The Minute Book
Saturday, 25 March 2017

France Trails the Military Bicycle
Topic: Militaria

France Trails the Military Bicycle

The French tests of the Bicycle as a War Machine

Military Matters, The Gazette, Montreal, Quebec, 26 December 1896

The serious consideration that France is giving the bicycle in connection with service in war, has led the military experts all over the civilized world to take up the matter, but as an admirable article in the London Daily Mail says: "Little has been done by any of the great Powers, although experts have long agreed that the bicycle will play an important part in the next war." But it is not the "faddy" or "ornamental" order with which the French have taken it up. Captain Gerard, a young officer of the French army, is proving by severe tests that bicycle corps can be trained to very nearly take the place of cavalry. He has been training his men to the performance known as the "cleaving of the Turk’s head" with the bicycle instead of the horse. It was found to be extremely difficult at first, and the slightest shifts in the saddle caused a spill. But the men soon acquired great proficiency, and demonstrated that the weight and impetus of the horse count as little, and that the feat is accomplished by strength and dexterity alone.

Rapid firing machine guns are carried on several types of machines, including tandems, double tricycles and the regular bicycle. On the regular safety the rapid-firing gun is fixed between the handles. It is an easy matter to perceive that a charge made by a couple of hundred men riding abreast and armed in this way would be more deadly than a charge of twice that number of cavalry. The tricycle, or military duplex safety, as it is called, is thought of favourably, for the reason that the space between the two rear wheels is well adapted to the carrying of ammunition. The gun is rigged on a crossbar between two saddles, and is easily manipulated by one of the riders. Another machine in use is a tandem fitted with two rapid fire guns.

It is, however, in skirmishing that the bicycle promises most. A commander marching into an enemy’s country has had in times past to rely upon a corps of fleet horsemen to "feel the way" and follow the movements of the enemy. The extent of territory over which this could be done daily was limited by the powers of the horse. The bicycle skirmishers, however, would suffer under no such limitations. The transportation of fodder for the horses is one of the most serious problems that confront a military commander, and their care entails a vast amount of labour, which takes so many men out of the list of available fighters. Many times in history the approach of an enemy has become known by the tramping of the horses, which, upon a hard road, can be heard a long way off on a still night. Experienced campaigners have detected this ominous sound when the horses were miles away. Nothing of this kind would be possible. Again, a mounted horseman makes a large object at night, but a cyclist crouching low could only be seen with difficulty, and would make a very difficult target to hit. The tandem skirmishers are specially formidable. They have a speed which no horse can attain. In times of danger the rider in front can bend low and work the pedals while his companion can fire over his shoulder. Altogether the French officer in charge of the experiment has demonstrated to his own satisfaction the superiority of the bicycle over the horse for many purposes in warfare.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Colours of Regiments of Infantry (1859)
Topic: Militaria

Colours of Regiments of Infantry

The Queen's Regulations and Orders for the Army, Horse-Guards, 1st December, 1859

1.     The Royal, or first, colour of every regiment is to be the Great Union throughout,—being the Imperial Colour of the United Kingdom of of Great Britain and Ireland, in which the Cross of St. George is conjoined with the Crosses of St. Andrew and St. Patrick, on a blue field,—and is to bear in the centre the Imperial Crown, and the number of the regiment underneath in gold Roman characters.

2.     The regimental, or second, colour is to be of the colour of the facing of the regiment, with the Union in the upper canton, except those regiments which are faced with red, white, or black; in those regiments which are faced with red, or white, the second colour is to be the Red Cross of St. George in a White Field, and the Union in the upper canton. In those regiments which are faced with black, the second colour is to be St. George's Cross the Union in the upper canton; the three other cantons black. The number of the regiment is to be embroidered in gold Roman characters in the centre.

3.     Those regiments which bear a royal, county, or other title are to have such designation on a red ground round a circle within the Union-wreath of roses, thistles, and shamrocks. The number of the regiment in gold Roman characters in the centre.

4.     In those regiments which bear any ancient badge, the badge is to be on a red ground in the centre, and the number of the regiment in gold Roman characters underneath. The Royal, or other title, to be inscribed on a circle within the Union-wreath of roses, thistles, and shamrocks.

5.     The regimental, or second, colour is also to bear the devices, distinctions, and mottos, which have been conferred by Royal authority; the whole to be ensigned with the Imperial Crown. Second battalions carry the same colours as first battalions, with the addition of "II BATT." on a scroll below the Union-wreath.

6.     The colours are to be of silk; the dimensions to be four feet flying, and three feet six inches deep on the pike, exclusive of the fringe:—the length of the pike (spear and ferrel included) to be nine feet ten inches: the cords and tassels of the whole to be crimson and gold mixed.

7.     No addition or alteration is to be made in the colours of any regiment of infantry without Her Majesty's special permission and authority, signified through the Commander-in-Chief of the army.

8.     The camp-colours to be eighteen inches square, and of the colour of the facing of the regiment, with the number of the regiment upon them. The poles to be seven feet six inches long.

9.     The following table shows the required proportion of camp-colours and pace- sticks for a regiment of infantry, as also the manner in which they are to be provided:—

Articles Price. Length of Time to last. No. of Articles required. Out of What Fund to be paid. Remarks.
s.   d.Years
Pace Stick7   6101712 by Captains of Companies.

5 out of Postage and Stationery Allowance.
1 for each Company.

4 for Drill Sergeant and his Aids.
1 for the Sergeant-Major.
A Camp-Colour5   058Postage and Stationery Allowance.The Bunting to be renewed when required.
A Saluting-Colour5   051Ditto
Adjutant's Aid2   054Ditto
Time Preceptor and PendulumConsidered unnecessary, and cannot, therefore, be admitted as a charge against the Fund mentioned,— a Plummet and String being deemed sufficient. 

10.     The saluting-colour to be an ordinary camp-colour, to be distinguished only from the other camp-colours by a transverse red cross; when the facings are red, by a transverse blue cross. The flags of battalion aids are to be 33 inches in the pole, including the bunting, which is to be of the same size as that of the camp-colour. The flags are to be carried in the hand, and, when elevated, placed on the muzzle of the fire lock.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Thursday, 23 February 2017

Standards and Guidons (1859)
Topic: Militaria

Standards and Guidons of Regiments of Dragoon-Guards and Dragoons

The Queen's Regulations and Orders for the Army, Horse-Guards, 1st December, 1859

1.     The standards of the regiments of cavalry to be of silk damask embroidered and fringed with gold.

2.     The guidons of regiments of dragoons to be of silk.

3.     The tassels and cords of the whole to be of crimson silk and gold mixed.

4.     The lance of the standard or guidon to be nine long (spear and ferrel included).

5.     The flag of the standard to be two feet five inches wide, without the fringe, and two feet three inches on the lance: the corners to be square.

