The Minute Book
Tuesday, 21 April 2015

The Modernization of Armies
Topic: Military Theory

The Modernization of Armies

Thoughts on War, Liddell-Hart, 1944

The modernization of armies is likely to take two forms, which are to some extent successive stages. The first is motorization; the second is true mechanization—the use of armoured fighting vehicles instead of unprotected men fighting on foot or horseback.

As the transformation proceeds, an army, having become as a whole strategically mobile, will re-group itself into two fighting parts with separate tactical functions: one a close-fighting part, composed of semi-mechanized infantry, and the other a mobile-fighting part, composed entirely of armoured-fighting vehicles. The close-fighting units would be employed to clear hilly and wooded country, to gain river-crossings, to evict the enemy from villages or trench systems, to occupy strategic points, an to act as general handymen. The mobile-fighting units would manoeuvre widely to turn the enemy's flanks and attack his lines of supply. If they encounter an enemy in a well-prepared position bristling with anti-tank guns, their tactics will probably be to harass the inert foe by fire while they cut off his supplies of food, petrol, and ammunition--until he is driven either to surrender or to expose himself in an attempt to get away. When acting in direct combination, the close-fighting part of an army would be used to pin and paralyse the opponent while the mobile-fighting part would carry out a decisive manoeuvre against his rear. (April 1930.)

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Monday, 20 April 2015

Redvers Buller
Topic: Officers

Redvers Buller

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

[Redvers] Buller was archetypical of the British field grade officer of the second half of the nineteenth century. It was a time when a career officer still needed few qualifications to follow the military trade beyond outstanding personal courage and the ability to conform with the contemporary concept of a gentleman. Buller was pre-eminent on both counts, and his courage verged on sheer rashness. He may have known the meaning of the word fear, but there is no evidence that he ever let it influence his conduct and he had no tolerance for it in others. His horsemanship was superb and his magnificent endurance let him ride most men into the ground.

He also possessed a very high order of personal leadership. He based his command on the pure force of his personality; he was stern without unjust harshness, and his demands were high but never more than he was giving himself. His enthusiasm was infectious, and he was one of the few Imperial officers who could squeeze out of irregular volunteers the performance and reliability expected of professional troops. He was, in fact, one of that small and fabled band of leaders men cheerfully follow to hell.

There were, unfortunately, serious flaws in his talents, and although the authorities were vouchsafed a glimpse of them at a critical moment in 1879, they passed unnoticed and their full import did not become apparent for another twenty years. His drinking was not yet a problem, but he had a terrible temper and his treatment of civilians was even brusquer than Wolseley's. He had threatened to horsewhip correspondents on the Gold Coast who filed copy that displeased him, and he once rose and kicked out of a mess tent a reporter who said he would read personal mail in search of a story. His leadership, moreover, so bright and sure when he rode at the head of a troop, simply did not extend beyond the range of his own voice. His powers of administration and organization were low, his grasp of strategy even lower. He was vociferous rather than articulate, and his positive manner masked the fact that what he said and wrote was not always what he actually had in mind. He was also indecisive. He made a superb major, a mediocre colonel, and an abysmally poor general.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Sunday, 19 April 2015

The Soldier's Load; Vietnam
Topic: Soldiers' Load

The Soldier's Load; Vietnam

Achilles in Vietnam; Combat Trauma and the Undoing of Character, Jonathan Shay, M.D., Ph.D., 1994

We carried enough firepower to act like a company. Six people—that's hard to believe, but we did. We had a small arsenal with us.

I carried six frags, four Willie Peters, two LAWs--that's like a bazooka, a rocket--two belts of [M-]60 machine gun, thirty clips of sub-Thompson ammo, plus two boxes of .45 ammo. I had a thirtyought-six with two boxes of ammo, my knives, and a .357 pistol. Everybody carried two belts of ammo, and the Sixty [the M 60 machine gunner] would carry, he'd carry two full cases of ammo, plus two belts hooked, and just about everything I was carrying. 'Cept like we all had different weapons. ____ had a 16 [M 16]. 1 don't know why he walked around with a 16. ____ had the 60. ____ was carrying a grease gun, it's like a Thompson, called a burp gun, German, shot .45 ammo…

I carried a sawed-off shotgun, too. For brush. When I got into thick, thick shit, and the shit was hitting the fan, that's how I blew my hole through. Depending on what area you're working, that's what you took… [The team had] one 60, one Thompson, one burp gun, an M-16, an M-79 thumper, a BAR. Actually we had like two machine guns, because the BAR was just like it. And we all carried Claymores and trip flares and flashlights, three of us carried two LAWs, and a belt of M-79. YOU carried what you wanted to carry. We had more weapons than the company did.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Saturday, 18 April 2015

Too Good Not to Share: Seals vs. Rangers
Topic: Humour

I'll bet they didn't see *that* coming.

Posted here on the message board Military Stories by member roman_fyseek (2014)

Operation Agile Provider, 1994(?). I'm TDY from Fort Drum, NY to Little Creek in Virginia Beach where we've spent the last 5 months planning a major joint-forces exercise on humanitarian relief in hostile environments. This is likely the result of the disaster that came out of Operation Restore Hope in Somalia. I say "we've planned." That's a lie. I'm a secretary to O-6s and an O-7. I'm not planning shit. I'm typing.

So, here it is, month 6 and exercise kick-off. We've moved from Little Creek to Cherry Point, North Carolina. We're calling it Oceana or some crap. We have maps that look like the North Carolina coastline except for this massive land-mass jutting out into the Atlantic like a very straight erection. I wish I'd kept that map but, I didn't.

The exercise kicks off with Navy elements delivering supplies to Army elements for distribution among the local skinnies who are played by linguists and other spooks. Some operations are disrupted by hostiles. Let the games begin.

Now, in a former life, I was a radio operator for 4 years. As such, I'm a willing volunteer to keep radio watch over all of the networks. I have 4 radios, each tuned to a different frequency and each with a different crypto-tape. One is the humanitarian relief network. One is Navy SEALs. One is Army Rangers. One is the command-and-control.

Most of the radio-watch involves me making log entries documenting what time certain events occur so that we have a good time-line. Sometimes, somebody will come into my office and have me transmit "Intel" on one net or another to move the game along. Sometimes, I have to play the role of REMF and take SPOT reports that should coincide with the documentation in a binder.

Like, if somebody calls in a report of 50 hostile armored personnel carriers and my list says they should see 6, they get dinged on shitty intel.

