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This is part 3 of the Encyclopedia article


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

50. Army

—The term ”army“ is applied, in war time, to any command of several army corps, or even of several divisions, operating under the orders of one commander-in-chief. The army in this sense (distinguished by a number or by a special title) varies, therefore, with circumstances. In the American Civil War, the Army of the Ohio consisted in 1864 only of the army staff and the XXIII corps. At the other extreme we find that the German II Army in 1870 consisted of seven army corps and two cavalry divisions, and the III Army of six army corps and two cavalry divisions. The term “army“ in this sense is therefore very elastic in its application, but it is generally held that large groups of corps operating in one theatre of war should be subdivided into armies, and that the strength of an army should not exceed about 150,000 men, if indeed this figure is reached at all. This again depends upon circumstances. It might be advisable to divide a force of five corps into two armies, or on the other hand it might be impossible to find suitable leaders for more than two armies when half a million men were present for duty. In France, organization has been carried a step further. The bulk of the national forces is, in case of war, organized into a” group of armies “under a commander, usually, though incorrectly, called the generalissimo. This office, of course, does not exist in peace, but the insignia, the distinctive marks of the headquarters flag, &c., are stated in official publications, and the names of the generalissimo and of his chief of staff are known. Under the generalissimo would be four or five army commanders, each with three or four army corps under him. Independent of this ”group of armies“ there would be other and minor “armies“ where required.

51. Chief Command

—The leading of the “group of armies” referred to above does not, in France, imply the supreme command, which would be exercised by the minister of war in Paris. The German system, on the other hand, is based upon the leadership of the national forces by the sovereign in person, and even though the headquarters of the “supreme war lord” (Oberste Kriegsherr) are actually in the field in one theatre of operations, he directs the movements of the German armies in all quarters. Similarly, in 1864, General Grant accompanied and controlled as a “group” the Armies of the Potomac and the James, supervising at the same time the operations of other groups and armies. In the same campaign a subordinate general, Sherman, commanded a ”group“ consisting of the Armies of the Tennessee, the Cumberland and the Ohio. The question as to whether the supreme command and the command of the principal group of armies should be in the same hands is very difficult of solution. In practice, the method adopted in each case usually grows out of the military and political conditions. The advantage of the German method is that the supreme commander is in actual contact with the troops, and can therefore form an accurate judgment of their powers. Under these conditions the risk of having cabinet strategy forced upon the generals is at its minimum, and more especially so if the supreme commander is the head of the state. On the other hand, his judgment is very liable to be influenced unduly by facts, coming under his own notice, which may in reality have no more than a local signifi cance. Further, the supreme commander is at the mercy of distant subordinates to a far greater degree than he would be if free to go from one army to another. Thus, in 1870 the king of Prussia's headquarters before Paris were subjected to such pressure from subordinate army commanders that on several occasions selected staff-officers had to be sent to examine, for the king's private information, the real state of things at the front. The conduct of operations by one group commander in the campaign of 1864 seemed, at a distance, so eccentric and dangerous that General Grant actually left his own group of armies and went in person to take over command at the threatened point. Balanced judgment is thus often impossible unless the supreme command is independent of, and in a position to exercise general supervision over, each and every group or army. At the other end of the scale is the system of command employed by the Turks in 1877, in which four armies, three of them being actually on the same theatre of war, were directed from Constantinople. This system may be condemned unreservedly. It is recognized that, once the armies on either side have become seriously engaged, a commander-in-chief on the spot must direct them. Thus in 1904, while the Japanese and Russian armies were under the supreme command of their respective sovereigns, General Kuropatkin and Marshal Oyama personally commanded the chief groups of armies in the field. This is substantially the same as the system of the French army. It is therefore permissible to regard the system pursued by the Germans in 1870, and by the Union government in 1864, more as suited to special circumstances than as a general rule. As has been said above, the special feature of the German system of command is the personal leadership of the German emperor, and this brings the student at once to the consideration of another important part of the “superior leading.”

52. The Chief of the General Staff

The Chief of the General Staff is, as his title implies, the chief staff officer of the service, and -as such, he has duties of the highest possible importance, both in peace and war. For the general subject of staff duties see STAFF. Here we are concerned only with the peculiar position of the chief of staff under a system in which the sovereign is the actual commander-in-chief. It is obvious in the first place that the sovereign may not be a great soldier, fitted by mental gifts, training and character to be placed at the head of an army of, perhaps, a million men. Allowing that it is imperative that, whatever he may be in himself, the sovereign should ex officio command the armies, it is easy to see that the ablest general in these armies must be selected to act as his adviser, irrespective of rank and seniority. This officer must therefore be assigned to a station beyond that of his army rank, and his orders are in fact those of the sovereign himself. Nor is it sufficient that he should occupy an unofficial position as adviser, or ad la/us. If he were no more than this, the sovereign could act without his adviser being even aware of the action taken. As the staff is the machinery for the transmission of orders and despatches, all orders of the commander-in-chief are signed by the chief of staff as a matter of course, and this position is therefore that in which the adviser has the necessary influence. The relations between the sovereign and his chief military adviser are thus of the first importance to the smooth working of the great military machine, and never have the possibilities of this apparently strange system been more fully exploited than by King William and his chief of staff von Moltke in 1866 and in 1870—71.It is not true to say that the king was the mere figurehead of the German armies, or that Moltke was the real commander-in-chief. Those who have said this forget that the sole responsibility for the consequences of every order lay with the king, and that it is precisely the fear of this responsibilty that has made so many brilliant subordinates fail when in chief command. The characters of the two men supplemented each other, as also in the case of Blucher and Gneisenau and that of Radetzky and Hess. Under these circumstances, the German system of command works, on the whole, smoothly. Matters would, however, be different if either of the two officers failed to realize their mutual interdependence, and the system is in any case only required when the self-sufficing great soldier is not available for the chief executive command.

53. First and Second Lines

-—The organization into arms and units is of course maintained in peace as well as for war. Military forces are further organized, in peace, into active and reserve troops, first and second lines, &c., according to the power possessed by the executive over the men. Broadly speaking, the latter fall into three classes, regulars, auxiliary forces and irregular troops. The regulars or active troops are usually liable to serve at all times and in any country to which they may be sent. Auxiliary forces may be defined as all troops which undergo actual military training without being constantly under arms, and in Great Britain these were until 1908. represented by the Militia, the Yeomanry and the Volunteers, and now by the Territorial Force and the Special Reserve. In a country in which recruiting is by voluntary enlistment the classification is, of course, very different Lom that prevailing in a conscript army. The various “lines” are usually composed of separate organizations; the men are recruited upon different engagements, and receive a varying amount of training. Of the men not permanently embodied, only the reserve of the active army has actually served a continuous term with the colours. Other troops, called by various appellations, of which “militia” may be taken as generic, go through their military training at intervals. The general lines of army organization in the case of a country recruiting by universal service are as follows :—The male population is divided into classes, by ages, and the total period of liability to service is usually about 25 years. Thus at any given time, assuming two years' colour-service, the men of 20 and 21 years of age would constitute the active army serving with the colours, those of, say, 22 and 23, the reserve. The Landwehr or second line army would consist of all men who had been through the active army and were now aged 24 to 36. The third line would similarly consist of men whose ages were between 36 and Assuming the same annual levy, the active army would consist of 200,000 men, its reserve 200,000, the second line of 1,300,000, and the third of 800,000. Thus of 2,500,000 men liable to, and trained for, military service, 200,000 only would be under arms at any given time. The simple system here outlined is of course modified and complicated in practice owing to re-engagements by non- commissioned officers, the speedy dismissal to the reserve of intelligent and educated men, &c.

54. War Reserves

—In war, the reserves increase the field armies to 400,000 men, the whole or part of the second line is called up and formed into auxiliary regiments, brigades and divisions, and in case of necessity the third line is also called upon, though usually this is only in the last resort and for home defence only. The proportion of reservists to men with the colours varies of course with the length of service. Thus in France or Germany, with two years' service in force, half of the rank and file of a unit in war would be men recalled from civil life. The true military value of reservists is often questioned, and under certain circumstances it is probable that units would take the field at peace strength without waiting for their reservists. The frontier guards of the continental military powers, which are expected to move at the earliest possible moment after hostilities have begun, are maintained at a higher effective than other units, and do not depend to any great extent on receiving reservists. The peace footing of cavalry and artillery units is similarly maintained at an artificial level. An operation of the nature of a coup de main would in any case be carried out by the troops available at the moment, however large might be the force required—twenty weak battalions would, in fact, be employed instead of ten strong ones. There is another class of troops, which may be called depot troops. These consist of officers and men left behind when the active corps completed with reserves takes the field, and they have (a) to furnish drafts for the front—and (b) to form a nucleus upon which all later formations are built up. The troops of the second line undertake minor work, such as guarding railways, and also furnish drafts for the field army. Later, when they have been for some time under arms, the second line troops are often employed by themselves in first line. A year's training under war conditions should bring such troops to the highest efficiency. As for irregulars, they have real military value only when the various permanent establishments do not take up the whole fighting strength of the nation, and thus states having universal service armies do not, as a rule, contemplate the employment of combatants other than those shown on the peace rolls. The status of irregulars is ill defined, but it is practically agreed that combatants, over whose conduct the military authorities have no disciplinary power, should be denied the privileges of recognized soldiers, and put to death if captured. So drastic a procedure is naturally open to abuse and is not always expedient. Still, it is perfectly right that the same man shall not be allowed, for example, to shoot a sentry at one moment, and to claim the privileges of a harmless civilian at the next. The division into first, second and third lines follows generally from the above. The first line troops, in a conscript army, are the “active army” or regulars, permanently under arms in peace time, and its reserves, which are used on the outbreak of war to complete the existing units to full strength. The German terms Landwehr and Landsturm are often applied to armies of the second and the third lines.

