Command and Staff College

Quips And Quibbles It is as well for those who write today in all seriousness or jest, to look back and see how the passage of time has made absurd, much that was sacred yesterday. There will, however, always be some gems of a hundred years which will stand the onslaught of time and be true even today. Given below are some quotations selected from the records of the College and old Owl magazines which might revive the memories of old members and bring a ghost of a smile to the lips of the younger members of the College.

The Directing Staff (Professors!) of later years would long for the following arrangement of 1906/1907:

"As a general rule each professor was allotted two working days a week, which proved to be a plan more economical in energy and time, than that which is adopted at the Home College, of dividing each day amongst two or more professors."

The Standing Orders of any institution often provide priceless suggestions and the Staff College Standing Orders of 1913 were no exception. Here are two extracts:

"The storage of litter is forbidden during hot weather. The actual dates will be notified in the College Orders."

"As there is difficulty about procuring bullock carts at railway station at Quetta, officers are recommended to notify to the Quarter Master Sergeant, Staff College, some days before their intended arrival, stating hour of arrival at the station and the number of carts wanted, and an endeavour would be made to have the transport required ready. A Government Army Transport mule cart carries a load not exceeding 800 lbs."

The present day student may like to compare his aspirations, and his frustrations to those of his predecessor decades ago. Due to lack of space only the extracts of his diary for the first and the last day at the College are given below:

"Quetta, 10 February 1922. Rawly and I had been old companion in arms in France and so, when a few months ago he wrote and suggested my going upto Quetta and setting a tone at the Staff College, I readily accepted. I gathered that there were a lot of confused ideas about the war which wanted rectifying. Travelled up in the train with old Carlos who seemed a bit surprised that I should be coming here as a student."

"Very comfortable Mess. There are a lot of signed photos of old friends of mine on the walls. Decided to present my own." "Quetta, 15 November 1922. Had a note from the Adjutant asking me to come and interview the Commandant. We had an interesting conversation as to the future. He thanked me for my valuable work here and then went to discuss fashions, especially hats. I told him I always preferred the Homburg variety but he produced a Bowler from the Quarte r Master's stores which fitted me like a glove. Left Quetta."

Many have tried before and yet more will try again, in time to come, to coin deft definitions for the expressions associated with the College or the art of war.

A selection of quotations and definitions, given below, gives an insight to the harassed minds of Directing Staff and students alike:

Quotations - 1922 The Staff College. Reading maketh a full man, conference a ready man and writing an exact man. Francis Bacon
The Directing Staff. We teach bloody instructions, which being taught return to plague the inventor. Shakespeare
An Outdoor Scheme. He trudg'd along unknowing what he sought and whistled as he went for want of thought. Pope
A Tactical Discussion. Even a fool when he holdeth his peace is counted wise. Proverb

Definitions - 1923 Of Wars. "Wars are conflicts between opponents. As they easily assume a dangerous nature, they should not be indulged except in the interests of promotion".
Of Commanders. "In war the successful commander is he who makes the fewest mistakes. It is the duty of the commander to ensure that mistakes are committed by subordinates and impartially to apportion blame. This is called the Chain of Command."
Of Armies. "There are two kinds of Armies; the Post-War Army and the Salvation Army. The former is most economical, but the latter is safer."
Of Marches. "A march is a manoeuvre by which an Army proceeds to another place. The method of movement on the stomach, though much esteemed by the ancients, will be found somewhat slow in practice and requires careful training. To ensure the success of a march, the Army should reach its destination thoroughly exhausted and in great confusion in the middle of the night. Complete success is attained by arranging for heavy rain and sleet. This is called Good Staff Work."
Of Strategy. "The object of strategy is to enable a commander to defeat his enemy without danger to himself. This is best achieved by leading the enemy on by means of subterfuge and then striking him violently in the rear. This is called Soft Spot."
Infantry always bears the brunt, be it in battle or in the syndicate discussion. The extracts given below from an intended lecture on Infantry in 1926 were obviously written by an antagonist of the Queen of the Battle:
Historical. "The name Infantry is derived from the title 'Infanta', borne by a Spanish lady who liked to have men around her. Some authorities, however, allege that it is a corruption of the phrase, 'in front', Hurry! Hurry!' This derivation was much supported during the great war."
Reason for Infantry. "Owing to financial stringency no modern Army can be composed entirely of the arms of decision, e.g. Cavalry, Artillery, Tanks, IASC or Judge Advocates. All armies, therefore, contain a proportion of Infantry!"