The Minute Book
Saturday, 28 February 2015

Bayonet Fighting
Topic: The Field of Battle

Bayonet Fighting

"I never saw a bayonet fight. And I never took part in one. I've walked a long way. I've been shot at with a variety of deadly weapons. And I was wounded in the Hitler Line. But I don't know anything about bayonet fighting."

The Long Road Home; The Autobiography of a Canadian Soldier in Italy in World War II, Fred Cederberg, 1984

For the next few days, with Scotty watching curiously, Albert and I hammered home our points. "One more thing," Albert said, "most of you guys think your weapon is your key to survival. Well, it isn't. And don't laugh when I tell it's your friggin' shovel. Don't go anywhere without it." He grinned crookedly when the seated men laughed. "Hell," he held it up, "it can be a weapon, if that's all you got."

"What about when you're bayonet fightin'?" a round-faced kid named Robbie Crawford asked in a high-pitched voice. "Whatta you do then? Just stick an' jab like the pamphlet says?"

I pointed to a sallow-skinned one-time Loyal Edmonton private whose thin lips barely masked a perpetual small grin. "You tell 'em about bayonet fighting, Alex, you came in with the Eddies 'way back in Sicily in July of '43."

Alex Greenwood, a thirty-one-year-old general store owner, father of three and graduate of the University of Alberta, laughed lazily.

"I never saw a bayonet fight. And I never took part in one. I've walked a long way. I've been shot at with a variety of deadly weapons. And I was wounded in the Hitler Line. But I don't know anything about bayonet fighting."

Canadian Army Battle Honours

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Friday, 27 February 2015

Notes on Fantasian Forces (1964)
Topic: Drill and Training

Notes on Fantasian Forces (1964)


Army Code 70008, Notes on the Fantasian Army, Ministry of Defence, 1964

1.     These notes are intended to provide order of battle information on the ground forces of an exercise enemy known as Fantasia.

2.     The Fantasian Army is organised and equipped on the model of the Soviet Army, and is trained by Soviet advisers. The information on the Soviet Army given in "Tactics of the Soviet Army, Notes for Regimental Officers l964", (WO Code No. 9939) therefore applies to the Fantasian Army.

Background Information on Fantasia

3.     Fanttasia is a leading world power with considerable industrial resources. It has developed strategic nuclear missiles in the inter-continental rabge, and tactical free flight and guided nuclear weapons with ranges up to 3O0 miles. Tactical missiles and conventional artillery also possess chemical warheads.

4.     The Fantasian Army is a modern and well equipped force with a high preponderance of tanks. Particular emphasis is placed on nuclear and chemical warfare, night operations, and the crossing of water obstacles. Military commanders are well trained in high speed offensive operations and, provided everything goes according to their plans, they can be expected to acquit themselves well. Mar ale is high and it is unlike1y that desertion or surrender on a large scale would occur unless the Fantasians sustained a series of reverses. The Army is backed by large trained reserves and a disciplined population.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Thursday, 26 February 2015

Conventional Signs and Lettering
Topic: Staff Duties

Conventional Signs and Lettering

Signal Training, Part I, Visual Telegraphy; May 1919

The importance placed on the military skills of map-reading, navigation, and even field sketching (to prepare maps in uncharted regions), can easily be found in older military manuals. Not only were the Map-Reading and Field Sketching manuals of the late 1800s and early 1900s much more extensive than today's versions, but related material could also be found in a wide variety of corps technical manuals. This approach ensured that informaation on this important common skill was readly available without always needing multiple manuals in hand.

The following chart of Conventional Signs and Lettering Used in Field Sketching comes from Signal Training, Part I, Visual Telegraphy; May 1919.

Click for larger version.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Manoeuvre Against the Enemy's Rear
Topic: Military Theory

Manoeuvre Against the Enemy's Rear

Maneuver In War, Col Charles Andrew Willoughby, 1931

"The general idea underlying Napoleon's favorite and most effective system - the maneuver against the rear of the enemy - can be expressed as follows:

(1)     Frontal pressure will rarely lead to a decision; the enemy can always withdraw, fight delaying actions in successive positions and finally escape.

(2)     Through demonstrations by detached forces, the enemy is drawn away from his bases or capitol.

(3)     In rapid, secret concentrations, the mass of the army is moved into the hostile zone of retreat by a march around the enemy's flank; if possible, this movement is under cover of a natural screen: mountain range, forest, etc.

(4)     The object is a position astride the enemy's line of communications in order to secure a strategic barrier, usually a river line cutting of his avenues of retreat.

(5)     This threat in rear is expected to produce a certain degree of demoralization and a reversal of enemy movements.

(6)     Then turn against the enemy in a battle of your own choice, in time and location."

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Service Bicycle, Mark IV
Topic: Militaria

Service Bicycle, Mark IV, in Marching Order

Appendix I, Cyclist Training (Provisional), 1914

1.     The water-proof cape (in peace) or the ground sheet (used as a cape in war) will be carried on the front carrier, and the pack on the rear carrier.

2.     The "corps marks" (Appendix XX, Equipment Regulations, Part I) should be across the read mudguard, 4 inches above the bridge, and on the upper side of the bottom tube, commencing just clear of the bottom lug of the ball head.

3.     The rifle is held by clips, one clip being attached to the right side of the backstay, and the other to the centre of the handlebar, and the rifle is carried with the fore-end resting on the handlebar, and the butt in the backstay clip.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Monday, 23 February 2015

Organization of Infantry 1922
Topic: Drill and Training

Organization of Infantry

So long as one member of a section remains effective, it will retain its identity. Only if less than three other ranks are available for duty may it be attached temporarily to another section of its platoon. It will resume its independent existence as soon as its regains a strength of three other ranks,…

Infantry Training, Vol. 1, 1922, Provisional

[1.]     The detailed organization of an infantry battalion is as follows [Footnoted: This organization of a battalion is a war organization. The peace organization is that laid down in peace establishments which will be published later.]:

i.     A battalion consists of:…

  • Headquarters,
  • Headquarters wing,
  • Four companies.

It is commanded by a lieutenant-colonel, with a major as second in command.

ii.     The headquarters wing of a battalion consists of four groups:…

No. 1 Group.…Composed of the personnel of the light mortar section with two light mortars; signallers, scouts, and stretcher bearers, batmen to battalion headquarters, anti-aircraft (Lewis) gunners and orderlies.

No. 2 Group.…The personnel of the machine gun platoon with eight machine guns.

No. 3 Group.…The personnel employed primarily for administrative duties, but available for fighting in an emergency.