55. The military characteristics

-The military characteristics of the various types of regular troops have been dealt with in considering the advantages and disadvantages of the several forms of recruiting. It only re mains to give some indication of the advantages which such forces (irrespective of their time of service) possess over troops which only come up for training at intervals. Physically, the men with the colours are always superior to the rest, owing to their constant exercise and the regularity and order under which they live; as soldiers, they are more under the control of their officers, who are their leaders in daily life, in closer touch with army methods and discipline, and, as regards their formal training, they possess infinitely greater power of strategic and tactical manceuvre. Their steadiness under fire is of course more to be relied upon than that of other troops. Wellington, speaking of the contrast between old and young soldiers (regulars), was of opinion that the chief difference lay in the greater hardiness, power of endurance, and general campaigning qualities given by experience. This is of course more than ever true in respect of regular and auxiliary troops, as was strikingly demonstrated in the Spanish-American War. On the whole, it is true to say that only a regular army can endure defeat without dissolution, and that volunteers, reservists or militiamen fresh from civil life may win a victory but cannot make the fullest use of it when won. At the same time, when they have been through one or two arduous campaigns, raw troops become to all intents and purposes equal to any regulars. On the other hand, the greatest military virtue of auxiliary forces is their enthusiasm. With this quality were won the great victories of 1792—94 in France, those of 1813 in Germany, and the beginnings of Italian unity at Calatafimi and Palermo. The earlier days of the American Civil War witnessed desperate fighting, of which Shiloh is the best example, between armies which had had but the slightest military training. In the same war the first battle of Bull Run illustrated what has been said above as to the weaknesses of unprofessional armies. Both sides, raw and untrained, fought for a long time with the greatest determination, after which the defeated army was completely dissolved in rout and the victors quite unable to pursue. So far it is the relative military value of the professional soldier and the citizen-soldier that has been- reviewed. A continental army of the French Or German stamp is differently constituted. It is, first of all, clear that the drilled citizen-soldier combines the qualities of training and enthusiasm. From this it follows that a hostile “feeling” as well as a hostile view “must animate such an army if it is to do good service”. If a modern “nation in arms” is engaged in a- purely dynastic quarrel against a professional army of inferior strength, the result will probably be victory for the latter. But the active army of France or Germany constitutes but a small part of the “nation in arms,” and the army for war is composed in addition of men who have at some period in the past gone through a regular training. Herein lies the difference between continental and British auxiliary forces. In the French army, an ex-soldier during his ten years of reserve service was by the law of 1905 only liable for two months' training, and for the rest of his military career for two weeks' service only. The further reduction of this liability was proposed in 1907 and led to much controversy. The question of the value of auxiliary forces, then, as between the continuous work of, say, English territorials, and the permanent though dwindling influence of an original period of active soldiering, is one of considerable importance. It is largely decided in any given case by the average age of the men in the ranks.

56. Mobilization

-The transfer of troops from the state of peace to that of war is called mobilization. This is, of course, a matter which primarily depends on good administration, and its minutest details are in all states laid down beforehand. Reservists have to be summoned, and, on arrival, to be clothed and equipped out of stores maintained in peace. Officers and men of the regular army on leave have to be recalled, the whole medically examined for physical fitness to serve, and a thousand details have to be worked out before the unit is ready to move to its concentration station. The concentration and the strategic deployment are, of course, dependent upon the circumstances of each war, and the peace organization ceases to be applicable. But throughout a war the depots at home, the recruiting districts of second-line troops, and above all the various arsenals, manufactories and offices controlled by the war department are continually at work in maintaining the troops in the field at proper strength and effectiveness.

57. Territorial System

—The feudal system was of course a territorial system in principle. Indeed, as has been shown above, a feudal army was chiefly at fault owing to the dislocation of the various levies. Concentration was equally the characteristic of the professional armies which succeeded those of feudalism, and only such militia forces as remained in existence preserved a local character. The origin of territorial recruiting for first-line troops is to be found in the ”cantonal“ system, said to have been introduced by Louis XIV., but brought to the greatest perfection in Prussia under Frederick William I. But long service and the absence of a reserve vitiated the system in practice, since losses had to be made good by general recruiting, and even the French Revolution may hardly be said to have produced the territorial system as we understand it today. It was only in the deliberate preparation of the Prussian army on short-service lines that we find the beginning of the “ territorial system of dislocation and command.” This is so intimately connected with the general system of organization that it cannot be considered merely as a method of recruiting by districts. It may be defined as a system whereby, for purposes of command in peace, recruiting, and of organization generally, the country is divided into districts, which are again divided and subdivided as may be required. In a country in which universal service prevails, an army corps district is divided into divisional districts, these being made up of brigade and of regimental districts. Each of these units recruits, and is in peace usually stationed, in its own area; the artillery, cavalry and special arms are recruited for the corps throughout the whole allotted area, and stationed at various points within the same. Thus in the German army the III. army corps is composed entirely of Brandenburgers. The infantry of the corps is stationed in ten towns, the cavalry in four and the artillery in five. In countries which adhere to voluntary recruiting, the system, depending as it does on the calculable certainty of recruiting, is not so fully developed, but in Great Britain the auxiliary forces have been reorganized in divisions of all arms on a strictly territorial basis. The advantage of the system as carried into effect in Germany is obvious. Training is carried out with a minimum of friction and expense, as each unit has an ample area for training. Whilst the brigadiers car' exercise general control over the colonels, and the divisional generals over the brigadiers, there is little undue interference of superior authority in the work of each grade, and the men,if soldiers by compulsion, at any rate are serving close to their own homes. Most of the reservists required on mobilization reside within a few miles of their barracks. Living in the midst of the civil population, the troops do not tend to become a class apart. Small garrisons are not, as formerly, allowed to stagnate, since modern communications make supervision easy. Further, it must be borne in mind that the essence of the system is the organization and training for war of the whole military population. Now so great a mass of men could not be administered except through this decentralization of authority, and the corollary of short service universally applied is the full territorial system, in which the whole enrolled strength of the district is subjected to the authority of the district commander. Practice, however, falls short of theory, and the dangers of drawing whole units from disaffected or unmilitary districts are often foreseen and discounted by distributing the recruits, non-regionally, amongst more or less distant regiments.

58. Army Administration

—The existing systems of command and organization, being usually based upon purely military considerations, have thus much; indeed almost all, in common. Administration differs from them in one important respect. While the methods of command and organization are the result of the accumulated experience of many armies through many hundred years, the central administration in each case is the product of the historical evolution of the particular country, and is dependent upon forms of government, constitutions and political parties. Thus France, after 1870, re- modeled the organization of her forces in accordance with the methods which were presumed to have given Germany the victory, but the headquarters staff at Paris is very different in all branches from that of Berlin. Great Britain adopted German tactics, and to some extent even uniform, but the Army Council has no counterpart in the administration of the German emperor's forces.

The first point for consideration, therefore, is, what is the ultimate, and what is the proximate, authority supervising the administration? The former is, in most countries, the people or its representatives in parliament, for it is in their power to stop supplies, and without money the whole military fabric must crumble. The constitutional chief of the army is the sovereign, or, in republics, the president, but in most countries the direct control of army matters by the representatives of the people extends over all affairs into which the well-being of the civil population, the expenditure of money, alleged miscarriages of military justice, &c., enter, and it is not unusual to find grand strategy, and even the technical deficiencies of a field-gun or rifle, the subject of interpellation and debate. The peculiar influence of the sovereign is in what may be termed patronage (that is, the selection of officers to fill important positions and the general supervision of the officer-corps), and in the fact that loyalty is the foundation of the discipline and soldierly honour which it is the task of the officers to inculcate into their men. In all cases the head of the state is ipso facto the head of the army. The difference between various systems may then be held to depend on the degree of power allowed to or held by him. This reacts upon the central administration of the army, and is the cause of the differences of system alluded to. For the civil chief of the executive is not necessarily a soldier, much less an expert and capable soldier; he must, therefore, be provided with technical advisers. The chief of the general staff is often the principal of these, though in some cases a special commander-in-chief, or the minister for war, or, as in France and England, a committee or council, has the duty of advising the executive on technical matters.

59. Branches of Administration

—In these circumstances the only general principle of army administration common to all systems is the division of the labour between two great branches. Military administration, in respect of the troops and material which it has to control, is divided between the departments of the War Office and the General Staff. In the staff work of subordinate Units, e.g. army corps and divisions, the same classification of duties is adopted, “general staff” duties being performed by one set of officers, “routine staff” duties by another.

The work of a Genera) Staff may be taken as consisting in preparation for war, and this again, both in Great Britain and abroad, consists of military policy in all its branches, staff duties in war, the collection of intelligence, mobilization, plans of operations and concentration, training, military history and geography, and the preparation of war regulations. These subjects are usually subdivided into four or five groups, each of which is dealt with by a separate section of the general staff, the actual division of the work, of course, varying in different countries. Thus, the second section of the French staff deals with “the organization and tactics of foreign armies, study of foreign theatres of war, and military missions abroad.” A War Office is concerned with peace administration and with the provision of men and material in war. Under the former category fall such matters as “routine“ administration, finance, justice, recruiting, promotion of officers (though not always), barracks and buildings generally, armament, equipment and clothing, &c., in fact all matters not directly relevant to the training of the troops for and the employment of the troops in war. In war, some of the functions of a war office are suspended, but on the other hand the work necessary for the provision of men and material to augment the army and to make good its losses is vastly increased. In 1870 the minister of war, von Roon, accompanied the headquarters in the field, but this arangement did not work well, and will not be emloyed again. The chief duties other than those of the general staff fall into the two classes, the "routine staff," administration or adjutant-general's branch, which deals with all matters affecting personnel,

and the quartermaster-general's branch, which supervises the provision and issue of supplies, stores and materiel of all kinds. Over and above these, provision has to be made for control of all the technical parts of administration, such as artillery and engineer services (in Great Britain, this, with a portion of the quartermaster-general's department, is under the master- general of the ordnance), and for military legislation, preparation of estimates, &c. These are, of course, special subjects, not directly belonging to the general administrative system. It is only requisite that the latter should be sufficiently elastic to admit of these departments being formed as required. However these subordinate offices may be multiplied, the main work of the war office is in the two departments of the adjutant-general (personnel) and the quartermaster-general (materiel). Beyond and wholly distinct from these is the general staff, the creation of which is perhaps the most important con tribution of the past century to the pure science of military organization.

Comparative strength of Various Armies

(a) compulsory service (1906)

  France Germany Russia Austria-Hungary Italy
Annual contingent for the Colours 230,000 222,000 254,000 128,000 83,000
Medically unfit and exempt 90,000 127,000 120,000 57,000 110,000
Excused from Service in peace, able, bodied   291,000 606,000 285,000 122,000
Total of Men becoming liable for Service in 1907 320,000 540,000 980,000 470,000 315,000
Total permanent force during Peace 610,000 not including
colonial troops
610,000 1,226,000 356,000 269,000
First-lineTroops, war-strength - estimated 1,350,000 1,675,000 2,187,000 950,000 800,000
Second-line Troops - war strength - estimated 3,000,000 2,275,000 1,429,000 1,450,000 1,150,000
Numbers available in excess of these 450,000 3,950,000 9,384,000 5,000,000 1,200,000
Total War Resources of all kinds 4,800,000 7,900,000 13,000,000 7,400,000 3,150,000
Annual Military expenditure - total - in British pounds 27,720,000 32,228,000 36,080,000 15,840,000 11,280,000
Annual Military expenditure per capita 13s, 9d 10s, 9d 5s, 3d 6s, 8d 6s, 5d

(b) Authorized Establishments and Aproximate Military Resources of the British Empire (1906-07)

  British Regular
Reserves for
Regular Army
Great Britain 117,000 120,000 500,000     737,000
Channel Islands, Malta, colonies
and Dependencies
65,000   6,000   30,000 101,000
India 75,000   30,000 202,000   307,000
Canada     46,000   59,000 105,000
Australia and New Zeland     70,000     70,000
South African forces     20,000     20,000
Totals 257,000 120,000 672,000 202,000 89,000 1,340,000

Note - Ex-soldiers of regular and auxiliary forces ,still fit for service, and estimated levees en masse, are not counted. Enlistment chiefly voluntary

(c) The Regular Army of the United States has a miximum authorized establishment (1906) of 60,000 enlisted men; the Organized Militia was at the same date 110,000 strong. Voluntary enlistment thoroughout. (See United States) In 1906-1907 the total numbers available for a levee en masse were estimated at 13,000,000.


