PURPOSE OF "HINTS."
As an Officer in the R.G.A. you are required to have an extensive knowledge of a number of subjects. On the action you take, due to your knowledge of these subjects, will depend the accurate shoot-ing of your battery and the lives of your men.
This pamphlet consists largely of questions which, if you are an efficient officer, you will be able conscientiously to answer satis-factorily. If you cannot answer them, you are not efficient, which means that you may be responsible for the lives of infantry, whom it is the whole of your work to assist, to say nothing of the lives of your own men.
Take the necessary steps immediately, therefore, to be able to give satisfactory answers to those questions which you cannot answer at present.
- When your battery takes up a new position do you make every effort to get your guns into action, lines of fire laid out, and the battery connected to an O.P., or to another battery which can observe for you, as soon as possible, so that you can take part in event of a sudden attack?
- Are you careful that all tracks and conspicuous objects are cleared away before a hostile aeroplane can see them?
- Do you set about making rough dug-outs for the men im-mediately?
- Can you get a round off on your night-lines inside two minutes from receiving the order, day or night?
- Can you get a round off on to any target in your arc inside five minutes, day or night?
- Do you take advantage immediately of any fleeting oppor-tunity?
- Are you careful to keep your group in touch with any change in the situation as soon as possible?
II. THEORETICAL KNOWLEDGE OF GUNNERY.
- Why is a recoil mechanism necessary?
- Why do you need to calculate angle of sight?
- What is the actual effect of making a mistake of 10 minutes in the angle of sight at a range of 6,000 yards with your gun?
- If your battery uses shrapnel, what is the effect of a graze burst, and of a very high burst?
- What is the effect on range of a low air temperature, a high charge temperature, or a high barometer, and why?
- What is "drift?"
III. PRACTICAL GUNNERY.
(The majority of this applies particularly to Section Commanders.)
- Have you got copies of hand-book, drill-book, and range table for your weapon?
- Could you have any weapon taken completely to pieces and assemble it again?
- If it is necessary to replace damaged parts, could you show your men how to do it, if they did not know?
How long would it take you to replace the different parts of your gun (or howitzer) that are liable to be damaged or go wrong?
- What is the weight of your shell, the weight of the charge (or charges), what do the marks on your shell mean?
- What fuzes do you use? Are you always certain that the bottom of the fuze or gaine is pressing hard against the exploder of the shell?
- What precautions do you take to keep your ammunition in good condition (particularly with N.C.T.)? Charges and fuzes must be kept dry, and as far as possible at a uniform temperature.
Shells must be kept dry, clean, and off the ground.
- Do you arrange your charges and time fuzes into lots, and your shells into groups according to their weight?
- Do you take precautions to use up the old ammunition in the pits before that which is dumped when you fill up?
- Do you know how much ammunition is in your pits at this moment, and how long it would last you in event of an attack?
- Do you know how long it takes for fresh ammunition to come up during an attack when the roads will be crowded and possibly under shell fire? Accordingly, do you know for how long you could maintain a definite rate of fire before you ought to send for more ammunition?
- Have you a definite plan for the replenishment of ammuni-tion, so that the wagons know where to drive to and the men know where to put the ammunition when they unload it?
- Do you know the aiming points used by your guns?
- Do you keep a board fixed in the gun pit detailing the aiming point and different angles, elevations, fuzes, charges, etc., for your principal targets and defence lines?
- Could you, at this moment, go and lay your gun yourself on some point within your range and arc?
- Is your arc of fire as large as possible?
- Could you determine the map position of your battery in an area of country you did not know?
- How would you lay out the original line of fire in the following cases:
- Where there are plenty of aiming points and you know your map position.
- Where there is no suitable aiming point and you know your map position.
- Where there is no suitable aiming point and you don't know your map position.
- What is the effect, if you have got your battery position plotted 300 yards N.W. of your true position, when you switch on from one target to another?
- Are you certain, at the present moment, that your sights, clinometer, etc., are in accurate adjustment? Do you frequently test this personally?
- Are you certain, at the present moment, that the bores of your guns are absolutely clean, and all working parts in good adjust-ment and well oiled, and all unpainted parts polished? Do you personally examine the working parts of your guns to see that there is no dirt in them?
