OUR COASTAL DEFENCES.
ADDRESS BY CAPTATN RICHARD- } -SOIV. ' Last , night ; the officers of the Auek-. land Division Garrison-Artillery Volun-teers-assembled to hear-Captain Richardson's criticism on the camp and manoeuvres just concluded. Apart 'from the lessons taught with regard to our defences, which are, of course, of a confidential nature, Captain Richardson said the manoeuvres revealed the necessity for quarterly fire control parades under the fire commander with all forts manned in skeleton, with telephonists, signallers, light controllers, and so on. These parades are absolutely necessary to familiarise officers with the duties involved in central control of firing by all forts concertedly. The signalling of the No. 1 ■ and No. 2 Companies was, Captain Richardson-said, excellent. During the-war-game a. large number of messagee were sent in cypher rapidly and accurately between headquarter* 1 and Fort Bastion. No. 3 Company were i handicapped' by "the fact that the Poet and Telegraph Departments would not let their ■.•men for the, whole vtime^— a., fact to be deplored in the interests of good training. . The electricians and engine-drivers of No. 1 Company were very good. Those in the two .other companies did good "work. All S"equire more training. In all companies more electricians and en-gine-drivers are required.;. The system of carrying out night-firing' adopted worked most successfully, and a" special scheme •will be drawn up for the guidance of. volunteer officers. Great; credit is due to Lieutenant Sniythe, R.N.Z.A., for Ms management of electric lights in Communications. All men in companies ought to receive training at the guns: At present there is too much, tendency amongst officers to pick select squads on guns instead of allowing all details . the opportunity to, a<S quire proficiency. "The value of the manoeuvres," said' Captain Richardson, "has been considerable, and although I have criticised the work very severely, it dust not be inferred that I would l depreciate . the good .work done, -bhe keen-: ness of officers and men, or the excellent spirit of entb.usia.sin of all concerned; but it is. by impartial* criticism alone that officers • will be enabled to remedy the' defects mentioned." The war-game did a great, deal of :good. On both sides many mistakes' were made, which can only .be remedied 1 in future by further instruction 'in technical exercises and ■war-games during .the winter months. Captain Riehards'on , proposes to direct a war-game during the winter between officers of the 1 Wellington and -Auckland Divisions. Captain son expressed gatification at the presence of so many officers of tlie active list in camp, and he is of opinion that all active unattached officers should foe ■ given definite places in the defence scheme. Speaking of- the Medical officers, Captain Richardson said that nowhere in the Dominion had he found medical offi,cers so keen as they-;are ; here. The arrangements for supply made by Quartermaster Spinly -were excellent- "There ia one body of men the".-• general, public know very little about, and that is the R.N.Z.A. It is often said" that the N.C.O.'s of the British army are 'its backbone. I can', only- say that the N.C.O.'s of the R.N.Z.A. are the backbone of our' coastal defence. They axe splendid men." In summary; then, the manoeuvres prove* the necessity for more men, more .fire - control, parades, more night-firing, more.attention to the higher' training, of officers,, and more discipline.
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