60. British Army

Prior to the Norman Conquest the armed force of England was essentially a national militia. Every freeman was bound to bear arms for the defence of the country, or for the maintenance of order. To give some organization and training to the levy, the several sheriffs had authority to call out the contingents of their shires for exercise. The "fyrd", as the levy was named, was available for home service only, and could not be moved even from its county except in the case of emergency' and it was principally to repel oversea invasions that its services were required. Yet even in those days the necessity of some more permanent force was felt, and bodies of paid troops were maintained by the kings at their own cost. Thus Canute and his successors, and even some of the great earls kept up a household force (huscarics).The English army at Hastings consisted of the fyrd and the corps of huscarles.

The English had fought on foot; but the mailed horseman had now become the chief factor in war, and the Conqueror introduced into England the system of tenure by knight-service familiar in Normandy. This was based on the unit of the feudal host, the constabularia of ten knights, the Conqueror granting lands in return for fielding one or more of these units (in the case of great barons) or some fraction of them (in the case of lesser tenants). The obligation was to provide knights to serve, with horse and arms, for forty days in each year at their own charges. This obligation could be handed on by sub-enfeoffment through a whole series of under-tenants. The system. being based, not on the duty of personal service, but on the obligation to supply one or more knights (or it might be only the fraction of a knight), it was early found convenient to commute this for a money payment known as “scutage” (see KNIGHT SERVICE and SCUTAGE). This money enabled the king to hire mercenaries, or pay such of the feudal troops as were willing to serve beyond the usual time. From time to time proclamations and statutes were issued reminding the holders of knights' fees of their duties; but the immediate object was generally to raise money rather than to enforce personal service, which became more and more rare. The feudal system had not, however, abrogated the old Saxon levies, and from these arose two national institutions— the posse comitatus, liable to be called out by the sheriff to maintain the king's peace, and later the militia (q.v.). The posse comitatus, or power of the county, included all males able to bear arms, peers and spiritual men excepted; and though. primarily a police force it was also bound to assist in the defence of the country. This levy was organized by the Assize of Arms under Henry II. (1181) and subsequently under Edward. I. (1285) by the so-called “Statute of Winchester,” which determined the numbers and description of weapons to be kept by each man according to his property, and also provided for their periodical inspection. The early Plantagenets made free use of mercenaries. But the weakness of the feudal system in England was preparing, through the 12th and 13th centuries, a nation in arms absolutely unique in the middle ages. The Scottish and Welsh wars were, of course, fought by the feudal levy, but this levy was far from being the mob of unwilling peasants usual abroad, and from the fyrd came the English archers, whose fame was established by Edward I's wars, and carried to the continent by Edward III. Edward III realized that there was better material to be had in his own country than abroad, and the army with which he invaded France was an army of national mercenaries, or, more simply, of English soldiers. The army at Crecy was composed exclusively of English, Welsh and Irish. From the pay list of the army at the siege of Calais (1346) it appears that all ranks, from the prince of Wales downward, were paid, no attempt being made to force even the feudal nobles to serve abroad at their own expense. These armies were raised mainly by contracts entered into “with some knight or gentleman expert in war, and of great revenue and livelihood in the country, to serve the king in war with a number of men.” Copies of the indentures executed when Henry V raised his army for the invasion of France in 1415 are in existence. Under these the contracting party agreed to serve the king abroad for one year, with a given number of men equipped according to agreement, and at a stipulated rate of pay. A certain sum was usually paid in advance, and in many cases the crown jewels and plate were given in pledge for the rest. The profession of arms seems to have been profitable. The pay of the soldier was high as compared with that of the ordinary labourer, and he had the prospect of a share of plunder in addition, so that it was not difficult to raise men where the commander had a good military reputation. Edward III is said to have declined the services of numbers of foreign mercenaries who wished to enrol under him in his wars against France.

The funds for the payment of these armies were provided partly from the royal revenues, partly from the fines paid in lieu of military service, and other fines arbitrarily imposed, and partly by grants from parliament. As the soldier's contract usually ended with the war, and the king had seldom funds to renew it even if he so wished, the armies disbanded of themselves at the close of each War. To secure the services of the soldier during his contract, acts were passed (18 Henry VI. c. 19; and 7 Henry VII. c. I inflicting penalties for desertion; and in Edward VI.'s reign an act ”touching the true service of captains and soldiers” was passed, somewhat of the nature of a Mutiny Act.

61. Hundred Years’ War to Civil War

It is difficult to summarize the history of the army between the Hundred Years' War and 1642. The final failure of the English arms in France was soon followed by the Wars of the Roses, and in the long period of civil strife the only national force remaining to England was the Calais garrison. Henry VIII. was a soldier- king, but. he shared the public feeling for the old bow and bill, and English armies which served abroad did not, it seems, win the respect of the advanced professional soldiers of the continent. In 1519 the Venetian ambassador described the English forces as consisting of 150,000 men whose peculiar, though not exclusive, weapon was the long bow (Fortescue i. 117). The national levy made in 1588 to resist the Armada and the threat of invasion produced about 750 lancers (heavy-armed cavalry), 2000 light horse and 56,000 foot, beside 20,000 men employed in watching the coasts. The small proportion of mounted men is very remarkable in a country in which Cromwell was before long to illustrate the full power of cavalry on the battlefield. It is indeed not unfair to regard this army as a miscellaneous levy of inferior quality.

It was in cavalry that England was weakest, and by three different acts it was sought to improve the breed of horses, though the light horse of the northern counties had a good reputation, and even won the admiration of the emperor Charles V. Perhaps the best organized force in England at this time was the London volunteer association which ultimately became the Honourable Artillery Company. At Flodden the spirit of the old English yeomanry triumphed over the outward form of continental battalions which the Scots had adopted, and doubtless the great victory did much to retard military progress in England. The chief service of Henry VIII to the British army was the formation of an artillery train, in which he took a special interest. Before he died the forces came to consist of a few permanent troops (the bodyguard and the fortress artillery service), the militia or general levy, which was for home, and indeed for county, service only, and the paid armies which were collected for a foreign war and disbanded at the conclusion of peace, and were recruited on the same principle of indents which had served in the Hundred Years' War. In the reign of Mary, the old Statute of Winchester was revised (1553), and the new act provided for a readjustment of the county contingents and in some degree for the rearmament of the militia. But, from the fall of Calais and the expedition to Havre up to the battle of the Dunes a century later, the intervention of British forces in foreign wars was always futile and generally disastrous. During this time, however, the numerous British regiments in the service of Holland learned, in the long war of Dutch independence, the art of war as it had developed on the continent since 1450, and assimilated the regimental system and the drill and armament of the best models. Thus it was that in 1642 there were many hundreds of trained and war-experienced officers and sergeants available for the armies of the king and the parliament. By this time bows and bills had long disappeared even from the militia, and the Thirty Years' War, which, even more than the Low Countries, offered a career for the adventurous man, contributed yet more trained officers and soldiers to the English and Scottish forces. So closely indeed was war now studied by Englishmen that the respective adherents of the Dutch and the Swedish systems quarreled on the eve of the battle of Edgehill. Francis and Horace Vere, Sir John Norris, and other Englishmen had become generals of European reputation. Skippon, Astley, Goring, Rupert, and many others soon to be famous were distinguished as company and regimental officers in the battles and sieges of Germany and the Low Countries.

The home forces of England had, as has been said, little or nothing to revive their ancient renown. Instead, they had come to be regarded as a menace to the constitution. In Queen Elizabeth's time the demands of the Irish wars had led to frequent forced levies, and the occasional billeting of the troops in England also gave rise to murmurs, but the brilliancy and energy of her reign covered a great deal, and the peaceful policy of her successor removed all immediate cause of complaint. But after the accession of Charles I. we find the army a constant and principal source of dispute between the king and parliament, until under William III it is finally established on a constitutional footing. Charles, wishing to support the Elector Palatine in the Thirty Years' War, raised an army of 10,000 men. He was already encumbered with debts, and the parliament refused all grants, on which he had recourse to forced loans. The army was sent to Spain, but returned without effecting anything, and was not disbanded, as usual, but billeted on the inhabitants. The billeting was the more deeply resented as it appeared that the troops were purposely billeted on those who had resisted the loan. Forced loans, billeting and martial law — all directly connected with the maintenance of the army — formed the main substance of the grievances set forth in the Petition of Right. In accepting this petition, Charles gave up the right to maintain an army without consent of parliament; and when in 1639 he wished to raise one to act against the rebellious Scots, parliament was called together, and its sanction obtained, on the plea that the army was necessary for the defence of England. This army again became the source of dispute between the king and parliament, and finally both sides appealed to arms.

62. Civil War

The first years of the Great Rebellion (q.v.) showed primarily the abundance of good officers produced by the wars on the continent, and in the second place the absolute inadequacy of the military system of the country; the commissions of array, militia ordinances, &c., had at last to give way to regular methods of enlistment and a central army administration. It was clear, at the same time, that when the struggle was one of principles and not of dynastic politics, excellent recruits, far different from the wretched levies who had been gathered together for the Spanish war, were to be had in any reasonable number. These causes combined to produce the “New Model” which, originating in Cromwell's own cavalry and the London trained bands of foot, formed of picked men and officers, severely disciplined, and organized and administered in the right way, quickly proved its superiority over all other armies in the field, and in a few years raised its general to supreme civil power. The 15th of February 1645 was the birthday of the British standing army, and from its first concentration at Windsor Park dates the scarlet uniform. The men were for the most part voluntarily enlisted from existing corps, though deficiencies had immediately to be made good by impressment.

Four months later the New Model decided the quarrel of king and parliament at Naseby. When Cromwell, the first lieutenant- general and the second captain-general of the army, sent his veterans to take part in the wars of the continent they proved themselves a match for the best soldiers in Europe. On the restoration of the monarchy in 1660 the army, now some 8o,ooo strong, was disbanded. It had enforced the execution of Charles I, it had dissolved parliament, and England had been for years governed under a military régime. Thus the most popular measure of the Restoration was the dissolution of the army. Only Monk's regiment of foot(now the Coldstream Guards) survived to represent the New Model in the army of today. At the same time the troops (now regiments) of household cavalry, and the regiment of foot which afterwards became the Grenadier Guards, were formed, chiefly from Royalists, though the disbanded New Model contributed many experienced recruits. The permanent forces of the crown came to consist once more of the “garrisons and guards,” maintained by the king from the revenue allotted to him for carrying on the government of the country. The “garrisons” were commissioned to special fortresses—the Tower of London, Portsmouth, &c. The “guards” comprised the sovereign's bodyguards (“the yeomen of the guard“ and “gentlemen-at-arms,” who had existed since the times of Henry VII and VIII), and the regiments mentioned above. Even this small force, at first not exceeding 3000 men, was looked on with jealousy by parliament, and every attempt to increase it was opposed. The acquisition of Tangier and Bombay, as part of the dower of the infanta of Portugal, led to the formation of a troop of horse (now the 1st Royal Dragoons) and a regiment of infantry (the 2nd, now Queen's R.W. Surrey, Regiment) for the protection of the former; and a regiment of infantry (afterwards transferred to the East India Company) to hold the latter (1661). These troops, not being stationed in the kingdom, created no distrust; but whenever, as on several occasions during Charles's reign, considerable armies were raised, they were mostly disbanded when the occasion ceased. Several regiments, however, were added to the permanent force, including Dumbarton's regiment (the 1st or Royal Scots, nicknamed Pontius Pilate's Bodyguard) — which had a long record of service in the armies of the continent, and represented the Scots brigade of Gustavus Adoiphus's army — and the 3rd Buffs, representing the English regiments of the Dutch army and through them the volunteers of 1572, and on Charles's death in 1685 the total force of “guards and garrisons“ had risen to 16,500, of whom about one-half formed what we should now call the standing army.

