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The Minute Book
Sunday, 29 March 2015
A Canadian Garrison for Halifax; 1905
Topic: Halifax

The Garrison for Halifax

One Thousand Canadians to Assemble

St John Daily Sun, 27 November 1905
(Special to the Sun)

A militia order issues yesterday states that barrack accommodations being now available at Halifax, the following troops will proceed there on or about the fourth of December:

Royal Canadian Garrison Artillery, Nos. 1 and 2 companies, as strong as possible.
Royal Canadian Regiment, Nos. 1, 2, 3 and 5 companies, as strong as possible.

The following will proceed with the troops:

Royal Canadian Garrison Artillery —Lt. Col. T. Benson, on command.
No. 1 Co. —Capt. A.T. Ogilvie, Lieut. G.P. Loggie, Lt. T.W.S. Coburn, Lt. S.G. Bacon.
No. 2 Co. —Lt. E. Clairmonte, Lt. W.G. Beeman, Lt. L.S. Vien, Lt. A.H. Harris.

Royal Canadian Regiment
No. 1 Co. —Major A.E. Carpenter.
No. 2 Co. —Capt. J.H. Kaye.
No. 3 Co. —Capt. J.D. Doull, Lt. R.F.C. Horetsky.
No. 5 Co. —Capt. F.F. Uniacke, Lt. F. du Domaine.

The officers commanding the Western Ontario and Quebec commands are to inspect these details prior to their departure for Halifax.

A special inspection report is to be forwarded to headquarters for the information of the minister in militia council. The necessary transport arrangements will be made by the quartermaster general and duly communicated to all concerned. Wives and families upon the married establishment will either proceed with or follow the troops. A careful medical examination is to be made of the several detachments, and in the event of any non-commissioned officer or man being found medically unfit for service a medical board will be assembled with a view to his discharge.

The amount of baggage is limited to that fixed by regulations.

The officer commanding maritime provinces with the officer commanding H.M. regular forces is to arrange barrack accommodation for these troops and other necessary details.

As a result of this movement of the permanent force 1,000 Canadian soldiers will have been drafted to Halifax from Toronto, Kingston, and Quebec. Of this number 700 will be infantry men, nearly 200 will be artillery and the remainder will consist of details for the other branches of the service, engineers, army service corps, ordnance corps, pay staff, hospital corps, etc.

All are to be in Halifax before December 15th, when the forces will then be of the same strength as the imperial forces have been for some time, and in all the corps will be numbers of men which have served with the imperial forces on the station. The Canadian engineers, it is said, will be the only corps that will not be complete by the time mentioned, and the Royal Engineers will therefore probably remain for some months longer.

Officers of the Royal Artillery are posted as follows:

R.C.H.A. —Lt. A.W. Jamieson to B Battery, Lt. H.E. Beak to A Battery.

R.C.G.A.
To No. 1 company —Lt. G.P. Loggie, Lt. T.W.S. Cockburn, Lt. S.G. Bacon.
To No. 2 company —Lt. And Bvt. Capt. C.S. Wilkie, Lt. L.S. Vien, Lt. A.E. Harris.
To No. 3 company —Lt. J.E. Mills, Lt. A.S. Wtight, Lt. E.B. Irving, Lt. De la C. Irwin.

The Senior Subaltern


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Saturday, 28 March 2015
Clearing Mines; General Rules
Topic: Drill and Training

Clearing Mines; General Rules

How to Clear Mines and Booby Traps, All Arms, March 1943

1.     Handle all mines, igniters, and switches with care at All Times.

2.     It takes only one man to work on a mine — others keep off.

3.     Look carefully all round a mine before sating to work on it.

4.     Look out for Booby traps. Do not lift Anti-Tank Mines. Pull clear with 50 yards of signal cable or cord.

5.     Take cover before you pull a mine and do not come out for at least 10 seconds after you have pulled it. There may be a delay fuse.

6.     Never use force. If a thing will not come undone gently by hand, leave it.

7.     If you have to leave a mine or trap unlifted, mark it obviously.

8.     Never cut a taut wire, never pull a slack one. Look at both ends of a wire before you touch it.

9.     Safety pin anti-personnel mines before you pull them.

10.     Mines which have been subject to blast from Artillery or aerial bombardment are apt to be dangerously sensitive, and should be destroyed in situ by Engineers.

11.     If in doubt ask the Sappers.

Canadian Army Battle Honours


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Friday, 27 March 2015
"D" Company, Infantry School Corps

Our Permanent Troops

"D" Company, Infantry School Corps, London, Ont.

The Dominion Illustrated, 28th February, 1891

This Company was the last formed of the corps, or regiment, known as the Infantry School Corps; therefore, all the history related of the other companies belongs to it also, more especially as all its present combatant officers, with one exception have served with the other companies.

In the 1st of July, 1886, Sir Adolphe P. Caron laid the foundation stone of the Infantry baracks at London, Ontario. The building is of white brick, with red stone facings. The site is on the ground purchased by the City from the Hon. John Carling, and is sutuated north-east of the town, about two miles from the post office.

A great deal of time and money was lost by the discovery that the sub-soil was of shifting sand, and the boiler house, which was built for heating the buildings throughout, was sunk 30 feet before anything like a solid foundation was found.

The exterior of the barracks, as will be seen from the illustrations, has not a very military appearance, nor are the internal arrangements as appropriate as might have been expected when new barracks were being built.

On the 19th of July, 1887, Major Smith, commanding "C" Company at Toronto, was detached from "C" Company, and was appointed Commandant of the Royal School of Infantry at London, with the rank of Lieut.-Colonel in the Infantry School Corps. It was not, however, until the 24th December of that year that recruiting commenced, owing to the delay in completing the barracks; but from this date till the 5th April, 1888. Lieut.-Colonel Smith was alone with no officer to assist him; and no one who has not had the experience of starting a new regular corps in a new barrack, can have any idea of the amount of work he had to do; luckily, he had as Sergt.-Major, Sergt.-Major Munro, late of "C" Company. On the 5th April, Lieut. Wadmore, also of "C" Company, was sent up to assist him. These two officers, who had been together since the inception of the corps in 1883, carried on all company and school work till the end of June, when Lieuts. Denison and Evans were gazetted to the corps and posted to "D" Company, which had not yet, however, a captain. In August, 1888, Capt. Frere, a captain in the army, but not in the Corps, and Adjutant of "B" Company, was sent up to command it, which he did until the 21st December, 1888, when he left to rejoin his regiment, "The South Staffordshire," much to the regret of the officers, N.C. officers and men, to whom he had much enared himself by his generous heart and kindly manner.

It was not until Match, 1889, that the captain of "D" Company was gazetted, when Lieut. D.D. Young, adjutant of "A" Company, and senior subaltern of the regiment obtained his promotion.

The surgeon was appointed in September, 1888, namely, Surgeon Hanavan, formerly of the 28th., Stratford—Surgeon Fraser, of the 7th Batt., having in the meantime looked after the medical examination of recruits and attended the hospital, which is at present a portion of the barracks used for that purpose; a proper detached hospital, drill shed, married quarters and stables being needed to make them complete.