So, late, one evening, the SEAL net is buzzing with activity so, I call one of our staff SEALs on his cell phone (back when cell-phones weighed 11 pounds) and ask him if he wants to come in to monitor. He says that he'll be there in about 10 minutes and I should also call the Army Ranger guy because something big is supposed to happen tonight. I call and the Ranger guy spontaneously appears in my office. Pretty sure he was asleep in his car outside.

Together, we all huddle around the radios. The SEAL has taken the handset for his network, the Ranger has the handset for his.

I have the log form thingy and a pen.

The SEALs have the enemy camp in sight. I glance at the clock, it is 23:30. I make a note. The C&C net tells me to inform them that the operation is a go. I make a note. The staff SEAL relays the information to his network. I casually mention that I'm the radio operator. He waves his shiny O-3 collar at me. I weep.

Jerk. (actually, he was a hell of a nice guy)

23:55. SEAL net says that they're in position. Now, something weird about this whole operation. The Ranger net is completely silent. I have inside information that the SEALs are attacking the Rangers. I suspect that the Ranger E-7 knows this, too but, in the interest of good wargames, he's not keying the mic to warn them. It's still very strange that they don't seem to be aware of the SEAL element sneaking up on them. In my mind, I can either picture them right up against the perimeter of the Ranger camp or 18 miles away. I guess SEALs are super fast and will cover the 18 miles in the 5 minutes remaining before midnight.

By the way, if you ever hear gunfire commence at exactly midnight? That's the U.S. Military. You should be okay to go back to sleep. You hear that shit start at 9:37 in the evening? Be afraid.

Midnight strikes and the SEAL net comes alive with SPOT reports and the sound of blank rounds being fired.

Then, complete and utter silence.

For 15 minutes.

Lieutenant SEAL, SFC Ranger, and I sit watching four completely silent radios and each other for the entire 15 minutes.

Radio silence is broken, "Headquarters, Headquarters, this is SEAL team."

I snatch the handset from the LT. "SEAL team, this is headquarters."

"Headquarters, we're going to need a bus."

Shit. Injuries. I've seen exactly enough cop shows to know that "bus" is code for "ambulance."

"SEAL, this is headquarters, how many wounded?"

"Wounded? No. I... I don't think there are wounded. We just need a bus to these coordinates (he throws an 8 digit grid at me)."

At this point, SFC Ranger stands up and starts walking toward the window. LT SEAL stares at me.

"SEAL, this is headquarters. What do you mean by 'bus'?"

"A bus! A schoolbus or a freaking greyhound! I don't really care which. We've got some 30 boy scouts out here all screaming for their mommies and the scout leader is demanding a bus and a hotel!"

Over the next 3 hours, SFC Ranger laughed so hard that I thought he was going to puke. LT SEAL spent most of this time screaming into the radio that the team needed to get their shit together and get the situation resolved with the boy scout troupe.

During this time, we learn that the boy scouts had asked for a site to do a camp-out and they were about 2 miles away from where they were supposed to be. The Army had donated a GP Medium tent and 30 cots and fart-bags. The SEALs had noticed an extreme lack of perimeter around the 'Ranger' camp and the big-assed GP medium tent didn't tip them off that they were also a couple of miles off course.

The Ranger net called in a report at 0600, their scheduled time, with "Nothing Significant to Report" and that started another wild laughing fit from SFC Ranger.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Friday, 17 April 2015

Wolseley Barracks, 1965
Topic: Wolseley Barracks

Wolseley Barracks, 1965

Wolseley Barracks, 1965

This air photo shows Wolseley Barracks as it was in 1965. It is cropped from a much larger compiled air photo of London, provided on line by Matthew Trevithink in his —MTBlog post Zoomify: London, Ontario in 1965.

Those familiar with Wolseley Barracks will recognize the buildings from the 1950s reconstruction of the base, and will observe the remaining older buildings around Wolseley Hall and the Royal School Building and along the west side of the property.

Compare this photo to these other views of Wolseley Barracks:

The Royal Canadian Regiment Museum

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, 17 April 2015 12:20 AM EDT
Thursday, 16 April 2015

"Fall In!"
Topic: Drill and Training

"Fall In!"

The Last of the Gentlemen's Wars; A Subaltern's Journal of the War in South Africa 1899-1902, Major-General J.F.C. Fuller, Mcmxxxvii

The dust storm blew during the whole of the 27th and 28th, then, on the 29th, an almost worse affliction befell us. I was dozing in my tent, at last free from dust and flies, when suddenly the 'Fall in' was sounded, followed by the 'double'. I seized my helmet, carbine and equipment and fell in with my company. I remember one captain appearing in vest, football shorts, white tennis shoes, helmet and carbine. Considering the suddenness of the alarm I thought it a bit rough when a few minutes later he was checked off for not being properly dressed on parade!

What was all the trouble about? We soon discovered—it was a route march. We formed fours and marched some five miles into the desert; there I slept in a hole in the ground, after which we all marched back again. On the way home somehow or other the advanced guard got lost in the hills, so we halted and for nearly three hours sounded the 'retire', the 'no parade', the 'disperse', etc., but without the slightest result. Then, guardless, we turned towards camp, a worse dust storm than ever submerging us, to find that the subaltern in command of the advanced guard had brought it in hours ago. This was all right, though very unmilitary; but it was more distressing to find that during our absence he had eaten up the last pot of strawberry jam.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Wednesday, 15 April 2015

El Alamein 1942
Topic: The Field of Battle

El Alamein

Military Customs, Major T.J. Edwards, M.B.E., F.R.Hist.S., 1947

And so all through the centuries the British soldier has sung his victorious way through numerous battlefields all over the world, quite undaunted by adverse circumstances.

At the Battle of El Alamein in October, 1942, an American officer was attached to a British armoured division. He witnessed our advance through the Axis artillery barrage and through the well-set minefields. Writing to a friend in New York, he said:

"Incidentally, while I'm on the subject, I'd like to say something about the British Tommy. There's no finer or braver fighting man in the world than the Tommy. For sheer guts and ability to keep coming back time and after, he has no superiors. I remember vividly one night at Alamein, just before the push, that to me exemplifies the fighting qualities of the British. It was in the southern sector, and the Jerries were tucked in snugly behind three minefields. They were trying to get through the minefields. The idea was that the tanks were to blast their way through the minefield gap, spread out on the other side of the fields, and work their way forward. We were being followed up by a unit of light infantry.

"Well, the tanks got through the minefields all right, and the medical officer and I stopped on the other side of the third gap, about three hundred yards behind the tanks. Then all hell broke loose as Jerry opened up with everything he had: 88s, heavy ack-ack fired along the ground, small arms, everything. The tanks were forced to drop back on us, and we had so many casualties we couldn't back up. And then, in the face of one of the worst barrages I have seen, the infantry came up to us and started through.