63. King James II

James II, an experienced soldier and sailor, was more obstinate than his predecessor in his efforts to increase the army, and Monmouth's rebellion afforded him the opportunity. A force of about 20,000 men was maintained in England, and a large camp formed at Hounslow. Eight cavalry and twelve infantry regiments (the senior of which was the 7th “Royal” Fusiliers, formed on a new French model) were raised, and given the numbers which, with few exceptions, they still bear. James even proposed to disband the militia, which had not distinguished itself in the late rebellion, and further augment the standing army; and although the proposal was instantly rejected, he continued to add to the army till the Revolution deprived him of his throne. The army which he had raised was to a great extent disbanded, the Irish soldiers especially, whom he had introduced in large numbers on account of their religion, being all sent home.

The condition of the army immediately engaged the attention of parliament. The Bill of Rights had definitely established that “the raising or keeping of a standing army within the kingdom, unless it be by the consent of parliament, is against the law,” and past experience made them very jealous of such a force. But civil war was imminent, foreign war certain; and William had only a few Dutch troops, and the remains of James's army, with which to meet the storm. Parliament therefore sanctioned a standing army, trusting to the checks established by the Bill of Rights and Act of Settlement, and by placing the pay of the army under the control of the Commons. An event soon showed the altered position of the army. A regiment mutinied and declared for James. It was surrounded and compelled to lay down its arms; but William found himself without legal power to deal with the mutineers. He therefore applied to parliament, and in 1689 was passed the first Mutiny Act, which, after repeating the provisions regarding the army inserted in the Bill of Rights, and declaring the illegality of martial law, gave power to the crown to deal with the offences of mutiny and desertion by courts-martial. From this event is often dated the history of the standing army as a constitutional force (but see Fortescue, British Army, i. 335).

64. William III

Under William the army was considerably augmented. The old regiments of James's army were reorganized, retaining, however, their original numbers, and three of cavalry and eleven of infantry (numbered to the 28th) were added. In 1690 parliament sanctioned a force of 62,000 men, further increased to 65,000 in 1691; but on peace being made in 1697 the Commons immediaely passed resolutions to the effect that the land forces be reduced to 7000 men in England and 12,000 in Ireland. The War of the Spanish Succession quickly obliged Great Britain again to raise a large army, at one time exceeding 200,000 men; bu of these the greaer number were foreign troops engaged for the continental war. Fortescue (op.cit. i, 555) estimates that British forces at home and abroad as 70,000 men at the highest figure. Afer the Peace of Utrecht the force was again reduced to 8000 men in Great Britain and 11,000 in the plantations (i.e. colonies) and abroad. From that time to the present the strength of the army has been determined by the annual votes of parliament, and though frequently the subject of warm debates in both houses, it has ceased to bera matter od dispute between the crown and parliament. The following table shows the fluctuations from that time onward - the peace years showing the average peace strength, the war years the maximum to which the forces were raised:-

Year Number Year Number
1750 18,857 1745 74,187
1793 17,013 1761 67,776
1822 71,790 1777 90,734
1845 100,011 1812 245,996
1857 156,995 1856 275,097
1866 203,404 1858 222,874

During William's reign the small English army bore an honourable part in the wars against Louis XIV, and especially distinguished itself under the king at Steinkirk, Neerwinden though it had gradually risen to twenty thousand in 1792. Twenty English regiments took part in the part in the campaign of 1694. In the great wars of Queen Anne's reign the British army under Marlborough acquired a European reputation. The cavalry, which had called forth the admiration of Prince Eugene when passed in review before him after its long march across Germany (1704) especially distinguished itself in the batttle of Blenheim, and Ramillies, Oudenarde and Malplaquet were added to the list of English victories. But the army as usual was reduced at once, and even the cadres of old regiments were disbanded, thought the alarm of Jacobite insurrections soon broght about the re-creation of many of these. During the reign of the first and second Georges an artillery corps was organized, and the army further increased by five regimetns of cavalry and thiry-five of infantry. Fresh laurels were won at Dettingen (1743), in which battle twenty English regiments took part; and though Fontenoy (q.v.) was a day of disaster for the English arms, it did not lower their reputation, but rather added to it. Six regiments of infantry won the chief glory of Prince Ferdinand's victory of Minden (q.v.) in 1759, and throughout the latter part of he Seven Years' War the British contingent of Ferdinand's army served with almost unvarying distinction in numerous actions. About this time the first english regiments were sent to India,k and the 39th shared in Clive's vicory at Plassey. During the first half of George III's reign the army was principally occupied in America; anj though the conquest of Canada may be counted with pride among its exploits, this page in its history is certainly the darkest. English armies capitulated at Saratoga and at Yorktown, and the war ended by the evaculation of the revolted states of American and the acknowledgment of their independence.

65. Army in 18th century

Before passing to the great French Revolutionary wars, from which a fresh period in the history of the army may be dated, it will be well to review the general condition of the army in the preceding century, injured as it was by the distrust of parliament and departmental weakness and coruption which went far to neutralize the good work of the duke of Cumberland as commander-in-chief and of Pitt as war administrator. Regiments were raised almost as in the days of the Edwards. The crown contracted with a distinguished soldier, or gentleman of high position; who undertook to raise the men, receiving a certain sum as bounty-money for each recruit. In some cases, in lieu of money, the contractor received the nomination of all or some of the officers, and recouped himself by selling the commissions. This system—termed “raising men for rank “—was retained for many years, and originally helped to create the “purchase system” of promotion. For the maintenance of the regiment the colonel received an annual sum sufficient to cover the pay of the men, and the expenses of clothing and of recruiting. The colonel was given a “beating order,” without which no enlistment was legal, and was responsible for maintaining his regiment at full strength. “Muster masters“ were appointed to muster the regiments, and to see that the men for whom pay was drawn were really effective. Sometimes, when casualties were numerous, the allowance was insufficient to meet the cost of recruiting, and special grants were made. In war time the ranks were also filled by released debtors, pardoned criminals, and impressed paupers and vagrants. Where the men were raised by voluntary enlistment, the period of service was a matter of contract between the colonel and the soldier, and the engagement was usually for life; but exceptional levies were enlisted for the duration of war, or for periods of three or five years. As .for the officers, the low rate of pay and the purchase system combined to exclude all but men of independent incomes. Appointments (except when in the gift of the colonel) were made by the king at home, and by the commander-in-chief abroad; even in Ireland the power of appointment rested with the local commander of the forces until the Union. The soldier was clothed by his colonel, the charge being defrayed from the “stock fund.” The army lived in barracks, camps or billets. The barrack accommodation in Great Britain at the beginning of the18th century only sufficed for five thousand men; and though ithad gradually risen to twenty thousand in 1792, a large part of the army was constantly in camps and billets - the latter causing endless compaints and difficulties.

66. War with France

The first efforts of the army in the long war with France did not tend to raise its reputation amongst the armies of Europe. The campaigns of allied armies under the duke of York in the Netherlands, in which British contingents figured largely, were uniformly unsuccessful (1793-94 and 1799), though in this respect they resembled those of almost all suldiers who commanded against the "New French" army. The policy of the younger Pitt sent thousands of the best soldiers to un-profitable employment, and indeed to death, in the West Indies. At home the administration was corrupt and ineffective, and the people generally shared the contemptuous feeling towards the regular army which was then prevalent in Europe. But a better era began with the appointment of Frederick Augustus, duke of York, as commander -in-chief of the army. He did much to improve its organization, discipline and training, and was ably seconded by commanders of distinguished ability. Under Abercromby in Egypt, under Stuart at Maida, and under Lake, Wellesley and others in India, the British armies again attached victory to their standards. and made themselves feared and respected. Later, Napoleon's threat of invading England excited her martial spirit to the highest pitch to which it had ever attained. Finally, her military glory was raised by the series of successful campaigns in the Peninsula, until it culminated in the great victory of Waterloo; and the army emerged from the war with the most solidly founded reputation of any in Europe.
The events of this period belong to the history of Europe, and fall outside the province of an article dealing only with the army. The greaaugmentations required during the war were effected partly by raising additional regiments, but principally but increasing the number of battalions, some regiments being given as many as four. On the conclusion of peace these battalions were reduced but the regiments were retained and the army was permanently increased from about twenty thousand, the usual peace establishment before the war, to an average of eighty thousand. The duke of York, on first appointment to the command, had introduced a uniform drill throughout the army, which was further modified according to Sir David Dundas's system in 1800; and, under the direction of Sir John Moore and others, a high perfectino of drill was attained. At the beginning of the war, the infantry, like that of the continental powers, was formed in three ranks; but a two-rank formation had been introduced in America and in India and gradually became general, and in 1809 was finally approved. In the Peninsula the army was permanently organized in divisions, usually consisting of two brigades of three or four battalions each, and one or two batteries of artillery. The duke of Wellington had also brought the commissariat and the army transport to a high pitch of perfection, but in the long peace which followed these establishments were reduced or broken up.