On the 12th April, 1889, Lieut. and Captain Cartwright was transferred from "C" Company to "D"; and Lieut. Evans sent from "D" to "C" Company in his place. The officers, at the present date, with "D" Company are as follows:—

  • Lieut.-Col. Smith, Commandant.
  • Captain D.D. Young.
  • Lieut. and Capt. R.L. Wadmore.
  • Lieut. and Capt. R. Catwright.
  • Lieut. S.A. Denison.
  • Surgeon M.J. Hanavan.

Lieut.-Col. Smith is also D.A.G., or officer commanding Military District No. 1.

The various illustrations speak for themselves. The physical training is done entirely to music, no single word of command being used when the men are fully trained. The fire picquet and the men in barracks turned out as if for a fire; the men drill at the reels as if they were field guns. On one occasion this picquet, without previous warning, turned out and had water playing on the building in 45 seconds from the first sound of the bugle.

The rifle team are the picked men of the best shooting company of the whole permanent corps. The cup shown is one given by the Hon. J. Carling, to be shot for by the Royal School of Infantry at London and the 7th Batt., and is to be kept by the team winning it three times running. The 7th Batt. won it in 1889, the R.S.I. in 1890.

It would be well, before completing this short account, to pint out the common mistake that is made with regard to our permanent infantry. It is the practice to call them "A," "B," "C" and "D" Schools, when in reality and according to the official militia list, they are "A," "B," "C" and "D" Companies of the Regiment called the Infantry School Corps. This error has no doubt arisen from the fact that each of the companies at present forms school of instruction for the training of officers, N.C. officers and men of the militia, who during their course are attached to these companies respectively. It is curious to observe that the public have never fallen into the same error with the permanent artillery, the units of which are always designated "A," "B" and "C" Batteries, and not "A," "B" and "C" Schools.

The Royal Canadian Regiment Museum


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Thursday, 26 March 2015
Gas War for Local Militia (1938)
Topic: Drill and Training

Gas War Enacted for Local Militia

Regular Army Men Demonstrate Methods and Equipment Used for protection
Masks made in Canada
Four Types of gases to Be Combated—Senior Military Officers Attend Demonstration

Montreal Gazette, 15 February, 1938

One of the figures from: Unidentified soldiers modelling various Canadian Army uniforms, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, June 1942. [gas uniform, with coat, helmet and respirator]

Photographer: Unknown. MIKAN Number: 3589879

Veterans of the regular army shows beardless members of the non-permanent militia forces last night how a soldier of modern times saves himself from death or serious injury in a gas attack by the enemy. The demonstrations were the inauguration of a course the militia of the district will take in anti-gas methods, and were the first given in the Montreal area.

A senior staff officer revealed to the Gazette last night, in connection with the demonstrations, that gas masks are being manufactured on a large scale in Canada. The officer said he did not know of any civilian anti-gas training course similar to Great Britain's. It is hoped, he said however, that enough masks will be available to provide the militia with enough for training purposes.

The main demonstration was given in the armory of the combined Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps units, and a brief show was put on at the Armory of the 4th Divisional Signals, R.C.C.S. The "guinea pigs" were member of The Royal Canadian Regiment and of the Royal Canadian Dragoons, stationed at St. Jean's Que., under the company of Company Sergeant Major A.C. McKenzie, of the R.C.R.

Four Types of Gases

C.S.M. McKenzie, in a lecture prior to the actual demonstration, pointed out that the four serious types of gases generally used in modern warfare were: chlorine and phosgene, which he identified as choking gases; mustard and lewisite, or blister gases; D.M., a toxic smoke gas; and K.C.C. and C.A.P., or tear gases. The modern soldier, he pointed out, must be prepared to meet any or each of these types of gases.

During the Great War gas was far from being developed to the deadly state it is in today, and protection was much easier. Further, today those in the line of a gas attack must protect their whole bodies, as against only their lungs during the earlier part of the war.

A feature of interest to Canada was pointed out by the instructor when he said that mustard gas freezes at 57 degrees Fahrenheit. It would thus be useless during much of the year in Canada.

The early part of the demonstration showed an anti-aircraft patrol hit by a gas attack. The men, upon receiving the warning from a scout, quickly put on their grotesque masks and covered their necks, hands and other exposed parts of their bodies with a grease which is supposed to keep out the gas.

A squad fully protected against gas, and men charged with "cleaning up" after a gas attack, probed the most effective charade for the non-permanent soldiers present.

Appearance Ghoul-Like

Garbed almost completely in black oilskins and high rubber boots, the demonstrators presented a ghoul-like appearance. Their gas masks, of the most modern type available in this country, and far superior to those used in the Great War, made each man look like a large-scale Mickey Mouse.

The speed with which the machine gun crew, this time expecting a gas attack, slipped themselves into their "gas proof" clothing, amazed the onlookers, few of whom had ever taken part in actual warfare. Completely garbed in steel-gray "tin hats", black rubber rain-cape-appearing cloaks and high rubber boots, the demonstrators offered a gruesome picture.

The "clean-up" men, who in actual warfare scout about the gas area finding out if it is safe for troops to occupy the ground, had spiked sticks much like those used by litter-collectors in parks. On the end of each stick, however, was but one piece of paper, impregnated with a chemical which would tell by turning color, if gas were still present. The clean-up men, heavily burdened with protective clothing, are not expected to fight, the instructor claimed.

Demonstrations will be carried out before other units of the non-permanent active militia later in the season.

Brigadier R.O. Alexander, D.S.O., district officer commanding, headed a large group of headquarters and other officers who attended the demonstrations, illustrating the importance which they are given in local military training.

Among the other officers present were: Lt.-Col. A.E. Lundon, D.D., M.D., Lt.-Col. A.E. Thompson, Lt.-Col. St. John Macdonald, Lt.-Col. A.P. Plante, 20th Field Ambulance; Lt.-Col. Gorssline, D.S.O., District Medical Officer; and Major C. Sanford.

The Senior Subaltern


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Wednesday, 25 March 2015
A Story Without a Moral
Topic: Humour

A Story Without a Moral

The B.E.F. Times; with which are incorporated the Wipers Times, the "New Church" Times, The Kemmel times & The Somme-Times, No 5. Vol 1., Tuesday, April 10th, 1917

  • A.A. & Q.M.G. – Assistant Adjutant and Quartermaster General
  • C.R.O. – Corps Routine Orders
  • D.A. Q.M.G. – Deputy Assistant Quartermaster General
  • D.A.A. Q.M.G. – Deputy Assistant Adjutant and Quartermaster General

And it came to pass that upon a certain day the General Officer Commanding a Division said unto his A.A. and Q.M.G.: "Oh, A.A. and Q.M.G., tender unto me by the first day of next month a Return showing the names of the number of men of this Division who have even refused to undergo the hardships of INOCULATION, in order that I may send forward this Return unto Corps., in accordance with C.R.O. 758."

And it came to pass that the A.A. and Q.M.C. said certain things unto his D.A.A. and Q.M.G. and unto his D.A. Q.M.G., the result of which was a Return of names to the number of fifty of men of the Division who had refused to be INOCULATED.

And it came to pass that the Return aforementioned was in due course sent forward unto Corps, in which place it became labelled with the mystic sign "P.A.," which, being interpreted, means "put aside."

