The Minute Book
Thursday, 31 July 2014

New Names for Old Letters
Topic: Militaria

New Names for Old Letters

From The Emma Gees by Herbert W. McBride, Captain U.S.A., Late Twenty-First Canadian Battalion, 1918

When reading messages sent by any "visual" method of signalling, such as flags, heliograph or lamp, it is necessary for the receiver to keep his eyes steadily fixed upon the sender, probably using binoculars or telescope, which makes it difficult, if not impossible, for him to write down each letter as it comes, and as this is absolutely required in military work, where nearly everything is in code or cipher, the services of a second man are needed to write down the letters as the first calls them off.

As many of the letters of the alphabet have sounds more or less similar, such as "S" and "F", "M" and "N" and "D" and "T", many mistakes have occurred. Therefore, the ingenuity of the signaller was called upon to invent names for certain of the letters most commonly confused. Below is a list of the ones which are now officially recognized:

  • A pronounced ack
  • B – beer
  • D – don
  • M – emma
  • P – pip
  • S – esses
  • T – tock
  • V – vic
  • Z – zed

The last is, of course, the usual pronunciation of this letter in England and Canada, but, as it may be unfamiliar to some readers, I have included it.

After a short time all soldiers get the habit of using these designations in ordinary conversation. For instance, one will say: "I'm going over to 'esses-pip seven,'" meaning "Supporting Point No. 7" or, in stating the time for any event, "ack-emma" is A.M. and "pip-emma" P.M.

As the first ten letters of the alphabet are also used to represent numerals in certain methods of signalling, some peculiar combinations occur, as, for instance,: "N-ack-beer" meaning trench "N-12," or "O-don" or "O-4."

"Ack-pip-emma" is the Assistant Provost Marshall whom everybody hates, while just "pip-emma" is the Paymaster, who is always welcome.

Thus the Machine Gunner is an "Emma Gee" throughout the army.

Lieutenant Eric Costin operating a wireless telegraph apparatus; 29 August, 1911.
Source: Toronto Public Library Digital Archive.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Saturday, 12 July 2014

Army Form W3431 - Message Pad
Topic: Militaria

Army Form W3431 – Message Pad

In order to save time and promote simple clear messaging in action, even by the First World War the use of simple proforma messages were in vogue. This army Message Pad allows a Platoon or Company Commander to despatch, quickly and easily, a situation report on his location, contacts with friendly and enemy forces, actions of the enemy affecting his operations, urgent resupply or reinforcement requirements, and his current strength.

Simplicity in staff work is essential for clear messaging, no spin required.

elipsis graphic

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Sunday, 29 June 2014

Regimental Lucky Pocket Pieces
Topic: Militaria

Regimental Lucky Pocket Pieces

The Cairn-Craft "Coins"

Today we find regimental coins quite common, whether they are issued by units or regimentals to all members to commemorate significant anniversaries, minted for sale to members, or minted in small numbers to be handed out by commanding officers and regimental sergeants-major in recognition of good work. These types of coins have become sufficiently common that collecting them is growing area of interest for some people. But as common as they might be now, regimental coins are a relatively new phenomenon in the Canadian Army, growing in popularity to such a widespread context and usage over the past few decades.

Canadian regimental coins do, however, have one early forerunner from the Second World War. One small company in Toronto, now defunct, minted a series of coins called the Regimental Lucky Piece.

Twenty-five cents got the purchaser, whether a member of the subject unit or a relative or admirer, a 1 ¼-inch (31.5 mm) coin with badge and unit name on one side and generic good luck symbology on the reverse.

Coins can be found for the Royal Canadian Air Force, the 48th Highlanders of Canada, The Toronto Scottish, and the Irish Regiment of Canada. While the coins may be hard to find, it is even more rare to find one still in its original packaging.

The dearth of information on these coins and their manufacturer was detailed in an article in The CN Journal, published by The Royal Canadian Numismatic Association. The June, 2013, article; World War II Canadian "Regimental Lucky Pocket Piece" by Chris Boyer, F.R.C.N.A. concludes with a request for any further information on these coins or their manufacturer.

The reverse of the Regimental Lucky Pocket Pieces

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Tuesday, 24 June 2014

The Anti-Tank Grenade, No. 94 (ENERGA)
Topic: Militaria

Infantry Training Volume 1 – Infantry Platoon Weapons
Pamphlet No. 9, Part 1


elipsis graphic

"It is safe to fire ball ammunition through the projector when the grenade is removed. Stress that the firer will be killed should he be foolish enough to fire ball when the grenade in on the projector."


The Anti-Tank Grenade, No. 94 (ENERGA)

1.     This grenade has been introduced to provide the infantry section with a powerful and effective anti-tank weapon. It is discharged from a projector attached to the No. 4 rifle, and fired by means of a special grenade cartridge.

General Characteristics

2.     The weapon's chief characteristics are its great power and lightness. It is highly efficient against armour, concrete, etc., and can be used against "thin-skinned" targets.

3.     Performance.—The grenade will penetat the sides and rear of the heaviest known tank. The effect of the explosion is to burn a small hole through the armour. Through this hole a high velocity jet of burning gases and molten metal from the grenade is projected into the tank. This, besides causing casualties to the drew, may set fire to the fuel and ammunition.

4.     Accuracy.—The grenade is a first-class and efficient weapon. For an unrotated projectile its accuracy is of a high standard. A trained soldier should, after very little practice, group to approximately 30 inches at 75 yards. The shock of discharge on firing is, not unduly great and the firer, or any observer, can easily follow the flight of the grenade to the target.

5.     Effective range.—Ideal ranges are from 25 to 50 yards. Moving targets can be engaged with reasonable accuracy at any range up to 75 yards.

6.     Carriage.—The projector, when not on the rifle, is carried in a care which is attached to the waist belt. Grenades are carried in containers holding two grenades each.

Tactical Handling

1.     The primary role of the section anti-tank weapon is the destruction of tanks. In its secondary role, it can be used against thin-skinned vehicles and other targets, such as personnel, houses and concrete emplacements.

2.     When the weapon is sited for use in its primary role, the following points must be considered:—

(a)     It needs a field of fire of only just over 100 yards.
(b)     Surprise and concealment are most important.
(c)     Any obstruction in its path is likely to detonate the grenade before it reaches its target.
(d)     It must cover likely tank approaches, such as gaps in minefields.
(e)     It is best to engage the side or rear of a tank.
(f)     It is normal to fire it from a fire trench.
(g)     Few grenades are carried, and fire must be held till a kill is certain with each grenade.
(h)     Some defilade from the front is desirable.

