The Minute Book
Thursday, 15 June 2017

Execution by Musketry (US Army, 1944)
Topic: Discipline

Execution by Musketry (US Army, 1944)

Not more than four nor less than one will be loaded with blank ammunition.

Procedure for Military Executions, [US] War Department Pamphlet No. 27-4, 18 June 1944

Officer Charged with Execution

The officer charged with the execution will command the escortand make the necessary arrangements for the conduct of the execution. He will—

a.     Instruct the escort and the execution party in their duties.

b.     Arrange for the receipt of the prisoner by the prisoner guard.

c.     Arrange for an execution party of twelve men and one sergeant.

d.     Arrange for a chaplain to accompany the prisoner.

e.     Arrange for the presence of a medical officer at the scene of the execution.

f .     Cause a post with proper rings placed therein for securing the prisoner in an upright position to be erected at the place of execution.

g.     Cause twelve rifles to be loaded in his presence. Not more than four nor less than one will be loaded with blank ammunition. He will place the rifles at random in the rack provided for that purpose.

h.     Provide a black hood to cover the head of the prisoner.

i.     Provide a 4-inch, round, white target.

j.     Cause the prisoner's arms to be secured behind his back, before or immediately after his receipt by the prisoner guard.

k.     Arrange for an ambulance or other conveyance with sufficient personnel to be in attendance upon the execution to receive and care for the body. In the event a contract undertaker is used bv the quartermaster, his services may be substituted. See AR 30-1820.

Assembly of Escort

a.     The band will be formed in accordance with section V, FM 28-5, will proceed to the exterior door of the place of imprisonment at which the prisoner is to be received by the prisoner guard, and halt near the door, facing in the direction of the scene of the execution. The presence of the band is optional at executions where the presence of troops is not required.

b.     The prisoner guard will consist of twelve men armed with rifles, under the command of a sergeant armed with a pistol. The prisoner guard will form in double ranks and at the proper time will proceed to the place of imprisonment to receive the prisoner.

c.     The main guard will consist of one or more platoons and will form in the rear of the band.

d.     The execution party will be formed unarmed and proceed to a previously prepared rack of rifles, secure arms, and move to the scene of the execution, halting 15 paces from and facing the position to be taken by the prisoner. At close interval, and at order arms, the party will await the arrival of the prisoner and escort.

e.     At the designated time the prisoner, with his arms bound securely behind his back, accompanied by the chaplain, will be received by the prisoner guard and placed between the ranks. The escort will then proceed toward the scene of the execution, the band playing the "Dead March."

f.     The escort will approach the scene of the execution on line with the open side of the rectangle formed by the witnessing troops. The band will move past the point at which the prisoner is to be placed, and will take position on the opposite side of the rectangle, facing the scene of the execution. The prisoner guard, prisoner, and chaplain will proceed directly to the prisoner's post, halt, and face the execution party. The main guard will proceed to a point 5 paces behind the execution party and form a line facing the scene of execution.


a.     The officer charged with the execution will take position in front of the execution party and face the prisoner. He will then read the charge, finding, sentence, and orders aloud to the prisoner. He will then notify the prisoner and the chaplain that a brief time will be allowed the prisoner for any last statement. After a reasonable time, he will order the sergeant of the execution party to secure the prisoner to the post and to place the hood over his head. Then the medical officer will place the target over the prisoner's heart. The prlsoner prepared, the officer charged with the execution will order the prisoner guard to join the main guard; the chaplain and medical officer will retire to the flank taken by the band. The oficer charged with the execution will take position 5 paces to the right of and 5 paces to the front of the execution party.

b.     Commands for the execution may be given by a combination of manual and oral signals as prescribed.

(1)     When the officer charged with the execution raises the right arm vertically overhead, palm forward, fingers extended and joined, the execution party will come to the "Ready" position as prescribed for firing a volley, and will unlock rifles.

(2)     When the officer charged with the execution lowers his arm to a horizontal position in front of his body, the execution party will take the position of "Aim."

(3)     When the officer charged with the execution drops his arm directly to his side and orally commands: FIRE, the execution party will fire simultaneously.

(4) The officer charged with the execution will then bring the execution party to "Order Arms."

c.     When the use of manual signals is not practical, the following oral commands are prescribed:

(1)     At the command READY, the execution party will take that position and unlock rifles.

(2)     At the command AIM, the execution party will take that position with rifles aimed at target on the prisoner's body.

(3)     At the command FIRE, the execution party will fire simultaneously.

d.     The officer charged with the execution will join the medical officer who will examine the prisoner and, if necessary, direct that the "coup de grace" be administered. Should the medical officer so decide, the sergeant of the execution party will administer the "coup de grace," with a hand weapon, holding the muzzle just above the ear and one foot from the skull.

e.     Under exceptional circumstances, the officer charged with the execution, with the permission of the commanding officer, may detail an extra file of six men to administer the "coup de grace." This file will form the rear rank of the execution party, and if it is necessary to administer the "coup de grace," will move in front of the execution party and fire, at the command of the officer charged with the execution.

f .     Upon pronouncement of the death of the prisoner by the medical officer, the execution party will proceed to the racks from which the rifles were originally obtained, and replace the rifles in the racks at random. The execution party will then be dismissed.

g.     The escort, with the band playing a lively air, will return to their parade ground and be dismissed.

h.     The witnessing troops will parade in column in front of the body and proceed to their respective parade grounds where they will be dismissed.

i.     The officer charged with the execution will direct the burial party in the disposal of the body as prescribed by AR 2 10-500 and 30-1820.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, 5 May 2017 5:09 PM EDT
Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Military Discipline (1776)
Topic: Discipline

Military Discipline (1776)

The Military Guide for Young Officers, Thomas Simes, Esq., 1776

Few orders are best; but they are to be executed with attention, and offences to be punished without respect of either rank or extraction.

Next to the forming of troops, military discipline is the first object that presents itself to our notice. It is the soul of all armies; and unless it be established among them with great prudence, and supported by unshaken resolution, they are no better than so many contemptible heaps of rabble, which are more dangerous to the very state that maintains them, then even its declared enemies.

It is a false notion, that subordination, and a passive obedience to superiors, is any debasement of a man's courage; so far from it, that it is a general remark, that those armies which have been subject to the severest discipline, have always performed the greatest things.

Many general officers imagine, that in giving out orders they do all that is expected from them; and therefore, as they are sure to find great abuses, enlarge their instructions accordingly; in which they proceed upon a very erroneous principle, and take such measures as can never be effectual in restoring discipline in an army wherein it has been lost or neglected.

Few orders are best; but they are to be executed with attention, and offences to be punished without respect of either rank or extraction. All partiality and distinction must be utterly abolished, otherwise you expose yourself to hate and resentment. By enforcing your authority with judgment, and setting a proper example, you may render yourself at once both beloved and feared. Severity must be accompanied with great tenderness and moderation; so displayed upon every occasion as to appear void of all manner of design, and totally the effect of a natural disposition.

Great punishments are only to be inflicted for great crimes; but the more moderate they are in general, the more easy it will be to reform abuses; because all the world, concurring in the necessity of them, will cheerfully promote their effect.

We have, for example, one very pernicious custom; which is, that of punishing marauders with certain death, so that a man is frequently hanged for a single offense; in consequence of which they are rarely discovered; because everyone is unwilling to occasion the death of a poor wretch, for only having been seeking perhaps to gratify his hunger.

If, instead of this method, we did but send them to the provost's, there to be chained like galley-slaves; and condemned to subsist on bread and water for one, two, or three months; or to be employed on some of those works which are always carrying on in an army; and not to be restored to their regiments, till the night before the engagement, or till the Commander in Chief shall think proper; then all the world would join their endeavours to bring such delinquents to punishment; the officers upon grand guards and out-posts would not suffer one to escape; by whose vigilance and activity the mischief would thus be soon put an entire stop to. Such as fall at present into the hands of justice, are very unfortunate indeed; for the Provost and his party, when they discover any marauders, immediately turn their eyes another way, in order to give them an opportunity to escape; but at the Commander in Chief is perpetually complaining of the outrages which are committed, they are obliged to apprehend one now and then, who falls a sacrifice for the rest. Thus the examples that are made have no tendency towards removing the eveil, or restoring discipline; and hardly answer any other purpose, then to justify the common saying among the soldiers, That none but the unfortunate are hanged.—Perhaps it may be observed, that the officers likewise suffer marauders, to pass by their posts unnoticed. But that is an abuse which may be easily remedied, by discovering from the prisoners what particular posts they passed by, and imprisoning the officers who commanded them, during the remainder of the campaign. This will render them careful, vigilant, and severe; nevertheless, when a man is to be punished wioth certain death for the offence, there are but few of them who would not risk two or three months imprisonment, rather than be instrumental to it.