"I have never witnessed anything like it. At a steady walk, with their rifles at the port, looking straight ahead, they marched into it. I saw men with their heads blown off as they walked, men with arms and legs shot away. There was no hope of getting through, but they kept on, wave after wave of them, and they marched in singing. Usually you could just sort of feel the beat of it under the barrage, but occasionally, for a few brief seconds, the noise of the firing would lift and you'd hear their voices rolling out. I don't think I have ever felt such pride in fellow-men. I was just mightily proud of mankind in general."

What a tribute to the dauntless spirit and sense of duty of the British soldier!

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Tuesday, 14 April 2015

US Army Style Rules
Topic: Staff Duties

US Army Style Rules

US Department of the Army 600-67; taken from The Joint Staff Officer's Guide 1993, AFSC PUB 1

1.     Put the recommendation, conclusion, or reason for writing in the first or second paragraph.

2.     Use the active voice.

3.     Use short sentences (15 words or less).

4.     Use short words (three syllables or fewer).

5.     Write paragraphs no more than 1 inch deep.

6.     Use correct spelling, grammar, and punctuation.

7.     Use "I", "You", and "We" as subjects of sentences.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Monday, 13 April 2015

South Africa Battle Honours for the Canadian Militia
Topic: Battle Honours

26 Canadian Units to Participate in Boer War Honors

Battle Honor "South Africa" to be Embroidered in Regimental Color
King's Approval Given
Seven provinces of Dominion Represented in List—Five Quebec Regiments Are Included

The Montreal Gazette, 13 June 1933
(By the Canadian Press)

Ottawa, June 12. — Thirty-two years after the peace of Vereeniging, which brought the Boer War to a close, 26 units of the Canadian Militia have now been awarded with the battle honor, "South Africa," to be embroidered on their regimental color. Announcement to this effect was made from the headquarters of the Defence Department here today.

Approval of this honor by His Majesty has been sent to the department. The units whose color is thus enriched obtain the award under the same conditions as governed that of similar honors to the yeomanry and volunteer regiments of the British Army.

All of the seven provinces of Canada which were in existence at the time for the South African campaign are represented in the list. In Ontario 12 regiments secure the honor, in Quebec, five, in Nova Scotia, three, in New Brunswick and Manitoba, two each, and one each for British Columbia and Prince Edward Island.

One of the regiments, the Saint John Fusiliers, gets the honour for two periods—"South Africa, 1899-1900,' '1902'."

Sixteen secure the honor "South Africa, 1899-1900." These are the Queen's own Rifles, the Royal Grenadiers and the 48th Highlanders, of Toronto; the Governor General's Foot Guards and the Ottawa Highlanders, of Ottawa; the Canadian Fusiliers (City of London Regiment) and the Middlesex Light Infantry, of London, Ont.; the Canadian Grenadier Guards, the Victoria Rifles of Canada, the Black Watch (R.H.) of Canada, of Montreal; the Royal Rifles of Canada, of Quebec; the Halifax Rifles and the Princess Louise Fusiliers, of Halifax; the Cumberland Highlanders, of Amherst; the Winnipeg Rifles, of Winnipeg; and the British Columbia Regiment (Duke of Connaught's Own Rifles) of Vancouver.

Nine regiments will carry the honor "South Africa, 1900." These are the Governor General's Body Guard, of Toronto; the Princess Louise Dragoon Guards, of Ottawa; the 1st Hussars, of London, Ont.; the 12th Manitoba Dragoons, of Winnipeg; the 17th Duke of York's Royal Canadian Hussars, of Montreal; the Royal Hamilton Light Infantry, of Hamilton; the princess of Wales own Regiment, of Kingston; the York Regiment, of Fredericton, N.B.; and the Prince Edward island Highlanders, of Charlottetown, P.E.I.

elipsis graphic

The South African War broke out on October 11, 1899, and two days later the Earl of Minto, then Governor-General, cabled to London an offer of 1,000 men to serve as infantry. This was accepted, and the troops were mobilized at Quebec on October 28, sailing on the S.S. Sardinian for Cape Town on October 30. This—Canada's first overseas contingent—was named the 2nd (Special Service) Battalion, Royal Canadian Regiment.

On November 2 a second contingent was offered by Canada, but not for six weeks did the War Office accept. In the meantime the British troops in South Africa had suffered the reverses of Stormberg, Magersfontein and Colenso. The British Government having on December 13 signified its approval, two battalions of mounted rifles were organized, the first of these becoming known as the Royal Canadian Dragoons, With them on February 22, 1900, went three batteries of field artillery.

Meanwhile, another regiment was mobilized to garrison the citadel at Halifax and thus relieve for active service the Imperial army troops stationed there.

A cavalry regiment, Lord Strathcona's Horse, was raised in Manitoba, British Columbia and the North West Territories by Lord Strathcona, who was then High Commissioner for Canada in London, and these also were despatched to South Africa.

As the war progressed Canada's effort increased, and four more regiments of mounted rifles were sent to the front. This force, however, was on the high seas when peace was proclaimed.

Altogether, this country raised 8,372 officers and other ranks for service, including the regiment stationed at Halifax. Towards the close of the war 1,200 men from the Canadian cavalry units were enlisted in the South African constabulary.

The Canadian troops operated under Colonel Smith Dorrien and Colonel E.A.H. Alderson, both of whom later commanded much larger forces of troops from this Dominion during the Great War. They were in action and distinguished themselves at Paardeberg and in the battles which punctuated the advance of Lord Roberts to Pretoria.

The Lord Strathcona's Horse operated for a while in Portuguese East Africa, then joined the Natal field force under Sir Redvers Buller. They saw considerable service in both Natal and the Transvaal.

Canadian casualties during the war were 224 killed and 252 wounded. Three Victoria Crosses were won.

Canadian Army Battle Honours

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

Regimental Officers
Topic: Officers

Regimental Officers

Stemming the Tide, Officers and Leadership in the British Expeditionary Force 1914, Edited by Spencer James, 2013

There was a general expectation that a successful commander would be fearless, but there was a clear distinction between courage and competence. A company commander could be strict in enforcing military discipline, but as long as he was never capricious or unfair, and in the discharge of all his duties was perceived to behave as a gentleman, he would usually gain the support and admiration of his men.

