The Minute Book
Friday, 15 July 2016

The Way They have It In the Army (1917)
Topic: Drill and Training

The Way They have It In the Army (1917)

The Sydney Morning Herald, 24 February 1917
(Angus and Robertson.)

One does not as a rule look for literary excellence in a military manual, but there is some uncommonly good writing in "Citizen to Subaltern," by Captain A.W. Hutchin, of the Australian General Staff. In the old professional armies commissioned rank was usually the preserve of a class if not of a caste. But in the new national armies there is an open career for talent; In the Australian army in particular every "marmalade" has a Field Marshal's baton concealed somewhere in his dungarees; officers are now chosen for ability shown in the ranks, and some whom left here as privates are already majors.

What does a young officer need? Chiefly self-confidence, because if he is not certain of himself his men will not be certain of him.

Captain Hutchin's book is designed to guide the ambitious, and to stimulate the diffident. It deals with what may be termed the philosophy of junior command. It has nothing to say about the technicalities of traininf, for these may be learned from other books; it is concerned with the things that a young officer should feel and imitate rather than matters of tangible knowledge. The subaltern is paid more than the sergeant; receives more show of respect; has a more comfortable time all round. The advantages are his because his responsibilities are greater. Everyone would agree to this off hand, but if the average man were asked to define precisely the nature of those responsibilities and the psychological factors that contribute to their successful assumption he would require a volume. Captain Hutchin does it in a few score of short pages.

What does a young officer need? Chiefly self-confidence, because if he is not certain of himself his men will not be certain of him. It is not necessary that he should be perfect in the art of strategy; that is the business of generals and suchlike potentates. Indeed, the lesson of this war has been that in modern conditions the platoon commander is the man that counts. War has become a thing of sudden, deadly melees, in which it is every unit for itself. "If a leader understands the action of his own unit, and has a proper conception of its functions in regard to the next higher formation of which it is part, he will know a great deal, and can be a valuable leader." he would do better to spend his scanty leisure in the study of his men's feet than in the study of major operations. He will have ample time for the latter before his time comes to conduct them. The ablest theorist is of little value as an officer unless he has character, and this must be of the positive and not the negative quality. "No person can hope to lead Australians effectively if he does not bristle with character. The civil life of the population is of the freest type. Nobody is of any account in this country unless he has made good by personal exertion, it matter not is what walk of life. The good boxer is more thought of than the mediocre divine." And the zealous officer, despite all imperfections, is more thought of than the one who betrays the least sign of slackness.

The Australian officer as a neophyte is exposed to a trying ordeal. His platoon watch him with knowing eyes; all are conscious of each other's infirmities. Many are militant unionists, who have surrendered the eight-hour principle for the way they have in the army, where there are no "hours." But if they find that their immediate officer grudges a moment of his time from a duty that may seem trivial of superfluous, but is nevertheless a duty, they will at once take their cue from him. Therefore, the officer must always be "all-in." Courage is required also but there is no reason to be afraid of being afraid. There are tow kinds of fear, says Captain Hutchin, that which prompts a woman to take an umbrella on a wet day, and that which throws her into a panic at the sight of a mouse. The one is a sensible precaution; the other, a matter of nerves. Fear, or its absence, is largely a question of physical condition (for which the Army provides) and discipline, of which the author says much hereafter. On the other hand, daring, unless controlled, may be as disastrous as cowardice. He mentions an episode of which we have already heard whispers. An Australian unit on the Western front was appointed to take two lines of trenches. It did so at a canter. "This is too easy," it said, and proceeded to take the third line. Then the tragedy began. On either side the Germans appeared, and enfiladed our men; there were no supports because the plan was only to take two lines; the artillery could not help because we and the Germans were indistinguishably mixed up. The survivors who cut their way out were too few and too exhausted to hold even the second trench.

With units, so with officers. Gallantry is presupposed, but a live subaltern is more useful than a dead hero. To put it brutally, officers are not paid to win posthumous glory; they are paid to lead their men, to do a job for which they are specially chosen and trained. They will find sufficient risks in this job without going out of their way to invite them. Still, Captain Hutchin, the stern utilitarian, ever concerned to remind the officer that neither his soul or his body is his own, but belongs to his country, unbends to some extent. Speaking of the traditions among British subalterns that they must despise danger to the point of folly, he observes, "This utter recklessness in the absence of necessity has only it picturesqueness to recommend it. Otherwise it is a waste of good material; but perhaps it is better that it should go on so than that there should grow up a type of leader who shows even the slightest hesitation to sacrifice himself. Much better to die a reckless hero than to survive a 'Dugout King.'"

The aspirant officer may have courage, character, assiduity, and many other excellent qualities, but they will avail him nothing unless he grasps what discipline means. This is more important in the Australian army than in any other, for we, as a people, are said to be rather antipathetic to discipline. If we knew what it was we would be less recalcitrant. For it is nothing more or less than training, the shaping of a weapon to its particular object. One has seldom seen the idea of discipline explained so compactly, Captain Hutchin begins with the general principal that it is the primal instinct of self-preservation organised and controlled for the purpose of fighting. Man took long to learn this; those who were quickest to realise it made history. It is a mistake to think that discipline means merely efficiency in formal drill or smartness in saluting. These are simply the outward and visible signs of the informing spirit. It is equally a mistake to think that discipline is a burden to be borne by the rank and file. The higher the officer the more arduous his discipline. The drill an observances paid to superior rank are all part of a scheme which had proved its usefulness long before Rome conquered Britain. When Private Jones is made to slope arms in precise time with his company it is not because ceremonial will beat the Germans. When Private Jones salutes Lieutenant Smith, his own subordinate in civil life, there is nothing servile in it. It is impersonal. He may be a batter man in every way than his lieutenant; he is saluting not the man, but the flag and the army. We may belittle tradition, but it counts. A hundred, a thousand small things, handed down by tradition, have come to make discipline. When a man feels that the habit of going forward in obedience to orders conquers the shrinking of the flesh; when he knows that his safety lies in obedience to orders; when, without understanding what may be happening around, he goes on with his appointed task; when he realizes that himself, his lieutenant, his captain, aye, and his brigadier are but persons in a great game; when he can experience defeat without demoralisation, the victory without excess, then you will have the ideally disciplined soldier.

In the meantime, Australia will be glad of recruits. The scheme of training has ceased to be formal and monotonous. Everyone is told why they are learning what they are learning. Even if their task is not very exciting they are shown the reason of it.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Friday, 13 May 2016

Public Service Advisory - Artillery Firing at Camp Petawawa
Topic: Drill and Training

Public Service Advisory – Artillery Firing at Camp Petawawa

Canada Gazette, 15 June 1907

Published in the Canada Gazette, the following public service advisory cautioned civilians about artillery firing at Camp Petawawa. Of note is the information that the public was not restricted from accessing the range area when the artillery was not in action. Even more surprising is the reward offered for shells found by members of the public.

"Notice. The public are hereby cautioned that Artillery Practice will take place at Petawawa, between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. daily, except Sundays, from the 17th July to about the 1st September, 1907.

"The danger zone will be an area bounded on the west by the Canadian Pacific railway, on the south by a line drawn north-east from the railway bridge over the Petawawa River, north of Petawawa Station, to the Ottawa River, on the north by the right bank of the Chalk River from the Canadian pacific Railway Bridge to Sturgeon lake, thence to Allumette Bay, on the Ottawa River.

"The public are also cautioned not to touch any whole shells found on the range as they are dangerous, but to report their whereabouts to the Camp Commandant, Artillery Camp. Petawawa. The sum of 60 cents will be paid for each shell so reported."