- Do you realise the damage that can be done to the bore by a gun being left loaded for some hours after it has been fired several times and is accordingly coated with corroding substances?
- Do you turn your wheels daily so as to change the working spoke?
- Have you got a 'planchette' map board for your battery position? (The 1st Field Survey Company supply these on demand). Is the map of the latest edition? The co-ordinates of points and trenches vary considerably on different editions.
- Do you occasionally check your map to see that it has not stretched and is giving you wrong map ranges?
- Are you deficient of any stores, particularly the new stores not in your G.1098, but authorised in various G.R.Os.?
- If you have emplacements, are they white-washed inside? Are all the necessary tools hung up neatly in the gun pit? Are the box respirators handy?
- Do you frequently look to see that your buffers are full and your springs and parting plates in good condition? Do not leave this to the Armament Artificer.
- Do you frequently watch your guns while they are firing to see that the recoil and run up are normal?
- If you suspect anything wrong with your guns do you request that the I.O.M. shall examine them?
- Do your aeroplane look-outs know their job? Do you arrange for them to go to neighbouring anti-aircraft batteries occasionally, in order to learn new types of hostile aircraft?
- Do you know the details of the enemy country your battery is shooting over? Can you name all the prominent points that can be seen from your O.P.?
- Do you know exactly where our front line is?
- Do you understand "contours" and can you determine from them what ground should or should not be visible from your O.P.?
- Do you visit other H.A. and R.F.A. O.Ps. and study the country from a different point of view?
- Have you got a properly mounted map at your O.P. with an arc view on it? (The 1st Field Survey Company will supply this on demand).
- Do you continually instruct all your observation party in knowledge of the country? As this knowledge depends on a purely personal factor, viz., "eye for country," you will generally find that there are several men in the battery who are better at spotting shell bursts, working parties, gun flashes, etc., than you are. Do you make all the use of these men you can?
- Do you thoroughly appreciate the fact that, whoever is watch-ing from the battery O.P., be it the B.C., or a gunner in the Ob-servation Party, is nominally commanding the battery and must call it into action instantly if necessary, get it shooting, and then make his report?
- If you see a target out of your arc, do you know whom to call up to engage it, and how long it takes them to shoot?
- Have you an instrument to measure angles with at your O.P.?
- Do you check the variation of your prismatic compass?
- Is your O.P. constructed on one of the following principles?
- Overhead-cover proof against 5.9", with telephonists dug-out proof against 8".
- Overhead-cover just proof against shrapnel with a 5.9" proof dug-out into which the observer can slip instantly. Telephonists' dug-out proof against 8".
The former used where there is natural concealment, or where concealment is not necessary, and the latter where concealment is essential.
- Do you inspect your O.P. each day to see that the telephonists' dug-out is kept clean? Telephonists at O.Ps. are inclined to acquire dirty habits.
- Do you make a point of learning some more country from the map each time you are up at the O.P.?
- Have you a general knowledge of country both sides of the area your battery shoots over?
- Do you know all depressions or other places within reach of your battery where the enemy could assemble unobserved?
- Do you know what rocket signals are used on the front within your arc of fire, and what they mean?
- Can you range your battery quickly on any point in your arc?
- Do you know how many yards of range or minutes of line a degree represents when looking from your O.P. on different parts of your arc?
- Do you employ a stop watch when ranging so that you can pick out your own shell if more than one battery is engaging the same target?
- Can all your Observation Party carry on ranging the battery in case you are a casualty?
- Do you thoroughly understand the method of ranging with aeroplane observation?
- You may be confronted at any moment by an exigency such as a gas attack, a heavy bombardment of your battery, or even a rapid German advance.
- In each of these cases what action would you take? Have you taken all the precautions necessary to ensure that everyone knows what to do?
- Do you understand the "Gas precautions," do you observe them fully, and do you frequently practise "Gas drill"?
- What will you do with casualties in the battery? Where is the nearest dressing station?
- Assuming, if the enemy attacked on a large scale, that there were a severe preliminary bombardment followed by gas and a possible rapid advance, what action would you take? You would probably have all telephone lines cut and would thus have to act entirely on your own initiative. Have you means of laying and switching if your normal aiming points are obscured by smoke?