6.     The flag of the guidon of dragoons to be three feet five inches to the end of the slit of the swallow-tail, and two feet three inches on the lance. The upper and lower corners to be rounded off at twelve inches' distance from the end of the flag.

7.     The standard or guidon of each regiment is to be crimson, with (except otherwise authorized) the Royal or other title of the regiment, on a red ground round a circle, in letters of gold, the rank of the regiment in gold Roman characters on a crimson ground, in the centre, the whole within a wreath of roses, thistles, and shamrocks on the same stalk, ensigned with the Imperial Crown:—the white horse, on a green mount on a crimson ground, to be in the first and fourth compartments, within a scroll: and the rose, thistle, and shamrock conjoined, on a ground of the colour of the facings of the regiment, within a scroll, in the second and third corners.

8.     Those regiments which have any particular badge are to carry it in the centre of their standard or guidon, with (except otherwise authorized) the Royal or other title of the regiment, on a red ground round a circle, in letters of gold, the whole within a wreath of roses, thistles, and shamrocks on the same stalk; ensigned with the Imperial Crown—the white horse, on a green mount on a crimson ground, within a scroll, in the first and fourth corners and the rank of the regiment, on a ground of the same colour as the facings of the regiment, within a wreath of roses, thistles, and shamrocks, in the second and third corners.

9.     The standard or guidon is also to bear the devices, distinctions, and mottos which have been conferred by Royal Authority; the motto is to be under the wreath in the centre.

10.     No addition or alteration is to be made in the standard or guidon of any regiment of cavalry, without the Sovereign's special permission and authority.

11.     The standards and guidons of cavalry are to be carried by Troop Serjeant-Majors.

12.     Previously to sending to the War Office requisitions for new standards or colours, application is to be made, through the Adjutant-General, to the Inspector of Regimental Colours, for a drawing of the pattern as approved by Royal Authority.

Regiments of Cavalry, Queen's Regulations and Orders for the Army, 1859 Regiments of Cavalry (con't), Queen's Regulations and Orders for the Army, 1859

Regiments of Cavalry

With the colours of their uniforms and facinbgs;—their regimental badges; mottois; and the devices of distinctions authorized to be borne on their standards and guidons.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Military Notes; Service Chevrons (1906)
Topic: Militaria

Military Notes; Service Chevrons (1906)

The Quebec Saturday Budget, 6 January 1906

"In order to provide a means of distinguishing those men under the rank of sergeant, and those who have served continuously in their corps for three years, and had re-enlisted for a second period of similar service, there will be issued to each a service chevron of one bar to be worn when in uniform (on the left arm below the elbow) during the period of his re-enlistment.

"An additional chevron of one bar will be issued, to be worn similarly, to those who re-enlist for further service, after completion of each period of three years."

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Friday, 17 February 2017

Change of Button With the New King
Topic: Militaria

Change of Button With the New King

Letters "E.R.I." Must Give Place to "G.R.I." on all Uniforms

The Evening Record, Windsor, Ontario, 21 May 1910

"At the time of the German warship's [Huerta] visit [1 October 1913], consideration was being given to the Regiment's badges. The designs bearing the V.R.I. cypher of Her Majesty Queen Victoria were still in use in some instances, but had been replaced in others by types bearing the cypher of His Majesty King Edward VII or that of His Majesty King George V. A number of designs were submitted to Lieut.-Col. Fages, but no decision was reached until, as mentioned later in this book, the point was eventually settled by the restoration to the Regiment of the right to use the V.R.I., "in memory of the Sovereign in whose reign the unit was raised and in view of the services the Regiment rendered in the Great War." - (pp. 193, The Royal Canadian Regiment; 1883-1983, R.C. Fetherstonaugh,1936)

"V.R.I." altered nine years ago to "E.R.I.," must now be changed to "G.R.I." on the buttons and badges of those in the service, military or civil, of the British governments.

Every button on every serge and tunic and service cap in the active militia of Canada, every helmet and cap badge in the Royal Canadian regiment (sic), and many other corps as well, has been displaying in monogram form that Edward VII was Rex and Imperator, just as they were used to announce to the world that the wearer owed allegiance to Victoria, Regina and Imperatrix.

Postmen of Canada wear the royal monogram on the collar as well as on brass buttons. It is invariably found on the uniforms of customs officers, and sometimes on police buttons. As new clothing is ordered for these the new buttons will appear. In the case of soldiers of the permanent forces, the old buttons will be replaced before new clothing is needed. As soon as the "G.R.I." buttons are to be had by the regimental tailor the change will begin to take place.

Customs, parliamentary and other government stationery usually bears the monogram prominently, and here a change is due in new supplies.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Friday, 3 February 2017

Gunnery (1855)
Topic: Militaria

Gunnery (1855)

From: Field Service; The Sydney Morning Herald, Sydney, Australia, 11 May 1855
(From the Household Words)

The management of battering trains requires great energy, patience, and attention from the artillery officer. First, he had to consider the quantity of ordnance—six guns being used to every four howitzers or mortars, besides allowing for spare guns; then, the ammunition; and next, the means of transport. With regard to the ammunition, it is stated that at the siege of Ciudad Rodrigo, in six days, eighteen hundred and twenty-five barrels of powder were expended; at Badajoz, in eight days, two thousand two hundred and seventy-one barrels; and at the two sieges of Saint Sebastien, five thousand and twenty-one barrels. As to shot, the average per gun may be (this is speaking roughly) about five hundred; and of shells, one hundred and twenty; but the general conclusion from former sieges is that a breach, one hundred feet wide, can be made by the expenditure of ten thousand six hundred twenty-four-pounder shot, at five hundred yards distance. With a commanding position, much less will suffice.

