INTERIM REPORT OF THE MILITIA COUNCIL FOR THE DOMINION OF CANADA ON THE TRAINING OF THE MILITIA DURING THE SEASON OF 1912.
- To His Royal Highness Field Marshal Prince Arthur William Patrick Albert, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn, K.G., K.T., K.P., &c., &c., &c., Governor-General and Commander-in-Chief of the Dominion of Canada.
Sir,—I have the honour to lay before Your Royal Highness an Interim Report on the training of the Militia of the Dominion of Canada, during the season of 1912;- to be embodied at a later date in the Report of the Militia Council for the year ending March 31, 1913.
- I have the honour to be, sir. Your Royal Highness’ most obedient servant, SAM HUGHES, Minister of Militia and Defence. Jan. 15, 1913.
- This report briefly outlines the training carried out by the Canadian Militia during the season of 1912. Appended is the report of the Inspector-General on the results of that training.
- The table in Appendix A shows the number of officers and men of the Active Militia trained during the season of 1912.
- The training during 1912 was carried out in accordance with a memorandum “Instructions for Training, 1912,” issued early in the year.
- These instructions were stated to be merely a guide to officers, in the training of those units under their command, and stress was laid upon the responsibility of active militia officers in this regard; instructors from the Permanent Force being intended only to assist officers and not to assume the responsibility for the training of units.
- The period of training this year was generally longer than has been usual in the past. All arms trained for 16 days, except the rural infantry and a portion of the cavalry who trained for 12 days.
- An endeavour was made to carry out various courses of instruction for officers and non-commissioned officers at the camps, in addition to the collective training. The impression conveyed in previous years was strengthened: that it was undesirable to take non-commissioned officers or men away from the training of their units for other instructional work during the camp period, and in future these courses will be generally omitted. This does not apply to courses such as those for Quartermasters and Quartermaster-Sergeants, who have a certain amount of time which would not otherwise be occupied, and who can receive a large amount of instruction without actually being on parade with troops.
- The point brought out in last year’s report on training was again in evidence as to the necessity for proper training areas. The cost of bringing units from a distance to Petawawa is excessive, and yet Petawawa is the only training ground in Eastern Canada where there is sufficient room for the training of all arms, and provides the only artillery practice ground at present available.
- Instructors, both officers and non-commissioned officers from the Permanent Force, were provided for all arms of the Militia.
- The scale of instructors laid down for units in camp was:—
- 1 officer to each Cavalry or Infantry Brigade.
- 1 non-commissioned officer to each Cavalry or Infantry Regiment.
- 1 officer to each Artillery Brigade.
- 1 non-commissioned officer to each Artillery Battery.
This scale was exceeded in some cases where instructors were available.
- The dearth of trained instructors is a serious hindrance to the training of the Militia, and yet it is apparent that the capacity of the Permanent Force is strained to the utmost to provide even the present numbers.
- The importance of field training as opposed to parade movements was impressed upon instructors and upon the militia at large, but the very large proportion of recruits makes it necessary to repeat each year so much of the preliminary work that an advance in the general standard of efficiency from year to year is impracticable.
- As in 1911, all available troops of the mobile units of the Permanent Force were assembled at Petawawa for four weeks’ field training, as follows:—
- Royal Canadian Dragoons (2 Squadrons)………………….112
- Lord Strathcona’s Horse (2 Squadrons)……………………113
- Royal Canadian Horse Artillery (Brigade of 2 batteries)….252
- Royal Canadian Engineers (2nd Field Company)…………..85
- Royal Canadian Regiment (Battalion of 8 companies)…….570
- Administrative troops…………………………………………..109
Two weeks were devoted to regimental training and two weeks to the combined training of all arms.
- The last three days of the combined training took the form of manoeuvres during which the troops moved out from the Government training area and were exercised at a distance from camp bivouacking in the open for two nights.
- The spirit shown by all ranks in spite of the most inclement weather, was most gratifying, as was also the patriotic spirit evinced by the farmers who asked no rent for land used as camp grounds and put forward no opposition to the conduct of operations through their farms.
- The whole of the Cavalry and Infantry Instructional Cadre (non-commissioned officers) was assembled at Petawawa during the same period and during these four weeks exercised in methods of practical instruction and field training under two officers of the General Staff.
- Eleven cavalry regiments trained in camp for 16 day but owing to lack of funds. 22 regiments were ordered to train for 1 2 days only. The value of the four extra days, which can be largely devoted to tactical work after the more elementary troop and squadron training is completed, cannot be overestimated.
- Nearly all artillery units trained for 16 days.
- For the first time the 3rd, 4th and 11th Canadian Field Artillery Brigades from the Maritime Provinces proceeded to the central camp at Petawawa for thecomplete period of their training and practice. The value of the training thus obtained is much greater than can be obtained by batteries training for 12 days at one camp and then sending small detachments for gun practice to another.
- The expense of bringing units from such a great distance is almost prohibitive and much time is lost in travelling, thus emphasizing the necessity of obtaining suitable training areas other than Petawawa.
- All ranks of Brigade Ammunition Columns were ordered to train with their Brigades and the results were more satisfactory than those obtained last year when a special course was arranged for the officers.
- A further step was made in the training of the heavy batteries in that the Cobourg Battery and the two batteries of the Montreal Heavy Brigade performed 8 days of their training at Petawawa.
- Further remarks on the training of the artillery will be found in “Extracts from Reports of the Royal School of Artillery,” published separately.
- All engineer units with the exception of the 5th Field Company (Kingston) and the 6th Field Company (North Vancouver) v/ere trained at Petawawa. This is a great improvement as compared with training carried out in local armouries, which Officers Commanding Companies of Engineers now realize.
