Soldier 95 CP - an unofficial, short, sharp shock for squaddies who wear the current issue kit: Soldier 95 pattern
Several people report anonymously and without corroboration that physical punishments, CP and GP, continue as an unofficial punishment in modern armies. The offences it allegedly expunges are dealt with "off the record" with no paperwork and no photos.
If it still happens, army CP is unofficial and quite possibly constitutes illegal assault.
An ex-military policeman writes as follows. No evidence is available to confirm his assertions so this account should be treated as fantasy and speculation.
Firstly, I was in the RMP - I was a PTI for three years before that. Both did give above-average opportunities to experience cp.
As your website says elsewhere, there is not a formalised approach to cp in the army. It is borne out of Regimental tradition and operational necessity more than anything else. In my time I have come across slippers, straps, belts, the birch, riding crops (a speciality of the RHA) and even a switch being used to administer cp. One thing that they all seem to have in common is that they are administered bare arse.
In the RMP and some other Regts (such as the Green Jackets) permission had to be obtained from a Major or above in rank. So, far from being underground, it was even being sanctioned at a pretty high level. Also, I have been at some canings where thirty or more have been in attendance to watch and I have even heard of lads being wheeled bent over the horse into the Sgt mess for their hiding in full view of NCO's enjoying a pint.
Limits for punishments seem to vary - in the RMP the punishment was given in one session. I have heard of several punishments with a period of days, weeks or even months between each session for the one offence. Max sentences also vary, but most Regts start at 12 strokes and go up from there. 50 seems to be a generally accepted maximum but a lot don't give more than 24. The guy I know who got the switch got 3 doses of 4 strokes over a two-week period for his 12 and said it was like being 'cut with a razorblade'.
Actual offences are wide-ranging, but mostly involve petty crime and drink (squaddies and booze never have mixed). It has also been used as a form of initiation rite for some regiments - an unspoken tradition that older guys take the the newbies out and get them pissed and then drop them off at the Guard Room knowing full well what was going to happen.
In Northern Ireland, mistakes out in patrol that could have cost squad members their lives have resulted in a caning for the guilty man - I know of at least one case where this was done in front of the rest of the squad as a lesson to all.
Fighting, especially between Regts in the mess or off camp, is another offence resulting in a hiding. One case I was involved with resulted in seven squaddies bollock naked in the gym, each one in turn bent over the horse for 4 strokes and then returning to the line up and then after watching his fellow toe rags getting theirs, bending back over for another 4.
The canings were very formalised but I have been at more impromptu affairs. Gym horses are the most common thing to be bent over - or should I say on. The RMP always got the horse out ready (we used a box-type and took the bottom section out).
One Regt I know of favours a jockey position where the squaddy puts his hands and feet into the hand holds on a box horse and raises his arse up like a jockey on a race horse. Most favour a box horse with the lad being bent over one end and resting along the top of the horse rather than being bent over the middle - although I have seen that to. Being tied down is very rare (except in the case of the birch being used) - more common is to be held down by a NCO pushing down on the shoulders. Yes we do give them a piece of leather or a gum shield to bite down on.
Apart from the gym horse, benches and tables are also used - especially where access to a gym horse is limited or non-existent. I know of punishments on Salisbury Plain (squaddy went down the pub on exercise!) and also in Bosnia where a gym horse was nowhere at hand and a stout leather belt was bought to bare (pun intended!)
With the rise of the drug problem, more cp seems to be happening - the birch being wielded in cases of dealing and taking substances in camp. Again, it's quick, no paperwork and no publicity for the Regt. Whether it works or not is another matter. Otherwise, there has been a steady decline since the mid-1980's where it was an everyday occurrence.
I have heard stories from the 1960's and 1970's of the gym horse being wheeled out into the middle of the parade ground and whole squads being whacked in full view. The last time I heard of its use was in the 1978 up in Scotland. It would be a brave officer who sanctioned such an event now.
