The Minute Book
Monday, 18 July 2016

Soldiers to be Taught New Ways of Warfare (US Army, 1917)
Topic: US Armed Forces

Soldiers to be Taught New Ways of Warfare

Trench Life Will be Lived by Men
Artillery Training is Arduous Branch

The Milwaukee Journal, 14 October 1917
By Arthur D. Howden Smith (Staff Correspondent of The Milwaukee Journal and The New York Evening Post.)

Washington.—The first stage of the training of the men of the national army will not be nearly so interesting as the later stages. This first stage will be devoted largely to making them physically capable of standing the driving routine of real soldier work. To march fifteen and twenty miles a day, with sixty-pound pack, ammunition, and rifle, requires a degree of fitness that few men in civil life possess. You must be hard. Every muscle in your body must be toughened and freed. There is no room for superfluous flesh on a man in hiking condition. It is excess baggage and has to be cast off.

After a few weeks of Swedish drill, of twirling the army Springfield and marching and counter-marching, in close and extended order, the conscript should be prepared for higher instruction. By the time the companies have begun to achieve solidarity in maneuver and can even combine into battalions with some degree of order, the brigadiers will begin holding confidential sessions with the regimental commanders and surveying the countryside around the cantonments for good sites for mimic warfare. By this time, too, delegations of expert British and French exponents of the modern art of trench sighting should be on hand, and the advance-guard of the reserve officers , sent over-seas for instruction close to the fighting front, will be returning to lend the value of their experience to the partially trained men of the national army.

A World Achievement

Just when this time will come nobody can say. The regular officers in charge of training may have ideas of their own, but if they have any they are keeping the knowledge to themselves. And rightly. For the national army is the most ambitious experiment in constructing military forces that any country ever attempted. It presents innumerable problems to which there are no answers in the available textbooks. The general scheme for development of the drafted men will be something like this, however.:

First phase, physical training and elementary military drill.
Second phase, advanced military drill.
Third phase, specialized warfare, as taught abroad.

Naturally, the training will vary at different cantonments, according to the ideas of the commanding officers, climatic conditions, and the adaptability of the men. Also, physical training will continue throughout the entire period of development, but it will not be stressed in the later phases. It might be said that the physical benefit the average man derives from military routine is little short of astounding.

Learning Trench Warfare

Once the drafted men have been welded into coherent units, able to obey promptly and in unison the spoken word of command, they will have ceased to be rookies in the opprobrious sense of the word, and may be called soldiers. Before the present war scrapped pre-existing ideas of military tactics their training in essentials would have just begun. Ahead of them would have stretched a long series of lessons in out-post duty, guard duty, flank and rear-guard duty, and so forth. Trench warfare has simplified all of this, and, if regular army officers are to be believed, it is this simplification which makes possible the intensive training of utterly raw troops in the mass. Their training will embrace instructions in fighting from trenches and in attacking trenches. That sums it up.

A tradition of the American Army that will be adhered to is target practice. Regular army officer hold that one of the secrets of the remarkable success British troops have always had when opposed to the Germans under anything like equal conditions has been the individually better marksmanship of their men.

This war has shown a weird tendency to develop terrible new engines of destruction and to revive the use of primitive weapons. The theory of twenty years ago following the perfection of the magazine rifle and the machine gun, that close-order fighting would be barred has been thrown into the discard. The arme blanche, as the French call it, the cold steel of the Anglo-Saxons, still reigns supreme as close quarters.

Thorough Bayonet Drill

Bayonet-fighting, as developed on the western front, mainly through British initiative, has become almost a new science. The old-time rigmarole of the bayonet manual, with its elaborate parries, guards, cuts, and thrusts, has been almost entirely done away with. In its place has been substituted a murderously simple and effective set of movements. It is horrible, almost terrifying, to the uninitiated. For bayonet-fighting represents a complete relapse to the primitive. Many sensitive, tensely strung men cannot stand it. At the training camps for officers, several men were gien discharges because of the nausea that mastered them at the idea of knife-fighting—which is all the bayonet-fighting is.

The men of the national army will receive thorough instruction in the use of this dreadful little tool. And the instruction will be as lifelike as ingenuity can make it. They will be taught to fight in every position—standing up, face to face; from the side, when caught off guard; thrusting downward, from the lip of a trench; upward, at an enemy climbing the parapet; on the run, as when a counter-attack meets a charge. The training will embrace the use of dummies and trenches and every conceivable kind of terrain. It requires good wind to end a quarter-mile sprint, loaded down with equipment, with enough energy to indulge in a bayonet duel.

