The Minute Book
Sunday, 9 October 2016

Leadership and Tactics (1954)
Topic: Leadership

Leadership and Tactics (1954)

The section and platoon are the teams upon which, in war, the successful handling of the battalion rests.

Canadian Army, Manual of Training; Infantry Section Leading and Platoon Tactics, 1954

Leadership

1.     A leader must first of all have the confidence of his men, and to gain this he must have confidence in himself. To have justified confidence in himself he must know his job. He must be able to make up his mind, and having done so, stick to his decision. He should keep calm. To show doubt and indecision is a sure way of shaking the confidence of his men. A stout-hearted man will always go on trying; and by doing so he will instil his own fighting spirit into his followers.

2.     Loyalty is an essential of leadership; unless a leader is himself loyal to his superiors, he cannot expect loyal support from his subordinates.

3.     Finally, he must understand discipline. He must command the men of his section firmly, but with common sense and fairness. He must give his orders clearly and, having given an order, must insist on it being efficiently carried out.

Tactics

1.     The section and platoon are the teams upon which, in war, the successful handling of the battalion rests. Once committed to battle, success or failure will depend largely on the initiative of junior leaders and the efficient tactical handling of their sub-units.

Minor tactics is the application of weapons and formations to the ground. Every platoon and section commander must reach a high standard in the following:—

(a)     Weapon handling.

(b)     Fieldcraft and appreciation of ground.

(c)     Selection and construction of fire positions.

(d)     Concealment and the use and construction of cover.

2.     In war, platoon and section commander have power over the lives of their men. Junior leaders must make every effort to improve their military knowledge in all its aspects, and putting that knowledge into practice, justify themselves as leaders in action.

3.     Tactics are essentially common sense and officers and NCOs should regard them as such. There are certain factors which are constant. These are:—

(a)     The aim. The junior leader must always have a clear picture in his mind of the aim of the commander. From this he must decide on his own immediate aim and make his plan with that aim constantly in mind.

(b)     Surprise. The element of surprise must never be forgotten. Junior leaders should place themselves in the enemy's position and then avoid the obvious course which the enemy would be most likely to expect. Deceiving the enemy, concealment, and speed of action all go towards achieving surprise.

(c)     Simplicity of Plan. A simple, straightforward plan, executed with speed and determination, will always be better than a complicated one. The latter will take longer to prepare and details my be forgotten in the heat of battle.

The Senior Subaltern


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 9 October 2016 12:06 AM EDT
Friday, 1 July 2016

Infantry Company Command (2016)
Topic: Leadership

Infantry Company Command

The following was written by an officer leaving company command in a Canadian regiment in 2016. Shared with the author's permission.

What follows are a few notes of what I felt were the salient points on rifle company command. These were things that I learned on the job—I may have applied them well throughout, or poorly at first and better and better as time went on. Some of these are things I grappled with right to the end, and may still not have the answer. Here they are:

Command

1.     The Level of the Fight. A rifle company commander is a tactical leader, first and foremost. You are concerned with everything in a roughly 2km bubble. You take up about half of the bubble physically, (a good rule of thumb is that in open ground, a dismounted company fits in a grid square) and own the rest of it with the effects of your weapons. It was important to learn how to move in this bubble and I spent many days on a whiteboard with my leaders discussing how we would move as a company. It was important to visualize how to move a company to find, fix and strike an enemy platoon/company, either moving or dug in, as this is the fundamental task. Since a company commander operates at this level of the fight, you need to know it inside and out. A company commander should know crew served weapons thoroughly—refreshing oneself on the ranges and beaten zones of my machine guns and other weapons was essential. It is also valuable to go out and do drills with your soldiers on these weapons (I didn't do it as much as I should have, though).

2.     Aggregate/Disperse. As a platoon commander, you can't really disperse too much—everything is generally within line of sight except for patrols. As a company commander, it was critical to understand when to come together and when to disperse. This is related to point (1) above, but requires some thinking. Sending out scouting parties forward under a platoon commander, especially in close terrain, was an SOP to develop. So was massing the right elements in a company firebase. How much of your force to you bring together for an assault (evidence suggests not much) while how much to preserve to push past to infiltrate/disrupt is a balance to consider. This takes practice—if all you want to do as a company commander is line up with 2 up, 1 back, you are going to fail.

3.     Massing Fires. This is where the company commander earns his pay. He has (or should have) and OP Det with a FOO. He should control the employment of crew-served weapons (for the most part). We teach this to platoon commanders on phase training, but I think it is a bit unrealistic (although I recognize its training value) as I would never, as a company commander, have a platoon commander try to sit there and figure out when he needed arty shut off as that was my job as I launched him on to an objective. As well, in discussing fire plans and fire bases, I came to the realization that, while platoon commanders are busy with "gutful men" leading assaults, the company commander should be looking to move fire support elements—its a pipedream to think that supporting fires are from a single firebase on a hill that can support the entire fight. First off, if that hill exists, the enemy has a DF on it; second of all, the enemy has depth, and as the company commander, you need to think how to mass fires from different areas at different points of the battle.

4.     Know Your Commanders 2 Levels Down. As a platoon commander, I could know everyone in the platoon. I couldn't really do this as a company commander, and it took time to know all the faces in what was, for a time, a 100+ man rifle company (numbers ebbed and flowed). I read somewhere that a commander at any level should know his commanders two levels down; I think this is a good universal principle to strive for. So, as a company commander, I took the time to know my section commanders. I interviewed each of them, knew their family situations, their career histories and aspirations and got their thoughts on what they felt their section, platoon and company needed to work on. I found this was valuable.

