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The second part of this essay

Charles Francis Atkinson
Encyclopedia Britannica, 11th edition Volume II pgs 592-625

27. The English Civil War (see GREAT REBELLI0N)

—The armies on either side which, about the same time, were fighting out the constitutional quarrel in England were essentially different from all those of the continent, though their formal organization was similar to that of the Swedes. The military expression of a national conscience had appeared rarely indeed in the Thirty Years' War, which was a means of livelihood for, rather than an assertion of principle by, those who engaged in it. In England, on the other hand, there were no mercenaries, and the whole character of the operations was settled by the burning desire of a true “nation in arms” to decide at once, by the arbitrament of battle, the vital points at issue. A German critic (Fritz Hoenig) has indicated Worcester as the prototype of Sedan; at any rate, battles of this kind invariably resulted in failure when entrusted to a “standing” army of the 18th century. But the national armies disappeared at the end of the struggle; after the Restoration, English political aims became, so far as military activity was concerned, similar in scope and execution to those of the continent; and the example of Cromwell and the “New Model,” which might have revolutionized military Europe, passed away without having any marked influence on the armies of other nations.

28. Standing Armies

—Nine years after Nordlingen, the old Spanish army fought its last and most honourable battle at Rocroi. Its conquerors were the new French troops, whose victory created as great a sensation as Pavia and Crecy had done. Infusing a new military spirit into the formal organization of Gustavus' system, the French army was now to “set the fashion” for a century. France had been the first power to revive regular forces, and the famous “Picardie” regiment disputed for precedence even with the old tercios. The country had emerged from the confusion of the past century with the foreign and domestic strength of a practically absolute central power. The Fronde continued the military history of the army from the end of the Thirty Years' War; and when the period of consolidation was finally closed, all was prepared for the introduction of a “standing army,” practically always at war strength, and entirely at the disposal of the sovereign. The reorganization of the military establishments by Louvois may be taken as the formal date at which standing armies came into prominence (see historical sketch of the French army below). Other powers rapidly followed the lead of France, for the defects of enlisted troops had become very clear, and the possession of an army always ready for war was an obvious advantage in dynastic politics. The French proprietary system of regiments, and the general scheme of army administration which replaced it, may be taken as typical of the armies of other great powers in the time of Louis XIV.

29. Character of the Standing Armies

—A peculiar character was from the first imparted to the new organizations by the results of the Thirty Years' War. A well- founded horror of military barbarity had the effect of separating the soldier from the civilian by an impassable gulf. The drain of thirty years on the population, resources and finances of almost every country in middle Europe, everywhere limited the size of the new armies; and the decision in 1648 of all questions save those of dynastic interest dictated the nature of their employment. The best soldiers of the time pronounced in favour of small field armies, for in the then state of communications and agriculture large forces proved in practice too cumbrous for good work. In every country, therefore, the army took the form of a professional body, nearly though not quite independent of extra recruits for war, set apart entirely from all contact with civil life, rigidly restricted as to conduct in peace and war, and employed mostly in the maintenance “of their superiors” private quarrels. Iron discipline produced splendid tenacity in action, and wholesale desertion at all times. In the Seven Years' War, for instance, the Austrians stated one-fifth of their total loss as due to desertion, and Thackeray's Barry Lyndon gives no untrue picture of the life of a soldier under the old régime. Further, since men were costly, rigid economy of their lives in action, and minute care for their feeding and shelter on the march, occupied a disproportionate amount of the attention of their generals. Armies necessarily moved slowly and remained concentrated to facilitate supply and to check desertion, and thus, when a commander had every unit of his troops within a short ride of his headquarters, there was little need for intermediate general officers, and still less for a highly trained staff.

30. Organization in the 18th Century

—All armies were now almost equal in fighting value, and war was consequently reduced to a set of rules (not principles), since superiority was only to be gained by methods, not by men. Soldiers such as Marlborough, who were superior to these jejune prescriptions, met indeed with uniform success. But the methods of the 18th century failed to receive full illustration, save by the accident of a great captain's direction, even amidst the circumstances for which they were designed. It is hardly to be wondered at, therefore, that they failed, when forced by a new phase of development to cope with events completely beyond their element. The inner organization was not markedly altered. Artillery was still outside the normal organization of the line of battle, though in the period 1660—1740 much was done in all countries to improve the material, and above all to turn the personnel into disciplined soldiers. Cavalry was organized in regiments and squadrons, and armed with sabre and pistol. Infantry had by 1703 begun to assume its three-deep line formation and the typical weapons of the arm, musket and bayonet. Regiments and battalions were the units of combat as well as organization. In the fight the company was entirely merged in the higher unit, but as an administrative body it still remained. As for the higher organization, an army consisted simply of a greater or less number of battalions and squadrons, without, as a rule, intermediate commands and groupings. The army was arrayed as a whole in two lines of battle, with the infantry in the centre and the cavalry on the flanks, and an advanced guard; the so-called reserve consisting merely of troops not assigned to the regular commands. It was divided, for command in action, into right and left wings, both of cavalry and infantry, of each line. This was the famous ”linear“ organization, which in theory produced the maximum effort in the minimum time, but in practice, handled by officers whose chief care was to avoid the expenditure of effort, achieved only negative results. To see its defects one need only suppose a battalion of the first line hard pressed by the enemy. A battalion of the second line was directly behind it, but there was no authority, less than that of the wing commander, which could order it up to support the first. All the conditions of the time were opposed to tactical subdivision, as the term is now understood. That the 18th century did not revive schiltrons was due to the new fire tactics, to which everything but control was sacrificed. This “control,” as has been said, implied not so much command as police supervision. But far beyond any faults of organization and recruiting, the inherent vice of these armies was, as Machiavelli had pointed out two centuries previously, and as Prussia was to learn to her cost in 1806, that once they were thoroughly defeated, the only thing left to be done was to make peace at once, since there was no other armed force capable of retrieving a failure.

