The Minute Book
Thursday, 27 August 2015

Clothing, Necessaries, and Badges of Non-Effectives
Topic: The Field of Battle

1617—Disposal of Clothing and Necessaries and Badges of Non-Effectives:—(B)

Extracts from Volumes 5 and 6 of Canadian Army Routine Orders, R.Os. 1541 to 2755, 31 Dec 1942


The following articles may be used in conjunction with the burial of deceased soldiers who have died whilst serving:—

  • Battle Dress:—
    • Blouse.
    • Trousers, pair.
  • Underwear.
  • Shirt.
  • Socks.
  • Badges.

The above items will be struck off the individual M.F.C. 800 but will not be brought back to the Unit's ledger charge and again written off. A note should, however, be made on the M.F.C. 800 against these items to the effect that they were buried with the deceased soldier.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Use of Tanks in Germany
Topic: CEF

Tank Notes — Use of Tanks in Germany.

Military Notes on Training and Instruction, No. 1, U.S. Army, August 1918 (From French Military Advisory Mission Bulletin).

The Germans are said to have stopped the tanks at Cambrai in the following way: The rifle and artillery fire compelled the infantry waves to remain in place; the advancing tanks were easily attacked with grenades (concentrated charges) and with small arms (S. R. M. bullets), once they were cut off, batteries also took part in their destruction.

As a result of this experience the Germans are said to have drawn the following conclusions on the subject of the organization and use of their tanks:

1.     Necessity of having more rapid tanks (a good many sources indicate speeds averaging 8 kilometers on hilly ground).

2.     The tanks advance in quincunxes, in zig-zags.

3.     The tanks are protected in the front and on the flanks by the infantry sturmtrupps marching on each side at 150 to 200 meter intervals.

4.     For training purposes there is a "Tankschule" in Germany and also vast manoeuvering grounds, one of which is in the neighborhood of Montmedy.


The tank is torpedo shaped. It weighs 10 tons and measures about 8 meters in length, 3 meters in width and about 2.5 meters in height. It resembles the British tanks, except in the matter of "bandages." The tank was completely protected by armored plating. The loop holes could be closed by means of shutters which, according to the prisoners, hermetically seal the openings against gas. The tank can turn rather easily.


(a)     A rapid fire 5 cm. gun, on a pivot, with a periscopic sight. The gun has an angle of elevation of 60 degrees. An illuminating shell, which lights up the terrain in front for three minutes, is said to be used for night action. The gun also fires gas shells.

(b)     Four machine guns, one on each side, one in the front and one in the rear. The two last have an angle of elevation of 50 degrees.

(c)     Flame projectors, to be used in place of the machine guns in case of an obstinate resistance. The flame was projected a distance of 60 meters. It was produced by a mixture of tar and an exceedingly inflammable matter called "carbolineum," expelled by oxygen under high pressure.


The 8-cylinder 250 horsepower engine was mounted in an interior compartment. A light producing dynamo was driven by the closed engine. The tank is said to be capable of 15 km. (?) per hour on flat terrain.


The personnel of a tank includes 2 drivers, 2 gunners, 4 machine gunners and 2 extra men, all under the orders of a junior engineer officer. The personnel all wear fire-proof clothing.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Japanese Paratroop Rations, 1944
Topic: Army Rations

Japanese Paratroop Rations, 1944

Japanese Patachute Troops, Special Series, No. 32, MID 461, [US] Military Intelligence Division, 1 July 1945

Sources do not often distinguish between Japanese Army and Navy paratroop rations. It is believed that the Japanese initially planned an ordinary 3-day ration to be carried in the haversack of each paratrooper. These rations provided an adequate diet and consisted of 2 ¼ pounds of rice, two tins of canned fish, two tins of canned meat, and 1 ounce of tea, Chocolate is also known to have been carried by some paratroopers; while glucose sweets, cigarettes, minor medical supplies (iodine, bandages, etc.), and a flask of rum were carried by parachutists in the Netherlands East Indies.

Regulations issued as late as August 1944, however, provide that a 2-day ration is to be carried by each paratrooper during descent. It is reasonable to assume that ration components are similar te the earlier issue.

In addition, paratroopers were to carry "iron" rations. These were in wafer form, consisting of ground rice and wheat with some sesame. To supplement the wafer, paratroopers were fed extract of mussel flesh, dried plums, preserved ginger, crushed bean meal, and mori (made of dried seaweed which contains alkaline substance, soda, and iodine). One meal weighed 200 grams (7 ounces). The Japanese claim that these rations, by test, have withstood the climatic conditions of Malaya, the East Indies, the Philippine Islands, China, Manchuria, and Siberia.

Japanese parachutists dropped in Hunan Province of China in the summer of 1944 were reported to have carried a small bamboo box containing about 1.36 pounds of white "flour." This specially-prepared flour, when mixed with either hot or cold water, changes to a sweet paste which is used as a staple food. One 1.36-pound unit of "flour" provided sufficient food for one man for a period of 1 week.

For water, each paratrooper probably still carries the regular canteen. It is reported "water sausages" also have been used. These appear to be a water-filled length of a tough cellophane-like substance tied into short lengths. These are bitten into as needed and the contents drunk. In use, they are supposed to be carried either in pockets or slung around the neck. Small tubular filters, presumably for drinking water from untested sources, may also be carried.