Training

5.     Routine Training. Company command is where the rubber meets the road for the training of soldiers. It taught me to look at training requirements as a "mileage book", like that book you get in a new car that tells you what maintenance is required at what intervals. Good organizations do routine things routinely (that's from a former CO), and I like to think I developed a good understanding of what "routinely" meant for different essential tasks. I used the analogy of athletes. A good baseball player isn't good because he did a course on batting, he's good because he practices batting every day. Even the great hockey players practice every day (it's part of what makes them great), and will shoot pucks at the net for hours. At first, when I designed training, I just kind of threw things up that sounded interesting ("well, we haven't done this in a while"). I learned that I needed to be more systematic than this, and that metrics should be set for performance—it's great if we go to the range or conduct medical refreshers, but what was the standard to achieve and did we achieve it? This "mileage book" concept is not something I had nailed down, but it would be very useful for a battalion to issue and guide company commanders in the training of their soldiers.

6.     Quarterly Training Plans. Based on the "mileage book", quarterly training plans were built for the company and posted. Although they were living documents, the company found them useful. Soldiers could plan their lives, and tasks were assigned to platoons and other leaders for specific training events that I tasked them to lead. A battalion lives year to year on its Operating Plan, while a company lives in three month blocks with training plans that it builds off the Operating Plan. The quarterly training plans also helped Bn HQ, as they saw what training we were intending to conduct and could start getting resources lined up—I found I often got what I wanted because I planned and requested stuff early on.

7.     Train to Failure. Train to failure is something I got from a previous Bde Comd. It's great to plan an exercise where everyone shoots up the targets, wins the battle and has beers back in the biv, but you learn more from failure. Have a defence overrun, or an attack stalled or just put enough friction into events that subordinates learn the hard way. One of the best training events I observed is where commanders failed during force-on-force training due to situating the estimate against a live enemy, who planned a simple delaying action. Those commanders learned more on that AAR than on anything else, because everything went pear shaped.

8.     Do it Twice or Don't Do it at All (and try to do it until you can't get it wrong). I always thought opportunities were missed when a range was conducted, then the soldiers sat in the AAR and heard what everyone could have done better only to then go back to the hide to get ready for something else. As I started to run more and more ranges, I endevoured to build the time around doing it twice whenever possible (sometimes, friction intervened, but you can't win them all). A successful section range had every section getting six iterations, and the progression showed. Yeah, the soldiers "know" what the scenario is after the first go around, but there is genuine value in watching them chalk talk the application of the lessons observed and turning them in to lessons learned. Same for force-on-force training. Attack a positions, figure out how to do it better and let them attack the same position again. This goes back to batting practice and a great saying a former CO of mine—don't do things until you get them right, do them until you can't get them wrong. When designing training, I'd argue that doing a short range three times is far better in terms of learning than doing one range that lasts six hours.

9.     NCOs and Whitespace. This was something to stay on top of throughout. I told my NCOs that they should never waste a chance to train their troops and doing an hour refresh on a radio or a compass is better than just going home at 1500 because there is nothing to do. All NCOs were tasked to have a lesson plan in their pocket and to be prepared to grab soldiers to lead routine training (the CSM followed up and managed this well). Soldiers sitting on the stairs is unacceptable, and this is in the hands of the Master Corporals and Sergeants. Yet, it was frustrating to see it happen from time to time. Part of it is that some NCOs were unsure of how/when to take the lead on designing training. They got better as Sergeants were tasked to take the lead in more training ("Sergeants X, Y and Z, you will lead the next urban ops training session. Tell me what you need"). Part of it is just that there are some weak NCOs. Some were great, and carried a lot of the weight, but some were not. I don't think we, as an Army, have as tight of a venturi on who gets a Leaf and I think it behooves the company commander to consider how to engage his NCOs, especially his weaker ones, and to make them get off their butts, get in front of their soldiers and train them. The CSM will be able to help drive this, but he is usually pretty busy as well, so it will take a team effort. It behooves you to take a personal interest in your NCOs, how good they are, and how they get better.

Standards

10.     Inspect, Inspect, Inspect. This is the only way you prevent those stupid foul ups from happening—a funny line I saw was that soldiers don't do what you expect, they do what you inspect. Inspect became an ugly word in our Army for some reason—I think it may be a bit of an Afghan War thing? There is too much "you good to go?" "yeah, we're good to go!" in the Army. I've seen weapons not function, batteries die, equipment missing and soldiers deploying without basic items because leaders didn't inspect. It was useful to schedule monthly inspections on the quarterly training calendar. It was also useful to announce what was being inspected and what the standard was so that soldiers could focus on preparing properly (I think "surprise inspections" may not be very useful). Vehicles were inspected monthly—it's amazing how much garbage piles up in vehicles but, after a few inspections, they were swept out and cleaned regularly. The company would be formed up in fighting order and every soldier's weapon and kit inspected by he company commander and CSM while the platoon commander and 2IC were taking notes (they'd be inspected first). Yeah, platoon and section leadership could do this (and I expected them to conduct their own inspections), but the boss has to be seen enforcing the standard. It is an obvious statement that the company commander also has to set and meet that standard with his gear as well, and it was important not to let up on the leadership either. Early on, after announcing an inspection of the weapons vault, all the troops worked hard so I knew their stuff would be clean. So we inspected the weapons of every Sergeant, Warrant Officer and Officer, and many of them weren't up to standard. After that, when weapons maintenance was conducted, leaders were vigilantly cleaning their stuff too. Inspections apply to the field as well, in the form of Pre-Combat Checks (PCCs). We laugh at that old "Section Battle Drill No 1—Form Up for Battle", but it is right (minus all the goofy yelling). I never got a standardized PCC card hammered into my leaders, which was my own failure. It should be a battalion SOP, and NCOs should live by it in the field. To me, inspections and the willingness of leaders at each level to embrace them are what separate real good infantry outfits from mediocre ones.