And it came to pass that upon a much later date this same General Officer Commanding a Division said unto his A.A., and Q.M.G.: "Oh, A.A. and Q.M.G. render unto me by the first day of next month a Return showing the names of the number of men of this Division who have done deeds such as are worthy of reward in the form of the Medal Military, in order that I may send forward this return unto Corps., in accordance with C.R.O. 869."

And it came to pass that this Return also was duly obtained, and in due course sent forward unto Corps. in which place it became labelled with the mystic sign "P.A.," which, being interpreted, means "put aside."

And it came to pass that in due course those men who had refused to be INOCULATED were duly awarded with the MILITARY MEDAL.

Oh! great is the Corps.

The Frontenac Times


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Tuesday, 24 March 2015
Petawawa, 1905
Topic: Canadian Militia

The New Training Ground for the Canadian Militia

A Description of the Petawawa Camp

Harbor Brace Standard, 4 November 1905

The following are the impressions of a Canadian artillery officer with respect to the new camp grounds at Petawawa, as given to the "Canadian Military Gazette": —

I have just returned from the new camp grounds at Petawawa, just west of Pembroke on the C.P.R. and can not speak too highly of this new place as a camp. Or the treatment extended to me there, my only regret being that I could not remain there longer, although it was cold. I profited by the careful and friendly instruction given willingly by the officers in charge, as well as by the N.C.O.'s. I will confess that I learned more and got a better idea of real soldiering than I have obtained in several camps, and have taken more hard knocks from tree branches in a few days than I ever took in my life.

elipsis graphic

The country is of a most interesting nature, hills, valleys, and rivers, with very few 'billiard table parade grounds.' This does away with ceremonial work and permits the targets being so placed that it requires keen sight to pick them out and keep them in sight, thus training the eyes. It also makes the correct observations of rounds more than ever necessary, and which, by the way, is not by any means an easy task at the Petawawa ranges, even with a good field glass, as the trees and sandy soil sometimes swallowed the projectile, seemingly without a sputter, so that hot a few rounds must be marked doubtful and acted upon accordingly.

elipsis graphic

The woods, although not of heavy timber, are thick, and the necessity of keeping the waggon line (400 yards in rear) correctly in touch with the guns, has been more clearly demonstrated. It is not so easily done, as has been proved in our other camps, and my sympathies are with the captain if he does get lost, waggons and all, as happened more than once. The placing of guns in action under real (not imaginary) cover, and the use of aiming posts, was the feature of the war game this year, and it certainly was the most interesting procedure, the real importance of which cannot be over-estimated, as exposure to enemy's fire and heavy casualties reduce efficiency and may mean loss of guns or position. Apart from this advantage, it enables the battery to come into action quietly and without unnecessary hurry or exceitment, thus saving the men and gun layers, and enabling them to move perfectly and at the same time carry out their work correctly.

elipsis graphic

The actual shooting scores of the competing batteries from all accounts do not seem to be brilliant, but the work has been gone through and mistakes and difficulties pointed out or explained will no doubt pave the way for excellent work next year on these hard and yet unknown ranges.

The first day was occupied by the visiting battery teams in qualifying the gun layers, the second being instructional day, in which firing was done and general matters thoroughly explained. The third day there were the firing competition, but in some cases where the weather was bad the instructional part took place in the morning and the competitions were carried out in the afternoon, making a fairly heavy day of it.

The drawbacks to Petawawa as a camp seem to be those particularly affecting the N.C.O.'s and men. The place does not suffer from any over-supply of visitors —in fact, it is lonely. Reading matter is scarce, and the darkness comes down early, so that it is a case of all work (and hard work, too) and no play. Perhaps this may be remedied next year. I think a good big tent (not a little marquee for 150 men), well lighted, where the men could have some sport of listen to 'their bands,' would be a perfect boon, and more than appreciated by one and all.

The Senior Subaltern


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 24 March 2015 7:27 PM EDT
Monday, 23 March 2015
An Avoidable Death, South Africa
Topic: The Field of Battle

An Avoidable Death, South Africa

With the Royal Canadians, Stanley McKeown Brown, 1900

For the first time the seriousness of the actual campaign broke on the Canadian regiment, and again the next day as a sad and impressive funeral cortege wended its way out over the sandy veldt, …

Two nights sufficed for the Canadians at Orange River, during the first of which a very sad shooting accident occurred in the Shropshire regiment, which was lying side by side with our men and which battalion was at a future date to form part of the now famous 19th Brigade along with the Royal Canadians.

The country around for miles was strongly patrolled at night and every precaution was taken to keep the Boers from taking our little garrison by surprise.

Out into the dark night the Shropshires sent a heavy picket with instructions to the men to be very careful to challenge every person who might come in or out of camp. At the foot of a kopje one of the men of the Shropshires stood on sentry, another private of the same regiment was returning to camp. The sentry promptly challenged, "Halt! who comes there?" and failing to call "Friend," the returning soldier said, "Oh, to you know me." These were fatal words, for no sooner had they been spoken when three ringing shots sounded through the Orange River garrison, three steady shots from the sentry's rifle, and his companion-in-arms fell, never to rise to life again. It was an unfortunate occurrence which cast gloom over the whole camp, but it shows that the rigidity of military discipline should not be trifled with.

For the first time the seriousness of the actual campaign broke on the Canadian regiment, and again the next day as a sad and impressive funeral cortege wended its way out over the sandy veldt, the men from our Dominion saw in reality a dark side which to them was new, and attended with a solemnity which was doubly solemn on the sands of Africa.

To slow music with bayonets fixed and arms reversed the creeping kharki procession passed by the lines of the Royal Canadians, and a hush came on the camp. Then it was that many a man shuddered as he thought of a burial in South Africa, thousands of miles from where any of his friends could ever see his grave or ever plant a flower on his last resting place.

There are times at war when one is pensive and reflective, that is when one sees a comrade buried with all the impressive ceremony of a military funeral. When the muffled drums resound but to a slow dirge; when the gun carriage with its gloomy coffin load, wrapped in a Union Jack death pall, lumbers along to a waiting grave, unsympathetically jolting the soldier on the way to his last lone bed. Sorrow is written on the faces of every rugged and sunburnt man of arms, as with reluctant steps he nears the burial place of his lost companion. The funeral notes of the mournful music have the effect of striking into a living man's soul a deep hatred of death in a foreign clime. The sand or limestone "six feet of earth," on a South African field, seems but a mean mockery of a proper grave; the shallow bed seems too short for that last long sleep, too narrow for a quiet rest of such duration as it is bound to be. The sewn-up blanket in which the soldier is shrouded makes at times but a poor, scanty apology for the sound coffin one is used to seeing on such occasions in peace time. The spades of earth thrown in on the human form as it bulges in the blanket seems a scarce sepulchre; the volleys from the muzzles of the rifles over the grave are like empty messages to the dead, and the quivering "last post," which the bugles blast over the silent mound after the burial service, are but a brazen farewell to the soldier as he lies free from the care of campaign, "where the wicked cease from troubling and the weary are at rest."

Then, according to military custom, the burial party starts from the lonely spot, and, where they before had come marching to slow music, the band at once strikes up a quickstep, and as if tired of the tedium of the service, swing with a dashing air back to the camp, till Death's hand beckons another fighter home, and the dead marches are again called into requisition.

