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Staff Officer Training


PhilB
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Trawling through Army lists, to which I have access, I find that there was no qualification other than PSC in 1910, but by 1916(November) in the Index under XXIII special lists at sub para dagger 7 there is a reference to officers who are qualified for staff employment in consequence of service in the staff in the field.

By then a number of both senior commanders and senior staff officers, who had not been within a mile of Camberley or Quetta, were in place making use of their experience

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[quote name='uzbashi' date='Jun 11 2008, 12:25 AM' post='936831'

By then a number of both senior commanders and senior staff officers, who had not been within a mile of Camberley or Quetta, were in place making use of their experience

Yes agreed, while experience in the field is a pre- requisite for staff officers, and many of them probably did a good job in those billets, but it doesn't mean that these people had the grounding in staff training that leads to effective and efficient staff work and plans. Staff work has a qualitative element that is very evident between staffs who have a high degree of staff expertise and those that don't. There is a big difference between staff work at the brigade level and that at Corps and Army level.

Cheers

chris

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Crunchy, am I to conclude that "Q" stood for quartermaster, "A" was for adjutant, "G" was operations, plans and training, and "Int" was intelligence?

Editorial Revision:

The following is how the Digger History website describes the organization of the 3rd Infantry Division, A.I.F., during the Great War.

*****

The division staff was divided into two parts, a General Staff Branch and an Adjutant and Quartermaster General's Branch. Each member of the headquarters staff had a role but titles were cumbersome and archaic, and for this reason are explained here.

GOC. General Officer Commanding.

This was the division commander, who was graded as a major general. He was responsible for all aspects of the division's performance. The staff's job was to reduce this to the point where it could be done by one man, by carrying out all the routine and administrative functions on his behalf.

ADC. Aide de Camp.

Graded a captain. The GOC had two aides, who acted as assistants, performing such duties as the GOC designated.

GSO1. General Staff Officer (1st Class).

The chief of staff, graded a lieutenant colonel or colonel. He was in charge of the General Staff Branch, responsible for training, intelligence, planning operations and directing the battle as it progressed. Most orders from the GOC were actually written up and signed by the GSO1.

GSO2. General Staff Officer (2nd Class).

The deputy chief of staff, graded a major. He assisted the GSO1.

GSO3. General Staff Officer (3rd Class).

Graded a captain. Usually responsible for intelligence.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

AA & QMG. Assistant Adjutant and Quartermaster General.

Graded a lieutenant colonel or colonel. He was in charge of the Adjutant and Quartermaster General's Branch, responsible for supply, transport, accommodation and personnel management.

DAA & QMG. Deputy Assistant Adjutant and Quartermaster General.

Graded a lieutenant colonel or colonel. He assisted the AA & QMG.

DAQMG. Deputy Assistant Quartermaster General.

Graded a major. He was responsible for supply, transport and accommodation.

DAAG. Deputy Assistant Adjutant General.

Graded a major. He was responsible for personnel administration, which included pay, establishments and promotions.

DADOS. Deputy Assistant Director of Ordnance Services.

Graded a major. Responsible for weapons, equipment and maintenance.

ADMS. Assistant Director Medical Services.

Graded a lieutenant colonel. The chief medical officer of the division. Controlled the three field ambulances and such other medical troops as might be attached to the division. Pre war doctrine had him subordinate to the AA & QMG but the debacle at Gallipoli demonstrated that he needed to have direct access to the GOC.

CRA. Commander, Royal Artillery.

Graded a colonel in 1914, he became a brigadier general in July 1915, and the title changed to BGRA. Controlled the division artillery and such other artillery as might be attached to the division.

BMRA. Brigade Major Royal Artillery.

Graded a major, was a staff officer assigned to the CRA.

CRE. Commander, Royal Engineers

Graded a lieutenant colonel. Controlled the division's three field companies and such other engineers or work details as might be attached to the division.

APM. Assistant Provost Marshal.

Graded a captain. Controlled the division's provost (military police).

In addition to the staff officers, division headquarters, of course, included many clerks who handled the actual paperwork on their behalf.

This information by Ross Mallett .

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Here`s one for your consideration - is staff work more challenging now than in WW1 times. Or not? Do modern communications and facilities make it easier or do the complexities make it harder?

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Pete,

I was listing the main generic areas for brevity:

Q - Logistics and all associated functions ,

A - Administration and all associated functions,

G - Operations and Plans and

Int - Intelligence.

As you correctly point out the staff functions are more diverse than these and more so these days than in the Great War.

Regards

Chris

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Phil,

I do not think that the basic premise has changed over the years; and that is to get the right people to the right place by the right time and in the right order to successfully achieve the mission. How it is now done as compared to earlier times is radically different and is like trying to compare apples with oranges. With the efficiency of modern communications systems and the speed at which the battle picture can develop I believe that the main problem now is too much information rather than the paucity of information which was the norm during the major offensives of World War One. To put this into context probably the two most important posts within a modern Bde HQ are the Yeoman of Signals who ensures that all communications assets are working and the Information Manager who is responsible for ensuring that the information is distributed around the HQ to the relevant Staff Cells for processing and action. Hope that helps!

Kind Regards

Woolly

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Woolly, I don't doubt that signal personnel in or in support of headquarters staff elements have vital jobs to do but I'd argue that operations and plans guys are always the most important staff officers.