In his study of the 2nd Scottish Rifles John Baynes gives an excel1ent account of the officers' mess when the battalion was stationed in Malta in 1914. All unmarried officers lived in the officers' mess furnished, and operated, as much as possible, like a comfortable country house of the period. It had two principal rooms. The first was a large ante-room containing comfortable furniture, newspapers (even the odd book), games and other items of recreation such as a piano, as well as regimental trophies and photographs. The other space was a smaller, but an equally well-appointed dining room. Officers always wore formal dress for dinner.

In this world of their own making most battalions had their idiosyncratic rules and rituals. For example, in the mess of the 2nd Scottish Rifles, only Turkish cigarettes were smoked in the ante-room, and newly joined subalterns, in their first six months, cou1d not address a senior officer unless spoken to first. They also had to wait three years before they could stand on the hearth rug in front of the fire! Two ruIes that were common across most battalions were that a womans name might never be mentioned, nor could shop; or work, be discussed in the mess. This later rule is often cited as evidence for lack of professionalism and intellectualism, but Baynes, himself a serving officer when he wrote his book, suggests that it was an important corrective to the fact that for most of each day officers were immersed in their duties and banning shop in the mess made them discuss something else and thus ensured the area was reserved for relaxation. There was also the ever present danger of mess servants overhearing snippets of conversation, or even the name of an individual soldier, all of which they then could feed into the insatiable battalion rumour machine.

Within a battalion the morale, happiness, and military effectiveness depended upon many factors with the relationship between officers, and the soldiers they commanded recognised as one of the most important. There was a general expectation that a successful commander would be fearless, but there was a clear distinction between courage and competence. A company commander could be strict in enforcing military discipline, but as long as he was never capricious or unfair, and in the discharge of all his duties was perceived to behave as a gentleman, he would usually gain the support and admiration of his men. It was this trust that their officer will do the right thing that had the greatest influence of the behaviour of soldiers on and off the battlefield.

In the twelve years between the Boer War and the First World War the more adventurous young officers would apply to be seconded to colonial forces, mainly in Africa, where there was the possibility of adventure, or even a police action against recalcitrant natives. If they were fortunate enough to be in a battalion serving in India there was the possibility of action along the Afghan border or they could demonstrate their thirst for risk and adventure by gathering information, often in disguise, in the more hostile regions of the North-West Frontier, or indulge in a passion for game hunting, from tigers in lowland jungles to antelope on Himalayan heights.

Most officers carried their schoolboy enthusiasm for games, both individual and team, into the army and participated, with their men, in inter-company sports. Many would play in inter-regimental competitions, and a significant number played their chosen sport at a standard high enough to represent the Army, or play for one of the high-class civilian clubs. These sporting activities were not only to encourage, and sustain, physical fitness among officers and men. Officers consciously used inter-company, and inter-regimental, competitions, to inoculate in their men a competitive spirit, and a fierce pride in their unit, for it was widely recognised that the morale of infantry soldiers was intimately tied to strong regimental loyalties. Sport was fiercely competitive and physical fitness was taken very seriously. Baynes notes that company officers took pride in being genuinely fit and tough, and records a young officer of the 2nd Scottish Rifles who made a bet that he could ride a mile, run a mile, swim a mile and row a mile all within the space of one hour. He won his bet with seven minutes to spare.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Saturday, 11 April 2015

Maxim and Lewis Guns Not Rivals
Topic: Militaria

Weapons that are Winning the War

Maxim and Lewis Guns Not Rivals

The Independent, St Petersburg, Florida; 19 Dec 1917

Washington, D.C., Dec. 19.—American army officers who have visited the front line tell of considerable rivalry and argument among American and British soldiers regarding the respective merits of the Lewis gun, invented by Isaac Lewis, of the Unites States Army, and the Vickers-Maxim, which the British claim as strictly their own invention, forgetting that Sir Hiram Maxim was born in Maine.

As a matter of fact, the ordnance experts do not consider the Lewis and maxim guns as rivals. Within the past year the use of both the Maxim and Lewis guns has undergone a great change. Each weapon is now working strictly within its limitations, and except by accident one does not attempt to do the work of the other.

The Lewis gun was not designed to be a machine-gun. The Machine-gun is now an artillery weapon, the Lewis gun an infantry weapon. Like the Vickers-Maxim, it has an automatic recoil. But, apart from that, the two guns have little in common.

The Lewis is fired like a rifle; the Maxim is fired like a machine. The Lewis is a mobile weapon, almost equalling a rifle; the mobility of the Maxim is limited.

The Lewis gun is operated by one man; the Maxim by two. The Lewis goes "over the top" in the first wave of an assault, while the Maxim waits until positions have been consolidated. The Lewis fires from a drum, the Maxim from a belt. The Lewis is air-cooled; the Maxim has a water-jacket.

Once the Lewis gun is considered not as a machine-gun, but as a super automatic rifle, it is recognized as a perfect weapon, and as such is honored in France by having a school for instruction in its use all to itself. There, gunners are taught how to mount the Lewis gun on a parapet or on an aeroplane; to fire it from horseback or from the back of another man; to use it against a too-daring, low-flying enemy aeroplane; to co-operate with the machine-gun or to fight alone.

The Lewis is a rifle, a bit longer than the familiar Lee-Enfield, and with a huge cylinder encasing the inner barrel. It fires from a trigger, and so long as the operator keeps the trigger pressed the Lewis will fire—until the forty-seven cartridges of the drum are exhausted. It is a matter of some 10 seconds to put on another drum.

The gun rests on a little tripod and is fired from the shoulder. Germans have been known to fire the same type of gun from the hip, but the preferred position is lying down straight behind the gun, thus giving the enemy about one foot of frontage to fire at in return.

The Lewis gun cannot be used like the Maxim to form a barrage when the troops of the Allies are going over to prevent relief coming up to the enemy position under attack. The range of the Lewis is changed by the least shake of the gunner's arm, and its bullets might be deflected into our own troops.

The rate at which the Lewis gun fires is seven hundred rounds per minute. That is to say, while the drum is on the bullets leave the rifle at that rate. The actual top-notch firing amount to five drums or so per minute, with 47 shots to the drum.

But both the Lewis and the Vickers-Maxim are indispensables. They are comrades in arms, and not rivals. The American and British troops on the western front are trained to use both and frequently find room for the use of the Hotchkiss in addition. The German army uses guns of both types and so does practically every other army in the field.

