The Minute Book
Wednesday, 13 April 2016

The Militia Drill
Topic: Canadian Militia

The Militia Drill

Military men will certainly sympathize with the efforts at present being made by the numerous colonels occupying seats in Parliament to secure from the Government a more thorough militia drill than that now given.

The Toronto Daily Mail, 9 May 1891

Military men will certainly sympathize with the efforts at present being made by the numerous colonels occupying seats in Parliament to secure from the Government a more thorough militia drill than that now given. If the militia is, in any of its ramifications, wanting in efficiency, the circumstance is attributable, not to lack of spirit of energy on the part of the force, but to the want of opportunity to acquire the necessary knowledge of military life. The city battalions are, for the most part, well disciplined and well prepared for service. Regarding them little or no criticism can be made. But when some of the rural battalions are looked into evidences of weakness are at once discernible. There is nothing wanting here, however, in the way of physique or of willingness to perform duties undertaken. Whatever is amiss is the result of the system. The rule is that all battalions shall be drilled in camp once every two years. This regulation is not universally observed. It has been stated that there is a battalion which has not enjoyed camp advantages for many years. But the “every other year” plan is not productive of good results in all cases, because it is accompanied by the three-year enlistment system. A volunteer may join on an off year. The following year he goes to camp, and in the next year he remains at home. Thus his three years' experience gives him but ten days genuine instruction. Nor is the instruction invariably calculated to make the pupil perfect. A man may learn to sleep in his cloths on the damp ground, to cook rations, and to perform minor duties; but his introduction to the weapon he would have to use in war is too sudden and too short to be of actual service to him. The men are allowed to fire a limited number of rounds at a target in the presence of a musketry instructor, and there their education in the use of the rifle terminates. What stands in the way of a more perfect education is the expense the enterprise would involve. Among some military experts the belief is entertained that it would have paid us better to undertake this expense than to increase the batteries and infantry companies now doing permanent service. The regular companies certainly cost something, and it stands to reason that their drafts upon the general militia fund reduce the amount available for the instruction of the country corps. In a recent article Captain Cartwright made several suggestions with regard to militia management that seemed to be worthy at least of consideration. He proposes that all the officers shall be properly certified men. This change can be effected by the offering of sufficient financial inducements to the officers to attend the military schools and pass their examinations. Then the term of service for officers should be restricted, so that young men may reach, through promotion, the higher positions. He also proposes that instead of calling out for annual drill one-half of the entire force, a certain number of every battalion, say ten, shall be brought to camp annually. These, if men who are likely to remain in the service, will be able to turn to account all they learn from their efficient, because certified, officers, and convey a fair idea of soldiering to their comrades. But it would be well for Parliament, before adopting a new system, to examine the old one, and to discover exactly where its weaknesses are, and what their causes may be. A complaint cannot be cured until it has been fully diagnosed.

Canadian Army Battle Honours

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Active Militia; Rations (1868)
Topic: Army Rations

Active Militia; Rations (1868)

The Canadian Volunteer's Hand Book for Field Service, Major T.C. Scoble, 37th Battalion (Haldimand Rifles), C.V.M., 1868

The daily ration of a volunteer should consist, as nearly as possible, of the following articles, viz.

  • Bread, one pound and a half;
  • Fresh meat, one pound;
  • Butter, two ounces;
  • Coffee, one-third of an ounce;
  • Tea, one-sixth of an ounce;
  • Sugar, two ounces;
  • Rice, two ounces;
  • Milk, half-a-pint;
  • Potatoes, two pounds and a sufficiency of vegetables for soup.

The rations must be examined by the "orderly officer" every morning, who will report to the commanding officer if the same or any part thereof be not according to contract, and the commanding officer will forthwith appoint a board who will have power to condemn all or any part of them if found not according to contract, and a similar quantity in their stead will be purchased at the expense of the contractor; a proviso to this effect should be made in all the local contracts.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Monday, 11 April 2016

Bayonet and Sabre Fighting
Topic: Cold Steel

Bayonet and Sabre Fighting

The Toronto World, 21 October 1914

Toronto Central Y.M.C.A. Fencing Club have several members of the various regiments, officers and men, interested in these weapons, and a class is in progress demonstrating bayonet against bayonet, and sabre against sabre, and bayonet against sword. This club is not teaching bayonet drills, but bayonet fighting. The same can be said of the sword.

The use of the bayonet as a weapon of attack and defence is a necessary part of the instruction of the soldier trained to fight on foot. The club has one of the best equipments in Canada—spring bayonets, masks, gloves, etc., approved by the British War Office regulations. The course covers about twenty lessons. Great importance is given to these lessons, as it is by means of them that the combative spirit is given, and enables one to see, step by step, the fighting application of each detail which they are taught.

Bayonet fighting is not taught as a parade exercise, and when inspected it is seen in the assault. At the conclusion of the lessons awards are given for proficiency. In the course, a few very practical hints are given for using the bayonet in action:—

1.     On nearing the enemy.

2.     On getting to close quarters,

3.     If opponent commences the attack before you actually deliver your attack.

4.     Closing with an adversary.

5.     Confidence in actual contact.

These instructions are under the direction of one of Canada's specialists, and a close student of scientific swordsmanship.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, 11 April 2016 12:15 AM EDT
Sunday, 10 April 2016

Colour is Trooped as Vimy Memorial
Topic: Remembrance

Colour is Trooped as Vimy Memorial

Guards Recall Heroic Dead Who Helped Capture Ridge
Ceremony at Armoury
Young Officer Whose Father Died in Battle Receives Standard—Unit is Reviewed

Montreal Gazette, 10 April 1935

Eighteen years ago yesterday an army in khaki, with "Canada" on its war-worn buttons, carved its name in the rock of immortality at a spot in France that will live forever in the history of the ages—Vimy Ridge. Last night, to the beat of drums, the memory of those men who died at the Battle of Vimy was honoured by the Canadian Grenadier Guards in the stately and magnificent ceremony of the Trooping of the Colour.

On April 9, 1917, the 87th Battalion of the Canadian Expeditionary Force (the Canadian Grenadier Guards) went into action with the Canadian Forces at Vimy Ridge. The death toll of officers and men was terrible. A price beyond recompense was paid on that spot, and to the sacrifice made in 1917 the regiment last night gave homage.

A splash of scarlet across the drill hall, the flash of naked swords and the slow, penetrating beat of the drums saw the battalion perform the intricate measures of that most impressive of all military ceremonies, the Trooping of the Colour.

A tall young officer in scarlet and black "busby" stepped smartly across the floor as the armoury was hushed into silence, clicked his heels in salute and received from the hands of a fellow officer the wreath-topped Colour. He was Lieutenant P.F.L. Sare. Eighteen years ago his father, Major H.F. Sare, died at the Battle of Vimy in the conflict that was being commemorated last night.

The magnificent ceremony was carried through with impressive precision. Long lines of scarlet-tunicked men, with rifles sloped, moved slowly through the measures of the ceremony to the music of the scarlet and gold band. The drums, scrolled with the battle honours of the regiment, beat out sharp, staccato orders. Medals gleamed on the breasts of men who were, last night, remembering friends and comrades of Vimy Ridge. Side by side with them marched youths who had only a vague recollection of 1917.

Stately and impressively the regiment marched past Brigadier W.W.P. Gibsone, C.M.G., D.S.O., O.B.E., officer commanding military district No. 4, who took the salute, and Rene Turek, Consul-General of France, who represented the mother of Vimy Ridge at the ceremony. The battalion was reviewed by Brig. Gibsone, Mr. Turek, and Lieut.-Colonel B.W. Browne, A.A. and Q.M.G.