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All staff officers have important roles - they each contribute important contributions to the planning and execution of operations

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Woolly, I don't doubt that signal personnel in or in support of headquarters staff elements have vital jobs to do but I'd argue that operations and plans guys are always the most important staff officers.

I think most soldiers would agree that the staff officers of the Catering Corps were most important.

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It's usual to describe the old UK system as 3 stafff branches - G, A and Q. Some purists will add MS to this and the long standing practice was that the staff comprised A and Q. Q undertook the responsibilities of what later became G, the General Staff was formed circa 1906 at Kitchener's instigation. It included Int. This of course also ignored the special to arm staffs that quickly evolved in WW1, RA was the biggest by far (although CRAs had only been created a few years before the war. The tank corps also had their own staff and I assume others (eg RFC) did as well. The new G staff were not entirely keen on the special to arm staffs. The notion of a Chief of Staff in the German way was an anathema, although its interesting that Maxse used his GSO 1 Montgomery in this way, but likely the only one.

As for numbers this is a tad unclear and is probably a line to pursue. As I understand it pre-WW1 Staff College was 2 years with some 60 BR army students + 1 or 2 Aust & Cdn and a couple of sailors, not clear to me if there was RN staff college with reciprocal arrangements. Be that as it may it seems Camberley was producing 32 graduates per year for the army pre-1914. Quetta had opened but only got into its stride with 24 students in about 1910, not sure how this affects the 8 Indian army offrs who were supposed to be at Camberley before Quetta opened and part of the BR figure.

From these numbers I think anything more that 447 GSO 2-1 level ie (DAQMG, DAAG, etc) with psc seems pretty unlikely. The numbers don't stack up, in fact I'd toss in staff officers above Lt Col and and include Quetta and make the same comment. If the production rates are correct 900 would be almost 30 years 'production' without any form of loss, it's not credible. Of course there were non psc staff officers and this may explain the two figures.

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I read somewhere that during the 17th or 18th century the reason quartermasters had their name was because they had four staff officers working for them. Back then the term did not have the connotation of being exclusively concerned with military supply and logistics matters. The term billet as it pertains to one's lodging or military personnel slot goes back to the French word for ticket, which in this context were slips of paper issued to soldiers by a quartermaster officer that assigned lodging or quarters to the soldiers.

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  • 5 weeks later...
It's usual to describe the old UK system as 3 stafff branches - G, A and Q. Some purists will add MS to this and the long standing practice was that the staff comprised A and Q. Q undertook the responsibilities of what later became G, the General Staff was formed circa 1906 at Kitchener's instigation. It included Int. This of course also ignored the special to arm staffs that quickly evolved in WW1, RA was the biggest by far (although CRAs had only been created a few years before the war. The tank corps also had their own staff and I assume others (eg RFC) did as well. The new G staff were not entirely keen on the special to arm staffs. The notion of a Chief of Staff in the German way was an anathema, although its interesting that Maxse used his GSO 1 Montgomery in this way, but likely the only one.

As for numbers this is a tad unclear and is probably a line to pursue. As I understand it pre-WW1 Staff College was 2 years with some 60 BR army students + 1 or 2 Aust & Cdn and a couple of sailors, not clear to me if there was RN staff college with reciprocal arrangements. Be that as it may it seems Camberley was producing 32 graduates per year for the army pre-1914. Quetta had opened but only got into its stride with 24 students in about 1910, not sure how this affects the 8 Indian army offrs who were supposed to be at Camberley before Quetta opened and part of the BR figure.

From these numbers I think anything more that 447 GSO 2-1 level ie (DAQMG, DAAG, etc) with psc seems pretty unlikely. The numbers don't stack up, in fact I'd toss in staff officers above Lt Col and and include Quetta and make the same comment. If the production rates are correct 900 would be almost 30 years 'production' without any form of loss, it's not credible. Of course there were non psc staff officers and this may explain the two figures.

Indian Army officers were certainly at Camberley before 1914. Capt Cobbe VC. 32nd Sikh Pioneers was on the 1905 Course having been a temporary Lt Col whilst Commanding 1 KAR from 1901-1904 and for two months of that period had commanded a Brigade in Somaliland.

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I dont think it was unusual for both colleges to cross over officers. Some line infantry etc would have gone to Quetta. I know of officers from the Indian army that were in Haig's class of 1896.

regards

Arm

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  • 2 weeks later...
Gentle reminder?

Not my style!

Seriously, it was a lucky battalion that had as many as 30 at any one time, regardless of War Establishment.

BEF went to war with many gaps at subaltern platoon commander level, and this after using the Special Reserve and the Reserve of Officers.

Long time away from this but I had occasion to have a look at 12th Division history (also happened to note for the first time that my copy belonged to the Div's commander in 1918) and there were some inserts, presumably put in there by him. One of them lists the strengths of all the composite units on 18th August 1918, that is a few days after most of them had been involved in the attacks on 8th August (some were attached to other divisions, including a complete brigade). The list gives the establishment of an infantry battalion as 34 officers and 966 ORs; of the nine battalions, two thirds were over establishment, even allowing for casualties of the earlier August fighting. 6/Buffs only had 27 officers, but 9/Fusiliers had 43 ; whilst the Pioneer Bn (5/Northants) was ten officers over establishment.

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