The Senior Subaltern


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Sunday, 22 March 2015
Saluting in the Field
Topic: Discipline

Saluting in the Field

Gen. Chris Vokes sees strength in saluting gesture with the Canadians in Italy

Canadian Army Training Memorandum, No 36, March 1944

1.     In a "message from the G.O.C." in the army newspaper Red Patch, Major-Gen. Christopher Vokes of Ottawa told the men of his Canadian division that "to command-incomparable fighting men such as yourselves is an honour which does not sit lightly on my shoulders."

2.     His message was directed at saluting. The salute, he said, is the "hallmark" of a soldier's training.

3.     The Commander said that he had been in the army since the age of 17 and that there is nothing he would rather be than a soldier.

4.     THE BASIS OF TRAINING

(a)     "The basis of all our training is good discipline," he went on. "This makes us steady in battle and receptive to the wills of our commanders. Our discipline aims at a mutual respect and understanding between officers, NCOs and men and a deep all-consuming pride in one's self, one's comrades and one's unit. This must always remain the core of our existence as a fighting force.

(b)     "An indispensable part of our discipline is that the soldier (officer or man) should recognize his superior at all times. Custom decrees that this recognition be normally achieved by a form of greeting known as a salute. The junior salutes, the senior. returns the salute. Even generals salute each other.

(c)     "In civil life one raised one's hat or touched one's cap to one's father, one's father's friends or others whom one wished to greet in a respectful way and smilingly said, 'Hello, Dad' or 'Good morning, Mr. Brown.' I was brought up by my parents to do so. My own son and your sons are being brought up in this fashion.

(d)     "So in the army so long as we remain part of it let us not forget these courtesies. When we salute our superiors in rank, let us smile and pass the time of day. Let it be a cheerful and comradely gesture. We are all comrades in arms in the Allied armies. That is part of our strength which will help defeat the Hun as surely as our shells and bullets."

5.     He concluded the message "Nothing can keep us from Victory. Nothing will."

Canadian Army Battle Honours


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Saturday, 21 March 2015
Work and Pay in "A" and "B" Batteries (1882)
Topic: Canadian Militia

Military Matters

The Work and Pay in "A" and "B" Batteries
Some Very Mistaken Notions Answered

The Toronto Daily Mail, 11 March 1882

To the Military Editor of The Mail.

Sir.—I read with much interest a letter signed "Ex-Cadet" in The Mail a couple of weeks since. The writer complained of the high-handed way in which military matters had been conducted at the Royal Military College, Kingston, resulting in the removal of Major Ridout and the wigging of other officers. I admire the frank and honest outspoken words "Ex-Cadet," and as a Canadian fully concur in his remarks. I believe an investigation into these matters will likely take place in the House at Ottawa, when we will get more definite information respecting the occurrences alleged to have taken place. Till then I would wait before offering any more remarks on the subject.

There is a question, however, which I would ask. Could you or any of your readers explain what it is causes so many desertions from A and B Batteries at Quebec and Kingston? Are the men properly treated in respect of food, clothing, lodging, and medical treatment, and are they not overworked in respect to drill and fatigues" I think from what I have personally seen that they are both poorly clad and overworked, whilst the pay is not sufficient in this country of good wages and plentiful work to induce respectable young men to join and remain in these batteries. I have seen then drilled and marched out in heavy rains. They seem to grow dissatisfied, and so desert in far too many instances, and so old men, some grey-headed ones, and army life pensioners are brought in, who would be unable to undergo the hard work of active service if called upon tomorrow. I remember a soldier of one of these batteries in conversation with a friend and myself some time ago complaining of the incessant fatigue he had, in particular of cutting so much wood for staff-sergeants. Does the government pay these staff-sergeants or not sufficiently to enable them to pay for their own wood being cut, and thus to enable soldiers to learn their drill instead of cutting wood? The uniform this soldiers was wearing was not of good quality, and he had often to pay for extras from his small pay—this is another complaint that should be seen to at once by someone. Treat men as men, and not as schoolboys, and desertion would stop at once, and in a short time we would have a force upon which we could rely, and so be independent of deserters from the British and American services. Such men are never to be depended upon in seasons of real peril and danger. Make the service worth and steady respectable young man joining, and then we can dispense with the riff-raff we are often obligated to take in the ranks of our two schools of gunnery, I speak from personal observation, and as I am a taxpayer, I have a personal interest in the matter; we pay for an article, and we naturally expect our money's worth in that article. There has been far too much desertion already, and it is high time it was stopped.

Yours, &c.
A Canadian

March 7, 1882

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From the Editor, Military Column,

If our correspondent knew more about the management of "A" and "B" Batteries he would not be make assertions like those contained in his letter. Both batteries are well conducted and governed, and if a man occasionally deserts it is not the fault of the management. A good soldier has nothing to complain of; it is only the shiftless fellows who expect that a couple hours' drill each day embraces every duty of a soldier. They entirely overlook the fact that wood has to be cut for cooking and heating purposes, the barracks cleaned, the platforms in Fort Henry and the different towers traversed and cleaned occasionally, together with guard duty and a score of other things. In reference to cutting wood for the staff-sergeants, it is only defaulters who have this task to perform. The clothing is the same as that issued to the artillery in England, and every man on joining gets a full kit. (For particulars see para. 817, R. and O., 1879.) Marching men out in wet, sloppy weather is a very rare occurrence in either battery, and does them no harm, as they are generally allowed a half-holiday afterwards to give their kits a thorough overhauling. What is required, however, is better pay, which, of course, would induce a better class of men to present themselves and give the commanding officer a chance to secure good men, The plan adopted in the United States army of increasing the pay in each rank according to length of service is a good one, and might be adopted with advantage in these corps.

The Senior Subaltern


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 7 March 2015 2:58 PM EST
Friday, 20 March 2015
Officer Retention
Topic: Officers

Officer Retention

[US Army] Chief of Staff of the Army's Leadership Survey, Command and General Staff College Survey of 760 mid-career Students (Majors with a Few LTCs), 2000

Good units with good leaders retain more soldiers. The same is true for the officer corps. When junior officers have strong, positive leadership, they are more inclined to stay in the Army.

Reference Officer Retention. Instead of looking for outside influences, the Army needs to look inward. Good units with good leaders retain more soldiers. The same is true for the officer corps. When junior officers have strong, positive leadership, they are more inclined to stay in the Army. When presented with bad leadership, they want out. Talking with peers, most notably in the past 6 months, there seems to be an alarming number of bad leaders out there. Leaders who sugar coat things to higher; leaders who lie; leaders who are immoral; leaders who won't think twice about killing a career over an honest mistake or a difference of opinion; leaders who lead by fear and intimidation; leaders who care more about themselves than their soldiers/officers; leaders who look away at transgressions of others "for the good of the Army". Who wants to work under conditions where they are exposed to bad leadership? Who wants to be in an Army where the people who succeed do not fit the mold of the person you want to be? Who wants to be in a unit where the leadership would not think twice about overworking you or exposing you to unnecessary hardship and/or risk? Who wants to serve in an organization where they are disgraced by the acts of a few? While I can't voice the percentage of bad leaders, what number of examples would indicate that there are too many? I would argue that in the profession of arms, one would be too many. If in an officer's first couple of years in the Army he exposed to bad leaders without any examples/exposure to good leaders, you can bet he will leave. If exposed to an even mix of good and bad, the severity of each and/or the sequence relative to the time of the decision to stay in the army is made, will effect the decision. If exposed to only good leaders, there will still be some who elect to leave the service but at a much lower rate.

