The Minute Book
Friday, 3 April 2015

The South African Medal
Topic: Medals

The South African Medal

Canadian Infantry to Get Four Clasps

The Sherbrooke Examiner; 17 April 1901

In connection with the army order issued by the War Office on April 2, confirming the order of her late Majesty, that a medal be struck commemorating the military operations in South Africa. General order have dealt pretty fully with the detail; according to the regulations, Canadian infantry will receive four clasps:

  • "Cape Colony",
  • "Paardeberg",
  • "Driefontein," and
  • "Johannesburg."

"D" Battery men will receive three clasps:

  • "Cape Colony",
  • "Orange Free State," and
  • "Belfast."

The mounted infantry and Royal Canadian Dragoons will receive clasps for:

  • "Johannesburg",
  • "Diamond Hill",
  • "Cape Colony", and
  • "Orange Free State."

The Royal Canadian Dragoons will receive their "Belfast" clasp.

Canadian Army Battle Honours

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, 3 April 2015 12:04 AM EDT
Thursday, 2 April 2015

Royal Engineers Flag and March (1948)
Topic: Tradition

The Royal Engineers Flag and March (1948)

Royal Engineers Training Memorandum, No. 25, November, 1948

The RE flag as shown in the original 1948 article.


A modern colours chart for the camp flag and colours of the Canadian Militiary Engineers.

R.E. Flag

It has been noticed that several units have been flying the RE flag in an unauthorized manner.

The following extract from a meeting of the RE Corps Committee, held on 11th December 1930, gives details regarding the size and design of the flag.

Flags will be of the same colour and design as the sealed pattern of the Corps ribbon. The size of the flag is optional, but the strips will be in proportion to those on the Corps ribbon, and flown horizontally. Units may, if they wish, add a distinguishing figure or cypher, the colour of which is optional.

In conformity with this specification the colours in relation to the width of the flag should be:—

  • Red—four thirty-seconds;
  • Blue—five thirty-seconds:
  • Red—fourteen thirty-seconds:
  • Blue—five thirty-seconds:
  • Red—four thirty-seconds.

The Regimental March of the Royal Engineers

Prior to 1870 there was no authorized march for the Corps of Royal Engineers but various Companies had their own. In 1841, the 7th Company, Royal Sappers and Miners, at Woolwich, had "Love Not, Ye Hapless Sons of Clay" for their quick march, this was in the days of the Bugle Band. Another quick march was "I'm Ninety-Five, I'm Ninety-Five", an old 95th or Rifle Brigade March.

"Wings" was adopted in 1870 being selected by the Band Committee under the Direction of Lieut-General Sir T.L.J. Gallway (then Commandant SME), it was scored by Bandmaster W.J. Newstead, RE, and was composed of a combination of "The Path Across the Hills", a tune of unknown German origin, and "Wings" by Delores (Miss Dickson).

In 1889 the Commander-in-Chief, HRH, The Duke of Cambridge, ordered that it should be replaced by the "British Grenadiers", which, he asserted, was the only authorized march for the Corps in common with the Royal Artillery and Grenadier Guards.

At the end of l902 the Commander-in-Chief ordered that "Wings" be restored as Regimental March (vide WO letter 61030/3218d 14/10/02). Since then "Wings" has remained the RE March, and is always played at March Pasts.

These words are sung to the trio:—

Wings to bear me over mountain and vale away;
Wings to bathe my spirit in morning's sunny ray;
Wings that I may hover at morn above the sea;
Wings through life, to bear me, and death triumphantly.

Wings like youth's fleet moments which swiftly o'er me passed;
Wings like my early visions, too bright, to fair to last;
Wings that I might recall them, the loved, the lost, the dead;
Wings that I might fly after the past, long vanquished.

Wings to lift me upward, soaring with eagle flight;
Wings to waft me heav'nward to bask in realms of light;
Wings to be no more wearied, lulled in eternal rest;
Wings to be sweetly folded where faith and love are blessed.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Poor Tank Shooting 1985
Topic: Canadian Army

Canadian Gunners Deserve No Tanks for This

Ottawa Citizen, 26 June 1985

London (CP) —Canadian Forces have posted the worst performance of all NATO countries taking part in the gunnery competition for the Canadian Army Trophy in West Germany.

Twenty tank platoons from six NATO countries competed in the tank shoot out held every two years and considered a measure of the ability of tank crews,.

Points were scored for number of hits, speed of engagement and economy of ammunition use, said Jane's Defence Weekly in its issue published Tuesday.

Two Canadian platoons, both from the Royal Canadian Dragoons based at Lahr, West Germany, faced tanks from the U.S., Britain, the Netherlands, Belgium and West Germany. The Canadians came last and 18th out of 20 in the competition, which ended earlier this month in Bergen-Hohne.

The miserable Canadian performance also cost NATO's Central Army Group, to which Canada is assigned, the overall competition with the Northern Army Group.

The Canadians, all professional soldiers, were also bested by tanks crewed by conscripts.

The best overall performance came from a West German platoon using advanced Leopard 2 tanks followed by a Dutch platoon also equipped with Leopard 2s. But the most consistently high scoring came from the new U.S. M1 Abrams tanks.

British tank crews were hampered by the outdated Chieftain tanks but still outshot the Canadians.

Although the Canadian army is equipped with Leopard 1s, which are inferior to both the Leopard 2 and the Abrams, the Royal Canadian Dragoons were also beaten by both Belgian and West German platoons using Leopard 1s.

"Leopard 1 proved to still be a formidable performer in the hands of a skilled crew," said Jane's in its report on the competition.

The magazine called the shoot "a comparative test of NATO' front-line tank platoons." It also quoted Gen. Leopold Chalupa, NATO's commander in chief of allied forces in Central Europe, as saying at the end of the competition: "What we have here is a fair representation of the standards across the board."

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Method of instructing recruits
Topic: Drill and Training

Squad Drill.

Method of instructing recruits.

Infantry Training (4 - Company Organization), London, 1914

1.     The instructor should be clear, firm, concise, and patient; he must make allowance for the different capacities of the men, and avoid discouraging nervous recruits; he must remember that much may be taught by personal example, and that careful individual instruction is the best means of developing the intelligence.

2.     The instructor will teach as much as possible by demonstration, performing the movements himself or making a smart recruit perform them. The detail for each movement as given in this manual is for the information of instructors, who must avoid repeating it word for word, because such a method is wearisome and monotonous and would not be understood by some recruits. Thc instructor will explain the reason for every movement and formation, and its application in the field.

