The Minute Book
Thursday, 9 June 2016

The Burden the Soldier Boy Carries (1918)
Topic: Soldiers' Load

The Burden the Soldier Boy Carries

What the 70-Pound Load Means in Comfort, Security and Living

The Sunday Oregonian, Portland, Oregon, 13 January 1918
By Clive Marshall

According to a statement issued by the War Department, it costs Uncle Sam $156.71 to equip an infantryman for service in France. Clothing costs $101.62; eating utensils, etc., $7.73, and fighting equipment, $47.86.

War is a burden, all the way around, any way you take it, up, down and around, over and over and all together, war is a burden—and the burden begins with the individual man.

The man who stays at borne burdened with war taxes, and the man who goes to the front is burdened with a soldier's field kit. which, while it is probably heavier than the kit carried by the soldier in any other war in modern history, is, nevertheless, the most complete, serviceable, compactly built and carefully figured out kit in point of greatest serviceability with least weight that has ever been designed for a nation's fighter.

The American soldier, today, in active service is expected to carry as much as possible, but he must carry nothing that is not absolutely necessary to the best service in the ordinary, to-be-expected experiences of war, and necessary, too, in emergencies. That "much as possible" must be figured with a careful regard to weight and an ever clear, designing eye to compactness of parts and precision of distribution so that the kit will work a minimum of hindrance to the movements of the fighting man carrying it. Therefore the field kit of the soldier must have all that it should have, even to the call of emergency, weighing the least that all can weigh, assembled as compactly as possible and put upon the body of the fighter in a way designed to render it the least likely to impede his action on the march or in battle.

Load of 70 Pounds Carried

The total load earned by the American soldier in the present war, counting in the weight of the clothes which he wears, approximates 70 pounds. The field kit, which includes the rifle and other fighting equipment, together with eating utensils, weighs 54 pounds, and Army officials have figured it down to ounces in metal, cotton, wool, leather and wood, and have said thus far and no farther; it can weigh no less and be serviceable; it is serviceable and must weigh no more.

The chief fighting tool of course, is the rifle. The official title, of the American Army rifle today is "303 pattern '17." It is a mixture of Springfield and Enfield rifles, but because the name Enfield has been popularly attached to the rifle and because Enfield seems to belong with Lee as naturally as Krag with Jorgenson, the man on the street has decided forthwith that the rifle is the old Lee-Enfield. In fact, however, the British-designed rifle being manufactured here for our Army is of a pattern of 1914 and has little in common with the old British Lee-Enfield. This rifle complete with bayonet weighs 11 pounds, and on this point the arm has met with some criticism. It takes a pretty husky man to handle the present Army rifle dexterously in the bayonet fighting now in style on the European battlefields, and the critics contend that rifle weighing nine or nine and one-half pounds with bayonet fixed would give a great advantage.

Modem warfare also compels the soldier to carry a shovel for trench digging. This shovel is a short-handled, round-pointed spade, somewhat of the "common garden variety," and has been made to weigh 25 ounces in iron and steel and four ounces in wood. The equipment of every American soldier contains this small shovel, but on the European battle field the trench tools of tho soldiers are divided among the members of a squad—eight men—as follows: four shovels, two pick mattocks, one polo or hand ax and one wire cutter. So it seems that in what ever re-equipping of the fighters on arrival on the firing line, four out of every eight soldiers are given either pick mattocks, hand axes or wire cutters in place of their shovels. Every American fighter, however, is sent away with a shovel which is reduced to the minimum of weight and strapped snugly to his back in such a way that he may march, run at double-quick, engage in hand-to-hand combat, or drop on his stomach in position of firing without feeling inconvenienced or hindered by the presence of the trench tool.

The rifle, bayonet, trench tool and cartridges complete the soldier's fighting equipment. Every soldier carries 100 cartridges, distributed in pockets attached to a belt, five cartridges to a clip. These 100 cartridges have, a combined weight of 47.4 ounces in brass, 36.4 ounces in metal in bullets and 12 ounces in explosives. The cartridge belt itself weighs ten ounces in brass and 14.1 ounces in cotton.

The actual fighting equipment of the up-to-date soldier makes up less than half of the total load he carries; the remainder is made up of what he carries for his own bodily needs, protection and comfort.

Contents of the "Kit"

Every soldier in the American Army today carries with him sufficient food, water, clothing and means of protection and shelter to take care of himself for a short period in case he should become separated from his company. The number of articles making up this part of the kit is surprisingly large. Each kit carried contains, besides extra clothing, a blanket, rubber pouches, a canteen, a mess kit, including meat can, knife, fork, spoon and cup, toilet articles, a first aid package, gas mask, steel helmet and shelter tent.

One of the most useful things a soldier carries is this shelter tent, commonly called a "dog-tent." Each man carries one tent cover, one tent pole and five tent pins, which make one-half of a shelter tent, and two men can combine their halves and set up a "dog" in a few minutes. This tent, of course, is used only in temporary camps on forced marches.

According to a statement issued by the War Department, it costs Uncle Sam $156.71 to equip an infantryman for service in France. Clothing costs $101.62; eating utensils, etc., $7.73, and fighting equipment, $47.86.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Discharged---With Ignominy
Topic: Discipline

…the non-commissioned officer in charge of the escort steps forward and, amid a silence almost to be felt, with a sharp knife divests the prisoner of all military distinctions in the form of medals, badges, buttons, &c.

Discharged—With Ignominy

The Age, Melbourne, Australia, 8 March 1930
By Montague Norman

Some gave them white bread,
and some gave them brown,
Some gave them plum cake,
and drumm'd them out of town.

How many reading or hearing the words of the old nursery rhyme ever give a thought to the meaning of those contained in the second portion of the last line? Few of us, I'm sure, and yet there is a very interesting meaning to them. Without any doubt, Lewis Carroll, when penning "Alice's Adventures Through the Looking Glass," knew all about them, for we see in the older editions of this classic of our childhood a picture of Alice holding her ears against the din created by phantom sticks in the air all around her. And to military custom we may turn for an explanation.

Some sixty or seventy years ago the British Army recorded amongst the list of authorised punishments for certain crimes under its jurisdiction that of being "discharged—with ignominy." This sentence was carried out, where awarded, with full military honors—or, rather, dishonors, the delinquent soldier being literally "drummed out" of his regiment.

During the war, as a member of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment, I was on one occasion posted to the reserve battalion of the regiment at its depot at Parkhurst Barracks, Isle of Wight. Curiously enough, it was at these barracks that almost the last case of "drumming out" took place. At that time, somewhere in the sixties or seventies, the barracks were the depot of the North Devon Regiment. With a first-hand knowledge of the locality, it is easy for me to reconstruct the scene depicting the last act in the regimental life of the degraded soldier.

Picture the gravelled parade ground, some one hundred and fifty yards across, and bounded in the front, as we stand in the roadway, by a high iron picket and stone pillar fence, and on the other three sides the barrack buildings, with the officers' mess and quarters on the right. Drawn up on parade is the battalion, forming three sides of a hollow square, the fourth side being peopled by the prisoner and escort, the colonel and the adjutant, and finally the battalion fife and drum band. A brisk command brings all ranks stiffly to attention, and no sound is heard save the voice of the adjutant as he reads loudly in a clear voice the details of the crime of which the prisoner has been found guilty and the sentence awarded him by the court-martial by which he has been tried—"to be discharged—with ignominy."

The reading of the sentence concluded, the non-commissioned officer in charge of the escort steps forward and, amid a silence almost to be felt, with a sharp knife divests the prisoner of all military distinctions in the form of medals, badges, buttons, &c. One by one they are cut off, and one by one thrown in the dust, until at last the culprit stands, divested even of support for his nether garments, and gripping tightly to tunic and trousers to keep them in place. Follows the pinning of these garments, and the N.C.O. stands back, ready for the next scene in the drama of shame. The battalion is formed into two ranks, the prisoner handcuffed, and the actual drumming-out commences. Out steps the smallest drummer boy in the band, holding a rope with a running noose in his hand. This he slips around the neck of the degraded man, and, led by the drums and fifes shrilling the Rogue's March, a piece of music written especially for just such an occasion, a procession is formed, which marches from the right of the line to the left and back again, between the ranks.

The march concluded, and every man having had a good look at his erstwhile companion, the procession now directs its steps to the main gate, which opens on Cowes-Newport road. Here the band wheels to the right to permit of the little drummer performing his last rites—the removal of the rope and the hearty kick to help the departing man on his way to—the arms of the civil authorities, who dispose of him as they see fit, usually by a term of imprisonment.

And thus did the British army, in the "good old days" of sixty or seventy years ago, "drum out" and rid itself of a member who might prove himself an undesirable constituent of her majesty's forces.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Jubilee Regiment (1897)
Topic: Canadian Militia

Jubilee Regiment (1897)

It Sailed for England on the Vancouver Yesterday
Inspected on Saturday
By Lord Aberdeen and Major-General Gascoigne—The Regiment is a Credit to the Country

Her Majesty Queen Victoria

A stamp celebating the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria.

Obverse of the Jubilee medal 1897.

Reverse of the Jubilee medal 1897.
"In Commemoration of the 60th Year of the Reign of Queen Victoria 20 June 1897"

A Victoriam shoulder strap badge worn by The Royal Regiment Canadian Infantry. now The Royal Canadian Regiment.

The Montreal Gazette, 7 June 1897
(From our own correspondent.)

Quebec, June 6.—The weather this morning was perfect and some 10,000 people saw the Canadian jubilee military contingent embark on R.M.S. Vancouver for England. All the wharves, the Princess Louise docks and the Terrace were thronged with spectators, and the streets are almost impossible as the regiment marched to the breakwater where the Vancouver was lying. At 7.45 the Queen's Own Canadian Huzzars (sic) and Eighth Royal Rifles with bands marched own to the breakwater to receive the troops who followed in about ten minutes, headed by the R.C.A. band and accompanied by the Ninth Battalion and Quebec Field Battery. There was much enthusiasm, and the men were repeatedly cheered as they embarked and when the reappeared on the vessel's deck. The bands played "The Girl I Left Behind Me" and other lively tunes on the way to the wharf, and all four bands "Auld Lang Syne" before the vessel sailed, amidst repeated cheering. As the Vancouver pulled out "God Save the Queen" was played, and there was more cheering. Then the men on board the steamer sang "The Maple leaf." General Gascoigne and Col. Lake, C.M.G., were present to see the troops off and were greatly pleased at the demonstration. Before embarking the men of the Ninth Battalion were presented by admirers with $250 in gold. The contingent presented a splendid appearance, and were loudly applauded by the steamer's passengers when they appeared. All were well and in the very best of spirits. Such a demonstration of popular feeling has not been seen here for many years past, and greatly pleased the men.