31. Frederick the Great

—The military career of Frederick the Great is very different from those of his predecessors. With an army organized on the customary system, and trained and equipped, better indeed, but still on the same lines as those of his rivals, the king of Prussia achieved results out of all proportion to those imagined by contemporary soldiers. It is to his campaigns, therefore, that the student must refer for the real, if usually latent, possibilities of the army of the 18th century. The prime secret of his success lay in the fact that he was his own master, and responsible to no superior for the uses to which he put his men. This position had never, since the introduction of standing armies, been attained by any one, even Eugene and Leopold of Dessau being subject to the common restriction; and with this extraordinary advantage over his opponents, Frederick had further the firmness and ruthless energy of a great commander. Prussia, moreover, was more strictly organized than other countries, and there was relatively little of that opposition of local authorities to the movement of troops which was conspicuous in Austria. The military successes of Prussia, therefore, up to 1757, were not primarily due to the system and the formal tactics, but were the logical outcome of greater energy in the leading, and less friction in the administration, of her armies. But the conditions were totally different in 1758—1762, when the full force of the alliance against Prussia developed itself in four theatres of war. Frederick was driven back to the old methods of making war, and his men were no longer the soldiers of Leuthen and Hohenfriedberg. If discipline was severe before, it was merciless then; the king obtained men by force and fraud from every part of Germany, and had both to repress and to train them in the face of the enemy. That under such conditions, and with such men, the weaker party finally emerged triumphant, was indeed a startling phenomenon. Yet its result for soldiers was not the production of the national army, though the dynastic forces had once more shown themselves incapable of compassing decisive victories, nor yet the removal of the barrier between army and people, for the operations of Frederick's recruiting agents made a lasting impression, and, further, large numbers of men who had thought to make a profession of arms were turned adrift at the end of the war. On the contrary, all that the great and prolonged tour de force of these years produced was a tendency, quite in the spirit of the age, to make a formal science out of the art of war. Better working and better methods were less sought after than systematization of the special practices of the most successful commanders. Thus Frederick's methods, since 1758 essentially the same as those of others, were taken as the basis of the science now for the first time called “strategy,” the fact that his opponents had also practised it without success being strangely ignored. Along with this came a mania for imitation. Prussian drill, uniforms and hair-powder were slavishly copied by every state, and for the next twenty years, and especially when the war-trained officers and men had left active service, the purest pedantry reigned in all the armies of Europe, including that of Prussia. One of the ablest of Frederick's subordinates wrote a book in which he urged that the cadence of the infantry step should be increased by one pace per minute. The only excep tions to the universal prevalence of this spirit were in the Austrian army, which was saved from atrophy by its Turkish wars, and in a few British and French troops who served in the American War of Independence. The British regiments were sent to die of fever in the West Indies; when the storm of the French Revolution broke over Europe, the Austrian army was the only stable element of resistance.

32. The French Revolution

—Very different were the armies of the Revolution. Europe, after being given over to professional soldiers for five hundred years, at last produced the modern system of the “nation in arms.” The French volunteers of 1792 were a force by which the routine generals of the enemy, working with instruments and by rules designed for other conditions, were completely puzzled, and France gained a short respite. The year 1793 witnessed the most remarkable event that is recorded in the history of armies. Raw enthusiasm was replaced, after the disasters and defections which marked the beginning of the campaign, by a systematic and unsparing conscription, and the masses of men thus enrolled, inspired by ardent patriotism and directed by the ferocious energy of the Committee of Public Safety, met the disciplined formalists with an opposition before which the attack completely collapsed. It was less marvelous in fact than in appearance that this should be so. Not to mention the influence of pedantry and senility on the course of the operations, it may be admitted that Frederick and his army at their best would have been unable to accomplish the downfall of the now thoroughly roused French. Tactically, the fire of the regulars' line caused the Revolutionary levies to melt away by thousands, but men were ready to fill the gaps. No complicated supply system bound the French to magazines and fortresses, for Europe could once more feed an army without convoys, and roads were now good and numerous. No fear of desertion kept them concentrated under canvas, for each man was personally concerned with the issue. If the allies tried to oppose them on an equal front, they were weak at all points, and the old organization had no provision for the working of a scattered army. While ten victorious campaigns had not carried Marlborough nearer to Paris than some marches beyond the Sambre, two campaigns now carried a French army to within a few miles of Vienna. It was obvious that, before such forces and such mobility, the old system was doomed, and with each successive failure the old armies became more discouraged. Napoleon's victories finally closed this chapter of military development, and by 1808 the only army left to represent it was the British. Even to this the Peninsular War opened a line of progress, which, if different in many essentials from continental practice, was in any case much more than acopy of an obsolete model.

