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Divining the right role, capabilities, structure, and Regimental System for Canada's Army Reserves

Kirkhill

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An awesome story. I won't try to argue about the fact that in a Canadian context such a situation and such a need is most probably unnecessary but I will take the following lesson:

You cannot rapidly expand a military force, regardless as to whether or not you have an enthusiastic core to build on, unless you have the weapons to give them rapidly. Our stocks of even the most basic of systems - the rifle - are very limited. Our crew served weapons even more so and heavy equipment close to non-existent. Just as importantly we lack any plan to expand the force. We're stuck in a "forces-in-being" rut. Much of this comes from our policy to use our equipment until its clapped out, then divest it while we acquire less than what we're replacing. Can you imagine where Ukraine would be now if they didn't have massive stocks of Soviet era equipment to fall onto and had to do a UOR for basic gear in those first few hours. Even the kindness of a few strangers providing them with key advanced weapons on an urgent basis would have been too little and too late.

Agree. And having kit in stock to donate also seems to be a valuable asset. Perhaps even more important than supplying a few more trigger pullers.

I'm not saying that we need a home guard such as Ukraine and several other European countries have but, at the very least, we need a reserve force that is capable of doing more than providing individual augmentees to RegF units. The fact that even now, with Force 2025, we are once again targeting some form of nebulous Total Force founded in augmentation shows that we continue to fail in our thinking.

I like keeping the Force In Being from the Just In Case Force separate. It clarifies things and makes sure that the Force In Being has what it needs and it is clear what it doesn't have and what it can't do. With the Total Force concept it is way too easy to say "oh sure, we can do that, just give us a minute while we do a quick round up of the reserves and see who is available".

What is particulalry galling is that we have spent years in Ukraine (and the Baltics) teaching the western way of command and control but have utterly failed to learn from them about how to properly structure a defence force and a mobilization concept. We continue to treat the word "mobilization" as a dirty one while we continue to live under the false lessons of reserve service from Afghanistan with its concepts of augmentation and six month predeployment cycles and managed readiness and whole fleet management. We're over a decade away from Afghanistan and once again focussed on Europe and yet we continue to dither.

And we insist on thinking of mobilization as only being applicable for bang-bang shoot-em-ups! Mobilization has to mean being able to respond to any disruption to the economy and the society.

Question: Is dealing with a nuclear strike, whose effects broadly mimic a natural disaster, a civil emergency or a military one?

The accelerated training for the Ukrainians is also interesting but nothing new. We did something similar as part of TF Phoenix with the US in Afghanistan where for years we looked after the collective training phase of the ANA. It's one thing, however, to run such a program in times of emergency and another to do it as a steady-state program for the Canadian Army. Crash training and using every waking hour is usually quite doable for the course students, but burns out instructor cadres at an alarming rate. That said, we need to reprogram our training, at least at the DP1 level, to speed it up - especially to take advantage of ResF student availability in the summers - and to create a common standard for both RegF and ResF, while ensuring that individual instructors have a separate and sustainable work pace while the trainees are worked to the limit.

😖

I think the key phrase there was "speed it up".

There was something to the old MITCP programme. Most people could afford 2 weeks a year for a couple or three years. And the instructors, likewise, only had to commit 3 weeks a year to the course (assuming somebody else organizes the lesson plans). Effective training can occur on nights and weekends as well. It just doesn't look like Victorian square-bashing.

The effort won't create an augmentation force for the Regs but it will create a willing force base for mobilization when the world goes to hellinahandbasket.
 

FJAG

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I like keeping the Force In Being from the Just In Case Force separate. It clarifies things and makes sure that the Force In Being has what it needs and it is clear what it doesn't have and what it can't do. With the Total Force concept it is way too easy to say "oh sure, we can do that, just give us a minute while we do a quick round up of the reserves and see who is available".
Separate doesn't necessarily mean apart. There are some jobs (opinions vary on which ones) that require both the training and experience that a only full-time career can give you. Other jobs in the Just In Case Force also need to be done day-to-day. A degree of full-time support and/or leadership is always necessary.

And we insist on thinking of mobilization as only being applicable for bang-bang shoot-em-ups! Mobilization has to mean being able to respond to any disruption to the economy and the society.
Absolutely

I think the key phrase there was "speed it up".

There was something to the old MITCP programme. Most people could afford 2 weeks a year for a couple or three years. And the instructors, likewise, only had to commit 3 weeks a year to the course (assuming somebody else organizes the lesson plans). Effective training can occur on nights and weekends as well. It just doesn't look like Victorian square-bashing.

The effort won't create an augmentation force for the Regs but it will create a willing force base for mobilization when the world goes to hellinahandbasket.
I don't think a MITCP reserve force cuts it any more. You can turn out, in one or two two-week blocks, some very basic level soldier jobs that will allow them to be able to do something if given very tight supervision but it falls down on the more technical and leadership roles. I had a two-week junior NCO course and immediately became a bombardier (the equivalent of a Master Bombardier in today's world) - not ideal. We turned out lieutenants in three two-week blocks, captains with two more and majors with two more. Even then you could see a vast difference between a six-week MITCP trained gun position officer and a RESO trained one who had had some six months of training over three summers. The majors? - long story short, no MITCP-trained arty major would have the first clue as to what to do in today's battle group fire support coordination centre.

