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Commanding Officer's and Fighting Strength


bmac
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There is a table in the 15th HLI Diary showing comparative strengths of the battalions for 1st and 31st July. It has three sections:

Commanding Officer's Strength - 812 OR

Fighting strength - 34 officers, 927 OR

Casualties - 9 officers, 270 OR

(First two figures for 1st July, casualties for whole month)

What is the difference between Commanding Officer's and Fighting Strength?

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Holmes, R., Tommy, Harper Perennial 2005, p187:

.. an 'Effective Strength Return', since it includes sick and wounded, is not the same as a 'Fighting Strength Return' which excludes these men, or a 'Trench Strength Return' which excludes the quartermaster and transport officer and their myrmidons, the varying percentage of men deliberately left out of the line as a nucleus for reconstitution, as well as assorted 'base details'.

Is the CO's Strength the same as the Trench Strength?

David

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Interestingly, though the fighting strength returns for 1st and 31st July vary those for CO strength are identical for both dates (just to confuse the issue!)

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Bill - Interesting, I havent heard the COs Strength before. That sounds like one of the returns which sometimes get consolidated in divisional A&Q war diaries.

There is some discussion of strength on this thread using 47 Division stats: Unit strength definitions. That might helo

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Back in the 18th and early 19th Centuries there was such a thing as the Colonel's strength but this was always higher than the fighting strength and was the basis on which monies were dispersed through the Colonel's hands for uniforms, soldiers' pay etc some of which (often for fictitious soldiers) tended to stick to the Colonel's fingers. Officers at that time would not be included in the Colonel's strength. By WW1 this practice had long since vanished (at least one hopes so) but I wonder if an echo of it somehow lingered in the name.

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Because the Fighting Strength quoted above is larger than the Colonel's Strength, I wonder whether it might include temporary attachments from the Machine Gun Corps, mortars, medical, signal, supply, etc., above and beyond the battalion's organic assets.

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