Lieut. P.F.L. Sare was Ensign of the Colour. The escort was under the command of Lieut. J.G. Stewart. The band, at the close of the ceremony, played the national anthems of the British Empire and France. The regiment was commanded by Lieut.-Colonel F.R. Phalen, D.S.O., M.C., V.D., the officer commanding the Canadian Grenadier Guards.

The gallery of the drill hall was packed with visitors who had come to witness the magnificent ceremony. Never before had the Guards conducted the Trooping of the Colour with such precision as they did last night.

Following the ceremony, regimental cups and medals were presented by Brigadier Gibsone to a number of officers and men.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Saturday, 9 April 2016

Ashes for Vimy Ridge
Topic: Vimy Pilgrimage

Ashes for Vimy Ridge

Small Cross Burned, Symbolic of War Dead

The Montreal Gazette, 6 July 1936

Woodstock, July 5.—(CP)—Joining in an impressive service in Victoria Park today, ex-servicemen and other citizens of Woodstock witnesses the burning of small wooden crosses, symbolic of the community's war dead. The ashes were deposited in a small ivory urn and turned over to the Vimy Pilgrimage party from Woodstock to be scattered on Vimy Ridge.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Friday, 8 April 2016

Japanese CEF Veterans Going to Vimy with Pilgrimage
Topic: Vimy Pilgrimage

Seven Japanese CEF Veterans Going to Vimy with Pilgrimage

The Montreal Gazette, 16 July 1936

Seven sons of Nippon will march aboard one of the Vimy Pilgrimage liners this morning to travel with Canada's veterans to the former battlefields of France.

Wearing the British ex-service button, these Japanese from Vancouver will be honoring fallen comrades when they stand before the Canadian war memorial on Vimy Ridge, July 26. All are former members of the Canadian Corps.

Arriving from the coast early today the Japanese veterans of the C.E.F. will sail with 6,000 pilgrims of the western world — and the twain will meet, as they did 20 years ago in France, when the ships go out of Montreal to Vimy.

Some of those veterans who leave this morning will never see the great memorial on the ridge that they helped capture. For the blind are going too. And some will not hear the speeches, or the bands, or the prayers. For the deaf are going. And some will have to be carried to the place where Canada lost so many sons. For the lame and crippled are going.

And the widows. Many of those whose husbands died at Vimy Ridge, at Passchendaele and Hill 70, and the other battlefields which Canadian soldiers wrote into history, will be aboard the liners sailing out of Montreal on this solemn pilgrimage. Thirty-five war widows from Toronto make up one party, and there will be others from points throughout Canada.

And the nurses. The women who served in the Great War will be on the decks of the Vimy ships, going back to the places in France where they ministered to the wounded through all the long years of the war. The veterans who sail today will not all be men.

The wives and children of the pilgrims will make up approximately 50 per cent of the passenger lists in the four liners today, and the fifth sailing tomorrow. The great majority of the married servicemen are taking their families to France and England.

Complete passenger lists for the five liners total as follows:

  • Montrose, 1,426,
  • Montcalm, 1,512,
  • Ascania, 1,118,
  • Antonia, 1,258,
  • Duchess of Bedford, 1,074.

elipsis graphic

"The Epic of Vimy"

The Epic of Vimy, published by The Legionary after the Vimy Pilgrimage, included a roll of the CEF soldiers and family memebrs who sailed from Canada for the unveiling of the Vimy Memorial in 1936. From this roll, the following name may include some of the soldiers mention in the news article above. (Only one of these three could be foung in the Libarary and Archives database of First World War soldiers by the name as shown here.):

  • Furukawa, Mr. Bunshiro, 50th Bn, Vancouver; wounded while serving with the 50th battalion, and a recipient of the Military Medal.
  • Kegetsu, Mr. Eikicki, 50th Bn, Vancouver
    • Kegetsu, Mrs. Eikicki, Vancouver
    • Kegetsu, Miss Kimiyo, Vancouver
    • Kegetsu, Miss Takako, Vancouver
    • Kegetsu, Mr. Hajime, Vancouver
  • Shinobu, Mr. Saburo, Vancouver

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, 8 April 2016 12:02 AM EDT
Thursday, 7 April 2016

Canadian Military Establishments 1893-94
Topic: Canadian Militia

Canadian Military Establishments 1893-94

The Quebec Daily Telegraph, 3 April 1893

The establishment of the Permanent Force and Active Militia for the year 1893-94 is as follows:—

Permanent Force

Active Militia

  • Cavalry – 2038
  • Field artillery – 2354
  • Garrison artillery – 2099
  • Engineers – 90
  • Infantry – 29,500
    • Total Active Militia – 36,081

Grand total – 37,993 (This does not include the officers and men attached to the staff of brigade offices.)

Canadian Army Battle Honours

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Artillery Instruction (1884)
Topic: Drill and Training

Artillery Instruction (1884)

Manual of Field Artillery Exercises, Canada, 1884
From the Preface to the First Edition (1875), by T. Bland Strang, Major, R. Art., Lieut. Col. And Inspector of Artillery for the Dominion

Land service artillery will be broadly considered as—

  • 1st. Field.
  • 2nd. Siege.
  • 3rd. Garrison.

The distinctive character of the first is mobility, of the last stability, or tenacity in holding its ground

Siege artillery holds an intermediate, place between the two.

Artillery instruction will be divided into—

  • Technical.
  • Tactical.
  • Disciplinary.
  • Scientific

The last two can only be slightly touched upon in a work like the present.

The Scientific instruction will, therefore, be limited, at first, to a clear explanation of elementary gunnery, suitable to intelligent Non-commissioned officers, subsequently to be extended to Range finding and rough Surveying, as well as such elementary Fortification as is absolutely necessary for the requirements of an Artillery officer.

The Technical will include the gun and its ammunition, use, and rules for practice.

The Tactical will be comprised of drill:

  • 1st. As a steadying training exercise for men and horses.
  • 2nd. As training to surmount obstacles.
  • 3rd. Artillery tactics proper: the movements, selection of position, and wording of guns, before an enemy.

The Disciplinary portion will include the care and management of men and horses.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Japanese Army Ration, 1942
Topic: Army Rations

Japanese Army Ration, 1942

US War Department, Military Intelligence Service; Intelligence Bulletin, Vol. 1, No. 1, September 1942

1.     General

Each soldier in the Japanese Army is responsible for his own cooking while in the combat area. As a general rule, however, the men of a squad do their cooking together. No stove or other heating apparatus is carried. Enough food is often cooked in the morning to last throughout the day. Sometimes the Japanese have only rice and salt to eat. Sugar is considered a luxury. It must be obtained in the general area where the operations take place.

2.     Emergency Five-Day Ration

Each soldier usually carries enough food to last him for five days in the field; infiltration groups may carry more. At times the Japanese kill and cook dogs, goats, and other small animals to add to their emergency rations. The five-day emergency ration includes:

a.     Half a pound of hard candy.

b.     Can of tea.

c.     Package of compact food.

d.     Vitamin pills.

e.     Package of hardtack.

f.     Small sack of rice.

3.     Other Types of Emergency Rations

In Burma the Japanese used two types of emergency rations. One was known as the "A" scale and the other as the "B" scale. Each soldier carried rations for three days on the "A" scale and for one day on the "B" scale. Neither of the rations was to be eaten except on orders of the commanding officer when the unit was separated from its supply column. Each ration under the "A" scale consisted of about 1 pound and 3 ounces of rice (enough for two meals) and one small can of mixed beef and vegetables. The soldier usually cooked the rice in a small bucket which he carried for this purpose. The "B" scale ration consisted of three paper bags of hard biscuits (enough for three meals).