- If you are ordered to retire, do you know the position that is reserved for you to retire to, for each line of defence that we hold? Have you visited rear O.Ps. from which our own front system of trenches can be observed in case these should be occupied by the enemy? Do you know what arrangements are made for estab-lishing communication with these O.Ps.?
- Do you make friends with the Infantry in front of you and ask them to your O.P. and battery when you are shooting? It is of the greatest importance to get the Infantry to have absolute confidence in you and your shooting.
- Do you go and visit other batteries, including R.F.A. batteries, and O.Ps., and thereby see any improvements they may have?
- Are you in close touch with the R.F.C., the Kite Balloon Section, the Topographical Section, and the nearest Field Company? All these people can help you with your work.
VIII. CAPABILITIES OF YOUR BATTERY.
- What is your extreme range on a hot day with a 10 M.P.H. wind behind you, and on a cold day with a 30 M.P.H. wind against you?
- What is your extreme rate of accurate fire? Do you rest your guns periodically when firing for long periods at a rapid rate? (The general rule is 10 minutes in every hour). Have you got water, for cooling the guns, handy?
- How many guns can you get on any particular place in your arc of fire?
- What is the shortest range at which you can fire?
- How long does it take you to get the first round off from receiving a surprise order to fire?
- How long would it take to get out of action if you were ordered to advance at this moment?
- Can you buzz and read Morse fast enough to be of use?
- Can you read and send semaphore?
- Do you thoroughly understand the D3 telephone, particularly the three tests which show if it is in proper working order?
- Do you test the voltage of your cells frequently?
- Is your equipment complete, both for visual signalling and telephony?
- Are your lines in good order? Do you test to see whether bad speaking of lines is due to bad insulation or bad joints? (See Appendix I).
- Have you taken precautions that your linesmen are as little exposed to shell fire as possible, that is, by having test points in safe places and the route for the line laid out accordingly? You cannot expect to keep your lines "through," when heavy shell fire commences, if your linesmen have to work all the time exposed to this fire.
- Do you know exactly the route of each line? And do you periodically walk your lines?
- Have you several alternate routes for communication and do you take every precaution to make your lines safe by burying them at least 6 feet? Do you realise how the use of china in-sulators (which you can procure from signal companies) will save your air-lines from deteriorating?
- Do you understand your telephone exchange and do you know the calls for your different stations?
- Are your buzzer calls carefully selected, so as to avoid clash-ing with those of neighbouring units which are inter-connected with you? Do you employ four letter calls where one letter is sufficient?
- Do you pay strict attention to the orders with regard to "using earths" within the zone of "over-hearing" by the enemy?
X. FIELD ENGINEERING.
- You are often required to construct dug-outs and gun em-placements which are weather-proof, shell-proof, and, at the same time, proof against detection in aero photos taken by the enemy.
- Can you construct a dug-out and a gun emplacement which is proof against a 5.9" shell? Do you understand the advantages of a "bursting course" and "double roofing?" (See Appendix II).
- Do you make as much use as possible of cupolas?
- When constructing a gun pit do you make certain that the roof is not higher than necessary? There is always a tendency to make the roof too high, thus adding height to the pit and making it conspicuous.
- Do you fully realise how essential it is to have proper frame-work for your dug-outs and gun emplacements when they are first constructed? It is very difficult and unsatisfactory to reinforce the supports afterwards. Are your supports more than 18 inches apart?
- Are you careful to give ample support to the beams or girders you use for framework? It is little use employing heavy girders if you only support them for two inches at each end.
When building up sandbags on a trench, or excavation, are you careful to leave a ledge so that when the earth crumbles away your sandbags will not collapse for want of support? Do you make the greatest use of timber so that it gives its greatest strength? Are the entrances to your dug-outs very strong, and do they face away from the direction of hostile shell-fire? Have you two entrances for each men's dug-out?
- Before constructing dug-outs, etc., do you go to see neighbouring batteries (particularly those which have had winter ex-perience in the area) and find out what they recommend? Have you studied the designs for gun pits issued?
- Have you studied the drainage problem of your battery position?