The Frontenac Times

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Monday, 24 August 2015

Raids and Their Objects
Topic: CEF

Raids and Their Objects

"Stand To" A Diary of the Trenches, 1915-18, Captain F.C. Hitchcock, M.C., F.R.Hist.S., 1937

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

Up to this date, raids had been a great form of midnight activity employed by the British and Germans since the middle of 1916. Raids consisted of a brief attack with some special object on a section of the opposing trench, and were usually carried out by a small party of men under an officer. The character of these operations, the preparation of a passage through our own and the enemy's wire, the crossing of the open ground unseen, the penetration of the enemy's line, the hand-to-hand fighting in the darkness, and the uncertainty as to the strength of the opposing forces—gave peculiar scope to gallantry, dash, and quickness of decision by the troops engaged.

The objects of these expeditions can be described as fourfold:

I.     To gain prisoners and, therefore, to obtain information by identification.

II.     To inflict loss and lower the opponent's morale, a form of terrorism, and to kill as many of the enemy as possible, before beating a retreat; also to destroy his dug-outs and mine-shafts.

III.     To get junior regimental officers accustomed to handling men in the open and give them scope for using their initiative.

IV.     To blood all ranks into the offensive spirit and quicken their wits after months of stagnant trench warfare.

Such enterprises became a characteristic of trench routine.

After a time these raids became unpopular with regimental officers and the rank and file, for there grew up a feeling that sometimes these expeditions to the enemy trenches owed their origin to rivalry between organisations higher than battalions.

The Royal Canadian Regiment Museum

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Sunday, 23 August 2015

Leather Medals
Topic: British Army

Leather Medals

Sergeant-Major Timothy Gowing, Voice from the Ranks; A Personal Narrative of the Crimean Campaign by a Sergeant of the Royal Fusiliers, edited by Kenneth Fenwick, 1954

October 29th

Well, I've got back to camp again. We have had a rough twenty-four hours of it; it rained nearly the whole time. The enemy kept pitching shell into us nearly all night, and it took us all our time to dodge their Whistling Dicks (huge shell), as our men have named them. We were standing nearly up to our knees in mud and water, like a lot of drowned rats, nearly all night; the cold, bleak wind cutting through our thin clothing (that now is getting very thin and full of holes, and nothing to mend it with). This is ten times worse than all the fighting.

We have not one ounce too much to eat and, altogether, there is a dull prospect before us. But our men keep their spirits up well, although we are nearly worked to death night and day. We cannot move without sinking nearly to our ankles in mud. The tents we have to sleep in are full of holes, and there is nothing but mud to lie down in, or scrape it away with our hands the best we can—and soaked to the skin from morning to night (so much for honour and glory)! I suppose we shall have leather medals for this one day—I mean those who have the good fortune to escape the shot and shell of the enemy and the pestilence that surrounds us.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Saturday, 22 August 2015

Soviet Principles of Military Art; 1984
Topic: Military Theory

Soviet Principles of Military Art

FM 100-2-1—The Soviet Army; Troops, Operations and Tactics, July 1984

Soviet military theorists consider the following points to be the general principles of military art. They do not represent any special revelation of truth or radical departure from traditional military thought. However, by their emphasis on these particular points, Soviet military leaders reveal the character of their military thinking and predict the basic characteristics of future Soviet military operations.

According to the Soviets, their armed forces must:

  • Be fully prepared to accomplish the mission regardless of the conditions under which war begins or must be conducted.
  • Achieve surprise whenever possible. Military operations must be characterized by decisiveness and aggressiveness. Forces must strive continuously to seize and to hold the initiative.
  • Make full use of all available military assets and capabilities to achieve victory.
  • Insure that major formations and units of all services, branches, and arms effect thorough and continuous coordination.
  • Select the principal enemy objective to be seized and the best routes for attacking it. Make a decisive concentration of combat power at the correct time.
  • Maintain continuous and reliable command and control.
  • Be determined and decisive in achieving the assigned mission.
  • Maintain complete security of combat operations.
  • Reconstitute reserves and restore combat effectiveness as quickly as possible.

These are general principles that apply to all three levels of military art: strategy, operations, and tactics. At each of these levels, there are more specific, detailed principles.

Soviet military thought subscribes to certain "laws of war" at the strategic level, and "principles of operational art and tactics" which apply to the actual conduct of combat.

The Laws of War

First Law: The course and outcome of war waged with unlimited employment of all means of conflict depends primarily on the correlation of available, strictly military combatants at the beginning of war…
Second Law: The course and outcome of war depend on the correlation of the military potentials of the combatants.
Third Law: (The) course and outcome (of war) depend on its political content.
Fourth Law: The course and outcome of war depend on the correlation of moral-political and psychological capabilities of the peoples and armies of the combatants.

Marshal Sokolovsky
Military Strategy

In simpler terms, these laws mean the following:

  • First Law: Be prepared. Prepare in peacetime for the next war. Forces-in-being are the decisive factors. The side with the most and best troops and equipment at the start of war will win the war.
  • Second Law: The side which can best sustain a protracted war will win the war.
  • Third Law: The higher the political stakes of a war, the longer and more violent it will be.
  • Fourth Law: War aims must be seen as just. Modem war cannot be waged without public support.

Soviet planning and preparation for war reflect a dominant feeling that war is inevitable. This is not to say that the USSR wants war, but that it is preparing for it continuously.

The Soviet state is autocratic, militarized, and centralized. Its political and economic systems give priority to military requirements. The state allocates resources and directs production for preparation and maintenance of a war footing.

The preparation of a nation for war is accomplished along three main lines:

  • the preparation of the armed forces,
  • the preparation of the national economy,
  • and the preparation of the population.
  • The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Friday, 21 August 2015

Brief History of Wolseley Barracks
Topic: Wolseley Barracks

A Brief History of Wolseley Barracks

Canadian Forces Base London
(Undated document, last date in document is 1963. All details are as presented in original and may require confirmation from additional sources.)

1840. — Groups were stationed in what is now Victoria Park. They were quartered in a log barracks named "TECUMSEH" after the famous Indian Chief.

