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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 33 ] --

Arrangements are made by the General Staff for him to have access to all tactical papers of instructional value, together with orders, instructions and correspondence which either directly or indirectly affect Machine Guns.

The services of the Officer Commanding are available as required by the Administrative Staff in dealing with all matters affecting personnel, establishments, and equipment of Machine Gun Units.

During active operations the Officer Commanding, with a suitable proportion of his Headquarters Staff, must be located at the Headquarters of the Division.

234 Overseas Military Forces of Canada.

The principal duties of the Officer Commanding are:— (1) To administer and command the Machine Gun Battalion.

(2) To direct the tactical action of the Machine Gun Batteries under his command, in accordance with the orders of the G.O.C. Division, and in close co-operation with the other arms.

(3) To be responsible for arranging and carrying out reliefs of Machine Gun Batteries, and for the maintenance of strength, both in personnel and material, of the Machine Gun 'Batteries in the line.

(4) To advise the Divisional Commander regarding the distribution and employment of the Machine Gun resources of the Division in relation to the tactical situation.

(5) To prepare for the approval of the G.O.C., the plan of operations for the Machine Guns of the Division, both in Offence and Defence, and to co-ordinate the plans with those of the Divisions on either flank.

(6) To be responsible for keeping Infantry Brigades in the Line informed as to the disposition of the Machine Guns covering their respective sectors, and to ensure that close and constant liaison is maintained between Infantry and Machine Gun Units.

(7) To supervise on behalf of the G.O.C. the carrying out of the instructions regarding Machine Gun Units both in Offence and Defence, and to ensure continuity and method in the siting and construction of Machine Gun Emplacements in the Divisional Area.

(c) Company Commander.—The Company has no administrative functions. It is a convenient echelon for the co-ordination of the Machine Gun Batteries, the supervision of their tactical handling, and the maintenance of good liaison with the Infantry.

The principal duties of the Company Commander are:— (1) During active operations he establishes his Headquarters at the Headquarters of the Infantry Brigade whose section his Batteries are covering.

(2) He supervises the work of the batteries in the line and ascertains personally that close liaison is maintained with the Infantry and Artillery.

He visits all Infantry sectors covered by his guns and ensures that Battery Commanders are conversant and in close touch with the situation on their own and neighbouring fronts.

Corps Administration. 235 (3) He must be thoroughly acquainted with Canadian Corps " Trench Standing Orders " and " Trench Standing Orders for Machine Guns " issued by Armies, and will ensure that they are conscientiously carried out by the Batteries under his command.

(4) He controls and supervises the tactical handling and training of his Batteries, with as little interference as possible with the Battery Commanders, leaving to the latter the fullest measure of initiative.

(5) He is responsible to the Officer Commanding for the interior management of his Company and for the discipline, cleanliness, and soldierly appearance of all ranks.

(6) He must know the capabilities of all ranks under him, and be in a position to suggest suitable officers for promotion.

(7) He ensures that the Company Officer's Mess is properly conducted and accounts paid promptly.

(8) He is responsible that all reports and returns required by Battalion Headquarters are rendered promptly and correctly.

(9) He ensures that the kits of all deceased officers and men are promptly despatched to Battalion Headquarters.

(10) He encourages and promotes games, sports, and amusements.

(11) He brings to the notice of the Officer Commanding any irregularities with which he has not sufficient power to deal with himself.

(d) Battery Commander.—The Battery is essentially the tactical Unit, and is the smallest Unit detailed for attachment to Infantry Brigades or Battalions. It is self-contained as regards command, transport, and personnel except Signallers, who are with the Company Headquarters and are distributed as the situation demands.

The principal duties of the Battery Commander are:

(1) During active operations he will establish his Headquarters at the Headquarters of the Infantry Battalion whose sector his guns are covering.

(2) He supervises the work of his sections in the Line and ascertains that close liaison is maintained with the Infantry and Artillery. He visits all Infantry sectors covered by his guns and ensures that section Commanders are conversant and in close touch with the situation on their own and neighbouring fronts.