4.     Field Rations

These generally are of two types, "normal" and "special." The soldier always carries the special ration, and is issued the normal ration at mealtimes.

a.     Special Type

A single ration includes the following:

  • 20.46 ounces of rice (probably polished);
  • 8.113 ounces of biscuit;
  • 5.3 ounces of canned meat (or 2.1 ounces of dried meat);
  • 4.23 ounces of dried vegetables;
  • 1.09 ounces of dried plums, and small quantities of salt, sugar, and sometimes a can of beer made from rice.

b.     Normal Type

A single ration of this type includes the following:

  • 23.3 ounces of rice;
  • 7.4 ounces of barley;
  • 7.4 ounces of raw meat;
  • 21.16 ounces of vegetables;
  • 2.1 ounces of pickles and small quantities of flavoring, salt, and sugar.

5.     Vitamins

The Japanese are using vitamins to supplement their rations to an unknown extent. Some of the vitamin tablets are known to consist mainly of vitamins A and D.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Monday, 4 April 2016

The "Affair" Between a Whaling Captain and a Military Officer
Topic: Officers

The "Affair" Between a Whaling Captain and a Military Officer

'Only eight paces?' cried Lieut. James, a little surprised. 'O, very well'—and he measured it off, and placed his man at his post. Then advancing to Capt. Lovett, he presented him with a pistol.

The Daily Pittsburgh Gazette, 8 August 1839
(Boston Merchant Journal)

Although this story can be found published variously in the 1830s and 1840s, searches for the principals or the brig Cinderella come up empty.

Perhaps some of our readers may have heard of the story of the duel between old Captain Lovett, of New Bedford, and the English officer in Demerara. It has been variously related—but the only true version is as follows:—

Captain Zechariah Lovett, after having perfumed several whaling voyages to the Pacific, found himself in command of a small brig belonging to New York, on a voyage to Demerara. He was a worthy man—and a good sailor—his heart was full of the milk of human kindness, but he possessed a noble spirit—which would neither give nor take an insult.

While his little brig Cinderella lay at anchor in Demerara River, Captain Lovett, one afternoon, entered a Coffee House, where he met with a friend—and they amused themselves by knocking the balls about in the billiard room. Soon after, and before the game was half finished—some English military officers entered, one of whom, Captain Bigbee, stepped up to Capt. Lovett, who was arrayed in a very plain, not to sat ordinary costume, and with a bullying air demanded the table, as himself and brother officers wished to play a match.

Capt. Lovett gave the red coated gentleman a stern look, but replied with courtesy, that he and his friend had engaged the table, and would play out their game, after which, if the gentlemen wished to play, it was at their service.

'But we can't wait,' said Capt. Bigbee, in an insolent tone.

'You must wait,' cooly replied Captain Lovett.

'But we will do no such thing,' exclaimed the surly Briton—'we came here to play billiards—and have no idea of being disappointed by a couple of fellows who hardly know a mace from a cue, or a ball from a pocket. It will take you all afternoon to finish the game—so clear out!.

Capt. Lovett and his friend played on.

'Come,' continued the officer, 'enough of this—-marker, place the balls.' Saying which, with a most impudent air, he seized one of the balls, which Capt. Lovett's opponent had just driven into a pocket, and caught another one which was near him.

The matter was growing serious. Captain Lovett's eye flashed fire—for although he had mingled a good deal among Quakers, and respected that moral sect for their humanity and quiet demeanor, he was no non-resistant man himself.—He dropped his cue, and doubled up a fist of portentous size. 'Put those balls upon the table, you scoundrel,' exclaimed he, imperatively, 'and leave the room.'

'Who do you call scoundrel, you Yankee blackguard? Do you know you are talking to one of His majesty's officers? Take that for your impertinence,' at the same time suiting the action to the word, and giving Capt. Lovett a smart rap across the shoulder with his cue. But in an instant he received a blow on the forehead, exactly where Phrenologists locate the organ of Eventuality—which would have felled an ox, and submissively acknowledged the favor by measuring his length upon the floor!

His brother officer, who were with him, had the good sense to see that Bigbee was to blame—and although they looked rather black at the Yankees, they wisely forbode to molest them further—but assisted the stunned bully to another room, where, by the help of some restoratives, he recovered his senses. His rage and mortification at the result of the rencontre knew no bounds, and with many a bitter oath he declared he would have satisfaction.

Before Capt. Lovett left the coffee house, a billet was handed him by Lieut. James, which proved to be a challenge—a peremptory challenge from Captain Bigbee, in which it was insisted that arrangements should be made for an early meeting, that he might have the opportunity to wash off the affront he had received, in Capt. Lovett's heart's blood.

Capt. Lovett smiled when he saw such manifestations of Christian spirit. 'Tell Capt. Bigbee,' said he, 'that I will not baulk him. He shall have the opportunity he so earnestly seeks. Although not a fighting man, I am familiar with the duel laws—and if he will be, tomorrow morning, on the bank of the green canal, near the South Quay, rather a secluded spot, he shall have satisfaction to his heart's content.'

Lieut. James bowed politely and withdrew.—Capt. Lovett went on board the Cinderella soon after—and ordered his mate, Mr. Starbuck, also a veteran whale hunter, to select the two best harpoons, have them nicely ground, and fitted—as an opportunity might offer on the morrow, of striking a porpoise. Mr. Starbuck obeyed his superior officer with alacrity, although he wondered not a little why Capt. Lovett expected to find porpoises in Demerara River.

The next morning, as soon as all hands were called, Capt. Lovett ordered the boat to be manned, and requested Mr. Starbuck to take the two harpoons, to each some eight or ten fathoms of rattling stuff were attached, and accompany him on shore. In a few minutes the boat reached the South Quay, where Captain Lovett was met by several of his countrymen, who have been attracted to the spot by rumor of the duel, as well as several merchants and other inhabitants of the place. The one and all remonstrated with Capt. Lovett, for consenting to fight with the English military bully, who was represented as a practised duellist—an expert swordsman, and an unrivaled marksman with a pistol, being sure of his man at twelve paces. Captain Lovett did not, however, show the least inclination to back out—but, on the contrary, seemed more eager for the engagement—'I'll give that quarrelsome fellow a lesson' said he, which will be of service to him—and which he will never forget, so long as his name is Bigbee.'

The challenger, with his forehead ornamented with a large patch to cover the impression left with the Yankee's knuckles, and his swollen eyes dimly twinkling with anger and mortification through two huge, livid circles, accompanied by his second, soon made his appearance. He was followed by a servant with a pistol case, and an assortment of swords. He bowed stiffly to Capt. Lovett—and Lt. James, approaching the Yankee asking him if he was willing to fight with swords—'If so,' said he, 'I believe we can suit you. We have brought with us the small sword, a neat, gentlemanly weapon—the cut and thrust, good in a melee, and which will answer indifferently well in a duel—and the broadsword and cutlass, which is often preferred by those who are deficient in skill in the use of arms. My friend, Capt. Bigbee, is equally expert with either. You have only to choose. As the challenged party, you have an undoubted right to select your arms.'

'Of that privilege I am well aware,' replied Captain Lovett, 'and mean to avail, myself of it. I shall not fight with swords.'

'I expected as much,' resumed Lieut. James, 'and have brought with me a beautiful pair of dueling pistols, with long barrels, rifle bores, and hair triggers. What distance shall I measure off?'

'Eight paces.'

'Only eight paces?' cried Lieut. James, a little surprised. 'O, very well'—and he measured it off, and placed his man at his post. Then advancing to Capt. Lovett, he presented him with a pistol.

'I do not fight with pistols!'

'Not fight with pistols—after having refused to fight with swords? What brought you here, then?'

'To fight!' shouted Lovett in a thundering voice, which made the British officer start. 'I am the challenged party, and have a right to choose my weapons, according to the laws of the duello, all the world over—and you may rely upon it I shall not select weapons with which I am not familiar, and with which my antagonist has been practising all his life. Such a proceeding on my part is not only not required by the rules of honor, which after all, is a mere chimera, but would be contrary to all the dictates of common sense. No.—I shall fight with the weapons of honorable warfare, with which I have ever been accustomed. Swords and pistols, indeed!'