Bomb Work Important

Perhaps the most important new tactics brought our during this war center around bomb-fighting. The grenadiers of the eighteenth century were what their name implies—men picked for their height and strength, and each carrying two bags of cast-iron grenades, which they ignited with a slow match and hurled at close quarters at the enemy. There was a grenadier company in each regiment of the old British line. But long before the Peninsular war the name had become almost meaningless. The improvement in field artillery made grenadiers useless, except for siege work. In recent wars grenades have been practically unknown, although the Japanese used some in the siege of Port Arthur.

But the continuous close fighting on the western front, with the establishment of trench warfare, brought the grenade back into high favor again. At first the opposing troops manufactured their own grenades out of food tins. The effectiveness of these improvised weapons proved a revelation, and first the Germans, and then the French and British, undertook the production of several standardized types of hand-bombs. Now the bombers that accompany every attack form the first wave, and it is to them that is entrusted the task of cleaning out garrisons of dugouts and machine-gun nests.

Bombing has developed into a separate department of military science. There are recognized ways of throwing the different bombs, and different types of bombs for different uses. The men of the national army will learn all about them in time. Bomb practice is dangerous, and has cost many lives in Great Britain and Canada.

Work in the Trenches

Instead of the open country maneuvers that used to be employed to accustom troops to actual warfare, the men of the national army will be taught the life of the trenches. On the hillsides and plains close to the training cantonments huge systems of field fortifications will be dug, complete to the last detail, with barbed wire entanglements, artillery and machine gun emplacements, bomb-proofs, dugouts, communication trenches, support trenches, listening posts, everything that the ingenuity of the battling nations has evolved from three years of fighting on a stupendous scale. They will be taught how to enter and leave a trench, how to repel attacks, how to make raids, how to attack by surprise under cover of the night and by day behind the protection of barrage fire.

Of course, the instruction will not be identical for all men. This is an age of military specialization. The artilleryman has not the time to spend on infantry tactics, nor has the bomber leisure to acquire the tricks of the machine gun. It is understood that the new system of regimental organization adapted by our army from the French calls for companies of approximately 250 men. Each of these companies consists of four platoons. One platoon is made up of bombers or grenadiers, two are made up of magazine riflemen, and the fourth is armed with automatic rifles or machine guns. In addition, there is an extra machine gun battalion attached to every regiment and to every brigade and division headquarters. But all of these men will have to learn trench tactics, because all will fight from trenches.

On the other hand men who elect the artillery will receive radically different training after they have emerged from the embryonic stage, where they are taught to stand and walk and the A B C of military ways. At each cantonment there will be a brigade of field artillery as a component part of the tactical division formed there. A field artillery brigade consists of three regiments, two of 3-inch batteries and one of heavier guns, 4.7 or 6-inch generally. When men report they are given the opportunity of selecting the arm they wish to serve in so far as is possible.

Artillery training is probably the biggest of all the training camp problems. The biggest obstacle is equipment. The country was woefully short of field artillery equipment even for the regular army and national guard, when we entered the war.

The men are first taught just what a modern field-piece is. They are shown how to take it apart and assemble it again, and they are drilled until they know every part of it by name and by feel. The mechanism of shells is illustrated practically and demonstrations are given in how and why a shell explodes. They are taught to ride and care for horses and the simpler elements of hippology. Range-finding and the plotting of targets is a much more difficult work, and yet perfectly tangible, once the guiding rules are comprehended. The use of the azimuth, the theory of indirect fire, triangulation and probably, too, the most modern development of all, co-operation between airplane observers and batteries, will form the bulk of the drafted artilleryman's studies. By the time he has finished such a course, he may not be quite ready for the battlefront, but at least he should be able to go to the finishing schools immediately behind the front.