67. Early 19th Century

The period which elapsed between Waterloo and the Crimean War is marked by a number of Indian and colonial wars, but by no organic changes in the army, with perhaps the single exception of the Limited Service Act of 1847, by which enlistment for ten or twelve years, with power to re-engage to: complete twenty-one, was substituted for the life enlistments hitherto in force. The army went to sleep on the laurels and recollections of the Peninsula. The duke of Wellington, for many years commander-in- chief, was too anxious to hide it away in the colonies in order to save it from further reductions or utter extinction, to attempt any great administrative reforms. The force which was sent to the Crimea in 1854 was an agglomeration of battalions, individually of the finest quality,, but unused to work together, without trained staff, administrative departments or army organization of any kind. The lesson of the winter before Sevastopol was dearly bought, but was not thrown away. From that time successive war ministers and commanders-in-chief have laboured perseveringly at the difficult task of army organization and administration. Foremost in the work was Sidney Herbert (Lord Herbert of Lea), the soldier's friend, who fell a sacrifice to his labours (1861), but not before he had done much for the army. The whole system of administration was revised. In 1854 it was inconceivably complicated and cumbersome. The “secretary of state for war and colonies,” sitting at the Colonial Office, had a general but vague. control, practically limited to times of war. The “secretary at war” was the parliamentary representative of the army, and exercised a certain financial control, not extending, however, to the ordnance corps. The commander-in-chief was responsible to the sovereign alone in all matters connected with the discipline, command or patronage of the army, but to the secretary at war in financial matters. The master-general and board of ordnance were responsible for the supply of material on requisition, but were otherwise independent, and had the artillery and engineers under them. The commissariat department had its headquarters at the treasury, and until 1852 the militia were under the home secretary. A number of minor subdepartments, more or less independent, also existed, causing endless confusion, correspondence and frequent collision. In 1854 the business of the colonies was separated from that of war, and the then secretary of state, the duke of Newcastle, assumed control over all the other administrative officers. In the following year the secretary of state was appointed secretary at war also, and the duties of the two offices amalgamated. The same year the commissariat office was transferred to the war department, and the Board of Ordnance abolished, its functions being divided between the commander-in-chief and the secretary of state. The minor departments were gradually absorbed, and the whole administration divided under two great chiefs, sitting at the war office and Horse Guards respectively. In 1870 these, two were welded into one, and the war office now existing was constituted,

Corresponding improvements were effected in every branch. The system of clothing the soldiers was altered, the contracts being taken from the colonels of regiments, who received a money allowance instead, and the clothing supplied from government manufactories. The pay, food and general condition of. the soldier were improved; reading and recreation rooms, libraries, gymnasia and facilities for games of all kinds being provided. Barracks (q.v.) were built on improved principles, and a large permanent camp was formed at Aldershot, where considerable forces were collected and manoeuvred together. Various educational establishments were opened, a staff college was established for the instruction of officers wishing to qualify for the staff, and regimental schools were improved.

68. Army in India

The Indian Mutiny of 1857, followed by the transference of the government of India, led to important changes. The East India Company's white troops were amalgamated with the Queen's'army, and the whole reorganized (see Indian Army below).

The fact that such difficulties as those of 1854 and 1857, not to speak of the disorders of 1848, had been surmounted by the weak army which remained over from the reductions of forty years, coupled with the instantaneous and effective rejoinder to the threats of the French colonels in 1859—the creation of the Volunteer Force—-—certainly lulled the nation and its representatives into a false sense of security. Thus the two obvious lessons of the German successes of 1866 and 1870 — the power of a national army for offensive invasion, and the rapidity with which such an army when thoroughly organized could be moved — created the greatest sensation in England. The year 1870 is, therefore, of prime importance in the history of the regular forces of the crown. The strength of the home forces at different times between 1815 and 1870 is given as follows (Bidduiph, Lord Cardwell at the War Office)


Auxiliaries .

Field Guns.








? 30







1870 ?

68,538 ,



later 109,000)







69. Reform Period

The period of reform commences therefore with 1870, and is connected, indissolubly with the name of Edward, Lord Cardwell, secretary of state for war 1869—1874. In the matter of organization the result of his labours was seen in the perfectly arranged expedition to Ashanti (1874); as for recruiting, the introduction of short service and reserve enlistment together with many rearrangements of pay, &c., proved so far popular that the number of men annually enlisted was more than trebled (11,742 n 1869; 39,971 rn 1885; 40,729 in 1898), and so far efficient that “Lord Cardwell's ?. . . system, with but small modification, gave us during the Boer War 80,000 reservists, of whom 96 or 97 % ?were. found efficient, and has enabled us to keep an army of 150,000 regulars in the field for i~ months” (Rt. Hon. St John Brodrick, House of Commons, 8th of March 1901). The localization of the army, subsequently completed by the territorial system of 1882, was commenced under Cardwell's régime, and a measure which encountered much. powerful opposition at the time, the abolition of the purchase of commissions, was also effected by him (1871).. The machinery of administration was improved, and autumn manceuvres were practiced on a scale hitherto unknown in England. In 1871 certain powers over the militia, formerly held by lords- lieutenant, were transferred : to the crown, and the auxiliary forces were placed directly under the generals commanding districts. In 1881 came an important change in the infantry of the line, which was entirety remodeled in two-battalion regiments bearing territorial titles. This measure (the “linked battalion”system) aroused great opposition; it was dictated chiefly by the necessity of maintaining the Indian and colonial garrisons at full strength, and was begun during Lord Cardwell's tenure of office, the principle being that each regiment should have, one battalion at home and one abroad, the latter being fed by the former, which in its turn drew upon the reserve to complete it for war. The working of the system is to be considered as belonging to present practice rather than to history, and the reader is therefore referred to the article UNITED KINGDOM. On these general lines the army progressed up to 1899, when the Boer War called into the field on a distant theatre of war all the resources of the regular army, and in addition drew largely upon the existing auxiliary forces, and even upon wholly untrained civilians, for the numbers required to make war in an area which comprised nearly all Africa south of the Zambezi. As the result of this war (see TRANSVAAL) successive schemes of reform were undertaken by the various war ministers, leading up to Mr Haldane's “territorial” scheme (1908), which put the organization of the forces in the United Kingdom (q.v.) on a new basis.

Innovations had not been unknown in the period immediately preceding the war; as a single example we may take the develop ment of the mounted infantry (q.v.) It was natural that the war itself, and especially a war of so peculiar a character, should intensify the spirit of innovation. The corresponding period in the German army lasted from 1871 to 1888, and such a period of unsettlement is indeed the common, practically the universal, result of a war on a large scale. Much that was of value in the Prussian methods, faithfully and even slavishly copied by Great Britain as by others after 1870, was temporarily forgotten, but the pendulum swung back again, and the Russo-Japanese War led to the disappearance, so far as Europe was concerned, of many products of the period of doubt and controversy which followed the struggle in South Africa. Side by side with continuous discussions of the greater questions of military policy, amongst these being many well-reasoned proposals for universal service, the technical and administrative efficiency of the service has undergone great improvement, and this appears to be of more real and permanent value than the greater part of the solutions given for the larger problems. The changes in the organization of the artillery afford the best evidence of this spirit of practical and technical reform. In the first place the old “royal regiment“ was divided into two branches. The officers for the field and horse artillery stand now on one seniority list for promotion, the garrison, heavy and mountain batteries on another. In each branch important changes of organization have been also made. In the field branch, both for Royal Field and Royal Horse Artillery, the battery is no longer the one unit for all purposes. A lieutenant-colonel's command, the “brigade,” has been created. It consists of a group, in the horse artillery of two, in the field artillery of three batteries. For the practical training of the horse and field artillery a large area of ground on the wild open country of Dartmoor, near Okehampton, has for some years been utilized. A similar school has been started at Glen Imaal in Ireland, and a new training ground has been opened on Salisbury Plain. Similarly, with the Royal Garrison Artillery a more perfect system has been devised for the regulation and practice of the fire of each fortress, in accordance with the varying circumstances of its position, &c. A practice school for the garrison artillery has been established at Lydd, but the various coast fortresses themselves carry out regular practice with service ammunition.


70. Historically, the Indian army grew up in three distinct divisions, the Bengal, Madras and Bombay armies. This separation was the natural result of the original foundation of separate settlements and factories in India; and each retains to the present day much of its old identity.


—The English traders in Bengal were long restricted by the native princes to a military establishment of an ensign and 30 men; and this force may be taken as the germ of the Indian army. In 1681 Bengal received the first reinforcement from Madras, and two years later a company was sent from Madras, raising the little Bengal army to a strength of 250 Europeans. In 1695 native soldiers were first enlisted. In 1701—1702 the garrison of Calcutta consisted of 120 soldiers and seamen gunners. In 1756 occurred the defence of Calcutta against Suraj-ud-Dowlah, and the terrible tragedy of the Black Hole. The work of reconquest and punishment was carried out by an expedition from Madras, and in the little force with which Clive gained the great victory of Plassey the Bengal army was represented by a few hundred men only (the British 39th, now Dorsetshire regiment, which was also present, was the first King's regiment sent to India, and bears the motto Primus in Indis); but from this date the military power of the Company rapidly increased. A company of artillery had been organized in 1748; and in 1757, shortly before Plassey, the 1st regiment of Bengal native infantry was raised. Next, in 1759 the native infantry was augmented, in 1760 dragoons were raised, and in 1763 the total forces amounted to 1500 Europeans and 12 battalions of native infantry (11,500 men). In 1765 the European infantry was divided into 3 regiments, and the whole force was organized in 3 brigades, each consisting of 1 company of artillery, 1 regiment European infantry, troop of native cavalry, and 7 battalions of sepoys. In 1766, on the reduction of some money allowances, a number of officers of the Bengal army agreed to resign their commissions simultaneously. This dangerous combination was promptly put down by Clive, to whom the Bengal army may be said to owe its existence.

The constant wars and extensions of dominion of the next thirty years led to further augmentations; the number of brigades and of European regiments was increased to 6; and in 1794 the Bengal army numbered about 3500 Europeans and 24,000 natives.

71. Madras

—The first armed force in the Madras presidency was the little garrison of Armegon on the Coromandel coast, consisting of 28 soldiers. In 1644 Fort St George was built and garrisoned, and in 1653 Madras became a presidency. In 1745 the garrison of Fort St George consisted of 200 Europeans, while a similar number, with the addition of 200 “Topasses” (descendants of the Portuguese), garrisoned Fort St David. In 1748 the various independent companies on the Coromandel coast and other places were consolidated into the Madras European regiment. From this time the military history of the Madras army was full of incident, and it bore the principal part in Clive's victories of Arcot, Kavaripak and Plassey. In 1754 the 39th regiment of the Royal army was sent to Madras. In 1758 three others followed. In 1772 the Madras army numbered 3000 European infantry and 16,000 natives, and in 1784 the number of native troops had risen to 34,000.

72. Bombay

—The island of Bombay formed part of the marriage portion received by Charles II with the infanta of Portugal, and in 1662 the Bombay regiment of Europeans was raised to defend it. In 1668 the island was granted to the Company, and the regiment at the same time transferred to them. In 1708 Bombay became a presidency, but it did not play so important a part as the others in the early extension of British power, and its forces were not so rapidly developed. It is said, however, to have been the first to discipline native troops, and Bombay sepoys were sent to Madras in 1747, and took part in the battle of Plassey in 1757. In 1772 the Bombay army consisted of 2500 Europeans and 3500 sepoys, but in 1794, in consequence of the struggles with the Mahratta power, the native troops had been increased to 24,000.

73. Consolidation of the Army

—In 1796 a general reorganization took place. Hitherto the officers in each presidency had been borne on general “lists,” according to branches of the service. These lists were now broken up and cadres of regiments formed. The colonels and lieutenant- colonels remained on separate lists, and an establishment of general officers was created, while the divisional commands were distributed between the royal and Company's officers. Further augmentations took place, consequent on the great extension of British supremacy. In 1798 the native infantry in India numbered 122 battalions. In 1808 the total force in India amounted to 24,500 Europeans and 154,500 natives.