'But, my dear sir,' cried the astonished Lieutenant, 'we must proceed according to rule in this business. What weapons have you fixed upon?' And in fancy's eye he beheld before him a huge blunderbuss, loaded with buckshot.

Captain Lovell said nothing—but beckoned to Mr. Starbuck, who approached him with great alacrity, bearing the two harpoons. He seized one of the formidable weapons, and thrust it into the hands of Bigbee, who seemed absolutely paralized with astonishment.

'My weapon,' said he, 'is the javelin—such as the Grecian and Roman knights often fought with, in olden times—a weapon which no man who challenges another, can refuse to fight with at the present day, unless he possesses a mean and craven spirit.'

Thus saying, he took the station which had been assigned him, at eight paces distant from his startled antagonist. He cooly bared his sinewy arm—grasped the harpoon, and placed himself in an attitude. 'I'll bet,' said he, casting a triumphant look upon his friends, 'a smoked herring against a sperm whale, that I'll drive the harpoon through that fellow's midriff the first throw, and will finish him without the aid of the lance.' 'Mr. Starbuck, fiercely continued Captain Lovett, in a loud and rough voice, such as is seldom heard, excepting on board a Nantucket whaling vessel, when a shoal of whales is in sight, "Stand by to haul that fellow in!"

The mate grasped the end of the line, his eyes beaming with as much expectation and delight. As if he was steering a boat bow on to an eighty barrel whale, while Captain Lovett poised his harpoon with both hands, keenly eyes the the British Captain—shouted in a tremendous voice, 'Now for it,' and drew back his arm as in the act of throwing the fatal iron!

The Englishman was a brave man—which is not always the case with bullies—and he had often marched, without flinching, up to the mouth of a cannon. And if he had been in single combat, with an adversary armed with a sword or a pistol, or even a dagger or Queen's arm, he would have borne himself manfully. Indeed, he had already acquired an unenviable notoriety as a duelist, and had killed his man. But the harpoon was a weapon with which he was altogether unacquainted—and the loud and exulting tones of the Yankee captain's voice sounded like a summons to his grave. And when he saw the stalwart Yankee raise the polished iron—and pause for an instant, as if concentrating all his strength to give the fatal blow, a panic terror seized him—his limbs trembled—his features were of a ghastly pallor, and the cold sweat stood in large drops on his forehead. He had not the strength to raise his weapon—and when his grim opponent shouted, 'Now for it,' and shook his deadly spear, the British officer, forgetting his vows of chivalry—his reputation as an officer, and his honor as a duelist, threw his harpoon on the ground, fairly turned his back to his enemy—and fled like a frightened courser from the field, amid the jeers and jibes, and the hurrahs of the multitude assembled by this time on the spot.

Capt. Bigbee's dueling days were over. No man would fight with him after his adventure with the Yankee. He was overwhelmed with insult and ridicule—and soon found it advisable to change into another regiment. But his story got there before him—and his was soon sent to "Coventry" as a disgraced man. He was compelled, although with great reluctance, to quit the service; and it may with great truth be said, that he never forgot the lesson he had received from the veteran whaler, so long as his name was Bigbee.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Sunday, 3 April 2016

Evolution of Individual Weapons
Topic: Militaria

Evolution of Individual Weapons

Military rifles were not always as excellent as they are today.

US Army FM 23-71; Rifle Marksmanship, July 1964


1.     Military rifles were not always as excellent as they are today. In the early days, black powder and lead balls were used by every nation. Black powder was smoky, dirty, and inefficient compared with modern propellants. When one of these early rifles was fired, a cloud of white smoke disclosed the rifleman's position, and a thick residue, like carbon and soot, was deposited in the bore of the rifle. Black powder has a lower energy content per cubic centimeter compared with modern rifle pow ders which have high velocities.

2.     When the lead ball was fired from the rifle it began to lose speed very quickly. A sphere is poorly shaped for fast travel. Lead balls from some of our early military rifles fired at a muzzle speed (velocity) as high as 2,000 feet per second. But at a distance of 100 meters they would slow to about 1,500 feet per second; whereas a bullet from our M1 or M14 rifle today, at an initial velocity of 2,800 feet per second, loses only about 300 feet per second the first 100 meters.

3.     The lead balls of these early military rifles were often "patched," that is, greased linen, flannel, or thin soft leather was wrapped (and sometimes tied) over the ball. When this greased patch was used it served as a lubricant to ease loading, reduce escaping gas, and keep the ball from losing lead onto the bore as it traveled through it. But sometimes the lead ball was used bare, in which case the bore frequently picked up a lead coating which grew progressively thicker, decreasing the ac curacy with each shot fired until the lead deposit was removed.

4.     The same problem arose from the rough residue left by the burning of black powder. Unless the bores of those early rifles were washed after each shot, the residue became progressively thicker, making the diameter of the bore smaller. Since most early rifles were muzzle-loaders, it became increasingly difficult to load, and accuracy diminished, due to constantly reduced bore diameter. The effort re quired just to ram a lead ball, patched or not, down 32 or more inches of barrel became first exhausting and then all but impossible.

5.     The inefficiency of black powder and early projectiles led early rifle makers to build their weapons with longer barrels and in larger caliber bores than our rifles of today. This combination gave as high velocity as could be obtained without making rifles completely awkward to handle and gave the desired killing effect needed for fighting infantry and cavalry. When you cannot propel a missile at high velocity, you must increase the weight in order to get adequate effect. Any increase in weight with a ball projectile results from an increase in diameter.

6.     In time the round projectile gave way to the elongated one. It had been discovered as early as the late 1700's that elongated missiles were more efficient in flight and traveled to tremendously greater maximum ranges. Massed squad and platoon fire with elongated bullet rifles could be effective at 1,000 meters or more. Several years prior to the war of 1861— 65, the elongated bullet rifle was adopted al most worldwide because it permitted faster loading. Successful methods of making metal cartridge cases had not yet been found, so most of the first bullet rifles were muzzle-loaders too. The early Sharps rifle was one of the exceptions. It was a breech-loader taking a linen cartridge. Because there was no metal cartridge case, such as is used in modern rifles, a portion of the gas generated by the powder flashed out at the juncture of breech-block and receiver of this rifle.

7.     By 1870 nearly all armies had adopted breech-loading infantry rifles (usually single shot) which usually fired fixed, metallic, black powder, lead bullet cartridges in calibers ranging from .40 to .45. These improved firearms could be fired by a trained soldier 15 or more times a minute. Lever action repeating rifles had been developed to a level of real usability by 1861, but had to be held to lesser powder levels (for design reasons) than was desirable for infantry use. The Spencer and Henry lever- action rifles were used in the war of 1861-65 by many cavalry units. The Spencer carried seven cartridges and the Henry carried 16. Both weapons had a reach of about 225 meters, and the rate of fire was five shots to one, com pared with the standard muzzle-loader.

8.     The year 1886 was an historic one in infantry rifle design. France adopted a manually operated bolt-action rifle of caliber .32 (8-mm) jacketed bullet design (to prevent melting and failure to spin in the rifling grooves) for use with nitrocellulose (smokeless) powder. The ancient bondage to black powder had been dis solved. Soldiers using these newer rifles found that very little smoke was given off in firing to disclose their positions. By 1888 Britain and Germany used similar new designs. And in 1892 the United States followed suit. By 1898 no modern army was without a smaller caliber repeating rifle of the new type. The new arms were of 5- to 10-shot capacity, ranging in caliber from .32 to .26 as compared to the older .40 to .45 caliber sizes. Nitrocellulose propellants and advances in metallurgy had permitted a reduction in bullet diameter, a retention of adequate shocking; power, an increase in average accuracy and penetration, and a flattening of trajectory (extension of the limit of grazing fire) by as much as 50 percent or more. Logistically, the weight of individual rifle cartridges had dropped by as much as 40 per cent.