Camp Commandant,
Artillery Practice Camp, Petawawa

The Senior Subaltern

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

Artillery Instruction (1884)
Topic: Drill and Training

Artillery Instruction (1884)

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

Land service artillery will be broadly considered as—

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

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

Siege artillery holds an intermediate, place between the two.

Artillery instruction will be divided into—

  • Technical.
  • Tactical.
  • Disciplinary.
  • Scientific

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

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

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

The Tactical will be comprised of drill:

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

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

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Thunder by the Left
Topic: Drill and Training

Thunder by the Left

The Glasgow Herald, 22 October 1964
By Alastair Phillips

We never had much truck with the sergeant-majors cast in the classic and fabulous mould of Freddie Archer. There were no such giants in the R.A.F., but merely a few diligent but not very effective imitations, whom we suspected of trying to model their personalities on hearsay and tall tales that came down from places like Pirbright.

Indeed, our own strongest recollection of a warrant officer first class is not of a big man with a voice like a bull, bout of a small slightly palsied one with a hoarse and studiously friendly whisper.

We should explain, however, that during that association we enjoyed the peculiar privilege (although only an aircrafthand-under-training) of being the barman in an officers' mess, an appointment with singular influence that cut across most formal distinctions of rank and service.

The station warrant officer was a man of regular habit, so regular in fact that at 10.30 every morning he put his head through the back door of the beer store and said reassuringly:—

"Carry on, airmen … Just looking around …Everything under control?"

And he always managed to look surprised when we handed him his pick-me-up. We have heard others, less favourably placed, say that he had a mean temper and a nasty tongue, but we must say that he never bawled us out in public and was always extremely co-operative in the matter of crafty forty-eights, railway warrants, and travelling time at each end of a leave.

We have, however, heard other strident and fearful tales from colleagues who had the harder luck of seeing their service out in the Army, one of whom, indeed still trembles when he recalls how he stood mumchance and stricken on the parade ground while the voice of a sergeant-major of the Guards bounced off the adjacent walls, and the echo in diminishing harmonics repeated:—

"It's dopey ——s like you what turns my hair grey."

This is a traditional image of screaming discipline which the Army public relations departments are not at pains to banish, and to this end a company of journalists were this week invited to a Royal Engineers' camp near Farnborough to meet 50 regimental sergeant-majors and to see for themselves (as one of the exhibits said is a courteously conversational tone of voice) that:—

"the days of the pig-ignorant loud-mouth have gone."

elipsis graphic

We do not doubt that the can still summon up a resonant word of command; but we are not persuaded that though, like Bottom, they may aggravate their voices so that they will roar you as gently as any sucking dove, they have not still a discreet whisper for the erring recruit's ear that will leave him squirming in the ranks.

So much was hinted by one of these n.c.o.s, a little self-conscious as a father figure, who explained:—

"I may not kick 'em, but I'm not going to kiss 'em."

There are some conventional misconceptions about the voice of the regimental sergeant major. It is not appalling because it is a great virile bellow; it is sinister and menacing because it is a high searing note that seems to be on the threshold of hysteria. It does not envelop the soldier with two left feet like the rumbling of thunder, but pierces his central nervous system like a nail scratching on glass.

Nor was it true that the voice was the sound of inevitable doom, however fearful it might be. It is said of Regimental Sergeant Major Charles Bradley of the Coldstreams that he never put a man on a charge. He was a tall thin man with a high squeaky voice and, they say, a kind heart. Gerald Kersh recalls the dreadful moment on parade when he realised that he had forgotten the bolt of his rifle and, although he was in a rear rank, saw Bradley bearing down upon him, only to whisper in the passing:—

"You wouldn't be much good in a war, would you?"

We do not know what are the soft spoken concessions that the new sergeant-majors make to "the higher standard of intelligence among recruits," but we may well wonder if these are a sufficient substitute for the regimental personalities of the old Archers and Paddy Flynns who stood to attention when the spoke to an officer on the telephone; who held pay parades for their children's pocket money; who instinctively snapped "Put you hat on straight" even to women they met in the street; and who spoke in voices that could be heard only by dogs and guardsmen.

Of standing, even in innocence, before RSM Bradley, one of our colleagues says, and still with awe:—

"It was like being in the presence of God."

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 20 March 2016 12:25 AM EDT
Thursday, 17 March 2016

Development of the Soldierly Spirit
Topic: Drill and Training

Development of the Soldierly Spirit

Cavalry Training, General Staff, War Office, 1912

1.     Soldierly spirit is the product of a high sense of personal honour and duty; of self-reliance and of mutual confidence between all ranks.

A sound soldierly spirit cannot be developed by rules, but much can be accomplished by force of example in teaching high ideals of personal conduct. Officers and N.C.O.'s must be careful, therefore, on all occasions to set a high moral, intellectual, and physical standard to their men.

Men should be taught by example to meet privations cheerfully and never to grumble at hard work or hardship.

2.     Efficient instruction and good example will instill into individuals absolute confidence in their instructors and comrades. Instructors must endeavour to increase the soldier's initiative, self-confidence, and self-restraint; to train him to obey orders, or to act in the absence of orders for the advantage of his unit under all conditions; and finally to produce such a high degree of courage and disregard of self, that in the stress of battle he will be able to use his weapons and his brain coolly and to the best advantage.

3.     In order to impress him with the necessity of upholding the reputation of the army, of our cavalry, and of his own regiment, the soldier should be instructed in the deeds which have made each famous.

Manly games have a great effect on the military spirit, especially if they are arranged so that all ranks generally, and not only selected teams, take part.

Drill is also an important factor, producing that habit of instant obedience which is so essential in war.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 17 March 2016 12:03 AM EDT
Sunday, 14 February 2016

Boxing Useful Training for Bayonet Fighting
Topic: Drill and Training

Boxing Useful Training for Bayonet Fighting

The Toronto World, 24 September 1918

Published articles to the effect that boxing does not give a useful training as a basis for bayonet fighting and that the two have no common relationship have been emphatically denied in a formal statement that has been issued by Dr. Joseph E. Raycroft, head of the athl;etic division of the war department commission on training camp activities, which directs the athletic activities in the military training camps throughout the country. The statement follows:—

"Several more or less uninformed critics have published articles to the effect that boxing does not give useful training as a basis for bayonet fighting. Such criticisms are based upon ignorance of both bayonet fighting and military boxing. The experience of the past year in the training camps shops that boxing has great value as a preparation for bayonet fighting, and in the development of those physical and spiritual qualities that are characteristic of the aggressive fighting man.

"The great majority of our young men who make up the army have had little or no experience in physical contact games that develop self-reliance, courage, quick thinking, and quick decisions under fire. Bayonet training at its best is a drill in which speed, endurance, and skill in handling the weapon are developed, but in the nature of things, there can be no practice contests with the bayonets. Boxing supplies this important contest factor and furnishes a means of training men to keep their heads and to carry out an effective plan of attack, even though they are being punished by their opponents. In this way, qualities needed in the makeup of a bayonet fighter are developed by practice in boxing to an extent and with a rapidity that is impossible in any other plan of training thus far tried.

"The commanding officers of the training camps in this country have almost universally testified to the value of boxing as a part of military training. In many of the principal camps it has been made a regular and definite part of the daily routine.

"The primary object of boxing, as taught in the army, is to make skillful, self-reliant, hard-hitting men, rather than expert boxers. An efficient soldier must not only be trained in the technique of offence and defence, but he must be charged with the proper fighting spirit. Experience in boxing develops that spirit. It develops a willingness and ability to fight at close quarters and to give and take punishment.