No. 4 Group.…Regimental transport and necessary personnel.

The headquarters wing is commanded by the senior group commander.

iii.     A company consists of:…

  • Headquarters,
  • Four platoons.

It is commanded by a major or captain, with a captain as second in command.

The four companies of a battalion are designated by serial letters or numbers.

iv.     A platoon consists of:…

  • Headquarters,
  • Two rifle sections,
  • Two Lewis gun sections.

It is commanded by a subaltern, with a serjeant as second in command (platoon serjeant).

The platoon is the largest infantry unit composed of men whose only duty is fighting. It is thus the tactical unit of infantry.

Platoons are numbered serially from 1 to 16 in the battalion.

v.     The section is the infantry fire unit. Its members must regard themselves as a team and stick to one another and to their leader in peace as in war.

Sections are numbered serially from 1 to 16 in a company. The odd numbers are rifle sections, the even numbers, Lewis gun sections.

[2.]     The above organization is fixed and definite, and, except as paid down in para. [3.] below, must never be varied. Only when a force is uniformly organized can every part of it be relied on by its commander to carry out the same orders in the same way. Organization quickly degenerates into disorganization when its uniformity is sacrificed.

[3.]     By means of its organization a battalion is best able to stand the shock of battle, to surmount confusion, and to suffer casualties with the least injury to its efficiency. To maintain the organization, in or out of battle, no matter what the difficulty, is one of the first duties of every commander. To abandon it is to destroy fighting power and capacity for training. The following rules will, therefore, be strictly enforced:—

i.     So long as one member of a section remains effective, it will retain its identity. Only if less than three other ranks are available for duty may it be attached temporarily to another section of its platoon. It will resume its independent existence as soon as its regains a strength of three other ranks, i.e., the strength necessary to enable it to act independently as a rifle or Lewis gun "fire unit."

ii.     The transfer of N.C.Os. And men from one section to another, except for purposes of promotion, will be avoided.

iii.     Endeavours must be made to retain the full number of sections in being during training periods, in order that 16 section commanders may be trained in each company. The training of the section commander is more important than the training of the private soldier.

iv.     Sections will normally be maintained as strong as the strength of the battalion will permit; their numbers will consequently vary. Section commanders must learn to work with varying numbers of men in their sections.

v.     If a platoon falls below an effective strength of two sections (each of three other ranks) it may be attached temporarily to another platoon in the same company, but its identity will be retained and it will resume its separate existence as soon as it regains the necessary strength.

vi.     Platoon commanders should not be moved from one platoon to another unless the transfer is intended to be permanent, nor should an officer be brought in temporarily from another platoon to fill the place of an absent platoon commander. Thus a serjeant or corporal will often act as platoon commander.

vii.     An understudy will be nominated and trained for every platoon and section commander.

viii.     Working parties, guards, and other duties will be formed by complete units (companies, platoons, or sections) under their own commanders. Duty rosters will be kept by complete units, not on alphabetical company rolls.

ix.     During active operations, to assist in reforming a battalion after a battle, a nucleus…minimum 50 other ranks…will, when circumstances permit, be left out of the fight. These men must be selected with great care according to their qualifications as instructors, &c., for the work of reconstruction. They will not be available as reinforcements during the battle.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Updated: Monday, 23 February 2015 11:42 AM EST
Sunday, 22 February 2015

Lee-Enfield Service Rifle
Topic: Militaria

Lee-Enfield Service Rifle

Military Engineering (Part 1), Field Defences, 1908

The service rifle is the Lee-Enfield. It is universal for all arms. Length, 3 ft, 8 ½ in. men muzzle velocity about 2,000 f.s. Its calibre is .303-in.

The slopes of descent of the bullet at various ranges are roughly:—

  • At 1000 yards, 1 in 30.
  • At 1500 yards, 1 in 12.
  • At 2000 yards, 1 in 6.5.
  • At 2500 yards, 1 in 3.
  • At 2800 yards, 1 in 2.5.

The following table gives the thickness in various materials, proof against a bullet fired from the short Lee-Enfield Service Rifle at 30 yards range. The bullets of some continental armies have, however, greater penetration.

Material.Thickness proof.Remarks.
Clay5'Varies greatly. This is maximum for greasy clay.
Earth free from stones (un-rammed)3'Ramming earth reduces its resisting power.
Sand2' 6"Rather more than enough. Very high velocity bullet have less penetration in sand at short than at medium ranges.
Sand (between boards)18" 
Brickwork9"If well built.
Soft wood, e.g., fir48"24" proof at 500 yards.
Hard wood, e.g., oak27"15" proof at 500 yards.
Wrought iron, or mild steel1/2" 
Hardened steel plate1/4"1/10" proof at 600 yards.
Special hard steel1/5" 
Coal (steam)2' 6" 
Chalk1'When freshly excavated.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Saturday, 21 February 2015

"B" Company, Royal School of Infantry
Topic: The RCR

Our Permanent Troops, I

"B" Company, Royal School of Infantry

The Dominion Illustrated, 1st November 1890

Royal Military Schools

On the 25th of May 1883, the Governor-General assented to an amended Militia Act, which had been introduced by the present popular Minister of Militia, Sir A.J. Caron, which provided for the organization of three companies of infantry, to be permanently maintained. The object was, in the words of the Act, "to provide for the care and protection of forts, magazines, armaments, warlike stores and such like service, also to secure the establishment of schools for military instruction." Such schools had previously existed in Canada, and, as a matter of fact, did exist at the time this act was passed. Their previous existence will be remembered by many, for they were in connection with Imperial regiments stationed in Quebec, Montreal, and elsewhere. The secure attendance at these Imperial regimental schools did not require a commission in the militia. Any one could attend, and, upon getting a pass certificate, secured a certain money payment. Hundreds availed themselves of this privilege. The withdrawal of the Imperial troops from Canada in 1871, necessitated the Canadian Government organizing regular troops of their own, to garrison the Citadel at Quebec and Fort Henry at Kingston. To perform this work, A and B Batteries of Canadian Artillery were called into existence on the 20th of October, 1871. These batteries were to consist of two divisions—"Field and Garrison"—and were shortly after called upon to perform the "school duties" which had hitherto been carried on by Imperial troops. In addition to their true military designation, they had given them the title of "Royal Schools of Artillery." To these schools went many officers of the militia force for instruction; but the infantry officers felt that an "artillery school" was hardly the place at which to get first-class infantry education. To meet this difficulty, the amended Militia Act of 1883 gave authority to call into existence three permanent companies of infantry. On the 21st of December, 1883, a Militia general order, the substance of which is as follows, appeared in the Canada Gazette:

Infantry School Corps

The formation of three schools of infantry having been authorized, the requisite number of militiamen will be enrolled and formed into one corps, to be known as the "Infantry School Corps."

