Jump to content
Great War Forum

Remembered Today:

Ronan McGreevy

CWGC confirms that John Kipling is buried in the correct grave

Recommended Posts

Muerrisch

Frogsmile said: The once significant leap between subaltern and Captain has been much diminished since the mid 1920s when sub-unit command was standardised at Major for all arms,

 

My understanding of the Great War period is that Unit command was vested in a Lt Col for infantry and cavalry, and just about every other corps/ regiment/ department  unit had a Major. The essence of Unit was that its commander was personally responsible to the sovereign [this from KR 1914]. Thus a RA battery was commanded by a Major, and was a Unit.

The changes described above must have made for a lot of promotion to Lt Col in, eg the RA and the RA, or the amalgamation of Batteries and Field Troops and indeed Field Ambulances.I know little or nothing about the 1920s period!

 

Reverting to the Great War,  the sub -unit command for infantry and cavalry was nuanced, partly as a result of previous expedients. From memory, a Regiment of infantry with two Regular battalions was established for seven Majors, to do duty with the battalions, to command the Depot, to alternate command of the Special Reserve battalion, and to provide for extra-regimental postings such as attachment to the various Colonial forces, attache posts etc. The only essential was that each regular battalion had at least one major, as "Senior Major" or 2 i/c. In such a case, each company would be commanded by a Captain [as of old] with a junior captain as 2 i/c. Such a dearth of Majors was not unknown in the BEF, even in August 1914. War Estabs posit each company to be commanded by Major OR captain.

 

Obviously most of the Forum knows all  this well, but for the benefit of newcomers ...................................

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
FROGSMILE
On 19/09/2019 at 15:46, Muerrisch said:

Frogsmile said: The once significant leap between subaltern and Captain has been much diminished since the mid 1920s when sub-unit command was standardised at Major for all arms,

 

My understanding of the Great War period is that Unit command was vested in a Lt Col for infantry and cavalry, and just about every other corps/ regiment/ department  unit had a Major. The essence of Unit was that its commander was personally responsible to the sovereign [this from KR 1914]. Thus a RA battery was commanded by a Major, and was a Unit.

The changes described above must have made for a lot of promotion to Lt Col in, eg the RA and the RA, or the amalgamation of Batteries and Field Troops and indeed Field Ambulances.I know little or nothing about the 1920s period!

 

Reverting to the Great War,  the sub -unit command for infantry and cavalry was nuanced, partly as a result of previous expedients. From memory, a Regiment of infantry with two Regular battalions was established for seven Majors, to do duty with the battalions, to command the Depot, to alternate command of the Special Reserve battalion, and to provide for extra-regimental postings such as attachment to the various Colonial forces, attache posts etc. The only essential was that each regular battalion had at least one major, as "Senior Major" or 2 i/c. In such a case, each company would be commanded by a Captain [as of old] with a junior captain as 2 i/c. Such a dearth of Majors was not unknown in the BEF, even in August 1914. War Estabs posit each company to be commanded by Major OR captain.

 

Obviously most of the Forum knows all  this well, but for the benefit of newcomers ...................................

 

 

 

It’s of course true that at that time a battery was considered to be a unit, and was part of an RA Brigade.  The feeling was that a battery had the equivalent combat power (lethality on a battlefield) of an infantry battalion and cavalry regiment, and as such should be commanded by an officer of field rank, a Major.  This was a [erratum] moot point to many and in the 1920s a battery was recategorised as a sub-unit, which it remains today, but still commanded by a Major.  At the same the commanders of sub-units in the other arms were raised in rank to Major.  The primary intent was to level the playing field and try to make the thorny issue of levels of command coherent and consistent and thus with less muddying of the water when later on selecting formation commanders.  I did not explain all of this earlier because it was irrelevant to clarifying what a subaltern was/is, and exactly why Captains have grown closer in age and service to their juniors when compared with the norm in WW1.

 

NB.  As regards the 1920s British Army, it was a period of significant retrenchment and a great many of the older officers of field rank were either compulsorily retired or transferred to a long service list thus removing them as a blockage for younger officers.  The changes to sub-unit command were a part of this reorganisation.