All other military punishments, when carried to extremes of severity, will be attended with the same consequences.—It is also very necessary to prevent those from being branded with the name of infamy, which should be regarded in a milder light; as the gantlope, for instance, which in France is reputed ignominious; but which, in the case of the soldier, deserves a different imputation, because it is a punishment which he receives at the hands of his comrades. The reason of its being thus extravagantly vilified, proceeds from the custom of inflicting it in common upon whores, rogues, and such offenders as fall within the province of the hangman; the consequence of which is, that one is obliged to pass the colours over a soldier's head, after he had received this punishment, in order, by such an act of ceremony, to take off that idea of ignominy which is attached to it; a remedy worse than the evil, and which is also productive of a much greater; for after a man had run the gantlope, his Captain immediately strips him, for fear he should desert, and then turns him out of the service; by which means this punishment, how much soever necessary, is never inflicted but for capital crimes; for when a soldier is confined for the commission of any trivial offence, the Commanding Officer always releases him, upon the application of his Captain, because the loss of the man would be some deduction from his perquisites.

There are some things of great importance towards the promotion of discipline, that are altogether unattended to; which, as well as the persons who practice them, are frequently laughed at and despised.—The French, for example, ridicule that law amongst the Germans, of not touching a dead horse; which is a good institution, if not carried too far. Pestilential diseases are, in a great measure, prevented by it; for the soldiers frequently plunder dead carcasses for their skins, and thereby expose themselves to infection. It does not prevent the killing and eating of horses during seiges, a scarcity of provisions, or other exigencies. Let us from hence, therefore, judge, whether it is not rather useful than otherwise.

The French also reproach the Germans for the bastinade, which is a military punishment amongst them. If a german officer strikes, or otherwise abuses a private soldier, he is cashiered, upon compliant made by the party injured; and also compelled, on pain of forfeiting his honour, to give him satisfaction, if he demands it, when he is no longer under his command. This obligation prevails alike through all ranks; and there are frequently instances of general officers giving satisfaction, at the point of the sword, to subalterns who have quitted the service; for there is no refusing to accept their challenge, without incurring ignominy.

The French do not at all scruple to strike a soldier with their hands; but they are hardly ever tempted to apply the flick, because that is a kind of chastisement which has been exploded, as inconsistent with that notion of liberty which prevails among them. Punishments are certainly necessary, provided they are not dishonourable.

Let us compare these different customs of these two nations, and judge which contributes most to the good of the service, and the proper support of the point of honour. The punishments for their officers are likewise of distinct kinds. The French upbraid the Germans with their Provosts and their chains; the latter retort the reproach, by exclaiming against the prisons and ropes of the French; for the German officers are never confined in the public prisons. They have a Provost to every regiment; which post is always given to an old Serjeant, in recompense for his service; but I have never heard of the officers being put in irons, unless for great crimes, and after they had been first degraded.

These observations demonstrate the absurdity of condemning particular costums or prejudices, before one has examined their original causes.

Nothing can be so necessary to the soldier as discipline; without it, troops may become more dangerous than useful, more hurtful to ourselves, than to our enemies. The means of discipline are regulated by our military laws, and by the articles of war; which command obedience to superiors; and courage against an enemy; in regard to private conversation, politeness should exceed authority, and the Officer subside in the gentleman.

The nature of service is such, that in actions, errors cannot be committed with impunity. The particulars necessary to be observed are many and various; but none more essential to victory, than a strict obedience to orders, and a just observation of signals; on this depends success and safety of the troops.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Viet Cong Discipline
Topic: Discipline

Viet Cong Discipline

Know Your Enemy: The Viet Cong, Armed Forces Information and Education, Department of Defence, DoD GEN-20, DA Pam 360-518, Washington, 1966

Appeals to the mind and the heart are the principal way in which the Viet Cong seeks to control its members.


Scholar or street urchin, professional officer or farm boy, they all tell the same story of relentless indoctrination of discipline playing on every human emotion,constantly applied. The soldier is required to memorize basic codes of conduct (a oath of honor and a code of discipline) which put him in the position of a hero, a patriot, a friend, and protector of the people. He is never allowed to forget this role. Perhaps the most effective reminder is his unit's daily indoctrination and self-criticism session. In this, his indoctrination is continued and reinforced, his sup­posed motives are reviewed and discussed by the group, and he is told by his leader what his future actions will be. After this, he must explain his reactions, and he must publicly confess and criticize his own shortcomings and weaknesses in thought and deed.

After every fight there is an almost immediate critique, with no holds barred, which gives every man a chance to let off steam. It also lets the cadre know what his men are thinking. This contributes to the effectiveness of the constant surveillance program, maintained primarily through the cell system (usually three-man) which is applied to every possible unit.

Appeals to the mind and the heart are the principal way in which the Viet Cong seeks to control its members. Regular units employ standard forms of military courtesy, and strict obedience is always expected, but emphasis is placed on making compliance with regulations appear to be voluntary. For those who fail in their duty, if such normal punishments as public criticism, extra duty, and brief confinement do not bring reform, the penalty is often discharge, in terms that make the man feel a traitor and an outcast from the human race. The fear of corporal punishment or death seems to be of less importance although either may be visited on the individual or his relatives.

elipsis graphic

Viet Cong Oath of Honour

1.     I swear I am prepared to sacrifice all for Vietnam. I will fight to my last breath against imperialism, colonialism, Vietnamese traitors, and aggression in order to make Vietnam independent, democratic and united.

2.     I swear to obey absolutely all orders from my commanders, executing them wholeheartedly, promptly, and accurately.

3.     I swear to fight firmly for the people without complaint and without becoming discouraged even if life is hard or dangerous will go forward in combat without fear, will never retreat regardless of suffering involved.

4.     I swear to learn to fight better and shape myself into a true revolutionary soldier battling the invading American imperialists and their servants, seeking to make Vietnam democratic, wealthy, and strong.

5.     I swear to preserve organizational secrecy, and to keep secret my unit's plans, the name of my unit commander, and all secrets of other revolutionary units.

6.     I swear if taken by the enemy I will not reveal any information even under inhuman torture. I will remain faithful to the Revolution and not be bribed by the enemy.

7.     I swear in the name of unity to love my friends in my unit as myself, to work cooperatively with them in combat and at all other times.

8.     I swear to maintain and protect my weapons, ensuring they are never damaged or captured by the enemy.

9.     I swear that in my relationships with the people I will do three things and eschew three things. I will respect, protect, and help the people; I will not steal from, threaten, nor inconvenience the people. I will do all things to win their their confidence.

10.     I swear to indulge in self-criticism, to be a model soldier of the Revolution, and never to harm either the Liberation Army or Vietnam.

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Viet Cong Code of Discipline

1.     I will obey the orders from my superiors under all circumstances.

2.     I will never take anything from the people, not even a needle or thread.

3.     Iwill not put group property to my own use.

4.     I will return that which is borrowed, make restitution for things damaged.

5.     I will be polite to people, respect and love them.

6.     I will be fair and just in buying and selling.

7.     When staying in people's houses I will treat them as I would my own house.

8.     I will will follow the slogan: All things of the people and for the people.

9.     I will keep unit secrets absolutely and will never disclose information even to closest friends or relatives.

10.     I will encourage the people to struggle and support the Revolution.

11.     I will be alert to spies and will report all suspicious persons to my superiors.

12.     I will remain close to the people and maintain their affection and love.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Monday, 1 May 2017

Discipline; The Key to Success in Combat
Topic: Discipline


The Key to Success in Combat

Combat Lessons, Number 2, September 1946

Commanding General XIV Corps, in a personal letter to Lieutenant General McNair:

"I would like to mention a few things I consider important in getting any prospective units ready for duty in the Southwest Pacific. The first of all requisites is discipline, with a capital 'D.' I refer to discipline in all its phases—water discipline, malaria discipline, personal appearance, military courtesy, the wearing of the uniform, personal and collective sanitation, carrying out orders in general, assumption and proper discharge of responsibility throughout the chain of command, etc. there is an inclination for men as well as for come officers to 'go native' in the tropics, to let down mentally on material and spiritual values, so discipline is especially needed here. Needless to say I consider an aggressive spirit always goes hand in hand with good discipline."