33. The Conscription

—In 1793, at a moment when the danger to France was so great as to produce the rigorous emergency methods of the Reign of Terror, the combined enemies of the Republic had less than 300,000 men in the field between Basel and Dunkirk. On the other hand, the call of the “country in danger” produced more than four times this number of men for the French armies within a few months. Louis XIV., even when all France had been awakened to warlike enthusiasm by a similar threat (1709), had not been able to put in the field more than one-fifth of this force. The methods of the great war minister Carnot were enforced by the ruthless committee, and when men's lives were safer before the bayonets of the allies than before the civil tribunals at home, there was no difficulty in enlisting the whole military spirit of France. There is therefore not much to be said as to the earliest application of the conscription, at least as regards its formal working, since any system possessing elasticity would equally have served the purpose. In the meanwhile, the older plans of organization had proved inadequate for dealing with such imposing masses of men. Even with disciplined soldiers they had long been known as applicable only to small armies, and the deficiencies of the French, with their consequences in tactics and strategy, soon produced the first illustrations of modern methods. Unable to meet the allies in the plain, they fought in broken ground and on the widest possible front. This of course produced decentralization and subdivision; and it became absolutely necessary that each detachment on a front of battle 30 m. long (e.g. Stokach) should be properly commanded-and self-sufficing. The army was therefore constituted in a number of divisions, each of two or more brigades with cavalry and artillery sufficient for its own needs. It was even more important that each divisional general, with his own staff, should be a real commander, and not merely the supervisor of a section of the line of battle, for he was almost in the position that a commander-in-chief had formerly held. The need of generals was easily supplied when there was so wide a field of selection. For the allies the mere adoption of new forms was without result, since it was contrary both to tradition and to existing organization. The attempts which were made in this direction did not tend to mitigate the evils of inferior numbers and moral. The French soon followed up the divisional system with the further organization of groups of divisions under specially selected general officers; this again quickly developed into the modern army corps.

34. Napoleon

—Revolutionary government, however, gave way in a few years to more ordinary institutions, and the spirit of French politics had become that of aggrandizement in the name of liberty. The ruthless application of the new principle of masses had been terribly costly, and the disasters of reawakened in the mass of the people the old dislike of war and service. Even before this it had been found necessary to frame a new act, the famous law proposed by General Jourdan (1798). With this the conscription for general service began. The legal term of five years was so far exceeded that the service came to be looked upon as a career, or servitude, for life; it was therefore both unavoidable and profitable to admit substitutes. Even in 1806 one quarter of Napoleon's conscripts failed to come up for duty. The Grande Armee thus from its inception contained elements of doubtful value, and only the tradition of victory and the 50 % of veterans still serving aided the genius of Napoleon to win the brilliant victories of 1805 and 1806. But these veterans were gradually eliminated by bloodshed and service exposure, and when, after the peace of Tilsit, French armies began to be recruited from all sorts of nations, decay had set in. As early as 1806 the emperor had had to “anticipate“ the conscription, that is, call up the conscripts before their time, and by 1810 the percentage of absentees in France had grown to about 8o, the remainder being largely those who lacked courage to oppose the authorities. Finally, the armies of Napoleon became masses of men of all nations fighting even more unwillingly than the armies of the old régime. Little success attended the emperor's attempt to convert a “nation in arms” into a great dynastic army. Considered as such, it had even fewer elements of solidity than the standing armies of the 18th century, for it lacked the discipline which had made the regiments of Frederick invincible. After 1812 it was attacked by huge armies of patriots which possessed advantages of organization and skillful direction that the levee en masse oi had lacked. Only the now fully developed genius and magnificent tenacity of Napoleon staved off for a time the débacle which was as inevitable as had been that of the old régime.

35. The Grande Armee

—In 1805-1806, when the older spirit of the Revolution was already represented by one-half only of French soldiers, the actual steadiness and manceuvring power of the Grande Armee had attained its highest level. The army at this time was organized into brigades, divisions and corps, the last-named unit being as a rule a marshal's command, and always completed as a small army with all the necessary arms and services. Several such corps (usually of unequal strength) formed the army. The greatest weakness of the organization, which was in other respects most pliant and adaptable, was the want of good staff-officers. The emperor had so far cowed his marshals that few of them could take the slightest individual responsibility, and the combatant staff- officers remained, as they had been in the 18th century, either confidential clerks or merely gallopers. No one but a Napoleon could have managed huge armies upon these terms; in fact the marshals, from Berthier downwards, generally failed when in independent commands. Of the three arms, infantry and cavalry regiments were organized in much the same way as in Frederick's day, though tactical methods were very different, and discipline far inferior. The greatest advance had taken place in the artillery service. Field and horse batteries, as organized and disciplined units, had come into general use during the Revolutionary wars, and the division, corps and army commanders had always batteries assigned to their several commands as a permanent and integral part of the fighting troops. Napoleon himself, and his brilliant artillery officers Sénarmont and Drouot, brought the arm to such a pitch of efficiency that it enabled him to win splendid victories almost by its own action. As a typical organization we may take the III corps of Marshal Davout in 180ó. This was formed of the following troops:—

Cavalry brigade—General Vialannes—three regiments, 1538 men. Corps artillery, 12 guns.
1st Division—General Morand—five infantry regiments in three brigades, 12 guns, 10,820 men.
2nd Division—General Friant—five regiments in three brigades, 8 guns, 8708 men.
3rd Division—General Gudin—four regiments in three brigades, 12 guns, 9077 men.

A comparison of this ordre de bataille with that of a modern army corps will show that the general idea of corps organization has undergone but slight modification since the days of Napoleon. More troops allotted to departmental duties, and additional engineers for the working of modern scientific aids, are the only new features in the formal organization of a corps in the 20th century. Yet the spirit of 1806 and that of 1906 were essentially different, and the story of the development of this difference through the ,9th century closes for the present the history of progress in tactical organization.