The Senior Subaltern


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Thursday, 19 March 2015
Ulundi
Topic: The Field of Battle


Massacre At Ulundi, by James E. McConnell

Ulundi

The Washing of the Spears; The Rise and Fall of the Zulu Nation, Donald R. Morris, 1965

The outline of the square was perfectly marked on the rise by the thick windrows of expended cartridges; the troops had fired over 35,000 rounds.

[Following the battle of Ulundi,] Chelmsford finally ordered the guns to limber up, broke the square and marched the men to the banks of the Mbilane, where the force rested and dined on the contents of its haversacks. A surprising number of officers had packed a bottle or two of champagne into their kits for just this occasion, and they toasted the victory in the warm and gassy wine. A few working details were still busy on the knoll; the engineers were gathering equipment, and the dressing station was preparing the wounded for the trip back to the laager. The outline of the square was perfectly marked on the rise by the thick windrows of expended cartridges; the troops had fired over 35,000 rounds. The surgeons made their report. Wyatt-Edgell was dead and Lieutenant George Astell Pardoe of the 1st/13th had been shot through both thighs. Eighteen other officers had been wounded more or less seriously, including four of the mounted staff officers. Chelmsford's aide, the naval lieutenant Milne who had climbed a tree to observe the camp at Isandhlwana, had been grazed by a bullet. Ten men had been killed and 69 wounded. There was no accurate count of the Zulu dead, and not even an estimate of their wounded, but over a thousand bodies lay on the slopes and in the path of the mounted pursuit.

The Senior Subaltern


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Wednesday, 18 March 2015
Military Vocabulary (1942)
Topic: Drill and Training

Application of Fire
Visual Training

Canadian Army Training Pamphlet No. 1; A General Instructional Background for the Young Soldier, 1942

Military Vocabulary

Men will be familiarized with all terms applied to features of ground, colours, shapes and military objects, so that their powers of description and recognition may be improved. A specimen military vocabulary is appended; it is intended to be a guide to instructors. The terms should be introduced as opportunity offers, during the soldier's service. It should be increased by teaching the local equivalent for, or additional terms appropriate to, the station in which the unit is serving, for example (in Canada, and respective of region) the added or dissimilar artificial features such as "silos," "elevator" (grain), "power dam," "snake fence"; the term equivalents: "trail" for ride or path, "gully" for ravine, "muskeg" for marsh, "rapids" for shallows; the sometimes necessary subdivision of conifers into the many local tree variants of the type, "balsam," hemlock," etc.; "scrub" or (perhaps) "sugar-bush" for copse, "prairie" for moor or common, "semaphore" for railway-signal, "turn-pike" for metalled road, "creek" for watercourse, etc.

i.    Features, artificial:—

TrackPost and rail fencesFerry
FootpathWire fencesFord
Ride RoadsIron fencesWindmill
TarredHurdle fencesRailway signals
MetalledSign postChurch tower
UnmetalledPylonFactory
Fenced and unfencedViaductCrane
Cross roadsCulvertGasometer
Sunken roadsCuttingGable-end
Telegaph PoleEmbankmentQuarry
 CanalRicks
 LockStooks

ii.    Colours:—

WhiteYellowRed
BlackBlueBrown
 Green  

iii.    Features, natural:—

Fir (trees)CopsePlough
Poplar (trees)GorseRoot field
Bushy-topped (trees)Corn fieldStubble
Hedgerow   

iv.    Topographical:—

RidgeKnollMiddle distance
ValleySaddleBackground
FoldSlopes, forwardDead ground
DefileSlopes, reverseCliff
Crest-lineSlopes, concaveGorge
HorizonSlopes, convexRavine
SpurForegroundClearing
  Salient

v.    Field Engineering:—

TrenchBarricadeRight angle
ParapetDug-outSquare
ParadosDefended postTriangle
FirestepDefended localityCircular
RevetmentObservation postVertical
TraverseBlockhouseHorizontal
BreastworkEmplacements  

vi.    Fire,—types of:—

DirectIndirectEnfilade
FrontalObliqueOverhead
 Flanking 

The Senior Subaltern


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Tuesday, 17 March 2015
Torpedo Boats at Halifax; 1901
Topic: Halifax

Torpedo Boats at Halifax; 1901

While the many ships of the line have well recorded histories and available photos. Often the smaller vessels of navies have been overlooked in the same respect. The image used in the postcard displayed above shows two unnamed (un-numbered?) torpedo boats at Halifax. The posting of a copy of the original photo on the image sharing site fickr dates the image to 1901.

The presence of Royal Navy torpedo boats at Halifax can be confirmed in a selection of news items during the period of the photo.

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Torpedo Boats for Halifax

Daily Mail and Empire, 25 January 1896

It is stated in naval circles that two first-class torpedo boats will be sent to Halifax in the spring. They will be larger and more powerful than those now there. The torpedo boats will be accompanied to Halifax by one of the transports.

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War Vessels' Novel Race

Torpedo Boat, With Ten Miles Start, Will Be Chased by Destroyer

The Evening News (San Jose, California), 26 August 1899

"HMS Quail at Halifax LAC 3332863" by Notman Studio of Halifax - This image is available from Library and Archives Canada under the reproduction reference number PA-028440 and under the MIKAN ID number 3332863. This tag does not indicate the copyright status of the attached work. A normal copyright tag is still required. See Commons:Licensing for more information.Library and Archives Canada does not allow free use of its copyrighted works. See Category:Images from Library and Archives Canada.. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

It is learned that a notable speed test between the torpedo boat destroyer Quail and torpedo boat No. 61 is to be held off Halifax soon.

The proposed test will have two objects, says the New York Press, in that it will demonstrate how long it will take a torpedo boat destroyer of the Quail's class to overtake a torpedo boat of 22 knots when the torpedo boat has a ten mile stat, and also it will decide whether the torpedo boat in these days is of much importance to a fleet.

No. 61 will be given 30 minutes start to enable her to get ten miles out to sea. Then the Quail will stat in pursuit. In a run of 100 miles, it is said, she will overtake the torpedo boat on her way back, pass her, and anchor in the dockyard 50 minutes ahead.

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Naval Fight at Halifax

Torpedo Boat Attack on Fleet Planned by Admiral

The Montreal Gazette; 28 August 1901

Halifax, N.S., August 27.—Admiral Bedford has ordered a torpedo boat stack on the fleet on Thursday at midnight. During the day the ships will leave port and, during the night attempt to enter the harbour. An attack will be made on all the vessels by the torpedo boats. The manoeuvres will be the first of the kind attempted here.