3.     The uses of the weapon in its secondary role are manifold. Some suggestions are:—

(a)     House clearing and street fighting.
(b)     Ambushes.
(c)     Concrete emplacements and fortified houses.
(d)     Assault boats crossing rovers, and beach landings.
(e)     Enemy concealed in trees, hedges, etc.
(f)     Soft-skinned vehicles.

4.     When it is decided to use the weapon in is secondary role it must never be forgotten that the weapon is primarily anti-tank and that sufficient grenades must be kept for this purpose.

5.     In addition to his anti-tank duties, the Energa rifleman is a member of the rifle section; if the tank threat is remote, his section commander will site him as a rifleman rather than as a tank killer.

The Royal Canadian Regiment Museum

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Wednesday, 18 June 2014

No. 12 Canadian Army (Basic) Training Centre
Topic: Militaria

No. 12 Canadian Army (Basic) Training Centre, Chatham, ON

During the Second World War, Chatham, Ontario, was home to No. 12 Canadian Army (Basic) Training Centre. Opened in October 1940, the training centre occupied an area bounded by Lacroix Street, Willomac Avenue, Queen's Street, and the area of Fergie Jenkins Field and the Memorial Arena.

Initially organized for the Non-Permanent Active Militia (i.e., the Reserves, as known today), the training centre was placed on Actice Service on 15 February 1941 in order to support the training of new recruits for Canada's forces overseas. In November, 1943, the training center was redesignated No. 12 Cdn Infantry (Basic) Training Centre 15 Nov 43.

As with many of the training centre locations across Canada that were built in or near communites to support Canada's war efforts, the last remaining vestiges of the Cahatham site hae been built over and swallowed up by progress and fresh construction. What appears to have been the last remaining building, the original training centre drill hall, which saw new life as the Kinsman Auditorium, was torn down in 2012. It can still be seen on the Google maps air photo (but not the street view), until that gets updated and the training centre fades a little further from public memory.

The following images show the locations of buildings at the training centre (in September 1943) overlaid on the Google air photo of the area, and the scanned site plan. Either of these images can be clicked to access a larger scale version.



The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 18 June 2014 8:52 PM EDT
Friday, 13 June 2014

A Home Made Sniper Suit (1940)
Topic: Militaria

Two unidentified snipers, in "ghillie" suits, of the 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion during an inspection by King George VI, Queen Elizabeth and Princess Elizabeth, Salisbury Plain, England, 17 May 1944. Photographer: Elmer R. Bonter. Mikan Number: 3298173.
From the Library and Archives Canada virtual exhibit "Faces of War."

A Home Made Sniper Suit (images)

Sketches A to E

A Home Made Sniper Suit (images)

Sketches F and G

A Home Made Sniper Suit (images)

Sketches H and I

Military Training Pamphlet No. 44
Notes on the Training of Snipers

Amendments (No. 1)
Appendix 9

A Home Made Sniper Suit

This sniper's suit is made in two pieces, a loose smock with flaps which break the sniper's form in any position, and a hood with flaps which breaks the outline of the head and shoulders. This hood can be worn independently.

To make the smock—Material: Rough hessian canvas (8-10 ozs.) or latrine canvas, sackings or sandbags sewn together. Fold a 6 ft. by 10 ft. piece as Sketch A and chalk out design as on Sketch B, making sure that folds are on the correct sides. Cut away the shaded area and lay the piece out as Sketch C. Stitch front and back together along the dotted lines with stout thread.

The dimensions shown in the chart are for a large man.

Neck—Turn over a 1-inch hem round the neck and stitch down after inserting cord as in Sketch E.

Flap—Run a line of stitching round slit to prevent fraying. Stitch flap to hang over a bit as in Sketch D.

To make the hood—Fold a piece of hessian 3 ft. by 5 ft. as for the smock, and chalk out design as in Sketch F. Cut away the shaded area and lay the piece out as in Sketch G. Stitch the back and front together with strong thread.

Eye apeture—Place hood over head and chalk an oblong, approx. 6 in. by 1 1//2 in., in front of the eyes—Sketch G. Cut all cross threads and sides and alternate threads along top and bottom of the oblong—and pull cross threads out.

Painting—Use any matte paint. When applying paint leave rough edges; coloured areas need not meet exactly as a gap between colours increases disruptive effect. Areas of natural hessian can be left unpainted. Suitable colours for painting—standard camouflage colours: Dark Colours—1a, very dark brown; 6a, dark green. Mid-tones— 9 or 7, mid-green; 2 to 5, warm grey or light earth. Design I is suited to hedge, field and parkland. Design II to rocks, earth or sandbags.

These disruptive patterns are only intended to be used as guides. Pattern and colour must fit the local background.

The Royal Canadian Regiment Museum

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Sunday, 8 June 2014

Traditional Officers' Rank Insignia
Topic: Militaria

High resolution scan: Officers' cuff rank during the First World War.
Click for full-size.

Traditional Officers' Rank Insignia

In 2014, the Canadian Army was directed to change the officers' rank insignia from the stripes adopted on Unification of the Services back to a system of crowns and stars. Originally presumed to only require the removal of rank stripes from dress uniform tunics and the addition of new rank insgnia, the final plan will require the replacement of tunics for every officer. This additional requirement will increase the costs of this proposal, which was initially proposed, in part, as a low cost reversion to a system of rank badges that predated nearly every serving officer.

Now that the Royal Canadian Navy has returned to the executive curl on their officers' uniforms, and the Canadian Army is returning to crowns and stars, it remains to be seen if the Royal Canadian Air Force follows suit.

First World War

Army officers' rank badges could be found in two locations on the service dress uniform during the First Worls War. These are the cuff and the shoulders. Officers rank is indicated in cuff rank by stars and crowns and by the number of stripes around the cuff. On the shoulder the stars and crowns are used. ("Pips" is the commonly used name for the rank stars.)

Rank badges of the Canadian Expeditionary Force. Source: Their Glory Cannot Fade, a souvenir pamphlet published by the Canadian Pacific Railway, Christmas, 1918.
Click on thumbnail images for full size.

Second World War

From the Canadian Army's 1942 Training Pamphlet No. 1, titled A General Instructional Background for the Young Soldier comes the following illustratings of traditional rank for the army, navy and air force.

The Canadian Army's New "Traditional" Rank Insignia

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, 23 May 2014 2:26 PM EDT
Wednesday, 4 June 2014

3.5-inch Rocket Launcher (M20 Super Bazooka)
Topic: Militaria


Amendment No. 1

"Until such time as men become proficient in the firing of the rocket launcher, all practices will be fired with the rocket launcher rested in either filled sandbags or on the bipod."