This gets me back to my view that officer and OR DP1 as between RegF and ResF should be identical and tailored to fit into a student's summer vacation. i.e roughly seven week blocks so as to fit one block into high-schoolers vacation or two blocks into a university one. (Give me one 7 week block after high school and three annual university blocks of 14 weeks each and I can turn out pretty good ResF lieutenants and sergeants and maybe even captains and WOs)

How we turn out MWOs and majors is a more complex issue unless the individual is prepared to take a lengthy break from work to take the requisite training. Training alone doesn't do it; you also need a good bit of experience. This is why, IMHO majors and MWOs and above in ResF units will probably need to be full-timers (and that raises a big question as to how you do that and not have them bored out of their gourds during the periods when the unit isn't parading). There are work arounds. For example in the artillery you can separate the tactical group from the gun battery. A senior captain can easily run a battery gun line. What is now the major battery commander would have no more connection to the gun line but would be a full-timer working with the battlegroup. I would think in some other arms a company-sized organization could be "managed and led" by ResF captains and WOs.

🍻
 

daftandbarmy

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An awesome story. I won't try to argue about the fact that in a Canadian context such a situation and such a need is most probably unnecessary but I will take the following lesson:

You cannot rapidly expand a military force, regardless as to whether or not you have an enthusiastic core to build on, unless you have the weapons to give them rapidly. Our stocks of even the most basic of systems - the rifle - are very limited. Our crew served weapons even more so and heavy equipment close to non-existent. Just as importantly we lack any plan to expand the force. We're stuck in a "forces-in-being" rut. Much of this comes from our policy to use our equipment until its clapped out, then divest it while we acquire less than what we're replacing. Can you imagine where Ukraine would be now if they didn't have massive stocks of Soviet era equipment to fall onto and had to do a UOR for basic gear in those first few hours. Even the kindness of a few strangers providing them with key advanced weapons on an urgent basis would have been too little and too late.

I'm not saying that we need a home guard such as Ukraine and several other European countries have but, at the very least, we need a reserve force that is capable of doing more than providing individual augmentees to RegF units. The fact that even now, with Force 2025, we are once again targeting some form of nebulous Total Force founded in augmentation shows that we continue to fail in our thinking.

What is particulalry galling is that we have spent years in Ukraine (and the Baltics) teaching the western way of command and control but have utterly failed to learn from them about how to properly structure a defence force and a mobilization concept. We continue to treat the word "mobilization" as a dirty one while we continue to live under the false lessons of reserve service from Afghanistan with its concepts of augmentation and six month predeployment cycles and managed readiness and whole fleet management. We're over a decade away from Afghanistan and once again focussed on Europe and yet we continue to dither.

The accelerated training for the Ukrainians is also interesting but nothing new. We did something similar as part of TF Phoenix with the US in Afghanistan where for years we looked after the collective training phase of the ANA. It's one thing, however, to run such a program in times of emergency and another to do it as a steady-state program for the Canadian Army. Crash training and using every waking hour is usually quite doable for the course students, but burns out instructor cadres at an alarming rate. That said, we need to reprogram our training, at least at the DP1 level, to speed it up - especially to take advantage of ResF student availability in the summers - and to create a common standard for both RegF and ResF, while ensuring that individual instructors have a separate and sustainable work pace while the trainees are worked to the limit.

😖

I recall joining the British Army for a Potential Officer's Course, a course to select those who would be sponsored to Sandhurst by the Parachute Regiment, with about 70 others. Many of them were civilians with no prior military service. I was lucky in that I had previously completed Phase 2 & 3 Inf, and the Airborne Course, in Canada so had some previous training and service.

It was four months long and, to this day, was one of the hardest things I've ever survived. It was kind of like compressing BOTC & Phase 2 & 3 Infantry in with a Ranger/ Pathfinder Course I guess.

The final test exercise was an 18 hour 50 miler carrying 60-70 pounds each where we inserted into an RV - navigating in pairs - wearing civvies, then donned uniform (which we carried) and launched a series of raids 'behind enemy lines'. Weapons and ammo had been broken down and stuffed in the bergans too, of course.

Only a handful made it. Me and one other were sponsored by the Regiment. The other 'survivors' went forward sponsored by other regiments. Many who failed were regimental NCOs who thought that they might want to be Officers, but jacked it in. Some of those 'failures' went back to their battalions and won decorations for bravery in the Falklands War the following year. Some of the best were civvies with no military experience.

This proved to me that, given the right opportunity and leadership, it's clearly possible to prepare neophytes for battle quickly, and to a very high standard.