9.     The Springfield 1903 rifle reflected the era of high development in rifles operated manually, which ended in 1936 with the introduction into U.S. service of the Garand design, designated M1. This first of the successful gas-operated rifles of full infantry power outgunned enemy rifles in Europe and the Pacific in the ratio of 3 to 1. It was rugged, sure functioning, powerful, and accurate. The tiring bolt manipulation, so painfully learned by former generations of American soldiers, was no longer necessary.

10.     The M1 rifle ushered in an era that saw foreign nations scrambling for semiautomatic designs in individual infantry weapons. Britain and France discarded their old, time proven bolt actions and took up the Belgian FN design. Soviet Russia developed as her now standard infantry weapon, a rifle-powered submachine- gun of 30 shot capacity (the AK). And the U.S., exploiting the potential of John G. Garand's M1, has modernized it as the M14 for increased cartridge capacity (20 shots instead of 8) and quick and simple adaptation to the automatic rifle role.

11.     On 1 May 1957, the Secretary of the Army announced the adoption of the new rifle. The M14 is equipped with a light barrel and is designed primarily to replace the M1 rifle in a semiautomatic fire role. It can be converted to automatic fire by merely replacing the selector lock with a selector lever. The M14 weighs approximately 11 pounds when combat loaded, A bipod will add an additional pound when the M14 is used in the automatic rifle role.

12.     The M14 is basically the same in design as the M1 rifle. Design changes, in nearly all instances, were made to accommodate the shorter 7.62-mm cartridge and to allow for the use of a magazine instead of a clip for holding ammunition. Consequently, the receiver, bolt, and firing pin are shorter, and the floor plate of the trigger housing is cut away to allow for the magazine. The most significant advantage of the M14 design is that it offers an increase of 12 rounds in magazine capacity over the M1 rifle with NO INCREASE IN WEIGHT. The most significant advantage of the M14 with bipod (in the automatic rifle role) is that it offers the same magazine capacity as the BAR with a DECREASE IN WEIGHT. The weight saving of the M14 with bipod is about 10 pounds.

13.     The new 7.62-mm cartridge is approximately 1/2-inch shorter than the caliber .30 M2 cartridge and 12 percent lighter. New developments in powder permit the use of less powder in a shorter case without sacrificing velocity or increase in permissible pressure.

Relationship of Individual Weapon Design to Combat Use of the Weapon.

14.     To fully understand rifle marksmanship and rifle marksmanship training, it is necessary to know something of rifles, their characteristics and combat usefulness. The rifle is the primary individual weapon for all armies because it is the most versatile and effective weapon which can be carried and used by a soldier in combat. The rifle can fire ordinary bullets to kill enemy soldiers; it can fire armor-piercing bullets to wreck truck engines; it can fire tracer bullets to point out targets; and it can fire incendiary bullets to start fires in in flammable materials. Add to this the fact that the rifle can also shoot signal flares and powerful grenades and you can see that the rifle is one of the most important weapons in the army.

15.     But why the rifle? Isn't a hand weapon such as a pistol, revolver, or a hand grenade more convenient in combat? A hand weapon is far more convenient but it cannot do the wide and far-reaching job of a shoulder weapon. The rifle is a weapon that can kill or destroy at a considerable distance so that the enemy can be prevented from getting too close. If individual weapons can reach out a considerable distance it is easier to keep the enemy where larger, more powerful supporting weapons can smash him. The rifleman's weapon must be so constructed that it can be held with steadiness while he directs accurate fire, powerful enough to kill enemy soldiers, as far away as marksmanship skill and the precision of the weapon will allow.

16.     Here is where the sciences enter the picture. Man's scientific level today is such that it still takes the relatively long, steel barrel and wooden or plastic stock of a rifle to obtain the desired performance. It takes a certain quantity of today's rifle powder to move a certain size rifle bullet at a certain speed so that it will have a certain desired effect on the targets appropriate to it.

17.     Closely related to the sciences of metallurgy, chemistry, and ballistics, which give us our firearms, is the related field of human mechanics. Human mechanics evaluates man's anatomy to deduce the best systems of weapon configuration. Such items as length of rifle stock, distance between handgrip (pistol grip on a rifle) surface to pressure surface of the trigger, shape of operating handles, and a thousand other minute and often undreamed of details go into the design of a rifle.

18.     Many scientific and mechanical factors influence marksmanship in some way. Metal lurgy has a large share in determining the weight and bulk of a rifle, as well as its mech anism. Chemistry dictates heavily the ballistic qualities of the rifle. Ballistics in turn fuses together the knowledge of metallurgy and chemistry and adds physics in the design of a cartridge and projectile that will satisfy com bat requirements.

19.     The complex package called a "rifle" is what soldiers live by on the battlefield. If the design is well done, the rifle will fit the average man very well and will deliver accurate and deadly fire on targets. Seven essential qualities of a modern combat rifle are:

a.     It must be accurate.

b.     Its trajectory must be flat.

c.     Its recoil must be moderate.

d.     It must be powerful.

e.     It must be easy to master.

f.     Its mechanism must be unfailing.

g. It and its ammunition (in quantity) must be light enough to carry under combat conditions.

20.     We are now in an era of "Emphasis on Accuracy." The vast numbers of our potential enemies clearly point up the fact that accurate rifle fire is the key to success. A soldier who merely "sprays" shots in the vicinity of the enemy produces little effect. Against an un seasoned enemy such fire may be temporarily effective, but the result is not lasting. The mission of the rifleman is to kill the enemy. Against seasoned troops, spraying shots have little effect. Someone once gave what is perhaps the best definition of firepower when he said that, "firepower is bullets hitting people!" The M1 rifle and the M14 rifle are accurate weapons.

21.     Trajectory-wise, the M1 and M14 rifles are "flat-shooting." That is, their bullets travel very fast, so they can't fall very much below the line of sight over their usable range. And because the bullets don't "drop" much below the extended line of the bore over combat ranges, it is relatively easy to make hits with them. Moderate recoil means that the muzzle climb in firing is moderate, which makes for fast recovery between shots. This is very important in rapid fire in combat against numbers of enemy.

22.     The U.S. military rifle must be powerful. That means it must be able to kill an enemy soldier as far away as the rifleman can surely hit him. It must penetrate enemy helmets and body armor easily up to the same range. It should have enough punch to tear through the side of enemy trucks to kill personnel riding within, or to destroy the truck engine. The bullets of the caliber .30 or 7.62-mm rifles are relatively small and light—fine for high speed; yet they are heavy enough and large enough in diameter to deliver a killing blow when they get where they are going.

23.     The M1 and M14 rifles are extremely simple in design, allowing for quick mastery even by those with no previous knowledge of firearms design. As for functioning, the exhaustive tests of Ordnance personnel, who put these designs through their developmental paces and field testing by using units, have confirmed the reliability of the weapons mechanisms.

24.     Lightness of rifle and ammunition is a highly controversial issue. By some standards the M1 and M14 (and indeed all military arms) are heavy, but it must be remembered that the ruggedness of a military weapon is something which precludes matching the six-pound weight of a commercial hunting rifle. And the much-argued-for superiority of lightweight alloys, plastics, and glass compounds must be balanced against the yet-to-be confirmed field observations of their wearing qualities and stress resistances.

25.     The 7.62-mm NATO cartridge, standard for our M14 rifles and M60 machine guns, is actually lighter than the older caliber .30 cartridge by approximately 12 percent. This means that our fighting men carry more ammunition than before with no increase in total weight of field load.