The stations of these schools were to be: "A" Company at Fredericton, N.B., under Lieut.-Col. Maunsell, commandant; "B" Company at St. Johns, P.Q., under Lieut.-Col. D'Orsonnens, commandant; "C" Company at Toronto, under Lieut.-Col. Otter, commandant. Subsequent authority was given to organize a fourth company—"D" Company—and it was an is stationed at London, Ont., where a splendid new barracks were specially erected. In 1883 a troop of permanent cavalry—"The Cavalry School Corps"—was organized, under Lieut.-Col. Turnbull, and stationed in Quebec. In 1885 a company of mounted infantry was formed and stationed at Winnipeg, and in 1887 another battery—"C" Battery—was called into existence and stationed at Victoria, B.C. The three Batteries of Artillery—A, B and C—form "the Regiment of Canadian Artillery," under the command of Lieut.-Col. Irwin. By the end of January, 1884, the required number of men were enlisted for the infantry and cavalry—the period of enlistment three years—and in the spring of that year their educational work began and has continued ever since. Some three years ago Her Majesty was pleased to bestow upon them the title of "Royal Schools." The course of instruction lasts three months, and there are three courses in the year. The officers attached for instruction live and mess in barracks and receive one dollar a day pay. The instruction is carried on by the permanent or regular officers and non-commissioned officers under the direction of the commandant. In addition to militia officers, militia non-commissioned officers and men can also be attached. They receive fifty cents a day pay. The pay of the regular Canadian private soldier is forty cents a day and a full kit. The only stoppages are 15 cents a day when in hospital and a trifling stoppage for hair-cutting. Such is a brief outline of the organization of our small force of Canadian regulars—a portion of whose duty is that of "military schools" for our volunteers, the officers of which must qualify of lose their commission. To render the qualifying as easy as possible at the end of each regular course, special courses lasting about two weeks are given.

This issue of the Dominion Illustrated we devote largely to illustrating the Royal Military School in connection with "B" Company, Infantry School Corps, stationed in the barracks at St Johns, P.Q. A recent issue contained a view of the officers' quarters from the tennis ground and another taken from the river. The ground on which the barracks is built is memorable ground in connection with the early history of this country, and saw stirring scenes when occupied by the French, as it also did when assailed by an American force. The old French earthworks, which are still in a good state of preservation, show that the fort covered a considerable piece of ground and mounted a number of guns. The present barracks were erected in 1839, as we are informed by a brass plaque on the hall of the officers' quarters, which bears the following inscription:

This Barrack for
3 F. Officers, 27 Officers, 12 Sergeants, 800 Men
and Hospital for 80 Patients
Commenced June, 1839 — Completed December, 1839
Amount Estimated £19,209 1 5 ¼ stg.
Amount expended £117,231 5 7 ½ stg.
Executive officer, Major Foster, R.E.
Commanding Royal Engineers, Canada.
Col. Oldfield, K.H.

Old residents of St. Johns speak with feelings of pride when they tell of the famous British regiments which in turn have been quartered in the barracks, among them the 43rd and 71st. The late Col. Dyde once told the writer, of the gay scenes which marked the residence there of the latter regiment under Sir Hugh Dalrymple. Upon one occasion he with two or three good friends had gone out on "guest night" to dine with the officers. A snow storm of extraordinary severity came on and they were not able to get back for several days. Every night became a "guest night," "And a jollier crowd," said the old colonel, "I never saw." Even in those later days such an occurrence is not uncommon, and more than once, guests of "'B' Company—to Dinner" on guest night, have been compelled to remain till next day, because of an old-fashioned Canadian snowstorm.

In this connection let us say a word as to the hospitality of the permanent officers of "B" Company, Infantry School Corps. They are few in number, but a more generous lot of fellows it would be hard to find. Many an officer of the Montreal volunteer force has experienced it, and not a few of our Montreal citizens can testify that they have received a cordial welcome on "guest night" at the barracks, which is every Thursday night. At 6.30 the bugle sounds for dinner, and at 7 p.m. the call to dinner is resounding in the corridors. Then the ante-room presents a gay scene—the permanent officers in their beautiful scarlet mess jackets and dark blue vests; the attached officers, some in scarlet and some in rifle green; the civilian guests in full dress. As the mess door opens, the mess sergeant announces "dinner is served," the guests troop in, the band in the kiosk on the tennis ground, begins to play and continues to do so at intervals during the dinner. If the scene in the ante-room was gay, the mess room is even more so. The dinner table is beautifully laid, and is in season nicely decorated with flowers, while the officers' servants, acting as waiters, dressed in the regimental livery, (tail coat, with large brass buttons and scarlet vest and regimental trousers), move about, quietly attending to the wants of the guests. The only toast drank is "The Queen." Dinner over, the ante-room is once more occupied; then coffee and cigars; after which, cards for some, while others take to the billiard room. Any guest from Montreal wishing to do so can return by train, leaving St. Johns at five minutes to eleven, reaching his home by midnight. If he decides to stay all night, he gets a soldier's bed and a soldier's welcome. The band of the Company for its strength is an exceptionally good one. The officers, however, state that it is very difficult to keep it in good condition, as it hardly ever gets any outside engagements. The company is a short of two lieutenants—Captain Freer, who rejoined his regiment, and Lieut. Roche, transferred to Fredericton, not having been replaced. The school suffers in consequence. A few words now regarding our illustrations.

The Guard House and Barracks Guard.—The Guard Room is a new one—built some four years ago, the old one having been burned previous to the barracks being occupied by Canadian troops. It contains an officer's room, a room for the guard, a room for prisoners, and four cells. The barrack Guard consists of three privates, a bugler, and a non-commissioned officer. Occasionally for instruction an officer's guard is mounted. Sentry-go is two hours on and four hours off. On a blustry cold winter's night sentry duty at this post is cold work.

Barrack Gate and Guard House.—The approach to the Barrack gate from the town is over a road which is said to have once been splendid, but now it is always bad, and in wet weather a perfect "slough of despond." Pedestrians fare better, as the Government have given them a good wooden sidewalk. The gate is shut at 9.30; "last post" at 10 p.m., and at 10.15 p.m. "lights out" is sounded. A sickly lamp attempts to show the homeward bound soldier where the gate is, being placed above it. As a beacon it is a poor one; as a light to dispel darkness it is not a success.