That is, if you can focus on the end state and not the process, and other wasteful institutional BS ;)
 

GK .Dundas

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I recall joining the British Army for a Potential Officer's Course, a course to select those who would be sponsored to Sandhurst by the Parachute Regiment, with about 70 others. Many of them were civilians with no prior military service. I was lucky in that I had previously completed Phase 2 & 3 Inf, and the Airborne Course, in Canada so had some previous training and service.

It was four months long and, to this day, was one of the hardest things I've ever survived. It was kind of like compressing BOTC & Phase 2 & 3 Infantry in with a Ranger/ Pathfinder Course I guess.

The final test exercise was an 18 hour 50 miler carrying 60-70 pounds each where we inserted into an RV - navigating in pairs - wearing civvies, then donned uniform (which we carried) and launched a series of raids 'behind enemy lines'. Weapons and ammo had been broken down and stuffed in the bergans too, of course.

Only a handful made it. Me and one other were sponsored by the Regiment. The other 'survivors' went forward sponsored by other regiments. Many who failed were regimental NCOs who thought that they might want to be Officers, but jacked it in. Some of those 'failures' went back to their battalions and won decorations for bravery in the Falklands War the following year. Some of the best were civvies with no military experience.

This proved to me that, given the right opportunity and leadership, it's clearly possible to prepare neophytes for battle quickly, and to a very high standard.

That is, if you can focus on the end state and not the process, and other wasteful institutional BS ;)
You old heretic,you !😉
 

daftandbarmy

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You old heretic,you !😉

On Fire Witches GIF by Arrow Video
 

Kirkhill

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Separate doesn't necessarily mean apart. There are some jobs (opinions vary on which ones) that require both the training and experience that a only full-time career can give you. Other jobs in the Just In Case Force also need to be done day-to-day. A degree of full-time support and/or leadership is always necessary.

I agree that full time adult supervision is necessary. I just don't think the Reg Force is temperamentally inclined to take the time away from its primary duties to supply that supervision.

Absolutely

Good Lord! Agreement! :LOL:

I don't think a MITCP reserve force cuts it any more. You can turn out, in one or two two-week blocks, some very basic level soldier jobs that will allow them to be able to do something if given very tight supervision but it falls down on the more technical and leadership roles. I had a two-week junior NCO course and immediately became a bombardier (the equivalent of a Master Bombardier in today's world) - not ideal. We turned out lieutenants in three two-week blocks, captains with two more and majors with two more. Even then you could see a vast difference between a six-week MITCP trained gun position officer and a RESO trained one who had had some six months of training over three summers. The majors? - long story short, no MITCP-trained arty major would have the first clue as to what to do in today's battle group fire support coordination centre.

This gets me back to my view that officer and OR DP1 as between RegF and ResF should be identical and tailored to fit into a student's summer vacation. i.e roughly seven week blocks so as to fit one block into high-schoolers vacation or two blocks into a university one. (Give me one 7 week block after high school and three annual university blocks of 14 weeks each and I can turn out pretty good ResF lieutenants and sergeants and maybe even captains and WOs)

How we turn out MWOs and majors is a more complex issue unless the individual is prepared to take a lengthy break from work to take the requisite training. Training alone doesn't do it; you also need a good bit of experience. This is why, IMHO majors and MWOs and above in ResF units will probably need to be full-timers (and that raises a big question as to how you do that and not have them bored out of their gourds during the periods when the unit isn't parading). There are work arounds. For example in the artillery you can separate the tactical group from the gun battery. A senior captain can easily run a battery gun line. What is now the major battery commander would have no more connection to the gun line but would be a full-timer working with the battlegroup. I would think in some other arms a company-sized organization could be "managed and led" by ResF captains and WOs.

🍻

And here we come to the crunch.

I am not looking at the MITCP mobilization force as a Reserve force in the sense you mean it. We both agree, I think, that there are highly skilled jobs that need practice, practice, practice. That level of skill development is only possible in a full time environment such as that offered by the Regular Force. I would look to the Regular Force to supply my trained Reserves - released soldiers bound to the colours for a definite period of time (and held on the supp list indefinitely maybe?). Part of the contract entered into.

The MITCP force is something else - the thing you don't like. But I think has merit.

And yes it would mean another line item to compete with CANSOFCOM, the RCN, the CA, and the RCAF.
 

FJAG

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I agree that full time adult supervision is necessary. I just don't think the Reg Force is temperamentally inclined to take the time away from its primary duties to supply that supervision.
Yeah. That has to change. It won't until looking after and developing the ResF becomes a requirement on their PERs and their promotion and advancement depend on it.

Good Lord! Agreement! :LOL:
It happens.

And here we come to the crunch.

I am not looking at the MITCP mobilization force as a Reserve force in the sense you mean it. We both agree, I think, that there are highly skilled jobs that need practice, practice, practice. That level of skill development is only possible in a full time environment such as that offered by the Regular Force. I would look to the Regular Force to supply my trained Reserves - released soldiers bound to the colours for a definite period of time (and held on the supp list indefinitely maybe?). Part of the contract entered into.