Upon enquiring into the execution done, we find, from elaborate experiments tried in eighteen hundred and thirty-four at the great artillery school at Metz, a thirty-six pounder, with only one-third charge, at one thousand yards, penetrated twelve inches into good rubble masonry, thirty-one inches into sound oak, and nearly six feet into a mass of earth, sand, and clay. An eight-inch shell penetrates twenty-three feet into compact earth. One thirteen-inch iron mortar, at an angle of forty-five degrees, with a charge of twenty-five pounds, ranged four thousand eight hundred and fifty yards. Weak powder is sensibly improved by heating it, with proper care. Exposure to the sun is useful.

Double shotting, which is chiefly practised in the navy, may be safely tried at short distance with heavy guns. It would seem easy to sink a ship by hitting her below water; but the fact is, the resistance of the water is so great, that a shot can hardly penetrate it; and the only way to damage the ship, would be to catch her as she heels over. Steamers, with their machinery below the water-line are as safe as sailing vessels; even many holes in the funnels are of slight consequence.

The smooth bored percussion musket will fire sixty rounds in thirty minutes, and carry two hundred yards. The carbines used by the artillery and cavalry carry one hundred and fifty yards. These however, are nothing to the new rifle muskets and carbines with Minié balls which are good at eight hundred to one thousand yards. Artillery do not need carbines carrying beyond three hundred yards, as their heavy ordnance effectually keep the enemy at a respectful distance.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Thursday, 2 February 2017

Banners of Regiments Sacred (1924)
Topic: Militaria

Ancient Tradition Makes Banners of Regiments Sacred (1924)

The Border Cities Star, Windsor, Ontario, 1 March 1924
By Deanna Van Luven

Since the formation of the earliest military and naval organizations in the dim, dark ages, it has been the custom to deck out the fighting units with badges, banners, crests and similar signs.

In heathen times the warring tribes would carry some sacred sign into battle, usually an image of their particular god, thus giving them courage and inspiration.

Down through the ages the custom continued, and when the science of military strategy and tactics became more developed these signs became rallying points of armies and the various divisions of the fighting forces.

In Early Times

It is recorded that the early Egyptians, Assyrians, Jews and Persians carried banners. These would generally consist of cloths, varying in size, shape and colors, or figures of birds and animals.

The armies of the early Egyptian kings carried a fan-shaped design bearing the initials of the reigning sovereign, while the Roman eagles are equally familiar in the pages of history.

The word "flag," which is of Teutonic origin, meaning "a piece of cloth waving in the wind," was adopted to distinguish the banners flown at sea. It was later used as a term for both naval and military banners.

Flags of Barons

To come down to the Middle Ages, the days of the feudal barons, each of the lordly landowners adopted a particular banner, and his followers wore distinctive badges. In the days of the early Crusades the armies were a riot of colorful banners, crests and designs.

The King's banner was carried by the regiments of "mercenaries" when they were introduced, and the men wore the King's badges.

Although St. George had been the patron saint of England from the earliest times, it was not until the reign of Edward III that this was officially recognized, and Henry V was the first to bear a banner with the cross of St. George embodied thereon. St. Andrew was adopted as the patron saint of Scotland about A.D. 750.

First Union Flag

When James VI of Scotland became James I of England he ordered the cross of St. George and the celtire of St. Andrew to be combined, thus making the first Union Flag. It was then commonly known as the "Jack" after Jacques, the French version of the King's name. This flag was carried by the British armies, with some slight variations, and with the exception of the Commonwealth period, until the year 1800, when the celtire of St. Patrick of Ireland was added to then design.

The flags assigned to the various regiments in the British army are known as "Colors," "Standards," or "Guidons," according to the branch of the service concerned. The latter two terms concern the cavalry, while "Colors" are borne by infantry only. Regiments of rifles, artillery and hussars carry no colors or standards.

In the infantry regiments two distinct colors are carried, the first being the King's Colors, a "Union Flag," with the cypher of the King and the name of the regiment enscribed in the centre, and the other being the Regimental Color, which is of variable design.

Regimental Colors

Regimental Colors for the various infantry regiments are as follows: English, cross of St. George; Scotch, yellow; Irish, green (non-existent), royal regiments always blue; and special regiments, corresponding to uniform facings. The crest of the regiment is enscribed in the centre, and encircled by wreaths of entwined rose, thistles, shamrocks or oak leaves as the case might be. The wreath is of maple leaves in Canadian units.

Battle honours are scrolls with the names of "actions" embroidered on them and are awarded to those regiments which have specially distinguished themselves.

Although rifle regiments and certain other branches of the service carry no colors their honors are inscribed on their badges. "Rifles" were originally scouts and skirmishers, and their particular role made the carrying of colors impossible. Later, when formed into units the old tradition remained. The fact that batteries of artillery have no colors may possibly be traced back to the ancient customs of the Prussians in having carved chariots accompanying their field troops instead of banners.

Carried by Subalterns

Colors are usually carried by two subalterns (lieutenants or second lieutenants), with an escort of three N.C.O.'s or men with fixed bayonets. The colors of a regiment must not be confused with the regimental "colors," which are really "club" designations.

Since 1879 colors have not been carried in action by British regiments. In that year, in one of the campaigns against savages, two officers lost their lives while endeavouring to save the colors. It was then decided an unnecessary sacrifice in savage warfare, and the custom has not been revived to the present. It is contended by military authorities that their use would be extremely valuable in civilized warfare, especially in the assault, as they would serve as distinguishing marks and guides where a large body of troops are working together. This, of course, would apply in a campaign of the "open" variety only. They were used to this end in the Russo-Japanese war.

At all times the colors are paid the highest honours, as they are consecrated, and are the epitome of the history of the regiment concerned. The represent Honor, Death and Glory, and the self-sacrifice of thousands of the finest men of a nation. They are a symbol of the trust placed in that regiment by the king.

Overseas Honors

At the conclusion of the Great War, 1914-18, a special King's Color was presented to all overseas units taking part therein. The late King Edward VII presented a similar banner to the Royal Canadian Regiment upon the conclusion of the South African War, 1899-1902, and an elaborate ceremony is still carried out by that regiment on Paardeburg Day, the 28th of February (sic) of each year, and this color is "trooped" on this anniversary.

Many old and historic colors now repose in St. Paul's Cathedral, London, England, battle-scarred and torn, but honored by the entire nation. In Canada the majority of the colors of overseas units in the C.E.F. have been "hung" in various churches, and those of one of the units formed in this district may now be seen in the vestry of All Saints' Church, Windsor.