Lieutenant Colonel Clifton F. von Kann, 77th Field Artillery, Italy:

"The great stress placed on discipline and the chain of command is not an overemphasis and never can be. We have found again and again that the highest standards of discipline are absolutely necessary in and out of combat. In no other way can you be assured that the individual soldier will carry out orders without supervision, and in combat this is essential."

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Respecting Orders Given on Parade (1880)
Topic: Discipline

Militia General Orders

Headquarters, Ottawa, 8th October, 1880

General Orders (19), No. 1

Respecting Orders Given on Parade

The following is published for general information and warning:—

In one of the Corps of the Militia of the Dominion, a Lieutenant commanding a company had occasion, on parade, to find fault with the drill of one of his men, a Private. The Private not only answered him while in the ranks, but afterwards, off parade, went to the officer and argued with him as to the correctness of the order he had received. This provoked the Officer to such an extent that he so far forgot himself as to use personal violence towards the Private Soldier, and to subsequently exceed his authority by striking the name of the Private off the Roll of his Corps.

To mark his disapprobation of conduct so subversive of all military discipline, the Minister of Militia and Defence has approved of the removal from the Service of both the Officer and private, and their names will therefore be erased from the Roll of their Corps. The Major General hopes that what has unfortunately occurred may act as a warning to the Militia Service generally so that it may be thoroughly understood that an order given to Soldiers on parade must not be answered or abjected to, but obeyed; that a Soldier who feels himself aggrieved must not go to his Officer unless accompanied by a non-commissioned Officer who has been previously informed of the man's object in wishing to speak to his Officer; and that Officers must on no account use violence, or take the law into their own hands.

It is with extreme regret that the Major General finds it necessary to publish this order.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, 23 January 2017 9:41 PM EST
Thursday, 20 April 2017

A Modern Brutus (1864)
Topic: Discipline

A Modern Brutus

The Evening News, Providence, Rhode Island, 20 April 1864

In Toronto there lives a retired colonel of the British army, staunch and loyal, who allowed a private soldier of good character, in the 30th Regiment, to marry his daughter. His regiment, soon after he marriage, was ordered to Montreal, and he took his wife with him, where he deserted both her and the Queen's service, and came across the lines to the protection of the stars and stripes. The colonel indignantly sent for his daughter, and she has continued to live with him, hearing occasionally from her husband, but refusing, or rather permitting her father to do it for her, to go to him as requested. Last week they were suddenly surprised by the appearance of the deserter, who entered the house without ceremony. His wife flew to him and her father at him, the latter arresting him as a deserter from Her majesty's service. In vain did the son-in-law argue and the daughter weepingly plead. With Roman firmness the British colonel insisting upon handing him over to the authorities, assuring him that thus he should treat his son or his brother, had either been a traitor. With an unyielding conviction of duty, the colonel dragged his erring relative to the barracks, and gave him up to the penalties of the law.

elipsis graphic

The 30th (Cambridgeshire) Regiment of Foot was in Canada from 1861 to 1869 and during this period defended the border with the United States during the Trent Affair (1861) and the Fenian Raids (1866). 

elipsis graphic

Historical Records of the XXX. Regiment

"The regiment landed at Toronto on 12th July [1861], and were quartered, three companies at the New Barracks, and three at the Old Fort; the remaining companies under canvas, half at each barracks." (p. 210)

"On the 23rd September [1863], in accordance with instructions, the regiment proceeded from Toronto to Montreal. The regiment relieved the 1st Battalion 16th Regiment, and was quartered in the Molson College Barracks, and formed part of the 2nd Military Division, under the command of Major-General the Hon. James Lindsay." (p. 211)

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Sunday, 2 April 2017

Court of Enquiry---Cornwall (1866)
Topic: Discipline

But while expressing his strong condemnation of such unsoldierlike conduct, His Excellency must remark that if the general discipline of the administrative battalion had been better, such a discreditable occurrence would probably not have taken place.

Militia General Orders

Headquarters Ottawa, 10th August 1866

General Orders Volunteer Militia

Court of Enquiry—Cornwall

No. 1.

The proceedings of a Court of Enquiry, lately assembled at Cornwall, to investigate the circumstances connected with a disturbance which broke out in camp at that place, have been forwarded by the Major General Commanding to His Excellency, the Commander in Chief, who is pleased to order the publication of the following remarks:

It is clear from the evidence that the discipline of the administrative battalion at Cornwall was by no means creditable.

1.     One non-commissioned officer states that he had been drinking in the canteen with two of the officers. If such was the habit in the battalion, it is not surprising that the officers had little influence over the men under their command; for it is one which is certain to destroy all discipline.

2.     Another evidence states that he was kept on sentry from six p.m. on the 3rd until three a.m. next morning, that is to say for nine consecutive hours.

3.     Lt.-Col. Hawkes states in his evidence, as the reason of not being able to discover the men who fired their rifles on the night of the 3rd July, that the rifles had been fired with blank ammunition on the morning of the 3rd July. That is to say, Lt.-Col. Hawkes allowed his men to return their rifles to the arms racks after firing without having cleaned them. This is most discreditable, and it is little surprising that the rifles in the hands of the volunteers should become worthless, if such a practice is permitted by the Lt.-Colonel of a battalion of volunteers, who has had considerable experience in the regular service.

The evidence given before the Court is very conflicting, but it tends to show that shots were fired by both the Ottawa Volunteers and men of the Hochelaga Regiment. But while expressing his strong condemnation of such unsoldierlike conduct, His Excellency must remark that if the general discipline of the administrative battalion had been better, such a discreditable occurrence would probably not have taken place.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Friday, 31 March 2017

The Soldier in Battle (US Army, 1917)
Topic: Discipline

The Soldier in Battle

Home-Reading Course for Citizen Soldiers (Lesson No. 24, of 30)

Spokane Daily Chronicle, Spokane, Washington, 25 September 1917

The average civilian, no matter how brave he might be, has little desire to go into battle. Even though he knows very well that the chances of his being killed or wounded are comparatively small, yet the thought of placing himself in a post of danger face to face with a well trained and courageous enemy is more or less terrifying to him.

This state of mind is entirely natural. Every man goes through it. The bravest soldiers of the civil war and of all wars testify to their dread of entering battle; but this is a feeling that can be conquered even by a man who is physically timid.

Self-Confidence Is Necessary

As a man's military training progresses, his body becomes stronger and therefore better able to stand the strain and intense activity. He grows accustomed to the noise of heavy firing. He gets practice in handling his rifle and his bayonet with skill, so that he becomes confident of his ability to defence himself. He learns how to advance over ground apparently swept by bullets without exposing himself to really effective fire. He grows used to the idea of meeting enemies face to face in battle.

Private soldiers are not required to study tactical problems. These are solved by higher officers. But every man should thoroughly understand the following elementary principles of combat:

1.     The offensive wins.

2.     Battles are won by the individual soldier. It is emphatically "up to" him. Splendid leadership and fine equipment are of avail only when each private does his utmost.

3.     Victory depends more on nerve and fighting spirit than on the best weapons and armor in the world.

Defensive action alone never wins victories. The army which succeeds must be ready and anxious to attack. There are many advantages to taking the offensive. The destruction of hostile trenches by heavy bombardment preceding the attack weakens the enemy's spirit and sometimes leads to the surrender of men who are in no condition to withstand assault. The chief advantage, however, is the fact that the attacking side chooses its own time and place to strike, forcing the enemy to readjust his defences accordingly.

All these remarks tend toward one conclusion, namely, that the discipline of the army is a big factor in giving men the tenacity which enables them to go into battle with dauntless courage and to win victories. Discipline can accomplish wonders even among men who are naturally lacking in brains and self-reliance. It can accomplish as great deal more, however, among those who possess these natural qualities.