The MITCP force is something else - the thing you don't like. But I think has merit.

And yes it would mean another line item to compete with CANSOFCOM, the RCN, the CA, and the RCAF.
The only way that I would see a "home guard" type of force is if there was an existential threat from irregular nutjobs from south of the border. Unfortunately that's a scenario which looks less and less far-fetched every year.

🍻
 

Kirkhill

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Yeah. That has to change. It won't until looking after and developing the ResF becomes a requirement on their PERs and their promotion and advancement depend on it.

FJAG - They did Sam Hughes in. What makes you think there is a prospect for change? That is why I have come to the conclusion that there should be an amicable separation.

It happens.

Actually more often than either of us generally admit.

The only way that I would see a "home guard" type of force is if there was an existential threat from irregular nutjobs from south of the border. Unfortunately that's a scenario which looks less and less far-fetched every year.

🍻

I continue to be one of those who see merit in citizen service and having an organizational framework that works when the world breaks down - regardless if the problem is the Michigan Militia or Yellowstone eruption. People that we can equip with radios and trucks and either rifles or ladders.

Michigan Militia - Wikipedia
(Fenians Part Deux).
 

SeaKingTacco

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FJAG - They did Sam Hughes in. What makes you think there is a prospect for change? That is why I have come to the conclusion that there should be an amicable separation.



Actually more often than either of us generally admit.



I continue to be one of those who see merit in citizen service and having an organizational framework that works when the world breaks down - regardless if the problem is the Michigan Militia or Yellowstone eruption. People that we can equip with radios and trucks and either rifles or ladders.

Michigan Militia - Wikipedia
(Fenians Part Deux).
Sam Hughes was a nutjob of the first order. Even the British noticed. Laurier had to fire him.
 

FJAG

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FJAG - They did Sam Hughes in. What makes you think there is a prospect for change? That is why I have come to the conclusion that there should be an amicable separation.
Sam Hughes was a nutjob of the first order. Even the British noticed. Laurier had to fire him.
I sometime wonder how much of Sam's bad reputation was a hatchet job. I'll certainly admit that he was flamboyant and full of himself but he was also dealing with a rough structure.

The Boer War era Militia was a bit of a mess and the reforms that came with the 1903 Militia Act were really only just taking hold. The quality of the staff at all levels was poor and his hatred for the permanent force was well known and reciprocated. While there was a newly developed mobilization plan for the Militia it was slow and cumbersome and restrictive in dealing with the massive groundswell of popular support for the war that came with the declaration of war.

One can obviously argue the case, but by tossing aside the existing system and creating a new expeditionary force from volunteers of all stripes the process was actually accelerated. Let's face it, we'd be hard pressed today, with all of our modern technology, in putting 31,200 troops on ships for transport to Europe in the interval of 4 Aug when war was declared and 3 Oct when the first contingent sailed. 420,000 other soldiers would be mobilized during the remainder of the war. Strangely enough, we do not laud this as a major accomplishment in administration but gripe about how new numbered battalions were formed. Just think about it, with all the griping that's done about how Hughes screwed everything up, he put a division overseas from scratch in two short months.

I think what the British noticed was that Hughes was rabidly Canadian, didn't suffer fools and trumped-up stuffed shirts gladly, and refused to kowtow to the British who felt themselves superior in all respects. He refused to let the British break up the Canadian contingent to serve as reinforcements to the British, he refused to let the division be commanded by a Brit until eventually convinced Canada didn't have one to offer (what went wrong Permanent Militia?), and singlehandedly achieved the creation of the four-division Canadian Corps. Concurrently he pushed hard for the Canadians to be equipped with Canadian manufactured gear (including, for a time, the infamous Ross rifle)

When Borden visited the front in 1915 he realized that Hughes' critiques of the ineptitude of the British was correct and that much of what Hughes had done, while seemingly chaotic, was mostly just cutting through the bullshit of administration.

Hughes had his problems, made scores of enemies, and for sure, in the end, Borden had no choice but to fire him. At the same time we have to recognize that this "nutjob" had a talent for getting things done and being the strongest advocate for Canada that one could have at a time when the Brits considered us nothing more than country bumpkins only good as cannon fodder.

🍻
 
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Kirkhill

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I might add that conditions at Valcartier didn't differ significantly from those of the British encampment at Salisbury (or even the Ayr Race Course in Scotland).
 

SeaKingTacco

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I sometime wonder how much of Sam's bad reputation was a hatchet job. I'll certainly admit that he was flamboyant and full of himself but he was also dealing with a rough structure.

The Boer War era Militia was a bit of a mess and the reforms that came with the 1903 Militia Act were really only just taking hold. The quality of the staff at all levels was poor and his hatred for the permanent force was well known and reciprocated. While there was a newly developed mobilization plan for the Militia it was slow and cumbersome and restrictive in dealing with the massive groundswell of popular support for the war that came with the declaration of war.