26.     All in all, U.S. service rifles are admirable weapons; very accurate, very deadly. They are the backbone of our land power.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Saturday, 2 April 2016

Deliberations or Discussion by Officers or Soldiers
Topic: Canadian Militia

Deliberations or Discussion by Officers or Soldiers

Deliberations and discussions by officers or soldiers with the object of conveying praise, censure, or any mark of approbation toward their superiors, or any others in the active militia, are prohibited.


Militia Orders
Some Very Important Orders

St. John Daily Sun, 18 January 1901 Ottawa, Jan. 17.—In the militia general orders issued today are the following:

"Deliberations and discussions by officers or soldiers with the object of conveying praise, censure, or any mark of approbation toward their superiors, or any others in the active militia, are prohibited. The publication of laudatory orders on officers quitting a station or relinquishing an appointment is prohibited. Commanding officers are to refuse to allow subscriptions for testimonials in any shape to superiors on quitting the service or on being removed from their corps. Every officer will be held responsible should he allow himself to be complimented by officers or soldiers, who are serving under his command, by means of presents, plate, swords, etc., or by any expression of their opinion." — [General Order 98, dated 3 December 1900. Titled: "Conveying Praise, censure &c."]

"Officers are forbidden to forward testimonials relating to the services or character with any application they may make to headquarters. In the event of an officer wishing that the opinions of officers under whom he has served should be brought to notice, he will submit their names so that if necessary they may be referred to." — [General Order 100, dated 3 December 1900. Titled: "Testimonials Related to Service"]

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Friday, 1 April 2016

Specific Suggestions for Simple Sabotage
Topic: Resistance

Specific Suggestions for Simple Sabotage

Snarl up administration in every possible way.

Strategic Services Field Manual No. 3, Simple Sabotage Field Manual (provisional), Office of Strategic Services, Washington, D.C., 17 January 1944

General Interference with Organizations and Production

Organizations and Conferences

(1)     Insist on doing everything through "channels." Never permit short-cuts to be taken in order to expedite decisions.

(2)     Make "speeches," Talk as frequently as possible and at great length. Illustrate your "points" by long anecdotes and accounts of personal experiences. Never hesitate to make a few appropriate "patriotic" comments.

(3)     When possible, refer all matters to committees, for "further study and consideration." Attempt to make the committees as large possible—never less than five.

(4)     Bring up irrelevant issues as frequently as possible.

(5)     Haggle over precise wordings of communications, minutes, resolutions.

(6)     Refer back to matters decided upon at the last meeting and attempt to re-open the question of the advisability of that decision.

(7)     Advocate "caution." Be "reasonable" and urge your fellow-conferees to be "reasonable" and avoid haste which might result in embarrassments or difficulties later on.

(8)     Be worried about the propriety of any decision — raise the question of whether such action as is contemplated lies within the jurisdiction of the group or whether it might conflict with the policy of some higher echelon.

Managers and Supervisors

(1)     Demand written orders.

(2)     "Misunderstand" orders. Ask endless questions or engage in long correspondence about such orders. Quibble over them when you can.

(3)     Do everything possible to delay the delivery of orders. Even though parts of an order may be ready beforehand, don't deliver it until it is completely ready.

(4)     Don't order new working materials until your current stocks have been virtually exhausted, so that the slightest delay in filling your order will mean a shutdown.

(5)     Order high-quality materials which are hard to get. If you don't get them argue about it. Warn that inferior materials will mean inferior work.

(6)     In making work assignments, always sign out the unimportant jobs first. See that the important jobs are assigned to inefficient workers of poor machines.

(7)     Insist on perfect work in relatively unimportant products; send back for refinishing those which have the least flaw. Approve other defective parts whose flaws are not visible to the naked eye.

(8)     Make mistakes in routing so that parts and materials will be sent to the wrong place in the plant.

(9)     When training new workers, give incomplete or misleading instructions.

(10)     To lower morale and with it, production, be pleasant to inefficient workers; give them undeserved promotions. Discriminate against efficient workers; complain unjustly about their work.

(11)     Hold conferences when there is more critical work to be done.

(12)     Multiply paper work in plausible ways. Start duplicate files.

(13)     Multiply the procedures and clearances involved in issuing instructions, pay checks, and so on. See that three people have to approve everything where one would do.

(14)     Apply all regulations to the last letter.

Office Workers

(1)     Make mistakes in quantities of material when you' are copying orders. Confuse similar names. Use wrong addresses.

(2)     Prolong correspondence with government bureaus.

(3)     Misfile essential documents.

(4)     In making carbon copies, make one too few, so that an extra copying job will have to be done.

(5)     Tell important callers the boss is busy or talking on another telephone.

(6)     Hold up mail until the next collection.

(7)     Spread disturbing rumors that sound like inside dope.


(1)     Work slowly. Think out ways to increase the number of movements necessary on your job: use a light hammer instead of a heavy one, try to make a small wrench do when a big one is necessary, use little force where considerable force is needed, and so on.

(2)     Contrive as many interruptions to your work as you can: when changing the material on which you are working, as you would on a lathe or punch, take needless time to do it. If you are cutting, shaping or doing other measured work, measure dimensions twice as often as you need to. When you go to the lavatory, spend a longer time there than is necessary. Forget tools so that you will have to go back after them.

(3)     Even it you understand the language, pretend not to understand instructions in a foreign tongue.

(4)     Pretend that instructions are hard to understand, and ask to have them repeated more than once. Or pretend that you are particularly anxious to do your work, and pester the foreman with unnecessary questions.

(5)     Do your work poorly and blame it on bad tools, machinery, or equipment. Complain that these things are preventing you from doing your job right.

(6)     Never pass on your skill and experience to a new or less skillful worker.

(7)     Snarl up administration in every possible way. Fill out forms illegibly so, that they will have to be done over; make mistakes or omit requested information in forms.

(8)     If possible, join or help organize a group for presenting employee problems to the management. See that the procedures adopted are as inconvenient as possible for the management, involving the presence of a large number of employees at each presentation, entailing more than one meeting for each grievance, bringing up problems which are largely imaginary, and so on.

(9)     Misroute materials.

(10)     Mix good parts with unusable scrap and rejected parts.

General Devices for Lowering Morale and Creating Confusion

(a)     Give lengthy and incomprehensible explanations when questioned.

(b)     Report imaginary spies or danger to the Gestapo or Police.

(c)     Act stupid.

(d)     Be as irritable and, quarrelsome as possible without getting yourself into trouble.

(e)     Misunderstand all sorts of regulations concerning such matters as rationing, transportation, traffic regulations.

(f)     Complain against ersatz materials.

(g)     In public treat axis nationals or quislings coldly.

(h)     Stop all conversation when axis nationals or quislings enter a cafe.

(i)     Cry and sob hysterically at every occasion, especially when confronted by government clerks.

(j)     Boycott all movies, entertainments, concerts, newspapers which are in any way connected with the quisling authorities.

(k)     Do not cooperate in salvage schemes.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Thursday, 31 March 2016

Canada's First Carrier Reaches Halifax Port
Topic: RCN

Canada's First Carrier Reaches Halifax Port

Montreal Gazette; 1 April 1946

Halifax, March 31.—CP—H.M.C.S. Warrior, first aircraft carrier to wear Canada's green maple leaf on her funnel, steamed into her home port today a week out of Portsmouth, England, on her maiden voyage.

Just inside Sambro lighthouse at the approaches to Halifax, the 18,000-ton flattop turned into the wind and flew off her fighter and reconnaissance aircraft, giving Canadians ashore their first chance of seeing Canadian naval air squadrons flying as units.

Escorted by the destroyer Micmac and the Algerine minesweeper Middlesex, the Warrior moved upstream to her berth at the naval dockyard. Thousands of ship-conscious Haligonians lined the waterfront to catch a glimpse of the newest addition to Canada' fleet.

At noon, W.C. Macdonald, Liberal member for parliament for Halifax, boarded the carrier and welcomed the ship's company back to Canada on behalf of Defence Minister D.C. Abbott.