1873. — Tecumseh Log Barracks burned to the ground.


(1)     The City of London traded the present site of Wolseley Barracks and small surrounding area for the Ordnance property in Victoria Park. The area at Oxford and Adelaide Streets was then outside the city limits in the area known as Carling Heights, RCE records indicate that $1.00 was charged in consideration for the exchange of Victoria Park and Carling Heights properties in which 55 acres of land were involved.

(2)     Construction of "A" Block, which as known as the Infantry School Building started, along with the following buildings:

(a)     Stables, which have now been torn down.

(b)     Picquet Hut for guarding the stable and RCE, RCASC Compound and the Infantry School Building which has since been torn down.

(c)     Building "T", which may originally have been built as an RCOC Depot.

(d)     Two million bricks were used in the construction of "A" Block. The bricks were made in close proximity to the barracks site. RCE records indicate that the cost of the Infantry Scbool Building was $77,300.


(1)     The buildings, begun in l886, were completed and the new barracks was then termed "Infantry School London, Ontario" (extracted from old General Orders). The first troops to occuppy the barracks were "D" Company, Infantry School Corps, commanded by Lt.-Col. Henry Smith.

(2)     Service units in the barrack area included Engineers, Service Corps, and Ordnance. Married quarters were provided in the Block.

1889. — An additional 26 acres were purchased from the City of London by the Militia and Defence Ministry. Total cost was $25,000

1894. — The Barracks was renamed "Wolseley Barracks" in honour of Viscount Wolseley.

1914-18. — Litttle change took place in the barracks until the First World War. Some buildings of a semi-temporary nature were constructed, but the majority of the troops were under canvas in the area of Gloucestershire Hall, known as "The Flats." Another building named Tecumseh Barracks was built in this area during the period.

1923. — HQ and "C" Company, RCR, occupted Tecumseh Barracks from 7 Dec 1920 to Apr 1923. This barracks burned down.

1930. — Building "U", near the McMahen St. Gate, was built.

1936. — The Royal School Building was completed at a cost of $36,000.

1938. — The last horses used by RCASC were retired and mechanical transport appeared in Wolseley Barracks.

NOTE: The riding ring for exercising the horses ridden by the Area Commander, the CO and the Adjutant of The RCR, was in the area where the present Victoria building is located.

1939-45. — Many buildings of wartime construction ("H" Huts) sprang up and were used after the war by both tthe Regulars and Militia. They were gradually torn down to make room for new buildings, or as no longer required, until in November 1963 only three or four remained.

1952-57. — The completion of a six million dollar expansion project, which changed the face of the barracks to its present shape. RCE records show a cost of $6,918,974.

(Image from The regimental journal of The RCR.)

Origin of the named used for buildings was from associations of The RCR, rather than from Royalty or Governors-General:

(1)     No. 1 Barrack Block — MacKenzie Building. From Thomas MacKenzie, the first man to enlist in the RCR, 7 Jan 84.

(2)     No. 2 Barrack Block — Wellington Block. Taken from Wellington Barracks, Halifax, which The RCR occupied from 1904 to 1940.

(3)     No. 3 Barrack Block — Stanley Block. Taken from Stanley Barracks, Toronto, which The RCR occupied from 1899 to 1940.

(4)     No. 4 Barrack Block — Tecumseh Block. After the Old Tecumseh Barracks, London, which The RCR occupied from 1920 to 1923.

(5)     No. 5 Barrack Block — St. Jean Block. Taken from the original location of "B" Company, The Infantry Corps School, in 1884 at St. Jean, PQ.

(6)     Lecture Training Building — Glacis Building. Taken from Glacis Barracks, Halifax, which the RCR occupied from 1900 to 1904.

(7)     Gymnasium — Gloucestershire Hall. From the RCR allied regiment of the British Army.

(8)     Adminsitration Building — Victoria Building. From Victoria Barracks, Petawawa; RCR from 1948 to 1954.

(9)     No. 1 Mess Hall — New Fort Hall. Taken from New Fort Barracks, Toronto, The RCR Barracks from 1884 to 1898.

(10)     No. 2 Mess Hall — Prince of Wales. Taken from the Prince of Wales Barracks, Montreal, The RCR Barracks from 1920 to 1924.

The Royal Canadian Regiment Museum

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 19 January 2020 2:55 PM EST
Thursday, 20 August 2015

Topic: US Armed Forces


(Military Occupational Specialty)

Department of the Army, April 1962, [US Army] Infantry, Vol. 52, No. 5, September-October 1962.


He is a patriot, is highly motivated and has integrity.

He has imagination and initiative.

He has a willing spirit and will never give up.

He has normal human fears but stays and fights.

He willingly endures hardship in war and peace.

He understands his job and his weapons.

He is versatile and can do more than one thing well.

He is a team player and, as such, understands the necessity for discipline.

He promptly and willingly assumes the responsibility of leadership.

He places country before self.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Officers' Dress in Combat
Topic: Officers

Officers' Dress in Combat

Gallant Gentlemen; a portrait of the British Officer 1600-1956, E.S. Turner, 1956

In a far-off Indian campaign a young officer, before the attack was due to be launched, took off his epaulettes and the plate and feather from his cap, so that, in Shipp's view, he looked like 'a discharged pensioner.' Asked why he had taken this 'imprudent and improper course' he replied that he hoped the enemy might be unable to distinguish him from a private. This young officer 'never re-established his former character' and had to leave the regiment.