11.     PT—Lead by Example, From the Start. Our military has a fitness problem, straight up. I was lucky to be in a battalion with a fitness culture. However, some soldiers aren't very fit, and only leadership will move this yardstick forward. Company PT is good, and I'd try to lead it every Friday if possible (generally a forced march in fighting order or marching order) but it wasn't always possible. I'm a firm believer that PT is best executed at the platoon level as the group size is about right, but the Platoon Commanders need some support, especially if they have sub-par Platoon 2ICs or NCOs not pulling their weight—some times, young officers have trouble imposing their will on their leadership. I should have hopped in with Platoon PT more often, as it's actually pretty fun, as you can just be a troop and not have to lead anything and it's a great way to get a view of your soldiers. There seemed to be, in every company, a gaggle of soldiers that seemed to use their rank or their "time in" to scam out of PT. I'd see a young platoon commander take off with his soldiers and a few of his NCOs. The CSM and I would then walk the lines (before we went and did our PT) and sure enough, there are these "middle management" type guys, hanging around in the office. It was a problem in every company. A solution which seemed to help was to make PT a company activity, at least to start. Hold a PT parade in the morning and lead the entire company in a quick warm up (a real warm up, not just a silly calf stretch). The platoon commanders would then break off with their platoons and the CSM and I would get to see who wasn't going. Once we put the eye on the shirkers, things started to tighten up. PT is probably the most important thing we do in the day, as it prepares our bodies and minds for the physical and mental challenges of campaigning, so the company commander needs to take the lead in ensuring that time is used wisely and by all.

12.     Discipline in Public. Military justice is supposed to be public—thankfully I only conducted a couple of summary trials, but they were set up in the company lines and the entire company was there to observe. After the trial, I'd have a quick PD session with the company and talk about the military justice system, the nature of the offense, and why it is important to handle things the way we do. It was educational for the troops, and I felt it was a worthwhile way of doing things.

13.     Commander's Notebooks. A Platoon Commander will be better if he has a good commander's notebook. It means he's tracking his soldiers, their families, their careers, his platoon's equipment and his training plan. Provide guidance on what these needed to contain and inspect their notebooks. I think they were better commander's for it. My notebook was a little less focused on personnel (I kept files on section commanders and above) but I still had a series of documents on equipment, ORBAT, qualifications that allowed me to make timely decisions regarding the company. Very rarely, in meetings with the CO, did I have to say "I'll have to get back to you sir" because my notebook armed me with the right info.

14.     Make the Hard Decisions. This one is kind of a cliche, but it is important to be said and I never really started to feel it until assuming company command. The right decision is, in many cases, not the easy one, and at times it won't be the popular one, but you have to make it. Platoon commanders are young guys and gals, trying to figure stuff out and trying to be popular a lot of the times so you need to be vigilant with them. Make the decision to make training harder, to push it out during PT, to stay the extra time to get things done right, and to use the downtime to do something productive. Make the difficult decision to be hard on guys, even if they are "good guys", that aren't meeting the standard. I was too nice sometimes, and I regret this. There is a balance, and figuring out how to be hard without being an a**hole is an important skill, as it will separate those who are respected and those who are disliked—the weak, soft leaders are the ones who are despised. There is also balance on determining when "letting off the gas" is useful—you'll just break guys if you go 110% all the time. But never accept "this is good enough for now and we'll get it right next time" if the standard is not achieved. There were times, after making the hard decision, that I think that the soldiers hated me that day, but it was the right thing to do and I learned not to care about being liked (I found solace with the CSM, who was the ultimate sounding board). Company commanders have a lot of manoeuvre space and a lot of opportunities to take the easy road, but they will only fail their subordinates during the most critical time, the unforgiving minute, if they do that.

The Senior Subaltern


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

Desirable Traits of a Leader
Topic: Leadership

Desirable Traits of a Leader

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

The Senior Subaltern


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 29 May 2016 12:06 AM EDT
Monday, 16 May 2016

Adjustment of the soldier to an Oversea Environment
Topic: Leadership

Adjustment of the soldier to an Oversea Environment

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

The astute commander must not only be a leader and trainer of men, but a student of psychology and human nature as well.

a.     The soldier who steps off the ship or plane upon his arrival overseas is faced with the problem of adjusting to two types of new environment, geographical and situational. In most instances, this will be his first trip outside the United States; specifically his first experience in a foreign country. But even if he has been overseas before, he will find many changes and feel the necessity of adjusting to these changes. As with all other problems in a command, it's the commander who is responsible to see that the soldiers become adjusted.

b.     The new arrival should be indoctrinated in the customs of the country in which he is stationed. He should be encouraged to meet his new neighbors, learn their ways, study their language, and become familiar with their history. Commanders exercising the proper guidance and indoctrination can reap unending benefits from an effective orientation, not only through better community relations, but in higher morale of their troops. Once he has adjusted to his new surroundings, the strangeness of being in a foreign country will gradually wear off and he will become more productive as a soldier.

c.     Being away from home may tend to lower the morale of the new arrival, but if his energies are directed into the right channels, all will benefit. Facilities for off-duty education are available and their use should be encouraged. For those who shy from "book-learning" but would like some practical acquaintance with geography, history, and local customs, the recreation and travel opportunities are unlimited, and as such as probably available to many for the first and last time. Each commander should guide and encourage his men to take maximum advantage of these unique opportunities.

d.     Simultaneously with adjustment to his new geographical environment must come adjustment to his new situational environment. This transformation is one of attitude, in which the new arrival must be made to realize that he is no longer in a basic training or garrison situation. He must now apply the training principles and garrison experience he has gained. He must be made aware of the seriousness of his situation—that he is in the front line of defense against aggression. While there are many educational and recreational diversions overseas, the commander must keep the new arrival constantly alert to the necessity of keeping himself combat ready. The astute commander must not only be a leader and trainer of men, but a student of psychology and human nature as well. He must be able to instill in his men the feeling that they can enjoy their tours of duty overseas, benefit by the experience, and at the same time be prepared to assume more serious endeavors when called upon.

e.     Each individual should be thoroughly indoctrinated concern­ing the importance of his job and how it fits into the "big picture," An individual who feels he occupies an important place in the organization will generally be more effective. He will have a better understanding of the heavy training requirements, of the need for field exercises, and of his small but important part in the free world's fighting forces.

f.     You as a commander now have a new replacement. His future value in your unit depends on you. Proper orientation and a continuing program of profitable training, guidance, and information will help him and you. Without these, and left to his own devices in a local gasthaus or bar, he can become a disciplinary problem.