"One of the lessons of the taught us in Halifax was the value of cooperation between naval and air power, Mr. Macdonald said, "I think it can be said that air power is vital to a modern fleet. Such a vessel as this new aircraft carrier is a recognition of that fact."

Capt. F.L. Houghton of Ottawa and Halifax expressed pride in his ship and the fact that he had been able to bring her to Halifax.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Few Wounds by Cold Steel
Topic: Cold Steel

Few Wounds by Cold Steel

Shrapnel and Shell Fragments Cause Greatest Trouble Owing to Greater Danger of Infection

The Day, New London, Connecticut, 15 September 1917

During the Franco-Prussian war there were only 600 wounds by cold steel among 98,000 wounded.

Much is said about the comparatively unimportant part played by cold steel in the current war. The following passage from the article on "Surgery Military," in the New International Encyclopedia, would seem to indicate that conditions had not changed much in that respect since the Franco-Prussian war; also that the general classes of wounds remain essentially the same.

"Shrapnel wounds are like those of the old round musket balls, because of their low velocity they are more frequently lodged in wounds than are rifle bullets. Shell wounds, as a class, are much less frequent, but far more severe than shrapnel wounds. Shell fragments cause complete destruction near then bursting point, but effect less damage in more distant zones. Both shrapnel and shell wounds are usually infected, because the missiles carry into the wounds pieces of clothing and other foreign matter. The danger of infection is much increased because of the greater extent of the laceration. Wounds by bayonet, saber and lance occur so infrequently as to be of minor interest. During the Franco-Prussian war there were only 600 wounds by cold steel among 98,000 wounded. Grenades, thrown by hand, rifle and trench mortar, a revival in late wars of an earlier practice, recently have been used to a conspicuous extent in Flanders and France. Their wounds differ in no material particular from those of shell fragments and subterranean mines."

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Active Militia; Artillery (1868)
Topic: Canadian Militia

Active Militia; Artillery (1868)

The Canadian Volunteer's Hand Book for Field Service, Major T.C. Scoble, 37th Battalion (Haldimand Rifles), C.V.M., 1868

Artillery.—A field battery of six pieces, and with six horses to each gun and waggon, occupies in line ninety-five yards; by thirty-four yards in depth; or forty-four in action; the interval between the pieces is nineteen yards; and the length of a field carriage is about fifteen yards.

In marching, not less than four yards interval should be allowed between each carriage. On opening fire, if the distance of the enemy be not known, it is better to fire rather short of, than over the object. The quickness of firing being regulated by the certainty of execution; at equal ranges, therefore, the object should be to point with great care rather than to fire quickly. With smooth bore guns, round shot should be used from 350 yards, upwards; case at from 350 to 450 when double case may be the used.

The firing should increase in rapidity as the range diminishes. Shrapnel should not be used at a less range than 500 yards. After putting a gun in position the officer's first business is to ascertain the distance of every well marked object within range; next to mask and protect his guns and men by ingenious use of whatever means are at hand. When guns are in position on the brow of a hill they should be retired as far as they can be, without losing command: the more they are retired, the better the men will be covered.

If necessary that they should be immediately at the top, they should not be placed until the firing is to commence. A waggon should wait for a disabled gun, but a gun should never wait for a disabled waggon. Men should be accustomed to work the guns with diminished numbers.

If guns are on an unsupported flank, they should be protected by cavalry in rear. If impassable obstacles to cover the flank do not exist, a wood, or buildings occupied by infantry, will give great security to guns posted on the flank of a line. Infantry should never be directly in rear of artillery. In covering changes of front, the guns should be on the pivot flank and well clear of it, that their fire may not be interrupted.

On a march, halt every two hours for several minutes. Drivers dismount; down props; lift saddles and pads; examine shoulders; sponge nostrils, eyes, and tail; give a mouthful of wet grass or hay, and a little water; if halted for two hours stop feet with wet clay. Frequent watering in small quantities will permit the performance of very severe marches. Feeding at moderate intervals. Cordial balls or drinks (in default of better, a wine-glass of whiskey in a half a pint of water, or one and a half drachms of ginger in oil, grease, or butter,) when horses are weary. When dull, and refusing food, try a a clyster at 96° Fahrenheit. Indian corn should be soaked before feeding. No water until one hour, at least, after feeding. Horses not to graze on grass with the dew on it. Hard water should have a knob of clay, or half a handful of wood ashes mixed with it.

Guns should never be at the head of an advanced guard; but may precede the main body, protected by some cavalry.

Officers should not point guns in action. Their duty is to superintend the working of the guns in all its details; and to note the effect of the fire on the enemy's troops of guns.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Monday, 28 March 2016

Topic: Commentary


As a rule, soldiers hate drill. This hatred begins in the earliest days of basic training. Hours spent on a parade square, wearing boots not yet broken in, being instructed by some loud and apocryphally impolite instructor who seems intent on creating soldiery through suffering; all these set the conditions for the universal hatred of drill.

And it continues. After basic training the soldier might be subjected to ceremonial parades and the practice they require. These can also require the return to the instructional environment, as new drill movements not imparted during basic training are required for a polished performance. And that necessity only reawakens that visceral hatred of drill developed on the recruit parade ground.

Some parades require few rehearsals and are only annoying in the time they take to accomplish, and the preparation necessary to be in the right uniform. Others, significant ceremonial parades, can require days of practice and rehearsals, sometimes spread out over weeks until the hazy memories of the months before a major event are reduced to that of sore feet, of being told it's not good enough yet, and of more boot polishing. And after finally getting to the point where the sergeant-major is happy, the pain of the experience is renewed when the officers arrive to start learning the parade sequence and their own role on the square.

Many of those who hate drill, at the time or decades later, will argue that there's no military necessity for drill. Drill, they will claim, originated when drill movements were the tactics of the day; and in the mindless military need for tradition and repetition, it simply hasn't died out. Never have they done any military duty that resembled the drill they learned. This last of course, omits the admission that the drill they performed was also a military duty.

The equally eternal arguments in support of drill lean heavily on justifying the need to learn to work together, to follow commands reflexively, and also to have a simple orchestrated method of moving groups of people around in an orderly manner. All of these are sound arguments for some drill to be learned, but they also fall short of promoting the need for all drill in all its painful variations.

Tradition. Customs of the service. The dreaded phrase "we've always done it this way." Hard core traditionalists don't need reasons, it's good enough for them if it resembles what their grandfathers did while serving in the regiment. But those arguments only work on those who have already drunk the same Kool-Aid. Tradition isn't about strictly rigid adherence to unchanging process, it's about upholding principles and "keeping the faith." Traditions can evolve to meet modern necessity and expectation, and "tradition," in itself, makes a poor argument to not examine why we do things the way we do.

A much as old soldiers, and many new ones, profess to hate the drill they did and do, drill remains a part of the military mien. The experienced eye can often pick out a soldier across the room by his or her bearing. A pair or small group of soldiers stands out when they naturally fall into step. Those little things came from the drill they learned, from the conscious, then subconscious, focus on bearing and movement they learned, at least in part, on the drill square.

And the ultimate dichotomy comes out of the fact that many of those old soldiers who decry the drill they had to do, and declaim its irrelevance in a modern army, will also be the first vocal critics when they see new soldiers, with less accomplished drill, performing less well than they had in their day. Soldiers today perform less drill today then their fathers' generation did, but the expectations placed on them to "look like soldiers" doesn't diminish. Old soldiers, and the public at large, still expect soldiers to look like soldiers and drill, when seen, to be performed well. Archaic as it may be to some, drill remains a small measure of perceived professionalism in many armies.

Drill still has its place. The challenge for each new generation of commanders and sergeants-major, is to decide how much is just enough.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, 28 March 2016 1:20 AM EDT
Sunday, 27 March 2016

Who Shot the Cheese?
Topic: British Army

Who Shot the Cheese?