"Practice in boxing has an additional value, many of the blows and movements taught the men in boxing class have their close counterparts in bayonet fighting. For example, a left lead to the head is very similar to a long point to the throat; a right hook to the jaw or the body is like the blows with the butt of the rifle. Of course, there are thrusts and parries in bayonet fighting that are different from any lead, block or counter in boxing, but the principle is the same, and the sequence of action, the body balance, and the ability to take advantage of the openings in the opponent's defence developed in boxing are fundamentally important for the bayonet fighter.

"In the final analysis all physical training in the army must have a practical military significance; boxing possesses this significance to an unusual extent, so that particular stress has been laid upon the instruction of all the soldiers, rather than upon the development of a few experts."

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Updated: Sunday, 14 February 2016 12:02 AM EST
Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Syllabus - Canadian Machine Gun Corps
Topic: Drill and Training

General Orders 1920
G.O. 150; King's Regulations and Orders for the Canadian Militia, 1917—Amendments

Syllabus – Canadian Machine Gun Corps

For Lieutenant's Certificate

(a)     Machine Gun training; squad, section and company drill.
(b)     The Vickers Machine Gun.
(c)     Stores and Instruments.
(d)     Elementary tactics and field training.
(e)     Rifle and revolver exercises; guards, ceremonial.
(f)     Care of arms and elementary musketry.
(g)     Topography.
(h)     Discipline and military law.
(i)     Organization, duties and interior economy.
(k)     Equitation, animal management and mounted drill. (For Cavalry Branch only.)
(l)     Care of mechanical transport and motorcycles. (For Motor Branch only.)

In addition, lectures are to be given on the following heads, sufficient to ensure a candidate possessing an intelligent knowledge of each subject:—

  • Automatic rifles.
  • Anti-gas measures.
  • Explosives and grenades.
  • Leadership, morale, Esprit-de-Corps.
  • Trench warfare and machine gun emplacements
  • First Aid, hygiene and sanitation.



(a)     Machine Gun Training, 1919, Part I.
(b)     Handbook for then .303" Vickers Machine Gun.
(c)     The Tactical Employment of Machine Guns, S.S. 192, January 1919.

For Captain's Certificate

Officers entering upon this course must have a thorough knowledge of the work comprised in a Lieutenant's Course:—

(a)     Machine gun training.
(b)     Co-operation with, and sound knowledge of the tactics of, other arms.
(c)     Infantry, Cavalry, or M.T. Drill, according to branch of the Machine Gun Service the officer belongs to.
(d)     Musketry and Machine gun fire.
(e)     Use of Signalling apparatus. Telephony and visual signalling.
(f)     Tactics and field training.
(g)     Topography.
(h)     Military law.
(i)     Organization, administration and equipment.
(k)     Physical Training.


(a)     Machine Gun Training, 1919, Part I.
(b)     Handbook for then .303" Vickers Machine Gun.
(c)     Infantry Training, Chapter II, III, IV, Cavalry Training, Chapter I, Chapter II, Sec. 15-28, Sec 40-49; Chapter III, Chapter IV, Sec. 109-136. (According to branch of the Machine Gun Service the officer belongs to.)
(d)     Training and Manoeuvre Regulations; Field Service Regulations, Parts I and II.

For Field Officer's Certificate

Officers entering upon this course must have a thorough knowledge of the work comprised in Lieutenant's and Captain's Courses:—

(a)     The practical handling of a Machine Gun Company and Brigade in drill and in the Field.
(b)     Co-operation with other arms.
(c)     Organization and administration of a Machine Gun Company and Brigade in billets and in the Field.
(d)     Tactics and Field Training, Disposition of Machine Gun Units and fire Oraganization.
(e)     Machine Gun transport.
(f)     Equitation and horsemastership.

Note:—Details regarding each subject and information concerning courses are published in pamphlet form for general information.

For Sergeant's Certificate

The subjects will be laid down as for the Lieutenant's qualifying course on appointment, but the scope adapted to the knowledge essential for the performance of his duties in camp and the tactical instruction and handling of his unit in the field.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Coaling Ship; a matter of pride
Topic: Drill and Training

Coaling Ship; a matter of pride

1899 – Coaling Battleships; A Matter in Which the British Navy Leads the Whole World

St John Daily Sun, 5 August 1899

H.M.S. Jupiter, Lough Swilly, July 24.—Today that portion of the fleet which arrived here on Saturday, viz., eight battleships and nine cruisers, has been bust coaling. Coaling ship has risen to the dignity of an evolution, and is considered as of much importance as sail drill was in the old days. A record in coaling now arouses as much pride as a record in crossing royal yards did in the time of the sailing ship. And it is not to be wondered at, for not only are coal and steam to the sailors of today what wind and sails were to their forefathers, but the exercise is one of the highest tests of thorough efficiency in a ship. Smart coaling shows a well-drilled ship's company, good comradeship in all ranks, intelligence and readiness of resource, in the officers smartness and alertness, and arouses the strongest esprit de corps.

Speed in coaling has, like almost everything else, and element of luck in it. The collier may be a bad one to work from, as, for instance, the one we have been coaling from today, which has one winch our of gear and the other two rob one another of steam. Of course the Temperley transporter is employed in this fleet, but besides it both ships' and colliers' winches are brought into play. The Temperly is so well known that it is scarcely necessary to describe it, but for the benefit of those unacquainted with this most ingenious device I may state its action. It is hung from the ship's derrick, one end being over the hold of the collier, and the other over the ship's hold. The whip runs the coal to the end of the Temperley, where the clutch is released, slides along the transporter and carries the bags to the other end to the point where they are to be lowered.

The record for coaling is held in this fleet of battleships by the Majestic, which took in no less than 197 tons in one hour, and averaged over 180 tons per hour. She had, of course, a splendid collier, and, moreover, and not to break bulk or sweep. A collier serves, say, three ships. The first will have to break bilk with the collier's cargo, and will perform the work somewhat slowly at first. The second ship will have the pull of both the others, for she will not have to break bulk or sweep. The third ship will have to do the sweeping, for she will have to take out all the coal that is in the collier, and will have to sweep the holds and collect all the coal at the end so as to entirely clean the ship out. And this is the case today with the Jupiter.

An impression prevails ashore that ships' crews get extra pay when involved in coaling. This is not the case. A few ratings, such as lampmen and machine servants, do get one shilling a day is employed coaling, but no others, though there is an allowance of 4s. 6d. per half year to bluejackets and marines to cover damage to clothing. And most decidedly 9s. per annum is a very small allowance for this purpose.

