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«LONDON PRINTED BY AUTHORITY OF THE MINISTRY, OVERSEAS MILITARY FORCES OF CANADA. REPORT of the MINISTRY Overseas Military Forces of Canada LONDON ...»

-- [ Page 27 ] --

During the fine weather it had been possible to use side roads to a great extent for the Infantry, reserving the first-class roads for heavy guns and motor transport. All traffic being now compelled to use the first-class roads, the two Divisions had to move each in two columns for the march on the 25th.

On the 27th each Division again moved forward in two columns. The dirty weather, very muddy roads, and the heavy traffic encounteredaccentuated by the overturned lorries left inconveniently by the enemymade the march that day a real hardship for the men ; even the first-class roads were now in a very bad condition.

The general direction of the Corps advance was now changed half right, and the boundaries between Divisions were rearranged so that each would have one first-class road as follows:— 2nd Canadian Division — Namur - Andenne - Chey Havelange-Maffe-Barvaux-Villers St. Gertrude-Grand Menil-Hebronval-Bovigny-Beho.

1st Canadian Division —- Lauze - Solieres - ModaveHamoir Werbomont - Basse Bodeux - Grand Halleux - Vielsalm Petit Thier.

Commencing with the march of November 28, each Division moved in one column in depth, owing to lack of billeting accommodation in the sparsely inhabited hills of the Ardennes and Eifel. The three Brigade groups of each Division usually moved one day's march apart.

By nightfall on November 27 the leading troops of the 1st and 2nd Canadian Divisions had reached Seilles and Coutisse respectively, and on the 28th reached Clavier and Mean respectively.

The difficulties of bringing forward supplies had meanwhile become more and more serious. Railhead was still west of Valenciennes, necessitating a haul of over 100 miles by road to the leading troops, and mention has already been made of the congestion of traffic on the roads.

As a result, supplies had been reaching the Units later each day, and the safety margin ordinarily maintained, of one day's rations in hand, had been lost. The climax was reached on November 28, Corps Operations. 191 when the rations for that day were received just as the day's march was commencing-in fact some of the Units of the 1st Canadian Division had already passed the starting-point. As the same situation recurred on the 29th, it was necessary to cancel the march of the 1st Canadian Division for that day.

The rations of the 2nd Canadian Division were, however, received in time, and the leading troops reached Villers St. Gertrude by nightfall.

By securing extra lorries and utilising the lorries of the Canadian Machine Gun Corps for supply work the situation was improved sufficiently to permit of the continuation of the march on November 30, the leading troops of the 1st and 2nd Canadian Divisions reaching Ferrieres and Regne by nightfall.

On December 1 the 1st Cavalry Brigade (1st Cavalry Division) came under my orders, and I assumed command of the Cavalry screen on the Canadian Corps front. The 2nd Canadian Division resumed the march that day, the head of the leading troops reaching Beho, and Corps Headquarters moved forward to Vielsalm. The 1st Canadian Division stood fast, owing to the situation as regards supplies being still acute.

The leading troops of the Canadian Corps crossed the German frontier on the morning of December 4 at 9.00 a.m., the 1st Canadian Division at Petit Thier and the 2nd Canadian Division at Beho, with flags flying and bands playing. No advance had been carried out on December 2 and 3, but the marching Divisions had moved forward and concentrated prior to the subsequent crossing of the frontier. I personally entered Germany, with the Divisional Commander of the 1st Canadian Division, at the head of the main body at Petit, Thier at noon that day.

The completion of the march to the bridge-head at Cologne was carried out during the subsequent eight days, in weather that was generally very bad,without incident or trouble other than that of supplies.

By the night of December 10 the 1st Cavalry Brigade had reached the west bank of the Rhine and posted guards at all the crossings, and the 1st and 2nd Canadian Divisions had reached points just west of Cologne and Bonn respectively.

The German people have been well schooled regarding the attitude to be adopted towards conquering troops, and our presence was marked by a quietness approaching indifference on the part of the inhabitants.

Whatever apprehensions they may have entertained were quickly set at rest by the exemplary conduct of the men of the Corps.