But in a day of increased fire-power and deadly sniping [WWI] the idea began to gain ground that an attack might be likelier to succeed if the officer in command of it had more than a two-seconds chance of survival. Hence the transfer of 'pips' from cuff to shoulder and the wearing of ordinary soldiers' tunics. Hence, also, the decline of the vogue for light riding breeches, which had singled out scores of subalterns for a priority death. The officer's courage was never higher, but any tradition which served to squander it deserved to go under, unregretted.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Tank Characteristics (1917)
Topic: CEF

Characteristics of the Various Types of Fighting Tanks.

Instructions for the Training of the Tank Corps in France, Reprint of a Pamphlet issued by Headquarters, Tank Corps, December 1, 1917, Bitish Army; [US} War Plans Division, July, 1918

(See Appendix A).

(a) Mark V. (Heavy). The characteristics of this type of tank are similar to those of the Mark IV., but its mobility is considerably greater, not only on account of the increased speed of the machine, but also on account of the greater ease with which it can be driven. The pace of the Mark IV. varied from half a mile to 4 miles an hour, according to the nature and condition of the ground. Its average rate of progress when fighting under favorable conditions was about 2 miles an hour. Although the actual speed of the Mark V. is not much greater than that of the Mark IV., this type of tank is so much easier to maneuver that the actual difference between its rate of progress in the field and that of the Mark IV. is really very considerable. It may be taken that in daylight the Mark V. can travel 1,300 yards across undulating country in the same time that the Mark IV. could travel 700 yards, and over hilly or broken country 1,800 yards as against 700 yards. By night the Mark V. can travel 1,800 yards across country in the same time as the Mark IV. could travel 700 yards.

The Mark V. can cross trenches from 9 to 10 feet wide, can surmount a perpendicular obstacle 4 feet high and move up and down a slope of 1 in 2. It cannot be depended upon to cross ground which tas been heavily shelled or is in a sodden condition. Wire, however, presents no obstacle to it, and it can pass with ease through thick hedges and woods if the trees are small.

The Mark V. is noisier than the Mark IV.and when in movement can be heard within a radius of 500 yards, unless the noise is covered. This can be done by artillery and machine gun fire or by low-flying aero planes.

The facility with which the Mark V. can be handled increases its defensive strength against artillery fire, because it can maneuvre more rapidly and thus not present so easy a target to the enemy's guns. Its fire power is considerably greater than that of the Mark IV. because the field of view obtained from it is more extensive.

It is essentially an offensive weapon and in defense every advantage should be taken of its mobility for counter attack.

(b) Mark V., One Star. This is a larger tank than the Mark V. and is slightly less mobile and easy to handle. It can be used to carry forward supplies and to bring back wounded. Ithas a greater trench-spanning power than the Mark V. As a weapon of offense, there fore, the Mark V., one star tank, should mainly be employed to attack the enemy's trenches.

(c) Medium "A" Tank (Whippet). The great mobility and radius of action of this type of tank makes it especially useful in open warfare. It is only armed with machine guns and its offensive power is consequently limited. It can be used to attack infantry and transport, but not as a tank destroyer.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Monday, 17 August 2015

RCAF Beginnings
Topic: RCAF

RCAF Beginnings

In Defence of Canada; From the Great War to the Great Depression, James Eayrs, 1964

In November 1918 Canada had no air force. But she had airmen. Many thousands of Canadians enlisted in the Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Naval Air Service; the official figure of nearly 23,000 is far short of those who actually served. A thousand Canadian officers were killed in aerial action. Ten of twenty-seven leading "aces" (officially, pilots with five or more enemy planes shot down) were Canadians, including the renowned Major W. A. "Billy" Bishop who alone destroyed seventy-two German aircraft in combat. So substantial was the Canadian contribution to Allied air power, and so distinguished the record of Canadian airmen, that there were in process of formation as the Great War ended two identifiably Canadian air units. One of these was organized, at the suggestion of the Admiralty, by the Department of the Naval Service in June 1918, for coastal patrol and escort duty. A Royal Canadian Naval Air Service was authorized by the Canadian Government in September 1918, and training of recruits begun both in the United Kingdom and in the United States; but it was disbanded on 5 December 1918 "for the time being"—though "for the time being" proved to be a generation. [Robert Laird Borden: His Memoirs (Toronto, 1938), vol. II, p. 841]

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Sunday, 16 August 2015

Topic: Army Rations


The Army Blue Book, The US Army Yearbook (Editor; Tom Compere), Volume 1, 1961

Washington, 3 Oct 1959

A ten-year survey of soldier preferences on some 400 food items in the military feeding system, published by the Quartermaster Food and Container Institute for the Armed Forces, revealed the following likes and dislikes of 30,000 enlisted men.

LIKED FOODS: Fresh milk, hot rolls, hot biscuits, strawberry shortcake, grilled steak, ice cream, ice cream sundaes, fried chicken, french fried potatoes, and roast turkey.

LEAST LIKED FOODS: Mashed turnips, broccoli, baked hubbard squash, fried parsnips, creamed asparagus, cabbage baked with cheese, asparagus with hollandaise sauce, ice coffee, cauliflower with cheese sauce, and candied parsnips.

The soldiers' food preferences will exert a growing influence on the type and quantities of certain foods purchased by the Quartermaster Corps, the Department of the Army Announced.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Saturday, 15 August 2015

Ordinary day in billets
Topic: British Army

Ordinary day in billets

"Stand To" A Diary of the Trenches, 1915-18, Captain F.C. Hitchcock, M.C., F.R.Hist.S., 1937

1st November.

Ordinary day in billets. Orders circulated to companies for the relief of the 1st North Staffords in the front line at the "Mound of Death" on the morrow. Company commanders went off on reconnaissance and returned at night with a bad account of our new line. For the past month the area round the ruins of St. Eloi had witnessed much fighting. Three mines had been exploded, and there was the usual scrapping for possession of the craters.