36. The Wars of Liberation

—The Prussian defeat at Jena was followed by a national surrender so abject as to prove conclusively the eternal truth, that a divorce of armies from national interests is completely fatal to national well-being. But the oppression of the victors soon began to produce a spirit of ardent patriotism which, carefully directed by a small band of able soldiers, led in the end to a national uprising of a steadier and more lasting kind than that of the French Revolution. Prussia was compelled, by the rigorous treaty of peace, to keep a small force only under arms, and circumstances thus- drove her into the path of military development which she subsequently followed. The stipulation of the treaty was evaded by the Krüm per system, by which men were passed through the ranks as hastily as possible and dismissed to the reserve, their places being taken by recruits. The regimental establishments were therefore mere cadres, and the personnel, recruited by universal service with few exemptions, ever- changing. This system depended on the willingness of the reserves to come up when called upon, and the arrogance of the French was quite sufficient to ensure this. The dénouement of the Napoleonic wars came too swiftly for the full development of the armed strength of Prussia on these lines; and at the outbreak of the Wars of Liberation a newly formed Landwehr and numerous volunteer corps took the field with no more training than the French had had in 1793 Still, the principles of universal service (allgemeine Wehrpfiicht) and of the army reserve were, for the first time in modern history, systematically put into action, and modern military development has concerned itself more with the consolidation of the Krumper system than with the creation of another. The debut of the new Prussian army was most unsuccessful, for Napoleon had now attained the highest point of soldierly skill, and managed to inflict heavy defeats on the allies. But the Prussians were not discouraged; like the French in 1793 they took to broken ground, and managed to win combats against all leaders opposed to them except Napoleon himself. The Russian army formed a solid background for the Prussians, and in the end Austria joined the coalition. Reconstituted on modern lines, the Austrian army in 1813, except in the higher leading, was probably the best-organized on the continent. After three desperate campaigns the Napoleonic régime came to an end, and men felt that there would be no such struggle again in their lifetime. Military Europe settled down into grooves along which it ran until 1866. France, exhausted of its manhood, sought a field for military activities in colonial wars waged by long- service troops. The conscription was still in force, but the citizens served most unwillingly, and substitution produced a professional army, which as usual became a dynastic tool. Austria, always menaced with foreign war and internal disorder, maintained the best army in Europe. The British army, though employed far differently, retained substantially the Peninsular system.

37. European Armies 1815—1870

—The events of the period 1815—1859 showed afresh that such long- service armies were incomparably the best form of military machine for the purpose of giving expression to a hostile “view“ (not “feeling“). Austrian armies triumphed in Italy, French armies in Spain, Belgium, Algeria, Italy and Russia, British in innumerable and exacting colonial wars. Only the Prussian forces retained the characteristics of the levies of 1813, and the enthusiasm which had carried these through Leipzig and the other great battles was hardly to be expected of their sons, ranged on the side of despotism in the troubled times of 1848—50. But the principle was not permitted to die out. The Bronnzell-Olmtitz incident of 1850 (see SEvEN WEEKS' WAR) showed that the organization of 1813 was defective, and this was altered in spite of the fiercest opposition of all classes. Soon afterwards, and before the new Prussian army proved itself on a great battlefield, the American Civil War, a fiercer struggle than any of those which followed it in Europe, illustrated the capabilities and the weaknesses of voluntary-service troops. Here the hostile “view“ was replaced by a hostile “feeling,” and the battles of the disciplined enthusiasts on either side were of a very different kind from those of contemporary Europe. But, if the experiences of i1861—1865 proved that armies voluntarily enlisted “for the war“ were capable of unexcelled feats of endurance, they proved further that such armies, whose discipline and training in peace were relatively little, or indeed wholly absent, were incapable of forcing a swift decision. The European “nation in arms,” whatever its other failings, certainly achieved its task, or failed decisively to do so, in the shortest possible time. Only the special characteristics of the American theatre of war gave the Union and Confederate volunteers the space and time necessary for the creation of armies, and so the great struggle in North America passed without affecting seriously the war ideas and preparations of Europe. The weakness of the staff work with which both sides were credited helped further to confirm the belief of the Prussians in their system, and in this instance they were justified by the immense superiority of their own general staff to that of any army in existence. It was in this particular that a corps of 1870 differed so essentially from a corps of Napoleon's time. The formal organization had not been altered save as the varying relative importance of the separate arms had dictated. The almost intangible spirit which animates the members of a general staff, causes them not merely to “think” —that was always in the quartermaster-general's department— but to “think alike,” so that a few simple orders called “directives“ sufficed to set armies in motion with a definite purpose before them, whereas formerly elaborate and detailed plans of battle had to be devised and distributed in order to achieve the object in view. A comparison of the number of orders and letters written by a marshal and by his chief of staff in Napoleon's time with similar documents in 1870 indicates clearly the changed position of the staff. In the Grande Armée and in the French army of 1870 the officers of the general staff were often absent entirely from the scene of action. ·In Prussia the new staff system produced a far different result—indeed, the staff, rather than the Prussian military system, was the actual victor of 1870. Still, the system would probably have conquered in the end in any case, and other nations, convinced by events that their departure from the ideal of 1813, however convenient formerly, was no longer justified, promptly copied Prussia as exactly, and, as a matter of fact, as slavishly, as they had done after the Seven Years' War.