All of the vessels of the fleet will be engaged by the attacking force, and it is the intention to bring very gun into use. The torpedo boats will be laying in wait in one of the coves for the fleet and will suddenly pounce upon the war vessels. The admiral and officers will have no previous knowledge as to the whereabouts of the torpedo boats. The torpedo boats destroyer Quail will act as an advance guard and she, with the assistance of the search lights on the cruisers, will endeavour to locate the enemy and when located the entire fleet will engage them.

The Senior Subaltern


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Monday, 16 March 2015
British Artillery; Ammunition Considerations (1908)
Topic: Militaria

British Artillery; Ammunition Considerations (1908)

Military Engineering (Part 1), Field Defences, 1908

Horse and field artillery fire shrapnel shell of about 12 and 18 lbs. weight, with time and percussion fuzes. At short and medium ranges these light projectiles, owing to their high velocity, are easily deflected by very small parapets. At longer ranges, their penetration, before burst, is slight. Field gun shells therefore, used against troops behind earthworks, depend for their effect chiefly upon their searching power when burst in the air.

The principal use of common shell, which is used with a percussion fuze, is for ranging. It may also be used for the destruction of field magazines and earthworks, and for the attack of buildings. The small amount of bursting charge in the common shell of field guns reduces the possibility of good effect against earthworks, while as a man-killing projectile it is very inferior to shrapnel.

Percussion shrapnel is use for ranging, and against troops in buildings of behind cover such as walls. The fire of percussion shrapnel will be effective against troops defending any ordinary building.

Time shrapnel is employed against troops under all conditions other than the above. The present fuze is effective up to about 6,000 yds.

The angle of the cone of dispersion of the bullets (generally called the angle of opening) is about 20°. The angle increases slightly with the range, because the forward velocity of the shell decreases more rapidly than the velocity of rotation, so that the influence of the latter increases. In estimating the front covered by the spread of the bullets, it may be taken as from 35 to 40 per cent. of the distance at which the shell is burst short of the target.

The searching power of the bullet varies directly as the angle of its descent. To find approximately the greatest searching power of a shrapnel, half the angle of opening should be added to the slope of the descent of the shell. The slope of descent of the shell is:—

  • At 1500 yds, about 1 in 20.
  • At 2000 yds, about 1 in 13.
  • At 3000 yds, about 1 in 7.
  • At 4000 yds, about 1 in 4.

The splinters of common shell from guns, even of those high high explosive bursting charges, all go forward, whether burst in the air with time fuze, or on impact with percussion fuze. If burst in the air, their searching power is much greater than that of shrapnel, but it is very difficult, even under peace conditions, to burst the shell in exactly the right place over a trench.

Field gun shells are not intended to destroy earthwork. Against deep trenches with low, flat parapets, field artillery has but little effect. The tendency of the shell to glance on striking an earth parapet is specially marked in the cae where the latter is composed of sand and light soil. Such soil falls back into the craters formed, and thus little impression can be made on good earth at moderately long ranges.

The 60-pr. B.L. and 4.7-in. Q.F. are examples of heavy artillery guns. Their range is longer than that of field artillery, and their shrapnel bullets are heavier; their searching power is, however, little greater, and their shells are equally liable to be deflected by a very slight bank of earth,

These guns can best be employed against trenches or other earthworks by bringing an oblique or enfilade fire to bear. Their long range frequently enables them to sweep the enemy's position whilst keeping out of range of his rifle fire.

Field howitzers have been introduced into the British as well as into several foreign armies. They produce results otherwise unobtainable, since their high angle fire will search out troops behind cover which would render field artillery harmless. They are also used to attack closed works, overhead cover, villages, fire trenches, etc.

The 5-in. shell of 50-lbs. weight, with bursting charge of 9 lbs. 15 ozs. of high explosive, is especially effective against troops crowded together in such works as field redoubts, or in buildings or villages. Shrapnel shell with field howitzers can be used effectively at ranges up to about 5,000 yards; the angle of descent of the bullets may be anything up to 1/1.

Plate I gives an idea of the action of various kinds of projectiles. It will be observe that piratically the only one which has any backward effect after burst is the howitzer common shell, fired at high angle of elevation.

This question is one which should be carefully studied by all officers, since it is impossible to design field defences properly without a clear and accurate conception of the effects of artillery projectiles.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Sunday, 15 March 2015
Marine Officer Training
Topic: Officers

Marine Officer Training

A Rumor of War, Philip Caputo, 1977

Basic School was a school in fact as well as in name, a halfway house between the campus and the real Marine Corps. Its purpose was to turn us into professional officers. Because of the Corps doctrine that every marine is a rifleman, the course emphasized infantry fundamentals—weapons-training and small-unit tactics. It was dry, technical stuff, taught in the how-to-do-it fashion of a trade school: how to take a hill by frontal assault or envelopment; how to defend it once you have taken it, how to deliver searching and traversing fire with an M-60 machine gun.

For me, the classroom work was mind-numbing. I wanted the romance of war, bayonet charges, and desperate battles against impossible odds. I wanted the sort of thing I had seen in Guadalcanal Diary and Retreat, Hell! and a score of other movies. Instead of the romance, I got the methodology of war, Clausewitz and his nine principles, lines and arrows on a map, abstract jargon, and a number of bewildering acronyms and abbreviations. To be in battle was to be "in a combat situation"; a helicopter assault was a "vertical envelopment"; an M-14 rifle a "hand-held, gas-operated, magazine-fed, semiautomatic shoulder weapon." I had read somewhere that Stendhal learned his simple, lucid style by studying Napoleon's battle orders. Literature should be grateful that Stendhal didn't live in the present; the battle orders we studied were written in language that made the Rosetta Stone look like a Dick-and-Jane reader.

"Enemy sit. Aggressor forces in div strength holding MLR Hill 820 complex gc AT 940713-951716 w/fwd elements est. bn strength junction at gc AT 948715 (See Annex A, COMPHIBPAC intell. summary period ending 25 June) … Mission: BLT 1/7 seize, hold and defend obj. A gc 948715 … Execution: BLT 1/7 land LZ X-RAY AT 946710 at H-Hour 310600 … A co. GSF estab. LZ security LZ X-RAY H minus 10 … B co. advance a~is BLUl~ H plus S estab. blocking pos. vic gs AT 948710 … A, C, D cos. maneuver element commence advance axis BROWN H plus 10 … Bn tacnet freq 52.9 … shackle code HAZTRCEGBD … div. tacair dir. air spt callsign PLAYBOY … Mark friendly pos w/air panels or green smoke. Mark tgt. w/WP."

I was not the only one to find this eye-glazing. During one particularly dull lecture, a classmate named Butterfield leaned over to me. "You know," he whispered, "the trouble with war is that there isn't any back-ground music."

Our Hollywood fantasies were given some outlet in the field exercises that took up about half the training schedule. These were supposed to simulate battlefield conditions, teach us to apply classroom lessons, and develop "the spirit of aggressiveness." The Corps prized elan in its troops. The offensive was the only tactic worthy of the name. We were taught the rudiments of defensive warfare, while retrograde movements were hardly mentioned, and only then in tones of contempt. The Army retreated, the Marines did not, although they had —at Chosin Reservoir in Korea. The essence of the offensive was the frontal assault: "Hey diddle diddle, straight up the middle." This was the supreme moment of infantry combat; no tricky flanking or encircling movements, just a line of determined men firing short bursts from the hip as they advanced on the en-emy at a stately walk.

