Page:EB1911 - Volume 02.djvu/648

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ARMY

of one man, or of a few, to control every action and provide for every want of a great number of individuals. The modern system of command, therefore, provides for a system of grades, in which, theoretically, officers of each grade control a group of the next lower units. A lieutenant-colonel, for instance, may be in charge of a group of eight companies, each of which is under a captain. In practice, all armies are permanently organized on these lines, up to the colonel’s or lieutenant-colonel’s command, and most of them are permanently divided into various higher units under general officers, the brigade, division and army corps. The almost invariable practice is to organize infantry into companies, battalions and regiments. Cavalry is divided into troops, squadrons and regiments. Artillery is organized in batteries, these being usually grouped in various ways. The other arms and departments are subdivided in the same general way. The commands of general officers are the brigade of infantry, cavalry, and in some cases artillery, the division of two or more infantry brigades and a force of artillery and mounted troops, or of cavalry and horse artillery, and the army corps of two or more divisions and “corps troops.” Armies of several corps, and groups of armies are also formed.

46. A brigade is the command of a brigadier or major-general, or of a colonel. It consists almost invariably of one arm only. In armies of the old régime it was not usual to assign troops of all arms to the subordinate generals. Hence the brigade is a much older form of organization than the division of all arms, and in fact dates from the 16th century. The infantry brigade consists, in the British service, of the brigadier and his staff, four battalions of infantry, and administrative and medical units, the combatant strength being about 4000 men. In Germany and France the brigade is composed of the staff, and two regiments (6 battalions) with a total of over 6000 combatants at war strength. The cavalry brigade is sometimes formed of three, sometimes of two regiments; the number of squadrons to a regiment on service is usually four, exceptionally three, and rarely five and six. The “brigade” of artillery in Great Britain is a lieutenant-colonel’s command, and the term here corresponds to the Abtheilung of the German, and the groupe of the French armies (see Artillery). In Germany and France, however, an artillery brigade consists of two or more regiments, or twelve batteries at least, under the command of an artillery general officer.

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

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

49. Constitution of the Army Corps.—In 1870-71 the III. German army corps (with which compare Marshal Davout’s ordre de bataille above) consisted of the following combatant units: (a) staff; (b) two infantry divisions (4 brigades. 8 regiments or 24 battalions), with, in each division, a cavalry regiment, 4 batteries of artillery or 24 guns, and engineers; (c) corps troops, artillery (6 field batteries), pioneer battalion (engineers), train battalion (supply and transport). A rifle battalion was attached to one of the divisions.

This ordre de bataille was followed more or less generally by all countries up to the most modern times, but between 1890 and 1902 came a very considerable change in the point of view from which the corps was regarded as a fighting unit. This change was expressed in the abolition of the corps artillery. Formerly the corps commander controlled the greater part of the field artillery, as well as troops of other arms; at the present time he has a mere handful of troops. Unless battalions are taken from the divisions to form a corps reserve, the direct influence of the corps organization on the battle is due almost solely to the fact that the commander has at his disposal the special natures of artillery and also some horse artillery. Thus the (augmented) division is regarded by many as the fighting unit of the 20th, as the corps was that of the 19th century. In Europe there is even a tendency to substitute the ancient phrase “reserve artillery” for “corps artillery,” showing that the rôle to be played by the corps batteries is subordinated to the operations of the masses of divisional artillery, the whole being subject, of course, to the technical supervision of the artillery general officer who accompanies the corps headquarters. Thus limited, the army corps has now