192 Overseas Military Forces of Canada.

December 13 was set as the date on which the Allies would cross the Rhine at all points to be occupied, and on the 11th and 12th the leading Divisions concentrated as far forward as possible in their respective areas prior to crossing.

On December 12, the 1st Cavalry Brigade crossed the Rhine at Bonn, and reached the line Obercassel-Moholz-SieburgAltenrath-RosrathLustheide (exclusive), establishing control posts on that line, and on the following morning the Canadian Corps crossed and took their place, while the Cavalry pushed on to take up positions on the perimeter of the bridge-head.

The 1st Canadian Division crossed by the southern bridge at Cologne, the passage being witnessed and the salute taken by General Sir Herbert Plumer, Commanding the Second British Army ; and the 2nd Canadian Division crossed by the Bonn Bridge, where I took the salute.





The leading troops of the respective Divisions crossed at 9.30 a.m.

The weather was bad, the day being dark, and a steady rain poured down throughout. In spite of this the spectacle was magnificent. The smart, sturdy Infantry, with bayonets fixed, marching perfectly, with colours flying and bands playing our national airs, was an impressive sight, which did not fail to bring home -to the German population the great potential strength of our Army.

On December 14 and 15 the Canadian Corps moved forward and relieved the Cavalry screen on the southern half of the perimeter of the Cologne bridge-head, taking over control of the roads and railways leading into the occupied territory, and being disposed in depth for its defence. I moved my Headquarters to Bonn, the Headquarters of the 1st Canadian Division being at Cologne and those of the 2nd Canadian Division at Bonn.

During the remainder of the year nothing of great moment occurred.

The time was employed in preparing the men for the resumption of their duties as citizens. Great stress was laid on the educational work of the Khaki University of Canada and on the professional re-education carried out under arrangements made by General Headquarters. Each Unit found teachers from their own ranks, and lecturers from both Britain and Canada addressed large audiences on varied subjects.

A wholesome interest was fostered and maintained in all forms of sport.

The greatest possible freedom from duty was allowed all ranks, and everything was done to brighten what all hoped would be their last Christmas spent away from Canada.

THE CANADIAN CORPS,

ORGANISATION, ADMINISTRATION AND FUNCTIONS.

–  –  –

PART I. ORGANISATION— Infantry

Artillery

Engineers

Cavalry and Cyclists

Canadian Army Service

Corps

Medical Services

Ordnance Services

The Signal Service

Gas Services

Veterinary Services

Pay Services

Postal Services

Chaplain Services

PART II. ADMINISTRATION—

The General Staff

The Administrative Staff

Some Individual Officers

PART III. FUNCTIONS— Infantry

Artillery

Engineers

Cavalry and Cyclists

Canadian Army Service Corps

Medical Services

Ordnance Services

(642) 0 194 Index PART III.— contd.

PAGE The Signal Service

Gas Services

Veterinary Services

Pay Services

Postal Services

Chaplain Services

PART IV. MISCELLANEOUS UNITS

The Corps Survey Section

The Y.M.C.A.

The Corps Reinforcement Camp

APPENDICES— i. Composition of a Canadian Division

ii. (a) Corps Troops as on November 11, 1919

(b) Canadian Corps Heavy Artillery

iii. Synopsis of some Establishments

iv. (a) Organisation of the Medical Services

(b) Organisation of the Ordnance Services

(c) Organisation of the Veterinary Services

(d) Organisation of the Gas Services

(e) Organisation of the Pay Services

(f) Organisation of the Chaplain Services

v. (a) Organisation of the Staff at Corps Headquarters.......... 286 (b) Organisation of the General Staff at Corps Headquarters

(c) Organisation of " A " and " Q " Branches

(d) Organisation of Canadian Engineers Branch................. 289 (e) Organisation of Machine Gun Branch

vi. Organisation of a Divisional Staff

vii. Meaning of Initials

viii. Report on their Branches by " A " and " Q ".................. 294 The Canadian Corps, Organisation, Administration and Functions.

GENERAL OBSERVATIONS.