Makeup of the 1897 Canadian Jubilee Contingent

Saturday's Inspection

The regiment was inspected on Saturday by Lord Aberdeen and Major-General Gascoigne. The inspection began about noon, the man having first marched down, headed by the R.C.A. band, in the following order: Dragoons, Hussars, Mounted Police, Field Artillery, Garrison Artillery, infantry and rifles. Lieut.-Col. Aylmer, adjutant-general, was in command and treated the force as a brigade. His Excellency the Governor-General and Major-General Gascoigne inspected the line together in a most critical manner, paying special attention to the Mounted Police detachment, who were in full dress like the other corps, and to Sergt.-Major Bagley, of E Division, who was mounted and in "parade uniform," with his rifle strapped across his saddle and wearing the jacket used on active service, as well as a sombrero. His Excellency and Major-General then retired to the saluting point with their staff and witnessed the march past, the advance in review order, etc. After this the flanks faced inwards, forming three sides of a hollow square.

Lord Aberdeen Speaks

Lord Aberdeen addressed the men. On behalf of both himself, the General and the public, he heartily congratulated the men upon their fine appearance and wished them a pleasant journey. He felt sure that they would prove themselves worthy representatives of their country, and read them a little leisure, in which he advised them to behave in a gentlemanly manner, as their social as well as their military conduct would be taken into account by people in judging of Canada by them.

Major-General Gascoigne then called upon the men to remove their headdresses and give three cheers for Her Majesty, which was done with a will. The contingent afterwards marched off in fours and back to the Citadel, where they were photographed several times. Some men have been weeded out of the corps and replaced, others have straightened up, and many of the uniforms have been made to fit, so that in the magnificent body of soldiers which paraded today no one would recognize the somewhat unmilitary looking lot of men who at the outset called out so much unfavorable newspaper comment. Today the force proved that is could honestly be called a good average representative one, not, perhaps, the best that could be picked, but, at the same time, one well fitted to do Canada credit. The Mounted Police undoubtedly came in for the greatest part of the praise universally award to the contingent, though all heartily deserved it. Sergt.-Major Bagley, however, received about as much praise as all the rest combined, and gave an admirable exhibition of horsemanship, while his uniform excited much favorable comment. It is pretty well understood that the Mounted Police will appear in "prairie uniform" in the London procession.

Officers in Command

The officers commanding units, etc., are as follows:

  • Officer Commanding—Lieut.-Col. Aylmer, adjutant-general,
  • Adjutant—Capt. MacDougall, R.R.C.I.,
  • Orderly Officer—Lieut.-Col. Longhurst, P.E.I. Brigade G.A.
  • Paymaster—Lieut.-Col. Munroe, 22nd Battalion,
  • Officer Commanding Cavalry—Major Evans, R.C.D., Winnipeg,
    • No. 1 Troop—Capt. Fleming, G.G.B. Guards,
    • No. 2 Troop—Capt. Brown, Princess Louise Dragoon Guards, Ottawa,
    • No. 3 Troop—Major A. Brown Perry, Inspector Northwest Mounted Police, "E" Division,
  • Officer Commanding Artillery—Major Hendrie, Hamilton Field Battery,
  • Garrison Artillery—Major Hibbard, Montreal G. Artillery,
  • Officer Commanding Infantry—Lieut.-Col. Mason, Royal Grenadiers, Toronto,
  • Second in Command—Major Pellatt, Q.O.R.,
    • No. 1 Company—Capt. Thompson, 37th Battalion, Haldimand,
    • No. 2 Company—Capt. Pelletier, 65th Battalion

The 8th is Angry

Grave dissatisfaction exists in the 8th Royal Rifles, of this city, over their not being represented on the Canadian jubilee regiment. The men claim that their officers did not make proper efforts to have them represented, and are now more indignant than ever since the officers refused to allow them to go to Montreal for the jubilee celebration, although they were willing to pay their own expenses. The crack company, number four, subsequently offered to pay its own way if allowed to go, and was again refused. Consequently many men and non-coms. Have resigned, and many more say that they will do so.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Monday, 6 June 2016

Trimming the Militia, 1874
Topic: Canadian Militia

The Recent Militia General Order

The Ottawa Times, 11 June 1874

The Globe of the 6th [June, 1874] contains a full, and upon the whole fair, criticism of the changes entailed by the recent Militia General Order, a few of the leading points of which have reference to the numbers to be drilled, the period of training, and the pay of the Active Militia for the years 1874 and 1875. It takes exception, however, in some degree, to the striking off of some corps from the list for pay at the annual encampment for this and the coming year, and also to the nor permitting others, who had not performed the annual drill for 1873 and 1874, to perform it now or hereafter.

We are of the same opinion, however, taking the General Order of 3rd June itself, that the grounds upon which the changes have been made are of the most equitable character. The money appropriation for drill purposes for '74/'75, is only sufficient for the training of 30,000 of all ranks, while the entire force numbered something over 46,000; hence it will be seen that some plan had to be adopted for the striking out of 16,000. In considering this plan the great object in view was to avoid doing injustice to any, or at all events to give precedence in the force to those who had, all things considered, best earned it.

To effect the required reduction, the acting Adjutant General, as will be seen by the general order above referred to, has pursued the only course, by which, according to our view of the matter, the desired result could be fairly arrived at. First, by striking off all corps that had been gazetted, but never equipped; second, by removing from the active list such corps as had become disorganized; and third, by leaving off the list for pay for '74 and '75, all corps that at the annual drill for '73-'74, had mustered under 30 non-commissioned officers and men. The use of the pruning knife here seems to have been highly judicious.

The Globe claims that in the application of the rule, as against corps that had not mustered thirty men at their last drill, some exceptions should be made in favor of companies who had earned a good name and whose quality in every other respect was of a high order. The maintenance of a certain numerical standard is ever as essential to efficiency and as necessary to a deserving character as any other quality; and its absence or a disregard of it must be held to be worthy of the treatment accorded to such corps in the recent General Orders. We cannot see that there is any ground of special indulgence that would fairly free any corps from the operation of this order.

It does appear, however, with respect to another point of objection by the Globe, that it is worthy of consideration. Corps that have been actually caught by the General Order in the act of performing their dill should be dealt with as having "completed" it. But those who might otherwise undertake to do it only after they have been admonished that if they neglected it they would suffer a certain disqualifications, are very properly prevented by the strict terms of the General Order. The reduction, we conceive, has been accomplished with remarkable fairness. It would so far as we can see, by proper under the circumstances, and since the appropriation made by Parliament has been reduced, its propriety is all the more marked.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Sunday, 5 June 2016

What a Soldier Carries
Topic: Soldiers' Load

What a Soldier Carries

The Average Pack Weighs 62.41 Pounds
Continual Efforts to Make Equipment Lighter

Boston Evening Transcript, 23 May 1908

Washington, May 23.—The problem of the soldier's field equipment is one that is continually before the military authorities. On the one hand every effort is made to lighten his pack in order that he may be able to march and to fight better; on the other hand, the improvements in material and the changes in conditions of warfare constantly demand additions to his pack; intrenching tools, range finders, cooking utensils, tools for removing obstructions (wire entanglements, etc.), and others too numerous to mention. The weight of the arms, ammunition and equipments carried by the infantry soldier of the different armies of the world is as follows:

Germany60.71 pounds
France57.48 pounds
France (Alpine troops)70.61 pounds
Italy64.10 pounds
Italy (Alpine troops)63.02 pounds
Japan (summer)62.40 pounds
Austria-Hungary58.55 pounds
Russia64.25 pounds
Switzerland (old pack)66.41 pounds
Switzerland (experimental pack, 1907)56.96 pounds

The French infantryman therefore carries the lightest pack and the French Alpine chasseur the heaviest. The average pack weighs 62.41 pounds. The United States soldier marches very light, but then he has no prescribed intrenching tools or individual cooking implements (other than his mess kit) to carry, so that it is not possible to compare his equipment directly with that of the European soldier.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Saturday, 4 June 2016

The Woods Recogniton Cards; The Queens
Topic: Cold War

The Woods Recogniton Cards; The Queens

Playing cards marked with silhouettes to practice recognition of armoured fighting vehicles and aircraft were a novelty given or sold to soldiers during the Cold War. A late edition of such cards was produced by Woods Manufacturing, of Ottawa, Ontario, (now Guthrie Woods).

The four queens for this deck, pictured above, featured the following:


See also, the Jokers, the Aces, and the Kings.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Friday, 3 June 2016

Ideal Army Ration (1899)
Topic: Army Rations

Ideal Army Ration (1899)

What a Soldier Gets and What He Should Get

The Montreal Gazette, 29 July 1899
(Dr. Louis L. Seaman, in Leslie's Weekly)

The ration of the army today consists of the following constituents:—

  • Fresh beef, or mutton when the cost does not exceed that of beef, twenty ounces;
    • or pork or bacon, twelve ounces;
    • or salt beef, twenty-two ounces;
    • or, when meat cannot be furnished, dried fish, fourteen ounces;
      • or pickled fish or fresh fish, eighteen ounces;
      • or cornmeal, twenty ounces.
    • Baking powder for troops in the field, when necessary to enable them to bake their own bread, sixteen twenty-fifths ounces.
    • Beans or peas, two and two-fifths ounces;
      • or rice or hominy, one and three-fifths ounces.
    • Potatoes, sixteen ounces;
      • or potatoes, twelve and four-fifths ounces, and onions, three and one-fifth ounces;
      • or potatoes, eleven and one-fifth ounces, and canned tomatoes, four and four-fifths ounces,
      • or four and four-fifths ounces of other fresh vegetables, not canned, when they can be obtained in the vicinity of the post or transported in a wholesome condition from a distance.
    • Coffee, green, one and three-fifths ounces,
      • or roasted coffee, one and seven twenty-fifths ounces;
      • or tea, green or black, eight twenty-fifths ounce.
    • Sugar, two and two fifth's ounces;
      • or molasses or cane syrup, sixteen twenty-fifths gill.
    • Vinegar, eight twenty-fifths gill;
    • salt sixteen twenty-fifths ounce;
    • pepper, black, one twenty-fifth ounce.
  • A proper diet for the tropics, obviously, should be of a vegetable character. This would supply the elements of energy, without unduly heating the body. This is just what the ideal ration should accomplish. It should accommodate itself to the needs of the individual everywhere. In the north it should supply him with the abundance of heat-producing elements demanded by the colder climate, while in the south it should limit that supply and provide him with the diet suited to his new environment. It should, further, in southern or tropical campaigns, when barrack or camp life is abandoned for active work in the field, readily adapt itself to the increased demand of the system for nitrogenous elements; for field work with its greater activity, requires greater energy producing food than does the quieter life in the barracks. This was illustrated in several regiments that visited Puerto Rico, notably in one of the artillery regiments, which landed about the same time as did my own, the First United States Volunteer Engineers. This particular regiment saw the hardest kind of work from the very moment of its arrival, until, upon the signing of the protocol, it was sent North. During its stay on the island—about six weeks—the troops subsisted almost entirely upon the "travel ration" (much worse than the field ration when viewed from the standpoint of the ideal), but they had comparatively little sickness, the effect of the excess of the nitrogenous element having been neutralized by the tremendously active life the men had been compelled to lead.