Our Division expected an attack, and we were detailed to hold the position. Platoon commanders were given maps, and were told to explain the situation to the men. It was during this so-called rest, which was in reality one long endless fatigue, that Headquarters issued orders that owing to the unsavoury tone in the word "fatigue" in future the term "working party" must be used.

It was pointed out that these working parties performed most important work, and that there was as much honour and glory in a "fatigue" party as there was in being the attacking troops. We were ordered to read this out on parade. I did so, and when I had finished one "old tough" was overheard to remark: "Begorra, ye can change the bloody name but the fatigue is still there."

The word "mine" was also scrapped, "sap" being substituted, owing, they said, to the Huns getting to know about our mining activity. There was a rumour afloat that it was the intention of the Higher Command to stop the rum issue and give hot coffee in lieu. Fortunately nothing materialised in this direction and we all breathed in peace once more.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Friday, 14 August 2015

Sleep On, Beloved Brother
Topic: Remembrance

Sleep On, Beloved Brother

Captain Rowland Feilding, CO of the 6th Battalion Connaught Rangers, quoted in The Mammoth Book of War Diaries and Letters; Life on the battlefield in the words of the ordinary soldier, 1775-1991, Jon E. Lewis, 1998

Near Ervillers

8 October, 1917

… The section of front line which I hold is, as I have told you, more or less of a graveyard. Many soldiers lie buried in the parapet, and in some cases their feet project into the trench. The positions are marked, where known. We come across others, unmarked, as we dig. On such occasions the men put up little notices, some of which combine with the tragedy of it all a certain amount of pathetic and unintended humour. As you may imagine, the names of the dead are generally undiscoverable. On one board is written: "In loving memory of an unknown British soldier." On another—in this case the man's paybook was found on his body and therefore his name is known—the following words appear in chalk: "Sleep on, Beloved Brother; take thy Gentle Rest." In another case somebody has contented himself by just writing piously in chalk on the sole of a projecting foot: "R.I.P." Over another grave a bas-relief of the Head of Christ has been carved with a jack-knife on a piece of the chalk through which the trench is dug. It is embellished with hair and a fine halo drawn in purple indelible pencil.

If you saw it all you wouldn't know whether to laugh or cry.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

The Royal Canadian Regiment in the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Thursday, 13 August 2015

General Montgomery
Topic: Leadership

General Montgomery

Leadership in a Desert War: Bernard Montgomery as an Unusual Leader, by David Weir, Review of Enterprise and Management Studies, Vol. 1, No.1, November 2013

On taking command of the Eighth Army in the Western Desert on 13 August, 1942, Montgomery, who was not even a full general, only an acting lieutenant general, summoned his staff to an impromptu meeting at which he addressed them from the text of a speech that he had written out in the plane. It is one of the great speeches of history.

This is what he said:

I want first of all to introduce myself to you. You do not know me. I do not know you. But we have got to work together. Therefore we must understand each other and we must have confidence in each other. I have only been here a few hours. But from what I have seen and heard since I arrived I am prepared to say, here and now, that I have confidence in you. We will then work together as a team. And together we will gain the confidence of this great Army and go forward to final victory in Africa.

I believe that one of the first duties of a commander is to create what I call "atmosphere", and in that atmosphere his staff, subordinate commanders, and troops will live and work and fight.

I do not like the general atmosphere I find here. It is an atmosphere of doubt, of looking back to select the next place to withdraw, of loss of confidence in our ability to defeat Rommel, of desperate defence measures by reserves in preparing positions in Cairo and the Delta.

All that must cease. Let us have a new atmosphere.

… Here we will stand and fight; there will be no further withdrawal. I have ordered that all plans and instructions dealing with further withdrawal are to be burned, and at once. We will stand and fight here. If we can't stay here alive, then let us stay here dead.

Our mandate from the Prime Minister is to destroy the Axis forces in North Africa. I have seen it, written on half a sheet of note paper. And it will be done. If anyone here thinks it can't be done, let him go at once. I don't want any doubters in this party. It can be done, and it will be done, beyond any possibility of doubt.

Now I understand that Rommel is expected to attack at any moment. Excellent. Let him attack.

I would sooner it didn't come for a week, just to give me time to sort things out. If we have two weeks to prepare we will be sitting pretty. Rommel can attack as soon as he likes after that and I hope he does.

Meanwhile, we ourselves will start to plan a great offensive. It will be the beginning of a campaign which will hit Rommel and his Army right out of Africa.

… I have no intention of launching our great attack until we are completely ready. There will be pressure from many quarters to attack soon.

I will not attack until we are ready and you can rest assured on that point.

… I understand there has been a great deal of "belly-aching" out here. By "belly-aching" I mean inventing poor reasons for not doing what one has been told to do. All this will stop at once.

If anyone objects to doing what he is told then he can get out and at once. I want that made very clear right down through the Eighth Army.

What I have done is to get over to you the atmosphere in which we will now work and fight. You must see that that atmosphere permeates right down through the Eighth Army to the most junior private soldier. All the soldiers must know what is wanted. When they see it coming to pass there will be a surge of confidence throughout the Army. I ask you to give me your confidence and to have faith that what I have said will come to pass.

… The Chief-of-Staff will be issuing orders on many points very shortly and I am always available to be consulted by the senior officers of the staff. The great point to remember is that we are going to finish with this chap Rommel once and for all. It will be quite easy. There is no doubt about it.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 28 July 2015 6:08 PM EDT
Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Platoon Commander Checklists (1917)
Topic: CEF

Platoon Commander Checklists (1917)


British Tactical Notes, Edited and Prepared at the War College, Washington, December, 1917

Questions a Platoon Commander Should Ask Himself Before An Attack

1.     Do I know exactly what objectives have been allotted (a) to my platoon, (b) to my company, (c) to my battalion? Have I a map showing them?