The first half of the 19th century was filled with wars and annexations and the army was steadily increased. Horse artillery was formed, and the artillery in general greatly augmented. “Irregular cavalry” was raised in Bengal and Bombay, and recruited from a better class of troopers, who received high pay and found their own horses and equipment. “Local forces” were raised in various parts from time to time, the most important being the Punjab irregular force (raised after the annexation of the Punjab in 1849), consisting of 3 field batteries, 5 regiments of cavalry, and 5 of infantry, and the Nagpur and Oudh irregular, forces. Another kind of force, which had been gradually formed, was that called “contingents” troops raised by the protected native states. The strongest of these was that of Hyderabad, originally known as the nizam's army. Changes were also made in the organization of the army. Sanitary improvements were effected, manufacturing establishments instituted or increased, and the administration generally improved.

74. The Army before the Mutiny

—The officering and recruiting of the three armies were in all essentials similar. The officers were mainly supplied by the Company's military college at Addiscombe in Surrey (established in 1809), and by direct appointments. The Bengal army was recruited from Hindustan, the infantry being mostly drawn from Oudh and the great Gangetic plains. The soldiers were chiefly high-caste Hindus, a sixth being Mahommedans. The cavalry was composed mainly of Mahommedans, recruited from Rohilkhand and the Gangetic Doab. The only other elements in the army were four Gurkha regiments, enlisted from Nepal, and the local Punjab irregular force. The Madras army was chiefly recruited from that presidency, or the native states connected with it, and consisted of Mahommedans, Brahmans, and of the Mahratta, Tamil and Telugu peoples. The Bombay army was recruited from its own presidency, with some Hindustanis,, but chiefly formed of Mahrattas and Mahomnmedans; the Bombay light cavalry mainly from Hindustan proper.

Including the local and irregular troops (about 100,000 strong), the total strength amounted to 38,000 Europeans of all arms, with 276 field guns, and 348,000 native troops, with 248 field guns — truly a magnificent establishment, and, outwardly, worthy of the great empire which England had created for herself in the East, but inwardly unsound, and on the very verge of the great mutiny of 1857.


Madra s.

Bombay .

Tota l

British Cavalry Regiments .

British Infantry Battalions .

Company's European Battalions

European and Native Artillery

Battalions. ...

















Native Infantry Battalions .

Native Cavalry Regiments .









An account of the events of 1857—58 will be found under INDIAN MUTINY. After the catastrophe the reorganization of the military forces on different lines was of course unavoidable. Fortunately, the armies of Madras and Bombay had been almost wholly untouched by the spirit of disaffection, and in the darkest days the Sikhs, though formerly enemies of the British, had not only remained faithful to them, but had rendered them powerful assistance;

75. The Reorganization

—By the autumn of 1858 the mutiny was virtually crushed, and the task of reorganization commenced. On the 1st of September 1858 the East India Company ceased to rule, and Her Majesty's government took up the reins of power. On the important question of the army, the opinions and advice of the most distinguished soldiers and civilians were invited. Masses of reports: and evidence were collected in India, and by a royal commission in England. On the report of this commission the new system was based. The local European army was abolished, and its personnel amalgamated with the royal army. The artillery became wholly British, with the exception of a few native mountain batteries. The total strength of the British troops, all of the royal army, was largely increased, while that of the native troops was largely diminished. Three distinct native armies—those of Bengal, Madras and Bombay—were still maintained. The reduced Indian armies consisted of cavalry and infantry only, with a very few artillery, distributed as follows:—

  Battalions Infantry Regiments Cavalry
Bengal 49 19
Madras 40 4
Bombay 30 7
Punjab Force 12 6
Total 131 36

There were also three sapper battalions, one to each army. The Punjab force, which had 5 batteries of native artillery attached to it, continued under the Punjab government. In addition, the Hyderabad contingent of 4 cavalry, 6 infantry regiments and 4 batteries, and a local force in central India of 2 regiments cavalry and 6 infantry, were retained under the government of India. After all the arrangements had been completed the army of India consisted of 62,000 British and 125,000 native troops.

76. The Modern Army

—The college at Addiscombe was closed in 1860, and the direct appointment of British officers to the Indian local forces ceased in 1861. In that year a staff corps was formed by royal warrant in each presidency “to supply a body of officers for service in India, by whom various offices and appointments hitherto held by officers borne on the strength of the several corps in the Indian forces shall in future be held. Special rules were laid down. The corps was at first recruited partly from officers of the Company's service and partly from the royal army, holding staff appointments (the new regimental employment being considered as staff duty) and all kinds of political and civil posts; for the system established later see INDIA: Army. The native artillery and sappers and miners were to be officered from the Royal Artillery and Royal Engineers. The only English warrant and non-commissioned officers now to be employed in the native army were to be those of the Royal Engineers with the sappers and miners.

A radical change in the regimental organization of all the native armies was effected in 1863. The Punjab Frontier Force was from the first organized on the irregular system, which was there seen at its best, as also were the new regiments raised during the Mutiny. This system was now applied to the whole army, each regiment and battalion having seven British officers attached to it for command and administrative duties, the immediate command of troops and companies being left to the native officers. Thus was the system reverted to, which was initiated by Clive, of a few British officers only being attached to each corps for the higher regimental duties of command and, control. Time had shown that this was more effective than the regular system instituted in 1796 of British officers commanding troops and companies.

A new spirit was breathed into the army. The supremacy of the commandant was the main principle. He was less hampered by the unbending regulations enjoined upon the old regular regiments, had greater powers of reward and punishment, was in a position to assume larger responsibility and greater freedom of action, and was supported in the full exercise of his authority. The system made the officers.

Up to 1881 the native army underwent little change, but in that year 18 regiments of infantry and 4 of cavalry were broken up, almost the same total number of men being maintained in fewer and stronger regiments. The only reduction made in the British troops was in the Royal Artillery, which was diminished by 11 batteries. The events of 1885, however, on the Russo-Afghan frontier, led to augmentations. The 11 batteries Royal Artillery were brought back from England; each of the 9 British cavalry regiments in India received a fourth squadron; each of the British infantry battalions was increased by 100 men, and 3 battalions were added. The native cavalry had a fourth squadron added to each regiment; three of the four regiments broken up in 1881 were re-raised, while the native infantry was increased in regimental strength, and 9 new battalions raised composed of Gurkhas, Sikhs and Punjabis. The addition in all amounted to 10,600 British and 21,200 native troops. In 1890 the strength of the army of India was 73,000 British and, including irregulars, 147,500 native troops. For the Indian volunteers, see VOLUNTEERS.

Many important changes took place between 1885 and 1904. Seven Madras infantry regiments were converted into regiments for service in Burma, composed of Gurkhas and hardy races from northern India; six Bengal and Bombay regiments were similarly converted into regiments of Punjabis, Pathans and Gurkhas; the native mountain batteries have been increased to ten; a system of linked battalions has been introduced with the formation of regimental centres for mobilization; and reserves for infantry and mountain artillery have been formed. The number of British officers with each regiment has been increased to nine, and the two wing commands in battalions have been converted into 4 double-company commands of 250 men each, under a British commander, who is responsible to the commandant for their training and efficiency, the command of the companies being left to the native officers. This system, which is analogous to the squadron command in the cavalry, admits of closer individual attention to training, and distributes among the senior British regimental officers effective responsibility of a personal kind.

An addition (at the imperial expense) of five battalions of Sikhs, Punjabi Mahommedans, Jats and hillmen in northern India was made in 1900, as the result of India being called upon to furnish garrisons for Mauritius and other stations overseas.

The unification of the triplicate army departments in the different presidential armies was completed in 1891, all being brought directly under the supreme government; and the three separate staff corps of Bengal, Madras and Bombay were fused into one in 1891 as the Indian Staff Corps. The term "Indian Staff Corps” was in turn replaced by that of “Indian Army” in 1903. These measures prepared the way for the new system of army organization which, by authority of parliament, abolished divided control and placed the whole army of India under the governor- general and the commander-in-chief in India.


In the earliest European settlements in Canada, the necessity of protection against Indians caused the formation of a militia, and in 1665 companies were raised in every parish. The military history of the Canadian forces under French rule is full of incident, and they served not only against Indian raiders but also against the troops of Great Britain and of her North American colonies. Six militia battalions took part in the defence of Quebec in 1759, and even the transfer of Canada from the French to the British crown did not cause the disbandment of the existing forces. The French Canadians distinguished themselves not less than the British settlers in the War of American Independence, and in particular in the defence of Quebec against Montgomery and Arnold. In 1787 an ordinance was made whereby three battalions of the militia were permanently embodied, each contingent serving for two years, at the end of which time a fresh contingent relieved it, and after this a succession of laws and regulations were made with a view to complete organization of the force. The brunt of the fighting on the American frontier in the war of 1812 was borne very largely by the permanent force of three battalions and the fresh units called out, all these being militia corps. Up to 1828 a distinction had been made between the British and the French regiments: this was then abolished. The militia was again employed on active service during the disturbances of 1837, and the “Active Militia“ in 1863 had grown to a strength of 25,000 men. The Fenian troubles of 1864 and 1866 caused the embodiment of the Canadian forces once more. In 1867 took place the unification of Canada, after which the whole force was completely organized on the basis of a militia act (1868). A department of Militia and Defence with a responsible minister was established, and the strength of the active militia of all arms was fixed at 40,000 rank and file. Two years later the militia furnished 6000 men to deal with the Fenian Raid of 1870, and took part in Colonel (Lord) Wolseley's Red River expedition. In 1871 a permanent force, serving the double purpose of a regular nucleus and an instructional cadre, was organized in two troops of cavalry, two batteries of artillery and one regiment of infantry, and in 1876 the Royal Military College of Canada was founded at Kingston. In 1885 the Riel rebellion was dealt with, and the important action of Batoche won, by the militia, without assistance from regular troops. In the same year Canada contributed a force of voyageurs to the Nile expedition of Lord Wolseley the experience of these men was admittedly of great assistance in navigating the Rapids. The militia sent contingents of all arms to serve in the South African War, 1899—1902, including “Strathcona's Horse,” a special corps, recruited almost entirely from the Active Militia and the North-west Mounted Police. The latter, a permanent constabulary of mounted riflemen, was formed in 1873.

After the South African War an extensive scheme of reorganization was taken in hand, the command being exercised for two years (1902—1904) by Major-General Lord Dundonald, and subsequently by a militia council (Militia Act 1904), similar in constitution to the home Army Council. For details of the present military strength of Canada, see the article CANADA.