Men who are thoroughly disciplined, and yet within the limits of discipline possess the priceless quality of initiative, make ideal soldiers. They are the men who can always be trusted to pull themselves out of tight places, to carry attacks through until success is won, to hold out against all odds.

Army Success Depends on Men

Men of this type will be found in the national army—tens of thousands of them.

Within the next few months the national army will be formed into a splendid body of troops filled with a spirit of loyalty and of enthusiasm for our just cause, efficient from top to bottom, in which every man will be fitted and ready to do his duty. Such an army backed by all the resources of the country—resources of men, of money, and of materials practically without limit—is bound to go forward to victory. There may be temporary reverses and periods of gloom, as in all other wars; but in the end victory must and will be won.

This is the object toward which all your training is to be directed. Put into that training all your own earnestness and energy. Fit yourself to wear with pride and credit the uniform of an American citizen soldier.

This is the road of honor and of real service to the nation.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Friday, 10 March 2017

A Soldier's Trial and Execution, 1833
Topic: Discipline

A Soldier's Trial and Execution, 1833

Lancaster Assizes, August 16.

Glasgow Herald, 26 August 1833

John Roach, aged 34, was indicted for the wilful murder of Daniel Maggs, in the Regent Barracks, Salford.

Mr. Armstrong stated the case to the jury.

The first witness called was Hugh Brown, a private in the 85th Regiment, to which the deceased (Corporal Maggs) and the prisoner belonged. He stated that on the morning of the 24th of April Roach entered the barrack room in Salford, with his musket in his hand, and said "Corporal Maggs, I thank you for what you have done to me." Maggs replied, "John, it is your own fault." Roach then leveled his musket, and discharged its contents into the body of Maggs, who staggered a few yards and fell down into the passage. The prisoner had been on the escort the preceding night, accompanied by the corporal, and had been placed for his misconduct in the guard-room. He raised the firelock in great haste just after the words had occurred between them.

Thoman Lyons, another private in the same Regiment, deposed that Roach had been confined in the guard-house on the night before the murder; that he heard the report of the musket, and went into the room where it had been fired; that he met the prisoner coming out quite dejected; that he soon afterwards met Maggs, whose hand was placed on his side, and who, after saying "My God!" fell down on the floor, and in a few minutes afterwards died at the hospital.

William Hargreaves, another private, stated that he was one of the escort with Corporal Maggs, on the 20th of April. They reached Warrington on Saturday, and on the following morning they left Warrington, and breakfasted at a public house on the road. Witness stood as sentinel in the passage leading to the front door, and Roach and Maggs were with the deserter in the house, with many of the prisoner's friends. Roach requested the corporal to take off the handcuffs for the deserter, and said it was "damned cowardly treatment to keep on the handcuffs while the deserter took his breakfast." Maggs refused to do so, and said if he did not hold his tongue he would report him to the commanding officer. A further altercation occurred between them. The escort arrived at Liverpool the same day; the deserter was lodged in gaol; and the soldiers drew the charges from their muskets. On the 23rd of April they returned to Manchester, and on their arrival at the barracks Roach was placed by Maggs in the guard-room.

John Brown, a private in the regiment, deposed that on the morning of the murder he found a bullet, which after passing through the body of the corporal penetrated a lath and plaster wall, and then dropped to the floor.

Mr. John Boutflower, surgeon, stated that he examined the body of the deceased on the evening of the 24th of April; that a little below the right breast he observed a wound sufficiently large to admit three fingers; two or three of the ribs were fractured; and a smaller wound was found in the back, a little below the shoulder blade. He afterwards opened the chest, and found a wound, such as a gun-shot wound; the right lung was nearly torn up, and the effusion of blood on the chest was the cause of the corporal's death.

The prisoner having been called upon for his defence, said. "I was carried away in a moment of passion, but I had no intention, when I discharged the piece, of destroying the man. I am sorry for what I have done, and the action has cost me many a tear of repentance. I hope that Almighty God will look upon me as a penitent, and pardon me for what I have done."

The prisoner called Captain William Hunter, the commander of the company in which he had served, who characterized the prisoner as a humane and steady man.

The Jury, after a few minutes consultation, pronounced a verdict of guilty.

The Judge then, in a solemn and impressive manner, passed the awful sentence of law upon the prisoner, directing him to be executed on Monday next.

elipsis graphic


John Roach, the soldier, who was tried on Friday last for the wilful murder of Corporal Maggs, in the barracks at Manchester, under the circumstances detailed in the report of the trial, was executed on Monday morning, pursuant to his sentence, on a gallows erected behind the Castle. In the interval between the sentence and its execution, the unfortunate man, who is a native of Ireland, and a member of the Roman Catholic religion, was attended by the Rev. Mr. Brown, the resident priest at Lancaster, and we understand exhibited every mark of deep contrition and repentance for his crime, and of resignation to his untimely fate, the justice of which he fully acknowledged. The same propriety of behaviour which marked his conduct during the progress of the trial and afterwards, has, we believe, been manifested by him ever since his committal to gaol, being deeply sensible throughout of the enormity of his offence, and conscious that his own life must make atonement for it. It was generally expected that he would plead guilty; he was however induced to stand trial, though it was manifest during the whole course of it that he entertained little or no hope of escape.

At eight o'clock on Monday morning the prisoner was brought out for execution. He walked out with a quick and firm step, hardly glancing at the assembled crowd, and placed himself under the drop, with his back to the people. The executioner having put his cap upon his head, and adjusted the fatal rope, the burial service of the Catholic Church was read by the Rev. Mr. Brown, who kneeled down at the verge of the gallows. During this awful interval the prisoner stood firmly, though, as upon the trial, a convulsive twitching of the head and arms manifested the struggle that was going on within. The service being concluded, the bolt was drawn and the prisoner was launched into eternity. He did not appear to struggle much. After hanging the usual time the body was taken down and placed in a shell, to be interred within the limits of the gaol, pursuant to his sentence. There were about 2000 persons present, of whom a great portion were boys and girls belonging to the factories, who had been liberated a quarter of an hour sooner than usual in order to allow them an opportunity of witnessing the execution.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Updated: Friday, 10 March 2017 12:03 AM EST
Friday, 3 March 2017

The Basis of Good Discipline
Topic: Discipline

The Basis of Good Discipline

Combat Lessons, Number 2, September 1946

One of our problems has been to get junior officers and young NCOs sufficiently hard-boiled to exact from their subordinates a meticulous obedience to every order. We must ingrain in all ranks the realization that orders are not to be treated as suggestions but as concrete facts calling for the utmost effort until they have been carried out. So many people seem to feel that orders which are inconvenient or unpopular are to be disregarded. This state of mind is a disease and must be eliminated. On the other hand such an elimination presupposes that all COs and Staffs take care that the orders they issue are consistent, correct, and capable of being carried out.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Monday, 23 January 2017

1st Company, 1st Regiment, Disbanded (1865)
Topic: Discipline

1st Company, 1st Regiment, Disbanded (1865)

Headquarters. Quebec, 17th March, 1865.

Volunteer Militia Lower Canada

General Orders, No. 1

His Excellency the Commander in Chief has been pleased to direct that Captain Hanson's Company, No. 1, of the 1st (Prince of Wales Regiment) of Volunteer Rifles, be removed from the list of Volunteer Militia. The officers and men of this Company having been guilty of a gross act of insubordination, in refusing to obey the orders of the Officer Commanding the Regiment, when directed to equalize the Battalion for inspection by the Inspecting Field Officer, on the 13th December last. An act by which that Company, not only compromised the character of the Regiment to which it belonged, but also that of the Force generally.

Obedience to orders, emanating from superior authority, is the first duty of the Volunteer as well as of the Regular soldier, and unless this cardinal principle in military matters is well understood, and fully acted upon, no discipline worthy of the name can ever be maintained. It is to be regretted that with this Company, the warning and admonition, which it received on a previous occasion, for an offense similar in character, should have produced so little effect, as to have rendered it necessary for His Excellency to have to resort to the extreme measure of disbanding the Company, by its repetition in the present instance.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 9:43 PM EST
Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Battalion Duties--General Remarks--NCOs (1917)
Topic: Discipline

Battalion Duties—General Remarks—NCOs

They must be examples at all times to their men, and endeavour constantly to increase their military knowledge.