I believe that about 100 tons per hour, or something more, will be the average rate of coaling for the battleships. Apropos of this, the following figures as regards to coaling of the international squadron at Crete during the recent trouble in that island are worth giving. The French took in thirty to forty tons per hour; the Italians twenty tons; the Germans, Austrians and Russians averaged about ten; while to the amazement of our foreign comrades, the British took in their coal at a little over 100 tons per hour—one more proof of the tremendous superiority of the British navy over that of other navies.

elipsis graphic

Apparently, the dreadnought building naval arms race of the early 1900s was not competitive enough. The British and US Navies maintained an international spirit of competition with the pace at which crews transferred coal from lighters into their warships' coal bunkers:

1901 – Records for Coaling Ship — Massachusetts Leads the World with 248 Tons per Hour; Alabama, 222; Kearsarge, 219; and British Ariadne, 203 — Newport, R.I., Aug. 1—The battleship Massachusetts, so the statement is made here by a naval officer, holds the world's record for coaling ship. The British ship Adriane of the English channel squadron held the record till last spring, when the North Atlantic fleet coaled up at Pensacola. The Adriane's record was 203 tons an hour, but the Massachusetts at Pensacola, with flat lighters in use, put in 248 tons. The Kearsarge and the Alabama also beat the Adriane's record at the spring coaling in the South, the former putting in 218 tons an hour and the Alabama 22 tons. It is said these records have never been made public before. (Boston Evening Transcript, 1 Aug 1901)

1906HMS Euryalus, returning from the manoeuvres, made an interesting record in coaling. Twelve hundred and four tons were got into the bunkers in eight and a half hours, as average of 141.6 tons an hour, the best hour giving 165 tons. Seeing that the Euryalus is a training ship, and that the work was done by boys, this is a splendid record. ("Blasts from the Trumpet," The Quebec Saturday Budget, 11 Aug 1906)

1906 – The battleship Victorious, while coaling at Gibraltar, took on board 900 tons at an average speed of 305.4 tons an hour. This establishes a new record in the British Navy. ("Blasts from the Trumpet," Quebec Saturday Budget, 20 Oct 1906)

1906 – The world's record for coaling has been broken by the new cruiser Duke of Edinburgh, which belongs to the Second Cruiser Squadron under the command of Rear-Admiral Prince Louis of Battenburg. She took on 1,420 tons of coal from the lighters at Gibraltar recently at an average rate of 316 tons an hour. ("Blasts from the Trumpet," The Quebec Saturday Budget, 24 Nov 1906)

1907 – Broke Coaling Record — Newport, R.I., Dec. 4—The battleship Vermont of the Atlantic Squadron, which is soon to sail for the Pacific ocean, has won the Navy's record for coaling ships from four barges at the navy coaling station in Narraganset Bay, She averaged 255 tons per hour, against the battleship Virginia's record of 253 tons per hour. (Spokane Daily Chronicle, 4 Dec 1907)

Sadly, in an era when safety standards were certainly not what they would be in a modern military or industrial environment, accidents happened:

1906 – While the officers and men of H.M.S. Queen were trying to create a record in coaling at Cephalonia a bag of coal fell on the head of Lieutenant Gotto, and he died almost instantly. ("Blasts from the Trumpet," Quebec Saturday Budget, 20 Oct 1906)

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Friday, 20 November 2015

Reconnaissance Tips of the Trade
Topic: Drill and Training

Reconnaissance Tips of the Trade

Combat Recon Manual, Republic of Vietnam; 1970
Prepared by Project (B-52) Delta, H.Q. NhaTrang
Detachment B-52; 5th Special Forces Group (Abn), 1st Special Forces

1.     While on a mission, minimize fatigue because tired men become careless.

2.     If you show confidence, your team will have confidence

3.     If the team leader loses his temper it will affect his judgment. Keep cool. Think ahead, always keeping an alternate plan in mind. Don't be afraid to take advice from your team members.

4.     Teamwork, the key to success, only comes through constant practice and training. Realism must be injected into all phases of training such as zeroing of weapons at targets In the jungle, use of live training aids for PW snatch or ambush practice, etc.

5.     Teams that have a good physical training program have fewer health problems.

6.     Make sure that personnel take salt tablets as a preventative measure rather then waiting until collapse is imminent. One tablet in a canteen of water is a good way to take salt, especially on very hot and humid days. Only take extra salt when plenty of water is available.

7.     If your mission calls for emplacing a mine in a road ensure that an extra fuse is taken along just in case one is lost.

8.     All personnel should wear loose fitting and untailored clothing on field operations. Tight fitting clothing often tears or rips allowing easy access to exposed parts of the body for mosquitoes or leeches.

9.     Each team leader should have a pre-mission and post-mission checklist to ensure that nothing is left behind.

10.     Use tact when reprimanding your personnel, especially indigenous team members. If possible, take the men aside to criticize him. This enables him to reason positively to the criticism since he will not feel ridiculed and lose self confidence.

11.     Do not hang clothing or bandanas on green bamboo if you plan on wearing it afterwards. The fuzz on the bamboo is just like Itching powder.

12.     Conduct English classes for your Indigenous personnel, especially interpreters. Conduct classes for your U.S. Personnel on your indigenous team member's dialect.

13.     Pre-set frequencies on the PRC-25 so that a quick turn of the dials will put you on the desired frequency. This is especially helpful at night when you want to avoid a light.

14.     Carry CS powder in plastic insect repellent or lube oil bottles. It is difficult to put CS powder in them but it is definitely worth the effort. Sprinkle CS powder in and on empty "C" ration cans and food containers. This will prevent animals from digging them up once you have buried them.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Thursday, 12 November 2015

Stand Up and March
Topic: Drill and Training

Stand Up and March

'Worthy'; A Biography of Major-General F.F. Worthington, C.B., M.C., M.M., Larry Worthington, 1961

A small-scale manoeuvre took place at Bramshott in which the Battalion attacked machine-gun positions, each represented by a drummer hidden in a clump of bushes. Worthy, an acting lance-corporal, was in charge of a few men and approached the objective—capturing the machine-gun post—in what to him was a perfectly logical manner. Taking advantage of cover, he and his men stalked the drummer, creeping up from behind and capturing him, thus putting the "gun" out of action.

They were the only ones to make any headway. All the rest of the Battalion were declared casualties once within range of the drums. But with Worthy's coup, the exercise on that immediate front came to an abrupt halt and the lance-corporal, feeling pretty proud of himself, prepared for what he considered justifiable commendation as he saw a mounted staff officer galloping towards them. But the officer came, not to praise, but to blast.

"Who's in charge here?" he roared

"I am, sir," said Worthy.

"You are, eh! Well, you're a disgrace to your regiment. What do you think you're doing? No British soldier crawls into battle on his belly! There's only one way to go after an enemy post. Stand up and march briskly forward!"

In the years that followed Worthy saw many brave men do just that.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Friday, 6 November 2015

Developing the Soldierly Spirit
Topic: Drill and Training

Developing the Soldierly Spirit

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

The objects in view in developing a soldierly spirit are to help the soldier:—

  • to bear fatigue, privation, and danger cheerfully;
  • to imbue him with a sense of honour;
  • to give him confidence in his superiors and comrades;
  • to increase his powers of initiative, of self-confidence, and of self-restraint;
  • to train him to obey orders, or
  • to act in the absence of orders for the advantage of his regiment under all conditions;
  • to produce such a high degree of courage and disregard of self, that in the stress of battle he will use his brains and his weapons coolly and to the best advantage is to impress upon him that, so long as he is physically capable of fighting, surrender to the enemy is a disgraceful act; and finally,
  • to teach him how to act in combination with his comrades in order to defeat the enemy.

As soon as the recruit joins he should be brought under influences which will tend to produce and increase such a spirit, and it is the duty of all officers and non-commissioned officers to assist in the attainment of this object by their conversation and example.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Thursday, 22 October 2015

Load Bearing Equipment Tips, Vietnam, 1970
Topic: Drill and Training

Load Bearing Equipment Tips

Combat Recon Manual, Republic of Vietnam; 1970
Prepared by Project (B-52) Delta, H.Q. NhaTrang
Detachment B-52; 5th Special Forces Group (Abn), 1st Special Forces

1.     Be sure that all snaps and buckles are taped. Do not use paper tape.

2.     Place triangular bandages (in original containers) in the ammo pouches. This makes it easier to remove magazines, and increases the first-aid capability of your unit.