3.     Drills will be short and frequent to avoid the exhaustion of the instructor and recruits.

4.     Recruits will be advanced progressively from one exercise to another, men of inferior capacity being put back to a less advanced squad.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Monday, 30 March 2015

How the Militia Service May be Made Attractive
Topic: Canadian Militia

How the Militia Service May be Made Attractive

Continuous Instruction —Camps for the City Corps —Rifle Practice Under Service Conditions —A Better System of Examinations

Harbor Grace Standard, 4 November 1905
(Editor of "The Standard.")

The class of officers and men now in the militia fairly represents the manhood of the country in all its various elements, and this very feature tends to its popularity; but more practical, intelligent, and thoughtful attention must be given to it to remedy its defects and put it on a serviceable basis.

Sir, —The statement is made that service in the active militia is unpopular, and that young men are not attracted to its ranks in sufficient numbers. I do not believe the first part of this statement to be true, or that the latter assertion is more serious than could be made of a volunteer system in any country where the demands of business are so all-important as they are here.

The ratio of the force to the population is large, approximately one to one hundred and fifty, while in the United States it is one to over six hundred. There will naturally be difficulty at times in keeping the ranks full, even with an ideally organized and administered militia, but I am convinced, after close observation, that service in the militia is looked upon more favorably in Canada than in any other country.

Continuous Instruction

The Canadian militia is not an ideal force, however; and as honest criticism is often beneficial, I want to make a few suggestions.

The principal defect lies in the small amount and superficial character of the instruction given. The system in the city corps of short drill seasons and long periods of idleness is not the one best adapted to the needs of the militia.

Continuous instruction throughout the year would be of much greater benefit in every way, would be found perfectly feasible, and no more onerous than the present method. Some regiments under the present system are brought to a very capable condition in show and parade movements; but it is at the expense of the more practical and important work.

Camps for the City Corps

All city corps should be put into camp for at least a week every year, as only in that way can the conditions of active service be learned.

The rural regiments are at present very imperfectly instructed, and few of them would be of much practical use in the field without two or three months' of continuous training.

The present method of appointing officers provisionally does not give good results. A reasonable test of ability should be made on first appointment, and commissions should be issued at once, practical qualifying examinations being required for promotions. In a country like this, an regiment which cannot educate in its own ranks enough men for commissions, must have a very poor "personnel" of be in a low state of efficiency.

Uniforms are Too Costly and Varied

To fill the vacancies among the corps of officers with those best fitted from a military standpoint, it will be necessary to restrict by orders the variety and cost of officers' uniforms and equipment, a wise measure in any case.

The present forcing system of provisional schools should be greatly modified and candidates required to prepare themselves on designated lines, examinations being held several times during the year, and at regimental headquarters.

The existing method, whereby regiments have sergeant instruction from the permanent corps, ought to be considered a reproach by the officers of any active militia regiment, especially those in cities. There should be enough competent officers in any regiment to properly instruct their non-commissioned officers and men.

The militia is not inspected often or thoroughly enough. As it is a well-known fact that most of the drills will be devoted to preparation for the expected requirements of inspectors, a great chance for the improvement of the force in general efficiency lies in the power of those officers.

Rifle Practice Under Service Conditions

The course of instruction in rifle practice should include work under service conditions, at unknown ranges.

The militia is not at present properly clothed or equipped for active service, Especially is this true with regard to uniforms.

Very few militia regiments are in a satisfactory state of discipline. Lord Dundonald rightly says that "Inadequate discipline is the besetting weakness of citizen forces." Experience, however, proves that such a condition is not inherent in a volunteer militia, good discipline being perfectly feasible with proper instruction and example, and with officers whom the men respect because of their superior knowledge and ability.

The companies are altogether too small for effective instruction, and would be swamped with the necessary number of recruits to bring them up to war strength.

The class of officers and men now in the militia fairly represents the manhood of the country in all its various elements, and this very feature tends to its popularity; but more practical, intelligent, and thoughtful attention must be given to it to remedy its defects and put it on a serviceable basis.


The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Sunday, 29 March 2015

A Canadian Garrison for Halifax; 1905
Topic: Halifax

The Garrison for Halifax

One Thousand Canadians to Assemble

St John Daily Sun, 27 November 1905
(Special to the Sun)

A militia order issues yesterday states that barrack accommodations being now available at Halifax, the following troops will proceed there on or about the fourth of December:

Royal Canadian Garrison Artillery, Nos. 1 and 2 companies, as strong as possible.
Royal Canadian Regiment, Nos. 1, 2, 3 and 5 companies, as strong as possible.

The following will proceed with the troops:

Royal Canadian Garrison Artillery —Lt. Col. T. Benson, on command.
No. 1 Co. —Capt. A.T. Ogilvie, Lieut. G.P. Loggie, Lt. T.W.S. Coburn, Lt. S.G. Bacon.
No. 2 Co. —Lt. E. Clairmonte, Lt. W.G. Beeman, Lt. L.S. Vien, Lt. A.H. Harris.

Royal Canadian Regiment
No. 1 Co. —Major A.E. Carpenter.
No. 2 Co. —Capt. J.H. Kaye.
No. 3 Co. —Capt. J.D. Doull, Lt. R.F.C. Horetsky.
No. 5 Co. —Capt. F.F. Uniacke, Lt. F. du Domaine.

The officers commanding the Western Ontario and Quebec commands are to inspect these details prior to their departure for Halifax.

A special inspection report is to be forwarded to headquarters for the information of the minister in militia council. The necessary transport arrangements will be made by the quartermaster general and duly communicated to all concerned. Wives and families upon the married establishment will either proceed with or follow the troops. A careful medical examination is to be made of the several detachments, and in the event of any non-commissioned officer or man being found medically unfit for service a medical board will be assembled with a view to his discharge.

The amount of baggage is limited to that fixed by regulations.

The officer commanding maritime provinces with the officer commanding H.M. regular forces is to arrange barrack accommodation for these troops and other necessary details.

As a result of this movement of the permanent force 1,000 Canadian soldiers will have been drafted to Halifax from Toronto, Kingston, and Quebec. Of this number 700 will be infantry men, nearly 200 will be artillery and the remainder will consist of details for the other branches of the service, engineers, army service corps, ordnance corps, pay staff, hospital corps, etc.

All are to be in Halifax before December 15th, when the forces will then be of the same strength as the imperial forces have been for some time, and in all the corps will be numbers of men which have served with the imperial forces on the station. The Canadian engineers, it is said, will be the only corps that will not be complete by the time mentioned, and the Royal Engineers will therefore probably remain for some months longer.

Officers of the Royal Artillery are posted as follows:

R.C.H.A. —Lt. A.W. Jamieson to B Battery, Lt. H.E. Beak to A Battery.