Notes for Commanding Officers, Issued to Students at the Senior Officers' School, Aldershot, 1917 (5th Course)

1.     Non-commissioned officers must not walk out with private soldiers, or associate with them in a familiar way. Their friends must be non-commissioned officers.

2.     A non-commissioned officer returning from leave of absence or command should report himself to the Adjutant or the Regimental Quartermaster.

3.     Non-commissioned officers must never lend to or borrow money from private soldiers.

4.     Sergeants must not enter the men's canteen except on duty. (N.B.—If possible, a place should be arranged for non-commissioned officers, and if no canteen is available, an estaminet should be reserved for them.)

5.     Non-commissioned officers must never use harsh or intemperate, and, more particularly, obscene, language to the men.

6.     Non-commissioned officers must back up their officers always, and pull together for the honour of their Regiment.

7.     In walking out, non-commissioned officers must give an example of dress and smartness. Sergeants wear belt and side-arms; other ranks belts only.

8.     They must be examples at all times to their men, and endeavour constantly to increase their military knowledge.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Updated: Wednesday, 18 January 2017 8:43 AM EST
Saturday, 17 December 2016

Soldiering in Annam (1883)
Topic: Discipline

Soldiering in Annam (1883)

Composition of the Annamite Army and its Discipline

Montreal Daily Witness, 6 September 1883

The St. James Gazette gives an interesting description of the army at the disposal of the King of Annam. It is reckoned officially at 200,000 men. Of these 40,000 garrison the capital, and half that number is assigned to Hanoi and the surrounding fortresses Nam Dinh, Nihn Bihn, Bach Nihn, and other places in Tonquin. The rest are ordinarily disguised in civilian attire, and are not to be distinguished from harmless agriculturists. When a man is dressed in the customary vestments of a Madras coast coolie—a handkerchief and a bit of string—it is difficult at the first blush to determine his profession. In Annam, however, the matter is rendered comparatively simple. The law is, from every three men one recruit. Except, however, in cases of extraordinary public necessity this rule is not acted up to; one man from every seven or eight is much nearer the average. The selection of the recruits is left entirely to the local authorities, and the village mandarins make a good thing out of the annual levies.

The Drill

In default of squad drill the Annamese recruits are put through a variety of unpleasant experiences designed to test their courage. Physical courage and endurance are supposed to be the primary requisites of a soldier, and, after that, the knowledge of how to load and let off a gun. It is pleasantly assumed by the military officers that the men chosen for the army are the worst of the population. The madarins are supposed to keep their districts quiet by drafting all their mauvais sujets into the annual levy. There is, accordingly, the less compunction in putting them through the prescribed tests. The first of these is to assault the raw recruit violently with a sabre. The sabre is a wooden one, certainly; but the drill sergeant hits hard, and knows from personal experience where it hurts most. Operations commence on the back and end with blows on the head. The recruit who stands battering about the head for a matter of five minutes without uttering a groan or flinching, even involuntarily, is hailed as a finished soldier and excused further "drill." To shrink, or even to moan, when beaten on the head with the wooden sabre is considered pardonable, and the victim is noted down as an "ordinary" soldier, instead of an "able bodied" one.


But the recruit who cries out when he is hit on the body or confesses by a wiggle that the exercise is painful is reported for punishment and then put through a new course of instruction. The punishment usually consists in a certain number of blows from a bamboo on the upper part of the thighs, so that, except for the dignity of the thing, there is a close resemblance between punishment and military discipline. The military mandarins defend the system on the ground that it is very ancient, and that it is unique in the military exercises of the world—the latter assertion being incontrovertible. Energetic officers of the army frequently invent fantastic tests of a similar character in addition to the regulation exercises. A story at Hue is related of a beau sabreur of the Tay-son rebellion who had a ditch dug and filled the bottom with swords and pikes stuck into the ground point upward. He then called upon his men to engage in drill. They were to fling themselves into the ditch. The most stoical of the "able bodied" shrunk from this novel addition to the manual of exercises. Only one man was found to do it. He went in with a rush, and the swords and pikes collapsed before him. They had been kept in position by the most slender of threads.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Updated: Saturday, 17 December 2016 12:13 AM EST
Thursday, 15 December 2016

Battalion Duties--General Remarks--Private Soldiers (1917)
Topic: Discipline

Battalion Duties—General Remarks—Private Soldiers

Soldiers on guard must remember that it is often from them only that a Regiment may be judged.

Notes for Commanding Officers, Issued to Students at the Senior Officers' School, Aldershot, 1917 (5th Course)

1.     Every soldier must remember that he may by his individual bearing and actions either enhance or injure the reputation of his Regiment.

2.     By good behaviour and civility to strangers, cleanliness and smartness in dress and turn-out and drill, gallantry and devotion in the field, he increases the reputation of his Regiment, he increases the respect for the Army, and creates self-respect in himself.

3.     Instant obedience is the root of discipline. A command must as cheerfully and quickly be obeyed. Whether given by a Colonel or a lance-corporal.

4.     Any soldier wishing to speak to an Officer must be accompanied by a non-commissioned officer. If the soldier then wishes to speak to the Officer on a private matter, the non-commissioned officer can, for the time, fall out.

5.     Employed men must show by their smartness that they are worthy of their employment.

6.     Dress in walking out must be carefully studied, and belts must always be worn.

7.     Soldiers on guard must remember that it is often from them only that a Regiment may be judged.

8.     Every soldier must think he belongs to the best section in the best Platoon, Company, battalion and Regiment in the Army.

9.     Every soldier will address a warrant officer (including Classes I and II) in the same manner as when addressing a Commissioned Officer, but they will not salute.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Monday, 26 September 2016

Officer's Right to Wear His Uniform
Topic: Discipline

Officer's Right to Wear His Uniform

Case Against Major ("Foghorn") MacDonald Opened in Police Court
Disputed Regulation
Defence Contended That Major Could Not Be Discharged During Duration of War

The Montreal Gazette, 14 September 1918

An earlier Minute Book entry on "Foghorn" MacDonald - "Foghorn" MacDonald Attains Distinction in Service at Front (1916)

Questions as to the legality of the act of the Adjutant-General of Canada in striking Major Neil Roderick ("Foghorn") MacDonald from the strength of the active list of the Canadian Expeditionary Forces and transferring him to the reserve of officers were set by Mr. W.K. McKeown, K.C., counsel for the defence, when the trial charging Major MacDonald with wearing a uniform without permission when off duty opened in the Police Court before Judge Leet yesterday.

Mr. McKeown, throughout the course of the proceedings, declared that it was the intention of the defence to prove that the act was not in conformity with the agreement entered into between the King and major MacDonald, when the latter enlisted as a private in the Canadian Army. Another serious question raised by the attorney for the defence was whether the Canadian Expeditionary Force is part of the Canadian Militia and governed by the King's regulations for the Canadian Militia, or whether it was part of the British army and governed by the King's regulations for the Imperial army. The legal points were the subject of much debate among the lawyers and Lieut.-Col. Hill. G.S.O., who was the star witness for the for the prosecution.

When the case was opened Mr. M.L. Gosselin, K.C., acting for the prosecution, declared that Major MacDonald had been struck off the strength of the Canadian Expeditionary Force on December 14, 1917 and that by routine order of march 18, 1918, Major MacDonald was transferred to the reserve of officers. He was off duty since December 14, and had been warned to take off his uniform, which he had been wearing in public. Mr. McKeown, however, contended that Major MacDonald had enlisted for the duration of the war and six months after it had concluded if necessary, and had made a contract with the King. He went overseas as a private and rose to the rank of major. Application was then made for his transfer to the Forestry Corps, and after serving for three years in France he was successful, last fall, in securing a furlough for three months. While in Canada, he was struck off the strength without his request. The defence, therefore, contended that a man could only be struck off the strength for three reasons, viz., death, discharge, and the stopping of pay.