38. Modern Developments

-Since 1870, then, with the single exception of Great Britain, all the major European powers have adopted the principle of compulsory short service with reserves. Along with this has come the fullest development of the territorial system (see below). The natural consequence therefore of the heavy work falling upon the shoulders of the Prussian officer, who had to instruct his men, was, in the first place, a general staff of the highest class, and in the second, a system of distributing the troops over the whole country in such a way that the regiments were permanently stationed in the district in which they recruited and from which they drew their reserves. Prussia realized that if the reservists were to be obtained when required the unit must be strictly localized; France, on the contrary, lost much time and spent much trouble, in the mobilization of 1870, in forwarding the reservists to a regiment distant, perhaps, 300m. The Prussian system did not work satisfactorily at first, for until all the district staff-officers were trained in the same way there was great inequality in the efficiency of tile various army corps, and central control, before the modern development of railways, was relatively slight. Further, the mobilization must be completed, or nearly so, before concentration begins, and thus an active professional army, always at war strength, might annihilate the frontier corps before those in the interior were ready to move. But the advantages far outweighed the defects of tile system, and, such professional armies having after 1870 disappeared, there was little to fear. Everywhere, therefore, save in Great Britain (for at that time the United States was hardly counted as a great military power, in spite of its two million war-trained veterans in civil life), the German model was followed, and is now followed, with but slight divergence. The period of reforms after the Prussian model (about 1873—1890) practically established the military systems which are treated below as those of the present day. The last quarter of the century witnessed a very great development of military forces, without important organic changes. The chief interest to the student of this period lies in the severe competition between the great military powers for predominance in numbers, expressed usually in the reduction of the period of service with the colours to a minimum. The final results of this cannot well be predicted: it is enough to say that it is the Leitmotiv in the present stage in the development of armies. Below will be found short historical sketches of various armies of the present day which are of interest in respect of their historical development. Details of existing forces are given in articles dealing with the several states to which they belong. Historical accounts of the armies of Japan and of Egypt will be found in the articles on those states. The Japanese wars of 1894—95 and 1904—5 contributed little to the history of military organization as a pure science. The true lessons of this war were the demonstration of the wide applicability of the German methods, upon which exclusively the Japanese army had formed itself, and still more the first illustration of the new moral force of nationalities as the decisive factor. The form of armies remained unaltered. Neither the events of the Boer War of 1899—1902 nor the Manchurian operations were held by European soldiers to warrant any serious modifications in organization. It is to the moral force alluded to above, rather than to mere technical improvements, that the best soldiers of Europe, and notably those of the French general staff (see the works of General H. Bonnal), have of late years devoted their most earnest attention.


39. The Main Principles

The main principles of all military organization as developed in history would seem to be national recruiting and allegiance, distinctive methods of training and administration, continuity of service and general homogeneity of form. The method of raising men is of course different indifferent states. In this regard armies may conveniently be classed as voluntarily enlisted, levied or conscript, and militia, represented respectively by the forces of Great Britain, Germany and Switzerland. It must not be forgotten, however, that voluntary troops may be and are maintained even in states in which the bulk of the army is levied by compulsion, and the simple militia obligation of defending the country is universally recognized.

40. Compulsory Service

—Universal liability to service (allgemeine Wehrpfiicht) draws into the active army all, or nearly all, the men of military age for a continuous period of short service, after which they pass successively to the reserve, the second and the third line troops (Landwesr, Landsiurm, &c.). In this way the greatest number of soldiers is obtained at the cheapest rate and the number of trained men in reserve available to keep the army up to strength is in theory that of the able-bodied manhood of the country. In practice the annual levy is, however, not exhaustive, and increased numerical strength is obtained by reducing the term of colour- service to a minimum. This may be less in a hard-worked conscript army than in one which depends upon the attractions of the service to induce recruits to join. In conscript armies, training for war is carried out with undeviating rigour. In these circumstances the recruits are too numerous and the time available is too limited for the work of training to be committed to a few selected instructors, and every officer has therefore to instruct his own men. The result is usually a corps of officers whose capacity is beyond question, while the general staff is composed of men whose ability is above a high general average. As to the rank and file, the men taken for service are in many respects the best of the nation, and this superiority is progressively enhanced, since increase of population is not often accompanied by a corresponding increase in the military establishments. In Germany in 1905, it is stated, nearly half the contingent was excused from serving in peace time, over and above the usual numbers exempted or medically rejected. The financial aspect of compulsory service may be summed up in a few words. The state does not offer a wage, the pay of the soldier is a mere trifle, and, for a given expenditure, at least three times as many men may be kept under arms as under any known ”voluntary“ system. Above all, the state has at its disposal for war an almost inexhaustible supply of trained soldiers. This aspect of compulsory service has indeed led its admirers sometimes to sacrifice quality to quantity; but, provided always that the regular training is adequate, it may be admitted that there is no limit to the numbers which are susceptible of useful employment. There are, however, many grave defects inherent in all armies raised by compulsory levy (see CONSCRIPTION, for a discussion of the chief economical and social questions involved). Most of the advantages of universal service result, not from the compulsory enlistment, but from the principle of short service and reserves. But the cost of maintaining huge armies of the modern European type on the voluntary system would be entirely prohibitive, and those nations which have adopted the allgemeine Wehrpflicht have done so with full cognizance of the evil as well as of the good points of the system.

The chief of these evils is the doubtful element which exists in all such armies. Under the merciless discipline of the old régime the most unwilling men feared their officers more than the enemy. Modern short service, however, demands the good-will of all ranks and may fail altogether to make recalcitrants into good soldiers, and it may be taken for granted that every conscript army contains many men who cannot be induced to fight. Herein lies the justification of the principle of “masses,” and of reduced colour-service; by drawing into the ranks the maximum number of men, the government has an eventual residuum of the bravest men in the nation left in the ranks. What has been said of the officers of these armies cannot be applied to the non- commissioned officers. Their promotion is necessarily rapid, and the field of selection is restricted to those men who are willing to re-engage, i.e. to serve beyond their compulsory term of two or three years. Many men do so to avoid the struggles of civil life, and such “fugitive and cloistered virtue“ scarcely fosters the moral strength required for command. As the best men return to civil life, there is no choice but to promote inferior men, and the latter, when invested with authority, not infrequently abuse it. Indeed in some armies the soldier regards his officer chiefly as his protector from the rapacity or cruelty of his sergeant or corporal. A true short-service army is almost incapable of being employed on peace service abroad; quite apart from other considerations, the cost of conveying to and from home annually one-third or one-half of the troops would be prohibitive. If, as must be the case, a professional force is maintained for oversea service many men would join it who would otherwise be serving as non-commissioned officers at home and the prevailing difficulty would thus be enhanced. When colonial defence calls for relatively large numbers of men, i.e. an army, home resources are severely strained.