The Landsknecht infantry constituted the mainstay of the imperial armies in the 16th century. Maximilian I and Charles V are recorded to have marched and carried the “long pike“ in their ranks. Maximilian also formed a corps of Kyrisser, who were the origin of the modern cuirassiers. It was not, however, until much later that the Austrian army came into existence as a permanent force. Rudolph II formed a small standing force about 1600, but relied upon the “enlistment“ system, like other sovereigns of the time, for the bulk of his armies. The Thirty Years' War produced the permanence of service which led in all the states of Europe to the rise of standing armies. In the Empire it was Wallenstein who first raised a distinctly imperial army of soldiers owing no duty but to the sovereign; and it was the suspicion that he intended to use this army, which was raised largely at his own expense, to further his own ends, that led to his assassination. From that time the regiments belonged no longer to their colonels, but to the emperor; and the oldest regiments in the present Austrian army date from the Thirty Years' War, at the close of which Austria had 19 infantry, 6 cuirassier and 1 dragoon regiments. The almost continuous wars of Austria against France and the Turks (from 1495 to 1895 Austrian troops took part in 7000 actions of all sorts) led to a continuous increase in her establishments. The wars of the time of Montecucculi and of Eugene were followed by that of the Polish Succession, the two Turkish wars, and the three great struggles against Frederick the Great. Thus in 1763 the army had been almost continuously on active service for more than 100 years, in the course of which its organization had been modified in accordance with the lessons of each war. This, in conjunction with the fact that Austria took part in other Turkish campaigns subsequently, rendered this army the most formidable opponent of the forces of the French Revolution (1792). But the superior leading. organization and numbers of the emperor's forces were totally inadequate to the magnitude of the task of suppressing the Revolutionary forces, and though such victories as Neerwinden were sufficient proof of the efficiency and valour of the Austrians, they made no headway. In later campaigns, in which the enemy had acquired war experience, and the best of their officers had come to the front, the tide turned against the Imperialists even on the field of battle. The archduke Charles's victories of 1796 were more than counterbalanced by Bonaparte's Italian campaign, and the temporary success of 1799 ended at Marengo and Hohenlinden.

79. Austrian Army

The Austrians, during the short peace which preceded the war of 1805, suffered, in consequence of all this, from a feeling of distrust, not merely in their leaders, but also in the whole system upon which the army was raised, organized and trained. This was substantially the same as that of the Seven Years' War time. Enlistment being voluntary and for long service, the numbers necessary to cope with the output of the French conscription could not be raised, and the inner history of the Austrian headquarters in the Ulm campaign shows that the dissensions and mutual distrust of the general officers had gone far towards the disintegration of an army which at that time had the most esprit de corps and the highest military qualities of any army in Europe. But the disasters of 1805 swept away good and bad alike in the abolition of the old system. Already the archduke Charles had designed a “nation in arms” after the French model, and on this basis the reconstruction was begun. The conscription was put in force and the necessary numbers thus obtained; the administration was at the same time reformed and the organization and supply services brought into line with modern requirements. The war of 1809 surprised Austria in the midst of her reorganization, yet the new army fought with the greatest spirit. The invasion of Bavaria was by no means so leisurely as it had been in 1805, and the archduke Charles obtained one signal victory over Napoleon in person. Aspern and Wagram were most desperately contested, and though the archduke ceased to take part in the administration after 1809 the work went on steadily until, in 1813, the Austrian armies worthily represented the combination of discipline with the “nation in arms“ principle. Their intervention in the War of Liberation was decisive, and Austria, in spite of her territorial losses of the past years, put into the field well-drilled armies far exceeding in numbers those which had appeared in the wars of the Revolution. After the fall of Napoleon, Austria's hold on Italy necessitated the maintenance of a large army of occupation. This army, and in particular its cavalry, was admittedly the best in Europe, and, having to be ready to march at a few days' notice, it was saved from the deadening influence of undisturbed peace which affected every other service in Europe from 1815 to 1850.

80. Austrian Army

The Austrian system has conserved much of the peculiar tone of the army of 1848, of which English readers may obtain a good idea from George Meredith's Viltoria. It was, however, a natural result of this that the army lost to some considerable extent the spirit of the “nation in arms” of 1809 and 1813. It was employed in dynastic wars, and the conscription was of course modified by substitution; thus, when the war of 1859 resulted unfavourably to the Austrians, the army began to lose confidence, precisely as had been the case in 1805. Once more, ?in 1866, an army animated by the purely professional spirit, which was itself weakened by distrust, met a “nation in arms,” and in this case a nation well trained in peace and armed with a breechloader. Bad staff work, and tactics which can only be described as those of pique, precipitated the disaster, and in seven weeks the victorious Prussians were almost at the gates of Vienna.

The result of the war, and of the constitutional changes about this time, was the re-adoption of the principles of 1806—1813, the abolition of conscription and long service in favour of universal service for a short term, and a thorough reform in the methods of command and staff work. It has been said of the Prussian army that “discipline is—the officers.” This is more true of the “K.K.” army than of any other in Europe; the great bond of union between the heterogeneous levies of recruits of many races is the spirit of the corps of officers, which retains the personal and professional characteristics of the old army of Italy.

The phrase “K. und K.” (Kaiserlich und Koniglich) is applied to all services common to the Austrian and Hungarian armies.

K.-K.” (Kaiserlich-Koniglich) refers strictly only to the troops of Austria, the Hungarian army being known as the K.Uug. (Royal Hungarian) service.


The French army (see for further details FRANCE: Law and Institutions) dates from the middle of the 15th century, at which time Charles VII formed, from mercenaries who had served him in the Hundred Years' War, the compagnies d'ordonnance, and thus laid the foundation of a national standing army. But the armies that followed the kings in their wars still consisted mainly of mercenaries, hired for the occasion; and the work of Charles and his successors was completely undone in the confusion of the religious wars. Louvois, was minister of Louis XIV, was the true creator of the French royal army. The organization of the first standing army is here given in some detail, as it served as a model for all armies for more than a century, and is also followed to some extent in our own times. Before the advent of Louvois, the forces were royal only in name. The army was a fortuitous concourse of regiments of horse and foot, each of which was the property of its colonel. The companies similarly

belonged to their captains, and, the state being then in no condition to buy out these vested interests, superior control was almost illusory. Indeed, all the well-known devices for eluding such control, for instance, showing imaginary men on the pay lists, can be traced to the French army of the 16th century. A further difficulty lay in the existence of the offices called Colonel-General, Marshal-General and Grand Master of Artillery, between whom no common administration was possible. The grand master survived until 1743, but Louvois managed to suppress the other offices, and even to put one of his own subordinates into the office of grand master. Thus was assured direct royal control, exercised through the war minister. Louvois was unable indeed to overthrow the proprietary system, but he made stringent regulations against abuses, and confined it to the colonels (mestre de camp in the cavalry) and the captains. Henceforward the colonel was a wealthy noble, with few duties beyond that of spending money freely and of exercising his court influence on behalf of his regiment. The real work of the service was done by the lieutenant-colonels and lieutenants, and the king and the minister recognized this on all occasions. Thus Vauban was given, as a reward for good service, a company in the ”Picardie regiment” without purchase. Promotions from the ranks were very rare but not unknown, and all promotions were awarded according to merit except those to captain or colonel. One of the captains in a regiment was styled major, and acted as adjutant. This post was of course filled by selection and not by purchase. The grades of general officers were newly fixed by Louvois — the brigadier, maréchal de camp, lieutenant-general and marshal of France. The general principle was to give command, but not promotion, according to merit. The rank and file were recruited by voluntary enlistment for four years' service. The infantry company was maintained in peace at an effective of 60, except in the guards and the numerous foreign corps, in which the company was always at the war strength of 100 to 200 men. This arm was composed, in 1678, of the Gardes françaises, the Swiss guards, the old (vieux and petits vieux) regiments of the line, of which the senior, “Picardie,” claimed to be the oldest regiment in Europe, and the regiments raised under the new system. The regiment du roi, which was deliberately made the model of all others and was commanded by the celebrated Martinet, was the senior of these latter. The whole infantry arm in 1678 numbered 320,000 field and garrison troops. The cavalry consisted of the Maison du Roi (which Louvois converted from a “show” corps to one of the highest discipline and valour), divided into the Gardes du Corps and the Mousquetaires, the Gendarmerie (descended from the old feudal cavalry and the ordonnance ccmpanies) and the line cavalry, the whole being about 55,000 strong. There were also 10,000 dragoons. In addition to the regular army, the king could call out, in case of need, the ancient arriere-ban or levy, as was in fact done in 1674. On that occasion, however, it behaved badly, and it was not again employed. In 1688 Louvois organized a militia raised by ballot. This numbered 25,000 men and proved to be better, at any rate, than the arriereban. Many infantry regiments of the line were, as has been said, foreign, and in 1678 the foreigners numbered 30,000, the greater part of these being Swiss.

82. French Army

The artillery had been an industrial concern rather than an arm of the service. In sieges a sum of money was paid for each piece put in battery, and the grand master was not subordinated to the war office. A nominee of Louvois, as has been said, filled the post at this time, and eventually Louvois formed companies of artillerymen, and finally the regiment of “Fusiliers“ which Vauban described as the “finest regiment in the world.” The engineer service, as organized by Vauban, was composed of engineers “in ordinary,” and of line officers especially employed in war. Louvois further introduced the system of magazines. To ensure the regular working of supply and transport, he instituted direct control by the central executive, and stored great quantities of food in the fortresses, thereby securing for the French armies a precision and certainty in military operations which had hitherto been wanting. The higher administration of the army, under the minister of war, fell into two branches, that of the commissaries and that of the inspecting officers. The duties. of the former resembled those of a modern “routine“ staff—issue of equipment, checking of returns, &c. The latter exercised functions analogous to those of a general staff, supervising the training and general efficiency of the troops. Louvois also created an excellent hospital service, mobile and stationary, founded the Hotel des Invalides in Paris for the maintenance of old soldiers, established cadet schools for the training of young officers, and stimulated bravery and good conduct by reviving and creating military orders of merit.

83. French Army - 17th Century

The last half of the 17th century is a brilliant period in the annals of the French armies. Thoroughly organized, animated by the presence of the king, and led by such generals as Condé, Turenne, Luxembourg, Catinat and Vendome, they made head against coalitions which embraced nearly all the powers of Europe, and made France the first military nation of Europe. The reverses of the later part of Louis XIV's reign were not of course without result upon the tone of the French army, and the campaigns of Marlborough and Eugene for a time diminished the repute in which the troops of Louis were held by other powers. Nevertheless the War of the Spanish Succession closed with French victories, and generals of the calibre of Villars and Berwick were not to be found in the service of every prince. The war of the Polish Succession in Germany and Italy reflected no discredit upon the French arms; and the German general staff, in its history of the wars of Frederick the Great, states that “in 1740 the French army was still regarded as the first in Europe.” Since the death of Louvois very little had changed. The army was still governed as it had been by the great war minister, and something had been done to reduce evils against which even he had been powerless. A royal regiment of artillery had come into existence, and the engineers were justly regarded as the most skillful in Europe. Certain alterations had been made in the organization of both the guard and the line, and the total strength of the French in peace was somewhat less than 200,000. Relatively to the numbers maintained in other states, it was thus as powerful as before. Indeed, only one feature of importance differentiated the French army from its contemporaries—the proportion of officers to men, which was one to eleven. In view of this, the spirit of the army was necessarily that of its officers, and these were by no means the equals of their predecessors of the time of Turenne or Luxembourg. Louvois' principle of employing professional soldiers for command and wealthy men for colonelcies and captaincies was not deliberately adopted, hut inevitably grew out of the circumstances of the time. The system answered fairly whilst continual wars gave the professional soldiers opportunities for distinction and advancement. But in a long peace the captains of eighteen and colonels of twenty-three blocked all promotion, and there was no work save that of routine to be done. Under these conditions the best soldiers sought servke in other countries, the remainder lived only for pleasure, whilst the titular chiefs of regiments and companies rarely appeared on parade. Madame de Genlis relates how, when young courtiers departed to join their regiments for a few weeks' duty, the ladies of the court decked them with favours, as if proceeding on a distant and perilous expedition.