Liable for Service

Judge Leet then asked Mr. Gosselin if Major MacDonald could be called upon to render military services while a member of the reserve of officers, and Mr. Gosselin replied in the affirmative, stating that any man is liable to be called up. In the meantime, however, he is not serving. "If they had needed Major MacDonald's services," said Mr. Gosselin, "they would have kept him on active service. This man has tendered his resignation."

Judge Leet—"Has it been accepted?"

Mr. McKeown—"No. My Lord, that's what we contend."

Lieut.-Col. Hill was then called to the stand to give evidence. He explained that Major MacDonald had no right to wear the King's uniform after December 14, when he was struck off the strength of the C.E.F., and his pay stopped. When asked who issued the order regarding Major MacDonald's discharge, Col. Hill said that it came from the Adjutant-General at headquarters.

At this point the question whether the C.E.F. was part of the Canadian Militia or the British army was raised. Col. Hill declared emphatically that the C.E.F. was part of the Canadian Militia, while Mr. McKeown was of the opinion that it was part of the British army, and Judge Leet seemed to think along the same lines as the lawyer.

"While in England," said the colonel, "they come under the direct control and supervision of the Overseas Minister of Militia. When in France they come under the British army."

Col. Hill, in continuing his evidence, said that Major MacDonald had received forms from the Adjutant-General asking him to fill them in if he desired to be placed on the Reserve of Officers. Instead of that Major MacDonald said he wished to return to the infantry.

Mr. Gosselin—"Did you see Major MacDonald last February?"—"In February or early in March."

"In connection with the uniform?"—"Yes. It was reported to me that this officer was appearing in public in uniform. I had written to him on February 28 about this matter, and had advised him not to wear it again. After he received the letter he came to see me. He gave me to understand that he was shortly to get his civilian clothes, and as soon as they were ready he would discontinue wearing his uniform.

Serve During War

Mr. Mckeown—By the declaration made by officers do they engage to serve during the war similar to the men?—I think so.

Do you know of any document signed by Major MacDonald which would modify those attestation papers?—he was notified that he was struck off the strength and was transferred to the reserve of officers. He acknowledged this and thereby accepted it.

Do you refer to the document regarding the transfer in which he stated that he wished to be transferred to the infantry?—Yes.

You referred to this as an application of transfer to the reserve. Is it not true that this document shows nothing of the kind, that there is nothing said in it indicating that Major MacDonald thereby applied to be transferred to the reserve? Is there any mention of the reserve in this document?—Not on the face of it.

Have you any other documents to indicate whereby Major MacDonald in any way modified the terms of the original attestation in December, 1914?—No, there is no record. There is a record of his having signed a document promoting him for commissioned rank.

You have stated, Col. Hill, that Major MacDonald was struck off the the strength on December 14, 1917, what was the procedure by which major MacDonald was struck off the strength at that time?—A letter from the Adjutant-General at headquarters to the O.C. of Military District No. 4 informing him that in accordance with his request Major MacDonald had been struck off the strength.

How long have you been with the Militia?—Twenty-two years.

Are you conversant with the King's regulations and orders which govern the Canadian Militia, which govern the British army?—We have the King's regulations for the Canadian Militia and there are also the King's regulations for the Imperials.

Which apply to members of the Canadian Militia?—Both.

Which has the precedence?—In Canada, the Canadian, overseas the Imperial.

From Adjutant-General

Are you familiar with these two sets?—Fairly well.

Can you indicate to the court the authority for the letter dated Ottawa, December 28, 1917, purporting to report that Major MacDonald had been struck off the strength from December 14, 1917?—That's a letter from the Adjutant-General or one of his deputies. That letter was written under the authority given the Adjutant-General,

Which set?—General order No. 1 of 1905, under the duties of the Adjutant-General.

Is there anything in the King's regulations and orders for the Canadian Militia giving authority for the letter, apart from section 11, paragraph c.?—Undoubtedly, I don't happen to know it.

I mean is there any other order which will justify this letter?—Not that I know of.

Can you indicate anything in the King's regulations and orders authorizing the striking off strength of officers and their transfer to the reserve list?—Paragraph 26.

Are there any other provisions in the King's regulations and orders dealing with the transfer of officers to the reserve?—Not that I know of.

According to you, under which set of these regulations does Major MacDonald fall?—The regulations for the Canadian Militia.

Is it not a fact that the officers are struck off the strength only in virtue of district orders, and not by letters?—Not necessarily. A letter from the Adjutant-General is sufficient authority.

Now is there any cause assigned anywhere for the action in striking Major MacDonald off the strength?—yes.

The witness then produced a letter from the Adjutant-General to major-General Wilson, dated November 14, 1917, stating that Major MacDonald's leave expired on December 13, 1917, and that a communication had been received from overseas saying his services would be more valuable in Canada than overseas. The letter informing the Adjutant-General of this was written by Major Moorhead, director-general of timber operations.

In continuing the cross-examination, Col. Hill said that Major MacDonald's record was a clean one, and that he had risen from the ranks to a high post in the army.

Mr. McKeown told Judge Leet that there was absolutely no power or authority by which the militia could discharge Major MacDonald from the active force and transfer him to the reserve list.

Col. Hill also admitted that the transfer to the reserve did not change Major MacDonald's status, and that being struck off the strength did not affect his standing as an officer. It merely meant that he was not a member of the active force.

Capt. J.S. Livingstone, provost-marshal, was the second and last witness to be called by the prosecution.

Did you see him in the month of August in connection with the wearing of his uniform?—I did.

What was your object in speaking to him?—To have him take it off.

The witness declared that Major MacDonald had informed Col. Piche, acting O.C. for Military District No. 4, that he would take off his uniform.

This concluded the evidence, and Judge Leet announced that the case would be adjourned until Thursday morning next, when the defence will be heard.

elipsis graphic

Charge Against Soldier Dropped

Concerned Major ("Foghorn") MacDonald's Right to Wear Uniform New Order-in-Council Gave Power to Try By Courts Martial, But Major Appeared in Mufti

Montreal Gazette, 20 September 1918

An effective compromise in the case of Major "Foghorn" MacDonald's persistence in wearing his uniform in defiance of orders from the provost marshal and the military authorities to the contrary developed yesterday afternoon in the Police Court, when the defendant appeared for the first time in mufti and Mr. Louis Gosselin, K.C., representing the plaintiff, withdrew the case because the order-in-council under which he had been prosecuting the defendant had been superceded by a new order-in-council lately issued. Mr. W.K. McKeown, K.C., for Major MacDonald indicated that his client abated not one jot or tittle of his claims that he had the right to wear the uniform but had resumed mufti because his understood that it had been the intention to arrest him on the withdrawal of the police court proceedings in order to try the case by court martial under the new order-in-council. It was intimated by Mr. McKeown that the case would next reappear on the floor of the House of Commons.

Mr. Louis Gosselin, K.C., opened the proceedings by saying, "I wish to make a statement regarding the MacDonald case. The authority underlying the prosecution of Major MacDonald for the wearing of his uniform while not actually on active service and without permission was order-in-council, P.C. 17, dated January 4, 1918. Dince this case began the order-in-council 17 has been replaced by order-in-council P.C. 2161. The new order-in-council does not reserve any pending litigation. The authority under which this prosecution was commenced having lapsed, it had become necessary to withdraw this case. Such a case as the present one now finds authority under order-in-council P.C. 2161, which grants recourse either to a court martial under Section 40 of the Army Act or to the Civil Courts.

"I now find that since the adjournment this morning Major MacDonald has discarded his uniform and is now in mufti. This is in compliance with the law which was all we wanted. Under these circumstances, I suppose the case will be dropped.

Mr McKeown's Statement

Mr. W.J. McKeown, K.C., made the following statement on behalf of Major MacDonald:

"On behalf of Major MacDonald I wish to publicly declare that he has had no participation whatever in the move just made by the militia authorities in withdrawing the charge of wearing his uniform as a major without right.

"The proof already of record by the witnesses for the prosecution shows that from the time of his enlistment in September, 1914, to date, there has never been any charge whatever made against Major MacDonald, and that on the contrary his services to his king and country on the battlefields of Flanders earned for him successive promotion from private to the rank of major. After three years' service he applied for an was granted three months furlough and it was while Major MacDonald was here in Canada enjoying a well-earned rest, that the militia authorities took it upon themselves to dispense with his further services.

