What are the Duties of a Cabo? By James Lardner

August 16, 2019
Jim Lardner in Spain, RGASPI Fond 545, Opis 6, Delo 930.

Jim Lardner in Spain, RGASPI Fond 545, Opis 6, Delo 930.

The Volunteer for Liberty, V2, no. 25, July 19, 1938

The functions of a Cabo is to see that his men execute quickly and efficiently the order of his superior officers.

To this end he must have, first, an extensive knowledge of military technique; secondly; the respect of his squad; third, a sense of discipline, and fourth, a willingness to work and study hard.

Without mastering the performance of every task, whether it be cleaning a Dekatriev [Degtyarev lt. MG] digging a fox-hole or cutting barbed wire, the Cabo cannot take every precaution for his men’s safety nor utilize fully their fighting strength.

Without the respect of his men he cannot lead them either at the front or in reserve. Without a foundation of discipline he cannot rely on the swift fulfilment of every order when seconds count under fire. Without hard work he cannot attain any of the qualifications of a good Cabo.

The Cabo must also prepare himself to take over the command of his peloton in the event that his sergeant should be hit. He must similarly train the men in his squad so that they may be ready to fill his shoes.

In all this the Cabo does the work of an activist. But to merit the name he must also do more. He must instill in his men an understanding of the cause for which they are fighting. He must work for better relations between Internationals and Spaniards, between Catalan and Castilian, between soldiers and civilian. He should make himself a guardian of the crops and other property of the civil population.

The Cabo must maintain the fighting spirit of his men at a high level and bolster their courage in action by reminding them of what a Fascist victory would mean to Spain and to the world.


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