To No. 1 company —Lt. G.P. Loggie, Lt. T.W.S. Cockburn, Lt. S.G. Bacon.
To No. 2 company —Lt. And Bvt. Capt. C.S. Wilkie, Lt. L.S. Vien, Lt. A.E. Harris.
To No. 3 company —Lt. J.E. Mills, Lt. A.S. Wtight, Lt. E.B. Irving, Lt. De la C. Irwin.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Saturday, 28 March 2015

Clearing Mines; General Rules
Topic: Drill and Training

Clearing Mines; General Rules

How to Clear Mines and Booby Traps, All Arms, March 1943

1.     Handle all mines, igniters, and switches with care at All Times.

2.     It takes only one man to work on a mine — others keep off.

3.     Look carefully all round a mine before sating to work on it.

4.     Look out for Booby traps. Do not lift Anti-Tank Mines. Pull clear with 50 yards of signal cable or cord.

5.     Take cover before you pull a mine and do not come out for at least 10 seconds after you have pulled it. There may be a delay fuse.

6.     Never use force. If a thing will not come undone gently by hand, leave it.

7.     If you have to leave a mine or trap unlifted, mark it obviously.

8.     Never cut a taut wire, never pull a slack one. Look at both ends of a wire before you touch it.

9.     Safety pin anti-personnel mines before you pull them.

10.     Mines which have been subject to blast from Artillery or aerial bombardment are apt to be dangerously sensitive, and should be destroyed in situ by Engineers.

11.     If in doubt ask the Sappers.

Canadian Army Battle Honours

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Friday, 27 March 2015

"D" Company, Infantry School Corps

Our Permanent Troops

"D" Company, Infantry School Corps, London, Ont.

The Dominion Illustrated, 28th February, 1891

This Company was the last formed of the corps, or regiment, known as the Infantry School Corps; therefore, all the history related of the other companies belongs to it also, more especially as all its present combatant officers, with one exception have served with the other companies.

In the 1st of July, 1886, Sir Adolphe P. Caron laid the foundation stone of the Infantry baracks at London, Ontario. The building is of white brick, with red stone facings. The site is on the ground purchased by the City from the Hon. John Carling, and is sutuated north-east of the town, about two miles from the post office.

A great deal of time and money was lost by the discovery that the sub-soil was of shifting sand, and the boiler house, which was built for heating the buildings throughout, was sunk 30 feet before anything like a solid foundation was found.

The exterior of the barracks, as will be seen from the illustrations, has not a very military appearance, nor are the internal arrangements as appropriate as might have been expected when new barracks were being built.

On the 19th of July, 1887, Major Smith, commanding "C" Company at Toronto, was detached from "C" Company, and was appointed Commandant of the Royal School of Infantry at London, with the rank of Lieut.-Colonel in the Infantry School Corps. It was not, however, until the 24th December of that year that recruiting commenced, owing to the delay in completing the barracks; but from this date till the 5th April, 1888. Lieut.-Colonel Smith was alone with no officer to assist him; and no one who has not had the experience of starting a new regular corps in a new barrack, can have any idea of the amount of work he had to do; luckily, he had as Sergt.-Major, Sergt.-Major Munro, late of "C" Company. On the 5th April, Lieut. Wadmore, also of "C" Company, was sent up to assist him. These two officers, who had been together since the inception of the corps in 1883, carried on all company and school work till the end of June, when Lieuts. Denison and Evans were gazetted to the corps and posted to "D" Company, which had not yet, however, a captain. In August, 1888, Capt. Frere, a captain in the army, but not in the Corps, and Adjutant of "B" Company, was sent up to command it, which he did until the 21st December, 1888, when he left to rejoin his regiment, "The South Staffordshire," much to the regret of the officers, N.C. officers and men, to whom he had much enared himself by his generous heart and kindly manner.

It was not until Match, 1889, that the captain of "D" Company was gazetted, when Lieut. D.D. Young, adjutant of "A" Company, and senior subaltern of the regiment obtained his promotion.

The surgeon was appointed in September, 1888, namely, Surgeon Hanavan, formerly of the 28th., Stratford—Surgeon Fraser, of the 7th Batt., having in the meantime looked after the medical examination of recruits and attended the hospital, which is at present a portion of the barracks used for that purpose; a proper detached hospital, drill shed, married quarters and stables being needed to make them complete.

On the 12th April, 1889, Lieut. and Captain Cartwright was transferred from "C" Company to "D"; and Lieut. Evans sent from "D" to "C" Company in his place. The officers, at the present date, with "D" Company are as follows:—

  • Lieut.-Col. Smith, Commandant.
  • Captain D.D. Young.
  • Lieut. and Capt. R.L. Wadmore.
  • Lieut. and Capt. R. Catwright.
  • Lieut. S.A. Denison.
  • Surgeon M.J. Hanavan.

Lieut.-Col. Smith is also D.A.G., or officer commanding Military District No. 1.

The various illustrations speak for themselves. The physical training is done entirely to music, no single word of command being used when the men are fully trained. The fire picquet and the men in barracks turned out as if for a fire; the men drill at the reels as if they were field guns. On one occasion this picquet, without previous warning, turned out and had water playing on the building in 45 seconds from the first sound of the bugle.

The rifle team are the picked men of the best shooting company of the whole permanent corps. The cup shown is one given by the Hon. J. Carling, to be shot for by the Royal School of Infantry at London and the 7th Batt., and is to be kept by the team winning it three times running. The 7th Batt. won it in 1889, the R.S.I. in 1890.

It would be well, before completing this short account, to pint out the common mistake that is made with regard to our permanent infantry. It is the practice to call them "A," "B," "C" and "D" Schools, when in reality and according to the official militia list, they are "A," "B," "C" and "D" Companies of the Regiment called the Infantry School Corps. This error has no doubt arisen from the fact that each of the companies at present forms school of instruction for the training of officers, N.C. officers and men of the militia, who during their course are attached to these companies respectively. It is curious to observe that the public have never fallen into the same error with the permanent artillery, the units of which are always designated "A," "B" and "C" Batteries, and not "A," "B" and "C" Schools.

The Royal Canadian Regiment Museum

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Thursday, 26 March 2015

Gas War for Local Militia (1938)
Topic: Drill and Training

Gas War Enacted for Local Militia

Regular Army Men Demonstrate Methods and Equipment Used for protection
Masks made in Canada
Four Types of gases to Be Combated—Senior Military Officers Attend Demonstration

Montreal Gazette, 15 February, 1938

One of the figures from: Unidentified soldiers modelling various Canadian Army uniforms, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, June 1942. [gas uniform, with coat, helmet and respirator]

Photographer: Unknown. MIKAN Number: 3589879

Veterans of the regular army shows beardless members of the non-permanent militia forces last night how a soldier of modern times saves himself from death or serious injury in a gas attack by the enemy. The demonstrations were the inauguration of a course the militia of the district will take in anti-gas methods, and were the first given in the Montreal area.