- Do you take every precaution to make the dug-outs, etc., weather-proof? Will the roof leak? Will water get into the dug-outs through the entrance? If water does get in, is there a large sump? (The ideal floor is cement, drained towards a deep sump and covered with high trench boards; or in chalk, the trench boards are sufficient, provided the floor is kept free from mud which blocks the natural drainage.)
- Do you realise how easily battery positions can be detected on aero-photos from (i) shadows thrown by the outward form of the dug-out and emplacement, (ii) tracks leading about the battery, (iii) the blast from the guns on the ground in front of the pits. Do you take precaution against these?
- Do you endeavour to mislead the enemy as to your position by (i) a not too-obvious dummy position two or three hundred yards away with an artificial blast in front of the guns, (ii) artificial tracks in front of your battery position?
- Have you had an aero-photo taken of your battery position?
- Are your telephonists' dug-out and your B.C.s' dug-out really well constructed and shell-proof, and is there ample room for the detachments in their dug-outs?
- Are your detachment dug-outs so placed that the men can man their guns in the least possible time?
- Have you got a good road up to the vicinity of the position along which wagons may drive for replenishment of ammunition, etc.? Wheel-tracks up to the position must be avoided; if there is not a good road these tracks are inevitable.
- Do you make use of speaking tubes? You can get special mouth-pieces from the First Army Workshops, R.E.
XI. ROUTINE, DISCIPLINE & COMFORT.
- At what time in the morning are your men clean and shaved? At what time is the battery position absolutely clean and tidy?
- Do you hold frequent kit inspection to see that the men's equipment is complete and in good order?
- Do you know how much pay each of your men gets and whether their dependents are receiving their full allotment?
- Do all your men wear identity discs and carry field dressings?
- Do you know who are the men to trust in your section; who are worth promoting; who are lazy; and who are slackers, and malingerers?
- Can you trust all your N.C.Os.? Can your senior N.C.s. take your place if you are a casualty? If they cannot, are you training them?
- Are the cooking arrangements satisfactory? Do your men get the rations cooked as they like them? Do you arrange that they can purchase any luxuries they want from the Expeditionary Force Canteens?
- Do your men do a full day's work? Do you keep fairly short hours, but have your men working really hard at every job they do?
- Do you appreciate that men will not work hard when they are required to do so, if they are continually permitted to slack?
- Do you appreciate that men cannot continually do more than six-hours shifts per day, for really hard physical work or mental work such as telephone exchanges?
A normal day's work for any man should be 12 hours, of which 6 may be as above.
- Do you see that your men get recreation in the form of football or cricket?
- Do you appreciate how much competition improves the standard of work by giving the men a sporting interest in their work?
- Do you frequently hold small classes in laying, telephony, etc.? Do you occasionally have gun drill with servants, cooks, telephonists, etc., taking working numbers, giving the junior N.C.Os a chance of practising the duties of No. 1?
- Do your men do their work at the double? Is their gun-drill smart? Do they spring to attention when spoken to by an Officer?
- Do they appreciate how much external appearance coincides with internal efficiency?
- Do your men firmly believe that theirs is the best battery in France, and have they a right to this belief?
- Are your latrines properly situated and in good condition?
- Is your cook-house well constructed and absolutely clean?
- Where do you get your water from? Have you had it tested?
- Do you take precautions that the water is boiled before being drunk, unless you know it to be certified as drinkable?
- Can your men get a hot bath, clean shirt and drawers once a week? Also clean and dry socks as required? Is there a battery barber?
XIII. STABLE MANAGEMENT.
(For horse-drawn batteries).
- Do you know what your horses' forage ration is and do you see that they get full weight? Do you know good oats or hay from bad oats or hay?
- Does your battery employ a chaff-cutter or have you some means of obtaining chaff for your horses?
- Do you attend "Stable hour" as often as possible, and, if in charge, do you see that the grooming, watering and feeding are well regulated?
- Do you see that your horses are in good condition and comfortablei.e., that their shelters are good and water-tight; that there are no draughts of cold air; that the standings are in good order and out of the mud and water; and that the horse-rugs and nose-bags are kept in good order?
- Do you examine each horse at stable hour to see that he is clean, free from vermin, and, particularly, that his feet and heels are in good order?