The Senior Subaltern


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Thursday, 14 April 2016

Military Leadership, As the Germans See It (1944)
Topic: Leadership

Military Leadership, As the Germans See It (1944)

US War Department, Intelligence Bulletin, Vol. II, No. 7, March 1944

Introduction

Several months ago the commanding officer of the Third Panzer Grenadier Division [General der Panzertruppen Fritz-Hubert Gräse] assembled extracts from two German Army manuals, one dealing with military leadership and the other pertaining to the training of officers, and ordered that they be distributed as a single booklet to the officers of his command. In a foreword the commanding officer said, "This booklet should always accompany my officers. It should become an indispensable possession. I expect them to take it out again and again, and study it until its contents have become a guide for their lives and actions. It should force them to test themselves, over and over, to see whether they are adequately prepared to meet the high—and often merciless—demands which will be made upon them.

"The longer the war lasts, and the more difficult conditions become, the more decisive the work of the officer will be, and the greater his responsibilities.

"In full recognition of this, and with the recollection of our oath and the example of our comrades who died at Stalingrad, it can no longer be difficult to find the surest expression of our duty: to show our men how to live, which means, after all, to show them how to die."

In any attempt to gauge the enemy, it is particularly useful to know the broad principles with which he has been indoctrinated. The extracts which follow are therefore of the utmost significance.

The German View

"a.     Warfare is an art, free and creative, based on science. It demands the utmost of each person.

"b.     Warfare is subject to continuous development. New technical devices give it a continuously changing form. Their introduction must be recognized ahead of time, their influence properly evaluated and quickly applied.

"c.     Situations in war have unlimited variations. They change frequently and suddenly, and cannot always be properly anticipated. Incalculable factors are often of decisive influence. One's will is opposed by the independent will of the enemy. Friction and mistakes are daily occurrences.

"d.     The science of warfare cannot be compiled exhaustively in rules and regulations. The principles which form this science must be applied as conditions require. Simple actions logically executed are the best way to success.

"e.     War taxes and tests an individual's physical and emotional powers most rigidly. Therefore, in wartime, character is more essential than pure mental ability. Many a man, overlooked in peacetime, has become great on the field of battle.

"f.     Leadership in the German Army, and particularly in lower units, must be entrusted to personalities who are capable of sound judgment and clear perception of immediate and possible future situations—men who are self-reliant and firm in their decisions, persevering and energetic in executing them, indifferent to the vicissitudes of war, and intensely aware of the high responsibility resting upon them.

"g.     The officer is a leader and educator in all fields. Aside from having the ability to size up his men, he must possess superior knowledge and experience, a sense of moral responsibility, and a sense of justice. He must excel at self-discipline and courage.

"h.     The example and personal bearing of the officer and soldier in charge of men are of decisive influence on the troops. Officers who show coolness, resolution, and daring in face of the enemy carry their men with them to success. But they must also find the way to the hearts of their men and win the prize of their confidence by untiring care and an understanding of their thoughts and feelings. Mutual confidence is the safest guarantee of discipline in moments of emergency and danger.

"i.     Every leader must commit his whole self in all situations, without fear of responsibility. This cheerful acceptance of responsibility is one of a leader's most noble qualities. However, it must not be interpreted as a license to make independent decisions without regard for the unit as a whole, to neglect carrying out orders with painstaking exactness, or to substitute for obedience an attitude of the l know-it-all'. Self-reliance must not be corrupted by mere arbitrary judgment. Exercised within the proper limits, it can become the basis for great success.

"j.     The value of a man is still decisive in spite of all technical inventions. Present-day tactics of scattered fighting have increased his significance. Modern battle requires fighting men who can think and act for themselves, who exploit each situation resolutely and boldly after due consideration, and who are permeated by the conviction that success depends on each individual.

"Great physical endurance, ruthlessness with oneself, will power, self-confidence, and daring enable a man to cope even with the most difficult situations.

"k.     The value both of leader and man determines the combat efficiency of the unit. The efficiency is augmented by a high standard of quality, care, and condition of arms and equipment. Superior combat efficiency can outweigh numerical superiority. The higher the combat efficiency of units, the greater the possibility of conducting forceful and mobile operations. Superior leadership and combat efficiency of a unit are the most reliable guarantees of victory.

"l.     Leaders must live with their troops and share with them their danger and hardships, their joys and sufferings. Only in this way can they gain from their own experience a sound judgment of their combat efficiency and their needs and requirements. Every man is responsible, not merely for himself, but also for his comrades. The more capable and enduring must lead and direct the weak and inexperienced. Such is the basis from which a feeling of genuine comradeship may develop. This is as important between the leader and his men as it is among the men themselves.

"m.     A unit which has been formed only superficially, and which has not been welded together by hard training and education, may easily fail at critical moments or under the impact of unexpected events. Therefore, from the outset of a unit's training, extreme importance must be attached to promoting and preserving strong community ties, as well as to discipline.

"It is the duty of every commander to counteract immediately—and severely, if necessary—any laxity of discipline, and any tendency toward riotous conduct, plundering, panic, or other harmful influence.

"Discipline is the main pillar of the German Army. Its strict enforcement is a blessing for all.

"n.     The fitness of a unit must be preserved for those decisive situations which require supreme effort.

Leaders who exert their troops unnecessarily, impair their own chance of success. In combat, any expenditure must remain in proper proportion to the desired objective. Objectives which are impossible to attain should not be set, for they lower the confidence of the men in their leader and are detrimental to the morale of the unit.

"o.     From the youngest soldier on up, every individual must commit his entire emotional, physical, and mental strength to the mission at hand. Only this endeavor can insure the utmost efficiency of the unit in coordinated action and can create men who will, in the hour of danger, lead the weak to bold action.