Canadian Army Battle Honours

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Saturday, 31 December 2016

Future Battles Will Be Fought By Rival "Tanks"
Topic: Militaria

Future Battles Will Be Fought By Rival "Tanks"

Great Land Cruisers Being Built By Germans to Match Those of British

Spokane Daily Chronicle, Spokane, Washington, 21 September 1917

Herculean battles between droves of allied and Teuton "tanks" will be "as common as air fighting" on the western front soon, Colonel E.D. Swinton, commander of the first British "tank" squadron in France, predicts, according to the Washington correspondent of the Chicago Tribune.

Colonel Swinton, who is in the United States with Lord Reading's commission, originated the now famous British fighting monsters, he said in Washington. He believes the Germans are also building land cruisers and the day is not far distant, he thinks, when it will be a question of the survival of the fittest between "Fritz" and "Teddy" tanks.

Have Two Kinds

"There will be both male and female tanks—so called," he said. "We will have 'Mary' and 'Molly' tanks along with their lords and masters, the big 'Teddy' tanks. The males will lumber into battle surrounded by their harems.

"With the destruction of machine guns as his chief objective, the male tank starts across No Man's land. Shell craters, embankments, barbed wire entanglements, trenches, and even small forests are no barriers. With two six-pounders he blasts his way forward. Being bullet-proof, it is seldom that he is checked until he has accomplished his mission—destroying machine gun emplacements.

"However, he is more or less useless and close fighting and often gets into a place where he cannot extricate himself. It is here that his 'better halves' get into the game.

"The female tanks—dubbed thus because of their man-killing propensities—tag along behind, in advance and on all sides, fighting like mad. They beat off the enemy trying to storm the big 'Teddy.'"

Only Deadlock Breakers

Thus far 'tanks' are the only means that have been devised in breaking the deadlock along strongly entranched infantry fronts, Colonel Swinton stated. Great improvements are being made in their construction and defects remedied. The tank of the future will be a "perfect" fighting machine, capable of feats more startling than heretofore dreamed of, he said.

Of the development of the crawling fortresses, which have changed modern warfare, Colonel Swinton said:

"During that awful first year every soldier realized that something had to be devised to stop the carnage. The futility of a 'naked man' attempting to cross No Man's land was apparent to allies and Germans alike. It was an impossibility to sweep that pock-marked patch of hell with men alone.

How Idea Was Developed

"I has seen one of your Yankee inventions—Holt's tractor. I remembered its feats of navigating rough country and simply applied the idea. At about the same time someone else got a similar idea and wrote Winston Churchill, first lord of the admiralty.

"Independently of each other the war and navy branches began perfecting the same idea. Navy officials, unknown to me, worked on a 'land cruiser,' while we struggled with the 'tank.' Then we got together, with the result you have read about.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Wednesday, 7 December 2016

The Soldier's Uniform (1902)
Topic: Militaria

The Soldier's Uniform (1902)

… the reply of the soldier who, when asked how he would like to be dressed if he had to fight in a second Waterloo engagement, is reported to have said "I should like to be in my shirt sleeves."

The Sydney Morning Herald, Sydney Australia, 8 March 1902

For some time past it has been rumoured that radical changes were to be made in the uniforms of the military. Several alterations have indeed already been made. It is now officially announced that the King has approved of the new design of service uniform for officers of all arms of the British army. Food and dress are two of the chief essentials to a happy and useful life, and the wise man who also has it in his power to act upon his judgment endeavours to adapt both to the requirements of his work. Although dress can hardly be said to be a natural necessity, yet it is the expression of a habit of civilised life that is in some respects more imperious in its demands than the craving for food. And it is remarkable that in spite of the kaleidoscopic changes in the fashion of dress there is the impress of a rigid conservatism in the main outlines. The same general ideas are to be seen in the dress of men and women to-day as might have been noted a century ago. There is a greater amplitude of material from which to make a selection, there is greater diversity in the shades of colour and in the designs, and these admit of such innumerable variation that it is hardly necessary to repeat exactly the same arrangement in any two articles of attire. But the radical alterations are exceedingly few. Even those which have been brought about by the changing conditions of life are for the most part modifications in detail only. And it is the strict attention to these that marks off the man or the woman of fashion from the individual who, either from choice or necessity or mere indifference, treats them with neglect. The changed conditions of modern warfare have led the naval and military authorities to pay special attention to the food and dress of those who may be called upon at any moment to fight in defence of the Empire. A few months ago an order was issued increasing the quantity and improving the quality of the food issued to the crews of the ships in his Majesty's service, in the belief that better results would follow from a more intelligent attention to this important detail. And following upon it is the order already referred to for several important changes in the service uniforms of military officers.

The very decided distinction between uniforms, and especially military uniform and the ordinary civil dress of the time, is of comparatively recent date. The serviceable buff coat of the Commonwealth era was the completion of the evolution from the mail and plate armour of earlier days. The changes which have taken place since up to the earlier part of the last century, and indeed some of a later date, were dictated by caprice and a desire for variety rather than by an intelligent attempt to adapt the soldier's dress to the exigencies of military life. Among the exceptions were those that were made at the instance of the Duke of Wellington. The great general probably felt the force of the reply of the soldier who, when asked how he would like to be dressed if he had to fight in a second Waterloo engagement, is reported to have said "I should like to be in my shirt sleeves." Since Waterloo, since the Crimean war, and in fact since the Franco-Prussian war, the conditions of warfare have been completely transformed. The munitions of war and military tactics have, in turn, become a cause and an effect of the modern methods of warfare. The formations of the troops on the battlefield that were effective a century ago are as thoroughly out of date now as the weapons that were in use before the invention of gunpowder. The pomp and panoply of war may look effective on the stage or at a review, but except as furnishing a target for the enemy's artillery would be useless on the battlefield to-day. Except in rare instances, the battlefield itself, in the old application of the word, has no existence. When the belligerents come to close quarters the dress and the accoutrements would have a marked effect, and might go a long wat towards ensuring victory if followed up by vigorous and decisive action. In these days of smokeless powder and quick-firing guns, throwing projectiles from an enormous distance, and when detached portions of the force may suddenly find themselves in the midst of a shower of bullets before they know from which quarter they are coming, dress and display count for little. Everything that is an encumbrance to prompt and rapid movement is thrown aside. The dress and the accoutrements need to be such as will facilitate and not impede the free movement of every part of the body, and the colour selected must be one that will not offer facilities for the distant and perhaps concealed marksman to take accurate aim. It is in these directions that the changes in the service uniforms of the officers point. The material is to be serge of a much darker shade than the khaki. The tunic will be close fitting round the waist, but easy elsewhere. Knicker breeches will take the place of trousers. Metal badges are to be discarded and coloured braid will be substituted. The official rank will be indicated by drab braid on the cuff. The coat, the cap, and the hat are all designed with a view to comfort and utility; while at the same time the whole kit will present a smart appearance.