    In order to reach the ideal, then, the present ration should be radically changed. The beef and salt pork component should be cut in two, and farinaceous food and fish substituted. There would be plenty of meat left even then, for the old theory that meat alone makes brawn and muscle has long since been exploded. Beef has been beaten time and again on the athletic field; and on the plains of Marathon, in the great international games recently held in the presence of the king and assembled thousands, the victorious champion in the twenty-five mile foot race was he who had not tasted a single ounce of meat in his long course of training. Salted rations should also be issued but once, or most, twice during the week, and fresh supplies should be provided from beef on the hoof at the point where issued. Of the cereals, one of the best is hominy, which is not only nutritious and easily digested, but it relished by the men as well. Equally valuable is the rice component, and its present issue should be quadrupled in quantity. The black or red bean (frijol), of the tropics should be substituted, in southern latitudes, for the white bean of this country and dried fruits, especially apples and prunes should be added to the ration.

    The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Thursday, 2 June 2016

The Three Main Rules of Discipline
Topic: Discipline

The Three Main Rules of Discipline
And The Eight Points For Attention

Instruction of the General Headquarters of the Chinese People's Liberation Army

Selected Military Writings of Mao Tse-Tung, Foreign Languages Press, Peking, 1968

Our Army's Three Main Rules of Discipline and Eight Points For Attention have been practiced for many years, but their contents vary slightly in army units in different areas. They have now been unified and are hereby reissued. It is expected that this version will be taken as the standard one for thorough education in the army and strict enforcement. As to other matters needing attention, the high command of the armed forces in different areas may lay down additional points in accordance with specific conditions and order their enforcement.

Three Main Rules of Discipline are as follows:

(1)     Obey orders in all your actions.

(2)     Do not take a single needle or piece of thread from the masses.

(3)     Turn in everything captured.

The Eight Points For Attention are as follows:

(1)     Speak politely.

(2)     Pay fairly for what you buy.

(3)     Return everything you borrow.

(4)     Pay for anything you damage.

(5)     Do not hit or swear at people.

(6)     Do not damage crops.

(7)     Do not take liberties with women.

(8)     Do not ill-treat captives.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Active Service; 1 June 1866
Topic: Canadian Militia

Corps Called Out for Active Service; 1 June 1866

Militia General Orders

Ottawa Citizen, 4 June 1866

Ottawa, 1st June, 1866

The Governor General and Commander in Chief directs that the following corps be called out for actual service, and that the said corps be immediately assembled and billeted at their respective headquarters, there to await such orders for their movements as may be directed by the Commander in Chief:—

Upper Canada

  • Windsor Garrison Battery
  • Goderich Garrison Battery
  • St. Catharine's Garrison Battery
  • Toronto Garrison Battery
  • Port Stanley Naval Company
  • Mount Pleasant Infantry
  • Paris Rifle
  • Brantford Rifle (two)
  • Kincardine Infantry (two)
  • Paisley Infantry
  • Southampton Rifle
  • Vienna Infantry
  • St. Thomas Rifle
  • Windsor Infantry
  • Sandwich Infantry
  • Leamington Infantry
  • Amherstburg Infantry
  • Gosfield Rifle
  • Durham Infantry
  • Mount Forest Rifle
  • Caledonia Rifle
  • Stewarttown Infantry
  • Georgetown Infantry
  • Norval Infantry
  • Oakville Rifle
  • Seaforth Infantry
  • Chatham Infantry (two)
  • Blenheim Infantry
  • 19th Battalion, 6 Companies, St. Catharine's
  • 20th Battalion, 5 Companies, St. Catharine's
  • 7th Battalion, 5 Companies, London
  • Komoka Rifle
  • Villa Nova Rifle
  • Simcoe Rifle
  • Port Rowan Rifle
  • Walsingham Rifle
  • Ingersoll Infantry
  • Drumbo Infantry
  • 22nd Battalion, Oxford Rifles, 4 Companies, Woodstock
  • Brampton Infantry and Rifle Companies
  • Albion Infantry
  • Derry West Infantry
  • Alton Infantry
  • Grahamsville Infantry
  • Stratford Infantry
  • Bradford Infantry
  • Barrie Infantry and Rifle Companies
  • Collingwood Rifle Company
  • Cookstown Rifle Company
  • Orangeville Infantry
  • Fergus Rifle
  • Elora Rifle
  • 13th Battalion Infantry, 6 Companies, Hamilton
  • Aurora Infantry
  • Lloydtown Infantry
  • King Infantry
  • Scarborough Rifles, 2nd Battalion, Queen's Own Rifles, 11 Companies, Toronto
  • 10th Battalion, Royals, 8 Companies, Toronto

Lower Canada

  • Franklin Infantry
  • Durham Infantry
  • Hinchinbrooke Rifle
  • Athelstan Infantry
  • Rockburn Infantry
  • Huntingdon Infantry
  • Hemmingford Infantry
  • Roxham Infantry
  • Lacolle Infantry (21st Battalion) St. John's, four Infantry Companies
  • Havelock Rifle
  • Grandby Infantry (two)
  • Waterloo Infantry (two)
  • Frelighsburgh Infantry
  • Philipsburg Infantry
  • Montreal (six Companies)

And the Governor General further directs that the said Volunteer Force shall, during the time it remains on actual service, be placed under the command of Lieutenant-General Sir John Michel, commanding Her Majesty's forces in North America, and that it shall be subject to the Queen's Regulations and orders for the Army, to the rules and articles of war, to the act for punishing mutiny and desertion, and to all other laws now applicable to Her Majesty's Troops in this Province, not inconsistent with the acts respecting the Volunteer Militia.

At former times the Commander in Chief has had occasion to call for the Active Service of the Volunteer Force, to maintain International obligations, and as a precaution against threatened attack.

Those threats have now ripened into into actual fact. The soil of Canada has been invaded, not in the practice of a legitimate warfare, but by a lawless and piratical band in defiance of all moral right, and in utter disregard of all the obligations which civilization imposes on mankind.

Upon the people of Canada the state of things imposes the duty of defending their altars, their homes and their property from desecration, pillage and spoilage.

The Commander in Chief relies on the courage and loyalty of the Volunteer Force and looks with confidence for the blessing of providence on their performance of the sacred duty which circumstances has cast upon them.

Canadian Army Battle Honours

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Militia Uniforms
Topic: Canadian Militia

What the militia want is a full dress uniform which will be ornamental and a working uniform which will be useful.

Militia Uniforms

Ottawa Citizen, 8 February 1902

The Canadian Militia Gazette, commenting on the opposition in militia circles to the continuation of the practice of the Canadian authorities blindly following the perennial chopping and changing of uniform and equipment by the British war office, says:—

That practice has been one of the most insane of our practices—insane, because it is not suited to the condition of our organization; insane, because it is not suited to our climatic conditions; insane, because under it the officers of a regiment are never "uniformed," though they may be dressed; insane, because it is inordinately expensive. Not today, nor yesterday, but for years, observing militia officers have seen the folly of it. The recent war office letter of warning to which our correspondent refers (it is not yet a regulation to be acted on) has created an unwonted furore in Canada. Why this is I fail to see, for the change which it foreshadows cannot apply to our militia unless it is adopted by the Dominion authorities. The mere publication of the letter (for general information) is not an adoption.

The reason the system has been pursued is because the militia has never been consulted on the subject and had to blindly submit to orders. There would have been no "unwonted furore" in this instance if the Citizen had not lifted up its voice against it, and the Gazette knows quite well that the changes foreshadowed in the "cautionary order" would have gone through. As a matter of fact some of the changes have already been made. The sabretache has been abolished, though it is decidedly ornamental in full dress and much more useful than the sword and belts because you can carry despatches and other papers in it. What the militia want is a full dress uniform which will be ornamental and a working uniform which will be useful. The minister should put his foor down.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Monday, 30 May 2016

Sir Garnet Wolseley
Topic: Wolseley Barracks

Sir Garnet Wolseley

The New Adjutant-General of the Imperial Forces

The Toronto Daily Mail, 24 December 1881

Sir Garnet Wolseley, the newly-appointed adjutant-general of the Imperial army, is well known to every Canadian, having been actively engaged as assistant quartermaster-general in Canada in 1870-71, and in the former year commanded the Red River expedition. Sir Garnet Wolseley is the eldest son of the late Major G.J. Wolseley, of the 25th Regiment of Foot, and grandson of the late Sir Richard Wolseley, Bart., of Mount Wolseley, in the county of Carlow, a member of the ancient house of Wolseley of Wolseley, on the county of Stafford, one of whose younger sons went to Ireland as a captain in King William's army, and who fought by the King's side at the battle of the Boyne, and was created a baronet for his service.

Sir Garnet was born in the vicinity of Dublin in June, 1833, and is therefore only 48 years of age. He obtained his commission in 1852, and left England to take part in the Burnah war the same year. He was severely wounded in action during this war, and had the honour of being favourably mentioned in the despatches of the general in command of the expedition. He subsequently returned home, and having recovered from his wounds, was able to take part in the Crimean war, arriving at Sebastopol in December, 1854. From the time of his arrival in the Crimea till the fall of Sebastopol he served in the trenche s as an engineer, and was again honoured on several occasions by being mentioned in despatches. He was on duty in th trenches on the memorable 18th of June, 1855, and on the 30th of August was badly wounded in a sortie.