2.     Have I explained them to my N.C.O.s and men? And have I given my N.C.O.s a sketch plan of the platoon's objective?

3.     Do my N.C.O.s and men understand exactly what formation the platoon is adopting for this attack and the various duties each one of them has to perform? How am I using my Lewis gun?

4.     Do I know the bearings both of the left and of the right of my objective?

5.     Do I know, and do my N.C.O.s and men know, the names of the units on my flanks?

6.     Do I understand the barrage lines and timing of lifts in the artillery program?

7.     Have I impressed upon my men the great importance of keeping close up to our own barrage?

8.     Is my watch synchronized?

9.     Do I understand all orders sufficiently to be able to take command of the company if my company commander gets knocked out?

10.     Have. I told my platoon sergeant and N.C.O.s everything I can to enable them to carry on if I get knocked out?

11.     Are all my N.C.O.s and men properly equipped according to orders?

12.     Do I know who have (a) wire cutters, (b) Very pistols and lights?

13.     Have (a) bombs, (b) flares been issued to each man, and orders about their carriage and use properly explained?

14.     Do I know and does my orderly know (a) the best way to company headquarters now; (b) how to find my company commander during and after the attack; (c) where battalion headquarters is, and, if it is moving, at what stage and to what place?

15.     Have I warned my men to shoot or bayonet anyone giving the order "Retire"?

16.     Have I told them that slightly wounded men must carry back their equipment, and that men must on no account weaken the line by taking back wounded?

17.     Do the stretcher bearers know their way to the advanced dressing station and the arrangements made for getting away wounded?

18.     Do I know what to do with prisoners?

19.     Have I detailed the patrol to be pushed out as soon, as the objective has been gained, and explained to it exactly what to do?

20.     Do my men understand the necessity of establishing touch with units on my flanks, or, if on gaining obur objective we are not in touch, of establishing blocks immediately?

21.     Do I understand that to consolidate a well-defined target exposes my men to heavy shelling afterwards? Have I thought out where and how it is best to consolidate the objective I am about to attack?

22.     Do all my men know which are up and which are down communication trenches?

23.     Do I know and have I explained to my N.O.O.s the ar­rangements for supply of water, S.A.A., bombs, sandbags, wire, etc.?

24.     Have I made all possible arrangements for any special work required from my platoon after the objective has been gained?

25.     What is the S.O.S. signal?

The Senior Subaltern

Questions a Platoon Commander Should Ask Himself When the Objective Has Been Gained

1.     Am I and my men where they were meant to be?

2.     Have I reported my position and the situation generally?

3.     Are flares being lit when called for by the contact aero­plane?

4.     Is my platoon reorganized to resist counter attack? 5.     Am I doing all I can to consolidate the position and am I consolidating in the best place?

6.     Am I in touch with units on my flanks? If not, are blocks being established as quickly as possible?

7.     Is the Lewis gun disposed to the best advantage? Does it cover a block?

8.     Has the patrol been pushed out as I arranged?

9.     Am I making the best use of my scouts and snipers?

10.     What is the enemy doing? Am I doing all in my power to find out, and to let my company commander have the informa­tion as quickly as possible?

11.     What special orders did I receive? Was I ordered to dig any part of a communication trench? If so, are the men told off for the work working at it?

12.     Can I put up anything as a guide to our position for the artillery?

13.     Do I appreciate that if my present position is unhealthy it is likely to be much worse if I try to withdraw?

14.     Do I understand that bold and energetic action makes for success?

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Topic: Battle Honours

Perpetuation — Work of Several Years

War Records of 600,000 Canadians Were Examined

Montreal Gazette, 30 September 1929
(By Canadian Press)

Ottawa, September 29.—Final approval has now been secured from His Majesty the King for the emblazoning on the regimental colour of Canadian permanent and non-permanent active militia units the honours won by those regiments during the World War. At present 68 regiments have been given definite sanction to embroider those honours on their colour, and in due course the remainder of the militia will receive authority according to the qualifications of the regiments concerned. Thus a question that has consumed several years, and that has involved little short of scanning the war records of every one of the 600,000 Canadians who served in the Canadian Expeditionary Force, is settled once and for all. Every one of the "fighting" battalions of the Canadian Corps—50 in number—is perpetuated in the non-active militia (exclusive of the three infantry regiments of the permanent force). The perpetuating unit, therefore, has been accorded the right to carry the honours won by its corresponding Canadian Corps battalion.

There were, however, 260 battalions raised for overseas, and practically every man of these saw active service in one or other of the "fighting" battalions. The problem of how to award honours to those militia regiments who perpetuate the 210 battalions that were broken up in England to reinforce the Corps was a thorny one. The solution was reached only after months of deliberation. It was finally decided that where it could be shown that a minimum of 250 men from a reinforcing battalion participated in any engagement for which a Battle Honour was awarded, the militia regiment which perpetuates that battalion would be entitled to carry the Honour on its colour. Inasmuch as the men from such battalions were not infrequently distributed in small drafts among a number of Canadian Corps battalions, the necessity of closely checking the movements of practically every man—or at least, every group of men—was obvious. It was also arduous and painstaking work.

Toronto and Ontario

Thirty-one Ontario militia regiments have been given authority to carry the Battle Honours in this, the first allotment made. These, together with the Canadian Expeditionary Force units they perpetuate, are:

The following Toronto units:

  • The Mississauga Horse (4th Canadian Mounted Rifles)
  • The Queen's Own Rifles (83rd, 95th, 166th, and 255th Battalions, C.E.F.)
  • The Royal Grenadiers (58th Battalion, C.E.F.)
  • The 48th Highlanders (15th, and 134th Battalions, C.E.F.)
  • The Queen's Rangers, 1st American Regiment (20th, and 35th Battalions, C.E.F.)
  • The Toronto Scottish (75th, 84th, and 170th Battalions, C.E.F.)