Permanent Officers of "B" Company, Infantry School Corps.

In the centre of this group is the commandant Lieut.-Col. D'Orsonnens, whose whole life has been passed in the military service of his country. He served as an officer in the prince of Wales Rifles, in the Montreal Cavalry, and on the Niagara frontier during the time that Canada, owing to the American Civil War, kept a small volunteer force on the permanent frontier duty. Col. D'Orsonnens also served during both Fenian Raids. He subsequently became the Brigade Major at Quebec, from which place he was promoted to the position of Commandant of "B" Company, Royal School of Infantry. About a year ago he was appointed Deputy Adjutant-General of the 6th Military District. As a drill instructor Colonel D'Orsonnens is perfect, and as a Commandant of a School he is said to be about as perfect as it is possible for a man to be.

Surgeon-Major F.W. Campbell.—Dr. Campbell has had charge of the School since its formation, having been transferred to "B" Company, Infantry School Corps, from the Sergeoncy of the Prince of Wales Rifles, which he held for twenty-three years. He saw service during the Fenian Raids of 1866 and 1870. Both officers and men speak highly of the attention and kindness of their surgeon. That he has performed his duties will is proved by the fact that, notwithstanding a great amount of serious illness, the Company has had only one death since its formation.

Captain Charles J.Q. Coursol.—Captain Coursol is the son of the well-known late C.J. Coursol, for many years M.P. for Montreal West and Police Magistrate. He was at one time a member of the Victoria Rifles, and was transferred to the Infantry School from the 65th Battalion in which corps he held a captain's commission. He is an excellent officer and is beloved by his men.

Captain and Acting Adjutant Chinic.—Captain Chinic began his military career as an officer in the 4th Battalion (Quebec). When the North-West Rebellion broke out, Lieut. Chinic was taking a long course (then a year—now nine months) at this School. A portion of this course entails attendance for three months at the Royal Military College, Kingston, and while there he was attached to the Battery of Artillery for messing. The battery being ordered to the North-West he went with it and served with distinction. On his return he received his commission as an officer of the Infantry School Corps. He wears the North-West medal. Captain Chinic is an excellent adjutant. He is well up in his work and is admittedly a careful and painstaking officer.

Quarter-Master and Honorary Captain Frenette.—Captain Frenette served with the 9th Battalion (Quebec) throughout the North-West Rebellion, and, therefore wears the North-West medal. He is well up in his work, and does everything he can to make his fellow officers and the men comfortable.

"B" Company, Infantry School Corps (Royal School of Infantry) on Parade.—In this engraving the Company with band are drawn up on the Barrack Square. The attached officers are between the band and the Company, and the permanent officers are on the right. As the Company is only allowed 100 men, it is never possible to put a strong Company on parade. There is always to be deducted from any parade, guards, prisoners, men in hospital, cooks, officers' servants, mess men, etc. Those acquainted with the work these companies have to perform say that an addition of at least twenty-five, or even fifty, men is urgently needed.

Officers' Quarters from the Barracks Square.—This is the reverse view of the officers' quarters from that published in a previous issue. The barracks consist of two other wings occupied by the men and running at right angles to the officers' quarters. When originally built, a fourth wing completed the Barrack Square, but it was burned down a number of years ago, and as it was an unsightly ruin, it was removed some six years ago. In the centre of the Barracks Square stands the flag staff.

Hospital of "B" Company, Infantry School Corps.—The original Hospital of the Barracks was built outside of the Barrack Square, facing the river. It still stands but is not occupied. It was made to accommodate eighty patients. Such large hospital accommodation was not required for a force at most (with attached men) of one hundred and thirty. The Government, at the suggestion of Dr. Campbell, fitted up the building at present used as a hospital. Tot was originally the commissariat store building of the barracks. It contains ten beds, with room to increase to ten more. It is a model hospital in every way, and, in addition to two good sized wards, contains a surgery and the quarters of the hospital sergeant. Hospital Sergeant Cotton, which is in charge, may well feel proud of his neat and clean hospital. Surgeon Campbell says that he is a model hospital sergeant.

In conclusion, the Montreal volunteers take much pride in this military school; but while admitting its value where it is at present stationed, state that its value would be increase tenfold if it was where it ought to be—in the city of Montreal. They point to the visit which the School made to Montreal on the occasion of the review on the Queen's Birthday in 1889, and the enthusiasm which that visit created, as a proof of the assertion they make. The grounds which surround the officers' quarters have, under the horticultural guidance of Col. D'Orsonnens, have changed from a scene of desolation to that of beauty, the like of which, it is claimed, is not to be seen at any other military school in the Dominion. In future issues we hope to publish illustrations of the other military schools.

The Commandant's residence occupies the north-east portion of the officers' quarters. The ground in front us arranged in a tasteful manner, and is luxuriant with flowers.

The Royal Canadian Regiment Museum

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Friday, 20 February 2015

The Soviet Soldier (1951)
Topic: Cold War

Characteristics of the Soviet Soldier in Battle

The Soviet Army, Tactics and Organization, 1949 (Reprinted with Amendments (No. 1), 1951)

The Russian soldier is extremely brave in the attach, stubborn in defence, and sets little value upon his own life. In addition to this, he is very tough and is an adept at field-craft, having all of the cunning of a hunter. His up-bringing has taught him to be self-reliant and resourceful, to live on the country, and to improvise anything from a sledge to a bridge capable of bearing tanks. Propaganda teaches him to regard an enemy soldier as a personal enemy, rather than the representative of a warring state, and on the strength of this he fights bitterly and ruthlessly.

Despite this natural courage, he is liable to become flustered, and alarmed when he first encounters something that he does not understand such as a tank attack, bombing and strafing, or an artillery concentration. But he learns how to deal with such situations after a little experience, and then they have less effect upon him than upon more civilized races.

There is a great shortage of technicians in the Soviet Army, and those available are mainly drafted into technical units, such as armour, artillery, engineers, and signals.

There are very few amenities in the Soviet Army, and consequently the administrative tail is considerably less than in most other armies. The Russian soldier is used to frugality and accepts it without complaining, as he has never known better conditions.

Officers have been brought up under similar conditions to the men, though a new officer class, specially trained and selected, is now beginning to appear. The majority of officers are painstakingly thorough, but are inclined to be slow, and lacking in initiative. As a result, all authority is centralized, and senior officers, such as corps and army commanders take too great a share in actual manoeuvre of sub-units. But a proportion of officers, particularly at the highest levels, are both thorough and brilliant, and this proportion will increase as time goes on. Most officers at present have battle experience, and have proved themselves adequate; no good officers have been demobilized, apart from some industrial specialists.