A senior staff officer revealed to the Gazette last night, in connection with the demonstrations, that gas masks are being manufactured on a large scale in Canada. The officer said he did not know of any civilian anti-gas training course similar to Great Britain's. It is hoped, he said however, that enough masks will be available to provide the militia with enough for training purposes.

The main demonstration was given in the armory of the combined Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps units, and a brief show was put on at the Armory of the 4th Divisional Signals, R.C.C.S. The "guinea pigs" were member of The Royal Canadian Regiment and of the Royal Canadian Dragoons, stationed at St. Jean's Que., under the company of Company Sergeant Major A.C. McKenzie, of the R.C.R.

Four Types of Gases

C.S.M. McKenzie, in a lecture prior to the actual demonstration, pointed out that the four serious types of gases generally used in modern warfare were: chlorine and phosgene, which he identified as choking gases; mustard and lewisite, or blister gases; D.M., a toxic smoke gas; and K.C.C. and C.A.P., or tear gases. The modern soldier, he pointed out, must be prepared to meet any or each of these types of gases.

During the Great War gas was far from being developed to the deadly state it is in today, and protection was much easier. Further, today those in the line of a gas attack must protect their whole bodies, as against only their lungs during the earlier part of the war.

A feature of interest to Canada was pointed out by the instructor when he said that mustard gas freezes at 57 degrees Fahrenheit. It would thus be useless during much of the year in Canada.

The early part of the demonstration showed an anti-aircraft patrol hit by a gas attack. The men, upon receiving the warning from a scout, quickly put on their grotesque masks and covered their necks, hands and other exposed parts of their bodies with a grease which is supposed to keep out the gas.

A squad fully protected against gas, and men charged with "cleaning up" after a gas attack, probed the most effective charade for the non-permanent soldiers present.

Appearance Ghoul-Like

Garbed almost completely in black oilskins and high rubber boots, the demonstrators presented a ghoul-like appearance. Their gas masks, of the most modern type available in this country, and far superior to those used in the Great War, made each man look like a large-scale Mickey Mouse.

The speed with which the machine gun crew, this time expecting a gas attack, slipped themselves into their "gas proof" clothing, amazed the onlookers, few of whom had ever taken part in actual warfare. Completely garbed in steel-gray "tin hats", black rubber rain-cape-appearing cloaks and high rubber boots, the demonstrators offered a gruesome picture.

The "clean-up" men, who in actual warfare scout about the gas area finding out if it is safe for troops to occupy the ground, had spiked sticks much like those used by litter-collectors in parks. On the end of each stick, however, was but one piece of paper, impregnated with a chemical which would tell by turning color, if gas were still present. The clean-up men, heavily burdened with protective clothing, are not expected to fight, the instructor claimed.

Demonstrations will be carried out before other units of the non-permanent active militia later in the season.

Brigadier R.O. Alexander, D.S.O., district officer commanding, headed a large group of headquarters and other officers who attended the demonstrations, illustrating the importance which they are given in local military training.

Among the other officers present were: Lt.-Col. A.E. Lundon, D.D., M.D., Lt.-Col. A.E. Thompson, Lt.-Col. St. John Macdonald, Lt.-Col. A.P. Plante, 20th Field Ambulance; Lt.-Col. Gorssline, D.S.O., District Medical Officer; and Major C. Sanford.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Wednesday, 25 March 2015

A Story Without a Moral
Topic: Humour

A Story Without a Moral

The B.E.F. Times; with which are incorporated the Wipers Times, the "New Church" Times, The Kemmel times & The Somme-Times, No 5. Vol 1., Tuesday, April 10th, 1917

  • A.A. & Q.M.G. – Assistant Adjutant and Quartermaster General
  • C.R.O. – Corps Routine Orders
  • D.A. Q.M.G. – Deputy Assistant Quartermaster General
  • D.A.A. Q.M.G. – Deputy Assistant Adjutant and Quartermaster General

And it came to pass that upon a certain day the General Officer Commanding a Division said unto his A.A. and Q.M.G.: "Oh, A.A. and Q.M.G., tender unto me by the first day of next month a Return showing the names of the number of men of this Division who have even refused to undergo the hardships of INOCULATION, in order that I may send forward this Return unto Corps., in accordance with C.R.O. 758."

And it came to pass that the A.A. and Q.M.C. said certain things unto his D.A.A. and Q.M.G. and unto his D.A. Q.M.G., the result of which was a Return of names to the number of fifty of men of the Division who had refused to be INOCULATED.

And it came to pass that the Return aforementioned was in due course sent forward unto Corps, in which place it became labelled with the mystic sign "P.A.," which, being interpreted, means "put aside."

And it came to pass that upon a much later date this same General Officer Commanding a Division said unto his A.A., and Q.M.G.: "Oh, A.A. and Q.M.G. render unto me by the first day of next month a Return showing the names of the number of men of this Division who have done deeds such as are worthy of reward in the form of the Medal Military, in order that I may send forward this return unto Corps., in accordance with C.R.O. 869."

And it came to pass that this Return also was duly obtained, and in due course sent forward unto Corps. in which place it became labelled with the mystic sign "P.A.," which, being interpreted, means "put aside."

And it came to pass that in due course those men who had refused to be INOCULATED were duly awarded with the MILITARY MEDAL.

Oh! great is the Corps.

The Frontenac Times

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Petawawa, 1905
Topic: Canadian Militia

The New Training Ground for the Canadian Militia

A Description of the Petawawa Camp

Harbor Brace Standard, 4 November 1905

The following are the impressions of a Canadian artillery officer with respect to the new camp grounds at Petawawa, as given to the "Canadian Military Gazette": —

I have just returned from the new camp grounds at Petawawa, just west of Pembroke on the C.P.R. and can not speak too highly of this new place as a camp. Or the treatment extended to me there, my only regret being that I could not remain there longer, although it was cold. I profited by the careful and friendly instruction given willingly by the officers in charge, as well as by the N.C.O.'s. I will confess that I learned more and got a better idea of real soldiering than I have obtained in several camps, and have taken more hard knocks from tree branches in a few days than I ever took in my life.

elipsis graphic

The country is of a most interesting nature, hills, valleys, and rivers, with very few 'billiard table parade grounds.' This does away with ceremonial work and permits the targets being so placed that it requires keen sight to pick them out and keep them in sight, thus training the eyes. It also makes the correct observations of rounds more than ever necessary, and which, by the way, is not by any means an easy task at the Petawawa ranges, even with a good field glass, as the trees and sandy soil sometimes swallowed the projectile, seemingly without a sputter, so that hot a few rounds must be marked doubtful and acted upon accordingly.

elipsis graphic

The woods, although not of heavy timber, are thick, and the necessity of keeping the waggon line (400 yards in rear) correctly in touch with the guns, has been more clearly demonstrated. It is not so easily done, as has been proved in our other camps, and my sympathies are with the captain if he does get lost, waggons and all, as happened more than once. The placing of guns in action under real (not imaginary) cover, and the use of aiming posts, was the feature of the war game this year, and it certainly was the most interesting procedure, the real importance of which cannot be over-estimated, as exposure to enemy's fire and heavy casualties reduce efficiency and may mean loss of guns or position. Apart from this advantage, it enables the battery to come into action quietly and without unnecessary hurry or exceitment, thus saving the men and gun layers, and enabling them to move perfectly and at the same time carry out their work correctly.

elipsis graphic

The actual shooting scores of the competing batteries from all accounts do not seem to be brilliant, but the work has been gone through and mistakes and difficulties pointed out or explained will no doubt pave the way for excellent work next year on these hard and yet unknown ranges.