"Thus, determined action remains the foremost requirement in warfare. Everyone, the highest commander and the youngest soldier, must always be conscious of the fact that the burden of negligence weighs more heavily than a mistake in the choice of means."

The Senior Subaltern


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Saturday, 5 March 2016

10 Diseases of Leadership
Topic: Leadership

Richard Holmes'
'10 Diseases of Leadership'

A Sandhurst Guide, Pilot version, Easter 2012

1.     Lack of moral courage. In the military physical courage is often supported by the sense of team and shared commitment to a specific task. Moral courage is often a far lonelier position and so that much harder to undertake in practice.

2.     Failure to recognize that opposition can be loyal. Encourage constructive dissent rather than have destructive consent.

3.     Consent and evade. Do not consent to a plan that you do not agree with then evade its implications by doing something different without telling your commander.

4.     There is a need to know and you don't need to know. Some people use information and access to it to reinforce their leadership position.

5.     Don't bother me with the facts I've already made up my mind. There is always a point where the detail of a plan is confirmed, after which there is a tendency to ignore any new information that might suggest a change to that plan is required. The British as a people have a greater tendency than most to succumb to this.

6.     The quest for the 100% solution. A good plan in time is better than a great plan too late.

7.     Equating the quality of the advice with the rank of the person providing it. Wisdom and insight are not linked inextricably to rank and experience.

8.     I'm too busy to win. Failure to exploit opportunities that arise by being focused on routine work.

9.     I can do your job too. Avoid the temptation to slip back into your old comfort zones. It will smother subordinates.

10.     Big man, cold shadow. Consider the effect of your presence and involvement in a task. Will it help or hinder?

The Senior Subaltern


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Updated: Sunday, 31 January 2016 3:25 PM EST
Thursday, 18 February 2016

Leadership Traits
Topic: Leadership

Leadership Traits

FM22-10, Department of the Army Field Manual; Leadership, March 1951

a.     Alertness is vigilance, promptness, and wide-awakeness.

b.     Bearing denotes desirable physical appearance, dress, and deportment.

c.     Courage must be both physical and moral.

d.     Decisiveness is the ability to make decisions promptly when indicated and announce them authoritatively, concisely, and clearly.

e.     Dependability is the doing of one's duty with or without supervision.

f.     Endurance both mental and physical, is necessary to continue and complete any reasonable task.

g.     Enthusiasm is the positive zeal or interest in the task at hand. It is easily communicated to subordinates.

h.     Force is the ability to impose one's will upon another.

i.     Humility is freedom from arrogance and unjustifiable pride.

j.     Humor is the capacity to appreciate the many amusing or whimsical happenings of our everyday life, especially those which pertain to the leader himself.

k.     Initiative is the willingness to act in the absence of orders and to offer well considered recommendations for the improvement of the command.

1.     Integrity is the honesty and moral character of the leader that must be unquestioned.

m.     Intelligence is the intellect of the leader which must be adequate to master the problems presented by his level of command.

n.     Judgment is the power of the mind to weigh various factors and arrive at a wise decision.o. Justice is being equitable and impartial in bestowing favors and punishment.

p.     Loyalty must extend both up and down. A leader cannot expect loyalty from his subordinates unless he is conspicuously loyal to them and to his superiors.

q.     Sympathy is the capacity of sharing the feelings of those with whom one is associated.

r.     Tact is the ability to deal with subordinates and superiors in an appropriate manner without giving offense.

s.     Unselfishness is the studied avoidance of caring for or providing for one's own comfort or advantage at the expense of others.

The Senior Subaltern


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Updated: Thursday, 18 February 2016 12:02 AM EST
Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Principles of Military Leadership
Topic: Leadership

Principles of Military Leadership

FM22-10, Department of the Army Field Manual; Leadership, March 1951

1.     Know yourself and seek self-improvement.

2.     Be tactically and technically proficient.

3.     Seek responsibility and take responsibility for your actions.

4.     Set the example.

5.     Know your people and look out for their welfare.

6.     Keep your people informed.

7.     Ensure the task is understood, supervised, and accomplished.

8.     Develop a sense of responsibility among your people.

9.     Train your people as a team.

10.     Make sound and timely decisions.

11.     Employ your unit in accordance with its capabilities.

The Senior Subaltern


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Sunday, 24 January 2016

General MacArthur's Principles of Leadership
Topic: Leadership

General MacArthur's Principles of Leadership

Leadership Principles for the new ADP 6-22; A Monograph by Major Gregory W. McLean, US Army, SAMS, AY 2012-001

General Douglas MacArthur's principles of leadership are another example of how a leader can briefly explain what is expected from his subordinates to be successful. General MacArthur's principles were written during peacetime operations, but the Army still has to function while not conducting combat operations and his principles focused on garrison activities are useful as well. His principles are a concise way for leaders to understand what should be expected from them.

  • Do I heckle my subordinates or strengthen and encourage them?
  • Do I use moral courage in getting rid of subordinates who have proven themselves beyond doubt to be unfit?
  • Have I done all in my power by encouragement, incentive, and spur to salvage the weak and erring?
  • Do I know by NAME and CHARACTER a maximum number of subordinates for whom I am responsible? Do I know them intimately?
  • Am I thoroughly familiar with the technique, necessities, objectives, and administration of my job?
  • Do I lose my temper at individuals?
  • Do I act in such a way as to make my subordinates WANT to follow me?
  • Do I delegate tasks that should be mine?
  • Do I arrogate everything to myself and delegate nothing?
  • Do I develop my subordinates by placing on each one as much responsibility as he can stand?
  • Am I interested in the personal welfare of each of my subordinates, as if he were a member of my family?
  • Have I the calmness of voice and manner to inspire confidence, or am I inclined to irascibility and excitability?
  • Am I a constant example to my subordinates in character, dress, deportment, and courtesy?
  • Am I inclined to be nice to my superiors and mean to my subordinates?
  • my door open to my subordinates?
  • I think more of POSITION than JOB?
  • I correct a subordinate in the presence of others?