3.     Cut the front corners of ammo pouches 1/2"-3/4" to make it easier to remove magazines during the rainy season. Also have 2 magazines with pull-tabs in each pouch. If they are available, use canteen covers to carry magazines rather than ammo pouches. They hold more magazines, are easier to open and you won't need so many pouches hanging from your web gear.

4.     Tie a string or lanyard between M-79 and web belt so you won't lose it when firing the M16.

5.     Keep your URC-10 secured to your harness during use. If lost with the beeper on, it will negate oil other signals on that frequency until the battery runs down.

6.     Always carry some type of knife on patrol.

7.     Snap links should be secured around the shoulder harness. NOT on the cloth loops.

8.     For survival, each individual should carry. in a first aid pouch on the harness one tube of bouillon cubes, one tube of salt tablets and one bottle of water purification tablets. One bullion tube in one canteen of water, when dissolved will give energy for one or two days.

9.     All team members should carry a mixture of fragmentation, CS and WP grenades on their belts for the following reasons:

a.     Fragmentation grenades are good for inflicting casualties.

b.     CS grenades are ideal for stopping or slowing down enemy troops pursuing your team. In addition they will stop dogs from pursuing you in wet weather when CS powder will dissipate due to wetness.

c.     WP grenades have a great psychological effect against enemy troops and can be used for the same purpose as CS Grenades. The use of CS and WP at the some time will more than double their effectiveness.

10.     Smoke grenades should be carried in or on the pack and not on the web gear or harness You don't fight with smoke grenades and if you need one, 99 times out of 100, you will have time to get it from your pack.

11.     Fold paper tape through the rings of grenades and tape the ring to the body of the grenade. The paper tape will tear for fast use, where plastic or cloth tape will not. Also it keeps the ring open for your finger, stops noise and prevents snagging.

12.     12. Camouflage grenades using black or OD spray paint.

13.     Do not bend the pins on the grenades flat. The rings are too hard to pull when needed.

14.     Make continuous daily checks on all grenades when on patrol, to ensure that the primer is not coming unscrewed.

15.     Each team should carry one thermite grenade for destruction of equipment, either friendly or enemy.

16.     Do not carry grenades on the upper portion of your harness because the enemy will shoot at them trying to inflict several casualties with one shot.

17.     Sew a long slim pocket on the side of your rucksack to accommodate the long antenna.

18.     Ensure that the snap link on your rucksack is snapped through the loop in the upper portion of your rucksack's carrying straps so that you won't lose it during extraction if you have to snap it on a ladder or McGuire Rig.

19.     Insect repellent leaks and spills easily, therefore, isolate it from your other equipment in the rucksack. Also squeeze air from repellent container and screw on cap firmly.

20.     An indigenous poncho and / or a ground sheet along with a jungle sweater and a rain jacket are sufficient for sleeping.

21.     A claymore bag, sewn onto the top flop of the rucksack is extremely useful to carry binoculars, extra handsets, camera or URC-10, prepared or any other special equipment. This gives easy access to those items while on patrol or when you have to ditch the rucksack.

22.     Keep smoke grenades on rucksack between pockets.

23.     Always use the water from canteens in or on your rucksack before using water in the canteens on your belt. This will ensure a supply of water should you lose your rucksack.

24.     Test straps on the rucksack before packing for each patrol. Always carry some parachute cord or repair strap on patrol.

The Senior Subaltern

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

Recon Patrol Tips, Vietnam, 1970
Topic: Drill and Training

Recon Patrol Tips

Combat Recon Manual, Republic of Vietnam; 1970
Prepared by Project (B-52) Delta, H.Q. NhaTrang
Detachment B-52; 5th Special Forces Group (Abn), 1st Special Forces

1.     When making VRs always mark every LZ within your AO and near it, on your map. Plan the route of march so that you will always know how far and on what azimuth the nearest LZ is located.

2.     Don't cut off too much of the map showing your recon zone (RZ). Always designate at least 5-10 kilometers surrounding your RZ as running room.

3.     Base the number of canteens per man upon the weather end availability of water in the AO. Select water points when planning your route of march.

4.     Check all team members' pockets prior to departing home base for passes, ID cards, lighters with insignias, rings with insignias, etc. Personnel should only carry dog tags while on patrol.

5.     If the team uses a grenadier armed with rifle grenades, hare him place a crimped cartridge as the first round in each magazine carried. After firing the grenade, he can use the rifle normally. When the magazine is empty and a new one inserted the grenadier can then quickly fire another grenade.

6.     Always carry maps and notebooks in waterproof containers.

7.     Use a pencil to make notes during an operation. Ink smears when it becomes wet whereas lead does not.

8.     Inspect each team member's uniform and equipment, especially radios and strobe lights prior to departure on a mission

9.     If you use the Hanson Rig, adjust your harness and webbing before leaving on patrol.

10.     During the rainy season take extra cough medicine and codeine on patrol.

11.     The location and proper use of morphine should be known by all team members.

12.     All survival equipment should be tied or secured to the uniform or harness to prevent loss if pockets become torn, etc.

13.     Each US or key team member should carry maps, notebooks, and SOI in the same pocket of each uniform, for hasty removal by other team members if one becomes a casualty.

14.     Take paper matches to the field in waterproof container. DO not take cigarette lighters as they make too much noise when opening and closing.

15.     Tie panel and mirror to pocket flap to prevent losing.

16.     Always carry rifle cleaning equipment on operations, i.e., brush, oil and at least one cleaning rod.

17.     Each team should have designated primary and alternate rally points at all times. The team leader is responsible for ensuring that each team member knows the azimuth and approximate distance to each rally point / LZ.

18.     Never take pictures of team members while on patrol. If the enemy captures the camera, they will have gained invaluable intelligence.

19.     At least two penlights should be taken by each team.

20.     While on patrol, move 20 minutes and halt and listen for 10 minutes. Listen half the amount of time you move. Move and halt at irregular intervals.

21.     Stay alert at all times. You ore never 100% safe until you are back home.

22.     Never break limbs or branches on trees, bushes, or palms, or you will leave a very clear trail for the enemy to follow.

23.     Put insect / leech repellent around tops of boots, on pants fly, belt, and cuffs to stop leeches and insects.

24.     Do most of your moving during the morning hours to conserve water, however never be afraid to move at night, especially if you think your RON has been discovered.

25.     Continually check your point man to ensure that he is on the correct azimuth. Do not run a compass course on patrol, change direction regularly.

26.     If followed by trackers, change direction of movement often and attempt to evade or ambush your trackers, they make good Pws.

27.     Do not ask for a "fix" from FAC unless absolutely necessary. This will aid in the prevention of compromise.

28.     Force yourself to cough whenever a high performance aircraft posses over. It will clear your throat, ease tension and cannot be heard. If you must cough, cough in your hat or neckerchief to smother the noise.

29.     Never take your web gear off, day or night. In an area where it is necessary to put the jungle sweater on at night, no more than two patrol members at a time should do so. Take the sweaters off the next morning to prevent cold and overheating.

30.     If you change socks, especially in the rainy season, try to wait until RON and have no more than two patrol members change socks at one time. Never take off both boots at the same time.

31.     When a team member starts to come down with immersion foot, stop In a secure position, remove injured persons boot, dry off his feet, put foot powder on his feet and place a ground sheet or poncho over his feet so that they can dry out, Continued walking will make matters worse, ensuring that the man will become a casualty, thereby halting the further progress of the team.

32.     Desenex or Vaseline rubbed on the feet during the rainy season or in wet weather will aid in the prevention of immersion foot. It will also help avoid chapping if put on the hands.