Rocket Launcher – 3.5 Inch; M20

CATP 11-7; 1952


(a)     The launcher is carried as a two-piece unit which is assembled into a 60 3/4-inch launcher for firing.

(b)     A magneto-type firing device in the firing grip provides the current used for firing the rocket.

(c)     There is very little recoil as the rocket is jet-propelled.

(d)     There is a definite backblast.

(e)     It is highly mobile (the launcher weighs 14 lbs.), and it is operated by two men.


(f)     The HEAT (high explosive, anti-tank) rocket will penetrate 11 inches of homogeneous armour plate.

(g)     The maximum range of the rocket is 960 yards.

(h)     The rocket weighs 8 ½ lbs., and has a muzzle velocity of 340 feet per second.

(j)     The HEAT rocket is used primarily against tanks; it can be used against secondary targets such as gun emplacements, pill boxes, and personnel. It will penetrate 12 inches of masonry or timber. It has a fragmentation area of 25 yards radius from the point of impact.

Note:…Impact with mud, sand, or water may not detonate the rocket.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Monday, 19 May 2014

The .303 Vickers Machine Gun
Topic: Militaria

The Vickers .303-inch Medium Machine Gun

The .303 Vickers Machine Gun.


The Gun

Name.–.303 Vickers medium machine gun.
Weight.–40 lb (with water in barrel casing.
Rate of fire.–about 500 rounds per minute.

The .303 Vickers Machine Gun.

Organization of the Infantry Battalion Machine Gun Platoon (1951)

It's difficult to separate modern perceptions of infantry or ground combat with the presence and firepower of the machine gun. Before the First World War, machine guns were a tactical oddity, not quite having proven their usefulness to the point that infantry units were organized to capitalize n the machine gun's advantages, or acquired in sufficient numbers to be a decisive weapon on their own terms. The years of trench warfare in France and Flanders changed that. Machine guns not only appeared in greater numbers in infantry battalions, but as the value and relative merits of light and medium/heavy machine guns became wide recognized, organizations did change.

The challenges of organizing comprehensive machine gun firepower across a brigade's units led to the creation of Brigade Machine Gun Companies. These companies manned medium machine guns (Vickers) while the infantry battalions absorbed more light machine guns (Lewis Guns), and the Canadian Machine Gun Corps took form. By 1918, these companies were reformed into Division Machine Gun Battalions. The Canadian Corps was further supported by mobile Machine Gun units which provided a valuable degree of mobility once more open warfare commenced in the final months of the War. And by 1918, the machine gun had proven to all its tactical value.

In 1920, the Canadian Militia was undergoing examination and reorganization, with many Corps working to absorb the lessons of the Great War in both training and organizational change. Among these changes was the creation of the Canadian Machine Gun Corps in the Canadian Militia which existed from 1920 until 1936. In 1936, the units of the C.M.G.C. were disbanded, and amalgamated with infantry battalions in the Militia (thus resulting in the "(M.G.)" designation that some units held at the time). A few of these units were subsequently employed to form heavy weapons companies and served as such during the Second World War.

The formation of integral machine gun platoon in infantry battalions was also developed, and these survived in the post-war period. The images fund in this post are taken from the 1951 editions of the Infantry Training manuals for The Medium Machine Gun.

inf_trg_manual_pt2_drills 303_vickers_range_tables_cover

manuals for the .303 Vickers Machine Gun. 1951 Part II - Drills and Training (left); and Range tables (1939) (right). Click cover images for larger image.

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Saturday, 17 May 2014

Drake the Tank Bank
Topic: Militaria

Drake the Tank Bank

From the photo album of Nursing Sister Ada A. Kemp comes this photograph of one of the Mark IV Tanks which toured parts of Great Britain in support of War Bond fund raising campaigns. Some of the tanks used had returned from the battlefield in France, others were taken from the training units in England. The tank pictured, No. 137 "Drake," was a training tank employed for this purpose.

Six Mark IV male tanks toured England, Wales, and Scotland in 1918, raising millions of pounds through Tank Bank Weeks. These touring tanks were:

  • No. 141, "Egbert"
  • No. 130, "Nelson"
  • No. 113, "Julian"
  • No. 119, "Old Bill"
  • No. 137, "Drake"
  • No. 142, "Iron Rations"

More on the touring tanks:

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 17 May 2014 12:23 AM EDT
Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Ada Andrews Kemp, Nursing Sister
Topic: Militaria

Ada Andrews Kemp, Nursing Sister

A Nurse's First World War Photo Album

Ada Andrews Kemp was born in Essex Co., England on 2 June 1895. She emigrated to Canada in 1903 as a Bernardo foster child, i.e,, an orphan, where she lived in Port Hope, Ontario, as a domestic servant to the family of Alexander Walsh.

Having trained as a nurse, Ada Kemp attested for overseas suervice in the First World War on 11 April, 1917, at the age of 21. She was sorn in as a nursing officer at the Toronto Base Hospital.

Throughout the war, Ada Kemp maintained a photo album. Containing over 200 photographs, the majority of them smal images taken with a personal camera, it shows glimpses of her experiences during the war and the people around her in the Hospitals where she served.

Although a detailed look at Ada's military service would require a copy of her service record, we can glean a few details from online searches of the London and Canada Gazettes:

  • Ada Andrews kemp was appointed to the rank of Nursing Sister on 11 April 1917 (Canada Gazette 23 Jun 1917)
  • Ada Kemp was awarded the Royal Red Cross, Second Class (London Gazette 23 Feb 1917)
  • In the post war Canadian Army, Ada was again appointed to the rank of Nursing Sister on 12 June 1919. (Canada Gazette 4 Oct 1919)
  • Ada Kemp's Attestation Paper

    Ada Kemp's Attestation Paper

    Ada Kemp's Entry in the Soldiers of the First World War Database at Library and Archives Canada:

    • Rank: NS
    • Date of Birth: 02/06/1895
    • Reference: RG 150, Accession 1992-93/166, Box 5069 - 5

    Nursing sisters from Port Hope (source)

    • Miss Emma Frances Elliott – Four years' Service - 1915 Star
    • Miss Harriet Gertrude Hudspeth – Four years' Service - Mons Ribbon
    • Miss Ada Kemp – Four years' Service
    • Miss Etta McLean – One year's Service
    • Miss Myrtle McMillan – Four years' Service
    • Miss Mary McNaughton – Four years' Service
    • Miss Edith Elgin McNaughton – Served with American Army
    • Miss Pansy Eva Roberts – Four years' Service
    • Miss Pearl Edna Wood – Four years' Service

    Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Saturday, 3 May 2014

British Military Uniforms
Topic: Militaria

British Military Uniforms

British Military Uniforms, James Laver, 1948

We have now followed, in a necessarily abbreviated and inadequate fashion, the history of British Military Uniforms from their beginning, with the rise of professional armies, to their virtual extinction under the conditions of modern, mechanized warfare. What conclusions, if any, can we come to at the end of our enquiry?