The Royal Canadian Regiment in the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Friday, 10 April 2015

Shooting Competition Rules 1864
Topic: Canadian Militia

Branch Rifle Association
Military District No. 1, Upper Canada

The Quebec Mercury, 3 August 1864

Patron: His Excellency Viscount Monck, Governor General, &c.
Vice-Patron: Sir W.F. Williams, Bart, K.C.B., Commander of the Forces

Members of the Council:

Lieut.-Col. P.P. Harris, President;
Lieut.-Col. Aumond, 1st Vice President;
Lieut.-Col. D.M. Grant, 2nd Vice President;
Lieut.-Col. Coffin; Major Montgomery; T.C. Clarke, Esq.; Captain Forrest; Major Donaldson, late H.M. 41st Regt.; Major Gilmour; Captain Perry; Lieut. Horne; Lieut. MacNab; Lieut. Perry; Lieur Forrest; Captain Gallway, Secretary; Captain H.V. Noel, Treasurer.

The Annual Match Will take place
at the City of Ottawa
on Tuesday, 9th August, 1864,
And following days.

To which Marksmen from the whole Province are respectfully invited.
All the Prizes are Open to the Competition of Volunteers.
Shooting to commence at Nine o'clock, A.M., each day.


The size of the targets will be respectively:—

100, 200 and 300 yards, 4 feet wide by 6 feet high; bulls-eye 1 foot wide by 2 feet high, center 2 feet wide by 4 feet high.
At 400, 400 and 600 yards, 6 feet wide by 6 feet high; bulls-eye 2 feet wide by 2 feet high, center 4 feet wide by 4 feet high.
At 700, 800 and 900 yards, 8 feet wide by 6 feet high; bulls-eye 2 feet wide by 3 feet high, center 4 feet high by 6 feet wide.

Prize List:

Class No. 1.

Open to all comers and rifles; Entrance 50 cents; Range 200 and 300 yards —3 rounds at each round.

  • First Prize —$30, presented by Association.
  • Second Prize —$15.
  • Third Prize —$10.
  • Fourth Prize —$5.

Class No. 2.

Open to all members of the Active Force and Soldiers of the Queen's Service [the latter without entrance fee]; Enfield Rifles Government issue; Range 300 and 400 yards —3 rounds at each round; Entrance 50 cents.

  • First Prize —$30, presented by Association.
  • Second Prize —$15.
  • Third Prize —A Silver Tankard, by Lieut.-Col. Coffin.
  • Fourth Prize —$10, presented by Association.
  • Fifth Prize —$5.

Class No. 3.

Open to all comers and rifles; Range 400 yards —5 rounds; Entrance 50 cents.

  • First Prize —$30, presented by Association.
  • Second Prize —$20.
  • Third Prize —$15.
  • Fourth Prize —$10.
  • Fifth Prize —$5.

Class No. 4.

Open only to Members of the Active Force, Sedentary Militia, and Soldiers of the Queen's Service [the latter without entrance fee]; Enfield Rifles Government issue; Range 400 and 500 yards —3 rounds at each round; Entrance 50 cents.

  • First Prize —$30, presented by Association.
  • Second Prize —$15.
  • Third Prize —A Silver Watch, by Lieut.-Col. Grant.
  • Fourth Prize —A Statuette of Lord Clyde, presented by Alex. Burritt, Esq.
  • Fifth Prize —$10, By Hon. James Skead.
  • Sixth Prize —$5, presented by Association.

Class No. 5.

Open to members of all Rifle Associations in Upper and Lower Canada, regularly organized; Entrance 75 cents; Range 500 and 600 yards —3 rounds at each range; Enfield rifles, Government issue.

  • First Prize —A piece of plate value $50, to be selected by winner.
  • Second Prize —$20, by J.D. Slatter, Esq.
  • Third Prize —A silver Pitcher, by Lieut.-Col. Aumond.

Class No. 6 —Company Match.

Open to Members of all regularly organized Volunteer Companies in Canada; Enfield Rifles Government issue; Five members from each Company; range 400 and 600 yards —3 rounds at each range; Entrance $2.50 per Company.

  • First Prize —$30, presented by Association.
  • Second Prize —$20.
  • Third Prize —$15.
  • Fourth Prize —A Silver Medal, presented by T.R. Toole, Esq., Royal Victoria Hotel.

Class No. 7.

Open to all Volunteers, and soldiers in the Queen's Service [the latter without entrance fee]; Enfield Rifles Government issue; 5 rounds; Range 600 yards; Entrance 50 cents.

  • First Prize —$20, presented by Association.
  • Second Prize —$10.
  • Third Prize —A statuette of General Havelock, presented by Robt. Skead, Esq..
  • Fourth Prize —$4, presented by the Association.
  • Fifth Prize —A Valise, presented by Mr. Geo. May.

Class No. 8 —Champion Prize.

Open to all comers and rifles; Range 450 and 700 yards; 3 rounds each; entrance 50 cents.

  • First Prize —A piece of plate, value $30, to be selected by winner..
  • Second Prize —$15, presented by the Association.
  • Third Prize —A silver medal, presented by Lieut.-Col Jackson.
  • Fourth Prize —Ornamental stove, presented by Mr. Thomas Isaac.

Class No. 9.

Open to winners of all preceding matches. —Distance 600 and 800 yards; 3 rounds at each range; entrance fee $1.00.

  • First Prize —A Turner Rifle, presented by Major Allan Gilmour.
  • Second Prize —$15, presented by Association.

Class No. 10.

Prize presented to the Association by the ladies of Ottawa.

To be competed for by the respective Volunteer Corps in Ottawa; 10 Marksmen to be selected from each Company; Long or Short Enfield Rifles, Government issue. The prize to be awarded to the Company making the highest aggregate score.

Officers commanding each Corps are requested to transmit under their respective signatures, before Saturday 6th August, the names of the ten marksmen selected to compete for the prize.

Class No. 11 —Rifle Derby.

Ranges 300, 500 and 800 yards —2 shots at each range; Entrance fee $2.00.

  • First Prize —One-Third of the Entrance Money.
  • Second Prize —Two-Ninths of the Entrance Money.
  • Third Prize —One-Ninth of the Entrance Money.
  • Fourth Prize —Winner to save his Entrance fee, the remainder to go to the Funds of the Association.

Class No. 12 —Consolation Match.

Open to all competitors, who have not won prizes; Ranges 400, 600 and 800 yards —3 rounds at each range.

  • First Prize —A Rifle, by T.C. Clarke, Esq.
  • Second Prize —$15, presented by Association.
  • Third Prize —Cloth for Suit of Tweed, presented by Magee & Russell..
  • Fourth Prize —Silver Mug, by Captain Forrest.

Class No. 13.

Average prize to Marksman who makes the highest aggregate score with Enfield rifle.

  • First prize —Ornamental Time-piece, value $30, by J.M. Currier, M.P.
  • Second prize —$20, presented by Association.