These questions/principles are uncomplicated – which is what makes them timeless and so much more useful than hundreds of pages of over-explained values. General MacArthur said "in the end, through the long ages of our quest for light, it will be found that truth is still mightier than the sword. For out of the welter of human carnage and human weal the indestructible thing that will always live is a sound idea." General MacArthur also believed, "It is easy, of course, to overemphasize the influence of machinery in war. It is man that makes war, not machines, and the human element must always remain the dominant one. Weapons are nothing but tools and each has its distinctive limitations as well as its particular capabilities. Effective results can be obtained only when an army is skillfully organized and trained so as to supplement inherent weaknesses in one type of weapon by peculiar powers in others." General MacArthur focused his principles on the human dimension, and understanding your subordinates is one of the most important qualities a leader can have. He also understood leaders must be calm during times of duress, a constant example, and encouraging.

The Senior Subaltern


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Updated: Tuesday, 29 December 2015 6:21 PM EST
Sunday, 17 January 2016

Ranger Leadership
Topic: Leadership

Ranger Leadership

SH 21-76 United States Army; Ranger Handbook, July 1992

1-1.     General.

The most important element of combat power is competent and confident leadership. Leadership provides purpose, direction, and motivation in combat. It is the leader who will determine the degree to which maneuver, firepower, and protection are maximized; who will ensure these elements are effectively balanced; and who will decide how to bring them to bear against the enemy.

METT-T

  • Mission
  • Enemy
  • Terrain (OCOKA)
  • Troops
  • Time

OCOKA

  • Observation and Fields of Fire
  • Cover and Concealment
  • Obstacles (man made and natural)
  • Key or Decisive Terrain
  • Avenues of Approach

While leadership requirements differ with unit size and type, all combat leaders must be men of character who must know and understand soldiers and the tools of war. They must act with courage and conviction during the uncertainty and confusion of battle. The primary function of tactical leaders is to inspire soldiers to do difficult things in dangerous, stressful circumstances.

A good leader will:

  • Take charge of his unit by issuing appropriate orders, establishing priority of tasks, and establishing / maintaining security.
  • Motivate his men by setting the example and always maintaining a positive can-do attitude.
  • Demonstrate initiative by taking positive actions in the absence of orders and by making sound and timely decisions based on METT-T.
  • Effectively communicate by giving specific instructions to accomplish the mission, keeping the unit informed, and by involving key leaders in the decision-making process.
  • Supervise by inspecting to insure tasks are accomplished to standard, making appropriate corrections, and holding immediate subordinates responsible for assigned tasks.

The Senior Subaltern


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

On the Psychology of Military Incompetence
Topic: Leadership

A Review
'On the Psychology of Military Incompetence'

A Sandhurst Guide, Pilot version, Easter 2012

Norman Dixon's book looks at incompetence in military leaders throughout history and considers whether, rather than being random occurrences, they are, in fact, a result of the military system. In particular he considers whether people with certain psychological characteristics are drawn to a military career, and whether the military insulates and exacerbates these characteristics in them.

Some might feel that Dixon's study has little relevance to the British military of today, with much of his evidence drawn from the characters and experience of the late-Victorian and Edwardian army. He bases many of his hypotheses on the mostly public school background of military offi cers, theories that perhaps require revision in an age when the demographic of offi cer candidates is considerably broader. Modern military readers might also struggle to relate to Dixon's fascination with the issue of toilet-training and its infl uence on character, as well as his perception of military men inevitably being the progeny of distant, disciplinarian parents and affection-starved childhoods.

If one persists, there is much in Dixon's book that remains applicable to the British military today. Most military readers are likely to fi nd something of themselves in his examples. His assertion that the institutional culture of the military breeds an intellectual conservatism, resulting in dangerous 'group-think', should serve as a warning to all military leaders. He also cautions against military leaders becoming so invested in their own plan that their mind fi lters information, accepting that which reinforces their perception of a situation, but discarding that which doesn't. Dixon draws attention to the military need for order and discipline, suggesting that this conditions military minds to comfortable certainties, despite disorder and uncertainty being the prevailing characteristics of the battlefi eld. He also argues that most military failures result not from being too bold, but from not being bold enough, and that the higher a military leader rises in rank the more they are motivated by fear of failure, rather than hope of success, resulting in a reduced willingness to take risks.

Dixon's book is also very useful in helping to understand how the culture, values, and ethos of British military leadership have emerged from a largely amateur tradition. He divides leaders into two broad types, task-specialists, concerned principally with output, and social specialists concerned principally with the maintenance of harmony and cohesion in a group. Dixon considers the phenomenon of how some of Britain's most incompetent military leaders were still loved by their men, despite leading them to slaughter. He concludes that, although poor task specialists, they were excellent social specialists, with reputations, often made as junior leaders, for being brave and caring. Principally, their incompetence resulted from being promoted beyond their capability.

Obviously, the ideal military leader is both a task and social specialist, and reading Dixon's book, the reader will no doubt see how much more output-related modern military leadership has become. Never-the-less the book challenges the reader to look at some of the cultural attitudes that do persist in our military today and ask if they are still relevant. Is it still important that our leaders are gentlemen, or have a 'sense of otherness'? Given the much improved educational standard of our soldiers, can we still assume that the leader is more knowledgeable than those he leads, and if not should this result in a less autocratic, and more cooperative style of leadership?

This is a challenging and informative book that should be read with an open mind. It highlights some uncomfortable truths about the military psychology and the dangers inherent in the military culture for decision-making and leadership, and provides useful warnings to be heeded from its negative historical examples.