Examples of Russian bravery and toughness , quoted from German sources, are as follows:—

(a) Physical toughness. A Red Army rifle battalion attacked the outskirts of Medin at dawn in January 1942, in a temperature of minus 43 degrees Fahrenheit. After heavy casualties, the attack came to a standstill on a snowfield, no further movement being possible. The survivors remained lying motionless in the snow for 10 hours, without any special protection from the cold, and then renewed the attack at dusk with shouts of 'Hurrah!'

(b) Fighting despite privation. A Red Army task force, which had broken through the German line in wooded country, avoided all German attempts to destroy it for 12 days, and made seven attempts to break out. On the thirteenth day, the task force, consisting of 60 men, was surrounded and annihilated. It had, without any supplies, and without facilities for keeping a fire going, fed itself on only the bark of trees, fir shoots, and snow.

(c) Effect of propaganda. A reconnaissance pilot shot down at Yukknov in the spring of 1942, landed by parachute in the street. He immediately opened up vigorous tommy-gun fire on German soldiers running towards him, and forced them to attack in a regular manner, employing mortars. After wounding six Germans, he shot himself through the head with one of his last bullets, to avoid capture.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Thursday, 19 February 2015

Motorcycles Technical Instruction 1914
Topic: Militaria

Technical Instruction of Motor Cycles

Appendix I, Cyclist Training (Provisional), 1914

All motor cyclists must be capable of executing simple repairs to their machines.

They will be instructed on:…

i.     Identifying the different parts of the cycle by name.

ii.     Lubricating the various parts of their machines.

iii.     Repairing and mounting tyres.

iv.     Adjusting brakes.

v.     Shortening, repairing and mounting driving chains.

vi.     Adjusting and tightening bearings.

vii.     Adjusting and cleaning of a carburettor.

viii.     Adjusting and cleaning of a magneto.

ix.     Adjusting and cleaning of belts.

x.     Cleaning, lighting and maintaining acetylene lamps.

xi.     Manipulation of the gas and air levels, so as to obtain the best running, with minimum petrol consumption.

xii.     The theory of a petrol engine, action of the "gears" and "timing wheels"; but these portions of the machine should only be dealt with by a qualified mechanic.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Topic: The Field of Battle

October 1942: German officer with a Russian PPSh-41 submachine gun in Barrikady factory rubble. Many German soldiers took up Russian weapons when found, as they were more effective than their own in close quarter combat. "Bundesarchiv Bild 116-168-618, Russland, Kampf um Stalingrad, Soldat mit MPi" by Bundesarchiv, Bild 116-168-618 / CC-BY-SA. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 de via Wikimedia Commons.


War on the Eastern Front 1941-1945; The German Soldier in Russia, James Lucas, 1979

Indeed the participation of very senior commanders became a feature of such operations and at Stalingrad it was accepted that general and field officers would take up machine pistols or rifles and act as infantry soldiers once their own commands had been destroyed or amalgamated.

… guidelines drawn up by the German Army for units which were encircled.

Three types of situation were catered for: the one where encircled troops stayed in position until a relieving force rescued them; the second, where they undertook a break out operation using just their own forces, or, thirdly, where the whole encircled body rolled, as a sort of mobile pocket, through enemy lines to regain their own main force.

The tactics governing each of these types of operation differed but two tenets were fundamental to each; firstly the maintenance of morale and the second a strong command. Taking morale first: the Germans appreciated that men surrounded by enemy forces are subject to neurosis, a so-called Kesselfieber (encirclement fever), wherein are exhibited the two great fears of beleaguered garrisons. These are the loss of links with home and medical treatment or evacuation of the wounded. The question of adequate food supplies was found to be of a less concern than that of ammunition. Thus, the successful pocket was one which had an air strip on to which planes could land with supplies, fresh troops, ammunition and mail and from which wounded could be evacuated to the main line. Failing an air strip regular and frequent air drops, especially where the supplies included little luxuries, maintained morale at a high pitch. Propaganda was another important factor and the realisation that Red Army men deserted to encircled German troops helped to maintain the spirits of the invested army. Particularly was their morale high if they could know that their defence was causing the enemy huge losses and that its morale was suffering as a result. The bringing in, wherever possible, of fallen German dead and their formal interment was in direct contrast to the heaps of fallen Russian whom their comrades did not bother to remove and bury. Then, too, the growing mounds of Soviet dead were a reminder of how successful was the defence.

Strong command was vital and, depending upon the size of the pocket, the commanding general had a number of staffs directly responsible to him for various services within the invested area. Also, it was important, indeed essential, that the ordinary soldier should be aware that the staff and the senior commanders were undergoing the same privations that he himself was expected to bear. The presence of the senior commander in the front line had to be a common occurrence. Indeed the participation of very senior commanders became a feature of such operations and at Stalingrad it was accepted that general and field officers would take up machine pistols or rifles and act as infantry soldiers once their own commands had been destroyed or amalgamated.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Physical Efficiency Tests 1942
Topic: Drill and Training

Physical Efficiency Tests (for Trained Soldiers)

Canadian Army Training Pamphlet No. 1; A General Instructional Background for the Young Soldier, 1942

Tests 1 to 9 to be carried out in battle order.

1.     Two miles cross country in 17 minutes.

2.     Run 200 yds. and, at the finish, carry out a firing test at which three hits out of five rounds must be obtained on a Figure 3 target, in one minute fifteen seconds.

3.     Forced march of 10 miles in two hours, followed by a similar firing test ro that in Test No. 2. (No time limit for the five shots.)

4.     Carry a man 200 yds. on the flat in two minutes. The man to be carried must be approximately the same weight as the carrier.

5.     100 yds. alarm race and bombing practice. Start in P.T. kit. Battle dress, equipment, etc., placed on a line 120 yds. from the start. Sprint to clothing, etc., and dress for action, keeping P.T. kit underneath, respirator at the slung position. Run the remaining 80 yds. to cover and from there throw two dummy bombs (1 ½ – 2 lbs.) our of five through a 2' by 3' vertical opening at 30' distance. To be completed in 3 ½ minutes.

6.     Jump a ditch 8 ft. 6 inches across, landing on both feet.

7.     Scale a 6 ft. high wall. Respirator to be short slung.

8.     Scale a vertical height of 2 ft. with the aid of a rope. Traverse a 20 ft. span of horizontal rope, and come down with the aid of a rope.