One can obviously argue the case, but by tossing aside the existing system and creating a new expeditionary force from volunteers of all stripes the process was actually accelerated. Let's face it, we'd be hard pressed today, with all of our modern technology, in putting 31,200 troops on ships for transport to Europe in the interval of 4 Aug when war was declared and 3 Oct when the first contingent sailed. 420,000 other soldiers would be mobilized during the remainder of the war. Strangely enough, we do not laud this as a major accomplishment in administration but gripe about how new numbered battalions were formed. Just think about it, with all the griping that's done about how Hughes screwed everything up, he put a division overseas from scratch in two short months.

I think what the British noticed was that Hughes was rabidly Canadian, didn't suffer fools and trumped-up stuffed shirts gladly, and refused to kowtow to the British who felt themselves superior in all respects. He refused to let the British break up the Canadian contingent to serve as reinforcements to the British, he refused to let the division be commanded by a Brit until eventually convinced Canada didn't have one to offer (what went wrong Permanent Militia?), and singlehandedly achieved the creation of the four-division Canadian Corps. Concurrently he pushed hard for the Canadians to be equipped with Canadian manufactured gear (including, for a time, the infamous Ross rifle)

When Borden visited the front in 1915 he realized that Hughes' critiques of the ineptitude of the British was correct and that much of what Hughes had done, while seemingly chaotic, was mostly just cutting through the bullshit of administration.

Hughes had his problems, made scores of enemies, and for sure, in the end, Borden had no choice but to fire him. At the same time we have to recognize that this "nutjob" had a talent for getting things done and being the strongest advocate for Canada that one could have at a time when the Brits considered us nothing more than country bumpkins only good as cannon fodder.

🍻
I don’t why I said Laurier…of course it was Borden who was PM.

That Sam Hughes was a nationalist and fought to keep a Canadian Corps together was not something that I would fault him with. I would give him a passing grade on getting 1 Cdn Div to England in two months, but it was utter chaos and the Div was in no shape to fight for over a year.

He hated Permanent Force and Professional soldiers and refused to acknowledge that, at the beginning of the war, the Canadian Officers available were in no real shape to Command Divisions and Corps. Yes, McNaughton and Currie eventually became two of the best Commanders of the Great War, but they had to grow and learn from 1914 onward.

Hughes was ridiculously nepotistic and gave his friends Bn and Bde Commands, irrespective of their actual talent- much to the horror of everyone- Canadians and British alike. He was a micromanager who created and disbanded regiments on seeming whim which created utter chaos in supplying trained troops overseas. His fixation on awarding himself the VC bordered on the pathological. He refused to even try and get along with the British- who, like it or not, were still the senior partners in 1914-1918.

Why any of this matters, is that the legacy of Sam Hughes still echos through our military today.
 

FJAG

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I don’t why I said Laurier…of course it was Borden who was PM.

That Sam Hughes was a nationalist and fought to keep a Canadian Corps together was not something that I would fault him with. I would give him a passing grade on getting 1 Cdn Div to England in two months, but it was utter chaos and the Div was in no shape to fight for over a year.
Not quite a year. War declared Aug 4 - started deploying overseas 3 Oct - went over to Belgium on 16 Feb - won its first action at Ypres on 22/23 Apr by closing the gap during the first gas attack. That's slightly over eight months from the start of recruiting to fighting and holding under very adverse circumstances in a major battle. That's a major feat by anyone's assessment.

Like I said, we tend to pile on Sam Hughes without giving him, and the folks who accomplished all this, the credit they are due.
He hated Permanent Force and Professional soldiers and refused to acknowledge that, at the beginning of the war, the Canadian Officers available were in no real shape to Command Divisions and Corps. Yes, McNaughton and Currie eventually became two of the best Commanders of the Great War, but they had to grow and learn from 1914 onward.
I don't want to lay the condition of the Canadian Militia at the feat of the Permanent force but they'd been in existence for over forty years by then and had been charged with the training of the Non-permanent Active Militia which was established at around 60,000 men of which around 40,000 would show up for training. Many of the permanent officers were trained with the Brits and were former Brits. It's quite clear that the poor shape of the Militia as a whole was a combination of many things including government disinterest, vacillating defense policies, poor organization and, poor management. Until 1904 the organization was under the command of a General officer Commanding who had to be British.

I think hating the permanent force might be a bit strong, he certainly had no respect for it and disdained it - often with cause. What he truly hated was bureaucracy.
Hughes was ridiculously nepotistic and gave his friends Bn and Bde Commands, irrespective of their actual talent- much to the horror of everyone- Canadians and British alike. He was a micromanager who created and disbanded regiments on seeming whim which created utter chaos in supplying trained troops overseas.
The first part is true and the second while true wasn't really a bad thing. Think about it. When Canada created the Special Force for Korea it did pretty much what Hughes did. The big difference was that there was a good pool of experienced officers and NCOs from WW2 who could lead, but the SF was completely disconnected from both the RegF and the ResF. Hughes ended up raising 71 battalions between Oct 1914 and Sep 1915 and when the Brits kept running the Western Front through the meat grinder he turned to raising "pals battalions" -170 (40 full strength the rest understrength) by 1916.