On the conclusion of the war he sailed for China with his regiment, and was shipwrecked during the voyage. He saw considerable active service in India during the mutiny of 1858-59, and was present at the siege and relief of Lucknow, and at the defence of Alumbagh. He afterwards held the position of Quartermaster-General under general Sir J. Hope Grant in the province of Oudh. In 1870 he was in China as Assistant Quartermaster-General during the war, and was present at the storming of the Taku forts. After this he was sent to Canada, and his career since then is pretty well known to every Canadian. Sir Garnet has always spoken of the Canadian volunteers in the highest terms, and considers that with proper training they would make as fine soldiers as are to be found anywhere.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Sunday, 29 May 2016

Desirable Traits of a Leader
Topic: Leadership

Desirable Traits of a Leader

Department of the Army Pamphlet 350-14; Training Guide for Commanders of Company Sized Units; 31 July 1967

a.     Bearing. Creating a favorable impression in carriage, Appearance, and personal conduct at all times.

b.     Courage (physical and moral). A mental quality which recognizes fear of danger or criticism, but enables the individual to meet danger or opposition with calmness and firmness.

c.     Decisiveness. Ability to make decisions promptly and then express them in a clear and forceful manner.

d.     Dependability. The certainty of proper performance of duty with loyalty to seniors and subordinates.

e.     Endurance. Mental and physical stamina measured by the ability to stand pain, fatigue, distress, and hardship.

f.     Enthusiasm. The display of sincere interest and exuberance in the performance of duties.

g.     Initiative. A quality of seeing what has to be done and commencing a course of action.

h.     Integrity. Uprightness of character and soundness of moral principle: the quality of absolute truthfulness and honesty.

i.     Judgment. Weighing facts and possible solutions on which to base sound decisions.

j.     Justice. Being impartial and consistent in exercising command.

k.     Knowledge. Acquired information including professional knowledge and an understanding of your subordinates.

l.     Loyalty. Faithfulness to country, the Army, your unit, your senior, and subordinates.

m.     Tact. The ability to deal with others without creating offense.

n.     Unselfishness. The avoidance of providing for one's own comfort and personal advancement at the expense of others.


The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 29 May 2016 12:06 AM EDT
Saturday, 28 May 2016

Iron Rations for Troops (US Army, 1895)
Topic: Army Rations

Iron Rations for Troops (US Army, 1895)

Emergency Diet for United States Soldiers
Independent of Supply Trains
Carrying His Own "Grub"—Foods Condensed by Evaporation—But tons of Coffee and Tea—Concentrated Loaves of Bread, and Soups in Cigarette Packs—The Kola Nut for Military Purposes

Hartford Weekly Times, 24 October 1895

Within a few weeks from now United States soldiers will be provided for the first time with an "iron ration." The boards appointed to consider the question of emergency foods, representing the various departments of the army, are sending in their reports, upon which final conclusions will be based. Problem: To make up a food package of small bulk, which shall render the fighting man independent of supply trains for a short period, in case of an exigency such as might arise from his being wounded or cut off with a detachment from the main command.

"Experiments in this line are being made by all the great powers," said Major Woodruff at the War Department yesterday. "They are trying everything imaginable for the purpose. Here, for example, is an element of the British emergency ration. It looks like a dog biscuit, doesn't it? Three ounces it weighs, and it is four inches square. It is composed simply of whole wheat solidly compressed. A condensed loaf of bread you may call it. The French have a new ‘war bread,' which is to replace hard tack for the use of their army. Its ingredients and the processes for making it are a secret. When a piece of it is put into hot water or soup, it swells up like a sponge, and it is said to be virtually the same as fresh bread.

"In future wars the utmost efforts will be made to furnish the troops with fresh articles of dier in the field. Dried foods are only suitable for emergency foods. Germany and France, by the help of cold storage, have perfected arrangements for shipping fresh beef to the front by rail. When practicable, fresh bread will be forwarded daily to the fighting line. This was done from Washington to the Army of the Potomac during the Civil War. The French government has constructed a number of bakeries on wheels for use in campaigns—wagons, that is to say, containing ovens and all necessary appliances, so that bread may be made on the march.

"For emergency rations, evaporated vegetables have been tried, but not with great success. They are not nutritious enough, and they do not keep well. Here is a one-pound can of evaporated onions. Smells strong, doesn't it? It ought to, inasmuch as it represents ten pounds of fresh onions. In the same way potatoes, carrots, turnips and cabbages are put up. Desiccated foods are now being produced on an enormous scale by many firms in this country and abroad. A good thing which we may adopt if this desiccated beef. One ounce of it is equal to five ounces of ordinary meat, because it is absolutely water-free. It is too hard to cut with a knife without trouble, and so the soldier chops off a small hunk of it. He puts the piece into a little machine like a coffee mill and grinds it up. It comes out in fine shavings, ready to be eaten on bread or to be used for soup stock.

"Beef-tea, used as a stimulant, is a good thing for soldiers. For an emergency ration, it is put up in capsules, one of which makes a cup. Each capsule contains the necessary seasoning and costs two cents. Beef-tea contains almost no nutriment, but only the flavoring and stimulating qualities of the meat. When a person is informed that a teaspoonful of extract represents several pounds of beef, he infers that it is equally nourishing. The truth is that the nourishment is left behind in the boiler. A human being will starve to death on an unlimited supply of beef-tea. The most important element of the British iron ration is pemmican—a preparation of beef, fat and salt. Its manufacture is a secret. It is put up in tin cans of four ounces, equal to one pound of meat, and is eaten without further cooking. However, it may be made into a hash or soup by boiling it with vegetables. It keep sound for years, though exposed to air. With the pemmican goes a can of the same size, containing a mixture of cocoa and honey.

"It is certain that canned foods will play an important part in future wars. The Belgian iron ration is a ten-ounce cut of corned beef put up in a liquor that is flavored with vegetables. The German emergency ration is a one-pound can of preserved meat, with hard bread and pea sausage. A biscuit composed of meat and flour has been tried for the German army, but the soldiers would not eat it. The biscuit was supposed to furnish the fighting man with everything that was necessary for his physical support, water excepted. To be satisfactory, a ration must be palatable as well as wholesome and nutritious. A dietary for troops cannot be settled on a basis of theory alone; it must be tested in practice. What will satisfy soldiers of one nation may not suit those of another.

"Very likely, United States soldiers would not put up with the German ‘erbswurst.' Yet that species of pea sausage is said to have been a leading cause of the success of the German arms in the Franco-Prussian war. Without it the troops could not have endured the fatigues to which they were subjected. The sausage is made pf pea-meal, fat and bacon. It was devised by a German cook, from whom the invention was purchased by the government for $25,000. The secret lies in the method of preparation by which the article is rendered proof against decay. It was first used on a large scale by the second army under Prince Frederick Charles. A factory established at Berlin put up enormous quantities of these sausages and other preserved meats, furnishing to the troops 40,000,000 rations. Each sausage is eight inches long, and makes twelve plates of nutritious soup. There could hardly be a better emergency ration.

"Among other things under consideration by our own War Department are condensed soups. This little packet, which looks somewhat like a bundle of cigarettes, contains just three ounces of desiccated pea soup. You observe, it is so compressed as to be quite hard. I break it up and throw it into this saucepan. To it I add one quart of water, and I place it on the gas stove here to boil. For flavoring, though it is not necessary, let us add a small quantity of these evaporated onions. In the course of fifteen minutes I will offer you a plate of every excellent pea soup. Soups, you understand, are most useful in rations. For health it is not sufficient to put a certain amount of nutriment into the body; the stomach must be distended. Soup does that. Incidentally, the soldier who consumes one of these rations absorbs one quart of sterilized water.

"Condensed soups may be purchased in tablets three inches square and half an inch thick. Each tablet weighs four ounces, and makes six plates of soup. In food value one tablet is equal to one and three-quarters pounds of potatoes. Bean, mock-turtle, green-corn, barley and potato soups are desiccated in this form. Tomato, vegetable, and fish chowder soups are similarly prepared. What do you suppose this is? It looks like a button, doesn't it? It is a cup of tea condensed. All you have to do is drip it into a cup of hot water and stir it up. The sweetening is in the bottom with the tea. No, the sweetening is not sugar, but a coal-tar product called ‘saccharine,' which is more than 200 times as sweet as sugar. Thus the quantity added needs to be very small. Coffee is put up in the same way, with saccharine, as well as in a shape that looks like black molasses.

"An iron ration is a short-weight and highly concentrated diet intended to cover only a brief period. It is not to be used except when the regular food supply cannot be obtained. Supposing the army supplies to be regularly furnished, the fighting man ought to return from the campaign carrying in his haversack the same emergency ration with which he started our originally. But it may happen that his regiment or brigade is cut off from the main body, and in that case the emergency rations may be literal salvation. Or he may be left wounded on a field of battle, unable to obtain anything to eat for days, unless he has it with him. During the recent war with China the Japanese found emergency rations a necessity of active service. An army, or a large part of it, may be thrown rapidly forward to hold a position and it takes a week or or more to make roads so as to get supplies to the front. This very thing occurred at Vicksburg, where for lack of emergency rations, Grant's men suffered severely from hunger.

"No army in the world is so well supplied with food as ours. During the Civil War the management of the Union commissariat was a model, On one occasion president Lincoln said to the commissary general of the army: ‘I rarely hear of your department. It works like a well-regulated stomach, so that one scarcely knows one has it.' It is high time then, that our troops should be provided with emergency rations. One of the questions to be decided is whether the ration shall be carried at the belt or in the haversack. Three days' allowance, weighing two and a half pounds, may be packed conveniently in a sealed tin and attached to the belt. The tin is readily opened with the finger and serves as a cooking utensil. A typical iron ration for one day would consist of five ounces of oatmeal, a tablet of coffee, a quarter ounce of salt, and a five-ounce soup tablet composed of dried beef, pea meal, potatoes and suet.

"Soldiers suffering from hunger may be supplied with small quantities of alum, a pinch of which taken from time to time contracts the stomach. Thus the organ, not requiring so much to fill it, can get along with less than the normal diet for a while without complaining. A trouble about condensed foods is that soldiers are apt to eat too much of them, not realizing their concentration. I have known men to devour a quantity of compressed wheat-cake and then drink a lot of water, the result being very distressing. Foods may be arranged for a field ration so that the fighting man will have the exact amounts of all the elements required for the support of life, and yet certain things will be missing whose absence brings disease and death. A percentage of indigestible matter is necessary for the digestive organs to work upon. If the concentrated food be a powder or a liquid, no solids being furnished, a law is violated. There is no chewing, and without mastication saliva, which is one of the most important digestive fluids, is not secreted and poured into the stomach. A human being ordinarily will secrete from a quart to three pints of saliva, mostly at meal-times, in twenty-four hours. The soldier fed on liquids only will suffer from diarrhea and colic.