The word " Corps " is an abbreviation of the term " Army Corps," and at present is a very uncertain and indefinite military term. In the military sense to-day it means a formation consisting of a Headquarters, from two to six Divisions, and a varying number of Corps Troops composed of all arms, and is ordinarily commanded by a LieutenantGeneral. Army Corps in`, the British Army during this war have never been staple units, varying month by month (and often day by day) as to their composition, Divisions and Corps Troops being very frequently transferred from Corps to Corps.

The Units composing the Canadian Corps have, however, been so far fortunate as *to have been mostly under the same Commander and administered by the same Staffs. Canadian Units and Formations have been taught to look upon themselves as belonging to the Canadian Corps, and whilst away from the Corps have been spoken of as attached to other Corps; and, in consequence, a very true esprit de corps has sprung up amongst all Canadian. Units administered by the Canadian Corps Head quarters.

This report deals with the Canadian Corps in the meaning of all Canadian Units administered by the Canadian Corps Headquarters on the date of the Armistice. This date has been chosen as the Corps was at the zenith of its efficiency at that date, and had absorbed lessons learned during three years and nine months of the hardest fighting that the world has ever known. To describe the evolution of the Corps and its Staffs from the time that General Alderson formed his first Corps Staff in September, 1915, to the date of the Armistice, would practically mean writing a history of the Canadian Corps, an -operation which is being carried out by a special committee of officers elsewhere.

(642) 02 196 Overseas Military Forces of Canada.

The War Establishments show the composition of Units of the Corps; the intention of this report is to show more especially the general internal organisation of Units, their functions, and in what way they are dealt with and administered.

In describing the functions of the Staff, the Corps Headquarters Staff has been taken as the basis. Divisional Staffs on a smaller scale are similarly allotted their duties, often with slight variations; the report would, however, become too involved if the duties of each Divisional and Brigade Staff Officer were described in detail.

The functions of the various branches of the Staff and the functions of the various arms are also described in considerable detail, though it must be realised that it is impossible to touch upon the thousand and one details never thought of in the instructional manuals which the staffs have to deal with in war.

PART I.—ORGANISATION.

For the detailed composition of the Units of the Canadian Corps vide Canadian War Establishments, a working synopsis of some of which is attached (Appendix III.) in order to render this report as- comprehensive as possible.

At the date of the Armistice the following Formations and Units

were administered by the Staff at Canadian Corps Headquarters :

Canadian Corps Headquarters.

The four Canadian Infantry Divisions (vide Appendix I.).

Corps Troops (vide Appendix II.).

For both fighting and administrative purposes these are the Formations and Units into which the Canadian Corps is divided.

Generally speaking, however, the Units of the Corps can be divided into Infantry, Artillery, Engineers, and Cavalry as the fighting troops, with the C.A.S.C., Medical and Ordnance and other services as the noncombatant but equally important arms, and it is under this classification that they will be discussed in this paper.

–  –  –

(a) The Infantry of the Line is organised into Brigades, which is the largest Unit, composed entirely of Infantry soldiers; the Brigade consisting of four Battalions and one Light Trench Mortar Battery. The Brigade is administered by a Staff and is under the command of a Brigadier-General.

The Infantry Battalion is composed of sixteen Platoons organised into four Companies, each Platoon under the command of a subaltern officer.

The Battalion is commanded and administered by a Lieutenant-Colonel, who has under him a Headquarters which consists of i. Transport personnel, which is, responsible for such duties as hauling rations from the Battalion Headquarters to the men in the line or in billets, forming dumps of rations and ammunition in the forward areas, carrying the light machine guns on the line of march, carrying reserve ammunition and bombs, and so forth.

ii. Administrative or Orderly Room personnel, who keep the records of the Battalion and who deal with the Staff of the Brigade.

iii. Police.

iv. Medical personnel, who assist the attached Medical Officer in the performance of his duties.

v. Signalling personnel, who are responsible for the communication between the Platoons and the Battalion Headquarters.

vi. Certain training and instructional personnel, who assist the Commanding Officer and Company Commanders in the work out of the line.

vii. Tailors, shoemakers, postmen, etc., whose designations speak for themselves.



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