An attempt has been made elsewhere to establish the fundamental principles governing the evolution of all costume. These would seem to be -

  • The Seduction Principle
  • The Hierarchical Principle
  • The Utility Principle

The first attempts to make the wearer of clothes as attractive as possible to the opposite sex. It is, in general, the governing principle of female costume, but it is not without influence on men's, and particularly on soldiers' dress. It widens the military man's shoulders, narrows his hips, puffs out his chest, lengthens his leg and increases his apparent height. It plays, therefore, before the days of conscription, an important part in recruiting. Many a man who took the King's shilling did so in the firm conviction that there is nothing like a smart uniform to attract the girls; nor was he often mistaken. The heightening of masculine characteristics might also be considered of value, at least in early days, in intimidating the enemy, but such considerations have long been obsolete. The second principle establishes social position. It is the general principle governing male dress. In military costume it shrinks into a rigid ritualism of rank.

The utility principle has comparatively little influence on civilian costume. In modern male civilian dress it produces a succession of 'sports' clothes which gradually formalize themselves until they are too uncomfortable to be worn for any active pursuit and have to be replaced by something 'easier'. The same is true of military costume.

In considering military uniforms, therefore, we can (having made due note of the succession of stars and crowns and stripes on sleeve and shoulder) ignore the hierarchical principle. Military uniform is a tug of war between the seduction principle (in the sense of the heightening of masculinity, and 'martial' bearing) and the utility principle. Given a long peace, the seduction principle triumphs and soldiers become more and more gorgeous, but a war, especially a long war brings the utility principle once more into operation. The invention of long-range firearms and the raising of immense armies have enormously increased the weight of the utility principle until to-day we may say that the lone tug of war over, at least so far as fighting troops are concerned.

We may therefore attempt to tabulate the following conclusions:

1.     Military uniforms are the appurtenances of Kings' Bodyguards and the professional armies that developed from them. Their history is therefore very short – little more than than two hundred years.

2.     They are founded on contemporary civilian dress, somewhat modified in the direction of toughness by the utility principle, and nearly always modified in the direction of gorgeousness by the seduction principle.

3.     Once established they seem to develop a life of the own, exaggerating all their characteristics to a degree fantasy not known in male civilian dress since the time of Charles II (that is, precisely, the period when uniforms began to develop).

4.     Every war tends to drag uniforms back to the utility principle, expressing itself in looseness (for ease in battle) and in camouflage. Modifications, therefore, are likely to be first seen in the dress of Light Infantry and auxiliary troops generally, and in those engaged in colonial warfare.

5.     Every army engaged in actual fighting is compelled, sooner or later, to develop its own battle dress. The uniform which it has discarded then becomes 'walking-out' dress, that is a 'smartened ' version of the battle dress' of the previous war.

6.     Ceremonial uniform is often the battle dress (formalized and fantasticated) of the last war but one. In the days of huge conscript armies this is only retained by Household troops (that is by the King's Bodyguard).

7.     The general colour of national uniforms (red for Britain, white for Austria, etc.) seems to be determined by accidents of history. That soldiers ever wore red because it did not show blood' (it does show it very clearly as a black stain) is a vulgar error. Once the utility principle has triumphed the colour of all uniforms is an attempt at camouflage.

8.     Military fashions are extremely imitative. The dress of any successful troops will be copied, especially in unessentials, and any victorious nation tends to impose some detail of its uniform on the armies of the world.

9.     Military headgear has two purposes: to protect the soldier's head and to increase his apparent height. The second purpose ruled almost exclusively, from the abandonment of the Cromwellian 'pot' to the First World War. The protection of the head (that is the utility principle) has now triumphed completely (the steel helmet once again) and the only consideration about the soldier's 'hat' is: how quickly and easily can it be stowed away?

10.     Cavalry uniforms follow certain peculiar lines of their own. They strive always for gorgeousness and display, and frequently develop decorations which make it impossible for their wearers to function as cavalry.

11.     All cavalry tends to become 'Heavy' cavalry, and as 'Light' cavalry is always needed in war, recourse is had to the services of 'Auxiliaries'. These have, in the past, generally come from the less settled lands of Eastern Europe, and as their skill on horseback is admired their uniforms are copied, first slavishly and then with increasing fantastication (as, for example, in the astonishing history of the Hussar).

12.     Mounted troops other than cavalry (for instance horse artillery) tend to adopt cavalry uniforms, with a marked preference for that of the Hussar.

13.     Modern uniforms are vestigial in two senses of the term: they have become on the one hand a parade, or walking-out dress, and on the other have shrunk to mere insignia of rank or to miniature badges of territorial or regimental loyalty – a button and a pip. Before an actual assault even these are often discarded. In modern warfare, therefore, the utility principle has triumphed completely and the dress of commandos and tank crews is no more a 'uniform' in the proper sense of the term than are the dungarees of factory hands.

14.     It is probable, however, that uniforms will continue to exist, paradoxically, as the costume of a soldier when he is not fighting.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Monday, 28 April 2014