236 Overseas Military Forces of Canada.

(3) He must be thoroughly acquainted with " Canadian Corps Trench Standing Orders " and " Trench Standing Orders for Machine Guns " issued by Armies, and will ensure that they are conscientiously carried out by the sections under his command.

(4) He controls and supervises the tactical handling and training of his sections.





(5) He is responsible to his Company Commander for the efficiency, discipline, administration, equipment, and training of his Battery.

(6) He is responsible that his Battery transport is in good condition and always ready for immediate action.

(7) He promulgates all orders to his officers, N.C.O's and men.

(8) He must know the capabilities of all ranks under him, and be in a position to advise his Company Commander regarding promotions.

(9) He ensures that the kits of all deceased officers and men are promptly despatched to Company Headquarters.

(10) He • encourages and promotes games, sports, and amusements.

(11) He ensures that all reports and returns required by Battalion and Company Headquarters are rendered promptly and correctly.

(12) He supervises the Battery roster of duties.

(13) He is responsible for the clothing, fuel, rations, and ammunition for his Battery.

(e) Section Commander.—His principal duties are:

(1) He is responsible to his Battery Commander for the efficiency, discipline, and administration of his section.

(2) Being the officer in closest contact with the men, he must acquaint himself with their characters, previous employment, good points, and limitations. He should know every man in his section personally and be able to recognise them by voice.

(3) He must have in his possession at all times a full nominal roll of his section, showing full names, number, date of birth, age, and address of next of kin of every man. He will ensure that every N.C.O. has a similar roll of the men under their' Command.

Corps Administration. 237 (4) He inspects his men on all parades and at " Stand to " during action.

(5) He must be acquainted with all " Trench Standing Orders," and insist on them being carried out.

(6) He supervises the cleaning of his section guns and inspects the fighting equipment regularly.

(7) When in action he establishes liaison with the Infantry Units in his vicinity and those over whom he is ordered to fire.

(8) He inspects the billets of his men regularly and looks after their comfort, including food, water, clothing, arms and. equipment. He encourages sports and everything likely to improve their morale.

(9) He ensures that his section carry out their duties conscientiously both in and out of the line, and promulgates all orders affecting them.

(10) He ensures that the kits of all deceased N.C.O's and men are promptly despatched to Battery Headquarters.

CANADIAN MOTOR MACHINE GUN BRIGADE.

These Brigades are Corps Troops, and as a general rule are held in Corps Reserve ready to support at short notice any part of the front which may be threatened. Owing to their mobility they can be quickly moved from one part of the front to another.

As previously explained in para. I., these Units are also employed with Brutinel's Brigade, being utilised to advance in front of the Infantry, seizing tactical positions and breaking up the defence of the enemy.

(a) Brigade Headquarters.—Owing to the mobility of a Motor Machine Gun Brigade and the fact that they are liable to move at short notice to operate on a wide front, their Headquarters are organised on the same lines as a Battalion of the Canadian Machine Gun Corps, being divided into the same three departments. (See para. 2 (a).) (b) Brigade Commander.—The duties of this officer are similar to those of a Battalion Commander with the exception that he locates his Headquarters with the formation he is operating under, and maintains liaison with all the Machine Gun and other Units in his area.

238 Overseas Military Forces of Canada.

(c) Battery Commander.-The duties of this Officer are similar to those of a Machine Gun Battalion Battery Commander, with the exception of having motor transport in place of horsed transport. (See para. 2 (d).

(d) Section Commander.-Duties similar to those of a Machine Gun Battalion Section Officer. (See para. 2 (e).

CANADIAN MOTOR MACHINE GUN M.T. COMPANY.

This Company is the Unit which supplies the Motor Machine Gun Brigades with their mechanical transport. It is divided into a Headquarters and two Sections. One Section is attached to each Brigade and comes under their tactical control.