- Do you understand the shoeing of horses and do you see that your horses are properly shod, that spare shoes are in their proper place and that the shoeing smiths' tool-bags are properly equipped?
- Do you know the various grains and seeds which can be used for fodder in the absence of oats, equivalent amounts and their effects?
- Have you seen whether the entrances to your horse-lines are well metalled and dry, and that the approaches to and surroundings of water troughs are similarly treated?
- Do you understand the symptoms and cure of simple ailments, and has your battery instructions regarding the prevention of the spread of infectious diseases, such as mange?
- Do you know who your V.O. is and where he can be found? Do you know what the farrier's wallet contains, what the articles are for, and where the wallet can be found?
- If horses are out late at night have you an N.C.O. detailed to see that when they come in they are properly cared for at once?
- Do you inspect your harness frequently to see:
- That the leather work is well-cleaned and rubbed, and especially that working parts such as breast-collars, girths, sweat-flaps, are kept soft and pliable?
- That the steel work is thoroughly cleaned and then rubbed lightly over with clean oil?
- That every article of harness fits its wearer properly, as laid down?
- Have you got good cover for your harness? Is the cover large enough to enable the drivers to clean their harness under shelter?
- Have you ever read a small official pamphlet called "Saddles and Sore Backs" and one called "Animal Management"?
- Do you ever inspect the drivers' "horse-kits," and do you know what each should contain?
- Do you inspect the battery vehicles frequently, especially the G.S. wagons, to see that nothing is wrong with them? "A stitch in time saves nine."
- If on the move and a horse goes so sick that it has to be left behind, do you know with whom you should leave it, and all the regulations regarding such an eventuality?
- How often are your horses fed? "Little and often" should be your policy. Never less than four feeds a day, and preferably five: first feed as early as possible, and the last (and biggest) as late as possible.
- Do you appreciate that in cold weather a rug is as good as an extra 2 lbs. of oats?
- Do you know the regulations re: clipping? Clip trace high and no higher; do not clip legs. No fancy clipping. Keep manes hogged close. Amendment to G.R.O., 1238, states:"At the first, clipping horses may be clipped all over except the legs."
- Do you realise how much a horse's condition depends on good water, and plenty of it? Always water from troughs if possible.
- Do your men really work hard when grooming? Short stable hours, and hard work while at it, should be the rule.
- Remember that the essence of horse mastership is the "master's eye."
XIV. MARCH DISCIPLINE.
- Do you realise that good discipline, or the reverse, shows up more on the march than at any other time?
- Do you and your drivers dismount as a matter of course when halted? Do you realise the importance of getting the weight off the horse's back on every possible opportunity? All mounted men, officers included, should walk and lead at intervals.
- Do you see that your men never slouch in the saddle?
- When on the march do you supervise your command and not always ride at the head? See that your Nos. 1 do the same; you should see that the horses are being properly kept up in draught, harness properly fitted (this often only becomes apparent when on the move), carriages not overloaded, and the proper balance of the pole maintained; this cannot be done if men are allowed to ride on the trail or perch.
- Do you see that your horses are watered and fed whenever possible on the march, and that girths are slackened?
- Do you realise that a horse cannot drink his fill or even drink comfortably with a man sitting on his back? Or with the bit in his mouth?
- Do you drop heavily on any cases of ill-treatment of horses?
APPENDIX I. TESTING TELEPHONE LINES
When a telephone line is first laid, the speaking is generally very good. This gradually deteriorates until the line becomes useless. The deterioration can be prevented if it is checked the moment it commences; but this pre-supposes that the cause is known and can be isolated. The tests explained hereunder are to isolate the cause.
The causes of deterioration are, firstly, increase in resistance of line due to rusty joints, etc.; secondly, increase in leakage due to insulation wearing off, etc.
The results of the tests below should be carried out daily and entered in a book so that the linesmen can check any tendency to deterioration.
I. TEST FOR COMPARATIVE RESISTANCE OF LINE
"A" is a battery of 10 dry cells.
"B" is a Q and L linesman's detector (part of battery equipment).
"TZ" is the telephone at "Z" station.
"L" is the line to be tested.