Tanks as a Product of the Pre-War Industrial Base
Topic: Militaria

Tanks as a Product of the Pre-War Industrial Base

The Lonely Leader; Monty, 1944-1945, Alistaire Horne, 1994

It is a truism that, in a peace-orientated democracy, the panoply of war generally reflects the civilian industrial base rather than that which it requires ideally to win a war. But, as Correlli Barnett acidly notes, the pre-war British motor-vehicle industry 'had concentrated on small family cars and light vans, suitable for a sedate Sunday outing to the seaside and deliveries of groceries...'. Detroit was perhaps equally open to blame. The thirty-ton M-4 Sherman, whose surprise advent on the battlefield had helped turn the tide in the desert in 1942, had all the merits and defects of the US automobile industry such as Ralph Nader in the 1960s had savaged as 'Unsafe At Any Speed'. It could be mass-produced in vast numbers; it was fast (30 m.p.h.) and spaciously comfortable (until it 'brewed up') for crews, compared with the British Cromwells; but it had an uncomfortably high profile in battle. It had inadequate armour, easily caught fire and mounted a 75mm gun descended with little modification from the famous piece that had been the mainstay of the French Army in 1914 - though too light even then. Excellent in 1942, by 1944 it was totally outclassed, capable of penetrating only 68mm of armour, the German Panther, star of Normandy, boasted 100 mm of well-sloped frontal armour, while its long 75mm KwK 42 could penetrate 118mm of armour at 1000 yards - and the Sherman had only 68mm of frontal protection. The main fault of the Panther, and even more of the heavier (58 ton) Tiger, lay in the slow traverse of its turrets, so the best chance the Allied Shermans and Cromwells had in Normandy was when three or four could each take on one of the superior German Panzers - much as the three little British cruisers - Ajax, Achilles and Exeter - had worried to death the mighty Graf Spee in the Battle of the River Plate.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Canada buys anti-tank missile
Topic: Militaria

TOW missile being fired by the Armoured Defence Platoon of the 2nd Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry at CFB Shilo. Photo by Mr. Doug Devin. From the back cover of the Canadian Armed Forces Sentinel magazine 1977, Vol. 13, Number 2.

Canada buys anti-tank missile

$30 million cost

A TOW missile crew in action during Exercise CARBON EDGE in Germany in September [1976]. (ILC 77-934) Canadian Armed Forces Sentinel magazine 1977, Vol. 13, Number 2.

By the Canadian Press
Ottawa Citizen, 11 January 1974

The armed forces will spend about $30 million on a new anti-tank weapon comparable to anything that was used by either side in the recent Middle east hostilities.

The forces have announced they are acquiring TOW—tube-launched, optically-tracked, wire-guided—an American missile being used by several countries, including Israel.

TOW is a highly accurate, semi-automatic missile system capable of destroying a tank at ranges from 70 yards to about two miles.

Col. Philip Neatby of Regina and Ottawa, director of land plans and of armor in the armed forces, said in an interview Friday that the highly-sophisticated weapon involved a computer attached to a missile by wires.

The forces will start taking delivery in 1975 of 150 of the anti-tank units, which weigh 200 pounds and can be mounted on vehicles, helicopters and on the ground. It will be used by Canadian NATO. forces in Europe as well as infantry and reconnaissance units in Canada.

Announcement of acquisition of the new weapon comes only a short time after the Middle East war focused attention on the tank and anti-tank weapons. Both sides had big losses and there was some talk that the role of the tank was on the way out.

But Col. Neatby said the tank will be very much a part of land forces at least until almost the end of this century.

elipsis graphic

It would not be until the summer of 1976 that the first TOW missiles would be fired in a demonstration at Canadian Forces Base Gagetown. By 1977 the weapon system would be deployed with Canadian army units in Canada and Europe.

Members of 2 PPCLI's Armoured Defence Platoon prepare to fire the TOW missile at CFB Shilo. (IW 77-341) Canadian Armed Forces Sentinel magazine 1977, Vol. 13, Number 2.

Sgts George Genge, Marc Bouchard and Peter Anderson compare mock-ups of the TWO missile (background) and the SS-11, which TOW replaces. (GN 76-4807) Canadian Armed Forces Sentinel magazine 1977, Vol. 13, Number 2.

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Sunday, 16 March 2014

Canadian Solution Too Expensive (1963)
Topic: Militaria

Canada To Buy US Armored Troop Carrier

The Montreal Gazette; 6 December 1963

Ottawa—(DJ)—Canada will buy the United States M113 armored personnel carrier for its army brigade in Europe tather than the Canadian built Bobcat, Defence Minister Hellyer said.

An order will be placed as soon as possible for some 500 M113 vehicles with FMC Corp. in California, it is understood. At a price of $28,000 per vehicle this represents a total value of $14,000,000.

Mr. Hellyer said that parts of the M113 are already being manufactured by Canadian subcontractors and further subcontracting in Canada pf a variety of equipment can be anticipated.

The Canadian army has been evaluating the Bobcat, built by Hawker Siddeley Canada Ltd. It had placed orders for 20 prototype Bobcats It is understood that the price tag on each of these Bobcats was $55,000.


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Monday, 3 March 2014

Gun: parts of the cannon
Topic: Militaria


From: The Military Guide for Young Officers, by Thomas Simes, Esq., Philadelphia, 1776


From: The Military Guide for Young Officers, by Thomas Simes, Esq., Philadelphia, 1776

Gun. The length is distinguished by three parts; the first reinforce, the second reinforce, and the chace; the first reinforce is two sevenths, and the second one-seventh and half a diameter of the first. The inside hollow, wherein the powder

and shot are lodged, the bore, and the diameter of the bore, is called the diameter of the caliber: the part between the hind end and the bore, the breech; and the fore part of the bore, the mouth. The cascable is the part terminated by the hind part of the breech, and the extremity of the button. The trunnions are the cylindric parts of metal which project on both sides of the gun, and rest in the grooves, made in the side-pieces of a carriage. The mouldings are those behind the breech, and reckoned to belong to the cascable, the first and second reinforce ogees, astragals, rings, and fillets. Those of the first reinforce are a ring ogee joining to it, and an astragal with fillets; the part of the gun between the ogee and astragal is called the vent field; because the vent is placed there; the ogee of the second, a ring and ogee; and those of the chace, a ring ogee; the astragal with fillets, the muzzle astragal; the swelling of the muzzle, an ogee or cimaise and two fillets: the part between the ogee and chace astragal, the chace girdle; and the part from the muzzle, astragal and the mouth, the muzzle. Formerly guns were distinguished by the names of sakers, culverins, cannon, demi-cannon, &c. at present their names are taken from the weight of their shot, as, for example, a twelve or twenty-four pounder carries a ball of twelve or twenty-four pounds weight.

Guns are made of brass or cast iron; the brass is a mixture of copper and tin; sometimes yellow brass is added, but it is reckoned to make the metal brittle. The most common proportion is, to an hundred pounds of copper, twelve pounds of tin; copper requires a red heat to melt, and tin melts in a common fire; when a gun is much heated by firing, the tin melts or softens so much that the copper alone supports the force of explosion, whereby they generally bend at the muzzle, and the vent widens so much as to render the gun useless. If such a composition could be found that required an equal degree of heat to melt, it would answer the intent; but as no such thing has been hitherto discovered, I look upon good iron to make better and more durable guns than any other composition whatever, as experiments and practice have shewn. All our brass battering guns made use of this last war, were too soon rendered unserviceable.

