Military Time

The Hessian Life Guards

The Hessian Life Guards

A one-year volunteer in the peacetime uniform of the Hessian Life Guards (1914) When, on 10 August 1915, the Prussian War Ministry instructed the XVIII. Corps District to form two Musketen battalions, it specified that these units come together in the city of Mainz. This stipulation, which probably owed much to the availability of quarters in, and firing ranges near,…

The Source of German Madsen Guns

The Source of German Madsen Guns

A soldier of the 3rd Company of the 1st Musketen Battalion The text that follows is a verbatim translation of one-page memorandum that I found in the folder that held orders related to the raising of the two Musketen battalions. Dated ‘Berlin, 14 August 1915’, it bears neither a signature nor a list of addressees. Thus, I find myself thinking…

German Use of Lewis Guns (1917)

German Use of Lewis Guns (1917)

German soldiers with Lewis (left) and Madsen (right) light machine guns On 24 February 1917, Ernst von Wrisberg (1862-1927), the officer at the Prussian War Ministry in charge of forming (and reforming) units, signed a letter instructing the 2nd Musketen Battalion to exchange its Madsen light machine guns for Lewis guns. In the course of doing this, the line companies…

Machine Gun Platoons and Companies

Machine Gun Platoons and Companies

A German command post (1915) (Library of Congress) At the start of the First World War, all the machine guns assigned to a typical German infantry regiment belonged to the regimental machine gun company. Numbered as the thirteenth company of its parent organization, this unit fielded three platoons, each of which was armed with a pair of sled-mounted Maxim guns.…

The US Army "System of Mobile Artillery"

The US Army "System of Mobile Artillery"

4.7-inch Howitzer, Model 1913 From time to time, The Tactical Notebook will refresh, revise, and republish an ‘oldie but goodie’ from its back catalogue. This is one such piece. In the fifteen years leading up to the entry of the United States into the First World War, the US Army Ordnance Department developed a system of mobile artillery pieces based…

Non-Commissioned Officers of the German Empire

Non-Commissioned Officers of the German Empire

From time to time, The Tactical Notebook will revise, refresh, and republish an article from its back catalogue. This post, which originally appeared during our first month of publication, is one such piece. Carl Röchling Der Feldwebel (1890) In keeping with Rudyard Kipling’s oft-quoted dictum that “The backbone of the Army is the non-commissioned man,” The Tactical Notebook begins this…

Can Tactics be Taught?

Can Tactics be Taught?

A drawing made by Sir Francis Tuker The extraordinary ambivalence of our commanders and their inability to seize upon the occasion can only have been due to the training they had been given and especially to that given at our Staff College in England, where the occluding clouds of 1914-1918 hung over the teaching and settled damply upon all original…

Numbering Territorial Infantry Battalions (1914-1918)

Numbering Territorial Infantry Battalions (1914-1918)

Territorials of the 1/14th Battalion (London Scottish) of the London Regiment.. The Haldane reforms provided the United Kingdom with two separate armies. The Regular Force, composed of full-time professionals and reservists who had performed several months of continuous training, was optimized for active service overseas. The Territorial Force, made up of men who trained on a part-time basis, was exclusively…

Headquarters of a Minenwerfer Company

Headquarters of a Minenwerfer Company

Note: In the course of working on subsequent parts of this series, I discovered tht I had made a number of errors in this article. The version of this piece that follows thus differs considerably from the version posted on 27 May 2024. Recently, while looking for something else, I ran into a table of organization for a Minenwerfer company…