The M.T. Company is self-contained, having its own workshops and repair sections. It is responsible for keeping the vehicles in good running order and ready for immediate action.

It is a C.A.S.C. Unit, and is administered by the S.M.T.O.. Canadian Corps Headquarters.

LIGHT TRENCH MORTAR BATTERY.

The main function of a Light Trench Mortar Battery is the employment of a light and readily mobile weapon for dealing with enemy works or activity which by nature of the ground it is difficult for Artillery to cope with, or from proximity to our own lines dangerous for other weapons to deal with.

The weapon employed, the 3-in. Stokes Gun, is sufficiently mobile to be moved from point to point very quickly to engage targets immediately they are seen. Its range is only 700 yards.

A Battery has for its administration a Battery Commander and four Subalterns, and sufficient personnel to allow five gunners to each Mortar.

The entire personnel is detached from Infantry Battalions within the Brigade. This personnel being inadequate when the Mortars are actively engaged, sufficient further personnel is usually temporarily attached from the Infantry Battalions of the Brigade concerned.

Each Gun Crew has its leader who, is responsible for the care of the weapon. He must know the faults and errors of his gun thoroughly, and when shooting be able to observe and correct his fire where necessary.

He must keep thoroughly clean any ammunition allotted for use of his gun, and personally supervise the fusing of all ammunition. He must know the qualities of each man in his crew, and continually instruct his crew in the use of the weapon and the care of the ammunition.

Corps Administration. 239 The four subalterns normally have command of a Section of two guns each. In Trench Warfare, however, where Light Trench Mortars have been of the greatest use, as the Mortars are generally widely scattered over the Brigade Front, it is necessary to conduct reliefs of the officers, giving them charge of a varied number of guns according to the grouping; and out of the line, as there are no specialists, the varied work of the Unit must be done by Roster, which the Battery Commander keeps.

Each subaltern must have a very thorough knowledge of map reading, ranges and compass work, as when fighting it is his duty to pick up his own targets, to know the enemy trench system thoroughly, and by cross bearings absolutely locate any targets. He must be able to train also his men in every detail of the Mortar, the ammunition, and means of locating targets.

The Battery Commander must personally supervise all the routine and administration in his Battery. He usually employs a senior N.C.O. as Battery Sergeant-Major, and this N.C.O. must be, as other SergeantMajors, responsible for discipline, smartness, and general conduct of the men, setting a perfect example to them. He must know the use of the gun thoroughly and be capable of instructing his N.C.O's in their duties, and the men in every respect. In action he is usually responsible for the supply of ammunition to the gun, to the maintenance of reserve dumps of ammunition, and in Trench warfare to the supplies necessary for gunpits.

Another N.C.O. is detailed for duty as QuartermasterSergeant, and he draws all supplies from 'Ordnance, and is responsible for the delivery of rations and clothing in and out of the Line. He takes Mortars and parts to the Inspector of Ordnance Machinery for repairs, and indents upon the Ordnance for such new parts as may be necessary.

The Battery Commander receives his orders from Brigade Headquarters, keeping in close touch with them to ca-operate with other weapons against any targets which Brigade lays down, and keeps close liaison with Battalions to deal with any activity of the enemy immediately within their sight.

He is responsible for the training of his men in every respect, and for the full employment of his weapon. He must continually select new targets, and select and have improved firing positions. He must always be able to devise means of coping with any enemy annoyance to the Battalions in the lines, and must act 240 Overseas Military Forces of Canada.

as a pacifist with Battalion officers who dislike Trench Mortars too close to them in the trenches owing to the enemy fire which they draw.

Owing to the small personnel in Trench Mortar Batteries, ammunition is generally carried up by Infantry parties, and again to overcome the resultant dislike of the Infantry, the Battery must prove its usefulness.

Gun-pits, whenever possible, must be thoroughly constructed, so that they can stand hits from enemy artillery and yet carry on. They must be very carefully concealed, and allowance made for the ammunition, which must be kept dry.



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