It was easy to do in the bloodless make-believe of field problems, in which every operation went according to plan and the only danger was the remote one of falling and breaking an ankle. We took these stage — managed exercises seriously, thinking they resembled actual combat. We couldn't know then that they bore about as much similarity to the real thing as shadow-boxing does to street-fighting. Diligently we composed our five-paragraph attack orders. We huddled in pine — scented thickets, soberly playing the roles assigned to us — student platoon leader, student squad leader — and with our maps spread flat, planned the destruction of our fictitious enemy, the aggressor forces. We fought them throughout the spring and summer, enveloped them, went at them with squad rushes, and made frontal assaults against the sun-browned hills they defended, yelling battle cries as we charged through storms of blank cartridge fire.

The Senior Subaltern


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Saturday, 14 March 2015
"C" Company, Infantry School Corps
Topic: The RCR

Our Permanent Troops, III.

"C" Company, Infantry School Corps, Toronto.

The Dominion Illustrated, Vol. VI. No. 136; Montreal and Toronto, 7 January 1891

This well-known company was raised at the same time as "A" and "B" companies, under the following officers: Lieut.-Col. Otter, Commandant; Major Smith, Lieutenants Sears and Wadmore, Sr. Strange. Particulars of the recruiting and organization of the corps has already been fully given in this journal (Vol. v., p. 303. — Unfortunately, this edition is not in the accessible archive).

The detachment now under mention was stationed in Toronto, occupying the New Fort barracks. The buildings were erected in 1840-41, and were continuously occupied by Her majesty's troops until 1870, when all Imperial garrisons were withdrawn from British North America, with the exception of Halifax; the barracks are of a most substantial nature, replacing the ruinous sheds known as Old Fort, so long the only home of the garrison. On the memorable 27th March, 1885, when the news flashes through Canada of the armed rebellion in the North-West, and of the killing and wounding of many loyal volunteers by the rebel half-breeds, "C" Company was one of the first corps ordered out for active service. Its record there was an highly honorable one, and can best be summed up by a paragraph in one of General Middleton's reports:—

"C" School, owing to its comparative propinquity to the scene of the action, was the only one of the schools fortunate enough to go to the front in the late expedition. Its conduct during the severe and trying march through the gaps, and subsequently during the campaign, whether on the march or in the face of the enemy, was such as to deserve the highest praise, and redounds greatly to the credit of its commandant, Lieut.-Col. Otter, and his officers. Lieut.-Colonel Otter also did good service in command of a column.

Proportionately to the strength of the Company, it suffered severely throughout the campaign, having 11 casualties. It was engaged in the actions at Fish Creek, Cut Knife and Batoche, at which fight a detachment, under command of Major Smith, was on board of the steamer "Northcote," intended to operate in conjunction with the main body of the land forces under General Middleton. "C" Company remained on duty in the North-est until November, 1885, when it returned to Toronto, and since then has been of great service as the school for the military instruction of the officers and non-commissioned officers of the Ontario Militia, no less than 340 officers and 560 non-commissioned officers and men having been admitted within the last six years. The company is under the command of Lieut.-Col. Otter, who is also the Deputy Adjutant-General for Military District No. 2. A detailed sketch of the life and services of this talented officer will be found on page 342, volume V., of this journal (see below). Lieut.-Col. Otter is ably assisted by the following officers, portraits of whom will be found on another page of this issue, namely: Major Vidal, Capt. MacDougall, Lieuts. Evans and Laurie, and Dr. Strange, surgeon of the detachment.

We also present views of the officers quarters, barracks and other buildings used by the corps; they are beautifully situated on the shores of lake Ontario, and we sincerely hope that before long they and the other barracks occupied by the several companies of the Infantry School Corps will be tenanted by battalions instead of by companies, and that our Canadian Regular Infantry will thus form a brigade with the very moderate establishment of three thousand men. Such an increase would do wonders for the active militia at large by the ability of the permanent troops to then furnish adjutants and sergeants-major to every volunteer regiment in the Dominion, besides furnishing ample detachments to keep occupied and in repair the various forts and military buildings bequeathed to us by the Imperial authorities, and which are presently rapidly falling into decay and utter ruin. In case of war the very points, now neglected, would be of vital importance in the defence of Canada, and their preservation should be of deep interest to the people at large as on them might depend the security of our homes from an invader.

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Lieut.-Col. William Otter, D.A.G., Toronto.

The gallant soldier is a native on Ontario, having been born at Clinton, Huron County, on the 3rd of December, 1843. He received his education in part at the Grammar School, Goderich, and in part at Upper Canada College, Toronto. In October 1861, Mr. Otter joined the Victoria Rifles, Toronto, (Now "F" Company of the Queen's own Rifles) and in December, 1864, was promoted to a lieutenancy in the latter corps. He served as an officer of that rank in the 2nd Administrative Battalion on the Niagara frontier in the winter of 1864-65. In the following August, Lieutenant Otter was appointed adjutant, and in that capacity took part in the repulse of the Fenian raid of 1866, being present at the action of Limeridge. In June, 1869, he was advanced to the status of major, and went to England as second in command of the Wimbledon team in June, 1875. A year later he was made lieutenant-colonel by brevet, and in the summer following obtained command of the corps. During the unhappy riots in Toronto, towards the close of 1875, and in the Belleville G.T.R. strike riots of 1877, he had command of the regiment. In 1883 he commanded the Wimbledon Team, and later in the year was sent to Aldershot to acquire information in connection with the proposed formation of military schools. It was during the North-west rebellion of 1885 that Col. Otter especially distinguished himself. He had command, during the campaign, of the Battleford, or centre column, and made a forced march from the Saskatchewan across the prairie to Battleford (a distance of 190 miles) in five days and a half. He commanded the reconnaissance after Poundmaker, the rebel Indian chief, whose junction with Big Bear he prevented by the engagement at Knife Hill. Had those two chiefs effected a combination and been enabled to reach Riel, the issue of conflict would, at least for a time, have been different. Col. Otter also commanded the Turtle lake column sent out in pursuit of Big Bear at the close of the rising. In July, 1886, he was appointed to the command of Military District No. 2, which he held along with the charge of the Toronto Infantry School Corps ("C" Company) which had been assigned him on his return from England in 1883. Col. Otter is the compiler of a useful manual of military interior economy called "The Guide," which has been accepted as a text book in all our schools of military training. The Colonel, who is now Deputy Adjutant-General, has been married since October, 1865, his wife being a daughter of the late Rev. James Porter, Inspector of Public Schools, Toronto, and formerly Superintendent of Education for New Brunswick. By religious profession Col. Otter is a zealous member of the Church of England.

The Royal Canadian Regiment Museum


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 15 February 2015 12:30 PM EST
Friday, 13 March 2015
The Orders of Lieut Bethune
Topic: The Field of Battle

The Orders of Lieutenant F.P Bethune

Fron a now-defunct version of the Australians at War website

On March 13, 1918, Lieutenant F.P. Bethune, commanding No. 1 Section of the 3rd Machine-Gun Company was instructed to post his guns at Spoil Bank. He considered this position to be suicidal and complained. Neverless, he lead his men there. Before he could get into position a runner reached him with new orders to move to Buff Bank. This was a good position, better than Spoil Bank, but without infantry nearby to cover them, the machine-guns were dangerously exposed. With the safety of that part of the line in his hands, Bethune decided his men should have written orders.