Canada's pre WW1 mobilization plans were very poor. No equipment, no mass training areas, no munitions. Hughes cobbled all that together, including the means to produce the equipment, with what he had available.

Remember as well as the war broke out that Kitchener, who believed that the war would be big and long, also bypassed mobilizing his quarter million strong Territorial Army who he regarded as a joke. Instead, like Hughes he called for volunteers and cobbled together new battalions. His job was sufficiently easier as he had a large regular army (although 1/3 of it was in India)

Right now we have a massive RegF compared to what Hughes had but where is the mobilization plan to create a "great host"? Our RegF leadership has convinced itself that there will be no time to mobilize even the existing ResF except as augmentees. Let's face facts: if we ever face war again, we'll need a Minister who can cobble together a force. Hopefully the 100 plus full-time generals we have won't get bogged down in their own bureaucracy. Personally I think they will because we do not have the mechanisms to ramp up quickly at all and too many bureaucratic obstacles to surmount.

His fixation on awarding himself the VC bordered on the pathological.
Yup.

He refused to even try and get along with the British- who, like it or not, were still the senior partners in 1914-1918.
The Imperial General Staff were inbred class-conscious assholes. Kitchener, Haig and French - this is why I love the film "Oh! What a Lovely War". I doubt that anyone but an Anglophile sycophant could have gotten along with them.

Why any of this matters, is that the legacy of Sam Hughes still echos through our military today.
Yup he botched up procurement in many big ways by trusting the wrong people. His personality was also toxic.

I quite frankly do not think that neither our moribund staff system nor our glacial procurement process owe their origins to a reaction to Hughes - Canada did much better in WW2 (despite the interwar years) and our lessons learned memory simply isn't that good or long. I think the CAF is what it is today entirely a result of the post WW2 era and its infatuation of large bureaucratic NATO-style headquarters and forces-in-being.

Nice chat. If I wasn't so stuck into Afghanistan right now I would go back to look at some of this again. I'll be seeing @Old Sweat next month and maybe have a look at what he's got in his library on this.

🍻
 

Kirkhill

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Why any of this matters, is that the legacy of Sam Hughes still echos through our military today.

There we can agree absolutely.

Whose side are you on? ;)😄

As to Sam's temperament... Father from Tyrone and Mother an Ulster-Scot Huguenot cross. He was an anti-establishmentarian born and bred. Anglo-Irish and Episcopalians would not be at the top of his Christmas card list. And they dominated the British Army establishment.
 

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I quite frankly do not think that neither our moribund staff system nor our glacial procurement process owe their origins to a reaction to Hughes - Canada did much better in WW2 (despite the interwar years) and our lessons learned memory simply isn't that good or long. I think the CAF is what it is today entirely a result of the post WW2 era and its infatuation of large bureaucratic NATO-style headquarters and forces-in-being.

Nice chat. If I wasn't so stuck into Afghanistan right now I would go back to look at some of this again. I'll be seeing @Old Sweat next month and maybe have a look at what he's got in his library on this.

🍻

And about 80% of the reserve units in Canada are still housed in armouries built during the Hughes era, I believe.

With the original plumbing, training infrastructure and air conditioning in many cases, sadly ;)
 

Old Sweat

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This could get interesting. Hughes did get things moving, but he could not get out of the way. By the way, we had started to build large training centres, Petawawa for example. Hughes had organized the purchase of the land in smaller bit by agents who apparently had no attachment to the Department of Militia and Defence. It worked for Petawawa, and was underway in the Valcartier when the war came along. All (?) he had to do was divert the construction effort from Connaught to Valcartier.

And I am baffled by a lot of the thinking, or lack of it, I see being applied to the issue considering the potential for things to go pear shaped. Our force structure thinking seems to be based on preparing to fight the last bunch of bad guys with a minimum force. It is almost like we have decided that old standby, winning the fire fight, should be achieved without using automatic weapons.
 

Eaglelord17

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Concurrently he pushed hard for the Canadians to be equipped with Canadian manufactured gear (including, for a time, the infamous Ross rifle)
Just to add to this point, in many cases there wasn't much option other than to be armed with Canadian kit. The Ross Rifle for example only came about after asking the British to be allowed to set up production of Lee Enfields during the 2nd Boer War, and being denied (unlike the Australians who later on were given permission to set up Lithgow). Sir Charles Ross offered to set up a factory and make these rifles for Canada as a alternative, and seeing as there wasn't much other option at the time they accepted.

The failure of the Ross Rifle in the trenches had more to do with the British wanting the rifle to fail than the rifle itself being a failure. The Canadians for the years before WWI would embarrass the British in service rifle competitions as the Ross is a much better target rifle than a Lee Enfield. They tended not to be too happy to be beaten by some colonials on a regular basis. When supplied with high quality Canadian made ammo the rifles would function flawlessly. The issue being in WWI the British would take the Canadian made ammo and supply it to their machine gunners as the quality ammo was consistent and reliable, well British wartime ammo was not anywhere near the same quality (in many cases it was manufactured out of spec and sent anyways). In fact all the issues of the Ross (mainly getting it to work with low quality ammo) had been resolved by late 1915/1916 but by that point confidence had been lost in the rifle.