The first day was occupied by the visiting battery teams in qualifying the gun layers, the second being instructional day, in which firing was done and general matters thoroughly explained. The third day there were the firing competition, but in some cases where the weather was bad the instructional part took place in the morning and the competitions were carried out in the afternoon, making a fairly heavy day of it.

The drawbacks to Petawawa as a camp seem to be those particularly affecting the N.C.O.'s and men. The place does not suffer from any over-supply of visitors —in fact, it is lonely. Reading matter is scarce, and the darkness comes down early, so that it is a case of all work (and hard work, too) and no play. Perhaps this may be remedied next year. I think a good big tent (not a little marquee for 150 men), well lighted, where the men could have some sport of listen to 'their bands,' would be a perfect boon, and more than appreciated by one and all.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 24 March 2015 7:27 PM EDT
Monday, 23 March 2015

An Avoidable Death, South Africa
Topic: The Field of Battle

An Avoidable Death, South Africa

With the Royal Canadians, Stanley McKeown Brown, 1900

For the first time the seriousness of the actual campaign broke on the Canadian regiment, and again the next day as a sad and impressive funeral cortege wended its way out over the sandy veldt, …

Two nights sufficed for the Canadians at Orange River, during the first of which a very sad shooting accident occurred in the Shropshire regiment, which was lying side by side with our men and which battalion was at a future date to form part of the now famous 19th Brigade along with the Royal Canadians.

The country around for miles was strongly patrolled at night and every precaution was taken to keep the Boers from taking our little garrison by surprise.

Out into the dark night the Shropshires sent a heavy picket with instructions to the men to be very careful to challenge every person who might come in or out of camp. At the foot of a kopje one of the men of the Shropshires stood on sentry, another private of the same regiment was returning to camp. The sentry promptly challenged, "Halt! who comes there?" and failing to call "Friend," the returning soldier said, "Oh, to you know me." These were fatal words, for no sooner had they been spoken when three ringing shots sounded through the Orange River garrison, three steady shots from the sentry's rifle, and his companion-in-arms fell, never to rise to life again. It was an unfortunate occurrence which cast gloom over the whole camp, but it shows that the rigidity of military discipline should not be trifled with.

For the first time the seriousness of the actual campaign broke on the Canadian regiment, and again the next day as a sad and impressive funeral cortege wended its way out over the sandy veldt, the men from our Dominion saw in reality a dark side which to them was new, and attended with a solemnity which was doubly solemn on the sands of Africa.

To slow music with bayonets fixed and arms reversed the creeping kharki procession passed by the lines of the Royal Canadians, and a hush came on the camp. Then it was that many a man shuddered as he thought of a burial in South Africa, thousands of miles from where any of his friends could ever see his grave or ever plant a flower on his last resting place.

There are times at war when one is pensive and reflective, that is when one sees a comrade buried with all the impressive ceremony of a military funeral. When the muffled drums resound but to a slow dirge; when the gun carriage with its gloomy coffin load, wrapped in a Union Jack death pall, lumbers along to a waiting grave, unsympathetically jolting the soldier on the way to his last lone bed. Sorrow is written on the faces of every rugged and sunburnt man of arms, as with reluctant steps he nears the burial place of his lost companion. The funeral notes of the mournful music have the effect of striking into a living man's soul a deep hatred of death in a foreign clime. The sand or limestone "six feet of earth," on a South African field, seems but a mean mockery of a proper grave; the shallow bed seems too short for that last long sleep, too narrow for a quiet rest of such duration as it is bound to be. The sewn-up blanket in which the soldier is shrouded makes at times but a poor, scanty apology for the sound coffin one is used to seeing on such occasions in peace time. The spades of earth thrown in on the human form as it bulges in the blanket seems a scarce sepulchre; the volleys from the muzzles of the rifles over the grave are like empty messages to the dead, and the quivering "last post," which the bugles blast over the silent mound after the burial service, are but a brazen farewell to the soldier as he lies free from the care of campaign, "where the wicked cease from troubling and the weary are at rest."

Then, according to military custom, the burial party starts from the lonely spot, and, where they before had come marching to slow music, the band at once strikes up a quickstep, and as if tired of the tedium of the service, swing with a dashing air back to the camp, till Death's hand beckons another fighter home, and the dead marches are again called into requisition.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Sunday, 22 March 2015

Saluting in the Field
Topic: Discipline

Saluting in the Field

Gen. Chris Vokes sees strength in saluting gesture with the Canadians in Italy

Canadian Army Training Memorandum, No 36, March 1944

1.     In a "message from the G.O.C." in the army newspaper Red Patch, Major-Gen. Christopher Vokes of Ottawa told the men of his Canadian division that "to command-incomparable fighting men such as yourselves is an honour which does not sit lightly on my shoulders."

2.     His message was directed at saluting. The salute, he said, is the "hallmark" of a soldier's training.

3.     The Commander said that he had been in the army since the age of 17 and that there is nothing he would rather be than a soldier.


(a)     "The basis of all our training is good discipline," he went on. "This makes us steady in battle and receptive to the wills of our commanders. Our discipline aims at a mutual respect and understanding between officers, NCOs and men and a deep all-consuming pride in one's self, one's comrades and one's unit. This must always remain the core of our existence as a fighting force.

(b)     "An indispensable part of our discipline is that the soldier (officer or man) should recognize his superior at all times. Custom decrees that this recognition be normally achieved by a form of greeting known as a salute. The junior salutes, the senior. returns the salute. Even generals salute each other.

(c)     "In civil life one raised one's hat or touched one's cap to one's father, one's father's friends or others whom one wished to greet in a respectful way and smilingly said, 'Hello, Dad' or 'Good morning, Mr. Brown.' I was brought up by my parents to do so. My own son and your sons are being brought up in this fashion.