9.     Swim 20 yds. The respirator will not be carried. Boots to be attached to the rifle or to be slung round the neck.

10. Swim 60 yds. In fresh water or 100yds. In salt water in clothing without equipment or boots, then remain afloat out of depth for a period of two minutes.

(Note:…Static units who are unable to leave their sites may be unable to carry out all the above tests. In these circumstances the basic P.T. tests will be found to be suitable substitutes.)

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Updated: Tuesday, 17 February 2015 12:04 AM EST
Monday, 16 February 2015

Helicopter Assault
Topic: The Field of Battle

Helicopter Assault

A Rumor of War, Philip Caputo, 1977

Nothing matters except the final, critical instant when he leaps out into the violent catharsis he both seeks and dreads.

A helicopter assault on a hot landing zone creates emotional pressures far more intense than a conventional ground assault. It is the enclosed space, the noise, the speed, and, above all, the sense of total helplessness. There is a certain excitement to it the first time, but after that it is one of the more unpleasant experiences offered by modern war. On the ground, an infantryman has some control over his destiny, or at least the illusion of it. In a helicopter under fire, he hasn't even the illusion. Confronted by the indifferent forces of gravity, ballistics, and machinery, he is himself pulled in several directions at once by a range of extreme, conflicting emotions. Claustrophobia plagues him in the small space: the sense of being trapped and powerless in a machine is unbearable, and yet he has to bear it. Bearing it, he begins to feel a blind fury to-ward the forces that have made him powerless, but he has to control his fury until he is out of the helicopter and on the ground again. He yearns to be on the ground, but the desire is countered by the danger he knows is there. Yet, he is also attracted by the danger, for he knows he can overcome his fear only by facing it. His blind rage then begins to focus on the men who are the source of the danger--and of his fear. It concentrates inside him, and through some chemistry is transformed into a fierce resolve to fight until the danger ceases to exist. But this resolve, which is sometimes called courage, cannot be separated from the fear that has aroused it. Its very measure is the measure of that fear. It is, in fact, a powerful urge not to be afraid anymore, to rid himself of fear by eliminating the source of it. This inner, emotional war produces a tension almost sexual in its intensity.

It is too painful to endure for long. All a soldier can think about is the moment when he can escape his impotent confinement and release this tension. All other considerations, the rights and wrongs of what he is doing, the chances for victory or defeat in the battle, the battle's purpose or lack of it, become so absurd as to be less than irrelevant. Nothing matters except the final, critical instant when he leaps out into the violent catharsis he both seeks and dreads.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Sunday, 15 February 2015

The Macadams Shovel
Topic: CEF

The Macadams Shovel

At the Sharp End, Tim Cook, 2007

The Macadams shovel, patented by Sam Hughes's secretary, Edith Macadams, was a combination of metal shovel and sniper's tool that could be fired through while supposedly offering protection. It was not a terrible concept in theory (the idea being to provide the infantryman with some armour), but it was useless as a shovel and lethal to use as a shield since its thin metal could not stop a high-velocity round. The soldiers voted with their hands, tossing away the tools and keeping the army-issued entrenching shovels that came apart for easy carrying. Although Edith Macadams---and her shovel---have long been the butt of many jokes, few at home could imagine the firepower unleashed at the front. Most of the 25,000 shovels were sold as scrap metal before they got anyone killed.

The Macadams Shovel Patent


Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Saturday, 14 February 2015

Only a Subaltern
Topic: Officers

Only a Subaltern

From "Only a Subaltern," The Man Who Would be King and other stories, Rudyard Kipling, 1994

When Bobby came up from Deolali and took his place among the Tail Twisters, it was gently but firmly borne in upon him that the Regiment was his father and his mother and his indissolubly wedded wife, and that there was no crime under the canopy of heaven blacker than that of bringing shame on the Regiment, which was the best-shooting, best-drilled, best-set-up, bravest, most illustrious, and in all respects most desirable Regiment within the compass of the Seven Seas. He was taught the legends of the Mess Plate, from the great grinning Golden Gods that had come out of the Summer Palace in Pekin to the silver-mounted markhor-horn snuff-mull presented by the last C.O. And every one of those legends told him of battles fought at long odds, without fear as without support-, of hospitality catholic as an Arab's; of friendships deep as the sea and steady as the fighting-line; of honour won by hard roads for honour's sake; and of instant and unquestioning devotion to the Regirnent- the Regiment that daims the lives of all and lives for ever.

More than once, too, he came officially into contact with the Regimental colours, which looked like the lining of a bricklayer's hat on the end of a chewed stick. Bobby did not kneel and worship them, because British subalterns are not constructed in that manner. Indeed, he condemned them for their weight at the very moment that they were filling with awe and other more noble sentiments.

But best of all was the occasion when he moved with the Tail Twisters in review order at the breaking of a November day. Allowing for duty-men and sick, the Regiment was one thousand and eighty strong, and Bobby belonged to them; for was he not a Subaltern of the Line — the whole Line, and nothing but the Line - as the tramp of two thousand one hundred and sixty sturdy ammunition boots attested? He would not have changed places with Deighton of the Horse Battery, whirling by in a pillar of cloud to a chorus of 'Strong right!

Strong left!' or Hogan-Yale of the White Hussars, leading his squadron for all it was worth, with the price of horseshoes thrown in; or 'Tick' Boileau, trying to live up to his fierce blue and gold turban while the wasps of the Bengal Cavalry stretched to a gallop in the wake of the long, lollopping Walers of the White Hussars.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Friday, 13 February 2015

Leaders Win Where Commanders Lose
Topic: Leadership

The 442nd Regimental Combat Team hiking up a muddy French road in the Chambois Sector, France, in late 1944. – "442 regimental combat team" by US Army - Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

Leaders Win Where Commanders Lose

"Leaders Win Where Commanders Lose," by Major Richard M. Sandusky, U.S. Infantry, Candian Defence Quarterly, Vol. XVI, No. 3, April 1939

Your stereotyped commander will insist on discipline though he lose morale. The true leader of enduring fame seeks rather the spirit of his men, knowing that when he has this he has all.

Little is taught of such [moral] leadership in our military instruction. We lay great stress on sound strategical and tactical objectives-a frontier, a city, a river, a ridge line. We are interested in things. The army cannot attack until the railroads deliver so many trains of ammunition, so many tons of rock. But morale is assumed to flow constantly as from a spigot. Sometimes it does, and again it doesn't. When the supply of morale is depleted, the stockage of depots and refilling points becomes relatively unimportant. That army cannot win. The spiritual ammunition train is empty.