Lads who did complain usually got short shrift - one retired Major I know had a complaint against him when he was a Capt. The Colonel told him to get the lad to change his mind - another dose with the cane with a Sgt was enough for the lad to realise the error of his ways.
It was not only Privates and Corporals who got cp - I have beaten Junior Officers in the Mess and I have heard from them of the whackings they got at Sandhurst as part of their Officer training. Many a hooray got his behind tanned as much as any scouser or jock lowlife.
I know of a few videos that guys have taken but have never been able to get hold of them.
I have known a few RN lads into cp - two claimed to have been caned on ship but I have no other confirmation of that. One said he was bent over a table and the other that it was done standing up with him spread-eagled. For the life of me I cannot remember the names of the ships.
I understand that the use of the riding crop in the RHA is a fairly recent innovation - they used the cane before. Its not exclusively used either - it's just been added to the mix.
I agree with your assessment of the likelihood of being thrashed: if you were a good soldier, or had the potential to be one, but needed to be brought into line with a short, sharp shock or had simply fucked up (as we all do from time to time) then a dose of the cane or strap is an effective way to sort out the issue.
I have not heard of cp with gambling in the army itself, but after a few beers (and knowing how little we used to get paid) anything is possible. I know the principle of cp gambling; I have just never heard of it in the army. Do you have any examples? › Get in touch: click here
I got caned once and the strap a couple of times - not for anything major. My caning was for 'bringing the Regt into disrepute' after I punched a guy in a rugby game - he punched me first though. I broke his nose and their CO said it was excessive. Got 8 painful strokes for that one.
I had lessons from our RSM - three weeks on and off of whacking sacks and bayonet dummies before we were let loose. He was a stickler for doing it right.
Effect on the recipients - no idea. I had one report that the lad had 'turned into a bloody good little soldier' from his CO. For myself, I just accepted it as part of the job and army traditions.
The canings that we gave were intentionally formal to instil the necessary sense of 'dread'. The canings were very formalised but I have been at more impromptu affairs.
As the RMP was meant to uphold the law, our punishments had to be more judicial in nature and so were more based on the prison or borstal beatings. We would flex the cane in front of, the sometimes naked, squaddy, for example, and really draw out proceedings.
I personally think that a good caning is better than the birch but just the name of the birch alone is enough.
I never compared stripes - and I am not sure if other guys did either. I have seen guys in the showers with stripes but nobody ever asked it was just understood.
A lot of store was set by taking a beating well - I was forever being asked by Officers if so-and-so took his caning like a man or well (whatever that meant).
We got the full range of emotions from nothing at all (in fact I caned a black lad once and he did not murmur, it was like caning rhino-hide and I am not even sure he felt it) to shouting and what not. It's difficult to scream and bit down at the same time! I did see the odd tearstained face but it was never remarked upon.
I never, ever, saw a hard-on as the squaddy obviously had other things on his mind.
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Gut-punching at Boot Camp and in the US military Brigs
I received the following account from Tom. No evidence is available to confirm this assertion so this account should be treated as fantasy and speculation.
As to gut punching hurting, it causes real pain with no traceable marks on the surface. For this reason it was the preferred punishment among basic training camps in the US, and in the brigs. The first was for discipline and the brigs for punishment, but the methods and intensity was the same. The psychology of the recipient dictated his reaction: take it like a man and become a soldier; or take it in shame because you're being punished. The first entailed praise and honor, the second shame and degradation. But the gut punching was the same either way.
In the Marines, or Army, if a recruit happened to be a screw-up, making it so the other men were getting extra rigors in their training because of him, the recruits would gang up on the offending recruit in the shower, strip him down to his skivvies, wrap a bar of soap in a wash cloth or towel, and pound his gut holding that, it saved marks from the knuckles incriminating the puncher, and left no visible marks on the victim. All the men in the barracks would take their turn on his gut. So you can imagine what he was like after. One of these sessions usually were enough to convince the man that he should be more considerate of his fellows and not make life sticky for them in the eyes of their God - the Sergeant.