33.     Gloves will protect hands from thorns and aid in holding a weapon when it heats up from firing.

34.     Place a plastic cover on your PRC-25 to keep it dry in the rainy season.

35.     When using a wiretap device, never place the batteries in the set until needed. If the batteries are carried in the device they will lose power even though the switches are in the off position.

36.     If batteries go dead or weak do not throw them away while on patrol. Small batteries can be recharged by placing them in armpits or between the legs of the body. A larger battery can gain added life by sleeping with the battery next to the body. Additional life can also be gained by placing batteries in the sun.

37.     If possible, carry an extra hand set for the PRC-25 and ensure that it is wrapped in a waterproof container.

38.     Always carry a spare PRC-25 battery, but do not remove the spare from its plastic container prior to use or it may lose power.

39.     Do not send "same" or "no charge" when reporting team location. Always send your coordinates. Keep radio traffic at a minimum.

40.     Avoid over confidence, it leads to carelessness. Just because you have seen no sign of the enemy for 3 or 4 days does not mean that he isn't there or hasn't seen you.

41.     A large percentage of patrols have been compromised due to poor noise discipline.

42.     Correct all team and / or individual errors as they occur or happen.

43.     All personnel should camouflage faces and bocks of hands in the morning, at noon and at RON or ambush positions.

44.     Never cook or build heating fires on patrol. No more than two persons should eat chow at any one time. The rest of the team should be on security.

45.     When team stops, always check out to 40-60 meters from the perimeter.

46.     All team members should take notes while on an operation and compare them nightly. Each man should keep a list of tips and lessons learned and add to them after each operation.

47.     Each man on a team must continually observe the man in front of him and the men behind him, in addition to watching for other team members' arm and hand signals.

48.     A recon team should never place more than one mine. AP, or AT, in one small section of o road or trail at a time. If more than one is set out the team is just resupplying the enemy, because when a mine goes off, a search will be made of the immediate area for others and they will surely be found.

49.     During the dry season, do not urinate on rocks or leaves but rather in a hole or small crevice. The wet spot may be seen, and the odor will carry further.

50.     When carrying the M79 on patrol, use a retainer band around the stock to hold the safety on safe while moving.

51.     When crossing streams, observe first for activity, then send a point man across to check the area. Then cross the rest of the patrol, with each taking water as he crosses. If in a danger area, have all personnel cross prior to getting water. Treat all trails (old and new), streams, and open areas as danger areas.

52.     Carry one extra pair of socks, plus foot powder, on patrol, especially during the rainy season. In addition, each team member should carry a large sized pair of socks to place over his boots when walking or crossing a trail or stream.

53.     During rest halts don't take your pack off or leave your weapon alone. During long breaks, such as for noon chow, don't take your pack off until your perimeter has been checked for at least 40 to 60 meters out for 360 degrees. During breaks throw nothing on the ground. Either put trash in your pocket or spray it with CS powder and bury it.

54.     In most areas, the enemy will send patrols along roads and major trails between the hours of 0700-1000 and from 1500- 1900. Since most of the enemy's vehicular movement is at night, a team that has a road watch mission should stay no less than 200 meters from the rood during the day and move up to the road just prior to last light. When the enemy makes a security sweep along a road, usually twice a week, he normally does not check further than 200 meters to each flank.

55.     If you hear people speaking, move close enough to hear what they are saying. The reason is obvious. The VN team leader should make notes.

56.     While on patrol, don't take the obvious course of action and don't set a pattern in your activities, such as, always turning to the left when "button hooking to ambush your own back trail.

57.     A dead enemy's shirt and contents in pockets, plus pock, if he has one, are normally more valuable than his weapon.

58.     If the enemy is pursuing you, you should deploy delay grenades and/or delay claymores of 60-I20 seconds. In addition, throw CS grenades to your rear and flanks. Give he enemy a reason and or excuse to quit.

59.     Do not fire weapons or use claymores or grenades if the enemy is searching for you at night. Use CS grenades instead. This will cause him to panic and will not give your position away, you can move out In relative safety while they may end up shooting each other. If claymores become necessary, use time delayed claymores or time delayed WP.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Sunday, 4 October 2015

Reduced Drill During War
Topic: Drill and Training

Reduced Drill During War

The Glasgow Herald, 1 April 1942

Complicated drill movements preformed with grace and precision are a delight to the eye of the onlooker at ceremonial parades. They may also inspire pride in the performer. Beyond that, however, their usefulness does not extend very far, and there will therefore be widespread approval of the decision that certain Army drill movements are to disappear for the duration of the war. Some movements must, of course, be retained. They are an essential part of any recruit's training. They accustom him to the handling of weapons, to obey orders instinctively, and to maintain his physical standards. They also encourage the growth of team spirit. But drill movements, especially those of a ceremonial character, are of negligible value in training a soldier to fight in jungles, in deserts, or in the streets and houses of shattered towns. A bayonet charge will be no less effective or demoralizing to the enemy if the attackers fail to carry their rifles at the "high port."

It is perhaps not sufficiently realized that many of the modern drill movements were evolved from old-time battle formations, which bore no more relation to present-day battle formations than the firepower of Wellington's regiments bore to the firepower of a tank regiment today. Yet the old formations have been retained on the barrack-square long after the mode of fighting that produced them has disappeared. Today we cannot afford to waste time over pattern-making by numbers. Without sacrificing discipline or the other virtues of drill movements, these must give way to the kind of special training which is needed to wage modern war.

The effect on the Army of the new order will be stimulating. It will be equally encouraged to the Home Guard, many of whom have felt a sense of frustration through their eagerness being side-tracked in dull drill. It is a welcome sign of grace, however belated, that the Army Council should have instituted the change; it is no less encouraging that, having made their decision, they should give it full publicity.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Saturday, 26 September 2015

Vietnam; Combat Tips (1967)
Topic: Drill and Training

Lessons Learned, Vietnam; Combat Tips (1967)

FMFRP 12-41; Professional Knowledge Gained from Operational Experience in Vietnam, 1967, U.S. Marine Corps, 1989

  • Ensure separation of communication capabilities so the probability of incoming rounds destroying all communications is reduced to a minimum.
  • The second in command at all echelons should be prepared to assume command under most adverse conditions; he should be positioned so the odds of his becoming a casualty day or night at the same time as the commander are minimized.
  • Be continuously alert to enemy tactics of trying to separate a unit, a point or a rear element from the main force or body.
  • Rehearse every, repeat every, combat patrol or contemplated offensive whenever possible.
  • Provide every patrol with the capability of calling in supporting fire.
  • If taken under mortar or artillery fire, prepare to return fire within 30 seconds. This capability requires at a minimum:
    • Mortar positions that can be occupied while under fire.
    • All personnel being capable of determining direction from which mortars are being fired (crater analysis) and a reporting procedure for passing on such information immediately.
  • Platoon commanders and company commanders should always be in a position to control and maneuver all of their units and supporting arms. For example, a platoon commander who acts as squad leader or a point, is not a platoon commander.
  • When halted for any period of time, dig in, improve holes, and cut into the sides of holes so VT can be called in on the position if such action becomes necessary.
  • When a Marine hits the deck, he should immediately roll to either the left or right to confuse the enemy as to his exact position.
  • When a unit halts at night, a change of position should be made during first hours of darkness.
  • When patrol bases are employed, prepare alternate positions. Avoid staying in one position more than one night.
  • Never occupy old positions (friendly or enemy).
  • Emphasize to Marines that stopping to render first aid while in the attack will only result in more casualties through loss of firepower and momentum.
  • No area, regardless of past activities, can be considered safe from possible enemy attack.
  • Communications have always been a lucrative source of intelligence. No matter what method of communication is used, except runners, we must assume that the enemy is listening. Don't shackle known enemy locations. Don't disclose frequencies and call signs. Don't discuss/disclose friendly locations and scheme of maneuver. Conduct comprehensive communications security training especially at the company level.
  • Learn all you can about the customs of the people.
  • Never sacrifice security for speed.
  • Practice fire discipline—shoot accurately and follow fire commands quickly. Fire at suspected enemy positions but don't squander your ammunition.
  • Listen to suggestions from others and adopt them if they are sound.
  • Use frag orders when the situation permits.
  • Don't overwhelm men with the "Big Picture."
  • Keep abreast of the tactical situation and keep your men informed.
  • Set the example.
  • Protect ammunition from deterioration. Use radio battery plastic covers and fuze cans for this purpose.
  • Move through jungle in multiple columns with all-around security using connecting files.
  • Move on concealed routes whenever possible.
  • Practice use of the compass, pacing and terrain orientation on all movements.
  • Use arm and hand or any other silent signals whenever possible.
  • Practice fire discipline.
  • Keep weapons immediately available for use. Maintain contact with the enemy once it is gained.
  • Test fire weapons before each operation.
  • Consider combat efficiency over personal comfort.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Monday, 21 September 2015

