come to consist of the staff, two or more divisions, the corps or reserve artillery (of special batteries), a small force of “corps” cavalry, and various technical and departmental troops. The cavalry is never very numerous, owing to the demands of the independent cavalry divisions on the one hand and those of the divisional cavalry on the other. The engineers of an army corps include telegraph, balloon and pontoon units. Attached to the corps are reserves of munitions and supplies in ammunition columns, field parks, supply parks, &c. The term and the organization were discontinued in England in 1906, on the augmentation of the divisions and the assignment of certain former “corps troops” to the direct control of the army commanders. It should be noticed that the Japanese, who had no corps organization during the war of 1904-5, afterwards increased the strength of their divisions from 15,000 to 20,000; the augmented “division,” with the above peace strength, becomes to all intents and purposes a corps, and the generals commanding divisions were in 1906 given the title of generals-in-chief.
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 significance. 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 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 latus. 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 Blücher 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