I had two separate reports of this practice, one from a victim who changed his attitude; and one from my mate, who was a career Marine. I hadn't asked for the stories, they just happened to tell me, so I can guess the veracity is reliable.
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I received the following account from Farmboy. No evidence is available to confirm this assertion so this account should be treated as fantasy and speculation.
i saw the following article on your site yesterday, an' it brought back some memories. Gut punching with a soap bar must have been somewhat common in army and marine boot camps for fuck-ups 'cause i've heard about it several times. My own experience in USAF boot camp was a little different, something known as a "blanket party", but with the same results.
i'm assuming this type of discipline came about when DI's were prohibited from laying a hand on recruits. No big problem for the DI's, since we were being trained to function as a team, they reasoned we should be punished as a team when one of us was a habitual fuck-up. They had us doing shit like extra PT sessions where they'd try to work ya till ya puked, an' their favorite, taking us out for night marches through the mud and marshes where our freshly spit-shined boots got totally trashed. Officially, "lights out" was at 9pm, so when they brought us back in late at night they couldn't exactly "order" us to spend the rest of the fuckin' night spit-shining boots. But we knew our boots better have a spit shine at 4:30am reveille the next morning, or our asses just be in more shit. Us recruits would huddle together in the boiler room, where they had a dim light burning round the clock, an' spend rest of the night spit-shining boots. The result was we were totally shagged for reveille the next morning, when the routine would start all over again.
A guy would get a free ride for his first fuck-up, but if he kept gettin' his fellow recruits in trouble, he could expect to be the guest of honor at a blanket party. The DI's would never admit it, but i think they knew when a blanket party was gonna come down, an' they had a way of making themselves scarce. A guy would sneak up from behind the victim, throw a blanket over his head, grab him in a bear hug, while some other guys worked him over. They used their fists, not soap bars, and the face as well as the belly were fair targets. The DI felt it his duty to ask the guy next morning "What happened?", to which the victim always replied "SIR, I FELL DOWN THE STAIRS, SIR". Smart boy!
I like Tom's description of the difference between basic training camps and the brig. It was common knowledge that if a guy wound up in the brig, he was not there as punishment, he was there FOR punishment. Unlike our present day penitentiary where the prisoner has cable TV, well equipped gyms, and three hot meals. No wonder our jails are overcrowded.
The moral to this story is the DI owns yore ass, man, and the sooner everybody learns that, the better off for all recruits.
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Back flogging in the Danish army
I received the following account from Hans. No evidence is available to confirm this assertion so this account should be treated as fantasy and speculation.
Hallo "Squaddie John"!
I'm a young Danish man who really "get a kick" reading your homepage. I'm also gay - and especially interested in SM.
My best "kicks" were in the army. I remember for instance a lad (my mate) who was in duty at the gate to the barracks. Some female privates first class went home too soon - and the private in duty reported it to his superior sergeant. When you are to late at the barracks you are supposed to be punished - but not if you are a girl! The sergeant blamed my buddy at the gate for letting it happen!! This poor soldier was commanded attention in the courtyard with his arms raised with his rifle in his hands above his head - and he was supposed to stand there the whole night! The girls passed him laughing - and asked him if he was sorry he was born as a man!
One girl took a grasp at his testicles and squeezed them very hard - but my buddy just still stood there standing attention without even a groan - he was a man indeed - and a proud man too!! But during the night he passed out - and in the morning I found my buddy still laying in the courtyard.
I helped him to our quarters but our sergeant went crazy - he wasn't supposed to pass out and shirk his punishment!!! I was ordered to bring him to the confinement to barracks and the next morning at the roll-call the soldier was punished further in front of our eyes – his fellow soldiers.
The sergeant ripped off his shirt so he stood there naked to the waist - and while standing attention - he was wiped with a belt - he had to receive 20 lashes for each girl coming to late!! And for each lash he was ordered to say "Thank you very much sergeant - one lash more please"!!! The strokes were very hard and during the wiping his broad muscular back went full of red stripes - but still he was just standing attention and let the explosions of pain run through his body without moving or uttering a groan - a true soldier!!
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