By George Fraser
The Glasgow Herald, 23 May 1968

Who shot the Cheese? Who stole the wire? What soldiers were permitted to take a woman into barracks? Why should it be contentious and even dangerous, in certain company to call for "a pint of broken squares"?

Why should the men of the Border Regiment have enjoyed a particular reputation for kleptomania? And why should soldiers of Highland regiments, against common sense and nature, wear their bonnets puller down over their eyes?

And so on; one could compile this type of military quiz ad infinitum. The questions are asked here, not for the sake of their answers, which may be of passing interest, but because within both questions and answers there may lie matter of importance to the historian and the sociologist (and, who knows, the anthropologist). They are bound into British regimental traditions; their investigation could tell more about the British soldier than is to be found in standard military histories. These are things that the military historian seldom touches.

elipsis graphic

Of course, military history is a long way out of date. To paraphrase Adlai Stephenson, it has not yet been marched, strutted and puffing, out of the nineteenth century. It remains, unfortunately, at Establishment level; official accounts of campaigns, memoirs of generals, regimental histories almost invariably written by ex-officers whose manly lump in the throat sometimes threatens to obscure the reader's vision. Not that there's anything wrong with manly lumps, but there is more to the history of a regiment than that, and more than battle honours and campaigns and well-worn legends.

It does not tell us much about the men to know that they were cut to bits at Maiwand or that they shot hordes of Zulus at Rorke's Drift. It has been said that to every official war history or general's memoir there should be a companion version giving the private soldier's account; they might even occasionally be recognisably about the same thing. But unfortunately privates seldom wrote their memoirs, and those who did were not trivial men. Yet it is out of the trivia that one can build a picture of reality.

elipsis graphic

Thus: Who shot the cheese? This question, asked of an ex-Gordon Highlander (they also stole the wire), will elicit more of the essence of his regiment, of its spirit, and of those qualities and characteristics that distinguish it from all others, than any amount of reading in its official history.

Highland soldiers may appear to be ordinary soldiers, but with big chests and kilts; only experience can bring home the great gulf in attitude that exists between them and, say, English North Country soldiers. It is much more than national difference, and far stronger; the phenomenon of the Englishman who turns into a Highlander simply by serving in a Highland regiment is well known; the same thing doesn't happen to him if he simply lives or works in Scotland, but it happens in a regiment.

To define these regimental influences, to discover why they operate so powerfully, is not easy. But most people who have experience of them would probably agree that whereas the Gordons were lighthearted and easygoing The Cameronians were undeniably stern and hard, and so on. The King's Liverpool have always been downright rough, and of the Border Regiment I can speak with personal experience.

As a young soldier in their 9th Battalion I was in a party detached to collect rations dropped on a Burmese airstrip. Parties had come from various units, British and Indian, but when the officer in charge saw the Border badges his face fell. He took us aside and addressed us confidentially.

"Look," he said, "I know you lot. Don't, please, pinch anything, I'll see you get buckshees after. Just don't half-inch the stuff; it throws my calculations out. All right?"

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I was astonished, and rather hurt. Why, I wondered, should he single us out? Only afterwards, when I discovered that every man in my party had left the airstrip with his trouser-legs stuffed with stolen sugar, with bush hats crammed with cigarettes, and water-skins packed with dry tea—only then did I understand what that officer had been talking about. Nothing was too hot or too heavy for the Borders; they would have solen the Shwe Dagon pagoda if there had been transport available.

The point is that the men were not light-fingered or dishonest in themselves—not more than anyone else in XIVth Army, anyway. But as Border Regiment soldiers they were continuing a regimental tradition which you will not find in any regimental history. Retired senior officers may deny it, but everyone knows it to be true.

Now it may seem fanciful to associate this kind of thing with military history. But the men make the history, and there is no question that regimental spirit, tradition, ethos, call it what you like, profoundly influenced the men. And it seems that there is a useful field of study here for military historians. It is not impossible that one may understand what caused the stirrup charge at Waterloo a little better, if one knows who shot the cheese.

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These thoughts are prompted by the publication of a new series of regimental histories under the editorship of Sir Brian Horrocks. As histories go they are extremely competent, good to look at, and no doubt as accurate and balanced as research can make them. And some of them, notably Michael Foss's "Royal Fusiliers" and Philip Howard's "Black Watch," show signs of leaning towards the less stereotyped kind of history which, I suggest, is as important as the rolls of battle honours and serving officers.

>Just for interest the regiment which can take a woman into barracks is the Royal Norfolks, because they carry Britannia's image on their badges (this is the kind of Army joke that once set the corporals' mess in a roar); the pint of broken squares is too painful to discuss here, and no-one knows why Highlanders wear their bonnets down their foreheads. Gravity, possibly, and sheer blind contrariness.

Hamish Hamilton's "Famous Regiments" series so far includes the Gordons, Black Watch, K.R.R.C., Royal Fusiliers, Royal Flying Corps, the Queen's Royal berks, Somerset L.I., and Royal Norfolks. Prices are from 21s to 25s.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Saturday, 26 March 2016

The Old Funding Argument; Militia vs. Regular
Topic: Canadian Militia

The Old Funding Argument; Militia vs. Regular

Extracted from "Military Chit-Chat," The Metropolitan, Montreal, 12 January 1895

We do not wish to under-rate the value of the Royal Regiments of Canadian Regulars, but we do protest against making the object for which the schools were originally formed—the instruction of officers and men of the active militia—a secondary consideration altogether. The camp at Levis last autumn must have cost a good deal of money, and many militiamen asked themselves how it was the money could be forthcoming to hold a long camp for the benefit of the well-drilled men of the permanent corps, when the country can only afford to drill our rural corps, who need it badly, but once in two years, and not always that. Then, again, look at the parsimony practiced toward the city corps, who find it difficult to obtain from a grateful Government even the bare necessities of their equipment. Every officer of a city battalion has to contribute largely from his private means towards the support of the corps in order to provide the men with a proper head-dress and other articles, which the Government have overlooked or forgotten, as being necessary to enable men to turn out properly dressed on parade. And when the officers have gone to the expense of providing the men with the balance of their equipment, and spent money in having tunics made to fit them, the inspecting officer will find fault at the annual inspection, because, perhaps, one man is lacking some small article which the Government does not supply. What funny looking regiments would turn out in Montreal, if the men were dressed only in the uniform and accoutrements supplied by the Government.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Friday, 25 March 2016

Shrapnel Wounds Worst
Topic: Military Medical

Shrapnel Wounds Worst, Because of Bad Infection

The Pittsburgh Gazette Times, 13 February 1915

New York, Feb. 12.—Shrapnel, causing infection, makes the most troublesome wounds of the present war, but bayonet wounds are the most deadly, according to Professor Walton Martin of the department of surgery of Columbia university, who was recently engaged in the American hospital in Paris and who was a speaker today at the alumni day exercises at Columbia. The number of soldiers wounded by bayonets who reach the hospital is small, the surgeon said, and from his experience behind the British and French trenches he was convinced that few men this wounded ever left the trenches alive.

Fragments of uniforms, wood and stone and chunks of soil were probed out of the wounds of soldiers felled by shrapnel, Dr. Martin said.

"The great danger is from infection," he continued. "Shrapnel makes a big wound going in and a big wound coming out." Out of 100 cases under his charge 82 wounds were caused by shrapnel and every one of these was infected. Of those due to rifle bullets one-fifth were clean and the infection in the others was milder than that made by shrapnel. In the 100 cases there was only one bayonet wound.

One lesson taught by this wart, he stated, is the necessity for a large base hospital behind the fighting lines, as the fatality list increases according to the distance the wounded have to be moved. A deplorable circumstance in his connection, he noted, is that the wounded can be taken out of the trenches only at night.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT

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