41. Conscription

-In the proper sense, i.e. selection by lot of a proportion of the able-bodied manhood of a country, is now rarely practiced. The obvious unfairness of selection by lot has always had the result of admitting substitutes procured by those ow whom the lot has fallen; hence the poorer classes are unduly burdened with the defence of the country, while the rich escape with a money payment. In practice, conscription invariably produces a professional long-service army in which each soldier is paid to discharge the obligations of several successive conscripts. Such an army is therefore a voluntary long-service army in the main, plus a proportion of the unwilling men found in every forced levy. The gravest disadvantage is, however, the fact that the bulk of the nation has not been through the regular army at all; it is almost impossible to maintain a large and costly standing army and at the same time to give a full training to auxiliary forces. The difference between a “national guard” such as that of the siege of Paris in 1870—71 and a Landwehr produced under the German system, was very wide. Regarded as a compromise between universal and voluntary service, conscription still maintains a precarious existence in Europe. As the cardinal principle of recruiting armies, it is completely obsolete.

42. Voluntary Service

—Existing voluntary armies have usually developed from armies of the old régime, and seem to owe their continued existence either to the fact that only comparatively small armaments are maintained in peace, other and larger armies being specially recruited during a war (a modification of the “enlistment system“), or to the necessities of garrisoning colonial empires. The military advantages and disadvantages of voluntary service are naturally the faults and merits of the opposite system. The voluntary army is available for general service. It includes few unwilling soldiers, and its resultant advantage over an army of the ordinary type has been stated to be as high as 30%. At all events, we need only examine military history to find that with conscript armies wholesale shirking is far from unknown. That loss from this cause does not paralyse operations as it paralysed those of the 18th century is due to the fact that such fugitives do not desert to the enemy, but reappear in the ranks of their own side; it must not therefore be assumed that men have become braver because the “missing“ are not so numerous. In colonial and savage warfare the superior personal qualities of the voluntary soldier often count for more than skill on the part of the officers. These' would be diminished by shortening the time of service, and this fact, with the expense of transport, entails that a reasonably long period must be spent with the colours. On the other hand, the provision of the large armies of modern warfare requires the maintenance of a reserve, and no reserve is possible if the whole period for which men will enlist is spent with the colours. The demand for long service in the individual, and for trained men in the aggregate, thus produces a compromise. The principle of long service, i.e. ten years or more with the colours, is not applicable to the needs of the modern grande guerre; it gives neither great initial strength nor great reserves. The force thus produced is costly and not lightly to be risked; it affords relatively little opportunity for the training of officers, and tends to become a class apart from the rest of the population. On the other hand, such a force is the best possible army for foreign and colonial service. A state therefore which relies on voluntary enlistment for its forces at home and abroad, must either keep an army which is adaptable to both functions or maintain a separate service for each.

In a state where relatively small armaments are maintained in peace, voluntary armies are infinitely superior to any that could be obtained under any system of compulsion. The state can afford to give a good wage, and can therefore choose its recruits carefully. It can thus have either a few incomparable veteran soldiers (long-service), or a fairly large number of men of superior physique and intelligence, who have received an adequate short-service training. Even the youngest of such men are capable of good service, while the veterans are probably better soldiers than any to be found in conscript armies. This is, however, a special case. The raw material of any but a small voluntary army usually tends to be drawn from inferior sources; the cost of a larger force, paid the full wages of skilled labourers, would be very great, and numbers commensurate with those of an army of the other model could only be obtained at an exorbitant price. The short-service principle is therefore accepted. Here, however, as recruiting depends upon the good-will of the people, it is impossible to work the soldiers with any degree of rigour. Hence the voluntary soldier must serve longer than a conscript in order to attain the same proficiency. The reserve is thus weakened, and the total trained regular force diminished. Moreover, as fewer recruits are required annually, there is less work for the officers to do. In the particular case of Great Britain it is practically certain that in future, reliance will be placed upon the auxiliary forces and the civil population for the provision of the enormous reserves required in a great war; this course is, however, only feasible in the case of an insular nation which has time to collect its strength for the final and decisive blow overseas. The application of the same principle to a continental military power depends on the capacity for stern and unflagging resistance displayed by the corps de couverture charged with the duty of gaining the time necessary for the development and concentration of the national masses. In Great Britain (except in the case of a surprise invasion) the place of this corps would be taken by “command of the sea.” Abroad, the spirit of the exposed regiments themselves furnishes the only guarantee, and this can hardly be calculated with sufficient certainty, under modern conditions, to justify the adoption of this new “enlistment system.” Voluntary service, therefore, with all its intrinsic merits, is only applicable to the conditions of a great war when the war reserve can be trained ad hoc.