"Stimulants are necessary to soldiers. They keep up their cheerfulness and enable them to endure fatigue and privations. Depressed troops do not fight well. Accordingly, tea and coffee are included in emergency rations. It seems not unlikely that the kola nut may be used for military purposes, on account of its wonderful power as a stimulant, reviving the exhausted, mitigating hunger and thirst, and enabling men to do much more work. It acts in an exaggerated manner like tea of coffee, without producing any subsequent reaction or bad effects. South American Indians use the cocoa leaf for this purpose on long marches without food across the pampas; but the cocoa is dangerous. The kola is equally efficient and is harmless. Already experiments have been made in the French army with so-called accelerating rations, composed of kola nuts, flour and sugar in cakes. But they proved a failure because they were made from worthless dried nuts

"The kola nut, to be worth anything, must be fresh. Before long, doubtless, it will be a common commercial article. It is successfully cultivated in the West Indies and along the adjacent shores of South and Central America, where it is consumed in immense quantities, almost replacing teas, coffee and alcohol. It is the fruit of a large tree, and is about as big as a horse-chestnut, growing in pods of three to eleven nuts in a pod. Undoubtedly the tree would grow in southern California, and very likely it might be cultivated in the Gulf states. Chewing the nut stimulates the brain and acts as a tonic on the muscles. Its peculiar action is due to a specific alkaloid called ‘kolanin,' which has not yet been isolated in a pure state. In military life the use of the kola would be limited to rare occasions, as in forced marches or just before a battle. If two equal armies face each other, and one, by help of the kola, can do one-tenth more than the other, it will be successful, other things being equal. For, if there are 250,000 men engaged on each side, the effect will be the same as a reinforcement of 25,000 men."

Rene Bache

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Friday, 27 May 2016

Canada's Great War Naval Service
Topic: RCN

The Naval Service

Canada's Part in the Great War, 3rd Edition, Issued by the Information Branch, Department of External Affairs, Ottawa, May 1921


At the outbreak of war in 1914 the Canadian Government possessed only two naval vessels, the Niobe, a cruiser of 11,000 tons displacement, with a main armament of sixteen 6-inch guns, stationed at Halifax, and the Rainbow, a small cruiser of 3,600 tons displacement, armed with two 6-inch, six 4.7-inch, and four 12-pounder guns, stationed at Esquimalt, on the Pacific. The Rainbow, which was ready for sea, patrolled, with other ships on the Pacific stations, as far south as Panama, and captured several ships carrying contraband of war. After the entry of the United States into the war, she became depot ship on the Pacific coast. The Niobe was made ready for sea in September, 1914, and remained in commission one year, during which she steamed over 30,000 miles on patrol duty. She afterwards became depot ship in Halifax.

Smaller Vessels

At the beginning of hostilities, various small craft were taken over by the Naval Department from the Departments of Marine and of Customs, and were armed and manned from the R.C.N.V.R. for the performance of patrol duties off the Atlantic coast. Two submarines, which were bought just before the declaration of war, patrolled the approached to Victoria and Vancouver and helped in keeping Admiral von Spee's squadron away from the Pacific ports. H.M. sloop Shearwater was taken into the Canadian service as mother ship to these submarines and, in the summer of 1917, these the vessels went, by way of the Panama canal, to Halifax.

Trawlers And Drifters

A patrol and mine-sweeping service was carried on after the outbreak of war. The vessels used first were Government and privately owned vessels which were taken over and equipped for the purpose. Some of these were placed at the disposal of the Government free of charge. Early in 1917 the Department of the Naval Service undertook to have 60 trawlers and 100 drifters built in Canada for the Imperial Government. These vessels were built at various places on the St. Lawrence and the Great lakes; many of them were in service in Canadian and European waters in the year 1917, and all were in service in 1918.

The area patrolled under the Department stretched from the straits of Belle Isle to the Bay of Fundy, and from Quebec to east of the Virgin Rocks. Within this area the Department had control of patrols, convoys, mine-sweeping, the protection of fishing fleets, etc. only one large vessel was lost by enemy attack in this area.

At the date of the armistice the vessels in the Canadian Naval Service were as follows:—

On The Pacific

H.M.C.S. Rainbow, depot and training ship; H.M.S. Algerine, sloop; auxiliary patrol ship Malaspina; several motor launches tor harbour defence.

On the Atlantic

H.M.C.S. Niobe, depot and training ship; H.M.C.S. Shearwater, submarine depot ship, and two submarines; H.M C.S. Grilse, torpedo-boat destroyer; nine auxiliary patrol ships, forty-seven armed trawlers, fifty-eight armed drifters, eleven armed mine-sweepers and tugs, and a large flotilla of motor launches.


The crews of these vessels consisted of men from all parts of Canada, principally members of the Royal Canadian Naval Volunteer Reserve. At the date of the armistice the personnel of the service was:—

  • Officers and men of the Royal Canadian Navy, 749.
  • Officers and men of the Royal Canadian Naval Volunteer Reserve, 4,374.

Naval College

Canada is fortunate in the possession of a small but excellent Naval College. More than 50 officers who passed out of the College as cadets served in either the Imperial or Canadian Navy. Many of them have gained distinction, and four lost their lives in the battle of Coronel.

Canadians in the Imperial Naval Forces

In addition to the men serving on Canadian vessels, over 1,700 men were recruited in Canada for the Imperial Navy, 73 Surgeon Probationers and a number of Hydrographic Survey Officers were sent from Canada, and 580 Canadian enrolled as Probationary Flight Lieutenants in the Royal Naval Air Service, before recruiting for the Royal Air Force began in Canada. More than 500 Canadians holding commissions in the Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve were in the British Auxiliary Patrol and similar services.

Naval Air Service

The Royal Canadian Naval Air Service was established in the summer of 1918, with stations at Halifax and North Sydney. It co-operated with the United States Naval Aviation Corps in patrolling the coast and escorting convoys through the danger zone.

Wireless Service

The Canadian Radiotelegraph Service controlled about 200 stations ashore and afloat. Several new stations were erected or taken over by the Department of Naval Service, and there was an unbroken chain of radio communication from St. John's Newfoundland, to Demerara. The Department opened a training school for wireless operators, from which about 200 men were sent out for service in all parts of the world.


Important refitting, repairing and supply work was done ny Canadian dockyards. Large refits of Imperial and other ships were made at Esquimalt, including H.M.S. Kent, after the battle of the Falkland Islands, and the Japanese Battleship Asama, after grounding the coast of lower California. Several large cruisers were refitted at Halifax and Montreal. Other work included the defensive armament of merchant ships, the refitting of transports for troops, horses, and special cargo, and the loading and securing on ships' decks of 600 launches, tugs, etc., of large size.

The Halifax dockyard was seriously damaged by the explosion in the harbour on December 6, 1917, but immediate steps were taken to enable the services of the yard to be carried on.


The Canadian Naval Service provided supplies for the ships of the Royal Canadian Navy and for a number of Imperial and Allied ships in Canadian waters, as well as many of the requirements of H.M. dockyards at Bermuda and Hong Kong. Large supplies were shipped from Halifax dockyard for provisioning the fleets in European waters. A large coaling depot was established at Sydney for the use of patrolling vessels and of all convoys leaving the St. Lawrence.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Thursday, 26 May 2016

Exhaustible Infantry
Topic: Soldiers' Load

Exhaustible Infantry

Commentarty of Infantry Operations and Weapons Usage in Korea, Winter of 1950-51, S.L.A. Marshall, October 1951

In the Korean fighting, the average combat soldier, when his total load is somewhere between 38 and 45 pounds (including clothing), gets along fairly well and can march a reasonable distance, engage, and still remain relatively mobile. When the load goes above 50 pounds, he becomes a drag upon the company.

Fighting Load

In the attack, the infantryman carries his weapons, ammunition, intrenching tool, filled canteen, and first-aid pack. This is the shake-down infantry load in Eighth Army operations. Because of the steepness of the ridges, and the fatigue which comes of climbing prior to engagement, such things as rations and bedding, usually regarded as "necessities" for the fighting man, are not carried forward by the attack force. Where the developments in the situation and the availability of support personnel permit it, food and bedrolls are got up to the attack force by supply parties somewhere along the course of the fight.

But often as not these arrangements are frustrated by an untoward course in the fighting. In consequence men go hungry and miss out on sleep. Neither shortage is regarded by the infantry within Eighth Army as a cruel and unusual hardship. The men take these things in stride, and when the pressure is eased and conditions are nearer normal again, they boast about what they have undergone. During the winter fighting, when the night temperatures were ranging between 5º and 20º, companies in the attack were not infrequently committed without overcoats or bedrolls, and minus rations, despite the tactical prospects being that supply in these things might not get up to them until the following morning.

They commonly appeared far more willing to risk a proportion of loss from frostbite than an endangering of the unit as a whole through failure of ammunition supply. The length of the approach march and the nature of the terrain occasionally permitted wearing either the overcoat or parka, or carrying the sleeping bag, but rarely both. Which it was to be was a matter for company decision. The battalion commands usually strove to get food and bedrolls forward to companies in the attack prior to darkness, though in fact the detail of this work would frequently fall upon the rear echelon of the company directly concerned. As often as not these efforts were thwarted by circumstances beyond anyone's control.

Ranks understood the problem and were not demoralized by the lack of food and warmth. They blamed no one; frequently they praised the earnest, but negative, effort of the supply parties which had failed them.

In the course of all of the critiques of Eighth Army infantry, though this situation was many times repeated, there was not one single instance in which troops took a bitter or complaining attitude when speaking of their comfort shortages during engagement. The universal reaction was: "That was how it happened. There was no help for it. We weren't hurt by it and we'll probably have to do the same thing again."

The Natural Load

The Korean research indicated that there is a natural limit imposed on what the average infantry soldier carries in fighting supply by what he has discovered about his own physical resources under varying conditions of stress. This is best judged by what happens within the average infantry company after it has been through repeated engagements, has shaken out all excess material, and has got down to fighting weight.

The infantry soldier will not carry more than two grenades, even though his senses tell him he is heading into a fight where grenades will be needed. In fact, though Korean operations are a grenade-using type of warfare, there was not found one infantry soldier in the whole of the Eighth Army who consistently carried more than two grenades. The average was slightly under two per man, since some individuals carried only one. The fatigue of the march was the determinant in this requirement. Decision as to what munitionment should be carried rested usually with the company commander, and after he became broken in he did not press men to carry more than they thought they could handle without risking exhaustion. It remained for the unit to take care of the reserve through company supply.

For men with carbines, the natural load was four clips; for men with Mls, between 94 and 120 rounds. These averages were general throughout all commands, and there was no marked deviation in any company unit. What loads were carried forward for the mortars and machine guns, etc., depended altogether upon the general circumstances, including how far the supply vehicles could drive forward and the availability of extra carriers. However, in the average circumstance the machine guns had 3 to 4 boxes of ammunition per gun, and the 60-mm mortars were supplied with between 50 and 100 rounds. BAR men averaged between 6 and 8 clips. Riflemen in the squad were markedly willing to carry extra ammunition for the BAR man.