The changes are significant in more ways than one. Hitherto the Imperial military authorities have not been too eager to march with the times. When subjected to an unusual and severe strain they have been found to be sadly deficient in qualities that make for success. There has been a disposition to cling to old traditions and continue useless methods of discipline. It seems as though all this is now to be changed as the result of the severe lesson that we have learned. So far, this is a cause for congratulation. There is another aspect of this question that gives rise to reflections of a mixed character. Long years of comparative peace created the tendency to regard the military profession as an ornamental rather than a practical pursuit. That illusion has been rudely dispelled. Though a soldier in time of peace may be out of place like a chimney in summer, of the fire brigade where there are no fires, yet each must be adapted and ready for the service required when the occasion calls. The military profession is to be coveted, not because of the gorgeous uniform which the member of it is entitled to wear on festive occasions, but because of the hard work in defence of the Empire which may fall to his lot when wearing his service uniform. And as the latter becomes more and more the badge of the soldier's work, the real reason for the existence and maintenance of a military force will appeal more strongly to the popular mind. "The apparel oft proclaims the man," and a military uniform specially adapted to the work which those who wear it have to perform will in the long run captivate the popular imagination more completely than the gold braid and gay colours which the thoughtless were proud to regard as the chief glories to be won.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Monday, 28 November 2016

Relics of Boer War
Topic: Militaria

Relics of Boer War

Canada gets Four Large Guns and 700 Mauser Rifles

The Montreal Gazette, 8 August 1904

Ottawa, August 7.—(Special)—Of the extensive armament captured from the Boers during the war of 1899-1903 the British Government has awarded four large guns and 700 Mauser rifles to Canada in recognition of the part it took in the great campaign. The weapons will most likely be allotted among the larger cities, the big guns to adorn the public places as mementos of Canada’s baptism of fire and the rifles to do similar duties in military and public museums. These trophies will be of great benefit in preserving the memory of the war that welded the Empire and inspired the young with that hardy manly spirit that forms a strong power in the preservation of the life and virility of a nation.

Canadian Army Battle Honours

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Tribal Warriors Stalk Axis With Strange Weapons
Topic: Militaria

Tribal Warriors Stalk Axis With Strange Weapons

The Sherbrooke Telegram, 25 May 1944
By The Canadian Press

There are strange warriors with the Allies—black, brown, yellow, bronze, some a loin cloth for a uniform and a snickersnee for a fighting tool.

Some are virtually unknown soldiers of the United Nations. Who ever heard of the Tcherkesses, the Atjehnese, and the Dyaks, the Gojjams, the Tanganyikas, or the redoubtable Wah?

Or who can say what manner of weapon is the dah, the koumia and khukri? Yet the Axis soldier fears them more than all the secret weapons turning on the lathes of the propaganda mills.

The little-known people, and many more, are making stout contributions toward the day of victory, says the United Nations Information office.

Take the Tcherkesses, fur-bonneted Syrian cossacks. They were stalwart allies of the British and Free French in Syria and Iraq.

The Atjehnese and Dyaks are some of the fierce guerillas who have kept the Japanese "masters" of the Netherlands East Indies clinging to the beaches, afraid to enter the interior except in force.

Gojjams provided loyal Ethiopians with a base for revolt and with the Armachahos, Wikaits and Bagemirs made the return of Emperor Haile Selassie from exile infinitely easier. Tanganyikas are blacks who with Kenyas, Ugandas and Nyasas make up the crack King's African Rifles who shooed Italians out of East Africa.

The Wah Has a Dah

And the Wah is an interesting party who may give the British a lift in Burma. His weapon is the dah, an evil looking bowie with the blade of a broadsword and the edge of a razor.

The British booed Mussolini out of East Africa and the Nazis out of North Africa with such characters as the Ghurkas, Punjabis and the Sihks that made up most of the 300,000 Indians in the British Army.

The Afrika Corps especially disliked Ghurkas, who made a habit of lopping off heads with a Khukri, a curved knife.

From East Africa come black, spindly-legged Sudanese, who are silent fighters. The Somali camel corps, Askaris from Eritrea and Turkanas helped to throw Italians out of Italian Somaliland. South Africa sent 32,000 native soldiers to North Africa and the Middle East—20,000 Bechuanas, 9,000 Basutos (who are so fond of drilling that the only way to punish them for infractions is to not let them drill) and 3,000 Swasis. Zulus fought well in Kenya. Many black Nigerians were in the Nigerian force which swept 1,054 miles in 30 days through Italian Somaliland.

Most populous of the Burman allies are the Burmese—also handy with the dah—who are training in India agsinst the day of liberation. The Chins and Kachins are unhealthy guerillas to start trouble with in a Burman jungle.

The Free French have some tough customers. Pig-tailed Goumiers from Morocco swing a Kouma, another of those ugly exotic knives. There are the Spahis, native cavalry from North Africa and the Senegalese.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Monday, 14 November 2016

Armoured Cars (1927)
Topic: Militaria

Armoured Cars (1927)

Cavalry Co-operation
Lighter Infantry

The Sydney Morning Herald, Sydney, Australia, 7 January 1927

The possibility of British cavalry regiments remaining cavalry regiments in name, but in actual practise dispensing more and more with horses and gradually replacing them with armoured cars, was suggested by General Sir Alexander Godley, G.O.C.-in-C., Southern Command, presiding recently at a lecture on "The Horse and the Machine in War," by Sir Percy Hambro, at the Royal United Service Institution, Whitehall.

Sir Alexander Godley, referring to the exercises on Salisbury Plain this year to show how tanks could co-operate with cavalry, spoke of the "wonderful advantage" which a reduction in the soldier's pack would give the troops. Anything done by the petrol machine in that way would be of untold value.