43. The Militia

- The militia idea (see MILITIA) has been applied most completely in Switzerland, which has no regular army, but trains almost the whole nation as a militia. The system, with many serious disadvantages, has the great merit that the maximum number of men receives a certain amount of training at a minimum cost both to the state and to the individual. Mention should also be made of the system of augmenting the national forces by recruiting “foreign legions.” This is, of course, a relic of the Werbe- system; it was practiced habitually by the British governments of the 18th and early 19th centuries. “Hessians” figured conspicuously in the British armies in the American War of Independence, and the “King's German Legion” was only the best and most famous of many foreign corps in the service of George III during the Revolutionary and Napoleonic wars. A new German Legion was raised during the Crimean War, but the almost universal adoption of the Krumper system has naturally put an end to the old method, for all the best recruits are now accounted for in the service of their own countries.


44. Arms of the Service

—Organization into “arms” is produced by the multiplicity of the weapons used, their functions and their limitations. The “three arms“ —a term universally applied to infantry (q.v.), cavalry (q.v.) and artillery (q.v.)— coexist owing to the fact that each can undertake functions which the others cannot properly fulfil. Thus cavalry can close with an enemy at the quickest pace, infantry can work in difficult ground, and artillery is effective at great ranges. Infantry indeed, having the power of engaging both at close quarters and at a distance, constitutes the chief part of a fighting force. Other ”arms,” such as mounted infantry, cyclists, engineers, &c., are again differentiated from the three chief arms by their proper functions. In deciding upon the establishment in peace, or the composition of a force for war, it is therefore necessary to settle beforehand the relative importance of these functions in carrying out the work in hand. Thus an army operating in Essex would be unusually strong in infantry, one on Salisbury Plain would possess a great number of guns, and an army operating on the South African veldt would consist very largely of mounted men. The normal European war has, however, naturally been taken as the basis upon which the relative proportions of the three arms are calculated. At the battle of Kolin (1757) the cavalry was more than half as strong as the infantry engaged. At Borodino (1812) there were 39 cavalry to 100 of other arms, and 5 guns per 1000 men. In 1870 the Germans had at the outset 7 cavalrymen to every 100 men of other arms, the French 10. As for guns, the German artillery had 3 the French 3 1/2 per 1000 men. In more modern times the proportions have undergone some alteration, the artillery having been increased, and the cavalry brought nearer to the Napoleonic standard. Thus the relative proportions, in peace time, now stand at 5 or 6 guns per 1000 men, and i6 cavalry soldiers to Too men of other arms. It must be borne in mind that cavalry and artillery are maintained in peace at a higher effective than infantry, the strength of the latter being much inflated in war, while cavalry and artillery are not easily extemporized. Thus in the Manchurian campaign these proportions were very different. The Russian army on the eve of the battle of Mukden (20th of February 1905) consisted of 370 battalions, 142 squadrons and 153 field batteries (1200 guns), with, in addition, over 200 heavy guns. The strength of this force, which was organized in three armies, was about 300,000 infantry and 18,000 cavalry and Cossacks, with guns per 1000 men of other arms. The Japanese armies consisted of 300,000 infantry, 11,000 cavalry, 900 field and 170 heavy guns, the proportion of field artillery being 2 1/2 guns per 1000 men.

It is perhaps not superfluous to mention that all the smaller units in a modern army consist of one arm only. Formerly several dissimilar weapons were combined in the same unit. The knight with his four or five variously armed retainers constituted an example of this method of organization, which slowly died out as weapons became more uniform and their functions better defined.

45. Command

—The first essential of a good organization is to ensure that each member of the organized body, in his own sphere of action, should contribute his share to the achievement of the common object. Further, it is entirely beyond the power of one man or a few to control every action and provide for every want of a great number of individuals. The modern system of command, therefore, provides for a system of grades, in which, theoretically, oficers of each grade control a group of the next lower units.. A lieutenant-colonel, for insance, may be in charge of a group of eight companies, each of which is under a captain. In practice, all armies are permanently organized on these lines, up to the colonel's or lieutenant-colonel's command , and most of them are permanently divided into various higher units under general officers, the brigade, division and army corps. The almost invariable practice is to organize infantry into companies, battalions and regiments. Cavalry is divided into troops, squadrons and regiments. Artillery is divided into batteries, these being usually grouped in various ways. The other arms and departments are subdivided in the same general way. The commands of general officers are the brigade of infantry, cavalry and in some cases artillery, the division of two or more infanry brigades and a force of artillery and mouned troops, or of cavalry and horse artillery, and the army corps of two or more divisions and "corps troops". Armies of several corps, and groups of armies are also formed.

46. Brigade

A brigade is the command of a brigadier or major-general, or a colonel. It consists almost in variably of one arm only. In armes of the old regime it was not usual to assign troops of all arms to the subordinate generals. Hence the brigade is a much older form of organization than the division of all arms, and in fact dates frm the 16th century. The infantry brigade consists, in the British service, of a brigadier and his staff, four battalions of infantry, and administrative and medical units, the combatant strength being about 4000 men. In Geermany and France the brigade is composed of the staff, and two regiments (6 battalions) with a total of over 6000 combatants at war strength. Thecavalry brigade is sometimes formed of threed, sometimes of two regiments; the njumb er of squadrons to a regiment on service isusually four, exceptionally three, and rarely five or six. The"brigade" of artillery in Great Britain is a lieutenant-colonel's command, and the term here correspondes to theabtheilung of the German, and the groupe of he French armies (see ARTILLERY). In Germany and France, however, an artillery brigade consists of two or more regiments, or twelve batteries at least, under the command of an artillery general officer.