Burden Limit

Weighing out this load of ammunition, along with the weapon, full canteen, uniform, etc., means that the average infantry fighter in Korea was carrying a handicap of approximately 40 pounds. This weight was sustainable, that is to say men so weighted could preserve tactical unity during an average march into enemy country, when fire was imminent. (A tabular discussion of march limits under fire conditions was included in Chapter IV.)

But it was also observed that among the men who were carrying weights in excess of 50 pounds there was an onset of straggling before the march was half completed. This served as a drag upon the general movement as other files peeled off to provide them with greater security. Solely because of the disproportionate weights, in an extended march it would sometimes be from 30 to 40 minutes after the head of the column had arrived on the objective when the tail closed in. These last to arrive would also be in the greatest state of fatigue. They included radio men, mortar ammunition carriers, mortar crews in general, and the flamethrower, though the latter's burden would have to be shifted from man to man in the course of the march because of its weight. The recoilless crews also did heavy labor, and were late in closing, if the march was extended.

Because mortar positions are characteristically in defilade, on low ground, to the rear of the defended ridgeline, this was not a frequent cause of tactical disarrangement in short marches. Its penalties became obvious only when infantry was put far across country over which organic transport could not follow because the country was unroaded.

Operations in Korea prove that Department of the Army and Office of Chief of Army Field Forces concern over the problem of the infantry burden is wholly justified, and that present staff processes and logistical arrangements fall seriously short of the standards requisite to providing our main fighting arm with an optimum mobility.

This problem has only a marginal solution. It cannot be solved in total. Infantry, by nature of its role in combat, must remain heavily burdened. The best that may be hoped for is that through re-examining our staff processes and reappraising our material and human resources, we can insure a system whereby the fighting load is made tolerable in the main.

When Korean operations began, we were no better prepared to initiate a sound economy within the infantry force than we were prior to World War I, despite the wealth of experience gathered meanwhile. The record shows that the expeditionary troops carried personal loads under which they could not fight and which they were in no position to store. Many of the items which they were compelled to carry were unsuited to the season; others were unsuited to fighting operations within the peninsula; still others were of questionable value at any time in any situation. Furthermore, during the winter operations, there was no sign that the supply staff within the replacement system had adjusted itself to the needs of the Korean fighting. Men struggled, and wore themselves down, carrying into the Theater items of equipment which were never used by the combat units. This applied especially to clothing issues. There was no indication that anyone had gone forward, studied what was being done on the ground, and then revised &pply procedures to conform with needs. The net result was that tactical commanders had to shake down the replacements, take away all of the unnecessary gear, and then either jettison it or find a place to store it. As invariably happens, whenever there is an impractical issue of equipment, time and personnel are wasted right down the line.

Most of this excess was thrown away a waste to the Army and to the American people. This wastage cannot be called the consequence of a bad supply discipline within the troops; it was due to faulty staff work and inadequate survey of the supply requirement by the command. Into the discard of items not really needed went also other items for which there was a genuine requirement a little later.

This is the invariable extra penalty which comes of serious overloading. Green troops do not have the ability to recognize what material is essential under the conditions of the fight. In the hour of emergency, they react only to what is needed for survival in the immediate situation. Therefore excessive loading will always lead to an undiscriminating shucking-off of the weight which presses them down. There is no safeguard against this except to load them properly in the first place.

Outfit by Popular Demand

As the Eighth Army became acclimated to its problem, the troops became knowing about their own main needs. Personal decision is probably the main influence in what the American infantry fighter carries along into battle of the multifarious supply in clothing, living and survival gear, and carrying equipment which are available to him. That may not be the way it should be, but that's how it works out in practice. If the majority of men don't want shelter halves, see no use in the light pack, and won't carry blankets when they see a chance to get sleeping bags, their feelings pretty much dictate how the unit ultimately is equipped. So it is that how the Army becomes outfitted after it has been long afield is pretty much a popular verdict on the utilitarian value of all equipage. And that verdict cannot be disregarded!

Under the stress of combat, such stock items as the meat can and the pack (the pack has proved highly useful in other wars but didn't meet the particular need in Korea) are found to be surplus weight, and so troops will not carry them forward. Too late the practical need for yet other items which had been thrown away in the early stages becomes recognized; they then have to be re-requisitioned.

In these particulars, Korea differs hardly at all from American experience in other wars of this century. But since it followed World War II by only five years, its main lesson might well be that an Army loses its "know-how" almost at the speed of light, and that the task of keeping staff procedures keyed up in the interim is far more complex than we think.

As the Eighth Army moved into the winter, its infantry forces did not remain overburdened; they were in fact traveling too light for the exigencies of the winter situation. Heavy weapons in the infantry line could not be assured a sufficient supply of ammunition. Troops in line often went hungry. The hilltop defenses had to get along without wire, mines, and tripflares. And so on.

Command Load

It must be said of the average regimental and battalion commander of infantry in Korea that he tends to carry along an excessive and extravagant load of personal equipment, and that any effort he may make toward encouraging his troops to lighten themselves for the furthering of mobility is therefore invariably at odds with his personal example. It is not enough that he must carry along a cot and sleeping bag; usually, he also carries an air mattress, pillow, spare bag, and several extra blankets. The quota is seldom one wash basin, one jerry can, one light, etc.; there will be several of each item. The same applies to trunk lockers and other dunnage. What the unit packs along for the comfort and convenience of the commander will probably be in average weight somewhere between 200 and 300 pounds. So long as one commander does it, and the excess is not reduced by any stricture from higher command, the others can be expected to follow suit. For social reasons there is a considerable rivalry about these things; one of the seeming satisfactions in command is the feeling of being relatively better off than one's fellows working at the same level. That is a human failing, but it is a failing none the less, when in field operations the services of more than one vehicle and the work of two or three men are required to shift the living gear of one officer every time that there is a displacement of the CP. With some of our commanders this was not necessary. They kept their gear at a minimum and had little more comfort than their troops. Still, this was not the common practice.

What Might Be Done

Toward the affording of partial relief to the troops in line, and the over-all strengthening of the defensive situation, there were two lines of approach which might have been taken by the staff, without looking beyond resources already at hand. They were:

  • Organization of Korean porterage on a semimilitary basis, and
  • Total coordination of all supplementary carrying resources within the Division structure to put them at the service of the battalions in the attack.

Neither of these approaches was immediately subjected to study and then The first was neglected despite its obviousness, probably given systematic application. because our Army is not colonially experienced and does not have an instinct for primitive methods. The second broad avenue was overlooked, perhaps because its prerequisite is a radical overhaul in American staff thinking. We bend over backwards in respecting the integrity of small-unit command and process within any larger component, seldom stopping to question whether the safety of all units might not depend finally on seeing the Division as a whole, and using its other parts to the utmost in an effort to get its fighting elements forward relatively fit and ready for the fight. The Regiment sweats to get its two battalions of the attack into the right ground, supplied with all that they need to fight and to endure. Meanwhile, at the rear, there are QM, Ordnance, and other service elements, with broad backs and many vehicles, and on that particular day they have no truly critical chores. To what extent better interior organization can improve the economy will never be known until it is put to the test. We make it work when confronted by a great emergency such as the Ardennes surprise. But we never attempt to apply the same principle in routine operations with the major purpose of conserving the fighting elements.

As a first step toward reform of the infantry supply problem, it is suggested that Logistics, basing upon the Korean supply studies, should proceed to categorize all infantry equipment as follows:

1.     Equipment which must move with the infantry soldier in any fighting situation, such as his arm, canteen, aid pouch, ammunition belt, pants, boots, etc.

2.     Equipment which he will have to carry personally in the interests of survival when subjected to extremes in climate, weather change, etc. These are kept in organizational supply and issued to him when required by the immediate conditions. They affect his personal responsibility and organizational logistics in that as his load increases; other means must be found for transporting the unit's residual weight.

3.     Equipment composing the residual weight within the company (Mortar ammo in excess of a definite figure, mines, wire, etc.), which, while required in the fighting situation, cannot be manhandled by the company without excessive impairment of its fighting powers. The estimating of residual weights should be based upon the muscular potential in summer heat, or extreme winter cold, when the soldier is heavily weighted with his own clothing, and not upon what troops can do in temperate weather under the most favorable conditions. Once the residual weights are analyzed and described, all further procedure should be based on the assumption that when these materials cannot be moved to the scene of action by organic transport, it is the responsibility of higher command to make the arrangements by which they will be got forward for the benefit of the company.

4.     Equipment which has proved impractical or of little utility under the stress of field conditions and should therefore be eliminated.

5.     Equipment which has a practical purpose (such as the web cartridge belt) but is imperfectly suited to that purpose and should therefore be modified.

In the Korean fighting, the average combat soldier, when his total load is somewhere between 38 and 45 pounds (including clothing), gets along fairly well and can march a reasonable distance, engage, and still remain relatively mobile. When the load goes above 50 pounds, he becomes a drag upon the company. That was what was anticipated in theory and it has proved itself in practice. The calculating of the residual weight should assume an average 40-pound carry for the soldier. If, when that is done, such personal items as blankets, bedrolls, etc., cannot be fitted into the individual load, they should be classified as residual weight and it should be the duty of This was how it was handled many higher authority to arrange for their porterage. times during the winter fighting, except that already overburdened battalion and company commanders had to organize the makeshift arrangements.

Reform must begin at the top. Providing greater mobility to troops in the attack is primarily a problem for the division. The coordination of all division resources toward that end can be achieved only through the commander's staff. At first glance, it might be questioned whether this is a responsibility of G-3 or G-4. The best solution would require that they approach it jointly, with G-3 having the ultimate responsibility because of his closer tie-in with the daily progress of fighting operations and the peculiar authority which he exercises in this field. There is the capital risk that the experiment might be regarded as just another problem in transportation, routinely assigned to the division MT officer, and thereby die a sudden death.

As for the need that we do a better job in the analysis and use of all indigenous transport resources, our Korean failure is an example which commends itself to General Staff attention. The subject needs to be given continuing emphasis at Leavenworth, Benning, and at all other points where staff thinking is shaped. The same problem will certainly arise wherever we may engage in future. To be outnumbered on the fighting side in war becomes an insuperable handicap unless extreme ingenuity is used in the organization of all resources in meeting the logistical problem.

