"The instant and willing obedience to every order and, in the absence of an order, to what you believe that order would have been, is the key to the discipline which will beat the Huns, but which is very hard to get," said Colonel Applin, in his address to the R. O. T. C. last evening, in the New Lecture Hall. "The trouble with your organization is that your officers and non-commissioned officers do not insist on the small details and will not be able, later on, to insist on the large ones. You must make your men obey instantly, like the 'click' of a gun.
"I saw your drill today, and frankly, I was not impressed. I saw Yale, also, last week, and I was not impressed there, either."
Yesterday afternoon Colonel Applin, who is a member of the British Military Mission to the United States, viewed the close-order work of the Regiment, after arriving too late to see the combat exercise. His chief criticism of the corps, whose work in the field exercise was praised by Lieutenant Morize, was that in the close-order tactics the men showed a woeful lack of that "punch" needed to carry field work through to a successful finish under adverse conditions in real warfare.
"There are two men who are absolutely necessary in this war if we are to win," continued the visitor, "one of these is the commander-in-chief, the other is the platoon leader. The former makes the plans for the army and issues orders. Then the various divisional, brigade, and regimental officers repeat these commands after camouflaging them in different ways. It is the platoon leader who carries out these orders, and he alone is responsible for the success of them all. If he knows his own job, and knows it thoroughly, backwards and upside down, as he should, his platoon will be a machine that can overcome the disciplined hosts of the Kaiser. But if he lacks that absolute knowledge he will lack self-confidence and character, and his men, reflecting the spirit of their leader, will be a futile tool against the disciplined Hun.
"You are going to be platoon leaders, and it is up to you now to learn every detail of your future job so that your command will first respect you for your knowledge and ability: and then love you for your care of them."
Colonel Applin emphasized the need of having strict distinctions between officers, non-commissioned officers and privates, in order to carry discipline to the extent necessary to win.