G.O.C. Inspection
Topic: Drill and Training

G.O.C. Inspection

'Worthy'; A Biography of Major-General F.F. Worthington, C.B., M.C., M.M., Larry Worthington, 1961

The G.O.C.'s first inspection included the motor transport repair depots, and it was no cursory glance at immobile vehicles. Red tabs and all, Worthy wriggled under the machines to check their over-all condition, and the transport officer must needs crawl after him. On the first occasion the officer tried to avoid it by bending double and peering respectfully at his general below.

"Get under this damn thing, Major!" said the G.O.C. irascibly. "How in hell can I show you from there!"

So the major had to crawl under and lie on his back too while the General indicated the trouble spots where daily neglect took its toll. It was possibly the first time that officer had ever inspected an army vehicle from that angle, but certainly not the last. The impact on the men was terrific and they loved it. It made the G.O.C. human and efficient, for there is nothing a soldier likes better than to be led by a man who knows and appreciates the men's jobs.

Worthy on inspection was something to see, but those in the happy position of observers were the only ones to fully appreciate it.

Proceeding down the line, head thrust forward, a piercing and discerning eye taking in every detail, he would stop at every third or fourth man. He might ask the man's name, his home town, his employment before enlisting, or say, "Do you like your job?" or more embarrassing still, "Do you think you're well turned out?" Again, he might order a rifle into the "inspect arms" position and pull down the muzzle to check it, or have a man remove and unpack his kit. Men often used wire frames inside their packs to square them up, greatly simplifying kit-packing, but after one or two inspections there was a marked decline in wire frames and an increase in properly packed kits.

The inspection of the rear of the file was even more nerveracking for they couldn't see what was going on. A soldier was more than likely to be told to bend his knee and raise a boot sole for inspection. Invariably the boots of the chosen soldier were in need of repair. It happened so often that rumours of X-ray eyes circulated, but Worthy had a secret formula for spotting worn soles and his ability to pick the equipment that was in poor condition amounted to genius.

Nor were the officers spared. One dental officer, ordered to draw his pistol and point it at the eye of his Commander, trembled so that his field of fire could have killed a platoon.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Friday, 28 August 2015

Training of Infantry, 1918
Topic: Drill and Training

The Infantry

Fundamental Principles and General Directions Governing the Training of Infantry.

Training Circular No. 5, Infantry Training; [US] Army War College, August, 1918.

10. (a)     Discipline. Modern war as now carried on in Europe, requires of infantry the greatest discipline obtainable. The failure of men to carry out their orders implicitly in an attack means unnecessary heavy losses, if not absolute failure. It is found that only thoroughly disciplined troops can carry out a modern attack where every step must be taken in accordance with: a careful schedule. The first great step then in fitting infantry troops for service abroad is to inculcate this spirit of discipline.

This can be done:

(1)     By every officer setting a proper example for those below him in rank of promptly and cheerfully obeying orders and regulations, by a careful and exact performance of every duty and by exacting the same of all subordinates.

(2)     Dress and military courtesies: If men are allowed to be sloppy and untidy in dress, slipshod and careless about rendering courtesies, the military spirit is lost and the command remains undisciplined.

(3)     Precision and snap in drill: This must be insisted on. Movements must be executed exactly as prescribed. For example, in executing right front into line from column of squads, it must be insisted that the corporal so conduct his squad that it comes exactly to its place without closing in after halting; that the command halt is given as a foot strikes the ground; that pieces all come down together, etc. All other movements must be executed with the same precision,.

Never allow a movement to drag; "snap" is necessary; increase rather than decrease the cadence. Most close order drill is for disciplinary purposes. If done with precision and snap the object is attained; if not, the more you have of it the worse the command. Men become confirmed in doing things only approximately as told.

(4)     Leaders must know their work. There must be no hesitation, commands must be given correctly and with snap. Leaders must treat all subordinates with courtesy, correct reasonable mistakes without harshness, give clear and reasonable explanations, show men how. When men fail through persistent carelessness, inattention or willfulness, then use as drastic measures as necessary. Leaders must insist that all subordinates do their work properly, but they must set the example themselves.

(5)     Cultivate esprit de corps, pride in the organization, and in the subdivisions even to the smallest. Competitive contests between smaller units are of great advantage.

(b)     The ultimate object of all instruction being field service efficiency, field maneuvers and field firing should be considered as the culmination of previous training and the test of its thor­oughness.

(c)     The efficiency of the squad, including its leader, is the basis of efficiency and this efficiency in turn depends on the thoroughness of the training of individual members of this unit.

(d)     The efficiency of every command depends on the effi­ciency of the units or teams composing it. As each team in a large command must be under the direct control of its immediate chief, it is evident that such chief should have all possible charge of the instruction of his team. (Footnoted — 1 Officers must, however, because of the inexperience of the great majority attention to individual of the noncommissioned officers, give personal instruction and to that of the squad and platoon, in order that the train­ing may proceed along right lines and due progress be made.) Authority and responsi­bility should exist in equal degree. From such a system there should result not only suitable instruction of the, team, but also comradeship among the individual members, pride in the team as a unit and that confidence and habit of command on the part of the leader so necessary to efficient leadership.

(e)     Drill movements are of two general classes—first, drills of precision and, second, maneuver and combat exercises.

The precise movements of the manual of arms and close-order, drillare not for the purpose of teaching men how to get about on the battle field. They will hardly be used there at all. One of the principal objects is to train the soldiers' minds and bodies to habits of precise, unhesitating obedience to the will of the leader, so that in the stress of battle they will obey without con­scious effort, mechanically, automatically, as the easiest and most natural line of action.

Maneuver and combat exercises are intended for instruction in the proper handling of troops in campaign and on the battle field. There should be rigid adherence to orders and instructions. It is hardly possible properly to conduct a drill or exercise without special forethought and preparation for that particular drillor exercise. After each drill or exercise the specific work for the next one should be announced, so that leaders may have time to prepare themselves.

The drill or exercise should be made interesting, not only by variety, which is necessary in order not to exhaust the soldier's attention by straining it too long on ofie subject, but also by comments on the part of leaders, continued throughout the drill and directed toward those elements whose performance is un­usually good or bad.

(f)     There must be a definite and progressive plan and schedule of instruction. Every course of instruction should embrace certain definitely prescribed subjects and be for a definite period in order to unify instruction, prevent unnecessary repetition and use the available time to the best advantage. On the completion of the prescribed course of theoretical instruction all study should not cease, but sufficient post-graduate work should follow to broaden the student's professional horizon and keep him in touch. with new methods and ideas.