That we have exceeded all others in motorization but makes it more difficult for us to think about what can be done with animals and people. But the effort must be made, lest another opportunity be missed.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Some Difficult War Names
Topic: CEF

Some Difficult War Names

How They Are Pronounced

The Sydney Mail, 23 December 1914

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

Study of the war news and maps leaves the newspaper reader in the dark as to how the names of many of the places referred to should be pronounced. When the Germans first crossed into Belgium discussions were common on the question of pronunciation. One said Leeje, the other Li-eeje. Neither was right. The battered fort is pronounced Le-azh. Similarly there have been disputed as to what Ypres should be called. It has to suffer anything from Y-preeze to Yipray. Its now scattered townspeople call it Ee-p'r. The following list shows the correct pronunciation of some of the chief centres of fighting:—


DixmudeDe-mud or Dis'mud (u heavy)
LiegeLe-azh (a heavy)
GhentGent (French Gong)
Ostend(Accent on second syllable.)


RheimsReemz (French Rahnz)
OiseWahs (a as in far)
MeuseMuz (u as in fur)
Arras(Accent on second syllable.)
CompeigneKom-pe-ain (e light)
La BasseeLah-bas-say (final a heavy)
CalaisKal'ay (final a heavy)
Vosges (long o)


JaraslauYa-ro-slow (final o obscure)
CracowKrako (a and o heavy)
WarsawVar-sha'va (accent on middle syllable)

While the above conveys the nearest approach to the local pronunciation that can be given in ordinary English characters, it is not considered incorrect to pronounce a foreign name or word in the manner in which the English spelling would ordinarily indicate; for none could be expected to memorise the peculiar pronunciations of every language on earth.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Some Difficult War Names
Topic: CEF

Some Difficult War Names

How They Are Pronounced

The Sydney Mail, 23 December 1914

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

Study of the war news and maps leaves the newspaper reader in the dark as to how the names of many of the places referred to should be pronounced. When the Germans first crossed into Belgium discussions were common on the question of pronunciation. One said Leeje, the other Li-eeje. Neither was right. The battered fort is pronounced Le-azh. Similarly there have been disputed as to what Ypres should be called. It has to suffer anything from Y-preeze to Yipray. Its now scattered townspeople call it Ee-p'r. The following list shows the correct pronunciation of some of the chief centres of fighting:—


DixmudeDe-mud or Dis'mud (u heavy)
LiegeLe-azh (a heavy)
GhentGent (French Gong)
Ostend(Accent on second syllable.)


RheimsReemz (French Rahnz)
OiseWahs (a as in far)
MeuseMuz (u as in fur)
Arras(Accent on second syllable.)
CompeigneKom-pe-ain (e light)
La BasseeLah-bas-say (final a heavy)
CalaisKal'ay (final a heavy)
Vosges (long o)


JaraslauYa-ro-slow (final o obscure)
CracowKrako (a and o heavy)
WarsawVar-sha'va (accent on middle syllable)

While the above conveys the nearest approach to the local pronunciation that can be given in ordinary English characters, it is not considered incorrect to pronounce a foreign name or word in the manner in which the English spelling would ordinarily indicate; for none could be expected to memorise the peculiar pronunciations of every language on earth.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Meals as Important as Tactics
Topic: Army Rations

Problem of Meals for Army Important as That of Tactics

Each Soldier Carries His Iron Ration, To Be Used in Emergency

The state must ensure the entire supply for the whole army day by day.

The Milwaukee Journal, 1 November 1914
By the Journal Military Expert

The problems of the commissariat of an army are as important as those of masterly tactics in the field. Napoleon said, "An army travels on its stomach."

The provisions of an army are cared for by one or more administrative departments. Its duty is to procure, take care of and distribute all supplies necessary to keep the troops in health and strength. A certain plan co-operating with the war plan of the general staff must be laid out and the following are the cardinal points to be considered.

1.     The resources of the scene of wat and the facility to make use of them.

2.     The time of the year and the climate.

3.     the nature of the war, if offensive or defensive.

4.     The length of the communication lines.

5.     The rapidity of the tactical movement of the troops.

6.     The nearness of the enemy.

7.     The attitude and character of the inhabitants.

State Must Assure Supplies

The state must ensure the entire supply for the whole army day by day. The supplies must come continuously for the full number of men and animals, without regard as to whether one or the other army corps be in need of fresh supplies or not. In this war this problem may become more difficult each day, as provisions, which usually are not contraband, may become contraband of war when destined for the military or naval forces.

The right of armies to take from the enemy's country is indisputable. Military necessity permits the enforcement in an enemy's country of all measures to assist in conducting the war.

The work of the administrative department into three spheres of action:

1.     The service performed in the rear of the army, established in the national territory of in the occupied country.

2.     The service of the line of communication. Replacement of stores consumed by the army and the transportation, maintenance, quartering of troops, prisoners and wounded and the protection of these lines.

3.     The supply of the troops in the field during active operations.

Work in Conjunction

Although entirely separated these three work in conjunction. All lines of communication are under supervision of a general officer. He is assisted by a large staff and a competent force of arms to preserve order along the line of communication, guard the depots of supply and protect the line from attacks by the enemy. Such officer is subordinate to the commander of the troops in the field.

The German soldier is well fed. Every morning he gets a hot breakfast; at noon he gets hot lunch and in the evening a hot supper. These rations are placed in small tin cans, where they remain good for years. These cans are labelled and the contents are good for twenty years. One can contains enough soup for one meal for two men.

For emergency soldiers have the "iron ration." This consists of one box of canned meat, three boxes of coffee, a package of canned vegetables, a package of biscuits and a salt and pepper box.

Also Emergency Rations

The "iron ration" of the British soldier consists of one pound of preserved meat, twelve ounces of biscuit, five-eighths of an ounce of tea, two ounces of sugar, one-half ounce of salt, three ounces of cheese and one ounce of meat extract. Besides this "iron ration," the British soldier also has an "emergency ration." This consists of chocolate with added plasmon or other equally suitable milk proteid.

The food is wrapped in vegetable parchment paper and packed in tins each containing six and one-half ounces. The ration is not to be opened except by order of an officer or in extremity. It is calculated to maintain strength for thirty-six hours, if used in small quantities.

The armies of Germany, Austria, Great Britain, France and Russia have field bakeries and field kitchens, A field bakery has six to twelve ovens with all necessary equipment. The six ovens of a German field bakery can produce 16,000 loaves a day.

The portable field kitchen is adopted by the French, Russian, British, German and Austrian armies. The British field kitchen is a two-horse vehicle. It cooks for 250 men, allowing ten quarts of hot food for every twelve men. The rear part of the wagon contains a fire and four cooking pots in addition to a hot water boiler. Groceries also are carried. In this war, where men have to endure enormous hardships, and where they prefer to sleep rather than wait for food which had to be prepared at the end of a long march, the use of the field kitchen proved very advantageous.

The horses carry their "iron ration," from twelve to fifteen pounds of corn. The other forage is carried in the supply columns.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Monday, 23 May 2016

The Canadian Expeditionary Force
Topic: CEF

The Canadian Expeditionary Force

Canada's Part in the Great War, 3rd Edition, Issued by the Information Branch, Department of External Affairs, Ottawa, May 1921

In the late summer and early autumn of 1914, the First Canadian Division of 33,000 men was raised and sent across the Atlantic. It left Gaspe Bay on October 3, and, after nearly three months of additional training in England, landed in France, at St. Nazaire, on February 11, 1915. The Second Division was formed immediately and landed in France on September 14, when the Canadian Army Corps was formed. The formation of the Third Division was authorized just before Christmas, 1915, and the Division was in France early in 1916. The Fourth Division joined the Canadian Corps in the middle of August, 1916. The Canadian Cavalry Brigade appeared in France in 1915. After the completion of the Canadian Army Corps the policy of the Dominion was to maintain a comparatively small number of divisions, but always to keep these at full strength, in order that the troops might have the encouragement of full ranks.


The total number of men enlisted in Canada from the beginning of the war to November 15, 1918, was 595,441. The details are:—

Obtained by voluntary enlistment465,984
Drafted or reported voluntarily after the Military Service Act came into force83,355
Granted leave or discharged24,933
Overseas service other than C.E.F.:—21,769 
Royal Air Force12,902 
Imperial Motor Transport710 
Inland Water Transport4,701 
Naval Service2,814 
Jewish Palestine Draft42 

The distribution of these men was as follows:—

C.E.F. proceeded overseas.418,052
Enlisted for Royal Air Force, etc.21,169
On the strength of C.E.F. in Canada and St. Lucia, including those under training as overseas reinforcements, Siberian Expeditionary Force, Canadian Garrison Regiment, Military Police Corps, Medical and Administrative Services, etc.36,533
On harvest leave without pay.15,405
Granted leave of absence without pay as compassionate and hardship cases.7,216
Number discharged in Canada who had not proceeded overseas for the following among other reasons, as below medical standard, absentees, aliens, to accept commissions, deaths, on transfer to British Army and Royal Air Force.95,306
Included in enlistment returns, for whom discharge documents have not been received, or in some cases duplicate enlistments. This number is being adjusted as further records are received.1,760

In addition to the above, 14,590 British and Allied reservists went from Canada to rejoin the colours in their own countries.

Movement Overseas

The number of men of the Canadian Expeditionary Force who had gone overseas on November 16, 1918, was 418,052.

The movement overseas by years was as follows:—

Before Decenber 31, 191430,999
Calendar year 191584,334
Calendar year 1916165,553
Calendar year 191763,536
January 1 to November 15, 191873,630

On September 30, 1918, about 160,000 men were in France and about 116,000 in England.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 23 April 2016 8:36 PM EDT
Sunday, 22 May 2016

The Bayonet; US Army, Korea (1951)
Topic: Cold Steel

The Bayonet; US Army, Korea (1951)

Commentarty of Infantry Operations and Weapons Usage in Korea, Winter of 1950-51, S.L.A. Marshall, October 1951

… there is a tendency to credit the bayonet with almost miraculous powers as a catalyst of the fighting spirit.

More for Morale

In most of what has been reported in the American press, and in part of what has been circulated officially within the Army, the role of the bayonet in Korean operations has been stressed far beyond its intrinsic importance, when the latter is estimated in the very real terms of the battlefield and the thinking of troops about the weapon.

It is no doubt true, and subject to competent proof, that there has been more legitimate bayonet fighting by our troops in Korea than by our armies of World War I and II.

Largely because of this comparison, and partly because the upsurge of interest in the bayonet and the exaggerated wave of publicity concerning bayonet action coincided roughly with the beginning of American recovery, there is a tendency to credit the bayonet with almost miraculous powers as a catalyst of the fighting spirit.

There is nothing particularly new about this supposed connection. Indeed, it is because this view of things is so very old and traditional that it always reasserts itself upon the slightest provocation. In Korea the bayonet advocates have a considerable case based upon an impressive body of evidence—even when rumors and provedly false reports are thrown out. The main question is whether the case as it stands is being argued to a rational set of conclusions, or will serve once again to place undue training emphasis upon the weapon and what it contributes to the building of an aggressive spirit.