The Senior Subaltern


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Friday, 18 December 2015

Lord Roberts' Advice to Officers
Topic: Leadership

Lord Roberts' Advice to Officers

"Blasts from the Trumpet," The Quebec Daily Telegraph, 23 August 1902

Never did a Commander-in-Chief offer more valuable advice than did Lord Roberts when addressing some future officers at Woolwich Military Academy lately. He said it was desirable that Cadets should all know what soldiers were. They had to command them, they had to instruct them and judge whether they did their work properly. Let them remember to do all they possibly could for the men under their command, to think of them, to watch over them, and to see that they had all possible assistance. A soldier's life sometimes was irksome and a great deal might be done by the officers. Whatever they did. Whatever time they spent looking after the men, they might depend upon it, they would be repaid in the time of trouble and in the time of wear, or of shipwreck, for their men would stand by them. Never let their men use a bad word; they themselves must set the example.

Want of sympathy with their men and absolute disregard or Tommy's comfort and convenience are only too common among the generality of officers, and for the welfare of the British Army it is to be hoped that the remarks of Lord Roberts will be brought to the notice of all Army officers.

The Senior Subaltern


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Sunday, 13 December 2015

The "BIG 12"
Topic: Leadership

The "BIG 12"

Leadership Lessons at Division Command Level - 2004; by Walter F. Ulmer, Jr., Michael D. Shaler, R. Craig Bullis, Diane F. DiClemente, T. Owen Jacobs; A report prepared under the direction of the United States Army War College, Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania, 5 November 2004

A compilation of survey and interview data led to the formulation of a list of critical behaviors for Division Commanders (and other leaders) that would best assure creation of "A Command climate that supports operational excellence ["Operating"] and also motivates competent people to continue their military service ["Improving".] They are taken from the Leader Behavior Preference (LBP) items and provide a convenient description of critical behaviors as seen by study participants. They are described as "The BIG 12":

The "BIG 12"

At the top of the list:

  • Keeps cool under pressure.
  • Clearly explains missions, standards, and priorities.
  • Sees the big picture; provides context and perspective.
  • Can make tough, sound decisions on time.

Also particularly significant:

  • Adapts quickly to new situations and requirements.
  • Sets high standards without a "zero defects" mentality.
  • Can handle "bad news."
  • Coaches and gives useful feedback to subordinates.
  • Sets a high ethical tone; demands honest reporting.
  • Knows how to delegate and not "micromanage."
  • Builds and supports teamwork within staff and among units.
  • Is positive, encouraging, and realistically optimistic.

The Senior Subaltern


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Odeirno's Leader Expectations
Topic: Leadership

Odeirno's Leader Expectations

Leadership Principles for the new ADP 6-22; A Monograph by Major Gregory W. McLean, US Army, SAMS, AY 2012-001

In early 2012, General Raymond T. Odeirno, former Commander of 4th Infantry Division, Commander of all forces in Iraq, and the current Chief of Staff of the Army, introduced his intent and vision for the Army. He referred to it as his Marching Orders; General Odeirno defined his intent, priorities, principles, and his leader expectations. He was able to develop in eight bullets exactly what a leader must do to fulfill his vision for the Army. The leader expectations are:

  • Have a vision and lead change.
  • Be your formation's moral and ethical compass.
  • Learn, think, and adapt.
  • Balance risk and opportunity to retain the initiative.
  • Build agile, effective, high performing teams.
  • Empower subordinates and underwrite risk.
  • Develop bold, adaptive, and broadened leaders.
  • Communicate – up, down, and laterally; tell the whole story.

The Senior Subaltern


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Saturday, 28 November 2015

Four Life-Saving Measures
Topic: Leadership

Four Life-Saving Measures

The Memoirs of Field-Marshal Montgomery; 1958

An army today is a self-contained community; it contains everything its members need for war, from bullets to blood banks. I will always remember Churchill's anger when he heard of several dentist's chairs being landed over the beaches in Normandy! But we have learnt since the 1914-18 war that by caring for a man's teeth, we keep him in the battle. The good general must not only win his battles; he must win them with a minimum of casualties and loss of life. I learnt during the 1939-45 war that four things contributed to the saving of life:

1.     Blood transfusion.

2.     Surgical teams operating well forward in the battle area, so that a badly wounded man could be dealt with at once without having to be moved by road to a hospital.

3.     Air evacuation direct to a Base hospital many hundreds of miles in rear, thus saving bumpy journeys by road or rail.

4.     Nursing sisters working well forward in the battle area. When I joined the Eighth Army in 1942, nursing sisters were not allowed in the forward battle area. I cancelled the order. Their presence comforted and calmed the nerves of many seriously wounded men, who then knew they would be properly nursed. No male nursing orderly can nurse like a woman, though many think they can.

All these things, and many others like them, have to be in the mind of the modern general.

The Senior Subaltern


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Tuesday, 24 November 2015

What Soldiers Expect From Their Leaders
Topic: Leadership

What Soldiers Expect From Their Leaders

Leadership Principles for the new ADP 6-22; A Monograph by Major Gregory W. McLean, US Army, SAMS, AY 2012-001

General Bruce C. Clarke, former commander of U.S. Army Europe from 1958-1960 also had combat experience in World War II and Korea, also believed the ultimate weapon of any war of the future is the ground combat soldier, whom he regarded as "the only weapon in our arsenal who knows no limit or offers no bounds." General Clarke was renowned for his teaching of combat leadership; General Eisenhower said, "The Army has had two great trainers – Von Steuben and Bruce Clarke." He produced many maxims, which carried on the traditions of Marshall, for example:

What Soldiers expect from their Leaders:

  • Honest, just, and fair treatment.
  • Consideration due them as mature, professional soldiers.
  • Personal interest take in them as individuals.
  • Loyalty.
  • Shielding from harassment from "higher up.
  • The best in leadership.
  • That their needs be anticipated and provided for.
  • All the comforts and privileges practicable.
  • To be kept oriented and told the 'reason why.'
  • A well-thought-out program of training, work and recreation.
  • Clear-cut and positive decisions and orders which are not constantly changing demands on them commensurate with their capabilities – not to small, not too great.
  • That their good work be recognized, and publicized when appropriate.
  • The Senior Subaltern