The operator warns "Z" that he is going to test, and then disconnects the line from his 'phone and connects it to the detector. The other line from the detector is connected to the cells in series, increasing the voltage by one cell at a time until a half way deflection is obtained on the detector. The number of cells and the deflection are written down.
If, on subsequent tests, this deflection becomes decreased or more cells are required, the line resistance is increasing. A linesman must then thoroughly overhaul the line, having it tested frequently until the deflection increases to the old amount. The earth-pins should be tested and watered to see if this is the cause of the increased resistance.
II. TO TEST FOR LEAKAGE
The connections are very similar to the previous test except that all 10 cells must be connected up to the detector. Instead of leaving the 'phone connected up at "Z," it is disconnected and the bare end kept away from contact with anything. If there is no leakage there will be no deflection of the needle. Whatever de-flection is obtained is a comparative figure for leakage. If this increases the insulation of the line must be overhauled.
Both tests are equally important.
If the above explanation is not understood, get hold of a signal officer who will explain it to you.
APPENDIX III. SHELL PROOF COVER.
Practically no cover which can be constructed in a battery position is proof against the penetration of a heavy shell.
It is therefore necessary to cause it to burst before it has pene-trated, and, if possible, to deflect it so that it will not tend to pene-trate actually into the pit.
In constructing overhead cover a definite scheme must be kept to.
The following is one example of many, and illustrates the general principle.
The protection consists essentially of the following parts, from the top :
- A hard flat "bursting course," which retards a howitzer shell sufficiently to cause the fuze to act very quickly and in the case of a gun shell, with a small angle of descent, may deflect it altogether.
- A "deflecting course" which turns the shell that has already penetrated the bursting course, into a more horizontal direction.
- A "cushion" in which the shell should explode. It is soft so that the shock may be disseminated.
- A supporting framework with splinter proof cover. In ideal conditions each part should be supported separately, with a small air space in between each, so that the shock on each part is borne separately. Practically, 1, 2 and 3 should be sup-ported separately from 4.
Considering the roof in detail:
- is a concrete roof about 5" thick, reinforced with expanded metal. This is the "bursting course." Im-mediately under it is a roof of match-boarding or corrugated iron (b) which held the concrete in position until it had set. If the concrete roof was made thick it might enclose the explosion and collapse the whole cover.
- is a layer of bricks laid on each other so as to form a deflecting course.
- is the "cushion" in which the shell is to burst, made of sandbags full of gravel or slag,
- is a supporting roof of girders, iron rails or baulks, kept up by the stanchions (f). This must be covered by boarding or corrugated iron to prevent the sandbags escaping.
- is a small air-space which allows a certain amount of sagging of the upper supporting roof before any pressure is borne on the lower supports.
- is a splinter-proof cushion course laid on the lower supporting roof.
- is the lower supporting roof, rather stronger than (e) as it may have to bear the weight of both roofs. It is supported by stanchions (f). It would be improved by a 6-inch layer of concrete immediately above the supports which would distribute a force on any point over the whole lower roof.
APPENDIX IV. PUBLICATIONS.
Have you got copies of the following? Have you read and understood them?
Range, table, handbook and gun-drill for your particular weapon.
Garrison Artillery Training, Vol. II., or Field Artillery Training. (According to whether you are in a Siege or Heavy Battery).
Notes on Ammunition for 4.7" and 60-pdr. guns (applies equally to almost all heavy shell).
Defensive measures against gas attacks (S.S. 534).
Ranging on the line of observation. (40/W.O./2778).
Chart for computing angle of sight (1st Printing Co. R.E., G.H.Q., 2171), or some similar device.
Notes for Artillery Officers on shoots with Aeroplane Observa-tion S.S. (350).
Some notes on meteorological conditions which affect Gunnery (S.S.418).
Silhouettes of Aeroplanes (S.S. 350).
Card of Signals between Aeroplanes and Artillery (40/W.O./3249.
Co-operation of Aircraft with Artillery (S.S. 131).
Training Manual. Signalling. Part I.
Notes on cover against shell fire (S.S. 116).
Artillery Dial Range Corrector (for working with R.F.C.), or similar device.
"The Infantry cannot do with a gun less": The Place of the Artillery
in the British Expeditionary Force, 1914-1918