The necessary tools for loading and firing guns, are rammers, sponges, ladles, worms, hand- spikes, wedges, or screws. The rammer is a cylinder of wood, whose diameter and axis is equal to that of the shot, and serves to ram home the wads out upon powder and shot; the sponge is the same, only covered with lamb-skin, and serves to clean the gun when fired; the rammer and sponge are fixed to the same handle. The ladle serves to load the gun with loose powder; the worm to draw our the wads when a gun is to be unloaded; the hand=spikes, to move and lay the guns; and the coins, or wedges, to lay under the breech of the gun, to raise or depress it.

In field-pieces, a screw is used instead of coins, by which the gun is kept to the same elevation. The tools necessary to prove guns, besides those mentioned for loading, are, a priming-iron, a searcher with a reliever, and a searcher with one point. The first searcher is an iron, hollow at one end to receive a wooden handle; having on the other, from four to eight flat springs of about six inches long, pointed and turned outwards at the ends. The reliever is an iron flat ring, with a wooden handle at right angles to it. When a gun is to searched after it has been fired, this searcher is introduced, and turned every way from one end to the other; and if there is any hole, the point of one or the other spring gets into it, and remains till the reliever, passing round the handle of the searcher, presses the springs together and relieves it; if any of the points catch in the vent, the priming-iron is introduced to relieve it. When there is any hole or roughness in the gun, the distance from the mouth on the outside is marked with chalk. The other searcher

has also a wooden handle and a point at the fore end of about an inch long; at right angles to the length about this point is some wax mixed with tallow, and when introduced into the hole or cavity is pressed in, and drawn forwards and backwards; then the impression upon the wax gives the depth, and the length is known by the motion of the searcher if the hole is a quarter of an inch deep and downwards, the gun is rejected.

A gun when pointed to hit the mark, will carry the ball about seven hundred yards, the culverin about the same distance, but the bastard less. The ordinary force of a gun, fired at two hundred yards from the mark, drives the ball into the solid earth about ten or twelve feet; and into sand, or loose earth, from twenty two to twenty-four feet.


Parts of a Cast iron or Bronze Gun

Diagram from "An Introduction to British Artillery in North America," by S. James Gooding, Museum Restoration Service, Ottawa, Ontario, 1965.
(Click to see full-size image.)

The Frontenac Times

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Sunday, 2 March 2014

New Army Carrier (1958)
Topic: Militaria

New Army Carrier

The News and Eastern Townships Advocate; 18 September 1958

Ottawa, Aug.—The development of an armoured personnel carrier for the Canadian Army was announced here today by army headquarters.

The new tracked vehicle is essentially a troop carrier although it has been designed with a chassis capable of being converted to several other roles, one of them being self-propelled artillery.

The first of three prototypes being built for the Army by Canadian Car in Montreal were delivered this month, and are now undergoing engineering trials at the Army's proving grounds near Ottawa. If the prototypes prove successful, pilot vehicles will be ordered and subjected to user trials by Army units at training centres across the country. This is the usual procedure of assessing new types of equipment.

Speed and mobility are tow essential factors which will enable the modern soldier to exist on the atomic battlefield of any future war. The new vehicle is the outcome of considerable thought given to the development of a vehicle which would meet these requirements. The sides of the armoured personnel carrier, which are constructed on armour plate, will provide protection against the usual battlefield hazards of small arms fire and shell fragments. The armour will also afford complete protection from the thermal effects of atomic explosions and, in a lesser degree, against the blast and radiation effects.

Being amphibious the vehicle can rapidly transport its load of fighting men across all types of terrain and deposit them at their objective fresh and ready for battle. Eleven fully loaded soldiers can load onto the carrier in 10 seconds and on arrival at their new location can disembark in 8 seconds.

The unique track design of this Canadian developed vehicle in the result of many years experience with tracked vehicles by the Army in the Canadian North. For simplicity in construction many commercial parts have been used. The vehicle is powered with a modified commercial truck engine.

The chassis, being capable of conversion to various roles, will make the problem of supply much simpler by greatly reducing the variety of reserve stocks of vehicles and spare parts. It will also mean a saving in transport, maintenance and in the training of service personnel.

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Updated: Sunday, 23 February 2014 6:51 PM EST
Monday, 24 February 2014

Cap Badges; Designs for Corps and Units (1948)
Topic: Militaria

Canadian Army Orders (1948)

29th November 1948

84-1 — Dress Regulations for Officers and Other ranks of the Canadian Army (Provisional)

Part I — Section 11 — Badges and Buttons

Cap Badges — Designs for Corps and Units

16.     Cap badges, collar badges and buttons emblematic of each corps (or unit in the case of the RCAC, RCIC and contingent in the case of COTC) will he selected as far as possible by representatives of all such corps and units or contingents.

17.     The cap badges, collar badges and buttons worn by personnel of corps and units will be those as authorized in Canadian Army Orders from time to time. Existing corps and units, for which designs have been authorized will NOT have alterations made in such badges or buttons without approval of Army Headquarters.

18.     (a)     When the formation of a new corps or, in the case of the RCAC and RCIC, a new unit, and the COTC, a new contingent, is being considered, designs or particulars of the badges and button which it wishes to adopt will be submitted to Army Headquarters at the earliest possible date.

(b)     Designs submitted should be an actual sample or a properly drawn up sketch giving the following particulars in each case:

(i)     Nature of the badge—i.e., cap, collar.

(ii)     Dimensions—i.e., extreme height and width.

(iii)     Nature of the metal—i.e., brass, white metal, bronze, etc, stating difference if any in metals to be used for badges for officers and other ranks. With the exception of Rifle Regiments, who may use black metal, all other corps and units should wear brase or white metal badges or a combination of the two metals.

(iv)     Description of the badge giving history and symbolic significance of the component parts.

(c)     For the information and guidance of all concerned and particularly to assist commanding officers in deciding upon the suitability of designs of badges and buttons desired, the following factors, which influence the approval of designs submitted, will be observed :

(i)     Every badge should have one dominant feature; in a cap badge this should be the distinctive device of the corps or unit. The other elements should be as few in number as possible in order to simplify reproduction, to avoid confusion of details and to maintain significance and individuality.

(ii)     An essential part of the cap badge is the name of the unit, usually displayed on a scroll or annulus.