Class No. 14.

Average prize to Marksman who makes the highest aggregate score in matches open to all comers and rifles.

  • First prize —Silver Camp-Kettle, presented by Hom. Jas. Skead, M.L.O.
  • Second prize —$20, presented by Association.

Rules and Regulations

1.     The Council will decide all disputed points on the ground; three to form a quorum. Their decision to be final.

2.     Military and Volunteer matches to be shot for by officers and men in uniform.

3.     No person to be allowed on the ground with a loaded rifle, except with the firing squad in position.

4.     All rifles to be loaded under the inspection of the Superintendent of Firing.

5.     Open sights alone allowed. Hair Triggers and Artificial Rests prohibited.

6.     Rifles which have made the highest scores shall not be taken from the ground until tested, and if found to be less than the minimum pull of trigger, the prize will be awarded to the next best shot. The pull of trigger to be not less than six pounds in Enfield Rifles —in all others three pounds.

7.     Undecided shots or ties shall be determined by one shot fired at the longest range of the class, and repeated in case of tie, until decided. Ricochets to have no value.

8.     No telescopes of any kind shall be used at the match. Any person using them, or communicating with persons using them, shall be ineligible for a prize in that match, but after the men are squadded any competitor who chooses, can obtain two sighting shots in any position, by paying 25 cents.

9.     The firing will be accorded to the latest Army Regulations; Hythe position except in classes 1, 3, 8, 9, 11 and 12, which may be any position not involving artificial rests.

10.     The size of the targets will be respectively —100, 200 and 300 yards, 4 feet wide by 6 feet high; bulls-eye 1 foot wide by 2 feet high, center 2 feet wide by 4 feet high. At 400, 400 and 600 yards, 6 feet wide by 6 feet high; bulls-eye 2 feet wide by 2 feet high, center 4 feet wide by 4 feet high. At 700, 800 and 900 yards, 8 feet wide by 6 feet high; bulls-eye 2 feet wide by 3 feet high, center 4 feet high by 6 feet wide.

11.     Bulls-eye to count 4; centres 3; and outers 2; at all ranges.

12.     Competitors will not be allowed to use more than one rifle nor make but one entry in any class; nor shall more than one person be allowed to fire from any rifle in the same class.

13.     In Volunteer and Military matches none but Government ammunition shall be used.

14.     The firing part must conform to the orders of the officers in command, nor shall any man cap his rifle till he has assumed the firing position, nor shall any person carry a loaded rifle on the ground except in the firing party.

15.     All entries to be, made personally, or addressed to Captain Gallwey, Secretary, at Ottawa, on or before Saturday, Sixth August, if by letter postpaid. Post entries may be made up to the time of roll call, on the payment of 25 cents additional. Any person not answering his name before the first round is fired shall be disqualified and forfeit his entry fee.

Superintendence of Testing Rifles,
Capt. Lett.

Superintendence of Firing,
Sergt. Powley, Coldstream Guards.

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, 10 April 2015 12:02 AM EDT
Thursday, 9 April 2015

Regular Force Messes Re-Open Sundays (1949)
Topic: Canadian Army

Permanent Force Messes Permitted to Open on Sundays

Toronto Authorities Grant Army Request

Ottawa Citizen, 7 June 1949

Permanent force messes in Ottawa and elsewhere in Ontario have again been authorized to sell liquor on Sunday and at any time during the day or night, The Citizen learned yesterday.

Navy, army and air force messes had ceased to sell beer and liquor on Sunday since early March when Defence Minister Claxton ruled that "all service messes will obey the laws of the province." His action was brought about as a result of news stories stating that Ottawa police and liquor authorities were going to "crack down" on local reserve messes which were open on Sunday because some of them had allegedly been selling liquor to minors.

Deputy Minister Sauve had earlier blamed misbehavior of juveniles on liquor which had been served to them in reserve force messes.

Official sanction for active force messes to reopen was given by LCBO authorities in Toronto after representations had been made to them by Defence headquarters officials.

Legal authorities at Defence headquarters drew attention of the Ontario government to the fact that permanent force personnel are not allowed to drink liquor in their rooms and that their barracks constitute their homes. Civilians, they said were permitted to drink in their own homes any day of the week and any hour of the day or night. A soldier, sailor or airman, they argued, should be entitled to the same privileges with due regard to barrack regulations.

The Ontario government apparently saw the light and amended its liquor regulations to permit active force messes to make beer and liquor available to service personnel seven days a week, day or night, without regard to the provisions of cocktail lounge license conditions.

Relaxation of the regulations applies only to the permanent force messes, a defence headquarters spokesman told The Citizen and only because the mess constitutes a serviceman's home. Reserve force personnel living at home do not come under the amended regulations because they have the privilege of drinking in their own homes.

Reserve navy, army and air force messes will, therefore, remain closed on Sunday, it was stated.

Three Affected Here

Three service meses in Ottawa and district which have been authorized to re-open were serving liquor last Sunday. These were Rockcliffe airport, Beaver barracks, on Metcalfe street, and Gloucester street mess for officers.

A spokesman for one of the messes told The Citizen: "We are prepared to control sale of liquor and see that no minors are served and that there is absolutely no abuse under privileges granted. If anyone shows the least sign of becoming obnoxious, he will be expelled —but there has never been any signs of this sort of behavior on a Sunday."

Officers commanding reserve force units in Ottawa told The Citizen they had received no word regarding authority to re-open messes on Sunday for the sale of liquor.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Lanyards and the Artillery
Topic: Tradition

Lanyards and the Artillery

Brigadier KA Timbers, Royal Artillery Institution; as posted on the Great War Forum

There has long been a tale about Gunners wearing a white lanyard for cowardice, allegedly for deserting their guns. Of course, this story is nothing more than a piece of leg pulling; the information that follows is historical facts.

Lanyards associated with dress came into use in the late 19th Century, when field guns such as the 12 and 15 pounders used ammunition which had fuses set with a fuse key. The key was a simple device, and every man had one, attached to a lanyard worn aroundhis neck. The key itself was kept in the breast pocket until needed. The lanyard was simply a piece of strong cord, but it was gradually turned into something more decorative, smartened up with 'Blanco', and braided, taking its present form. Prior to the South African War, Gunners were issued with steel folding hoof picks, carried on the saddle or in the jacket. In about 1903 these were withdrawn and replaced by jack-knifes, which were carried in the left breast pocket of the service dress attached to a lanyard over the left shoulder.

In the war years that followed, the lanyard could be used as an emergency firing lanyard forthose guns which had a trigger mechanism, allowing the gunner to stand clear of the gun's recoil.