On the other hand, the fact that the French armies required large drafts of militia to bring up their regular forces to war strength gave them a vitality which was unusual in armies of the time. Even in the time of Louis XIV the military spirit of the country had arisen at the threat of invasion, and the French armies of 1709 fought far more desperately, as the casualty lists of the allies at Malplaquet showed, than those of 1703 or 1704. In the time of the Revolution the national spirit of the French army formed a rallying-point for the forces of order, whereas Prussia, whose army was completely independent of the people, lost all power of defending herself after a defeat in the field. It is difficult to summarize the conduct of the royal armies in the wars of 1740—63. With a few exceptions the superior leaders proved themselves incompetent, and in three great battles, at least, the troops suffered ignominious defeat (Dettingen 1743, Rossbach Minden 1759). On the other hand, Marshal Saxe and others of the younger generals were excellent commanders, and Fontenoy was a victory of the first magnitude. The administration, however, was corrupt and inefficient, and the general reputation of the French armies fell so low that Frederick the Great once refused an important command to one of his generals on the ground that his experience had been gained only against French troops.

Under Louis XVI things improved somewhat; the American War and the successes of Lafayette and Rochambeau revived a more warlike spirit. Instruction was more carefully attended to, and a good system of drill and tactics was elaborated at the camp of St Omer. Attempts were made to reform the administration. Artillery and engineer schools had come into existence, and the intellectual activity of the best officers was remarkable (see Max Jahns, Gesch. der Kriegswissenschaften, vol. iii. passim). But the Revolution soon broke over France, and the history of the royal army was hence forward carried on by that revolutionary array, which, under a new flag, was destined to raise the military fame of France to its greatest height.

84. Carnot

If Louis was the creator of the royal army, Carnot was so of the revolutionary army the outbreak of the Revolution i the royal army consisted of 224 infantry battalions, 7 regiments of artillery, and 62 regiments of cavalry, numbering about 173,000 in all, but capable of augmentation on war strength to 210,000. To this might be added about 60,000 militia (see Chuquet, Premiere i;zvasion prussienne).

The first step of the Constituent Assembly was the abrogation of an edict ot 1781 whereby men of non-noble birth had been denied commissioned rank (1790). Thus, when many of the officers emigrated along with their fellows of the noblesse, trained non- commissioned officers, who would already have been officers save for this edict, were available to fill their places. The general scheme of reform (see CONSCRIPTION) was less satisfactory, but the formation of a National Guard, comprising in theory the whole military population, was a step of the highest importance. At this time the titles of regiments were abandoned in favour of numbers, and the costly and dangerous Maison du Roi abolished. But voluntary enlistment soon failed; the old corps, which kept up their discipline, were depleted, and the men went to the volunteers, where work was less exacting and promotion more rapid. “Aussi fut-on,” says a French writer, reduit bicniôt a forcer l'engagement volontaire el d imposer le choix du corps.” The “first invasion” (July 1792) put an end to half-measures, and the country was declared “in danger.” Even these measures, however, were purely designed to meet the emergency, and, after Valmy, enthusiasm waned to such a degree that, of a paper strength of 800,000 men (December 1792), only 112,000 of the line and 290,000 volunteers were actually present. The disasters of the following spring once more called for extreme energy, and 300,000 national guards were sent to the line, a step which was followed by a compulsory levee en masse; one million men were thus assembled to deal with the manifold dangers of civil and foreign war. France was saved by mere numbers and the driving energy of the Terrorists, not by discipline and organization. The latter was chaotic, and almost every element of success was wanting to the tumultuary levies of the year 1793 save a ferocious energy born of liberty and the guiilotine. But under the Terrorist régime the army became the rallying-point of the nation, and when Lazare Carnot (q.v.) became minister of war a better organization and discipline began to appear. The amalgamation of the old army and the volunteers, which had been commenced but imperfectly carried out, was effected on a different and more thorough principle. The infantry was organized in demi-brigades of three battalions (usually one of the old army to two of volunteers). A permanent organization in divisions of all arms was introduced, and the a blest officers selected for the commands. Arsenals and manufactories of warlike stores were created, schools of instruction were re-established; the republican forces were transformed from hordes to armies, well disciplined, organized and equipped. Later measures followed the same lines, and the artillery and engineers, which in 1790 were admittedly the best in Europe and which owing to the roturier element in their officer cadres had not been disorganized. by the emigration, steadily improved. The infantry, and in a less degree the cavalry, became good and trustworthy soldiers, and the glorious campaigns of 1795 and 1796, which were the direct result of Carnot's administration, bore witness to the potentialities of the essentially modern system. But, great as was the triumph of 1796-97, the exhaustion of years of continuous warfare had made itself felt: the armies were reduced to mere skeletons, and no sufficient means existed of replenishing them, till in 1798 the conscription was introduced. From that ti-me the whole male population of France was practically at her ruler's disposal; and Napoleon had full scope for his genius in organizing these masses. His principal improvements were effected in the interval between the peace of Amiens and the war with the third coalition, while threatening the invasion of England. His armies were collected in large camps on the coasts of the Channel, and there received that organization which, with minor variations, they retained during all his campaigns, and which has since been copied by all European nations. The divisions had already given place to the army corps, and Napoleon completed the work of his predecessors. He withdrew the whole of the cavalry and- a portion of the artillery from the divisions, and thus formed “corps troops” and cavalry and artillery reserves for the whole army. The grade of marshal of France was revived at Napoleon's coronation. At the same time, the operation of Jourdan's law, acquiesced in during times of national danger and even during peace, soon found opposition when the conscripts realized that long foreign wars were to be their lot. It was not the actual losses of the field armies, great as these undoubtedly were, which led Napoleon in the full tide of his career to adopt the fatal practice of “anticipating” the conscription, but the steady increase in the number of refractaires, men who refused to come - up for service. To hunt these men down, no less than forty thousand picked soldiers were engaged within the borders of France, and the actual French element in the armies of Napoleon grew less and less with every extension of the empire. Thus, in the Grand Army of 1809, about one-third of the corps of all arms were purely German, and in 1812 the army which invaded Russia, 467,000 strong, included 280,000 foreigners. In other words, the million of men produced by the original conscription of 1793 had dwindled to about half that number (counting the various subsidiary armies in Spain, &c.), and one hundred thousand of the best and sturdiest Frenchmen were engaged in a sort of civil war in France itself. The conscription was “anticipated” even in 1806, the conscripts for 1807 being called up before their time. As the later wars of the Empire closed one by one the foreign - sources of recruiting, the conscription became more terrible every year, - with the result that more refractaires and more trusted soldiers to hunt them down were kept in non-effective employment. Finally the capacity for resistance was exha-usted, and the army, from the marshals downward, showed that it had had enough.

85. Restoration

One of the first acts of the Restoration was to abolish the conscription, but it had again to be resorted to within three years. In 1818 the annual contingent was fixed at 40,000, and the period of service at six years; in 1824 the contingent was increased to 60,000, and in 1832 to 80,000. Of this, however, a part only, - according to the requirements of the service, were enrolled; the remainder were sent home on leave or furlough. Up to 1855 certain exemptions were authorized, and substitution or exchange of lots amongst young men who had drawn was permitted, but the individual drawn was obliged either to serve personally or find a substitute. The long series of Algerian wars produced further changes, and in 1855 the law of “dotation” or exemption by payment was passed, and put an end to personal substitution. The state now undertook to provide substitutes for all who paid a fixed sum, and did so by high bounties to volunteers or to soldiers for re-engaging. Although the price of exemption was fixed as high as £92, -on an average 23,000 were claimed annually, and in 1859 as many as 42,000 were granted. Thus gradually the conscription became rather subsidiary to voluntary enlistment, and in 1866, out of a total establishment of 400,000, only 120,000 were conscripts. Changes had also taken place in the constitution of the army. On the Restoration its numbers were reduced to 150,000, the old regiments broken up and recast, and a royal guard created in place of the old imperial one. When the revolution of July 1830 had driven Charles X. from his throne, the royal guard, which had made itself peculiarly obnoxious, was dissolved; and during Louis Philippe's reign the army was augmented to about 240,000 with the colours. Under the Provisional Government of 1848 it was further increased, and in 1854, when France allied herself with England against Russia, the army was raised to 500,000 men. The imperial guard was re- created, and every effort made to revive the old Napoleonic traditions in the army. In 1859 Napoleon III took the field as the champion and ally of Italy, and the victories of Montebello, Magenta and Solferino raised the reputation of the army to the highest pitch, and for a time made France the arbiter of Europe. But the campaign of 1866 suddenly made the world aware that a rival military power had arisen, which was prepared. to dispute that supremacy.

Marshal Niel (q.v.), the then war minister, saw clearly that the organization which had with difficulty maintained 150,000 men in Italy, was no match for that which had within a month thrown 250,000 into the very heart of Austria, while waging a successful war on the Main against Bavaria and her allies. In 1867, therefore, he brought forward a measure for the reorganization of the army. This was to have been a true “nation in arms” based on universal service, and Niel calculated upon producing a first- line army 800,000 strong—half with the colours, half in reserve—with a separate army of the second line. But many years must elapse before the full effect of this principle of recruiting can be produced, as the army is incomplete in some degree until the oldest reservist is a man who has been through the line training. Niel himself died within a year, and 1870 witnessed the complete ruin of the French army. The law of 1868 remained therefore no more than an expression of principle.

86. Franco-German War

At the outbreak of the Franco-German War (q.v.) the French field troops consisted of 368 battalions, 252 squadrons, and 984 guns. The strength of the entire army on peace footing was 393,000 men; on war footing, 567,000. Disasters followed one another in rapid succession, and the bulk of this war-trained long-service army was captive in Germany within three months of the opening battle. But the spirit of the nation rose to the occasion as it had done in 1793. The next year's contingent of recruits was called out and hastily trained. Fourth battalions were formed from the depot cadres, and organized into regiments de marche. The gardes mobiles (Niel's creation) were mobilized, and by successive decrees and under various names nearly all the manhood of the country called to arms.

The regular troops raised as regiments de marche, &c., amounted to 213,000 infantry, 12,000 cavalry and 10,000 artillery. The garde mobile exceeded 300,000, and the mobilized national guard exceeded 1,100,000 - of whom about 180,000 were actually in the field and 250,000 in Paris; the remainder preparing themselves in camps or depots for active work. Altogether the new formations amounted to nearly 1,700,000. Though, in the face of the now war- experienced well-led and disciplined Germans, their efforts failed, this cannot detract from the admiration which must be felt by every soldier for the patriotism of the people and the creative energy of their leaders, of whom Gambetta and Freycinet were the chief. After the war every Frenchman set himself to solve the army problem not less seriously than had every Prussian after Jena, and the reformed French army (see FRANCE) was the product of the period of national reconstruction. The adoption of the “universal service” principle of active army, reserves and second-line troops, the essential feature of which is the line training of every man, was almost as a matter of course the basis of the reorganization, for the want of a trained reserve was the most obvious cause of the disasters of “the terrible year.”