He therefore issued these orders:

1.     This position will be held, and the Section will remain here until relieved.

2.     The enemy cannot be allowed to interfere with this programme.

3.     If the Section cannot remain here alive, it will remain here dead, but in any case it will remain here.

4.     Should any man through shell-shock or other cause attempt to surrender, he will remain here dead.

5.     Should all guns be blown out, the Section will use Mills grenades and other novelties.

6.     Finally, the position, as stated, will be held.

F.P Bethune, Lieut.
O.C. NO.1 Section

Bethune and his squad survived the occupation of the post, holding it for 18 days. The position was held.

The Senior Subaltern


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 15 February 2015 12:29 PM EST
Thursday, 12 March 2015
Notes on Training (1922)
Topic: Drill and Training

Notes on Training

Infantry Training, Vol. 1, Provisional, 1922

The aim of all training is to produce:—

i.     In the leaders:—

The ability to command—developed by actual practice in the command of men. The ability to command includes readiness of judgment, which can be acquired only as the result of sound military knowledge built up by study and practice until it has become an instinct. It includes the capacity for quick decisions and for giving clear orders, and the will-power to ensure that orders are carried out. It includes initiative, i.e., the ability to see when independent action is required, and the necessary self-confidence to take such action promptly and to assume responsibility for it. It includes the ability to execute an order through subordinate commanders without interference with their personal responsibility. Lastly, it includes tact and knowledge of men so that the best may be got out of them.

ii.     In the men:—

(a)     The moral attributes of a soldier; including patriotism, loyalty, pride of race and a high sense of honour.

(b)     The fighting spirit—resolution to close with the enemy, based on confidence in their own superiority.

(c)     Discipline—in ingrained habit of cheerful and unhesitating obedience which controls and directs the fighting spirit. Individually, self-respect and its outward marks, such as cleanliness and a smart bearing; collectively "team work" under the "captain of the team."

(d)     Esprit de corps—the pride in his unit which makes a man unwilling to bring discredit on it, and ready at need to sacrifice himself for its success.

(e)     Physical fitness—to stand the fatigue and nervous strain of marching and fighting.

(f)     Skill at arms—a thorough knowledge by every man of his weapons and their use, and thus absolute reliance upon them to kill the enemy.

These are the qualities which build up a soldier, and they can all be developed by the methods of training described in this manual.

The growth of the moral qualities will be fostered chiefly by environment and it is the duty of all tanks to assist in this object by their conversation and example.

The Senior Subaltern


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Wednesday, 11 March 2015
Officers are Gentlemen
Topic: Officers

The guiding principles of personal conduct for an officer, as for any gentleman, are honor, dignity, and courtesy.

Officers are Gentlemen

Canadian Army Training Memorandum, No 38, May 1944 (From the Fd Arty journal USA)

1.     A few incidents have recently come to my attention which indicate a lack of familiarity with the code of personal conduct required of an officer. I am writing this not in recrimination for any of these incidents but to re-emphasize to you the ethics of our profession.

2.     The Profession of Arms is an ancient and honorable one. The Homeric Warriors, the Knights of the Round Table, Jeanne d'Arc are part of our heritage.

3.     By virtue of our uniform, we, as officers, enjoy not only the privilege of commanding, but the prestige of rank as well. We have thereby the obligation of contributing to that tradition by our devotion to duty, and of enhancing that prestige by irreproachable personal conduct.

4.     The guiding principles of personal conduct for an officer, as for any gentleman, are honor, dignity, and courtesy.

5.     Integrity of deed and statement is an important part of honor. To misrepresent facts in written or oral statements, whether to military or civilian personnel, is infamous to the Uniform. The signature of an officer is tantamount to truth-whether it be in a departure book, on a leave request, on an application for ration coupons, or on a check.

6.     Dignity and courtesy must characterize our activities in public. In uniform our appearance and actions are subject to the closest scrutiny by enlisted men and by civilians. Vulgarity, intoxication, loudness, rudeness, unseemly familiarity, eccentric dancing in public places, all are detrimental to the esteem of an officer.

7.     The enlisted men who entrust us with their lives and the public who depend upon us for their security and happiness have reason to demand these qualities. By tradition and by our obligation to them, we are enjoined, to paraphrase Cyrano de Bergerac, to be in all things worthy.

The Senior Subaltern


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Tuesday, 10 March 2015
Harass, Worry, and Bait Your Enemy
Topic: The Field of Battle

The Disaster at Koorn Spruit. the Royal Horse Artillery working their guns.
from: h. W. Wilson, With the Flag to Pretoria, 1902

Harass, Worry, and Bait Your Enemy

Ian Hamilton's March, 1900, as presented in Frontiers and Wars, Winston S. Churchill, 1962

Nevertheless, function or no function, it is war, and the way to win war. Harass, bait, and worry your enemy. Once he is more frightened of you than you are of him, all your enterprises will prosper.

Thus disturbed, I thought it might be worth while to walk up to the outpost line and see what was passing there. When I reached the two guns which were posted on the near ridge, the officers were in consultation. Away across the Sand River, near two little kopjes, was a goodly Boer commando. There were about 150 horsemen, with five ox-wagons and two guns. The horses were grazing, but not outsaddled. The men were lying or sitting on the ground. Evidently they thought themselves out of range. The subaltern commanding the guns was very anxious to fire — 'really think I could reach the brutes'; but he was afraid he would get into trouble if he fired his guns at any range greater than artillery custom approves. His range finders said '6,000'. Making allowances for the clear atmosphere, I should have thought it was more. At last he decided to have a shot. 'Sight for 5,600, and let's see how much we fall short.' The gun cocked its nose high in the air and flung its shell accordingly. To our astonishment the projectile passed far over the Boer commando, and burst nearly 500 yards beyond them: to our astonishment and to theirs. The burghers lost no time in changing their position. The men ran to their horses, and, mounting, galloped away in a dispersing cloud. Their guns whipped up and made for the further hills. The ox-wagons sought the shelter of a neighbouring donga. Meanwhile, the artillery subaltern, delighted at the success of his venture, pursued all these objects with his fire, and using both his guns threw at least a dozen shells among them. Material result: one horse killed. This sort of artillery fire is what we call waste of ammunition when we do it to others, and a confounded nuisance when they do it to us. Even as it was an opportunity was lost. We ought to have sneaked up six guns, a dozen if there were a dozen handy, all along the ridge, and let fly with the whole lot, at ranges varying from 5,000 to 6,000 yards with time shrapnel. Then there would have been a material as well as a moral effect. 'Pooh,' says the scientific artillerist, 'you would have used fifty shells, tired your men, and disturbed your horses, to hit a dozen scallawags and stampede 150. That is not the function of artillery. Nevertheless, function or no function, it is war, and the way to win war. Harass, bait, and worry your enemy. Once he is more frightened of you than you are of him, all your enterprises will prosper.

The Senior Subaltern


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT

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