The following city and country regiments:

  • The Canadian Fusiliers, of London (1st, 33rd, and 142nd Battalions, C.E.F.)
  • The Royal Hamilton Light Infantry, of Hamilton (the 4th and 204th Battalions, C.E.F., and the 86th Machine Gun Battalion)
  • The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders of Canada, Hamilton (the 19th Battalion, C.E.F.)
  • The Princess of Wales Own Regiment of Kingston (21st Battalion, C.E.F.)
  • The Dufferin Rifles of Canada, Brantford (the 4th Battalion, the 36th and 125th Battalions, C.E.F.)
  • The Peterborough Rangers, Peterborough (the 2nd Battalion, C.E.F.)
  • The Ottawa Highlanders, Ottawa (the 38th Battalion, C.E.F.)
  • The Essex Scottish of Windsor, Ont. (the 18th, 99th and 241st Battalions, C.E.F.)
  • The Lake Superior Regiment of Port Arthur, Ont. (the 52nd, and 141st Battalions, C.E.F.)
  • The Ontario Regiment of Oshawa (the 1616th and the 182nd Battalions, C.E.F.)
  • The Halton Rifles of Georgetown (the 37th Battalion, C.E.F.)
  • The Oxford Rifles of Woodstock (the 71st and 168th Battalions, C.E.F.)
  • The Elgin Regiment of St. Thomas (the 91st Battalion, C.E.F.)
  • The Sault Ste. Marie Regiment of Sault Ste. Marie (the 119th and the 227th Battalions, C.E.F.)
  • The Northern Pioneers of Huntsville (the 122nd Battalion, C.E.F.)
  • The Wentworth Regiment of Dundas (129th Battalion, C.E.F.)
  • The Middlesex Light Infantry of Strathroy, Ont. (the 135th Battalion, C.E.F.)
  • The Grey Regiment of Owen Sound (147th Battalion, C.E.F.)
  • The Bruce Regiment of Walkerton (160th Battalion, C.E.F.)
  • The Huron Regiment of Goderich (161st Battalion, C.E.F.)
  • The Lincoln Regiment of St. Catharines (176th Battalion, C.E.F.)
  • The Simcoe Foresters of Barrie (177th Battalion, C.E.F.)
  • The Kent Regiment of Chatham (186th Battalion, C.E.F.)

Typical Honour List

Only ten battle honours of the War may be embroidered on the regimental colour, irrespective of how many the unit concerned may be entitled to. Regiments, however, are credited with all honours in the Militia List. Those which are borne on the colour appear in the Militia List in heavy type, while those not carried on the colour are printed in ordinary light-face type. An illustration of this is furnished in the Peterborough Rangers, for example, which perpetuates the 2nd Canadian Infantry Battalion. The battle in capital letters will be carried on the colour, while those in small letters are credited only to the Militia List, as follows:

"YPRES, 1915, '17," "Gravenstafel," "ST. JULIEN," "FESTUBERT, 1915," "Mount Sorrel," "SOMME, 1916," "Pozieres," "Flers-Courcelette," "Ancre Heights," "ARRAS," "1917, '18," "VIMY, 1917," "Arleux," "Scarpe, 1917, '18," "HILL 70," "PASSCHENDAELE," "Amiens," "Drocourt-Queant," "HINDENBURG LINE," "Canal du Nord," "Pursuit to Mons," "FRANCE AND FLANDERS, 1915-18"

Canadian Army Battle Honours

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 11 August 2015 7:28 AM EDT
Monday, 10 August 2015

The Militia Officer: Costs of Service
Topic: Canadian Militia

The Militia Officer: Costs of Service

Military News and Comments
The Mail and Empire, Toronto, Ontario, 20 Oct 1900

Military Editor, Mail and Empire:

Sir,—Your remarks in last Saturday's Mail and Empire, concerning the society of officers in the Canadian militia, were worthy of the serious consideration of all who have the welfare of our country at heart. I have had some experience in militia matters, and ask for a small part of your valuable space, wherein to condemn the penuriousness of the Government and the bare-faced robbery of militia officers by military tailors and outfitters.

A young man gets a commission in a rural battalion. He is obliged to expend at least $100, and should expend $200 or $400 on uniform, etc. His pay is $1.28 per day for twelve days in a year, and his messing at least seventy-five cents per day. Leaving him fifty-three cents per day. In order to qualify for a first lieutenancy, he is obliged to attend a school of instruction for two months, involving the loss of the amount of time and perhaps his situation. When he reaches a captaincy his pay is $2.82 per day, and increase over the $1.28, but he is obliged to pay the difference, and often more, in “getting up” his company. If he goes on to a majority, there is an additional outlay for uniform, saddlery, etc., and by the time he reaches a colonelcy his pay, although $4.87 per day, will be found to be about $2 per day less than his expenses. Perhaps $4.87 per day would be quite sufficient if the annual drill continued a month or more, but the expenses connected with a regiment are so great that the first twelve days' pay is gone before the regiment reaches camp.

The Government allows a regiment $75 per annum for a band. This, with 50 cents per day, drawn by the bandsmen, and $1.00 per day, drawn by the bandmaster, for a band of eighteen men and a master, will five a total of $280, leaving a balance of nearly $100 to be made up by the officers. The Government knows very well that the band allowance is not sufficient, but no change is made, and year after year officers are called upon to make good the deficit.