The question of which shoulder bore the lanyard depends on the date. There is no certainty about this, but the change from the left shoulder to the right probably took place at the time of the Great War, when the bandolier was introduced, because it was worn over the left shoulder. But there are some who insist that 1924 was the date of change, when the sloping of rifles over the left shoulder would soil the white lanyard.

Eventually, in 1933, the end of lanyard was simply tucked into the breast pocket without the jack-knife, though many may remember that it was often kept in place with the soldiers pay book! On the demise of Battledress, the lanyard disappeared for a short tie, but returned as part of the dress of the Royal Regiment Of Artillery in 1973. It may surprise some readers that this particular piece of leg pulling is repeated in various forms. The Gold stripes in the Gunners stable belt stem — like the blue scarlet — the colours of the uniform at the same time the stable belt was introduced.

It was not a question, as the jokers would have it, of yellow stripes for cowardice! Equally silly is the suggestion that the Gunners grenade has seven flames as opposed to the sappers nine because we lost 2 guns at the same point in history! For those still plagued by jokers, the simplest answer to this kind of leg pulling is to invite the joker to present his evidence. No change to any of the army's dress regulations can take place without a formal order, and let us be realistic! it is ludicrous to suppose that the Army Board in its wisdom would countenance the idea of a 'Badge of shame' to be worn by any branch of the service. It would guarantee that no one would ever join it! And since no such evidence exists, the joker's story falls flat on its face. One might even ask why other arms and corps wear lanyards — they say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery!


The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, 3 April 2015 9:37 AM EDT
Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Letters from our Soldier Boys – Lester Thompson
Topic: CEF

Letters from our Soldier Boys

The Leader-Mail, Granby, 11 October 1918

From Sergt. Lester Thompson

Somewhere, Sept. 15th, 1918

Dear Miss Coupland:—

No. I "aint" dead yet. I received several letters from people in Canada saying I was "Missing, Believed Dead," after heavy fighting, but not much.

Am enclosing a postcard snap shot of myself, which looks pretty tough but I was looking kind of thin then, lot of heavy marches and my leg still bothered me some, and had to set a good example to the draftees (conscripts) that we were just out on camping-out picnics.

It is three years to-day since I came to France and two years ago the anniversary of the Battle of Courcelette, and a little later the hard fighting for Regina Trench. I have had two leaves to England of ten days and I am looking the fourth winter in the face, but it cannot be much worse than the first when it rained or snowed 30 out of 31 days in January.

I have not been in much of the recent fighting as on the second day of the big push the sergeant detailed for a Course at a Military School was missing, and I was sent instead. Heard since he got a nice Blighty and was in England. I saw one of the sergeants of my Company lying dead in front of a row of 8-inch guns that they had taken, but he would take no more.

Things are looking a lot brighter now, a lot different from this spring.

Well, I must quit now. Yours ever,

Lester Thompson.

Canadian Army Battle Honours

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Monday, 6 April 2015

Milton Gregg, V.C., Sergeant at Arms
Topic: The RCR

Sergeant-at-Arms Gallant Record

The Montreal Gazette, 1 March 1934

He brings to his new duties a genuine wish to fill the post of sergeant-at-arms in a manner wholly in keeping with the finest traditions of the public service. There is no doubt, too, that his appointment meets with the acclaim of all his comrades of the Great War who realize that his selection is a tribute to the entire Canadian corps, living and dead.

Captain William Q. Ketchum writes, in the Calgary Daily Herald of the gallant record of Major M.F. Gregg, V.C.

An important symbol of British parliamentary tradition, the post of sergeant-at-arms of the Canadian House of Commons, calls for unusual qualities, he says.

These particular qualities are possessed to a marked degree by Major Milton Fowler Gregg, V.C., M.C. and Bar, who has been selected from a host of applicants including a number of officers of senior rank. A remarkable feature of the appointment is that Major Gregg, until a recent meeting with Mr. Bennett in Ottawa, was personally unknown to him and, in fact, it is understood, had not even applied for the position.

The new sergeant-at-arms, who succeeds Col. H.J. Coghill, is president of the Vimy Branch of the Canadian Legion in Halifax. Among returned soldiers from coast to coast the appointment is construed, and perhaps rightly so, as an indication that Canada continues to regard the best of her citizenry soldiery as worthy of the highest in her gift to confer.

Of United Empire Loyalist Descent

Major Gregg, who is 41 years of age, was born in Mountain Dale, New Brunswick, the son of George L. Gregg, a prosperous farmer. Through his mother, Elizabeth Myles, Major Gregg is the descendant of United Empire Loyalists, who came from the Thirteen Colonies to Parr Town, now Saint John, New Brunswick, with the "Spring Fleet," in 1783.

He was educated at the Provincial Normal School, Fredericton, and was graduated from Acadia with the degree of M.A. For a time he taught school in Carleton County, New Brunswick.

At the age of 20 he enlisted with the 13th Battalion, Royal Highlanders of Canada, and is still partial to the kilt by reason of this association. Wearing the famous Black Watch tartan he was wounded at Festubert in 1915 and was convalesced at Edmonton, a hospital in the suburbs of London. Obviously Major Gregg had qualities which singled him out for early promotion even in the picked Montreal battalion, and it occasioned no surprise to his friends when he was recommended for a commission before he became a casualty.

After recovering from the effects of his wound he qualified for the rank of lieutenant at the officers' training course at Cambridge, and was gazetted to that rank in the territorials of the Imperial Army, with the King's Own Lancasters. He remained for two months only with this unit and on the eve of going to France was sent to Canadian headquarters in Argyle House. At this time it was decided to divide the Canadian territorially and as a Maritimer, Major Gregg was sent to the Nova Scotia Regiment at Bramshott, and afterwards transferred to The Royal Canadian Regiment, remaining with this infantry battalion until the end of the war.

He was wounded three times, in 1915, 1917, and 1918.

Major Gregg won his first decoration, the Military Cross, after leading a successful night trench raid at Vimy, June 9, 1917. The Canadian had introduced the practice of making raids on enemy sectors to secure prisoners and documents to ascertain the disposition of enemy troops, and to identify units. Following a three-minute artillery barrage, Lieut. Gregg and a handful of resolute companions went through the wire into the shell-pocked No Man's Land until the German front line was reached. This was cleared out and the second line penetrated where a number of prisoners were captured in a deep dug-out. The raid was highly successful and the intrepid young New Brunswick officers received the white-bordered blue-centred Military Cross. He gained the bar to this distinction at Monchy during the Arras show and the Victoria Cross at Cambrai.