(g)     Officers and non-commissioned officers of each grade should be competent to take up the duties of the next higher grade. Military efficiency can only be attained through competent and instructed officers arid non-commissioned officers.

(h)     Lectures are valuable aids in military training. Those to enlisted men should be about one-half hour long; to officers they may be longer. The number of lectures on any particular subject will depend upon its nature. They should be delivered by those specially qualified on the particular subjects. The lecture meetings should be as informal as is consistent with discipline,' questions and discussions should be arranged. The appropriate use of maps, diagrams and illustrations, including moving pictures, is advantageous.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Monday, 3 August 2015

Assault Training (1917)
Topic: Drill and Training

Assault Training (1917)


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

Principles of Training

1.     Concentration.

To teach the soldier to apply on the battle field the lessons he has learned on the training ground is the essence and aim of all training.

It is by continued concentration only that any form of train­ ing can be so impressed as to become second nature.

If such training has been adequate, the soldier in moments of excitement and tension will automatically apply what he has learned.

2.     Vitality.

Vitality of mind and body is essential to prevent staleness and monotony. Without vitality training is of little value.

All work should be done in short, sharp bursts and be as intense as possible.

3.     The Offensive Spirit.

Every form of battle training must be founded on the offensive spirit.

The chief duty and thought of all should be to kill as many of the enemy as possible, and during periods of training the aggressive spirit and the desire to kill should be impressed on all ranks.

No pains should be spared by instructors to cultivate this spirit and to emphasize its importance in a vivid manner.

All training devices, such as dummy figures or targets for bullets, bomb, or bayonet, should be regarded as representing a real enemy whom it is the soldier's duty to kill in as expeditious a manner as possible with the weapon most suited to the purpose.

4.     Bullet and Bayonet.

The bullet and the bayonet belong to the same parent, the rifle, which is still the deciding factor on the battle field. One must work with the other.

It is the spirit of the bayonet that captures the position, and of the bullet that holds it.

The bullet also shatters the counter attack and kills outside bayonet distance.

Bayonet training and musketry training are therefore comple­mentary to one another and must be taught as one subject.

The bomb is valuable for clearing small lengths of trench and for close fighting after a trench has been stormed. It is, however, a weapon quite secondary to the rifle and the bayonet.

5.     Fire and Movement.

Fire and movement are inseparable in the attack. Ground is gained by a body of troops advancing while supported by the fire of another body of troops.

This principle of fire and movement should be known to all ranks, and the one object of every advance, namely, to close with the enemy, shoujd be emphasized on all occasions.

6.     Assault Training.

Assault training may be divided into three stages:

First stage.— The training of the individual soldier in the combination of rifle fire and bayonet work-in the assault and countercharge.

Second stage.— The training of the individual soldier in bullet, bayonet, and bomb with the idea of teaching him to use the weapon appropriate to the situation in which he may find him self.

Third stage.— The collective training of the platoon or company in the employment of all infantry weapons by means of a tactical exercise.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, 3 August 2015 12:08 AM EDT
Sunday, 7 June 2015

Qualities of Good British Infantry
Topic: Drill and Training

Qualities of Good British Infantry

Colonel Mark Kingsley Wardle, DSO, MC, Leics. Regt.

  • Commissioned as a 2nd Lieut, Leics. Regt. 13 Oct 1909
  • Served in France and Belgium from 25 Sep to 5 Nov 1914, 7 Mar to 12 May 1915, and 4 Nov 1915 to 27 Apr 1918.
  • Distinguished Service Order, gazetted 26 July 1918: "For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. By a daring reconnaissance during a withdrawal he located the exact extent of a gap between our troops, and ascertained the position, strength and movement of the enemy. His report was of the utmost value to the brigade commander and to the Higher Command. All through the operations he displayed great courage and enthusiasm."
  • Wounded three times during the Great War
  • Mentioned in Despatches, gazetted 20 Dec 1918
  • Lieut. Col., Leics. Regt. on 8 May 1937
  • Honourary Colonel, 10 Jun 1945.

A Defence of Close-Order Drill; A Reply to "Modern Infantry Discipline" by Major M.K. Wardle, D.S.O., M.C., The Leicestershire Regiment
Journal of the Royal United Service Institution, Vol. LXXIX, February to November, 1934

In the training of troops for warm it is essential in the first place to be clear about the sort of man it is desired to produce. In the British infantry the emphasis necessarily falls more heavily on certain points than in other arms and armies; but I do not believe that the qualities that are the groundwork of good British infantry in 1934 are any other than they were in 1334, or 1734, or 1834. They are, and sure always have been:—

(1)     Physical fitness, that will make it possible for the man to answer the demands made upon him;

(2)     Steadfastness, that will enable him to endure fatigue, hunger, cold, heat, hardships and deprivations of all kinds, and fear, to the end;

(3)     Confidence in his leader's character and military efficiency, so that he will be immune from the insidious inroads of distrust and misinformed criticism;

(4)     Pride in the efficiency of his platoon, company, battalion, and in the certainty that they will do their duty under all possible circumstances, and in the knowledge that they have done so in the past;

(5)     Obedience, by which he embraces the intention of his leader as his own objective, to be attained by the exercise of every faculty, of courage, knowledge, or initiative, that he possesses in co-operation with the rest of his sub-unit;

(6)     A sense of solidarity with his leaders and comrades, by which it becomes impossible for him to fail them, as it is inconceivable that they should fail him.

These are the military virtues of the British infantryman.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Standing Orders, Rogers' Rangers
Topic: Drill and Training

Standing Orders, Rogers' Rangers
Major Robert Rogers, 1759

Ranger Handbook, Ranger Training Brigade, United States Army Infantry School, Fort Benning, Georgia, February 2011

1.     Don't forget nothing.

2.     Have your musket clean as a whistle, hatchet scoured, sixty rounds powder and ball, and be ready to march at a minute's warning.

3.     When you're on the march, act the way you would if you was sneaking up on a deer. See the enemy first.

4.     Tell the truth about what you see and what you do. There is an army depending on us for correct information. You can lie all you please when you tell other folks about the Rangers, but don't never lie to a Ranger or officer.

5.     Don't never take a chance you don't have to.

6.     When we're on the march we march single file, far enough apart so one shot can't go through two men.

7.     If we strike swamps, or soft ground, we spread out abreast, so it's hard to track us.

8.     When we march, we keep moving till dark, so as to give the enemy the least possible chance at us.

9.     When we camp, half the party stays awake while the other half sleeps.

10.     If we take prisoners, we keep' em separate till we have had time to examine them, so they can't cook up a story between' em.

11.     Don't ever march home the same way. Take a different route so you won't be ambushed.

12.     No matter whether we travel in big parties or little ones, each party has to keep a scout 20 yards ahead, 20 yards on each flank, and 20 yards in the rear so the main body can't be surprised and wiped out.

13.     Every night you'll be told where to meet if surrounded by a superior force.

14.     Don't sit down to eat without posting sentries.

15.     Don't sleep beyond dawn. Dawn's when the French and Indians attack.

16.     Don't cross a river by a regular ford.

17.     If somebody's trailing you, make a circle, come back onto your own tracks, and ambush the folks that aim to ambush you.

18.     Don't stand up when the enemy's coming against you. Kneel down, lie down, hide behind a tree.

19.     Let the enemy come till he's almost close enough to touch, then let him have it and jump out and finish him up with your hatchet.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT

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