He thought that is the armoured car came more generally into use it would be as a cavalry weapon. If a change were to be effected in the cavalry regiments he thought it possible that they would be armed with a certain number of armoured cars, and fewer horses would be employed. But in his view we could not obliterate the great traditions and efficiency and all the possibilities we now got from our cavalry regiments. "We ought to look before we leap," he said, "We must not too hurriedly and blindly turn everything into machines."

Sir Percy Hambro said that European wars brought increased complexity in the handling of armies, but the aim of great commanders to secure for their troops the power of mobility in order to inflict surprise remained constant. While arguing in favour of the machine for transport of supply, the demand for the tank and the armoured car, the mechanicalising of heavy, medium and light artillery and of first line transport, he did not favour the elimination of the horse.

"It is quite possible in the cavalry action of the future," he observed, "that the fire power of the machine will prepare the opportunity, and the horse will reap the harvest. The horse, in co-operation with the machine, remains supreme as the swift weapon of opportunity."

By the latest development of modern science a new type of machine, which appeared capable of taking its place in the first line transport, had been developed. By the ability of this machine to eliminate distance and its imperviousness to fatigue it might be possible to increase the marching power of the soldier and the radius of action of the cavalry.

The movement of infantry in 'bus columns was a subject of great interest to the army. With the new transport vehicle they were able to relieve the infantry soldier of at least eight pounds, and the cavalry soldier of two stone.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Updated: Monday, 14 November 2016 12:09 AM EST
Tuesday, 8 November 2016

30 Tons of World War Trophies
Topic: Militaria

30 Tons of World War Trophies Turned Into Arms for Dominion

The Montreal Gazette, 31 January 1941

Ottawa, January 30.—German rifles, shell cases, trench mortars and other pieces of equipment of the Great War are being thrown in the melting pot whence come Canadian arms and ammunition to fight new German aggression.

Dr. Gustave Lanctot, Dominion archivist and chairman of the Military Museum Board told The Canadian press tonight that 30 tons of German equipment taken in the last war had been sold for scrap at Ottawa and—he hoped—would soon be on its way to Germany in the form of shells, bombs or bullets.

Dr. Lanctot explained the equipment was surplus stock not required by the Canadian war museum. It has some value as metal.

The museum's idea of thus disposing of German war equipment it does not need, has its counterpart in several cities and villages in Canada which have written asking how they can turn in the German guns loaned them to exhibit as trophies of the last war.

Before these trophies could be sold or given away permission of the Dominion had to be obtained, because the arms were only loaned to cities and municipalities for display.

"If some municipality writes us and says that they have been offered a good local price for a trophy, the chances are that we will permit them to sell it and turn the money over to the Government," said Dr. Lanctot.

"But the cost of transporting a two or three-ton gun is high and the need of scrap metal is not so pressing that it is economical to ship trophies for great distances for melting down."

No action has been taken to encourage municipalities to turn in the German trophies loaned the, although the Military Museum Board has made inquiries to see what demand there is for such scrap metal. Munitions manufacturing forms have informed the board they need to know the composition of the metal in the gun, whether it is suitable for their furnaces and whether the laid-down price at their factories will compare with the market price for metal.

Because the trophies have been loaned, an annual report on their condition is required by the Dominion. Latest reports showed some of the guns were in good repair, having been cleaned and painted. Others had deteriorated badly. Some reports bore the notation, "wheels missing."

The trophies were distributed after the war on the basis of enlistments by provinces. Guns placed on display numbered 592, and machine gins 2,111. They are scattered across Canada, most of them at the points where they were first placed. A few have been exchanged by municipalities which no longer wanted them and presented to other communities where a trophy had been requested.

If ever an urgent need for scrap metal arises, the Dominion has the power to call back all trophies on loan.

Researching Canadian Soldiers of the First World War

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Equipment of Infantry (1943)
Topic: Militaria

Equipment of Infantry (1943)

… to equip an infantry division with war-like stores takes 179,101 packing cases, 4,165 road vehicles, and seven 10,000 ships. The equipment weighs 12,500 tons deadweight.

London Exhibition

The Sydney Morning Herald, Sydney, Australia, 5 January 1943
Our Staff Correspondent

London, Jan. 7.—For the first time in the history of the British Army, the complete equipment of an infantry division has been assembled under one roof.

This exhibition has been arranged by Ordnance to demonstrate the complexity of modern equipment. It is being visited by British, Allied, and Dominion officers.

In a great hall is ranged every type of the equipment required to put a British infantry division in the field.

There are many new weapons on the secret list and others which already have been tested on the field of battle.

Some new developments can be mentioned. There are the new rifle and bayonet which are being issued to the British and Canadian armies. The rifle is not substantially different from the older model, but its simplified design makes mass production easier, and it weighs a few ounces less.

The bayonet, in comparison with last war's model, seems absurdly short, light, and toy-like.

Silent Speech

The general tendency towards simplification is especially notable in wireless equipment. An interesting development is a one-man wireless set, in which the voice is transmitted not from the mouth but by vibrations from the throat, enabling "silent speech."

The display of soldier's rations includes tins of self-heating soup. They are ordinary tins containing a cylinder of heating matter, which can be lighted from a cigarette and heats the tin in four or five minutes.

Coloured graphs on the walls enable staff officers to see at a glance the transport required to move divisional equipment. For example, to equip an infantry division with war-like stores takes 179,101 packing cases, 4,165 road vehicles, and seven 10,000 ships. The equipment weighs 12,500 tons deadweight.

Canadian Army Battle Honours

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Tuesday, 3 May 2016

The Rifled 9-Pounder Gun (1880s)
Topic: Militaria


The Gun.

Manual of Field Artillery Exercises, Canada, 1884

Designation.—Ordnance, wrought Iron rifled, M.L. 9 Pr. 8 cwt.

  • Length
    • nominal - 5 feet 8.5 inches.
    • total - 6 feet.
    • of bore - 5 feet 3.5 inches.
    • of rifling - 4 feet 11.8 inches


  • Preponderance - 7 lbs.
  • Calibre - 3 inches.
  • Nominal weight - 8 cwt. 1 qr. 6 lbs.
  • Grooves - 3. French modified.
  • Twist of rifling, uniform - 1 in 30 calibres.
  • Initial Velocity - 1,381 feet.