- The necessity for combined training of Engineers with other branches of the service is most important and should be practised as much as possible.
- The training of cable and wireless detachments showed an improvement.
CORPS OF GUIDES.
- The Guides of the 1st Division carried out a reconnaissance ride of seven days, under the General Staff Officer, 1st Division, in June, at the termination of the annual camp at Goderich.
- The Guides of the 2nd Division trained in September, independently of any other troops in the Command, to the northwest of Toronto, in country well adapted for the special nature of their work.
- The Guides of the 3rd and 4th Divisions were assembled at Petawawa, during September, under the Officer Administering the Corps, and were exercised in the reconnaissance of a large tract of country in the vicinity of Pembroke; the value of the information thus acquired being put to a practical test during subsequent tactical exercises of the Permanent Force.
- The Guides of the 5th Division trained at Levis Camp at the same time as the infantry of the Command. During this period they carried out a short tour into the surrounding country as well as being employed in connection with the tactical exercises of the infantry.
- The Guides of the 6th Division were trained at Sussex, N.B., at the same time as other troops in New Brunswick. Special exercises were arranged for each day of the training in accordance with a previously prepared syllabus.
- The Guides of Military Districts 10, 11 and 13, were assembled at Calgary in June and were trained under the direction of the Officer Administering the Corps.
- Small detachments of 1 sergeant, 1 corporal and 6 to 8 Guides were organized in the 1st, 2nd and 5th Divisional Areas respectively, and were trained, as a section of a Divisional Mounted Company, at the same time as the officers of the Corps in those Divisions. This is the first occasion upon which any rank and file have been trained as guides.
- Fifty-two officers attended camp and two officers were employed upon special work in lieu. This is a higher proportion than in any previous year and shows a very marked improvement over the figures for last year.
- Rural Corps trained for 12 days in camp under their own Brigade Commanders.
- For the first time, nearly all Infantry City Corps found it possible to go into camp though generally very weak as to numbers.
- Although the Syllabus of training for City Corps was intended to provide for their proper training in field exercises and tactical work it is apparent that this portion of the work is still apt to be neglected in favour of parade movements.
- The following statement, which includes all City Corps, shows the training if any, performed in Camp. The number of days includes one day “marching in” and one day “marching out” and in most cases includes also one Sunday:—
ARMY SERVICE CORPS.
- The numerical weakness of the Canadian Permanent Army Service Corps rendered it necessary to fall back upon the units of the Canadian Army Service Corps for assistance in carrying out the administrative services, supply and transport, of the various camps, thus preventing the latter units from receiving the training for war which is necessary.
- The functions of the Army Service Corps are not only to provide for the above services in standing camps but to provide for supply and transport services during manoeuvres away from camp under conditions which differ altogether from those obtaining in a standing camp.
ARMY MEDICAL CORPS.
- All medical units in Eastern Canada were assembled as far as possible in two camps at London, Ont., and Farnham, Que., leaving only the necessary details to carry out the Medical Administrative service at the other camps, and a special effort was made to train the field ambulances in their duties of collecting, treating and evacuating the wounded, as connecting the Regimental Medical personnel with the Clearing Hospital.
- The new feature of the training in 1912, was the concentration under the Director General of Medical Services of the Field Ambulances of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Divisions at a central training camp at London. Six Field Ambulances and one Cavalry Field Ambulance were present. The Camp lasted sixteen days.
- The object was to provide instruction in training the Medical Service under conditions as closely resembling active service as possible.
- The Medical Service with a regiment, a brigade, a division and finally with two divisions, was worked out in every detail, the last five days being spent on the march and in bivouac. Very good results were obtained, and this training was much appreciated by all concerned.
- At Farnham Camp three Field Ambulances and two Cavalry Field Ambulances for the 4th and 5th Divisions were also concentrated for co-ordinated training.
- Musketry training in camps of instruction was carried out on the same lines as that of 1911-12, i.e., preliminary instruction by means of tripods, sub-target rifle machines, and miniature targets (where available), before firing ball ammunition. Very little shooting was done beyond that required for efficiency pay owing to lack of time and target accommodation. One exception to this was at Niagara Camp, where time was found for considerable practice at longer ranges and as far as could be judged without interfering with regular training. The shooting at Goderich, owing to there being no service range available, was with gallery ammunition at 25 yards.
- Efficiency pay based on Musketry was granted at 15 cents per diem for a score of ’42 points at two ranges, 100 and 200 yards.
- This change in the rate of efficiency pay does not appear to have been detrimental to individual efforts to shoot as well as possible.
- Provision has been made for a Musketry officer on the staff of regiments of cavalry and infantry and it is hoped that these officers will be able to effect some improvement in their respective units.
- In cases where armouries are provided with shooting galleries preliminary training in musketry can be given which otherwise has to be carried out in camp. Recruit training in camp year after year prevents any general advance or improvement in the standard of musketry efficiency.
- Signalling, with a few exceptions, has been more satisfactory this year, especially in the rural corps, which are now placed on the same footing as regards annual inspections in signalling, as city corps, and the annual reports show considerable improvement in the organization and efficiency of those undergoing training.
- The number of signallers trained was 1,065, or about 2% of the total strength of troops trained in camp and at local headquarters.
- There has been no improvement as regards the cavalry. This arm is very inefficient in signalling. The 19th Alberta Dragoons is the one Cavalry Regiment which has attained any reasonable standard of efficiency.
- Good advantage was taken of signalling in connection with tactical operations at the following camps:— Goderich, Ont., Barriefield, Ont., Sussex, N.B., and Aldershot, N.S.
- At the inspections held to date this year tinits named below have obtained the figures of merit stated, thereby showing a high standard of efficiency:—