(d)     "So in the army so long as we remain part of it let us not forget these courtesies. When we salute our superiors in rank, let us smile and pass the time of day. Let it be a cheerful and comradely gesture. We are all comrades in arms in the Allied armies. That is part of our strength which will help defeat the Hun as surely as our shells and bullets."

5.     He concluded the message "Nothing can keep us from Victory. Nothing will."

Canadian Army Battle Honours

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Saturday, 21 March 2015

Work and Pay in "A" and "B" Batteries (1882)
Topic: Canadian Militia

Military Matters

The Work and Pay in "A" and "B" Batteries
Some Very Mistaken Notions Answered

The Toronto Daily Mail, 11 March 1882

To the Military Editor of The Mail.

Sir.—I read with much interest a letter signed "Ex-Cadet" in The Mail a couple of weeks since. The writer complained of the high-handed way in which military matters had been conducted at the Royal Military College, Kingston, resulting in the removal of Major Ridout and the wigging of other officers. I admire the frank and honest outspoken words "Ex-Cadet," and as a Canadian fully concur in his remarks. I believe an investigation into these matters will likely take place in the House at Ottawa, when we will get more definite information respecting the occurrences alleged to have taken place. Till then I would wait before offering any more remarks on the subject.

There is a question, however, which I would ask. Could you or any of your readers explain what it is causes so many desertions from A and B Batteries at Quebec and Kingston? Are the men properly treated in respect of food, clothing, lodging, and medical treatment, and are they not overworked in respect to drill and fatigues" I think from what I have personally seen that they are both poorly clad and overworked, whilst the pay is not sufficient in this country of good wages and plentiful work to induce respectable young men to join and remain in these batteries. I have seen then drilled and marched out in heavy rains. They seem to grow dissatisfied, and so desert in far too many instances, and so old men, some grey-headed ones, and army life pensioners are brought in, who would be unable to undergo the hard work of active service if called upon tomorrow. I remember a soldier of one of these batteries in conversation with a friend and myself some time ago complaining of the incessant fatigue he had, in particular of cutting so much wood for staff-sergeants. Does the government pay these staff-sergeants or not sufficiently to enable them to pay for their own wood being cut, and thus to enable soldiers to learn their drill instead of cutting wood? The uniform this soldiers was wearing was not of good quality, and he had often to pay for extras from his small pay—this is another complaint that should be seen to at once by someone. Treat men as men, and not as schoolboys, and desertion would stop at once, and in a short time we would have a force upon which we could rely, and so be independent of deserters from the British and American services. Such men are never to be depended upon in seasons of real peril and danger. Make the service worth and steady respectable young man joining, and then we can dispense with the riff-raff we are often obligated to take in the ranks of our two schools of gunnery, I speak from personal observation, and as I am a taxpayer, I have a personal interest in the matter; we pay for an article, and we naturally expect our money's worth in that article. There has been far too much desertion already, and it is high time it was stopped.

Yours, &c.
A Canadian

March 7, 1882

elipsis graphic

From the Editor, Military Column,

If our correspondent knew more about the management of "A" and "B" Batteries he would not be make assertions like those contained in his letter. Both batteries are well conducted and governed, and if a man occasionally deserts it is not the fault of the management. A good soldier has nothing to complain of; it is only the shiftless fellows who expect that a couple hours' drill each day embraces every duty of a soldier. They entirely overlook the fact that wood has to be cut for cooking and heating purposes, the barracks cleaned, the platforms in Fort Henry and the different towers traversed and cleaned occasionally, together with guard duty and a score of other things. In reference to cutting wood for the staff-sergeants, it is only defaulters who have this task to perform. The clothing is the same as that issued to the artillery in England, and every man on joining gets a full kit. (For particulars see para. 817, R. and O., 1879.) Marching men out in wet, sloppy weather is a very rare occurrence in either battery, and does them no harm, as they are generally allowed a half-holiday afterwards to give their kits a thorough overhauling. What is required, however, is better pay, which, of course, would induce a better class of men to present themselves and give the commanding officer a chance to secure good men, The plan adopted in the United States army of increasing the pay in each rank according to length of service is a good one, and might be adopted with advantage in these corps.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 7 March 2015 2:58 PM EST
Friday, 20 March 2015

Officer Retention
Topic: Officers

Officer Retention

[US Army] Chief of Staff of the Army's Leadership Survey, Command and General Staff College Survey of 760 mid-career Students (Majors with a Few LTCs), 2000

Good units with good leaders retain more soldiers. The same is true for the officer corps. When junior officers have strong, positive leadership, they are more inclined to stay in the Army.

Reference Officer Retention. Instead of looking for outside influences, the Army needs to look inward. Good units with good leaders retain more soldiers. The same is true for the officer corps. When junior officers have strong, positive leadership, they are more inclined to stay in the Army. When presented with bad leadership, they want out. Talking with peers, most notably in the past 6 months, there seems to be an alarming number of bad leaders out there. Leaders who sugar coat things to higher; leaders who lie; leaders who are immoral; leaders who won't think twice about killing a career over an honest mistake or a difference of opinion; leaders who lead by fear and intimidation; leaders who care more about themselves than their soldiers/officers; leaders who look away at transgressions of others "for the good of the Army". Who wants to work under conditions where they are exposed to bad leadership? Who wants to be in an Army where the people who succeed do not fit the mold of the person you want to be? Who wants to be in a unit where the leadership would not think twice about overworking you or exposing you to unnecessary hardship and/or risk? Who wants to serve in an organization where they are disgraced by the acts of a few? While I can't voice the percentage of bad leaders, what number of examples would indicate that there are too many? I would argue that in the profession of arms, one would be too many. If in an officer's first couple of years in the Army he exposed to bad leaders without any examples/exposure to good leaders, you can bet he will leave. If exposed to an even mix of good and bad, the severity of each and/or the sequence relative to the time of the decision to stay in the army is made, will effect the decision. If exposed to only good leaders, there will still be some who elect to leave the service but at a much lower rate.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Thursday, 19 March 2015

Topic: The Field of Battle

Massacre At Ulundi, by James E. McConnell


The Washing of the Spears; The Rise and Fall of the Zulu Nation, Donald R. Morris, 1965

The outline of the square was perfectly marked on the rise by the thick windrows of expended cartridges; the troops had fired over 35,000 rounds.