Winning the Victoria Cross

Few winners of the Victoria Cross survive the sacrifice of their heroism. Major Gregg, however, has done so and his friends and official records have supplied the details.

Many Canadian soldiers will remember the Hindenburg Line with its deep dugouts. It was in the Marcoing Line, a section of this system with its deep tunnels, and strong points hitherto considered impregnable that he won the coveted bronze decoration for valor instituted by Queen Victoria in 1856.

Lieut.-Col. C.R.E. Willets, D.S.O., officer commanding The Royal Canadian Regiment, was wounded, the adjutant was killed and the gallant regiment, suffering numerous casualties found its advance obstructed by a heavily defended position. Nothing was visible but bands of uncut wire.

Lieut. Gregg saw no possibility of going forward, but after a quick survey discovered an opening in the wire to the left. Through this gap he crawled on hands and knees, revolver in hand and pockets bulging with Mills bombs. He reached the German line, landed in a shallow trench which he followed to a strong point from which a German machine gun crew of three were pouring murderous fire into khaki-clad Canadians held up by the wire. The R.C.R. officer killed one German with his revolver, wounded the other and the argument of his business-like weapon proved too overwhelming for the third, who surrendered. He advanced to a second menacing strong point where the sight of a Mills bomb with the pin out induced fifteen Germans at the entrance to a deep dugout to throw up their hands.

Their morale restored somewhat when they saw themselves opposed by only one lone figure, the Germans, not knowing how to reach the Canadian lines, wandered off toward a nearby strong point, but Gregg seized a German rifle, picked one or two off and the others capitulated.

In the meantime, inspired by Gregg's gallant conduct, several members of the regiment had followed in his footsteps, so that the position was consolidated.

On that fateful day Lieut.-Col. C.B. Topp, D.S.O., took over The Royal Canadian Regiment for a short time and his personal knowledge of the resourcefulness, courage and initiative shown by Major Gregg, coupled with five other recommendations, won for the young officer the Victoria Cross.

Major Gregg, who is the exemplification of modesty, expresses scepticism over statements that there are men who are never frightened when confronted by the bright eyes of danger, he thinks that what has buoyed up good soldiers in tight situations in the old British tradition of conveying the impression that fear is an alien quality in their make-up. In other words, the theory is to make the other chap feel you are not frightened to stiffen him up. There is a pardonable vanity behind it all, too, in his opinion.

Major Gregg returned to Canada as adjutant of The Royal Canadian Regiment and for a time he held the rank of captain in the Governor-General's Foot Guards.

He has been connected with the New Brunswick Rangers and is brigade major of the 16th Infantry Brigade. His military qualifications are of a high order and include a pass in the militia staff course. He was among the Canadian winners of the Victoria Cross who attended the last reunion in London, England, at which the Prince of Wales took a leading part.

A pre-war romance which had its inception in old Acadia days culminated following the conflict when he parried an old classmate, Miss Amy Dorothy Alward.

He brings to his new duties a genuine wish to fill the post of sergeant-at-arms in a manner wholly in keeping with the finest traditions of the public service. There is no doubt, too, that his appointment meets with the acclaim of all his comrades of the Great War who realize that his selection is a tribute to the entire Canadian corps, living and dead.

The Royal Canadian Regiment in the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Sunday, 5 April 2015

Signalling Corps Is to Be Reorganized (1905)
Topic: Canadian Militia

News of the Militia

Signalling Corps Is to Be Reorganized on a New Basis

The Gazette, Montreal, 21 June 1905

The re-organization of the Signalling Corps as the Canadian Signal Corps has just been authorized by the Department of Militia and Defence and six companies one for each military division and seven troops, one to each mounted brigade, have been decided upon as the establishment. The re-organization will take immediate effect in the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 6th divisions. In the 4th division in which Montreal is situated and the 5th division, the existing sections of the Signalling Corps will be disbanded and following this disbandment re-organization will take place as in the other divisions.

The existing Signalling Corps which was made up of thirteen sections has not proven satisfactory, and the re-organization now pending is expected to place it on a thoroughly efficient basis. The change will necessitate certain alternations in the establishment. Instead of the thirteen sections there will be six companies of the Canadian Signal Corps, and seven troops. It will be organized by companies and troops and each company will be allotted to a division and each troops to a mounted brigade. A service of communication will this be established on a basis in conformity with the organization of the militia generally, and render that service more effective for field work.

The signal companies will be organized in four sections, one section being allotted to the headquarters of each division and one to each infantry brigade. There will be one troop to each mounted brigade. A division signalling officer will be attached to the staff of each division, and will command a signal company when assembled for training. He will also supervise the training of the regimental signallers. The re-organization is made conditional on sufficient funds being available for the necessary increase in the training establishment.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Saturday, 4 April 2015

The Human Factor
Topic: Leadership

If you tell the soldier what you want, and you launch him properly into battle, he will always do his part—he has never let the side down. The British soldier is easy to lead; he is very willing to be led; and he responds at once to leadership.

The Human Factor

The Memoirs of Field-Marshal Montgomery, 1958

But the key to success in battle is not merely to provide tanks, and guns, and other equipment. Of course we want good tanks, and good guns; but what really matters is the man inside the tank, and the man behind the gun. It is 'the man' that counts, and not only the machine. The tank, and the men inside it, are a team; the best tank in the world is useless unless the crew inside it are well trained and have stout hearts. One of the chief factors for success in battle is the human factor. A commander has at his disposal certain human material; what he can make of it will depend entirely on himself If you have got men who are mentally alert, who are tough and hard, who are trained to fight and kill, who are enthusiastic, and who have that infectious optimism and offensive eagerness that comes from physical well-being, and you then give these men the proper weapons and equipment--there is nothing you cannot do.

There are two essential conditions.

First—such men must have faith in God and they must think rightly on the moral issues involved.

Second—you must have mutual confidence between the commander and the troops; any steps you take to establish this confidence will pay a very good dividend; and once you have gained the confidence of your men, you have a pearl of very great price.

A sure method of gaining the confidence of soldiers is success. And I suppose the methods you adopt to obtain success are a life study. I suggest that a study of the military disasters that have overtaken us in our history will reveal that they have been due, basically, to:

  • faulty command or
  • bad staff work or
  • neglect of the human factor,

and sometimes possibly to all three.

If you tell the soldier what you want, and you launch him properly into battle, he will always do his part—he has never let the side down. The British soldier is easy to lead; he is very willing to be led; and he responds at once to leadership.

Once you gain his confidence he will never fail you.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
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

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