S.6

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 15 April 2017 10:05 AM EDT
Monday, 1 May 2017

Discipline; The Key to Success in Combat
Topic: Discipline


The Key to Success in Combat

Combat Lessons, Number 2, September 1946

Commanding General XIV Corps, in a personal letter to Lieutenant General McNair:

"I would like to mention a few things I consider important in getting any prospective units ready for duty in the Southwest Pacific. The first of all requisites is discipline, with a capital 'D.' I refer to discipline in all its phases—water discipline, malaria discipline, personal appearance, military courtesy, the wearing of the uniform, personal and collective sanitation, carrying out orders in general, assumption and proper discharge of responsibility throughout the chain of command, etc. there is an inclination for men as well as for come officers to 'go native' in the tropics, to let down mentally on material and spiritual values, so discipline is especially needed here. Needless to say I consider an aggressive spirit always goes hand in hand with good discipline."

Lieutenant Colonel Clifton F. von Kann, 77th Field Artillery, Italy:

"The great stress placed on discipline and the chain of command is not an overemphasis and never can be. We have found again and again that the highest standards of discipline are absolutely necessary in and out of combat. In no other way can you be assured that the individual soldier will carry out orders without supervision, and in combat this is essential."

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT

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