For Duration of War

"Major MacDonald's contention has always been and still is that in virtue of his attestation papers of September, 1914, and order-council No. 372, his enlistment was for the duration of the war and his status that of an officer of the British army, and that he is in no way subject to the orders of the Militia Department at Ottawa, and in any event, that no authority exists for the action of the adjutant-general taken in December last in striking him off the strength of the C.E.F. or for the routine and district orders of March following purporting to transfer him to the reserve list of C.E.F. officers.

"It having been intimated to Major MacDonald that it is the intention of militia authorities immediately upon the withdrawal of the police court proceedings, to cause his arrest for trial by court martial under an order-in-council dated the 5th of the present month, and not yet published in the Canada Gazette he has, upon advice of counsel decided to return to mufti so that the substantial question of his status and rights may be neither obscured nor jeopardized by a decision of a court martial upon a technical offence involving only the matter of his right to wear his uniform.

"It is, however, the intention of Major MacDonald's friends to pursue what they believe to be his rights in the connection, and to maintain the same by every legal means available and it is quite likely that the current subject will be aired upon continuance of the House of Commons in the next session. There is no objection to the withdrawal of the complaint on the present occasion."

Military Discipline

Judge Leet—"What is the distinction between the old and the new authority?

Mr. Gosselin—"The new authority provides that the man who wears the uniform without right is by that act made subject to military discipline and law and may be dealt with under Section 40 of the Army Act for conduct contrary to discipline. The fact of wearing a uniform subjects a civilian to military discipline for the purposes of that offence only. Under those circumstances I could not proceed but had to take the prosecution under the new order-in-council and that will only permit a trial before court martial. A man wearing the uniform is made subject for that purpose to a court martial. We are not after punishment of any kind but we did desire that the major should comply with orders. The theory of the Militia Department is that he is already discharged. He was requested to take his uniform off and on two occasions he promised. He is in mufti now, and we are satisfied."

Judge Leet—"As the original authority has been superseded, I don't see that there is anything to do but to allow the withdrawal."

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Monday, 29 August 2016

Discipline and Mobility
Topic: Discipline

Discipline and Mobility

Lectures on Land Warfare, A Tactical Manual for the Use of Infantry Officers, Pub. William Clowes & Sons, Ltd., 1922

"…it is better to lose one man in marching than five in fighting."

The discipline, courage, and endurance of the troops, as well as the cause for which they are fighting, are at least of equal importance to their armament and numbers. "If their discipline and leading be defective, Providence seldom sides with the big battalions ... and troops that cannot march are untrustworthy auxiliaries ("The Science of War"). "An army which cannot march well is almost certain to be outmanoeuvred. A general whose strategy is based upon time calculations that are rendered inaccurate by the breakdown of the marching power of his troops runs grave risk of disaster. It is therefore necessary that the question of marching should be studied, not only by generals and staff officers, but by regimental officers and men. It is on the latter that the hardships and exertions fall, and their cheerful endurance can best be ensured by teaching them the great results attainable by an army which can move faster and further than its adversary, as well as the dangers incurred by an army which allows itself to be out-marched. Superior mobility alone enabled Frederick the Great to move 'like a panther round an ox' so as to place his army across the enemy's flank. The discipline of his troops enabled him to apply the "principles of combination" (General Sir E. B. Hamley). "Nothing compensates for absence of discipline; and the constant watchfulness that is necessary in war, even when danger seems remote, can only be secured by discipline, which makes of duty a habit." (General R. Taylor, C.S. Army). At the Battle of Hastings (Oct. 14, 1066) lack of discipline and disobedience of orders changed the fate of the English nation and brought about the Norman Conquest. Harold, the English king, had defeated the forces of Harold Hadraade, King of Norway, at Stamford Bridge in Yorkshire (Sept. 25, 1066). Four days later, Duke William of Normandy landed in Pevensey Bay, with 60,000 horse and foot. Harold hastened south to meet him with troops exhausted by battle and marching. After King of Norway, halting six days in London to collect reinforcements, the English force entrenched itself on the hill of Sautlache and awaited attack. The Normans were unable to penetrate the abattis, but they gained the victory which changed the whole history of the English race by the stratagem of a feigned retreat. Harold's undisciplined auxiliaries, contrary to direct orders (which were obeyed by the regular troops in the centre), swarmed out of the palisades in pursuit of the fleeing Normans, who suddenly turned about and penetrated the English lines mingled with the discomfited auxiliaries. Had the "irregulars" shown the same sense of discipline as the regulars there had been no Norman Conquest.

With regard to marching, General T.J. Jackson once observed, in reply to an allusion to his severe marching, that "it is better to lose one man in marching than five in fighting."

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Thursday, 18 August 2016

Australian Soldiers; The Question of Discipline (1916)
Topic: Discipline

Australian Soldiers; The Question of Discipline (1916)

The Sydney Morning Herald, 5 February 1916
By Sergeant

The most heartbreaking part of an officer's or N.C.O.'s work during the period of recruit training is to educate Australians to submit to discipline. It is almost an impossibility to teach a new man to instantly obey and order, and to get him into the soldierly habit of coming to attention when addressing anyone of superior rank, or saluting when passing him in camp or elsewhere. It necessitates a very complex knowledge of the Australian character to account for this peculiarity in the men, and a study of his individuality, descent, and all the influences at work upon the man from infancy to adult life, before an officer may consider himself qualified to handle new recruits, and change their modes of thought.

The average Australian is in most cases descended from parents and grandparents who, by nature of their own bringing up, were free of all restraint. In the infant days of colonisation—going back beyond the date when the convict system was abolished—the conditions of life were hard and pitiless in the extreme. The gradual opening up of the back country called forth a type of men and women who had fearlessly and doggedly to face privations, loneliness, and hardships. From this class there descended and even more independent generation, which, inheriting all the pluck and endurance of their parents, had added to these qualities an unalterable love of freedom, inseparable from their mode of life. The "bush" had to be conquered. They were a law unto themselves, resenting interference; each endeavouring to carve out a path for himself; and with little aid from the Government. So strenuous was the existence, so bitter the disappointments, as obstacle after obstacle was attacked—often only to be found insurmountable—that the combative spirit, inherent be reason of descent from British stock, was increased in parents and transmitted to offspring. Each individual acted independently for his own ends. Children, from mere infancy, were allowed the utmost freedom, and taught to do each one for itself. They grew up strong in their belief in their own ability to conquer in the battle of life. Not trained in strict obedience even to their parents, they took orders from none, and never learnt discipline.

Another factor to be reckoned with in considering the influences at work in forming the character of the present generation is the absence, especially in the country, of class distinctions. Birth and education counted for next to nothing. Money and success alone talked. But the rick man knew better than to expect servility and obedience from his poorer countrymen. It was not in their nature to humble themselves to anyone. If work was offered, the labourers sold their knowledge and power alone for wages agreed upon, but did not feel called upon to treat their employers with the respect which is part of a similar bargain in older countries. The employer was called "boss" not "sir."

As the colonies grew in importance, and education became compulsory, the literature eagerly devoured on all sides dealt with the operations of bushrangers and convictism, the minds of the young people turning naturally to deeds of daring and unlawfulness, there being more excitement in such reading than in the books which a differently descended and trained people would choose. Besides, the parents in many cases had come into personal conflict or friendly communication with the outlaws, and the tales of the doings of these desperate men appealed to the readers as touching on acts perpetrated at their doors. All of this had a tremendous effect upon the rising generation, and is reflected in the character of our soldiers, as may be witnessed in their behaviour in camp, and their utterly fearless conduct when facing the enemy in the present war.