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Sunday, 15 November 2015

Patton's Fighting Principles
Topic: Leadership

Patton's Fighting Principles

Leadership Principles for the new ADP 6-22; A Monograph by Major Gregory W. McLean, US Army, SAMS, AY 2012-001

"Patton's Fighting Principles" taken from his letter of instruction issued to his Army before D-Day, on 6 March 1944:

  • Everyone was to "lead a person."
  • A commander who failed to reach his objectives and who was not dead or severely wounded has not done his full duty.
  • Visit the front daily – to observe, not to meddle.
  • Praise is more valuable than blame.
  • Your primary mission as a leader is to see with your own eyes and be seen by your troops while engaged in personal reconnaissance.
  • Persons who did not rest will not last.
  • Plans had to be simple and flexible.
  • Information is like eggs: the fresher the better.
  • Orders are to be short to tell what to do not how.
  • Tell the troops what they are going to do and what they have done.
  • Visit the wounded personally and frequently. Award decorations promptly.
  • If you do not enforce and maintain discipline, you are a potential murderer.
  • Men in condition do not tire.
  • Courage, don’t make counsel of your fears.

The Senior Subaltern


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Monday, 28 September 2015

Dark Leadership
Topic: Leadership

Dark Leadership

Dark Leadership in the Ranks: How the U.S. Armed Forces Can Address Narcissism and Toxic Leadership, by David J. Boisselle and Jeanne McDonnell, 2014

"At one point or another in your career, you will work for a jackass, because we all have. People who are terrible to their subordinates may be perfectly civil and respectful up the chain of command." – Former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates [speaking to] West Point cadets.

Retired Army Lt. General Walter Ulmer served as the chief executive officer for the Center for Creative Leadership and has written about the problem of toxic leadership in the Army. Additionally, he compiled the following observations which toxic leaders frequently display:

  • They rarely take blame or share glory.
  • They are not toxic all the time, or to all people.
  • They are rarely if ever toxic when in the company of "the boss."
  • They sometimes have good ideas and accomplish good things.
  • They can be charming when the occasion fits.
  • They are frequently described as extremely bright and hard-working.
  • They often have a coterie of devoted "fans" who keep appearing on their staffs.
  • Most have been seen as toxic by subordinates since early in their career.
  • Their boss either does not know or pretends not to know, and almost never records, their abuse of subordinates.

Through interviews, surveys, literature, as well as reviews of numerous real-life cases, General Ulmer summarized that "Toxic leaders are individuals whose behavior appears driven by self-centered careerism at the expense of their subordinates and unit, and whose style is characterized by abusive and dictatorial behavior that promotes an unhealthy organizational climate." It is interesting to note that the first part of General Ulmer's definition noted toxic leaders are "driven by self-centered careerism." This supports studies of toxic leadership completed by retired Army veterans Joe Doty and Jeff Fenlason which found most, if not all, toxic leaders suffer from narcissism.

The Senior Subaltern


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Friday, 25 September 2015

Basic Philosophy of Soldiering
Topic: Leadership

Colonel Glover Johns
Basic Philosophy of Soldiering

 

Col. Glover S. Johns Jr.

1.     Strive to do small things well.

2.      Be a doer and a self-starter—aggressiveness and initiative are two most admired qualities in a leader—but you must also put your feet up and THINK.

3.      Strive for self-improvement through constant self-evaluation.

4.      Never be satisfied. Ask of any project, How can it be done better?

5.      Don't over-inspect or over-supervise. Allow your leaders to make mistakes in training, so they can profit from the errors and not make them in combat.

6.      Keep the troops informed; telling them "what, how, and why" builds their confidence.

7.      The harder the training, the more troops will brag.

8.      Enthusiasm, fairness, and moral and physical courage - four of the most important aspects of leadership.

9.      Showmanship—a vital technique of leadership.

10.      The ability to speak and write well-two essential tools of leadership.

11.      There is a salient difference between profanity and obscenity; while a leader employs profanity (tempered with discretion), he never uses obscenities.

12.      Have consideration for others.

13.      Yelling detracts from your dignity; take men aside to counsel them.

14.      Understand and use judgement; know when to stop fighting for something you believe is right. Discuss and argue your point of view until a decision is made, and then support the decision wholeheartedly.

15.      Stay ahead of your boss.

The Senior Subaltern


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Wednesday, 23 September 2015

10 Diseases of Leadership
Topic: Leadership

Richard Holmes'
'10 Diseases of Leadership'

A Sandhurst Guide, Pilot version, Easter 2012

Brigadier Edward Richard Holmes, CBE, TD, JP
(29 Mar 1946 – 30 Apr 2011

1.     Lack of moral courage. In the military physical courage is often supported by the sense of team and shared commitment to a specific task. Moral courage is often a far lonelier position and so that much harder to undertake in practice.

2.     Failure to recognize that opposition can be loyal. Encourage constructive dissent rather than have destructive consent.

3.     Consent and evade. Do not consent to a plan that you do not agree with then evade its implications by doing something different without telling your commander.

4.     There is a need to know and you don't need to know. Some people use information and access to it to reinforce their leadership position.

5.     Don't bother me with the facts I've already made up my mind. There is always a point where the detail of a plan is confi rmed, after which there is a tendency to ignore any new information that might suggest a change to that plan is required. The British as a people have a greater tendency than most to succumb to this.

6.     The quest for the 100% solution. A good plan in time is better than a great plan too late.

7.     Equating the quality of the advice with the rank of the person providing it. Wisdom and insight are not linked inextricably to rank and experience.

8.     I'm too busy to win. Failure to exploit opportunities that arise by being focused on routine work.

9.     I can do your job too. Avoid the temptation to slip back into your old comfort zones. It will smother subordinates.

10.     Big man, cold shadow. Consider the effect of your presence and involvement in a task. Will it help or hinder?

The Senior Subaltern


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT

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