The Senior Subaltern


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, 18 July 2016 12:01 AM EDT
Thursday, 4 February 2016

Desired Leader Attributes for Joint Force 2020
Topic: US Armed Forces

Desired Leader Attributes for Joint Force 2020

Chairman Joint Chief of Staff - Memorandum for Joint Chiefs of the Military Services; Commanders of the Combatant Commands; Chief, National Guard Bureau; Directors of the Joint Staff Directories, 28 Jun 2013

One of my top priorities for developing Joint Force 2020 (JF2020) is to ensure that joint leader development is reinforced in military training and education programs and policies. … at my direction … the Military Education Coordination Council (MECC) conducted a review of joint education. Its objective was to ensure we are developing agile and adaptive leaders with the requisite values, strategic vision, and critical thinking skills to keep pace with the changing strategic environment. A primary focus of the review was to develop a set of Desired Leader Attributes (DLAs) required for the leaders of JF2020. After reviewing the MECC report's findings and recommendations, I approved a set of DLAs for adoption by the joint community as guideposts for junior officer leader development as we move forward in meeting my intent to institutionalize the essential knowledge, skills, attributes, and behaviors that define our profession.

The six officer DLAs are the abilities to:

(1)     understand the environment and the effect of all instruments of national power,

(2)     anticipate and adapt to surprise and uncertainty,

(3)     recognize change and lead transitions,

(4)     operate on intent through trust, empowerment, and understanding (Mission Command),

(5)     make ethical decisions based on the shared values of the Profession of Arms, and

(6)     think critically and strategically in applying joint warfighting principles and concepts to joint operations.

Martin E. Dempsey
General, U.S. Army

The Senior Subaltern


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Tuesday, 10 November 2015

The United States Marine Corps
Topic: US Armed Forces

The United States Marine Corps

The Noncommissioned Officer and Petty Officer; Backbone of the Armed Forces, 2014

Marines are different. They have their own air arm, and they deploy on land and at sea. They have a hymn, not a song. Marines are different because of their ethos. Chapter 1 of Marine Corps Warfighting Publication 6-11, Leading Marines, is titled "Our Ethos." The introduction to that publication captures the essence of the Marine Corps ethos:

Being a Marine comes from the eagle, globe, and anchor that is tattooed on the soul of every one of us who wears the Marine Corps uniform. … Unlike physical or psychological scars, which over time, tend to heal and fade in intensity, the eagle, globe, and anchor only grow more defined—more intense—the longer you are a Marine. "Once a Marine, always a Marine." (Marine Corps Warfighting Publication 6-11, Leading Marines (Washington, DC: Headquarters United States Marine Corps, 1995))

That tattoo reflects a selfless spirit of being one of the few. Ask any Marine what he or she does, and the answer will be "I'm a Marine." What is most important to a Marine is being a Marine, not what rank or military occupational specialty he or she holds. It is the culture of the Marine Corps that makes it different not only from society as a whole, but also from the other Services. The Marine Corps is determined to be different—in military appearance, obedience to orders, disciplined behavior, adherence to traditions, and most important, the unyielding conviction that the Corps exists to fight. It has a deep appreciation for its rich history and traditions, which instills pride and responsibility in every Marine down to the lowest levels. Older Marines pass the traditions of the Corps to younger ones, ensuring they understand that the successes and sacrifices of the past set the path for the future. Since the first two battalions of Marines were raised by an act of the Continental Congress in 1775, many recruited from Tun Tavern in Philadelphia, the Corps has distinguished itself in every conflict in our nation's history. What follows are some of the more important characteristics that have shaped Marine Corps culture not only in the past, but also today.

Every Marine Is a Rifleman. In fact, every Marine, officer or enlisted, is trained first to be a rifleman before being trained in any other specialty. It is this bedrock premise and the training that goes with it that set all Marines on a common foundation. Leaders are molded with the same training given to those they will lead, building empathy and understanding unattainable in the other Services. Every facet of the Marine Corps exists to support the rifleman, and every Marine understands that.

Taking Care of Our Own. The characteristic that best defines Marines is selflessness—a spirit that places the self-interest of the individual after that of the institution and the team, all working toward a common goal. It is important that the unit succeed, not the individual. It is common to hear Marines speak of their leaders based on how well they take care of subordinates. "Take care of your people" and "take care of each other" are imbued in Marines from their first day in the Corps. Officers and NCOs eat last. They inspect the chow hall by eating in it. They know how their troops live in the barracks because they go there, and in the field they never have more creature comforts than their troops do. The only privilege of rank is that of ensuring that your subordinates are cared for. This culture defines what the Marine Corps is and who Marines are: men and women who exhibit extraordinary leadership and courage, both physical and moral, shaped by their dedication to the institution and each other.