To such a bold, independent people the idea of discipline is accounted a sign of weakness. It is this feeling which makes the recruit shuffle up to an officer and salute in a half-hearted way. He thinks his mates will twit him for it. For this reason saluting is not popular. The recruit cannot get the idea out of his head that he is acknowledging in public his inferiority. It is no use telling him to salute his superior officer is merely discipline. He knows not the word. It is "double Dutch" to him. All he see in front of him is a fellow-man. Nothing more. Why should he salute him? You have to take these recruits in hand just as a school-master does new boys. First study their disposition. No two are alike. One may be dull but good-tempered so long as you don't rub him the wrong way. Another is smart and quick to learn. Yet another is conceited, and with ignorance added is the most difficult to deal with. All are fearless. They must be taught as you would teach children the A B C. Gradually and firmly, taking care not to tire either mind or body, making the work interesting, and watching for inattention which must be nipped in the bud. Finding fault with individuals in the presence of their mates should never be permitted; but insubordination must not be allowed. Instruction and example, or detail and demonstration, cannot be carried too far. Recruits are very imitative. They mostly all want to learn, and are attracted more by what they observe than most officers think. This is very noticeable when the men first get into uniforms after a period in dungarees. The change is sometimes marvelous. From slow, slouching fellows, they blossom out into smart, upright soldiers eager for further training, but never altering in their dislike for discipline.

All this, it is said, alters after going to the front. Hourly association with British troops effects a change. It is not the severity of the English officers. It is imitation! They face into line with the British "Tommies" simply because they do not want to behind in anything. The spirit to conquer asserts itself. If discipline added to their other good qualities will place them first in the eyes of the world, then discipline it is!

If officers and N.C.Os. would give some consideration to the foregoing remarks, and endeavour to study the recruits individually, much better results would accrue. You can lead Australians, but you cannot drive them. Properly handled, they are the finest men in the world. But those who would lead them must understand and know that, and become acquainted with all the influences which are and have been at work for a hundred years in forming their characters, otherwise the labour of teaching and training is lost.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Jugoslav Military Etiquette
Topic: Discipline

Jugoslav Military Etiquette

The Stanstead Journal, Rock Island, (Stanstead) Quebec, 13 August 1925

In the Jugoslav army there is to be observed an interesting difference in military manners. The army is composed of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes. The traditions of the Serbs favour the spirit of comradeship between officers and men. Off duty the two regard each other as equals. The Croats and Slovenes have been accustomed to the Austrian etiquette, which is modeled on the Prussian, under which the men are regarded as inferior creatures.

A major in a Slovene cavalry regiment has just resigned his commission. He could not tolerate the sight of his Serb colonel sitting in a restaurant engaged in friendly conversation with one of his soldiers.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Saturday, 6 August 2016

The Discipline of Fear
Topic: Discipline

The Discipline of Fear

The Glasgow Herald, 19 April 1915

The last report of the British "Eye Witness" at the front contained some interesting allusions to certain methods current in the German Army for the purpose of maintaining its cast-iron rigidity and its mechanical, it not its spiritual, efficiency. "The discipline," he writes, "is principally that of fear, the men being in positive terror of their officers, who behave with a kind of studied truculence more befitting slave-drivers than leaders of men … This is borne out by the use of the cat-o'-nine tails, which is well established, one of these instruments having been captured by us near Neuve Chapelle … Such," he continues, "is the fear of the officers and the general mistrust that the men do not even speak to one another of their grievances for fear that their complaints should reach the ears of their seniors. Of the outward forms and restraints of discipline there is no relaxation even in the trenches. When an officer passes the men must spring to attention and must remain with shouldered arms, without moving a muscle, perhaps for a quarter of an hour., while the officer in question is near them. When they are relieved from the trenches every spare moment is devoted to drilling and training. The slightest fault is punished with extreme severity, the offenders often being tied to a tree for hours together."

Such evidence as this—and of course it could be greatly simplified if one took the trouble to quote from the many descriptions given of the War Lord' legions in the days of peace—indicates that the German system has not travelled in the direction of leniency since the days of Frederick II, when, as Macauley states, "Military offences were punished with such barbarous scourgings that to be shot was considered by the Prussian soldier as a secondary punishment." Probably in the eighteenth century Frederick's system did not differ greatly in principle from that to be found elsewhere. The difference nowadays is that, whereas every civilized country has imported into its methods of discipline, however inflexibly they may be maintained, the mitigating qualities of reason and humanity, Germany adheres to the brutal and brutalising formulas of the past, steadily refusing to countenance the idea that men can be as readily, perhaps more easily, led than drive.

"A thorough knowledge of the secrets of human nature," says von der Goltz, "is very essential to a general. An army is a very sensitive body, not a lifeless instrument, or a set of chessmen to be moved backwards and forwards, according to calculation, until the enemy is checkmated. An army is subjected to many psychological influences, and its value varied according to its general feeling." Again, "The general must understand how to look into the hearts of soldiers, in order to estimate rightly what may be required of them at a given moment." Yet this authority makes nothing of his own text. He is so ignorant of human nature that he regards the best army as being that in which submissiveness and uniformity have been most fully attained. The explanation is that the German officer, and not the German soldier, constitutes the German Army. "Non-commissioned officers and soldiers rapidly come and go in the Army; its officers alone are the constant element by which tradition is handed down." The British officer who a few months ago publishes that instructive volume "The German Army From Within," states that "the German axiom is that the greatness of an army lies with its men." Speaking with a knowledge derived from experience with both armies, he asserts the firm conviction that "one British Tommy is the equal of three Germans of the same rank." A system which operates to destroy personal initiative in the ranks is obviously inferior to one in which individuality is encouraged, even if stress were not laid on the fact that the human material to begin with starts in the one case from a slavish docility and in the other from what is usually and alert and independent intelligence. The German private is merely "cannon food," while the all-important officer is too often typified by that Colonel Nicolay who last August was the murderer of the unfortunate Englishman, Mr. Henry Hadley. Incidentally the hope may be expressed that, provided the arms of the Allies do not anticipate the work of justice, this specimen of German Kultur may be brought to a stern account. One can readily conceive of such men, the authors of countless infamies in Belgium and France, rallying their men in their trenches with blows and with words used by Frederick to his flying troops—"Scum of the earth, do you want to live forever?"

The contrast in methods carries us back to fundamentals. It is not, as some may suppose, a question of conscription versus voluntary service, although it may be granted that the regime of the Junker would have short shrift in any volunteer army that we can imagine. There is conscription in every Continental country, yet so far as we know the discipline obtaining in the German Army stands in inglorious isolation, bearing no resemblance either to the paternalism of Russia or the camaraderie encouraged by the democratic Gallic spirit. It is the something wrong with German human nature, the primitive brute lying so near to the surface of Germany's ingeniously organised national life, that we detect using the forms of discipline to express itself. It is Heine's "braggart with the capacious maw, carrying like a corporal's staff, which he first dips in holy water before bringing it down on one's head" that we perceive—the rude and savage Prussian, who has learned nothing from human progress but the means for augmenting his rudeness and equipping his savagery with the diabolical resources of science. Grant this native imperviousness to the gentler virtues of the race, transfer to a State which exalts itself above every human institution all the ruthlessness of individuals whose culture is only skin-deep, and you get the German Army, a marvellously efficient machine, whose efficiency up to a certain point is the greater by its suppression of the units of which it is composed, even at the cost of their degradation and bruitalisation as human being. But one is inclined to wonder what enormities mat be possible to such a machine if by sudden reversion to the human nature it outrages it should turn upon its authors and engineers. The German Government have only known it as a victorious force or, at all events as a force in which the belief in victory is still strong. What will it be in the hour of defeat.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, 22 July 2016 10:34 AM EDT
Thursday, 4 August 2016

Miss Manners' Rules of Military Desert Etiquette
Topic: Discipline

Miss Manners' Rules of Military Desert Etiquette (1991)

Don't flatulate in closed tents. A professional steps outside.

Times Daily, Florence, Alabama, 18 February 1991

1.     Don't leave half-drunk, open water bottles. Finish them.

2.     Don't leave dip cups (spittoons) lying around. Empty them.

3.     Never separate a soldier from his or her cot.

4.     Rinse out the wash basin after use. No one wants your soap scum and hair.

5.     Don't flatulate in closed tents. A professional steps outside.

6.     Never open a new case of MREs just because you don't like any of the meals left in the open box.

7.     Never relieve yourself in the presence of soldiers of the opposite sex. If by accident this happens, always apologize.

8.     Never hog the shower water. Always turn the shower off until you need to rinse.

9.     Always drive on the dust down side of pedestrians. It is very improper to 'dust' walking soldiers.

10.     Be cautious when playing volleyball in boxer shorts.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, 22 July 2016 10:45 AM EDT

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