[Following the battle of Ulundi,] Chelmsford finally ordered the guns to limber up, broke the square and marched the men to the banks of the Mbilane, where the force rested and dined on the contents of its haversacks. A surprising number of officers had packed a bottle or two of champagne into their kits for just this occasion, and they toasted the victory in the warm and gassy wine. A few working details were still busy on the knoll; the engineers were gathering equipment, and the dressing station was preparing the wounded for the trip back to the laager. The outline of the square was perfectly marked on the rise by the thick windrows of expended cartridges; the troops had fired over 35,000 rounds. The surgeons made their report. Wyatt-Edgell was dead and Lieutenant George Astell Pardoe of the 1st/13th had been shot through both thighs. Eighteen other officers had been wounded more or less seriously, including four of the mounted staff officers. Chelmsford's aide, the naval lieutenant Milne who had climbed a tree to observe the camp at Isandhlwana, had been grazed by a bullet. Ten men had been killed and 69 wounded. There was no accurate count of the Zulu dead, and not even an estimate of their wounded, but over a thousand bodies lay on the slopes and in the path of the mounted pursuit.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Military Vocabulary (1942)
Topic: Drill and Training

Application of Fire
Visual Training

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

Military Vocabulary

Men will be familiarized with all terms applied to features of ground, colours, shapes and military objects, so that their powers of description and recognition may be improved. A specimen military vocabulary is appended; it is intended to be a guide to instructors. The terms should be introduced as opportunity offers, during the soldier's service. It should be increased by teaching the local equivalent for, or additional terms appropriate to, the station in which the unit is serving, for example (in Canada, and respective of region) the added or dissimilar artificial features such as "silos," "elevator" (grain), "power dam," "snake fence"; the term equivalents: "trail" for ride or path, "gully" for ravine, "muskeg" for marsh, "rapids" for shallows; the sometimes necessary subdivision of conifers into the many local tree variants of the type, "balsam," hemlock," etc.; "scrub" or (perhaps) "sugar-bush" for copse, "prairie" for moor or common, "semaphore" for railway-signal, "turn-pike" for metalled road, "creek" for watercourse, etc.

i.    Features, artificial:—

TrackPost and rail fencesFerry
FootpathWire fencesFord
Ride RoadsIron fencesWindmill
TarredHurdle fencesRailway signals
MetalledSign postChurch tower
Fenced and unfencedViaductCrane
Cross roadsCulvertGasometer
Sunken roadsCuttingGable-end
Telegaph PoleEmbankmentQuarry

ii.    Colours:—


iii.    Features, natural:—

Fir (trees)CopsePlough
Poplar (trees)GorseRoot field
Bushy-topped (trees)Corn fieldStubble

iv.    Topographical:—

RidgeKnollMiddle distance
FoldSlopes, forwardDead ground
DefileSlopes, reverseCliff
Crest-lineSlopes, concaveGorge
HorizonSlopes, convexRavine

v.    Field Engineering:—

TrenchBarricadeRight angle
ParadosDefended postTriangle
FirestepDefended localityCircular
RevetmentObservation postVertical

vi.    Fire,—types of:—


The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Torpedo Boats at Halifax; 1901
Topic: Halifax

Torpedo Boats at Halifax; 1901

While the many ships of the line have well recorded histories and available photos. Often the smaller vessels of navies have been overlooked in the same respect. The image used in the postcard displayed above shows two unnamed (un-numbered?) torpedo boats at Halifax. The posting of a copy of the original photo on the image sharing site fickr dates the image to 1901.

The presence of Royal Navy torpedo boats at Halifax can be confirmed in a selection of news items during the period of the photo.

elipsis graphic

Torpedo Boats for Halifax

Daily Mail and Empire, 25 January 1896

It is stated in naval circles that two first-class torpedo boats will be sent to Halifax in the spring. They will be larger and more powerful than those now there. The torpedo boats will be accompanied to Halifax by one of the transports.

elipsis graphic

War Vessels' Novel Race

Torpedo Boat, With Ten Miles Start, Will Be Chased by Destroyer

The Evening News (San Jose, California), 26 August 1899

"HMS Quail at Halifax LAC 3332863" by Notman Studio of Halifax - This image is available from Library and Archives Canada under the reproduction reference number PA-028440 and under the MIKAN ID number 3332863. This tag does not indicate the copyright status of the attached work. A normal copyright tag is still required. See Commons:Licensing for more information.Library and Archives Canada does not allow free use of its copyrighted works. See Category:Images from Library and Archives Canada.. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

It is learned that a notable speed test between the torpedo boat destroyer Quail and torpedo boat No. 61 is to be held off Halifax soon.

The proposed test will have two objects, says the New York Press, in that it will demonstrate how long it will take a torpedo boat destroyer of the Quail's class to overtake a torpedo boat of 22 knots when the torpedo boat has a ten mile stat, and also it will decide whether the torpedo boat in these days is of much importance to a fleet.

No. 61 will be given 30 minutes start to enable her to get ten miles out to sea. Then the Quail will stat in pursuit. In a run of 100 miles, it is said, she will overtake the torpedo boat on her way back, pass her, and anchor in the dockyard 50 minutes ahead.

elipsis graphic

Naval Fight at Halifax

Torpedo Boat Attack on Fleet Planned by Admiral

The Montreal Gazette; 28 August 1901

Halifax, N.S., August 27.—Admiral Bedford has ordered a torpedo boat stack on the fleet on Thursday at midnight. During the day the ships will leave port and, during the night attempt to enter the harbour. An attack will be made on all the vessels by the torpedo boats. The manoeuvres will be the first of the kind attempted here.

All of the vessels of the fleet will be engaged by the attacking force, and it is the intention to bring very gun into use. The torpedo boats will be laying in wait in one of the coves for the fleet and will suddenly pounce upon the war vessels. The admiral and officers will have no previous knowledge as to the whereabouts of the torpedo boats. The torpedo boats destroyer Quail will act as an advance guard and she, with the assistance of the search lights on the cruisers, will endeavour to locate the enemy and when located the entire fleet will engage them.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Monday, 16 March 2015

British Artillery; Ammunition Considerations (1908)
Topic: Militaria

British Artillery; Ammunition Considerations (1908)

Military Engineering (Part 1), Field Defences, 1908

Horse and field artillery fire shrapnel shell of about 12 and 18 lbs. weight, with time and percussion fuzes. At short and medium ranges these light projectiles, owing to their high velocity, are easily deflected by very small parapets. At longer ranges, their penetration, before burst, is slight. Field gun shells therefore, used against troops behind earthworks, depend for their effect chiefly upon their searching power when burst in the air.

The principal use of common shell, which is used with a percussion fuze, is for ranging. It may also be used for the destruction of field magazines and earthworks, and for the attack of buildings. The small amount of bursting charge in the common shell of field guns reduces the possibility of good effect against earthworks, while as a man-killing projectile it is very inferior to shrapnel.

Percussion shrapnel is use for ranging, and against troops in buildings of behind cover such as walls. The fire of percussion shrapnel will be effective against troops defending any ordinary building.