Construction.—The 9 Pr. Muzzle-loading rifle gun consists of two pieces — one shrunk over the other; the "A tube" or "barrel," and the "breech coil."

The "A" tube," which extends the whole length of the gun is formed from a cylinder, or ingot, of cast-steel, bored and turned to the proper dimensions, after being toughened in a "bath" of oil.

The "breech coil" is of wrought iron, and is composed of two pieces welded together, the part in rear of the trunnions being manufactured from bar-iron, which is coiled round a mandrill and welded, the fibre of the iron running round in the direction of the length of the bar, whilst the part from close behind the trunnions to the front, is forged solid, this latter piece, after being rough-turned and bored, is welded to the coil.

The "breech coil" takes the form of a jacket to the barrel barrel, the two pieces having been turned and bored to the proper dimensions, the "breech coil" is expanded by heat, and then lowered over the "barrel " which is placed in a vertical position to receive it, the coil, on being allowed to cool, contracts so as to grip the barrel, the two pieces, in a measure, thus becoming one.

Sighting —The gun is sighted centrally with a tangent scale or hind sight, and a dispart or foresight.

The tangent scale consists of a rectangular steel bar, with head also of steel, the bar is graduated in degrees, each cross degree being subdivided into twenty divisions, a division being equal to three minutes of elevation. The cross head is grooved on the top, and is fitted with a gun metal leaf, which can be moved either to the right or to the left, to compensate tor accidental deflection, caused by wind, one wheel being higher than the other, etc., the front of the cross head is bevelled, and graduated right and left of the centre, in divisions reading three minutes each. The leaf is moved or clamped by means of a thumbscrew working in a slot in the back of the crosshead. The tangent scale works in a gun metal socket inserted in the breech of the gun at an angle of 1 deg. 30 mins. to the left, that being the angle which compensates for the derivation of the projectile, caused by the rifling. The cross head is fixed on the bar with a corresponding dip to the right so as to be horizontal when the scale is in use. When the tangent scale is lowered to zero its apex is flush with the upper surface of the gun this protects it from injury when not in use; when raised it is kept in position by a gun metal thumb screw.

The dispart sight is a small steel "leaf," screwed into the gun near the muzzle. The metal of the gun at this part is made the same thickness as at the breech, so as to form a dispart patch," and give a line parallel to the axis of the gun. This sight, also, is protected from injury in mounting, discounting, etc., by being fixed in a recess

Trunnions — The trunnions are 3.5 inches in length and diameter, and their axis coincident with that of the bore.

Vent — A hardened copper cone vent is screwed in so as to strike the curve at the bottom of the bore, both to ensure that the whole of the unconsumed portion of the cartridge may be blown out, and also for the purpose of firing very reduced charges. The highest initial velocity would be given by striking the cartridge at a point four-tenths of its length from the base, but the strain on the gun would be proportionately greater.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Friday, 15 April 2016

Gold Lace
Topic: Militaria

Gold Lace

The Capital, Fredericton, N.B., 30 October, 1880

It seems the new Major-General commanding the militia has taken exception to the wearing of gold lace by our militia. A writer in last Saturday's Toronto Globe says:

"But there is a feature—an historical one—in connection with the subject that deserves attention, and I remember when the militia was more active than now in the face of danger to the peace of the country, this historical point was brought into prominence. I simply suggest that a certain warrant, signed by the King after the war of 1812, be unearthed. I believe it lies somewhere in the militias archives, having been transferred from the Public Record Office. According to an old officer, now dead, who was familiar with it, this warrant authorizes the Canadian militia—a Royal force, by the way—to wear the same uniform as His Majesty's "Royal Regiment." Hence it is that the characteristic feature of the Royal livery has been assumed by the artillery and other arms of the service. My informant, who had served in 1812, also stated that it was owing to an accident that silver was assumed in 1862, the contractor in London, who supplied, in great haste, uniform for the militia at the time of the Trent affair, assuming that "militia" uniforms must be after the style of the English force, which bears silver ornaments. The Canadian militia is of course on a different footing, and takes precedence after the regular army. I think, therefore, that for the sake of history and the prominent position of the Canadian militia in a warlike sense, and in view of services rendered, such as no other militia in the British service ever rendered, this point is worthy of revival and investigation."

The Senior Subaltern

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

Evolution of Individual Weapons
Topic: Militaria

Evolution of Individual Weapons

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

a.     It must be accurate.

b.     Its trajectory must be flat.

c.     Its recoil must be moderate.

d.     It must be powerful.

e.     It must be easy to master.

f.     Its mechanism must be unfailing.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Monday, 21 March 2016

Colours; Excerpts from Canadian Regulations
Topic: Militaria

All Colours which have been consecrated and presented to a unit of the Canadian Forces (CF), whether donated or provided at public expense, are and remain Crown property in perpetuity, and are controlled by the Department of National Defence on behalf of the Canadian government.


The following extracts are from the Canadian Armed Forces publication A-AD-200-000/AG-000, The Honours, Flags and Heritage Structure of the Canadian Forces (from a pdf copy dated 17 August 2001). Questions regarding Colours which have been laid up in churches or other places should be directed to the Directorate of History and Heritage at National Defence Headquarters.

Chapter 5 — Colours

Section 1 — Policies and Procedures

Colours are a unit's most prized possession. They are presented personally by the Sovereign or by an individual, normally the Governor General, nominated to act on the Sovereign's behalf. Historically, Colours marked and provided a rallying point for army regiments in the line of battle. Today, they are no longer carried in action or held by a unit in a theatre of war. They continue, however, as visible symbols of pride, honour and devotion to Sovereign and country.