(iii)     The Imperial Crown, if borne on badges, should conform to the authorized design and should NOT be less than 1/4 the total height of the badge. It expresses the sovereignty of His Majesty the King, and is never to be surmounted by any other feature, although it may be placed upon a maple leaf or other emblem. The use of the Imperial Crown requires Royal Assent.

(iv)     Royal Assent is also required before any motto may be used by a corps or unit; when the use of a motto is sought, traditional or other reasons in support of the request must be advanced. The fact that the motto was previously worn by a unit or corps which is perpetuated by the petitioning unit is considered a sufficient reason for submission.

(v)     On the Garter, the use of any motto or title other than the motto "HONI SOIT QUI MAL Y PENSE" is incorrect and improper.

(vi)     Maple leaves if used must conform to the standard maple leaf design in accordance with the diagram hereunder:

(Acer Sacoherum )

(vii)     It is incorrect to embody in the design any scroll without a name, motto or other inscription thereon. All inscriptions, on scrolls must read continuously.

(viii)     As corps and regimental badges are common to all units forming part thereof, it will NOT be permissible for a number or numeral to be borne thereon except in the case of a regiment where a number is part of the regimental title as a whole; e.g., 15th Armoured Regiment (6th Hussars).

(ix)     Designs for buttons should be as plain as possible to simplify reproduction.

(x)     If a corps or unit desires to adopt the badges of an allied unit as indicated in Section 1, paras 23, 24, there are certain honorary distinctions and devices which would be inappropriate for a corps or unit of the Canadian Army to adopt, examples of which are as follows:

(a)     Honours awarded to the individual allied regiment for conspicuous service in the field, which include such devices as the Sphinx for service in Egypt, etc.

(b)     Special mottoes awarded to the allied regiment by Royal Assent for conspicuous or special service.

(c)      Devices pertaining to a Royal personage, such as the Prince of Wales' plume, the use of which is restricted to units whose designations embody the title of the Royal personage concerned.

(d)     This applies also to devices such as the Coronet of a Royal personage or Peer who might be an Honorary Colonel of a British regiment but who does not hold such association with the allied Canadian unit.

Canadian Army Battle Honours

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Friday, 14 February 2014

Quebec's Martello Towers
Topic: Militaria

The three surviving Martello Towers at Quebec City. This composite image shows the thumbnail images at the website, where full images can be seen linked from each thumbnail.

Québec City's Martello Towers

The Québec Saturday Budget; 10 February 1906

A correspondent writes to the Canadian Military Gazette as follows:—

"Quebec is in danger of losing another of its Martello towers. There was originally a line of four of these towers, stretching across the neck of land between the St. Lawrence and the St. Charles Rivers, at a distance of about a half mile from the city walls, and intended to serve as outposts to the city. Their utility from a military point of view has log since passed, but historically they are of considerable interest. No. 1 has been given over to the Ross Rifle factory, and they have erected a water tower on top of it. No. 2 is still intact, but as houses have been built round it right up to its walls, it is hardly now visible. No. 3 was demolished to make way for an extensions to the Jeffery Hale Hospital, and No. 4, which overlooks the St. Charles Valley, is now wanted for street widening purposes. Looking at the matter from the merely commercial point of view, Québec's historic walls and streets are of such value to the city, on account of the crowds of tourists they attract, that our civic authorities should hesitate and weigh well before demolishing further historical landmarks."

Demolition of Tower No. 3, showing the thickness of the walls in thse fortified towers. (Image source - Wikipedia.)

More on Québec City's Martello Towers:—

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Friday, 7 February 2014

Service Rifles (1895)
Topic: Militaria

Military News

Comparison of Rifles Used by Standing Armies

The Daily Mail and Empire, 7 May 1895

The following lengthy, but clear and interesting, letter on the "rifle question" from an Ottawa corespondent, together with the tabulated statement attached, is worthy the attention of every military man:—

With reference to the adoption of a new rifle by Canada, there is much to be said pro and con. All countries which maintain a military or military and naval organization have within the past decade provided a new rifle, each adopting that which to them seemed the best and most effective, and all chose one with a small calibre and a magazine attachment, as may be seen in the statement attached, which has been compiled from the latest information. England has adopted the type known as the Lee-Metford, by which it is understood that a barrel grooved in accordance with the system used in the Metford long range rifle has been added to a breech action the invention of Mr. Lee. The object of these new arms is to obtain a weapon which is more deadly in its results and will kill at greater distances than the arms in stock in Canada, which elsewhere have become obsolete. The old Brown Bess could be depended upon up to 200 or 300 yards, and the percussion musket was but little better. Then came the Enfield rifle, with a reduced calibre and elongated bullet (and in a converted state, the Snider-Enfield), which was uncertain over 700 yards, and it gave place to the Martini-Henry with its further reduction in calibre and change in the bullet; a rifle which is uncertain beyond 900 yards, besides possessing defects—notably that of excessive recoil—which led to its abandonment and the adoption of the Lee-Metford, with its small calibre of .303-inch, and its certainly in firing up to 1,500 yards.

With the adoption of this rifle came a change in the ammunition; black powder had to give way to a smokeless explosive, and a bullet with a hard envelope or shell took the place of the soft leaden bullet of the Snider and the hardened one of the Martini-Henry; and so powerful is the explosive (cordite) used that the rifle is sighted to 2,900 yards, or nearly 1 2/3 miles It may be remarked that the magazine contains ten cartridges, which may be discharged continuously, or, by the action of a 'cut-off,' the supply from the magazine ceases, and the arm can be used as a single loader. The weight of ammunition a soldier can carry in the field is six pounds. With the Martini-Henry he could only carry sixty rounds, but with the Lee-Metford he is supplied with one hundred rounds. With the adoption of the Lee-Metford many thousands of martini-Henry rifles became dead stock, to utilize which it was suggested that those of the most improved type should have attached a barrel of .303-inch, and the breech action altered to suit the smaller cartridge. This was done to a limited extent and it is maintained that three different types of barrels have been supplied—(1) that the original Martini-Henry barrels were reamed out and lines with a tube carrying the .303 bore; (2) that billets of steel of the same external dimensions as the Martini-Henry barrel were bored out and rifled to .303-inch; and (3) that barrels similar to those in the Lee-Metford are used.