Time shrapnel is employed against troops under all conditions other than the above. The present fuze is effective up to about 6,000 yds.

The angle of the cone of dispersion of the bullets (generally called the angle of opening) is about 20°. The angle increases slightly with the range, because the forward velocity of the shell decreases more rapidly than the velocity of rotation, so that the influence of the latter increases. In estimating the front covered by the spread of the bullets, it may be taken as from 35 to 40 per cent. of the distance at which the shell is burst short of the target.

The searching power of the bullet varies directly as the angle of its descent. To find approximately the greatest searching power of a shrapnel, half the angle of opening should be added to the slope of the descent of the shell. The slope of descent of the shell is:—

  • At 1500 yds, about 1 in 20.
  • At 2000 yds, about 1 in 13.
  • At 3000 yds, about 1 in 7.
  • At 4000 yds, about 1 in 4.

The splinters of common shell from guns, even of those high high explosive bursting charges, all go forward, whether burst in the air with time fuze, or on impact with percussion fuze. If burst in the air, their searching power is much greater than that of shrapnel, but it is very difficult, even under peace conditions, to burst the shell in exactly the right place over a trench.

Field gun shells are not intended to destroy earthwork. Against deep trenches with low, flat parapets, field artillery has but little effect. The tendency of the shell to glance on striking an earth parapet is specially marked in the cae where the latter is composed of sand and light soil. Such soil falls back into the craters formed, and thus little impression can be made on good earth at moderately long ranges.

The 60-pr. B.L. and 4.7-in. Q.F. are examples of heavy artillery guns. Their range is longer than that of field artillery, and their shrapnel bullets are heavier; their searching power is, however, little greater, and their shells are equally liable to be deflected by a very slight bank of earth,

These guns can best be employed against trenches or other earthworks by bringing an oblique or enfilade fire to bear. Their long range frequently enables them to sweep the enemy's position whilst keeping out of range of his rifle fire.

Field howitzers have been introduced into the British as well as into several foreign armies. They produce results otherwise unobtainable, since their high angle fire will search out troops behind cover which would render field artillery harmless. They are also used to attack closed works, overhead cover, villages, fire trenches, etc.

The 5-in. shell of 50-lbs. weight, with bursting charge of 9 lbs. 15 ozs. of high explosive, is especially effective against troops crowded together in such works as field redoubts, or in buildings or villages. Shrapnel shell with field howitzers can be used effectively at ranges up to about 5,000 yards; the angle of descent of the bullets may be anything up to 1/1.

Plate I gives an idea of the action of various kinds of projectiles. It will be observe that piratically the only one which has any backward effect after burst is the howitzer common shell, fired at high angle of elevation.

This question is one which should be carefully studied by all officers, since it is impossible to design field defences properly without a clear and accurate conception of the effects of artillery projectiles.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Sunday, 15 March 2015

Marine Officer Training
Topic: Officers

Marine Officer Training

A Rumor of War, Philip Caputo, 1977

Basic School was a school in fact as well as in name, a halfway house between the campus and the real Marine Corps. Its purpose was to turn us into professional officers. Because of the Corps doctrine that every marine is a rifleman, the course emphasized infantry fundamentals—weapons-training and small-unit tactics. It was dry, technical stuff, taught in the how-to-do-it fashion of a trade school: how to take a hill by frontal assault or envelopment; how to defend it once you have taken it, how to deliver searching and traversing fire with an M-60 machine gun.

For me, the classroom work was mind-numbing. I wanted the romance of war, bayonet charges, and desperate battles against impossible odds. I wanted the sort of thing I had seen in Guadalcanal Diary and Retreat, Hell! and a score of other movies. Instead of the romance, I got the methodology of war, Clausewitz and his nine principles, lines and arrows on a map, abstract jargon, and a number of bewildering acronyms and abbreviations. To be in battle was to be "in a combat situation"; a helicopter assault was a "vertical envelopment"; an M-14 rifle a "hand-held, gas-operated, magazine-fed, semiautomatic shoulder weapon." I had read somewhere that Stendhal learned his simple, lucid style by studying Napoleon's battle orders. Literature should be grateful that Stendhal didn't live in the present; the battle orders we studied were written in language that made the Rosetta Stone look like a Dick-and-Jane reader.

"Enemy sit. Aggressor forces in div strength holding MLR Hill 820 complex gc AT 940713-951716 w/fwd elements est. bn strength junction at gc AT 948715 (See Annex A, COMPHIBPAC intell. summary period ending 25 June) … Mission: BLT 1/7 seize, hold and defend obj. A gc 948715 … Execution: BLT 1/7 land LZ X-RAY AT 946710 at H-Hour 310600 … A co. GSF estab. LZ security LZ X-RAY H minus 10 … B co. advance a~is BLUl~ H plus S estab. blocking pos. vic gs AT 948710 … A, C, D cos. maneuver element commence advance axis BROWN H plus 10 … Bn tacnet freq 52.9 … shackle code HAZTRCEGBD … div. tacair dir. air spt callsign PLAYBOY … Mark friendly pos w/air panels or green smoke. Mark tgt. w/WP."

I was not the only one to find this eye-glazing. During one particularly dull lecture, a classmate named Butterfield leaned over to me. "You know," he whispered, "the trouble with war is that there isn't any back-ground music."

Our Hollywood fantasies were given some outlet in the field exercises that took up about half the training schedule. These were supposed to simulate battlefield conditions, teach us to apply classroom lessons, and develop "the spirit of aggressiveness." The Corps prized elan in its troops. The offensive was the only tactic worthy of the name. We were taught the rudiments of defensive warfare, while retrograde movements were hardly mentioned, and only then in tones of contempt. The Army retreated, the Marines did not, although they had —at Chosin Reservoir in Korea. The essence of the offensive was the frontal assault: "Hey diddle diddle, straight up the middle." This was the supreme moment of infantry combat; no tricky flanking or encircling movements, just a line of determined men firing short bursts from the hip as they advanced on the en-emy at a stately walk.

It was easy to do in the bloodless make-believe of field problems, in which every operation went according to plan and the only danger was the remote one of falling and breaking an ankle. We took these stage — managed exercises seriously, thinking they resembled actual combat. We couldn't know then that they bore about as much similarity to the real thing as shadow-boxing does to street-fighting. Diligently we composed our five-paragraph attack orders. We huddled in pine — scented thickets, soberly playing the roles assigned to us — student platoon leader, student squad leader — and with our maps spread flat, planned the destruction of our fictitious enemy, the aggressor forces. We fought them throughout the spring and summer, enveloped them, went at them with squad rushes, and made frontal assaults against the sun-browned hills they defended, yelling battle cries as we charged through storms of blank cartridge fire.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT

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