Edited by FROGSMILE

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Steven Broomfield
On 18/09/2019 at 13:48, Gunner Hall said:

I think then ,as of now, private soldiers would refer to an officer under fleld rank as "Mr"  while  formally talking to another officer or anyone else for that matter.  "Sir" to the officers face,  Other epithets under different informal conditions of course.

 

My only observation is that while the two Privates may well have referred to 'Mr', it is entirely possible that someone writing it down might change that to 'Lieutenant' for the sake of clarity for anyone not aware of the arcanities of military etiquette. Being so unversed, it is entirely possible that they didn't (or couldn't) differentiate between Second Lieutenants and full Lieutenant.

 

Happy to be completely wrong, as ever, but that#s my ywo penn'orth.

55 minutes ago, FROGSMILE said:

This was a mute point

 

Utter pedantry, but it would be a 'Moot Point'

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
FROGSMILE
1 minute ago, Steven Broomfield said:

 

My only observation is that while the two Privates may well have referred to 'Mr', it is entirely possible that someone writing it down might change that to 'Lieutenant' for the sake of clarity for anyone not aware of the arcanities of military etiquette. Being so unversed, it is entirely possible that they didn't (or couldn't) differentiate between Second Lieutenants and full Lieutenant.

 

Happy to be completely wrong, as ever, but that#s my ywo penn'orth.

 

Utter pedantry, but it would be a 'Moot Point'

 

Not pedantry at all, but a typo on my part.  I shall correct it.  I agree that when written down in a formal context ‘Mr’ would invariably be rendered as Lieutenant, etc.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Steven Broomfield
3 minutes ago, FROGSMILE said:

 

Not pedantry at all, but a typo on my part.  I shall correct it.  I agree that when written down in a formal context ‘Mr’ would invariably be rendered as Lieutenant, etc.

 

:thumbsup:

 

I confess I have missed some of the nuances of this discussion (all 754 posts), but is it likely we will ever obtain - as they say these days - 'closure' on this?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Jervis
15 minutes ago, Steven Broomfield said:

 

:thumbsup:

 

I confess I have missed some of the nuances of this discussion (all 754 posts), but is it likely we will ever obtain - as they say these days - 'closure' on this?

 

I don’t know about that, but I do know the OP published his book (including chapter on John Kipling’s grave) over 3 years ago. He obviously wasn’t waiting for this thread to come to a conclusion! 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Muerrisch
2 hours ago, FROGSMILE said:

 

It’s of course true that at that time a battery was considered to be a unit, and was part of an RA Brigade.  The feeling was that a battery had the equivalent combat power (lethality on a battlefield) of an infantry battalion and cavalry regiment, and as such should be commanded by an officer of field rank, a Major.  This was a [erratum] moot point to many and in the 1920s a battery was recategorised as a sub-unit, which it remains today, but still commanded by a Major.  At the same the commanders of sub-units in the other arms were raised in rank to Major.  The primary intent was to level the playing field and try to make the thorny issue of levels of command coherent and consistent and thus with less muddying of the water when later on selecting formation commanders.  I did not explain all of this earlier because it was irrelevant to clarifying what a subaltern was/is, and exactly why Captains have grown closer in age and service to their juniors when compared with the norm in WW1.

 

NB.  As regards the 1920s British Army, it was a period of significant retrenchment and a great many of the older officers of field rank were either compulsorily retired or transferred to a long service list thus removing them as a blockage for younger officers.  The changes to sub-unit command were a part of this reorganisation.

 

In case anyone stumbles on this "unit" definition aspect, here is a complete list from KR 1914:

 

A Unit is:

Cavalry a regiment or depot

RFA RHA a battery or depot

RGA a company or depot

RE a field troop, bridging train, signal, telegraph ,railway, or air company, coast battalion section, company or field depot.

RFC wing HQ, a squadron, or flying depot lines of communications

Infantry a battalion or depot

ASC, RAMC a company

AVC a section or depot

AOC a company, section or depot.

 

Without looking in detail at War Establishments 1914 [I will if asked] the commanding officer of all except  an infantry battalion and a cavalry regiment was to be a major.

"A CO is responsible to the King for the maintenance of discipline, efficiency and proper system in the unit under his command ...... KR 1912 amended to 1 Aug 1914 para 98

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...