Our map problems however, fail to emphasize this truth. No student, heedful of the marking committee, would attack a corps with a single division. But if his force had superb morale and if the enemy had none, any real leader would succeed either on paper or in war, because he had the high courage and the prophet's vision to estimate the spiritual as well as the material situation.

It may be difficult to evaluate intangible factors and to establish their coefficient with the physical. But is this any reason for ignoring them altogether, especially when they outweigh so definitely all other considerations? The map-problem room of today becomes the command post of tomorrow. So long as military students are trained to think in terms of numbers and size alone, we shall have an abundance of commanders but no real leaders. For they will have no course in the tactics and technique of moral forces.

Too often and too long has the human factor been allowed to shift for itself. It is in this field, more than any other that, by self-inflicted wounds, we weaken our potential power and fail to produce genuine leaders. If we think of psychology at all in military human relations, it is, in most cases, a warped and outmoded psychology which does not fit at all the problems of leadership of today.

In the end, the methods of leadership are good to the exact extent that they encourage human devotion and co-operative response. Nor is there conflict between discipline and morale. Without discipline an army is a mob; without morale it is a hollow shell. Possessing both, it is invincible. Your stereotyped commander will insist on discipline though he lose morale. The true leader of enduring fame seeks rather the spirit of his men, knowing that when he has this he has all.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Thursday, 12 February 2015

Canadian Army Field Rations
Topic: Army Rations

Combat Ration Program

Excerpted from Food and beverage consumption of Canadian Forces soldiers in an operational setting: Is their nutrient intake adequate?; Pamela Hatton, School of Dietetics and Human Nutrition, McGiII University, Montreal, September 2005

CR    Combat ration
CRP    Combat Ration Program
DRI    Dietary Reference Intakes
IMP    Individual Meal Pack
LMC    Light Meal Combat

Canadian combat rations are shelf-stable foods designed and developed to meet military members' physical and dietary requirements, while incorporating Canadian cultural food preferences as well as common preferences of the military members. As a primary alternative to a freshly prepared meal, combat rations are used when it is not feasible or practical to serve fresh rations. Specific training or exercise purposes, rapid-response emergency situations and when over-riding practical considerations preclude the use of fresh food necessitate using combat rations. Combat rations are designed for healthy Canadians who do not require special therapeutic dietary needs and are not subject to food allergies, food intolerance or food sensitivity. The meal components offer common foods based on Canadian eating patterns (DND 2002).

The food components of the Combat Ration Program include Individual Meal Packs, Light Meal Combat, arctic and tropical supplements and survival packets. The Individual Meal Pack (IMP) is shelf-stable for three years and identified by meal (breakfast, lunch and supper). The intent of the IMP is to provide a nutritionally adequate diet, including sufficient energy and other nutrients for up to 30 days without supplementation with fresh rations. Ali components of the IMP are prepared or require limited food preparation or reconstitution. The retort pouch packaging of the main entrée allows eating the contents unheated or heated in boiling water or by body heat. Eating the entire three meals per day provides between 3600 to 4100 kcal. Macronutrient composition ranges between 35-65 g of protein, 188-282 g of carbohydrate and 18 to 62 g of fat per complete meal (DND 2002).

The Light Meal Combat (LMC) component supplements IMPs when arduous activity or severe weather conditions warrant extra energy intake. The LMCs can also substitute for IMPs for a maximum of 48 hours when the situation precludes carrying, preparing or disposing of IMP components. The LMC menus range between 1300 to 1471 kcal with 25 to 33 g of protein, 25 to 39 g of fat and 213 to 256 g of carbohydrate per package (DND 2002).

In extreme climatic conditions, the arctic supplement or the (tropical) ration supplement can provide additional nutrients, energy and fluids (DND 13/1272002). The starch jelly composition of the basic survival packet provides emergency sustenance for two days. The air survival food ration consists of the basic survival food packet and hot beverages for a period of three days. The Maritime survival ration includes two jelly food packets and a fresh water ration providing emergency sustenance for five days (DND 2002).

elipsis graphic

Recommendations for adequacy

The nutrient density of IMPs needs to be increased, to ensure that all dietary reference intakes (DRI) can be met. Too often, foods contributing significant nutrients are not necessarily identified as high nutrient sources as seen in the "top ten foods" table (Table 8). By offering the IMPs and LMCs together, the total nutrient profile of the combat rations improves with potential energy at ~5500 kcal, fibre at 36 g and potassium at ~5000 mg. As seen with the extent of discarded or "stripped" foods before going to the field, simply increasing the quantity of menu offerings does not translate to consuming enough food. Individuals choose what they think they need and do not necessarily make appropriate choices. As a result, a majority (78%) of Exercise Narwhal subjects did not meet the target amount of ~580 g carbohydrate/day for military manoeuvres (Jacobs, Anderberg et al. 1983; Jacobs, van Loon et al. 1989). The reality of soldiers discarding or "stripping" rations needs addressing. Since many potential nutrients are thrown out, such as the rarely consumed potatoes, rice and puddings, these nutrients need replacing with foods that soldiers will eat under operational requirements.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Topic: Humour


Canada in Warpaint, Capt. Ralph W. Bell, 1917

No man is a hero in the eyes of his own batman. He knows everything about you, even to the times when your banking account is nil. He knows when you last had a bath, and when you last changed your underwear.

This war has produced a new breed of mankind, something that the army has never seen before, although they have formed a part of it, under the same name, since Noah was a boy. They are alike in name only. Batmen, the regular army type, are professionals. What they don't know about cleaning brass, leather, steel, and general valeting simply isn't worth knowing. They are super-servants, and they respect their position as reverently as an English butler respects his. With the new batman it is different. Usually the difficulty is not so much to discover what they do not know, as what they do! A new officer arrives at the front, or elsewhere, and he has to have a batman. It is a rather coveted job, and applicants are not slow in coming forward. Some man who is tired of doing sentry duty gets the position, and his "boss" spends anxious weeks bringing him up in the way he should go, losing, in the interval, socks, handkerchiefs, underwear, gloves, ties, shirts, and collars galore! What can be said to the wretched man when in answer to "Where the is my new pair of socks?" he looks faint and replies: "I've lost them, sir!" Verily, as the "professional" scornfully remarks, are these "Saturday night batmen!"

Yet even batmen are born, not made. Lucky is he who strikes on one of the former; only the man is sure to get killed, or wounded, or go sick! There is always a fly in the ointment somewhere. The best kind of batman to have is a kleptomaniac. Treat him well and he will never touch a thing of your own, but he will, equally, never leave a thing belonging to any one else!

"Cozens, where did you get this pair of pants?"

"Found them, sir!"

"Where did you find them?"