Why officers should be called upon to make the extra sacrifice has always been a mystery to me. Let me add a few words concerning the exorbitant prices charged by military tailors and outfitters. Buttons that a private can buy for twenty cents per dozen are sold to us at $1,20. Privates' caps at sixty-five cents, with two buttons, worth about five cents, are sold to us at $3.50. Badges of rank, worth twenty cents, sold to us for $1 or $1.50. Serges worth $3 or $4 sold to us for $10 or $12. If the Government will not furnish officers with uniforms it ought at least to place some limits to the extent to which they are robbed by the outfitter.

I contend it is the duty of the Government to grant to every militia officer at the time he gets his commission, either a complete outfit suitable for his rank, or money to purchase same. Or the money could be paid in installments, say, at every promotion, or a month before going to camp. Volunteer officers in Great Britain are allowed £25 for uniform, and surely there is more wealth amongst them than there is amongst our Canadian militia officers. If the burdens of outfits, bands, etc., were taken off the officers, a better wage paid to the men, and the time of the annual drill increased to sixteen or eighteen days or more, we would have a better class of men in the ranks, better dressed and better qualified officers, and a more efficient militia force.

Militia Officer
October 9th

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Sunday, 9 August 2015

Death of Cpl. Burns
Topic: The RCR

Death of Cpl. Burns

Wolseley Barracks

Death of Corporal James E. Burns…Biographical Sketch

The Daily Free Press, London, Ontario, Thursday, 16 January 1896

There died at Wolseley Barracks yesterday afternoon a former soldier of the Canadian militia, whose decease removes, perhaps, one of the best known, but certainly the best drill instructor, the Canadian militia could boast of. Corporal James Edward Burns was born at Niagara-on-the-Lake some forty years ago, and in his early boyhood joined the 14th Battalion, Prince of Wales Own Rifles, at Kingston, and served for a couple of years as a bugler. Later on he was found in the ranks of the Royal Canadian Rifles, which regiment was disbanded in 1870. He served in the Provisional Battalion in Red River in 1873, having been in the Red River Expedition under the present Lord Wolseley, commander-in-chief of Her Imperial Majesty's Imperial army. He next served a term in "A" Battery, Royal Canadian artillery, and from there went to "C" Company (now No. 2 Company, Royal Regiment Canadian Infantry). With this corps he took part in the North West Rebellion of 1885. He was transferred to London on the organization of the Company, and has served here ever since. His term of service expired on the 14th, inst., and not twenty-four hours later he joined the silent army of the dead. Corporal James Burns was known far and wide. He has acted as drill instructor to almost every Battalion in this district, and what he did not know regarding drill, to use a common expression, "was not worth knowing." As a soldier he served his Queen and country well and faithfully, and his decease leaves a vacancy it will be hard to fill. He was well known to the members of the 7th Battalion, having been their instructor for several months under Col. Payne and Col. Tracey, and was highly esteemed by all their non-com. officers. He took an active part in all the athletic sports, at both the Barracks and the Asylum, and was ever ready to lend a helping hand at any and every amateur performance where his services were required. He will be sadly missed at Wolseley Barracks, where he was a general favourite, and where his manly conduct, thorough soldierly bearing and genial disposition endeared him to the hearts of all. His father is Chief of Police at Niagara-on-the-Lake, and is not at all in good health at present. Corporal Burns was married and leaves a sorrowing widow to whom the heartfelt sympathy of all is extended. The funeral will be a military one to the Grand Trunk station on Friday morning. Full military honours will be paid to the deceased soldier.

elipsis graphic

Funeral of an Old Soldier

Daily Mail and Empire, 18 January 1896

The funeral of Corporal James Edward Burns took place this morning. The procession left Wolseley Barracks and marched to the Grand Trunk station, where the body was taken on the noon train for interment at Niagara-on-the-Lake. The regular and attached men made the largest showing in the history of the barracks. The coffin was carried on a London Field Battery gun carriage, and the artillery detachment was in charge of Lieut. R. Shaw-Wood. The Union Jack covered the casket, and on the flag reposed the side arms and helmet of the dead soldier.

The Royal Canadian Regiment Museum

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Saturday, 8 August 2015

CPLA Rations
Topic: Army Rations

Rations and Water; Chinese People's Liberation Army


Handbook of the Chinese People's Liberation Army, Defence Intelligence Agency, November 1984


The CPLA issues three kinds of rations: the standard ration, the combat ration, and the emergency ration.

The Standard Ration consists of rice, flour, pork, fish, eggs, soybeans, vegetables, edible oil, and salt., sugar, and other condiments. The individual soldier is issued 4 to 6 kilograms of food per day. Most of the fish, pork, and vegetables are produced locally by individual units for their consumption.

The Combat Ration consists of dried rice, dried fried wheat, or a baked mixture of soybeans, corn, millet, and koaliang (Chinese surghum) to which water is added before eating. Prior to a major operation, each soldier is issued the equivalent of from 5 to 7 days rations.

The Emergency Ration is a compressed, rectangular biscuit made of flour, salt, and oil. Each soldier carries about 12 of these biscuits in addition to his combat ration.

Under simulated or actual combat conditions, companies, battalions, and regiments each store the equivalent of 7 days' supply, and armies from 2 to 4 weeks' supply. Rations are delivered from division to regiment, and from regiment to battalion and company, or directly to forward positions. During troop movements in peacetime, rations are often purchased from local communes.


The Chinese possess the equipment to supply fresh water in the field as well as the capability to test and treat contaminated local water supplies. Water supply is the responsibility of the engineer section of a given unit; water purification is the responsibility of the medical section.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 8 August 2015 12:24 AM EDT

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