The story of the Ross is more a story of the failures of the British than it is a story of the rifle itself being a failure.
 

Kirkhill

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Antidisestablishmentarianism (/ˌæntidɪsɪˌstæblɪʃmənˈtɛəriənɪzəm/ ( listen), US also /ˌæntaɪ-/ ( listen)) is a position that advocates that a state Church (the "established church") should continue to receive government patronage, rather than be disestablished.[1][2]

In 19th century Britain, it developed as a political movement in opposition to disestablishmentarianism, the Liberal Party's efforts to disestablish or remove the Church of England as the official state church of England, Ireland, and Wales. The Church's status has been maintained in England, but in Ireland, the Anglican Church of Ireland was disestablished in 1871. In Wales, four Church of England dioceses were disestablished in 1920 and became the Church in Wales. In colonial America, the Church of England was disestablished in 6 colonies despite its mild popularity in Anglicanism in the 1780s and many former Anglicans deemed themselves Episcopalians instead.[3]

Antidisestablishmentarianism is also frequently noted as one of the longest non-scientific words in the English language.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

This relates to Sam Hughes

The Establishment is and was a real thing. The Church of England was described as the Tory Party at prayer. The Tory Party was the party of the Crown and the Church. For a long while if you wanted a public office, or a commission in the army, you had to be a member of the Church of England. This was true for Gladstone (raised Church of Scotland), MacDonald (raised Church of Scotland) and even Tony Blair (who converted to Catholicism after he left office).

The problem began in England's first colony: Ireland.

Dublin and the south was settled by the Tudor English while the Tudors were deciding if their church would continue to be a church of Bishops, episcopalian, or presbyterian instead, and if the church service would follow the Roman rites or be austere and Calvinist. In the end they opted for continuing the Catholic organization and the Catholic traditions. The only substantive change they made was swapping out the Pope for the King/Queen.

In Scotland, as of 1560, while the Tudors were getting themselves sorted out, John Knox had sorted Scotland and, together with the Scottish Establishment had created their own Established Church, the Church of Scotland. But while the Church of England was controlled from the top by Bishops selected by the Crown and the Tories the Church of Scotland was controlled from the bottom by local lairds, landowners and congregations.

Scotland and England did not get along well. The problem was particularly notable at the Border between the two countries. It became a lawless zone where neither English nor Scottish law prevailed.

1603. Little Ice Age. Famines and pestilence. And more outlawry. James Stewart finds himself in charge on both sides of the border and makes it his first item of business to clear up the mess. His solution is to clear the borders. Chase the locals away. Kill those that were disinclined to obey. Sell them to the Dutch, French and Spanish armies - whoever would buy them. Enslave them and their families to work in the coal mines and the salt works to bring in revenues from salt (1606 - Scots were enslaved by their own government). And put them on boats. Some boats were sent to Virginia - many of them didn't turn up. But that was OK. So long as they weren't on the Border anymore. Some of the rest were deported to the English colony of Ireland.

The Irish were just as happy to see the Scots as they were the English. Mutual slaughter ensued.

1689. Glorious Revolution. The Stewarts are evicted and a Dutch Protestant with a strong pragmatic streak was invited to take the thrones of England and Scotland. The Irish weren't consulted. The Scots and the English agreed to give William and Mary the throne, and access to the English treasury to fund his wars against the Habsburgs and the Bourbons if they could retain their respective Established Churches. The presbyterian Church of Scotland and the episcopal Church of England.

1707. The United Kingdom of England and Scotland. The Church of Scotland gets to continue in Scotland. The Church of England is the power centre. If you wanted a ruling position in the UK it was better to go to the Church of England than the Church of Scotland.

The problem arises in the Colonies where the two recognized Establishment Churches collide. Both claim legitimacy. But under the system "there can be only one". In America that friction ultimately leads to lots of Irish presbyterians leaving Ireland and heading for the hills and ultimately fomenting a revolution against the Establishment.

The reason the presbyterians left Ireland was that their ministers were going broke while the Church of England bishops raked in the cash. The Bishops were funded from the treasury. The ministers were not recognized by the Establish Church of Ireland (a branch of the Church of England) and were funded solely from their parishioners - who were impoverished. The 1707 union was precipitated by a last desperate gamble of a desperate, starving nation, the Scots who, like much of northern Europe, was suffering through a multi-year cold period with drawn out famines due to failed crops. Issues came to a head with the arrival of George I and the Hanoverians. The Church of England was at the forefront of the Jacobites, calling out the Tory Mob in England to protect the Church. The target of the mob was not the Catholics. It was the Dissenting Protestants - the Quakers and Baptists, the Congregationalists and, most despised of all the Presbyterians - whom they associated with Cromwell and taking away all the fun stuff in life - theaters, Christmas and May Day frolics in the Greenwood - that were targeted.