47. Division

A division is an organization containing troops of all arms. Since the virtual abolition of the "corps artillery" (see ARTILLERY) the force of field artillery forming part of an infantry division is somethimes as high as 72 guns (Germany); in Great Britain the augmented division of 1906 has 54 field guns, 12 field howitzers, and 4 heavy gun, a total of 70, The term "infantry" division is, in strictness, no longer aplicable, since such a unit is a miniature army corps of infantry, artillery, and cavalry, with the necessary services for the supply of ammunition, food and forage, and for the care of the sick and wounded. A more exact title would be "army" division. In general it is composed, so far as combatants are concerned, of the divisional commander, and his saff, two or more infantry brigades, a number of bateries of field artillery forming a regiment, brigade or group, a small force, varying from a squadron to a regiment, of cavalry (divisional cavalry), with some engineers. The force of the old British division (1905) may be taken, on an average, as 10,000 men, increased in the1906 reorganization to about 15,000 combatants. In other armies the fighting force of the division amounts to rather more than 14,000. The cavalry division (see CAVALRY) is composed of the staff, two or three cavalry brigades, horse artillery, with perhaps mounted infantry, cyclists,or even light infantry in addition. In many, if not most, armies cavalry divisions are formed only in war. In the field the cavalry division is usually an independent unit with its own commander and staff. "Cavalry corps" of several divisions have very rarely been formed in the past, a division having been regarded as the largest unit capable of being led by one man. There is, however, a growing tendency in favour of the corps organization, at any rate in war.

48. Army Corps

-The "corps' of the18th century was simply a large detachment, more or less complete in itself, organized for some particular purpose (e.g. to cover a siege), and placed for the time being under some general officer other than the chief commander. The modern army corps is a development from the division of all arms, which originated in the French Revolutionary wars. It is a unit of considerable strength, furnished with the due proportion of troops of all arms and of the auxilliary and medical services, and permanently placed under thecommand of one general. The corps organization (though a corps d'armee was ofen sponen of as a armee) was used in Napoleon's army in all the campaigns of the Empire. It may be mentioned, as a curious feature of Napoleon's methods, that he invariable constituted each corps d'armee of a different strenght, so that the enemy would not be able to estimate his force by the sinple process of counting the corps flags which marked the marshals' headquaerters. Thus in 1812 he constituted one corps of 72,000 men, while another had but 18,000. After the fall of Napoleon a further advance was made. The adoption of universal service amongst the great military nations brought, in its train the territorial organization, and the corps, representinga large district, soon became a unit of peace formation. For the smooth working of the new military system it was essential that the framework of the war army should exist in peace. The Prussians were the first to bring the system to perfection; long before 1866 Prussia was permanently divided into army corps districts, all the trooops of the III army corps being Brandenburgers. all those of the VI Silesians, and so on, thought political reasons required, and to some extent still require, modifications of this principle in dealing with annexed territory (e.g. Hanover and Alsace-Lorraine). The events of 1866 and of 1870-71 caused the almost universal adoption of the army corps regional system. In the case of the British army, operating as it usually did in minor wars, and rarely having more than sixty or seventy thousand men on one theater even in continental wars, there was less need of so large a unit as the corps. Not only was a British army small in numbers, but it preserved high traditions of discipline, and was sufficiently well trained to be susceptible as a unit to the impulse given by one man. Eeven where the term "corps" does appear in Peninsular annals, the implication is of a corps in the old sense of a grand detachment. Neither cavalry nor artillery was assisgned to any of the British "corps" at Waterloo.

49. Constitution of the Army Corps

-In 1870-71 the III German army corps (with which compare Marshal Davout's ordre de bataille above) consised of the following combatant units: (a) staff; (b) two infantry divisions (4 brigades, 8 regiments or 24 battalions), with, in each division, a cavalry regiment, 4 batteries of artillery or 24 guns, and engineers, (c) corps troops, artillery (6 field batteries), pioneer battalion (engineers), train battalion (supply and transport). A rifle battalion was attached to one of the divisions. This ordre de bataille was followed more or less generally by all conuntries up to the most modern times, but between 1890 and 1902 came a very considerable change in the point of view from which the corps was regarded as a fighting unit. This change was expressed in the abolition of the corps artillery. Formerly the corps commander controlled the greater part of the field artillery, as well as troops of othe rarms; at the presentt ime he has a mere handful of troops. Unless battalions are taken from the divisions to form a corps reserve, the direct influence of the corps organization on the battle is due almost solely to the fact that the commander has at his disposal the special natures of artillery and also some horse artillery. Thus the (augmented) division is regarded by many as the fighting unit of the 20th, as the corps was that of the 19th century. In Europe there is even a tendency to substitute the ancient phrase "reserve artillery" for "corps artillery," showing that the role to be played by the corps batteries is subordinated to the operations of the masses of divisional artillery, the whole being subject, of course, to the technical ssupervision of the artillery general officer who accompanies the corps headquarters. Thus limited, the army corps has now come to consist of the staff, two or more divisions, the corps or reserve artillery (of special batteries), a small force of “corps” cavalry, and various technical and departmental troops. The cavalry is never very numerous, owing to the demands of the independent cavalry divisions on the one hand and those of the divisional cavalry on the other. The engineers of an army corps include telegraph, balloon and pontoon units. Attached to the corps are reserves of munitions and supplies in ammunition columns, field parks, supply parks, &c. The term and the organ ization were discontinued in England in 1906, on the augmentation of the divisions and the assignment of certain former “corps troops” to the direct control of the army commanders. It should be noticed that the Japanese, who had no corps organization during the war of 1904—5, afterwards increased the strength of their divisions from 15,000 to 20,000; the augmented “division,” with the above peace strength, becomes to all intents and purposes a corps, and the generals commanding divisions were in 1906 given the title of generals-in-chief.