Combined Arms Expeditionary Forces in Readiness. Operationally, there are four generally accepted characteristics that define and describe the Marine Corps. First, although capable of deploying and employing by various means, the Marine specialty is amphibiousness: the Corps comes from the sea, thus Marines think of themselves as "Soldiers of the Sea." Therefore, the Service focuses primarily on the coastal or littoral regions of the world. Second, the Marine Corps trains and operates as a Marine Air-Ground Task Force, a combined-arms, air-ground team, logistically self-sustainable for short periods of time. Third, as a force-in-readiness, the Marine Corps is a national "swing force"—forward deployed and expeditionary by nature—ready to respond rapidly to crises. Fourth, the Marine Corps considers itself a light-to-medium force, packing a quick and lethal punch. Although prepared to operate across the full spectrum of conflict, the Corps is more at home and most effective as a light-to-medium force that can be on scene quickly with enough firepower and sustainability to conduct operations as an "enabling force" until heavier units arrive.

The Marine Corps Is Small. As part of its expeditionary nature, the operating forces of the Marine Corps live on "camps," not forts or bases, and maintain a high tooth-to-tail ratio, relying on the other Services for a large portion of logistics, transportation, education, and combat service support. Many Marines receive specialized training at the other Service schools. There are no Marine doctors, nurses, dentists, field medical corpsmen, or chaplains—all of these are provided by the Navy. The Air Force and Navy get the Marines to the fight, with the Army assisting toward sustainment if Marines are forward deployed for extended periods.

Most Active-duty Marine forces are in the operating forces, with the bulk of those forces in the Fleet Marine Forces. These operating forces provide the combat power that is immediately available to the combatant commanders for employment.

To Marines, expeditionary means more than just getting there quickly. The Marines in the operating forces—most living in a Spartan-like "temporary-residence" mindset when not deployed— are eager members of the combined-arms team. This team is tailored toward a maneuver warfare approach to combat, where power from the sea is projected across the littoral, ideally maximizing the combined effect of its resources at a critical seam of the enemy's defense.

In 1957, the Commandant of the Marine Corps asked Lieutenant General Victor Krulak, "Why does the United States need a Marine Corps?" Five days later, General Krulak replied:

Essentially, as a result of the unfailing conduct of our Corps over the years, they (our nation's citizens) believe three things about Marines. First they believe when trouble comes to our country there will be Marines—somewhere—who, through hard work, have made and kept themselves ready to do something useful about it, and do it at once.

Second, they believe that when the Marines go to war they invariably turn in a performance that is dramatically and decisively successful—not most of the time, but always. Their faith and their convictions in this regard are almost mystical.

The third thing they believe about Marines is that our Corps is downright good for … our country; that the Marines are masters of a form of unfailing alchemy which converts unoriented youths into proud, self-reliant stable citizens—citizens into whose hands the nation's affairs may safely be entrusted.

Krulak concluded:

I believe the burden of all this can be summarized by saying that, while the functions which we discharge must always be done by someone, and while an organization such as ours is the correct one to do it, still, in terms of cold mechanical logic, the United States does not need a Marine Corps. However, for good reasons which completely transcend logic, the United States wants a Marine Corps. Those reasons are strong; they are honest, they are deep rooted and they are above question or criticism. So long as they exist—so long as the people are convinced that we can really do the three things I mentioned—we are going to have a Marine Corps… . And, likewise, should the people ever lose that conviction—as a result of our failure to meet their high—almost spiritual standards—the Marine Corps will then quickly disappear. (Victor H. Krulak, First to Fight: An Inside View of the United States Marine Corps (New York: Pocket Books, 1984))

In 1935, Gunnery Sergeant Walter Holzworth was asked how the Marine Corps came by its reputation as one of the world's greatest fighting formations. He replied, "Well, they started right out telling everybody how great they were. Pretty soon they got to believing it themselves. And they have been busy ever since proving they were right."

The Senior Subaltern


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST
Thursday, 20 August 2015

MOS SOLDIER
Topic: US Armed Forces

MOS SOLDIER

(Military Occupational Specialty)

Department of the Army, April 1962, [US Army] Infantry, Vol. 52, No. 5, September-October 1962.

 

He is a patriot, is highly motivated and has integrity.

He has imagination and initiative.

He has a willing spirit and will never give up.

He has normal human fears but stays and fights.

He willingly endures hardship in war and peace.

He understands his job and his weapons.

He is versatile and can do more than one thing well.

He is a team player and, as such, understands the necessity for discipline.

He promptly and willingly assumes the responsibility of leadership.

He places country before self.

The Senior Subaltern


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT

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