On presentation, Colours are consecrated by the Chaplain General assisted by the unit chaplains; when the Chaplain General is unable to be present, he will personally designate a chaplain to officiate for him. Through this means, Colours are sanctified and devoted to service as symbols of honour and duty; all members of the unit, regardless of classification, rededicate themselves to constancy in the maintenance of these qualities. Once consecrated, Colours are closely guarded and they are honoured by the appropriate compliment while uncased.

elipsis graphic

Because of their symbolism and purpose, Colours belong to a separate class from other flags and are not paraded with other flags in any Colour party.

elipsis graphic

Parading Colours. In Canadian practice, Colours and Colour parties are never paraded separately from the military body whose presence they mark and whose honour and duty they represent. They are only paraded as an integral part of the formation or unit concerned. An order to a unit which implies giving up control of its Colour can be seen as a sign of disgrace. Except as detailed in sub-paragraph c. below, commanding officers are responsible for ensuring that their Colours are never paraded with or by another unit. Thus:

a.     In general, whenever a unit or a major portion of a unit is paraded on a ceremonial occasion, the unit's Colour or Colours may also be paraded.

b.     Except for the special case of guards, including escorts and guards of honour, when small portions of a unit are paraded separately they are regarded as detachments rather than the unit itself. In these cases the Colour or Colours remain with the unit.

c.     Colour parties from different formations or units are never combined into a single massed Colour party except immediately prior to joining their units at the beginning of a joint parade or after a joint consecration, or after being fallen out from their units to be lodged, deposited or laid up. Under special circumstances, Colour parties of several battalions of the same regiment may be combined when these battalions are brigaded on a purely regimental parade and not scheduled to manoeuvre separately; the combined Colour party then marks the entire regimental line. (If units manoeuvre, the Colours take post back with their battalion.)

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Section 2 — Retirement and Disposal of Colours

All Colours which have been consecrated and presented to a unit of the Canadian Forces (CF), whether donated or provided at public expense, are and remain Crown property in perpetuity, and are controlled by the Department of National Defence on behalf of the Canadian government. The Colours are memorials to the brave deeds and sacrifices of the units and individuals who serve under them. If deposited or laid-up, they are the responsibility of the custodian and must remain accessible to the public. Formal permission from National Defence Headquarters (NDHQ)/Director History and Heritage (DHH) is required before removal for any purpose.

Custodians shall ensure that laid-up and deposited Colours are kept on display to the general public. They may not be stored or displayed in unaccessible areas, e.g. stored in sliding drawers in museum curatorial spaces with restricted access for scholarly research purposes only.

Under no circumstances are Colours or portions of Colours allowed to pass into the possession of private individuals. If the custodian can no longer preserve them, they must be returned to NDHQ/DHH for disposal, unless mutually satisfactory arrangements can be made with the unit and DHH.

When Colours are honourably retired and laid-up, they are left to decay and disintegrate, normally on their pikes or lances, until they cease to exist. Although the custodian may preserve the Colours under glass or otherwise handle them to retard disintegration, they shall never be restored. To do so would be akin to creating facsimiles of the consecrated originals. Although there are instances of replicas being made of Colours, NDHQ will not authorize their use or production. If replicas are identified, they must be clearly marked for historical or display purposes.They cannot be consecrated, carried or deposited, and they are not entitled to the honours accorded consecrated Colours.

Pieces which become detached while a Colour is laid-up, lose their sacred status and shall be burnt to ashes. Pikes, cords and pike heads for laid-up Colours shall not be replaced from public, non-public or private funds.

Serviceable Colours of a disbanded unit remain the property of the Crown and may be reactivated should the unit be reconstituted. In such case, DHH shall issue instructions through command headquarters to ensure that Colours can be reclaimed from the custody of those persons entrusted with deposit.

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After Colours have been laid-up, they are considered memorials and are not normally displaced by Colours laid-up later, e.g., by the Colours if a regiment senior in precedence to the one whose Colours were originally laid-up. Laid-up Colours become extremely brittle and delicate over time. Custodians should ensure that they are disturbed as little as possible to extend their life.

Canadian Army Battle Honours

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 20 March 2016 9:48 PM EDT
Monday, 1 February 2016

Handling the Swagger Stick Requires Art
Topic: Militaria

Handling the Swagger Stick Requires Art

Dashing Captain at Chateau Theirry as Model Exponent

The Milwaukee Sentinel, 26 March 1919

"It sure is an art to carry a swagger stick and get away with it, gracefully," The speaker was a lithe, tanned individual in a lieutenant's uniform, standing on Grand avenue, watching the promenade of people with the swagger sticks bought as souvenirs of the war exposition.

"The women do it more gracefully than the men," he opined, "I wonder why." here they came in a steady procession, with the little thing, too bulky for a toothpick, and too futile for a walking stick, some holding it like an overgrown cigarette, and some like a murderous "billy," and all more or less self-consciously.

"At Chateau Thierry we had a captain who carried one better than anyone I ever saw," he continued. "Just before the 'zero hour,' he sat there smoking a cigarette and tapping his boot. Occasionally he would glance at his wrist watch. Gosh, it it had been anyone but the captain his actions would have looked sissified, but with him it was pure art. All at once he tossed away his cigarette, waved his swagger stick, and we followed him over the top. He went just ten feet when they dropped him. He was dying, but he raised up on his elbow, waved that little stick, and yelled, 'Give 'em hell, boys!' and take it from me we did."

Swagger Sticks

The Milwaukee Journal, 22 September 1917

Maj. Gen. Thomas H. Barry passed a wise ruling at Camp Grant when he ordered all soldiers to conform to the army regulations governing wearing apparel, and expressly forbade the men from carrying swagger sticks.

The swagger stick does not inspire in the public the confidence that the public should feel for an officer or soldier. It indicates lack of seriousness or purpose, a desire to make upon small boys, giddy youths and a susceptible populace an impression of self-importance. It tends to arouse a suspicion that the soldier is more intent of a dashing appearance than on the serious business of beating Germany. Its very name suggests boastfulness, immaturity, playing to the grand stand. A cane is an old man's support, and a young man's pride. A swagger stick is a soldier's foppery.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Topic: Militaria


"Blasts from the Trumpet," Quebec Daily Telegraph, 21 Aug 1900

Speaking of khaki, Ella Hepworth Dixon says, "There is something at once modest and business-like about khaki. It is the least arrogant, the least pretentious of colours. Like the violet, it challenges your notice not at all. It says alike to the Mauser bullet, the Vickers-Maxim machine gun and the eye of the casual spectator; I entreat you not to notice me. I am out on my own affairs—a mere little business of my own. But in all probability I shall succeed. The gay pomp and circumstance of war have gone, it would seem, for good. No more fighting in waving plumes, bearskins, plaid kilts, hussar jackets and glittering gold lace. These fineries may hearten the wearer, but they are also admirable objects at which the enemy may shoot, and bring down his man. Depend upon it, before this South African war is over, every continental army will be thinking of the necessity for clothing its troops in khaki, which will be good for Manchester." Even field glasses in South Africa are considered fire magnets, as are blue shirts in China.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST

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