At least four-fifths of the reports of "fierce bayonet charges" by our troops emanating from the Korean theater are false either in whole or in part. In some instances, the troops which were described as engaging in this manner did not even possess bayonets. In others, they had bayonets and fixed them, but, during the attack, did not close with that weapon upon the enemy. One of our allies was credited in the operations of the early winter with a bloody repulse of the enemy at bayonet point in which scores were It helped inspire the new interest skewered; this story drew attention the world over. No doubt, the killing took place. But all of the attendant circumstances in the weapon. indicate that its main victims were friendly ROKs, trying to fall back into protective lines after their own position had gone; it was a case of mistaken identity.

The need for a sharp killing instrument at the end of a rifle is well indicated by the course of Korean operations; the need of a discipline which will compel troops to retain such a weapon and will enable them to use it with some efficiency when an emergency requires it is equally well indicated. Recurrently through the winter in the defense of hilltop perimeters, infantry companies were engaged with the enemy at such But killings close range that the rifle used as a spear would have taken many a victim. by Eighth Army infantry under these circumstances were so few that they could be When the rifles began to run empty and the enemy counted on one man's fingers. at last closed, with very few exceptions the men had no blade with which to stand off the rush. For lack of bayonets, they fought with clubbed rifles, stones, and sometimes with their bare fists. All of these things are in the record: the companies and individuals who so participated can be named. Oddly enough, however, the repetition of situations in which the bayonet might have proved useful did not of itself stimulate the interest of troops in the return of the weapon. The companies which had been They caught short for having thrown the bayonet away did not demand its re-issue. were not "bayonet-minded," and they seemed perfectly willing to fight again under the same odds in the next round.

1st Marine Division retained the bayonet. The Corps has continued to hold with the idea that the bayonet makes men aggressive. The entire Chosen Reservoir operation was fought at close range, with the Chinese repeatedly charging the defensive works in the night attacks and occasionally breaking the circle. Even so, the bayonet was used with killing effect in only two instances. Three Chinese were bayoneted at Hagaru-ri—all by the same man. Three, possibly four others, were either wounded or killed by the bayonet in the one assault that, managed to break into the lines at Koto-ri. The Marines make a strong display of the weapon when in defensive position. It is within They argue with some cogency that this may be one of its chief values. reason that the Chinese attacks upon Marine perimeters north of Chinghung-ni might have been pressed with even greater determination had the attackers not anticipated that they would be met with cold steel. But to attempt to justify Marine retention of the weapon, and the attendant burden, upon what the bayonet has done as a killing weapon in Marine hands during Korean operations is impossible in view of the cold figures.

The same would have to be said of results through the Eighth Army as a whole, including those non-American elements which have received especial acclaim because of their ferocity in the bayonet charge. In February, outside of Suwon, the writer visited a hill where a battalion belonging to one of our Allies was said to have killed 154 of the enemy with bayonet thrusts; these figures were publicized in the theater. Examination of the bodies made it conclusively clear that the preponderant number of the enemy dead had been killed and badly mangled by artillery fire prior to the direct assault upon the hill. In some of these bodies, there were superficial bayonet wounds. Judging by the condition of the bodies, there may have been a dozen or fewer who were eliminated by the bayonet.

Not since the rifle bullet began to dominate the battlefield has there been any sound tact'ical ground for contending that the bayonet was per se an efficient way to kill and an agency toward keeping one's own casualties low. Argument for its retention and use has been built largely around these points: (1) it creates aggressiveness in troops, (2) it instills additional fear in the heart of the enemy, and (3) troops need a last-resort weapon when other means fail.

None of these points is to be despised. If all are true as stated, they compose a valid case for retention of the weapon and a discipline serving that end. When gradual restoration of the bayonet to infantry forces was undertaken in the mid-winter of 1950-51 by the Eighth Army and lower commands, the impulse developed partly around consideration of these ideas.

But there was one other thing—the bayonet in this instance served a conspicuous need of the moment. The Eighth Army at that time was a greatly demoralized body, and lack of confidence was manifest in the ranks. The command greatly needed Restoration of the bayonet, and a something to symbolize the birth of a new spirit. Dramatizing of that action, was at, one with the simple message given to troops: "The job is to kill Chinese." Once men could be persuaded that those in other units were deliberately seeking the hand-to-hand contest with the enemy, they would begin to feel themselves equal to the over-all task.

There can be no question about the efficacy of this magic in the particular situation: it worked! But rekindling of the spirit of the Eighth Army was due even more to loud talk about the bayonet, and the power of suggestion, than to the effectiveness of such bayonet action as took place against the enemy. The benefits came from the rallying of the intangibles rather than from direct use of material means. The rapid moral recovery of Eighth Army in January is one of the true phenomena of our military history. Here there is time for reflection only on certain of its tangential aspects.

The Army had spent five weeks in retreat; the salient fact in its operations had Ranks were discouraged; having been the avoiding of close contact with the enemy. no idea what the main purpose of the nation might be, they could find none in themselves. It was an interlude of negative leadership and moral vacuum. Where a spate of words about the need for personal decision and maximum individual aggressiveness might have been received by troops as just so much bombast, emphasis on bayonet fighting served pointed notice that the period of uncertainty was over, and henceforward all ground would be contested. In combination with other techniques employed by the command and staff, it shook Eighth Army out of a state of extreme depression and gave it fresh confidence in its own power and in leadership's hold upon the general situation.

This was the significant contribution of the bayonet to the restoration of Eighth Army. It was a device toward the restoring of morale in a particular situation. But it does not follow by any means that the bayonet and bayonet doctrine make the difference between half-hearted troops and stalwart strong-going fighters in any situation.

Some of the ablest and hardest-fighting infantry companies in Korea have not taken up the bayonet and say outright that they see no good in it. They resent the effort by higher authority to persuade them to use it because they say that it is an invitation to be killed uselessly.

There are also other companies which have used the bayonet with great intrepidity during the recent months. It may be remarked of them, according to the record, that they were already combat-worthy, aggressive, and efficient in the use of their other arms before they became bayonet fighters. There is no proof whatever that the bayonet transformed them as fighters or added materially to their fighting power as a group.

Case Study

The bayonet charge by Easy Company, 27th Infantry Regiment, against Hill 180 is the one modern operation of this character which may be studied in its full detail, in the light of knowledge of the individuals concerned, their prior service in combat, their reactions, physical and emotional, during the fight, and the operational results. It therefore throws a revealing light on the general subject and particularly on the degree of emotional intensity which is required before average Americans can go all-out in bayonet fighting.

The results were truly phenomenal. One cannot help but marvel at the impetuosity of these men, once they got started forward with their rifles ready for a cutting action. But this was not an "average" infantry company nor an average man who led it. Both had already made a reputation for unusual bravery and sangfroid before ever they got together. The company included a high percentage of individuals with Spanish or Mexican-American blood; they were represented in great disproportion in the actual employment of the blade against enemy soldiers.

The mortality figures show this breakdown: Of the 18 enemy soldiers killed by the bayonet after Easy Company had closed on their foxholes, 6 met death that way because something untoward had happened to the attacker's rifle—either a misfire In four instances, the bayonet was or a failure to load consequent to the excitement. the "weapon of last resort" because one group had used up its ammunition. In most of the other killings, the men were in so close that if a bullet missed, the consequence might have been fatal.

There is no need in this writing to dilate upon the emotional stress undergone by the bayonet fighters of Easy Company or to attempt an answer to the question of whether troops could for long be sustained at such a pitch without risking total nervous breakdown. The record is the best evidence of the varying reactions of the individuals; the question is one which could be answered competently only by medical authority. But it is germane to any study of how far bayonet training and use of the bayonet in the attack should be pushed in the interests of increasing the combat quality of the Army.

The tactical omissions, which accompany and seem to be the emotional consequence of the verve and high excitement of the bayonet charge, stand out as prominently as the extreme valor of the individuals.

  • The young Captain Millett, so intent on getting his attack going that he "didn't have time" to call for artillery fires to the rearward of the hill, though that was the natural way to close the escape route and protect his own force from snipers who were thus allowed a free hand on that ground.
  • His subsequent forgetting that the tank fire should be adjusted upward along the hill.
  • The failure to use mortars toward the same object.
  • The starving of the grenade supply, though this was a situation calling for grenades, and the resupply route was not wholly closed by fire.
  • The fractionalization of the company in the attack to the degree where only high individual action can save the situation, and individual ammunition failures may well lose it.

These are not entries on the debit side, or words uttered in criticism. One cannot study this fight without being reminded of the words of Justice Holmes that "heroism alone promotes belief in the supreme worth of heroism." But it is precisely because of the extreme determination of the action that its negative lessons should be held at as great value by the Army as the inspirational effects of the example.

In Summation

The main issue in regard to the bayonet is not whether troops in combat should have a knife ready for use at the end of a rifle, but how much time should be devoted to bayonet in the training schedule, and what type of blade would best suit the general purpose.

There is every advantage in equipping troops with a "last-resort weapon" provided that it is a model which they will prize for its manifest usefulness, and which, at the same time, will give them extra protection in an extreme emergency.

Of the value of the bayonet charge as a nerve tonic to troops or as an expedient in tactics, this report cannot attest. The data from Korean operations proves nothing except that given an unusual company of men, an unusually effective use of the weapon may occasionally be made. There is nothing to show that it induces phenomenal moral results when employed in the attack, either upon the using individuals or the targets; proof is lacking that in any particular situation it achieved a greater economy in operations than increased fire power might have done.

But a line of sharpened steel along the defensive line is additional insurance for the individual and may well have a profoundly deterring effect upon the enemy's resolve. If troops can be conditioned to having the blade ready for defense, they will soon form the habit of carrying it in the attack, ready for use if needed. The best results will ensue if use of the bayonet is emphasized in this order. There is no steadying value in any tactical teaching which runs counter to the common sense and instinct of the average soldier.

The Knife Bayonet

The issue bayonet is heavy, unwieldy, hard to sharpen, and harder yet to achieve a penetration with. The blade is not liked even by those units which have retained it and used it.

All infantry companies interviewed in Korea were in agreement that a knife-type bayonet for the M1 would be vastly preferable, and if a knife with a slotted handle were issued, which at the same time would serve a utilitarian purpose, troops would retain it and would fight with it. Such a knife is needed in any case for the cutting of brush, loosening of dirt, first aid, the opening of cans, and a variety of uses. The carbine knife is well thought of by troops, but they believe that an even better model could be designed.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT

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