"Lying on the floor, sir," with an air of injured surprise.


"I don't justly remember, sir."

Voice from right rear: "The Major's compliments, sir, and have you seen his new pants?"



"Give me those pants … Are those the Major's …"

"Yes, sir, them's them."

Cozens watches the pants disappear with a sad, retrospective air of gloom.

"You ain't got but the one pair now, sir." This with reproach.

"How many times have I got to tell you to leave other people's clothes alone … The other day it was pyjamas, now it's pants. You'll be taking somebody's boots next. Confound it. I'll—I'll return you to duty if you do it again! … How about all those handkerchiefs? Where did they come from?"

"All yours, sir, back from the wash!" With a sigh, one is forced to give up the unequal contest.

Albeit as valets the batmen of the present day compare feebly with the old type, in certain other ways they are head and shoulders above them. The old "pro" refuses to do a single thing beyond looking after the clothing and accoutrements of his master. The new kind of batman can be impressed to do almost anything. He will turn into a runner, wait at table, or seize a rifle with gusto and help get Fritz's wind up. Go long journeys to find souvenirs, and make himself generally useful. He will even "bat" for the odd officer, when occasion arises, as well as for his own particular boss.

No man is a hero in the eyes of his own batman. He knows everything about you, even to the times when your banking account is nil. He knows when you last had a bath, and when you last changed your underwear. He knows how much you eat, and also how much you drink; he knows all your friends with whom you correspond, and most of your family affairs as revealed by that correspondence, and nothing can hide from his eagle eye the fact that you are—lousy! Yet he is a pretty good sort, after all; he never tells. We once had a rather aged subaltern in the Company whose teeth were not his own, not a single one of them. One night, after a somewhat heavy soiree and general meeting of friends, he went to bed—or, to be more accurate, was tucked in by his faithful henchman—and lost both the upper and lower sets in the silent watches. The following morning he had a fearfully worried look, and spake not at all, except in whispers to his batman. Finally, the O.C. Company asked him a question, and he had to say something. It sounded like "A out mo," so we all instantly realised something was lacking. He refused to eat anything at all, but took a little nourishment in the form of tea. His batman was to be observed crawling round the floor, perspiring at every pore, searching with his ears aslant and his mouth wide open for hidden ivory. We all knew it; poor old Gerrard knew we knew it, but the batman was faithful to the last, even when he pounced on the quarry with the light of triumph in his eye. He came to his master after breakfast was over and asked if he could speak to him. Poor Gerrard moved into the other room, and you could have heard a pin drop. "Please, sir," in a stage whisper from his batman, "please, sir, I've got hold of them TEETH, sir! But the front ones is habsent, sir, 'aving bin trod on!"

The biggest nuisance on God's earth is a batman who spends all his spare moments getting drunk! Usually, however, he is a first-class batman during his sober moments! He will come in "plastered to the eyes" about eleven o'clock, and begin to hone your razors by the pallid rays of a candle, or else clean your revolver and see if the cartridges fit! In his cups he is equal to anything at all. Unless the case is really grave the man wins every time, for no one hates the idea of changing his servant more than an officer who has had the same man for a month or so and found him efficient.

Not infrequently batmen are touchingly faithful. They will do anything on earth for their "boss" at any time of the day or night, and never desert him in the direst extremity. More than one batman has fallen side by side with his officer, whom he had followed into the fray, close on his heels.

Once, after a charge, a conversation ensued between the sergeant of a certain officer's platoon and that officer's batman, in this fashion:

"What were you doin' out there, Tommy?"


"And why was you close up on his heels, so clost I could 'ardly see 'im?"

"Follerin' 'im up."

"And why wasn't you back somewhere safe?" (This with a touch of sarcasm.)

"Lord, Sargint, you couldn't expect me to let 'im go out by 'isself! 'E might ha' got hurt!"

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Two Sorts of Discipline
Topic: Discipline

Two Sorts of Discipline

The Soul and Body of an Army, General Ian Hamilton, G.C.B., 1921

Once more, there are two sorts of discipline, distinct in principle although sometimes they may overlap in practice.

The one is born in coercion and sets the soldier outside the ring of homely sentiment which surrounds the ordinary citizen from his cradle to his grave. … Coercive as the old discipline may be, it by no means despises the moral factor. It tries to make a religion out of something very near and real, yet, at the same time, high, intangible, romantic — the Regiment! …

The other sort of discipline aims at raising the work-a-day virtues of the average citizen to a higher power. It depends:

(1)     Upon a sense of duty (res publica).

(2)     Upon generous emulation (force of example).

(3)     Upon military cohesion (esprit de corps).

(4)     Upon the fear a soldier has of his own conscience (fear that he may be afraid).

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Monday, 9 February 2015

Fighting Spirit
Topic: Leadership

Infantrymen of Lieutenant D.S. Barrie's platoon of The Highland Light Infantry of Canada relaxing during a rest period, France, 20 June 1944. Location: France. Date: June 20, 1944.
Photographer: Ken Bell. Mikan Number: 3205673.
From the Library and Archives Canada virtual exhibit "Faces of War."

Fighting Spirit

Notes From Theatres of War, No. 10, Cyrenaica and Western Desert January/June 1942; The War Office, October 1942

The following is a precis of a short "talk" prepared by a platoon commander in the Middle East before starting a period of intense training. It is reproduced in these Notes as it expresses the true infantry fighting spirit, mental state of determination, and ruthless aggressiveness which must form the foundation of all training, and without which we shall never destroy our enemy.

"From the start this morning I want to make one thing clear. The object of this training is to give you confidence in your ability to carry out any task asked of you.

"The first essential is discipline, the second aggressiveness. You have got to train yourself to think and to act hard, toughen yourselves up bodily and mentally, and start right from this moment. At all times you must be keen and alert. Think about, and live, your job always.

"Most of you have played games at one time or another and you no doubt always followed the code of sportsmanship. Well, now is the time to forget it. You are up against a ruthless enemy who has no code of sportsmanship or honour; he is a trained killer, capable and sure of himself, in perfect physical condition, and all out from the word 'go.' We must beat him in his own style. Blow for blow is no good, you must give him two for every one received. In this war you must kill to exist—that's your motto—KILL TO LIVE.

"You men at the moment are fit, but not fit enough. You are going to be taught fighting, wrestling, and unarmed combat. Throw yourself body and soul into all your work, for physical fitness is the keynote of all your operations.

"Finally, remember, to enable us to play our particular part in this war, we must have aggressiveness, fitness, keenness of mind, and a cold, callous, hard-fighting nature."

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST

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