The objections to the first type of barrel are so serious that its consideration may be dismissed. With respect to the second type, it may be said that the rifle is too heavy and badly balanced. In the third type we have a rifle whose ballistic properties are identical with the Lee-Metford and less liable to damage from usage and neglect, and though only a single loader, as many shots can be fired from it in two minutes as from the Lee-Metford. But there are objections to both the Lee-Metford and the Martini-Metford, due to the erosion of the bore caused by the intense heat generated by the explosion of the charge and the high velocities of the gases generated, and , as claimed, the inability of the had bullet to form a perfect gas check, unless which is done a portion of the gases must escape between the bullet and the bore, to the detriment of the latter. In the Snider the soft leaden bullet is expanded, and the harder bullet of the Martini-Henry is 'set-up,' and fills the grooves, thus making a perfect gas check. Not so the Lee-Metford bullet. In the bore of the Lee-Metford are seven grooves, the spaces between which are portions of a cylinder .303-inch diameter. The grooves are .004 -inch in depth, and this the width from the bottom of a groove to that of the opposite one is .311 inch, and that dimension is the diameter of the bullet, which when fired is compressed to fit the grooving; and it is stated that this is not done to the extent required to form a perfect gas check, the opinion being based on an examination of fired bullets. It is said, and on good authority, that with black powder a rifle would stand some 12,000 rounds, but that with smokeless powder (cordite) 3,000 to 4,000 would be the limit of the Lee-Metford and Martini-Metford barrel.

The question what explosive shall be used is engaging the attention of the military and naval authorities in the United States, who have the advantage of the experience of those countries which have adopted a smokeless explosive, and yet after three years of trial and research the army department has not settles upon a powder to use in the magazine rifle which has been adopted. What is required of a suitable powder is that it shall give a high muzzle velocity, with a minimum of pressure on the barrel; quick ignition, and be smokeless, leaving but little if any residue or fouling in the bore; possessing good keeping qualities under all atmospheric changes; be safe to handle; easy to load into shells; comparatively safe to manufacture, and reasonable in cost. There are two classes of smokeless powders which can be used in rifles arms, viz.: those which are composed of nitro-glycerine and gun-cotton, like cordite, baltestite, maximite, and the Peyton and Leonard powders, with which the United States army authorities have been for some time experimenting; and those having gun-cotton or other nitro-products as their base, in which class we have rifleite, cannonite, etc. It is true that with the adoption of the .303 rifle a cartridge was made containing a charge of black powder compressed into a cylindrical pellet, but the service ammunition is filled with cordite, for which the rifle is sighted and adjusted; and though this subject is foreign to that of the rifle, yet it has an intimate connection therewith, sufficient at least to demand consideration when viewed from the standpoint of supply. If a .303 rifle be adopted by Canada, then provision must be made to obtain ammunition for it in such quantities as would create and maintain a reserve stock, and meet the yearly expenditure. Granted that the shells, etc., and completion of the cartridges can be done in Canada, the question arises, what explosive shall be used? Black powder in pellet form, or a smokeless powder? And if the latter, which class or kind shall be adopted? Black power of a quality suitable for a military rifle cannot—for the want of a proper charcoal—be made in Canada, high explosives for firearms of any kind are not manufactured here, and though we can in peaceful times obtain a supply from the British Government, yet a time when might arrive when that supply would be limited, if not entirely cut off. At present we obtain from England the powder for the M.-H. Cartridges made at Quebec; and in case of need could fall back on powder made in Canada. This question of ammunition should be considered in connection with that of the adoption of a small bore rifle.

There is a difference of nearly $10 between the prices of the L.-M. And the M.-M., the difference being in favour of the latter. If Canada should adopt either the Lee-Metford or the Martini-Metford—preferably the former—it would not be wise to issue them to the active militia for drill purposes, for the reason that they are not fitted to withstand the usage and treatment they would receive during camps of instruction, or in company armouries; nor are they as suitable as the Snider for recruit drill and instruction, for the latter is good enough for the 'twelve days' drill,' which the force is required to undergo. To improve the military rifle is the aim of to-day, and the tendency is towards an arm which, like the Maxin gun, will, on one pull of the trigger, act automatically, and maintain a continuous fir, only ceasing when purposefully stopped, or when supply of cartridges has failed, and such a rifle has been patented by Herr von Mannlicher, of Vienna. If such a rifle should be a marked success, it follows that the rifles of to-day will have to give place, and, like the Snider and the Martini-Henry, become obsolete. The L.-M. Is not a perfect rifle, for it has not held its own when compared with other systems, notably that Krag-Jorgensen; and much fault is found with the mode of rifling adopted, which, whilst it may have given excellent results with black powder and an expended or 'set-up' bullet, it is not suitable for a high explosive and a hard, compound, bullet, which has to be compressed; and there is a possibility that a new barrel of a harder material than ordinary steel, with a different system of rifling, will ultimately be adopted. The Martini-Metford is not a service rifle, and therefore very little is known respecting it. A few were distributed last year after the shooting season had practically closed, evidently without any defined conditions under which they were to be fired; and, according to the public press, the results obtained were not satisfactory, which may this be accounted for:—(1) The rifles were either of the first or second type stated herein; (2) that black powder cartridges were used, whereas the rifle is sighted for cordite, which gives a much higher muzzle velocity, and requires less elevation; and (3) the unfavourable season of the year, the want of practice and knowledge on the part of those using them, and the absence of rules and conditions under which a similarity of firing would be obtained, and the results compared and considered.

There is apparently a movement on foot to interview the Minister of Militia relative to a new rifle for the militia, and to suggest that such be procured with a little delay as possible. In view of existing circumstances and the probability that, whatever the kind of rifle procured, they will not be issued to the force, but remain in store undistributed, it would appear that action is nor desirable at present, and that Canada can afford to wait a further period, until it has been demonstrated by actual use that the L.-M. Is a serviceable weapon, and whether the experience gained warrants its detention in its present shape, or justifies changes and modifications to make it a more perfect weapon.


Statement of rifles which have been adopted:—

Nation System Calibre (in.) No. of Grooves Powder Sighted to (yds.) Cartridges in Magazine
ArgentineManyer0.3014Smokeless 5
AustriaMannlicher0.3154Schwab Rubin25005
ChinaLee0.33   5
FranceLebel0.3154Poudre B20008
FranceBerthier0.3014Smokeless 4
Great BritainLee-Metford0.3037Cordite290010
HollandMannlicher0.2564Smokeless 5
PortugalKropatchek0.3154Black 8
RoumaniaMannlicher0.2564Smokeless 5
RussiaMouzin0.34Kazan Factory 5
ServiaMauser0.315   5
SwitzerlandSchnivat0.2953P.C 1889210012
SwedenKrag-Jorgensen0.315   8
TurkeyMauser0.301 Smokeless 5
U.S. ArmyKrag-Jorgensen0.34  5
U.S. Navy 0.236    

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST

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