In Ireland this gave rise to some presbyterians finding common ground with some catholics and even some episcopalians. They met as Freemasons which dates to this period. Circa 1717. The Freemasons were an anti-Establishment group of liberals with enlightened notions of fraternity.

The first victory of the anti-Establishmentarians was the American revolution. The presbyterian protestants of Belfast turned out in the streets to cheer the announcement of the American Declaration of Independence. Anglican Dublin was quiet. The Belfast protestants turned out again on July 14 1789 - the day the Bastille fell.

With the French Revolution the Establishment started taking the Anti-Establishmentarians seriously. This was particularly a concern in Ireland when liberal Catholics, Presbyterians and Anglicans formed the Society of United Irishmen and aided and abetted a landing of revolutionary Frenchmen in Ireland. The Anglo-Irish establishment responded by turning out their mob again, the Tory mob, originally known informally as the Peep o' Day boys but eventually officially sanctioned as the Orange Order. The Orange Order is not just protestant it is Anglican. Its enemies were not just Catholics and Fenians but anyone who wasn't CoE or CoI (Church of England or Ireland).

Against this background the Freemasons became the Establishment - they accepted the House of Hanover and George IV became Grand Master of the Premier Grand Lodge of England.

In Canada these Irishmen, of all stripes, started showing up and brought their troubles with them. The biggest cleavage was between the Establishmentarians, exemplified by the Scottish Episcopalian, Bishop Strachan of the Church of England. and the Anti-Establishmentarians of the Dissenting Churches. Strachan was keen to keep the Establishments privileges one of which was ownership by the Established Church of a massive chunk of real estate in the Canadas known as the Clergy Reserves. Consider it alongside the Railway Lands and the Jesuit Lands issues. Or even the setting aside of Stanley Park. In Canada land was wealth.

1832 The Great Reform Act. Catholics become people as far as the Establishment was concerned. The native Catholics of England, Scotland and Ireland had kept their heads down and didn't challenge the authority of the Queen over the Church and disavowed the infallibility of the Pope. They made good Establishmentarians and were worthy of public office.

Who didn't make good Establishmentarians were Dissenters like Quakers, Baptists, Presbyterians, Congregationalists and a new mob that was splitting from the Church of England, the Methodists. These people ended up taking to the streets in England because they, good protestants that had stood with King William in 1689 against the Catholics were denied access to public office that was granted to the Catholics. Dissenters were granted toleration after the Catholics. This was true in the UK, in Ireland and in Canada. Except in Quebec. Dissenting protestants and discomfited Quebecers found common ground.

With that recognition though the Anti-Establishmentarians, now recognized officially, agitated for their share of the lands set aside for the Established Church. Strachan defended. The Anti-Establishmentarians attacked. These Anti-Establishmentarians, these Dissenters, included William Lyon MacKenzie, Scots presbyterian, Egerton Ryerson, Methodist, Robert Baldwin, whose Anglo-Irish family had moved to Upper Canada in the wake of the French incursion into Ireland, and George Brown, founder of the Banner and the Globe and Mail and also a Scots presbyterian. As was MacDonald.

Sam Hughes shows all the signs of being a proud Anti-Establishmentarian with a visceral dislike for the English dominated Establishment.

His Anti-Catholicism also may be seen in context.

As I noted the Establishment found the native anglo-catholics amenable and good Establishmentarians. But things were changing.

With the rise of the liberal Methodist faction in the Church a conservative faction arose in counter point with more rigorous Catholic tendencies. Eventually some of that faction left the Church of England and joined the Church of Rome - and proceeded to become more Catholic than the Pope. In particular they declared the Pope out ranked the Queen and agreed that he was infallible.

The argument was at the heart of the Franco-Prussian war. It precipitated Garibaldi's assault on Rome and the raising of the Zouaves in Quebec to support the Pope. It caused Gladstone to write in opposition to the proposition. Although the Pope lost the argument when the Prussians captured his French champion at Sedan, Louis Napoleon, the argument underlay the Fenians, the assassination of McGee, the Northwest Rebellion, the Manitoba Schools Question, the Jesuit Lands decision and even, the Conscription debates and involvement in World Wars 1 and 2. Not properly resolved until the Quiet Revolution and the elections of Kennedy and Trudeau - in my opinion.

One other thing that came out of this era was the Roman Church's association with Corporatism - as described by Leo XIII in Rerum Novarum in 1891 and reiterated by Pius XI in Quadragessimo Anno in 1931 - a search for a middle ground when Establishments were being assailed by liberalism and Communism.

These discussions left a mark on society.

We can look back on them now and criticise the people and their notions. But we shouldn't forget or ignore their impacts.

Sam was a creature of his world as much as any of us are today.

A better sense of the situation is given in the attachment and its linked download

God & Government Exploring the Religious Roots of Upper Canadian Political Culture​

  • Denis McKim

 
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